At the trial of Oliver Krsmanovic for crimes committed in Visegrad, a witness described how she fled her home in the settlement of Bikavac where more than 70 Bosniaks were burnt alive in June 1992.
The only survivor of the Bikavac massacre, Zehra Turjacanin, could not appear before the court due to bad health, so her statements, given in 1992 to the Higher Court in Zenica, and in 2008 to the Hague Tribunal, were read out.
“They blocked the doors and windows with cabinets and furniture. First they threw rocks on the house, then opened fire in bursts, then threw bombs. They threw in some kind of powder, we could not breathe. Then the fire broke out. It spread quickly. People were burnt alive. I heard screams and whimpers, which I cannot describe to you,” said Turjacanin.
The Bosnian Prosecution brought as evidence a video recording in which Turjacanin spoke about the crime in Bikavac.
“In the house in Bikavac there were two old men and five to six old women, as well as one boy aged 16. All the others were mothers with children, aged one to ten,” said Turjacanin.
She said that in the house that was set alight she lost her mother, two sisters aged nine and 26, two nieces aged six and two, and her 7 year old grandson and 27 year old daughter-in-law.
“I came out through a 60 centimeters wide opening. Milan Lukic and his six 'Eagles' were lying on the grass outside. I assume they were stoned, because they acted weird... They shouted for me to stop. I started running while discarding my clothes which were on fire,” said Turjacanin, who suffered third degree burns on the face, neck and hands.
The leader of the White Eagles or Avengers paramilitary unit, Milan Lukic was sentenced by the Hague Tribunal to a life in prison for the crimes committed in Visegrad.
Krsmanovic is charged with involvement in the crime in Bikavac, which he denies. He is also being tried, as member of the Second Podrinje Light Infantry Brigade of the Army of Republika Srpska, for involvement in other murders, rapes and forced disappearances of Bosniaks in the area.
Krsmanovic and his lawyer, Slavisa Prodanovic, emphasised they would like to ask Zehra Turjacanin whether she links the defendant with this crime.
“She knows me well and I know her well. I would like to ask her whether I had anything to do with this crime,” said Krsmanovic.
In her statements, Turjacanin said that the crimes in Visegrad began when at the start of the Bosnian war Milan Lukic came from Serbia, and that from the balcony of her house in Bikavac she watched “night after night” people being killed on the town’s bridge.
The trial will resume on July 10.