Killing of Teocak Civilians Common Knowledge, State Prosecution Witness Says

25. January 2016.00:00
Testifying at the trial of nine former Bosnian Serb fighters charged with crimes in the Zvornik area, a state prosecution witness said he saw captured Bosniaks at two locations in the village of Lokanj in the municipality of Zvornik. He said the captives included men, women and children.

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Defendants Slavko Peric, Cvjetko Popadic, Goran Maksimovic, Ljiljan Mitrovic, Mile Vujevic, Vukasin Draskovic, Gojko Stevanovic, 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 the Lokanjska Company.

Testifying at today’s hearing, state prosecution witness and former soldier Zdravko Bojic described the events that preceded the capture of Bosniak civilians travelling in the convoy. Bojic said he heard shooting at around 8am on July 14, 1992 and went to the frontline. He said his comrades told him the forest nearby was “full of Muslims.” He said while approaching his guard position, he saw a civilian who had been killed.

In the vicinity of the division line, Bojic said, he saw a group of approximately 50 to 60 captured Bosniaks.

“All of them were lying next to a brook. Soldiers were looking for a man named Sukrija. He didn’t speak up. Then they separated one Bosniak and asked him to point to Sukrija. When he did so, they singled Sukrija out and searched his pockets. They took something from him and sent him back to the other captives. Those men were from Ugljevik,” Bojic said.

Bojic said he saw defendant Slavko Peric among the soldiers who guarded the captives, but didn’t see Cvjetko Popadic.

Bojic said he saw approximately ten captives, including women and children, in the Lokanjska Brigade command later on. A day later he found out that all of them had been killed in the vicinity of a local church.

“Even children talked about it. Everyone knew they were killed. Mico Tomic and another policeman from Ugljevik took them away. About ten days later I passed by the place where they had been killed. The land was freshly dug. Dogs were digging at something in that place. I saw a lower part of a leg sticking out of the ground. I saw boots, sneakers,” Bojic said.

He said he didn’t know who killed the captives, but confirmed that according to rumours the perpetrator was Mico Tomic.

“I heard he castrated some men. He couldn’t have done it all by himself, but I don’t know who was with him,” Bojic said.

Bojic confirmed that several policemen from Ugljevik came to the village a couple of days prior to the attack, but he wasn’t sure whether they were military or civil policemen. He said he never heard about defendant Goran Maksimovic prior to this trial.

Veljko Djordjic was the second witness to testify at today’s hearing. Djordjic said he found it odd that the portion of the division line which was crossed by the Bosniak convoy had been demined prior to the attack. He said the guards were relocated from that place to another location.

“These defendants couldn’t give such an order. Such an order could have come from the command…I find it strange that they appointed Slavko Peric the brigade commander for only two days, when the attack happened,” Djordjic said.

He said he didn’t know what had happened to civilians, but claimed their fate was “surely known to Ljuboje Simic and Mico Tomic, who were killed later on.”

“They mentioned Simic as the person who knew where they were taken. I didn’t see them, but I know there were children among them. I found a baby bottle with a nipple,” Djordjic said.

The trial will continue on February 8.

Nedim Hasić

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