News 05 Nov 12

Villager From Erdut Testifies at Hadzic's Trial

The trial of the former Croatian Serb leader, Goran Hadzic,  has continued on Monday with a testimony of the protected witness R-099.

Marija Ristic

The protected witness, R-099, has testified before the Hague Tribunal in a semi closed session about the events in the village of Erdut during the Croatian war.

In 1991, the village of Erdut was the headquarters and training centre of the notorious Arkan’s Tiger unit, who according to the prosecution, acted jointly with Hadzic.

Hadzic faces 14 war crimes charges, including persecution, extermination and torture of non-Serb civilians from Croatia between 1991 and 1993.

During the Croatian war, he was the President of the Government of the self-proclaimed Serbian Autonomous District Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, SAO SBWS, and subsequently the President of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, RSK.

The witness R-099, an ethnic Serb woman who lived in Erdut at the time Arkan’s Tigers entered the village, recalled how non Serbs in the village were tortured and inhumanely treated by Arkan and his men.

During the war, she worked together with eight other women from the village, in the Arkan Tigers’ training centre.

“Each morning the soldiers were lined up and the Serbian national anthem was played, “she said, adding “they were very disciplined and they obeyed Arkan completely,” she added.

As she was married to a Croat, she explained that she, and other people coming from mixed marriages, were mistreated and tortured by Arkan’s men.

“I had a Croat colleague whose husband was a Serb. And she was often mistreated, as well as her parents, “she said.

“Before the war a mixed marriage was a normal thing, but during the war we all had problems,” she explained.

Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, the leader of the Tigers, never faced ICTY charges as he was killed in Belgrade in 2000.

According to the prosecution, Arkan and Hadzic acted in a joint criminal enterprise, JCE,  with an aim to ethnically clean Serb-run parts of Croatia from the non-Serbs.

The other ICTY indictees who participated in this JCE include Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Martic, Milan Babic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic (also known as Frenki) and Vojislav Seselj.

The trial of Goran Hadzic will continue on November 6.

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