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Witness Describes Capture of Lokanj Prisoners

30. November 2015.00:00
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of nine former members of Bosnian Serb military and police forces said he participated in escorting a group of prisoners to the village of Lokanj in the municipality of Zvornik, where he saw defendant Goran Maksimovic.

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The defendants, Goran Maksimovic, Ljlilan Mitrovic, Slavko Peric, Mile Vujevic, Vukasin Draskovic, Gojko Stevanovic, Cvjetko Popadic, Rajo Lazarevic and Mico Manojlovic, have been charged with abducting, detaining and attacking 76 Bosniak civilians in the municipality of Zvornik. 67 of them were allegedly killed by the defendants at various locations.

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

Zarko Tomic, a former member of the Interventions Squad with the public safety station in Ugljevik, testified at today’s hearing. Tomic said he and his comrades were in the field in Gornja Krcina in the municipality of Ugljevik in the summer of 1992. He said they went to Lokanj in the early evening and stayed there overnight.

“On the following day, in the morning, we heard shooting. We ran out of the room towards the location where the shooting was heard…The shooting came from the woods,” Tomic said.

He said he met a man named Ivan Stevanovic, members of the Interventions Squad, and a group of about ten prisoners on the edge of the forest. He said he was told to go to escort the prisoners back to Lokanj.

Tomic said he met defendant Goran Maksimovic somewhere near the library in Lokanj. He said he told Maksimovic he was sick and had to go home.

“He responded rudely, ‘Why did you come if you’re ill?,’” Tomic said. He said he then left Lokanj and went home.

Tomic said the Interventions Squad didn’t have a commander. He said Maksimovic “was a senior colleague, who acted as an intermediary between the squad and the chief.” The prosecution presented Tomic with a statement he had previously given, in which he said that Maksimovic was the squad commander. Tomic said he never called him commander and that he and the other squad members referred to him by name.

During cross-examination, Tomic said he didn’t see defendant Ljiljan Mitrovic the day the prisoners were captured in the woods. He said he saw Mitrovic the day before, while they were travelling from Gornja Krcina to Lokanj.

“Ljiljan was an ordinary policeman at the time,” Tomic said.

The examination of witness Jovan Gajic was completed at this hearing following his cross-examination by the defense. At the previous hearing, Gajic said he used to work in a warehouse in Lokanj.

Gajic said he had never assigned weapons or military equipment to defendant Vukasin Draskovic from April 1992 onward. He said he had never been a member of any unit from Lokanj.

The trial will continue on December 14.

Lamija Grebo

This post is also available in: Bosnian