Witnesses Describe Encountering Mutilated Body of Civilian in Vratsalici

12. January 2016.00:00
The trial of four former members of the Bosnian Army charged with war crimes in the Rogatica and Foca area continued today with testimony from state prosecution witnesses. The witnesses said they found civilian Milos Kovacevic’s mutilated body in the village of Vratsalici.

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Emir Drakovac has been charged with shooting at a civilian in the Rogatica area in November 1992, then decapitating and castrating his body. He’s also been charged with killing a prisoner of war and torturing another in the municipality of Foca in late 1992.

Drakovac, Muhamed Sisic, Aziz Susa and Tarik Sisic have been charged with participating in an attack on a civilian convoy in Kukavice on August 27, 1992. At least 20 Serbs were killed and several more were wounded.

According to the charges, Muhamed Sisic was the commander of the Commando Squad of the Kukavicka Company of the Bosnian Army, while the other defendants were members of that unit.

Testifying at today’s hearing, state prosecution witness Tomislav Kovacevic said he was living in Vratsalici in the municipality of Rogatica, when the village was attacked. He said when the attack began, he fled towards Bosnian Serb Army positions, while Milos Kovacevic stayed behind.

Kovacevic said he returned to the village after the attack with a few Serb soldiers, and found Milos Kovacevic’s headless body. He said a ceiling light fixture was mounted over his body, in his head’s place. He said one of Kovacevic’s arms was missing while the other “was hanging on only by his skin.” Kovacevic said his genitals had been cut off as well, and had a bullet wound in his chest.

Defense attorney Fahrija Karkin requested that an expert be present during Kovacevic’s testimony as an interpreter (the witness suffers from a speech defect). While examining the witness, state prosecutor Dzermin Pasic interpreted Kovacevic’s testimony.

State prosecution witness Momo Loric testified on the same incident. He said he went to Vratsalici with a few other Bosnian Serb Army soldiers to look for Milos Kovacevic.

“The village was burnt. We found Milos’ headless body on a wooden log. It seemed to me his arm was also missing…When we carried him to our positions, I noticed his genitals had been cut off as well,” Loric said. He said he didn’t see the light fixture on Kovacevic’s body.

The state prosecution then presented a video recording, which state prosecution witness Milorad Despetevic confirmed having filmed.

The recording depicts Kovacevic’s mutilated body, decapitated and castrated. The recording was part of a report created by police forces in Rogatica on November 9, 1992.

Witness Zahid Ajnadzic said he participated in an operation in the village of Vratsalici. He said he remembered the village because of a cauldron of brandy which soldiers found and drank. He said he saw nothing else that was unusual in the village.

Responding to questions from the defense, Ajnadzic said he spent about four hours in the village, and didn’t see a decapitated body, blood or an axe.

The trial will continue on January 19.

Džana Brkanić


This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)