Monday, March 3, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 3,2008) – The first Prosecution witness has testified before the Bosnian State Court about out the mass murder of Bosnian civilians committed by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the Bosnian town of Kalinovik and the indictee's responsibility.

Fejzija Hadzic, the first Prosecution witness at the trial of Serbian war criminals Ratko Bundalo, Nedjo Zeljaja and Djordjislav Askraba charged with crimes against Bosnian civilians committed in Kalinovik in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia, described how he survived the mass murder and the torching of bodies in August 1992.

"I think I will remember that date, August 5, for as long as I live. Askraba came to "Barutni magacin" concentration camp and said: 'You are treated in a nice way in comparison to the others.' Later on, Pero Elez came... Elez ordered them to tie our hands and then they took us in trucks to a stable, where they shot us. When I heard the shooting, I fell to the ground and pretended I was dead. Then they ordered other detainees to drag the bodies into a stable, poured gasoline upon the bodies and set us on fire," Hadzic said, adding that he was wounded in his leg but managed to escape from the stable.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Ratko Serbian war criminals Ratko Bundalo, Nedjo Zeljaja and Djordjislav Askraba with the crimes committed on August 5, 1992, against Bosnian civilians from Jelec village in Foca municipality, Mjehovina, Jelasica, Vihovici and Jezera villages in Kalinovik municipality and villages in the Gacko area between April 1992 to March 1993.

Serbian war criminal Pero Elez was commander of a genocidal Serbian paramilitary unit. He is believed to have been killed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminal Djordjislav Askraba handed over the detained Bosnian civilians to Elez's Unit members, who tied them with wire and beat them "with their legs, hands and wooden sticks". After that they transported them by truck to a stable in Ratine place, where they were shot, poured gasoline over the bodies and set them on fire by the genocidal Serbian aggressor.

"In early August, Askraba visited the 'Barutni magacin' concentration camp and took some detainees, allegedly, for exchange. Some of them, who were found later, had been killed and their arms had been tied," the witness stated.

The witness said, on June 25, he was detained by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in Kalinovik. He was among 74 prisoners transferred to "Barutni magacin" concentration camp on "July 6 or 7." In the detention camp he saw Askraba, who introduced himself as "concentration camp commander."

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminal Djordjislav Askraba was concentration camp commander between July 7 and August 5, 1992.

"I remember being told that Ratko Bundalo was 'a colonel' in early 1992. At that time he used to come to meetings in Mjehovina and other villages. He told us not to worry and said that nothing would happen to us," Hadzic said.

The Prosecution claims that Serbian war criminals Ratko Bundalo and Nedjo Zeljala participated in the "establishment and organisation" of concentration camps in Kalinovik area where "about 300 Bosnian civilians" were physically and mentally mistreated every day by the genocidal serbian aggressor.

The witness said he did not see Serbian war criminal Nedjo Zeljaja in 'Barutni magacin' concentration camp.

During cross-examination, the Defence teams did not have any questions for the witness regarding the participation of the three Serbian war criminals in the crimes committed in Kalinovik area during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Asked by Trial Chamber Chairman Stanisa Gluhajic if he wanted the indictees to be criminally prosecuted due to their participation in the crimes, the witness said he wanted them to be "tried for what they had done."

The trial of Serbian war criminals Ratko Bundalo, Nedjo Zeljaja and Djordjislav Askraba is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on March 13, when another Prosecution witness will be examined.

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