News 23 Apr 13

Bosnian Serb Fighter ‘Organised Deadly Prisoner Convoys’

At the trial of three Bosnian Serb fighters for war crimes in Visegrad, a witness alleged that one defendant organised convoys from which civilians were taken and executed, including her husband.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

The prosecution witness, a Bosniak woman codenamed ‘M4’ for her own protection, said that on June 12, 1992, defendant Ljubomir Tasic came from the town of Bosanska Jagodina to hold a meeting with people from villages around Visegrad.

“My father-in-law told me it was decided that we all would go with a convoy to [the Macedonian capital] Skopje and that no one would be harmed,” said M4.

The witness said she heard from her father-in-law that Tasic organised the convoy and was the one who guaranteed the Bosniaks’ safety. The witness said that in the morning, civilians arrived in Visegrad on buses, where she once again saw defendant Tasic.

“Tasic was in the square in an army uniform. Was he in charge? I don’t know, but they were taking lists of people from buses to him,” said M4.

She added that after the convoy set off she realised they were not heading for Skopje. When they arrived at Iseric Hill near Visegrad, the witness said, the soldiers ordered the elderly, women and children to leave the bus, while men of combat age were kept behind.

“I went out and pleaded with a soldier to save my husband. My husband held onto our little girl and a soldier took her from him and threw her into a swamp,” said M4.

The witness spent two days in the nearby village with the elderly, women and children and after that went to the town of Visoko. She learnt about the fate of her husband from a man who survived the execution, but she kept on hoping he had stayed alive until his body was found in 2000.

Tasic is charged together with fighters Predrag Milisavljevic and Milos Pantelic with participating in murders, the forced transfer of people and other inhumane acts in Visegrad. The indictment says the offences were committed in 1992 when Milisavljevic and Pantelic were police reservists in Visegrad and when Tasic was serving with the Bosnian Serb Army.

Another protected witness, ‘M2’, also testified at the hearing, saying that on June 12, 1992, she saw defendant Pantelic in the village of Donja Lijeska with a group of soldiers wearing Chetnik insignia.

“They took away five men and one woman who disappeared without a trace,” said M2.

 The trial will resume on May 14.

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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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