Brcko Wartime Leader ‘Freed Prisoner from Barracks’

14. February 2017.16:40
A witness told the trial of Brcko’s wartime president, Djordje Ristanic, that the defendant came to free a prisoner from a military barracks in the town in 1992. Testifying at the trial for crimes in Brcko, a witness said he heard Djordje Ristanic telling someone he had come to help him get out of the military barracks, where he was detained.

Witness Selim Karamehic told the state court in Sarajevo on Tuesday that Djordje Ristanic arrived at the barracks on May 4, 1992 and said he had come to release a detainee.

Karamehic said he and 20 of his neighbours hid at the barracks that day because they heard that a large group of paramilitaries was coming.

He recalled seeing Ristanic for 15 minutes in front of the building and said tha the Brcko chief spoke to someone there.

“He told [the prisoner] he had come to help him get out of the military barracks… I think he was dressed in a civilian suit on that day,” the witness said.

When asked by the defence who had asked Ristanic to take the prisoner out, the witness said that someone “mentioned that the bishop called and asked them to release [the prisoner]”.

Ristanic, the former president of the wartime presidency in Brcko, has been charged with participating in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at persecuting Bosniaks and Croats by killing, detaining, torturing and committing other crimes against them from April to December 1992.

According to the charges, several hundred civilians were illegally detained in the police building, the health centre, the Luka detention camp, the Laser and Partizan factories and the Yugoslav People’s Army garrison, where they were abused and killed during 1992.

At the trial of five former Serb policemen for genocide in Srebrenica on Tuesday, a witness told the state court, a witness said she was detained along with her mother and another woman in a hospital for two days.

Witness Redzija Alic said that about 40 men were also at the hospital who were taken away and never brought back.

Alic said that, after having left the hospital, she went to Potocari near Srebrenica, where she saw people getting on buses and trucks in panic.

She managed to leave for Tuzla, which was under the control of the Bosnian Army, the same day.

Alic was testifying at the trial of Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Dragomir Vasic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic, who have been charged with genocide in Srebrenica.

According to the charges, Josipovic was the chief of the Public Security Station in Bratunac, while Tesic was the deputy commander of the police station, Vasic was the commander of police headquarters in Zvornik and chief of the Public Security Centre in the same town, while Zoljic was the commander of Public Security Centre special units and Pantic was the commander of the First Company of the units.

Urednik Detektor