Former police chief in Sanski Most admitted that Muslims and Croats were detained in the garages owned by Betonirka, a local company, and in the town sports hall. The witness contends however that they were arrested by the military police; the civilian police ‘only interviewed’ detainees

Dragan Majkić, svjedok na suđenju Mići Stanišiću i Stojanu ŽupljaninuDragan Majkić, svjedok na suđenju Mići Stanišiću i Stojanu Župljaninu

Former police chief in Sanski Most Dragan Majkic continued his evidence at the trial of former Bosnian Serb police officials Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin. Last Friday, Majkic spoke about the period before the takeover of power in Sanski Most and the establishment of the ‘Serb Municipality of Sanski Most’.

Majkic contends that he did everything to ensure that the takeover of power could proceed ‘peacefully and without shooting’. However, members of the municipal Crisis Staff told Majkic they were under pressure from the Serbian Defense Forces (SOS), a paramilitary unit: the SOS wanted them to take over the police station by force in the night of 16 April 1992. According to Majkic, he nevertheless managed to reach an agreement with his Croatian and Muslim colleagues. They agreed to leave the station peacefully and there was no need to attack it. Majkic then gave to those who remained statements to sign and new berets with the Serbian tricolor, given to him by Stojan Zupljanin. The witness denies that the statements were pledges of loyalty. The prosecution however today showed Zupljanin’s order that anybody who refused to sign the statement had to hand over their weapons and leave the public security station.

The witness was relieved of his duty as police chief on 1 May 1992 when the Crisis Staff appointed Mirko Vucinic instead. Majkic demanded that Stojan Zupljanin be told about his removal but the Crisis Staff members refused to do it. According to Majkic, he personally told Stojan Zupljanin about it in a private telephone conversation.

The witness confirmed that the Muslims and Croats were detained in the garages owned by Betonirka, a local company, and in the town sports hall. The police station prison was already packed. As alleged in the indictment, from May to July 1992 prisoners were brutally beaten in those facilities. Majkic, however, contends that he never saw or heard about the police arresting people. Majkic saw the military police do it. The police interviewed all the detainees, he said. Those suspected of involvement in crimes were then detained while others were purportedly released.

In his cross-examination by the defense of the former chief of the Banja Luka Security Services Center Stojan Zupljanin, the witness said that he and other police officers saw the accused as an ‘exemplary person and police officer’. They respected Zupljanin for being ‘ready to help everybody’, the witness added.

The defense put it to the witness that Zupljanin’s life was in danger in late April 1992 because the SDS party wanted him not only out of office but dead, too. The witness confirmed that Zupljanin told him in a telephone conversation that some elements in the SDS tried to have him thrown out, but he didn’t mention anything about his life being in danger. In the end, the witness concluded, Zupljanin was not removed, ‘for better or for worse’.