The only survivor of an incident in Blazevici near Sanski Most – in which 18 Muslim men were killed on 27 June 1992 – testified at the trial of Radovan Karazdic under the pseudonym KDZ 052. Petko Panic, a Serb police officer from Zvornik, began his evidence as the next witness

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

The indictment charges Radovan Karadzic with an incident in which the Serb forces killed 18 Muslim men in the village of Blazevici near Sanski Most on 27 June 1992. Victims had been first arrested in the village of Kenjari. A survivor of the incident testified under the pseudonym KDZ 052 at the trial of Radovan Karadzic. According to the witness, the youngest victim was Husein Kenjar who hadn’t yet turned 15.

According to the summary of the witness’s testimony at the trial of Radoslav Brdjanin, the Serb forces surrounded the village of Kenjari on 27 June 1992 and separated men from the rest of the villagers. The men were taken to the hamlet of Blazevici. The witness was among the younger men in the group. They were told to go into a house and a hand grenade was lobbed into it. The witness and another prisoner jumped out of the window and sought shelter in nearby bushes. The witness saw soldiers forcing the remaining men from the house and then heard bursts of machine gun fire.

The witness was shown a list in the courtroom and was able to identify 18 men killed that day in Blazevici among the names on the list. After the incident, the witness went to the village of Tomina, where the Muslims from the Muslim villages of Hrustovo and Vrhpolje had found refuge. He stayed there until the Serb army and the police arrived, arrested them and detained them all in the Krinks plant in Sanski Most. About 600 prisoners were held in the prison camp in inhumane conditions. Many prisoners were tortured. The witness was released on 4 August 1992.

In the cross-examination, Karadzic wanted to know ‘how come the authorities let such a dangerous witness go’. The witness responded that the authorities were not even aware that he witnessed this incident. Karadzic put it to him that in his opinion the witness would have acted ‘more properly’ if he had reported the crime. The authorities would then have been able to investigate the incident and punish the perpetrators. As the witness replied, it wouldn’t have been proper at all, since it would have been ‘the end’ of him.

Petko Panic was called as the next witness. The former assistant commander of the Serb police in Zvornik testified in November 2010 at the trial of Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin. Panic recounted how the Serb forces assisted by paramilitary units seized power in Zvornik. Panic also spoke about the abuse and killing of Muslims in various detention facilities, such as the Cultural Center in Celopek, the Ekonomija Farm and the Novi Izvor company premises in Karakaj and Zvornik.

Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan’s men were not the only force operating in Zvornik: the groups led by Vojin Vuckovic Zuco, Crni, Niski and Pivarski, Milorad Gogic and Simo Cetnik and the White Eagles were also active there. As the witness said, to his knowledge some units took part in the expulsions of the women and children from Muslim villages and kept the men in detention. The municipality and the MUP paid for their ‘work’. According to a prosecution document, the Serb municipality paid Arkan’s men 300,000 German Marks to ‘liberate’ Zvornik.

The witness confirmed that on 1 June 1992 the police were ordered to go to the village of Bijeli Potok to help the VRS units evacuate about 5,000 to 6,000 Muslim women, children and the elderly from the Klis area. About 700 men were taken to the Technical School in Karakaj; some days later, to the witness’s knowledge, they were executed in Gera’s abattoir.

Panic also knows that some of the Muslims from Divic detained in the Cultural Center in Celopek were killed and that people from Dusko Vuckovic Repic’s group abused prisoners.

Petko Panic continues his evidence tomorrow morning.