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Kusuran Didn’t Participate in Killings of Serbs in Kozarac, Witnesses Say

6. November 2015.00:00
Testifying in defense of Muhamed Kusuran at the district court of Banja Luka, witnesses said they heard Hamdija Beslagic say he had shot at Serbs.

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Kusuran has been charged with the murder of Ostoja Baltic, who he allegedly set on fire in a car on August 29, 1992. Kusuran was allegedly accompanied by several other persons, including Semir Alukic, who was found guilty of war crimes under a second instance verdict.

According to the indictment, on August 29, 1992, Kusuran and several other persons went to the hamlet of Podgradje in the vicinity of Kozarac and killed Bozo Indjic by setting him on fire inside his house. Afterwards they set Sojanka Dekic’s house on fire. She managed to escape through a window with her daughter Snjezana.

Witness Emer Softic testified at today’s hearing. Softic said he was in Kozarac, near Prijedor, on May 24, 1992, when the shelling began. He said he fled to a forest on Mount Kozara some time later.

“Many people were in the forest at the time. We were hiding. I used to see Kusuran, whom I had known from before [the war] as a butcher. Hamdija Beslagic came to our tent one day. He was drunk. He said he had shot at Serbs, but we told him that was nonsense, because he was drunk,” Softic said.

He said groups of people went down to Kozarac from time to time to fetch food. He said he had brought a cow, which Kusuran had slaughtered, before Beslagic told them about the shooting.

Witness Mirsad Besic said he also fled to the woods after the shelling of Kozarac. He said many people took shelter in the woods at that time.

“Hamdija Beslagic came to us one morning and said he had taken care of one Serb in a Fico [a car produced by the Zastava factory] and another one in a house. We didn’t believe him, because he was already drunk. On the previous day Hamdija found a cow in the forest and brought it, so Kusuran slaughtered it and we helped him. We spent almost the whole day doing that,” Besic said.

Besic said he was sure Kusuran didn’t go to Kozarac that day, because it would have taken him five or six hours to get to the village by foot.

Edin Softic gave a statement similar to those of the two previous witnesses.

The presentation of closing statements is scheduled for November 19.

Goran Obradović

This post is also available in: Bosnian