Defense Witnesses Say Koncar Helped Others in Wartime Prijedor
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The state prosecution has charged Mitar Vlasenko, Rade Vlasenko and Drago Koncar with participating in the persecution of the non-Serb civilian population in the Prijedor area from May 24 to mid-August 1992. The indictment alleges that murders and forcible disappearances were committed as part of the persecution.
Testifying at today’s hearing in Koncar’s defense, Dzevad Ceric said he had known the defendant from before the war, when he was his superior at the Kozara National Park. He said he and the defendant “had and continued to have good relations.”
“He helped me in 1992 without being asked to do so…He used to bring us food, beans, flour, wheat, oil, firewood,” Ceric said.
He said Koncar brought him supplies in Prijedor seven or eight times from 1992 to 1995.
Ceric said the defendant didn’t ask for anything in return, nor did he place any conditions on his assistance.
When talking to his acquaintances and relatives from Kozarac after the war, Ceric said he didn’t hear that Koncar had committed any crimes. He said he found out that Koncar had been criminally accused from the media in 2014.
“Drago didn’t contact me…My conscience has forced me to appear here today,” Ceric said. He said knowing Koncar’s family, he “does not even want to think that he could do that.”
During cross-examination Ceric said he did not know any details about the accusations against Koncar.
Also testifying at today’s hearing, a protected witness known as O-1 recounted a conversation he had with a man named Fadil Basic in Trnopolje.
“He started telling me that he came home from a dugout and heard Drago Koncar’s voice. He approached him and asked him to go with him and save the people in the dugouts,” O-1 recalled. He said Basic told him that he and Koncar went to the dugouts where between 50 and 100 people were located.
According to O-1, Dragan Koncar directed them to the main asphalt road leading to Kozarac.
“I think nothing happened to any of them during that time. Had Dragan not been there, half of them would have probably been killed,” O-1 said, emphasizing that this was “Fadil Basic’s opinion.”
O-1 said he knew Koncar from before the war and that they were still friends.
“Nobody has ever mentioned any bad things about him. Otherwise we wouldn’t socialize with each other,” O-1 said.
During cross-examination O-1 said he didn’t see the defendant during the war.
The trial will continue on March 8.