Yugoslav People’s Army Controlled Lovas, Witness Says

The trial of the former Croatian Serb leader, Goran Hadzic, has continued on Monday with a testimony of a survivor of war crimes committed in the Croatian village of Lovas in 1991.Ivan Mujovic, a villager from Lovas, recalled the occupation of his village by the Serb forces in October and November 1991.

Mujovic said that in October 1991 around 50 Croatian villagers were captured and imprisoned in the village agricultural cooperative.

“People were imprisoned in a basement, they were tortured and beaten up daily, “said Mujovic.

According to the witness, a number of paramilitaries from Serbia, including the so-called White Eagles [Beli Orlovi] and Dusan the Mighty [Dusan Veliki], entered the village with the help of Yugoslav People’s Army, JNA.

“JNA controlled Lovas. At least that was my feeling. They were controlling the entrance and exit to the village,” Mujovic said.

Mujovic was one of the villagers who survived being forced by the Serb forces to walk across a minefield.

He said that he was transferred to a hospital in the Serbian town of Sremska Mitrovica to have an operation as he was badly injured by the mines.

In June, the Special Court in Belgrade found 14 men guilty of war crimes in Lovas. The court found them responsible for the killing of 40 civilians and sentenced them to a total of 128 years in jail.

However, in this trial the link between the crimes in Lovas and JNA was not proven.

According to the ICTY indictment, Goran Hadzic is allegedly responsible for the killings in Lovas, as he was the president of the government of the self-proclaimed Serbian Autonomous District Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, which included the village of Lovas.

The ICTY prosecution claims that Hadzic’s role was to secure the removal of the non-Serb population from these areas and to help local Serbs and militia in achieving that goal.

According to the ICTY indictment, Hadzic was part of a joint criminal enterprise, JCE, together with Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Martic, Milan Babic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic, Vojislav Seselj and Zeljko Raznatovic (also known as Arkan).

Hadzic faces 14 charges of war crimes, including persecution, extermination and torture of non-Serb civilians from Croatia between 1991 and 1993.

The trial will resume on November 27.

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