News 22 Jan 13

Bosnia Witness Recalls Brother’s Wartime Abduction

A prosecution witness testified at the war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb soldier Oliver Krsmanovic that fighters abducted and killed his brother.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

The Bosniak witness, Ibrahim Sebo, said his brother was taken away by fighters in October 1992 near the town of Visegrad.

“That October 22, the news broke out. My phone was ringing all the time. People were abducted on their way to work. It was said the abduction was done by a well-known group, and on the second or third day, I heard it was Milan Lukic’s group,” said Sebo.

The defendant is accused of being part of a notorious Bosnian Serb militia led by Lukic, who was sentenced to life in prison last year for war crimes in Visegrad.

According to the indictment, Krsmanovic took part in the abduction of 16 Bosniak civilians in Sjeverin in Serbia who were on their way to work in the town of Priboj by bus.

The civilians, the indictment alleges, were taken out of the bus and brought to the Vilina Vlas hotel in Visegrad, where they were beaten with wooden bats and killed.

Sebo said he did not know the men from Lukic’s group, but he heard Krsmanovic being mentioned as one of them.

“I can’t say someone really highlighted his role in these events, but I remember ten days later, the name Oliver was mentioned,” said Sebo, who lived in Serbia at the time of the events.

Sebo said he had identified his brother from photographs taken at the hotel but had yet to find his remains.

“I heard later that my brother and the others were not killed with firearms, but by beatings and abuse,” he said.

Krsmanovic is on trial for the murder, rape, abduction and abuse of Bosniaks during the conflict.

His trial will resume on January 29.

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Background

Timeline: Cases for War Crimes in Pec Villages

Timeline of events in the case against 13 former Serb fighters charged with committing war crimes in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Ljubenic and Pavlan in Kosovo in 1999.

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