|Seeking to prove the eight counts of the indictment against the former leader of the â€œPredini vukoviâ€ group, the State Prosecution has examined around 40 witnesses, some of whom survived traumatic experiences in Doboj, including shooting, being used as a human shield, and being subjected to Russian roulette.|
The State Prosecution has completed its presentation of evidence against Predrag Kujundzic, known as Predo, who is charged with crimes committed in the Doboj area in 1992.
The Defence will now examine a large number of witnesses, beginning on October 16.
The indictment states that Kujundzic commanded the â€œPredini vukoviâ€ (â€œPredoâ€™s Wolvesâ€) Unit. He is charged with murder, deportation, and physical and mental abuse of Croatian and Bosniak civilians, who were detained in â€œPercin diskoâ€ and other buildings in Doboj.
He was arrested on October 10, 2007 and has been held in custody since then, â€œdue to a possibility that he might try to influence witnessesâ€.
â€œWe have received an anonymous letter from a group of citizens from Doboj, referring to attempts to intimidate and bribe witnesses. One of the witnesses said that an unknown person had threatened him over the phone, by telling him that he would remember ‘Predini vukovi’ forever,â€ Prosecutor Bozidarka Dodik said.
For several years Kujundzic was among those suspected of having helped ICTY indictee Radovan Karadzic avoids capture. Because of this he has been banned from traveling to EU countries or the US since 2003.
Mirsad Tokaca, President of the Research and Documentation Center, an NGO from Sarajevo, was among around 40 Prosecution witnesses who spoke about the suffering of people in Doboj. He said that many witnesses mentioned members of â€œPredini vukoviâ€ as participants in the crimes committed in the Doboj area.
Prosecution witnesses spoke about the taking of men from Bukovacke Civcije village to the â€œPercin diskoâ€ detention camp. The indictment alleges, among other things, that members of â€œPredini vukoviâ€ took 50 detainees from the camp to Makljenovac village, where they were â€œused as human shieldsâ€. Sixteen of them were killed.
â€œI found out that my husband had been used as a human shield. He was killed on July 12, 1992,â€ said Senada Ahmic, while witness Vahida Sehic said that others told her that her husband had been taken away by â€œsome wolvesâ€ and he had been killed when he had been used as a human shield.
Fatima Hamidovic said that her husband and son were taken away. She identified the indictee in the courtroom, claiming that he was â€œresponsible for their murderâ€.
She said that both men were killed when they were used as human shields, adding that a person named Safet Ahmic had told her about this.
â€œHe told me that my son was shot in the head. Then they ordered him to throw his body into the river,â€ she said.
Protected witness 8, one of the survivors of the human shield operation, recalled what happened that day.
â€œI do not know for how long it lasted â€“ maybe the whole of eternity and maybe less … I remember my father telling me: â€˜My son, pray to God for our survivalâ€™,â€ witness 8 said.
This witness claimed to have survived the worst kinds of abuse during his detention in â€œPercin diskoâ€, starting with being forced to fight with his cousin to having been brutally beaten up with a chain by â€œsome guyâ€.
â€œI do not know how many times he hit me. I just remember the sound of flesh, after having been hit by him,â€ he recalled.
Witness Edin Memic, a former detainee, remembers what happened on July 19, 1992, claiming to have been â€œhit by â€˜Predini vukoviâ€™ members in â€˜Percin diskoâ€™ the entire dayâ€.
â€œThey wanted a father and his son, or two brothers to beat each other… They were like animals. They forced us to eat red onion and soap. Later on they formed a ring and ordered brothers to fight with each other. They would bet, on a crate of beer, on who would win. Whoever would win the bet would be allowed to beat two detainees,â€ Memic said.
Another protected Prosecution witness, a former detainee in â€œPercin diskoâ€, claimed that the person who was present in the courtroom was not the same Predrag Kujundzic, whom he had seen in the detention camp with his men.
â€œOne day after having been beaten up by soldiers, a man came to the detention camp. He said that his name was Predrag Kujundzic, adding that his men had done that by mistake, because they thought that we were prisoners of war,â€ witness 10 said, describing the person, who introduced himself as Kujundzic, as â€œa tall, big, fat, blonde manâ€.
Witnesses Edin Hadzovic and Ibro Spahic, however, claimed to have seen indictee Kujundzic in â€œPercin diskoâ€ very often during the course of their detention. Hadzovic said he had known him before the war.
Witness 6 also confirmed that this was the indictee, claiming that, during the course of his detention in the central prison in Doboj, Predrag Kujundzic asked him if he would like to â€œplay Russian rouletteâ€ with him.
â€œHe put his gun on my head and pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. Then he hit me on my right cheek, saying ‘Itâ€™s a pity’,â€ witness 6 recalled.
Protected witness 14 described how he was beaten up by â€œPredoâ€, after having come to his apartment in Doboj, accompanied by â€œfive or six other soldiersâ€.
â€œThey were looking for some radio station. They started kicking me, because I did not have it. Predo hit me on the nose with some weapon and I started bleeding. Then they left,â€ witness 14 said.
Witness Nadja Seric remembers â€œPredini vukoviâ€ as well. She claims to have been detained in the police building in Doboj, where she was mistreated, for 153 days.
â€œI was beaten in the most brutal way when some soldiers, wearing black berets, came. They were dressed in black T-shirts and camouflage trousers. I thought they were members of ‘Predini vukovi’, because other people told me so, but also because Slaven Todic, whom I knew, was among them,â€ she explained.
The Prosecution charges Kujundzic, under one count in the indictment, with having participated, together with other members of his Unit, in the rape of a minor and her mother in June 1992 and with having kept the minor in conditions of sexual slavery from June to December 1992. Both victims testified before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The public were excluded from those hearings.
Court expert Senadin Fadilpasic, a psychologist, spoke of the trauma suffered by one of these witnesses, claiming that she suffered from â€œchronic post-traumatic stress disorderâ€.