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Witnesses Describe Capture of Bosniak Civilians Near Lokanj

28. September 2015.00:00
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of nine former Bosnian Serb Army fighters charged with war crimes in Zvornik said his brother was killed by Bosnian Serb forces while fleeing Teocak. The examination of a protected witness was also concluded at today’s hearing.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Defendants Goran Maksimovic, Ljiljan Mitrovic, Slavko Peric, Mile Vujevic, Vukasin Draskovic, Gojko Stevanovic, Cvjetko Popadic, Rajo Lazareviz and Mico Manojlovic have been charged with participating in an attack on a group of civilians fleeing Teocak on July 14, 1992. They allegedly captured 76 civilians, 67 of whom were killed in the village of Lokanj in the municipality of Zvornik.

Maksimovic was the commander of the Interventions Unit of the public safety station in Ugljevik, Mitrovic was his deputy, while Slavko Peric was the commander of the Lokanjska Company of the Zvornicka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. The other defendants were members of that unit.

State prosecution witness Besim Handzic testified at today’s hearing. Handzic said he and about 120 civilians left Teocak on July 14, 1992. He said they walked through the woods in order to get to territory controlled by the Bosnian Army in Zvornik. He said the Bosnian Serb Army began shooting at a line of civilians in the vicinity of the village of Lokanj in the municipality of Zvornik.

Handzic said he managed to escape, but many others were captured in the woods.

“I thought they would just beat them up,” Handzic said.

Handzic said when an exchange was organized in the summer 1993, he found out his brother and other men had been killed in the same area. He said he identified his brother’s clothes.

Handzic confirmed that he left Teocak in order to acquire weapons, as alleged by the defense. He said each village had a group of people which intended to arm themselves and return.

The examination of a protected witness known as S-9 was completed at this hearing. Her testimony began last Monday. S-9 said a line of civilians was shot at in the vicinity of Lokanj. She said she and others were captured. She said Serb soldiers tied and beat them and took them to the village of Lokanj.

She said she remembered a soldier with an eyepatch who beat people prior to their arrival in Lokanj. She said none of the defendants in the courtroom looked like that soldier.

S-9 said they were searched by a blonde woman when they arrived. She said the men were separated from the women and sent to a field.

S-9 said she was taken onto a bus along with two other women. She said three men were brought onto the bus later on. They were then taken to Zvornik.

The trial will continue on October 5.

Amer Jahić

This post is also available in: Bosnian