Local Serbs ‘Killed Bosniaks in Lokanj Revenge Attack’

13. March 2017.16:41

At the trial of eight Serb ex-soldiers and police officers for an attack on Bosniak civilians in Lokanj near Zvornik in 1992, a prosecution witness said a police colleague told him local residents killed the victims.


Prosecution witness Raco Jovanovic, a former policeman with the Interventions Unit of the Public Security Station in Ugljevik, told the state court on Monday that a colleague from his unit told him that local residents had killed the Bosniaks in the village of Lokanj.

Jovanovic said he thought the incident in Lokanj took place in July 1992, while insisting that he was not an active participant.

“We heard shooting in the morning hours. One of the local residents said Lokanj was on fire. I went to Lokanj, accompanied by a colleague from Gornje Krcine. Upon arrival, I saw a crowd of people and many soldiers,” the witness recalled.

The prosecution alleges that 67 Bosniaks from a convoy of civilians that was fleeing Teocak on July 14, 1992 were killed in the village of Lokanj.

Jovanovic said that he left the village but his colleague stayed in order to question seven or eight captives.

When asked what happened to the captured Bosniaks, the witness said he heard from his colleague later on that all of them were killed because local residents wanted revenge for the deaths of two men who had been killed while the convoy was passing through.

Jovanovic said that the Bosniaks were found in a hollow in a meadow, but the women and children were separated from the men and sent to Zvornik by bus.

Goran Maksimovic, Ljiljan Mitrovic, Slavko Peric, Mile Vujevic, Vukasin Draskovic, Gojko Stevanovic, Rajo Lazarevic and Mico Manojlovic are on trial for involvement in the attack on the convoy from Teocak.

They are also accused of 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.

In a separate hearing at the state court on Monday, a protected witness said he was captured and taken to a detention facility called Crna Kuca (Black House) in the village of Kruscica in the Kotor-Varos municipality in 1993.

The witness said that while he was held in the house, he was beaten up frequently, and that a policeman called Zaim Bilal used to beat him more often than the others.

According to the witness’s testimony, he was captured as a member of the Croatian Defence Council and put into the basement at Crna Kuca, where other detainees were held as well.

He said that defendant Minet Akeljic was the first person he spoke to there.

“I think he was the commander, because everyone else obeyed his orders. I had not known him from before, but I heard other policemen addressing him by his first and last name,” the witness explained.

He said he knew other detainees by sight, as they were residents of the neighbouring village of Gacice in the Vitez municipality of Vitez.

When he arrived, he noticed that they looked scared.

Minet Akeljic, Saban Haskic, Senad Bilal, Hazim Patkovic and Semsudin Djelilovic are on trial for crimes against Croat civilians and prisoners of war in Kruscica from July to November 1993.

The indictment alleges that Akeljic, the former commander of the military police with the First Battalion of the Bosnian Army’s 325th Mountain Brigade, and Haskic, Bilal, Patkovic and Djelilovic, all former members of the unit, mentally and physically abused prisoners at Crna Kuca.

Erna Mačkić