Serb Chief in Vogosca ‘Threatened to Kill Bosniaks’

23. January 2017.16:27
A prosecution witness at the trial of Jovan Tintor for crimes against humanity in Vogosca said the defendant threatened to kill all the Bosniaks in the area in May 1992. Prosecution witness Bilal Hasanovic, the former president of the Vogosca Municipal Assembly, told the state court in Sarajevo on Monday that in May 1992, Tintor, who was the head of the Serb Crisis Committee in the area at the time, threatened to “kill all your people in Vogosca”.

Hasanovic said that, following the Bosnian independence referendum in 1992, some uniformed and armed people appeared in the Vogosca area and set up barricades.

The witness said he visited Rajko Koprivica, president of the municipal executive board in Vogosca, in March 1992, because somebody opened fire at his house.

There he met Tintor, who, according to the witness’s testimony, insisted on the division of the municipality.

He said an artillery attack on several neighbourhoods in the municipality began at the beginning of May 1992 and after that, people began leaving their houses after that.

The witness recalled Koprivica coming to his house on May 6 and telling him that the Territorial Defence force in Vogosca had captured nine Serbs in Kobilja Glava and that they should be found and exchanged.

“The president of the executive board called me on May 16 and told me mass arrests of our people were taking place, adding I was in danger of being arrested too,” the witness said.

After having left Vogosca, Hasanovic spoke to Tintor on the phone. He testified that Tintor told him: “We have the lists of your people who were arrested, but you cannot even say where the graves of our people are.”

“He said: ‘I shall kill all your people in Vogosca,’” he recalled.

The witness said he had another conversation with Tintor in June, when the issue of the nine Serb civilians who had been taken away was mentioned. Tintor’s brother-in-law was among them.

“I knew nothing about those men. He told me that three of our men would be killed for each of their men. I asked for Tintor both times [when making the call to the Serb leadership in Vogosca]. He was the leading figure in all those events,” Hasanovic explained.

The indictment charges Tintor with participating in a widespread and systematic attack against the non-Serb population in the Vogosca municipality from April 1992 to the end of July.

He is charged with unlawful detention, torture, beating, forcing people to do hard labour and the murder of Bosniaks and Croats at several locations, including detention camps.

Also on Monday, at the trial of eight Serbs for an attack on a convoy of civilians in Lokanj, near Zvornik in 1992, a former policeman tod the state court that he heard about the crimes committed in the village but he did not know much about the details because he was there that day.

“All my findings concerning the event originate from what I heard from others,” said the protected prosecution witness codenamed S-6, who worked at the Public Security Station in Ugljevik at the time.

“We heard there was combat, dead people on both sides, civilians, but, believe me, I do not like to talk about it, because all I know is nothing but hearsay,” S-6 said.

Goran Maksimovic, Ljiljan Mitrovic, Slavko Peric, Mile Vujevic, Vukasin Draskovic, Gojko Stevanovic, Rajo Lazarevic and Mico Manojlovic are on trial for crimes committed in Lokanj village.

They have been charged with an attack on a convoy of civilians that departed from Teocak on July 14, 1992. They are also on trial for escorting and guarding 76 civilians, 67 of whom were killed in the village of Lokanj.

According to the charges, Maksimovic was the commander of the Interventions Unit of the Public Security Station in Ugljevik and Mitrovic was his deputy, while Slavko Peric was the commander of the Lokanj Company of the Zvornik Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. The other defendants were members of the same unit.

Marija Taušan