Bosnian Serb Fighters ‘Admitted Kalinovik School Killings’

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, April 26, 2014
Posted in category Balkans, Bosnia Hertegovina
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The trial of three former Bosnian Serb fighters was told that at least one of them admitted killing people at a primary school where Bosniaks were detained in Kalinovik in 1992.

Prosecution witness Obren Djorem, a former member of the reservist police force in Kalinovik, south of Sarajevo, told a court in the Bosnian capital on Thursday that he and his colleagues were keeping guard around the primary school building, where Bosniak civilians were detained, in August 1992.

He said the guards faced problems every day because paramilitary groups used to come in order to examine the civilians.

The witness said that among those who used to enter the school building were the defendants Marinko Bjelica, Zoran Bjelica and Novica Tripkovic, all of whom he recognised from photographs shown in the courtroom.

The three former Serb fighters are charged with having come to the Miladin Radojevic primary school building armed with automatic rifles on August 1, 1992, or around that date, and seized four prisoners, Suad Hasanbegovic, Edin Bico, Seid Keso and Hasim Hatic.

The indictment alleges that they beat the prisoners up that night, and that Keso died as a result of the beating, while the following day they killed the others.

“I particularly remember the day when the murder was committed in the school building. Marinko Bjelica and Duke Tripkovic came. They entered the school in order to allegedly conduct an interview with those male civilians. We called the police. They entered the building and had a discussion with them. We handed over to the next shift after a delay and left the place,” Djorem said.

It was not yet clear from his testimony whether Duke was a nickname for Novica Tripkovic or not.

Djorem said that the following morning, a duty policeman called him and informed him that something was happening.

Marinko Bjelica and Duke Tripkovic then arrived again. “They said that they had killed those people. A discussion on why they had done it began,” the witness said.

He said that he remembered hearing one gunshot, but he heard that four people were killed.

Djorem said that, looking through an open door into a school classroom, he saw blood on the floor and walls, but he did not see the bodies because he did not enter.

“A military truck brought a few soldiers who carried the bodies out,” the witness said.

The trial is due to continue on May 7.

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