Witnesses Describe Conflict in Prijedor Area in 1992

9. February 2016.00:00
Testifying at the trial of three defendants charged with war crimes in the Prijedor area, defense witnesses described the security situation in Prijedor in the spring of 1992.

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The state prosecution has charged defendants Mitar Vlasenko, Rade Vlasenko and Drago Koncar with participating in the persecution, murder and enforced disappearances of the non-Serb civilian population from the Prijedor area between May 24 to mid-August 1992.

Slavica Krckovski, Rade Vlasenko’s ex wife, testified at today’s hearing for the defense. Krckovski said she was welcome at Vlasenko’s house, but was unable to return to her village due to checkpoints that had been set in the area.

She said she remembered a day on which three Bosniak men were killed in Cirkini. She said she was in Vlasenko’s house in the morning the day before she heard about the murders. She said soldiers were in front of the house, shouting and insulting Vlasenko, who was inside.

“I begged him to stay, because they called him all the time,” Krckovski said. She said he listened to her and stayed in the house.

Responding to questions from the prosecution, Krckovski said the house was 200 meters away from the villages of Kozarac and Kozarusa.

Defense witness Nikola Mijatovic was the second defense witness to testify at today’s hearing. Mijatovic said he was hiding in a basement with his family and neighbours from the village of Podrgradje in the vicinity of Kozarusa on May 24, 1992. On the same day, five armed men appeared on his property.

Mijatovic identified them as Bosniaks and said they were dressed in uniforms.

Mijatovic said that at some point he heard his father talking to them, but he didn’t dare exit the house. He said shortly afterwards he heard a gunshot and a detonation. He said his father appeared at the entrance to the house.

“I saw blood running between his fingers, while he held his hand on the wound,” Mijatovic said.

He said he then left with his father in order to find medical assistance. Mijatovic said a group of armed men intercepted them in the vicinity of Kozarac and took him to a nearby cafe. He said they beat him and interrogated him on whether any soldiers were present in his village.

“They put the blade of a knife to my throat. They wanted to slaughter me,” Mijatovic said.

He said he heard Drago Koncar went to a dugout and saved Bosniaks.

The trial will continue on February 16.

Srđan Kureljušić

This post is also available in: Bosnian