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Defense Expert Says Serb Population in Hadzici Targeted to Prevent Espionage and Armed Uprising

17. December 2015.00:00
A military defense expert testifying at the trial of eight former members of the Bosnian Army said Serbs from Pazaric and Tarcin were considered dangerous due to fears of a Serb spy network and armed uprising in the area.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember have been charged with war crimes in the municipality of Hadzici. The indictment alleges they were members of military and police authorities, as well as managers or guards in detention camps, such as the Silos detention facility.

They have been charged with the unlawful detention, inhumane treatment, physical abuse and mental suffering of Serb detainees. They’ve also been charged with taking detainees to other locations to perform forced labour.  

At today’s hearing, military expert Hazim Sadic continued his testimony, which began on December 10. He said Serb men in the Hadzici area were a security risk and that prisoners of war could be detained indefinitely, “for as long as they represented a threat to the area.”

“Sending over intelligence data was an even bigger danger for the Bosnian Army than weapons,” Sadic said. He said Bosniak forces confiscated more than 700 long barrel weapons from the Serb population in Hadzici.

Sadic said Serbs in the area formed a Territorial Defense squad, based on documentation indicating lists of names and weapons distributed to the Serb population. He added that the Yugoslav National Army exclusively armed Serbs.

The prosecution asked Sadic if the Territorial Defense squad was active in Hadzici. Sadic said the squad didn’t have time to mobilize, and was disarmed prior to beginning any military activity.

“This squad would have connected the forces from Hadzici with those in Bradina. Sarajevo would have been brought into a double blockade,” Sadic said.

Sadic said it was impossible to transfer detainees from the Hadzici area to Zenica or Sarajevo.

“The city of Sarajevo was a war zone. Prisoners must not be taken to war zones,” Sadic said. He said taking prisoners to Zenica was also impossible due to shelling in the area.

The trial will continue on December 24.

Albina Sorguč

This post is also available in: Bosnian