Witness Recalls Bosniaks Taken From Vrhpoljski Bridge

17. June 2016.17:41
A witness at the trial of Mirko Vrucinic says Serbs separated group of Bosniaks on the bridge and took them away, never to be seen again Testifying at the trial of Mirko Vrucinic for crimes in the Sanski Most area, a prosecution witness said a group of between 20 and 30 Bosniaks who “are not alive today” were separated from the others at Vrhpoljski bridge and taken away.

Reuf Kukavica said that following the shelling of Hrustovo village that lasted several days, a group of 60 Bosniaks were gathered at Vrhpoljski bridge. He said he had been among those people.

“Serbs then began examining, mistreating, hitting us. They hit us with their rifles. They asked which ones of us possessed a rifle,” witness Kukavica recalled.

According to him, the Serbs called out people one by one, asking who of them had guns. Those who were said to have guns were then taken to one side.

“A man dressed in camouflage uniform then told me: ‘Come out’. Nobody beat me. I took three or four men out,” the witness said.

The so-called “extremists” who possessed guns were taken to one side. The witness’s brother and father were among those who did not have guns.
Kukavica said the soldiers asked him if he had relatives among those people, so he said his father and two brothers were there. In that way, he managed to save a neighbour of his.

“The three of them stood next to me. The group of innocent people was taken in the direction of Tomina. They are not alive today. I heard they took them towards Serbian villages. Their clothes were found,” the witness said, adding the group consisted of between 20 and 30 people.
Kukavica was testifying at the trial of Mirko Vrucinic, former chief of the Public Safety Station, SJB, and a member of the Crisis Committee in Sanski Most.

He is charged with participating in a joint criminal enterprise within which murders, forcible resettlement, unlawful detention and forcible disappearances took place in the period from April to December 1992.Testifying at the trial for genocide in Srebrenica, a Bosnian state prosecution witness recalled having seen buses transporting Bosniaks from Srebrenica pass by and many people in a school building in Bratunac in July 1995.

Ljubomir Beatovic said the buses turned left at the crossroads heading towards Zvornik and Kladanj.

“What I remember most is the passage of buses … I felt embarrassed, as I was afraid some of the workers might recognize me. My instinct told me they were Bosniaks from Srebrenica,“ the witness said, recalling the events that took place in July 1995.

Beatovic also recalled having been tasked with going to the school building in order to check whether any sick persons were present and taking them to the local health centre.

Between 50 and 100 people were present in one of the classrooms in the school building. They bowed their heads and looked nervous and worried.

“They did not raise their heads when I asked them if they had a headache. Nobody responded at all,” Beatovic said.

He recalled those men were aged between 40 and 70.

Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Dragomir Vasic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic are on trial for genocide in Srebrenica, which included forcible resettlement of the local population, the capture and execution of men.

According to the charges, Josipovic was the chief of the Public Safety Station, SJB, while Tesic was the deputy commander of the police station in Bratunac.
The indictment alleges that Vasic was the commander of the headquarters of police forces from Zvornik and chief of the Public Safety Centre, CJB, in

Zvornik, Zoljic was the commander of the special units of the CJB, while Pantic was the commander of the First Company of the special police units.

Marija Taušan