WITNESSES ROLL OFF ASSEMBLY LINE
Marjan Jesic, former driver in the Prijedor Territorial Defense, has testified about the attack of Muslim forces on the town on 30 May 1992. In his evidence Jesic recounted how he was wounded in the incident and how his extended family members were killed in the Ustasha prison camp in Jasenovac
After Vojo Kupresanin’s re-examination and the evidence of Snjezan Lalovic, Ratko Mladic’s defense managed to complete the examination of the third witness and to begin the examination of the fourth. In 1992, Marjan Jesic was mobilized into the Territorial Defense and was tasked with distributing food to the units stationed in Prijedor and nearby. The fourth witness, Rato Runjevac, was appointed senior public prosecutor in Sarajevo before the war.
At the beginning of his evidence, Jesic read out the names of the members of his immediate and extended family who were killed in the Jasenovac camp in the World War II. According to the summary of the statement, Jesic’s unit was stationed in the rear, at the Urije sports airport. From that location Jesic drove a truck to distribute food for the troops of the 43rd Motorized Brigade in Prijedor. When the Muslim troops attacked Prijedor on 30 May 1992, Jesic explained, he was driving along his usual route.
In Jesic’s words, he was wounded when a soldier with a green bandana over his head opened fire at the truck. Jesic was thrown out the vehicle and the soldier dragged him off to the nearby school. That same soldier took the witness and two other prisoners to the old part of the town which was inhabited mostly by Muslims. When they passed under the bridge on the Berek canal, the soldier shot Jesic in the face. When the Serb forces rescued Jesic, he was first taken to a hospital in Banja Luka, and then to Belgrade. Jesic spent about two years in treatment in Belgrade. Asked to clarify paragraphs pertaining to Jasenovac, Jesic said that the prison camp was about 40 km from Prijedor. The ‘war was about to break out and Serbs were afraid that the World War II scenario would be repeated’, the witness explained.
In the cross-examination, Jesic saidhe didn’t know that on the day when he was wounded the Serb forces attacked a part of Prijedor and took the local Muslims to Trnopolje. Also, he ‘didn’t notice’ that the number of the Muslim population in Prijedor dropped by 50,000 in 1994 and 1995. Jesicdidn’t know how many Muslims there were, or where they had gone. Since ‘no one moved around Prijedor, not even Serbs’, he couldn’t see that some of the people were missing, Jesic said. Replying to Judge Moloto, Jesic said that after 1995 there were ‘rumors’ that the Muslims had left.
After Jesic completed his evidence, Rato Runjevac began his testimony. Runjevac was a senior military prosecutor. Defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic will read out the summary of the witness’s statement tomorrow morning. The prosecution will then cross-examine Runjevac.
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