STATUS OF PARAMILITARY TROOPS IN THE VRS
In the final part of the cross-examination of Miladin Trifunovic, the prosecution noted that the paramilitary groups and the VRS fought side by side and received funds from municipal budget. Radovan Karadzic called Velimir Dunjic as his next witness. Dunjic admitted that Branislav Bane Gavrilovic’s unit was under his command but wasn’t aware that the unit members had done anything illegal
The prosecution started cross-examining the former commander of the VRS Vogosca Brigade, Miladin Trifunovic last week. As the cross-examination continued, the prosecutor noted that paramilitary groups were active in the Vogosca territory. They were under the command of Boro Radic, Jovo Ostojic Sosa, Aco Legija and Vasilije Vidovic Vaske. The prosecutor noted that the paramilitaries received funds from the municipal budget.
Prosecutor Ann Sutherland put it to Trifunovic that his brigade fought side by side with Radic’s group. The witness denied the allegation, prompting the prosecutor to confront him with an article in the Vogosca newspaper Our Voice from August 1992. The article quotes Trifunovic’s and Radic’s statement about the successful capture of Elevation 681.
Trifunovic didn’t remember Aco Legija, but he did know that in December 1992 a group of about 70 soldiers arrived in the Vogosca territory at the request of Mirko Krajisnik, Momcilo Krajisnik’s brother, and Rajko Koprivica, the president of the municipality. As far as ‘Vaske’s men’ were concerned, the witness confirmed they operated on the front lines held by the Serb army on Mount Zuc.
In the re-examination, Karadzic invoked an act of the former SFRY’s Federal Secretariat of National Defense from September 1991 that accorded equal status to the volunteers and the regular army. Since the RS adopted the legislation of the former state, in Karadzic’s view the municipal authorities had to pay ‘volunteers’, as the accused called the paramilitaries.
Because of the fall of Elevation 850 on Mount Zuc, Trifunovic and his four assistants, the Rajlovac Brigade command and municipal leadership of Vogosca, Ilijas and Rajlovac were arrested. They were arrested on the orders of Velimir Dunjic, who was the commander of the Igman Brigade, who testified after Trifunovic.
According to the summary of the written statement he gave to the defense team in late November 1992, Dunjic was appointed coordinator of the Ilidza, Rajlovac and Igman Brigades of the VRS. In the cross-examination, Dunjic confirmed that the unit run by the Chetnik warlord Branislav Gavrilovic Brne was part of the Igman Brigade. Dunjic was the commander of the Igman Brigade from September 1992 to January 1993.
Dunjic doesn’t see anything wrong about the fact that ‘Brne’s men’ were under his control. In the second half of 1992, the RS authorities accorded the paramilitary units the status of volunteers. The witness said he didn’t know about the reputation of ‘Brne’s men’ and their criminal activities. At the time he was ‘not interested in ideological differences’ but only in having ‘fighters who will obey my orders’, the witness said.
Prosecutor Kimberly West showed Dunjic General Stanislav Galic’s combat report of 18 November 1992. In the report, Galic says that a group called ‘Brne’s men’ ‘has been causing damage’ to the reputation of the Serb army in the area of responsibility of the Rajlovac Brigade. The prosecutor asked Dunjic how his superior could know something he as a commander purportedly didn’t know. ‘It would be like asking you about artistic impression in ice skating’, the witness replied.
Dunjic says that the information about the damage to the reputation of Serb army in Galic’s document ‘were too general’ for him to be able to take appropriate measures. The witness confirmed that he was removed from his post because of his personal clashes with General Galic in January 1993. Dunjic was then transferred to the VJ and finally left it in 1994. Out of ‘respect’ for Galic, the witness didn’t want to speak about it in open session.
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