Testimony about the massacre of civilians in the village of Prhovo near Kljuc; Kljuc is one of 37 ethnically cleansed municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina listed in the indictment against Krajisnik

Azim Medanovic, witness in the Krajisnik trialAzim Medanovic, witness in the Krajisnik trial

“They lined us up and started shooting us. I saw my own death stare me in the eye. I started to sweat. It is hard to see death. Very hard…." So testified Azim Medanovic at the Momcilo Krajisnik trial today. Although he had already "seen his death," Medanovic survived, thanks to a Serb soldier nicknamed Sico who he knew from a café they frequented. Sico recognised him and protected him.

Of the 40 Bosniak men separated from the women and children in the village of Prhovo near Kljuc by Serb forces on 1 June 1992, only 12 survived. They were taken to the Manjaca camp; the witness was among them. The other detainees were killed, even though they did not offer resistance and did not have weapons when a group of about a hundred Serb military police entered the village of Prhovo, Medanovic said. The prosecutors called him to describe the mass killing of civilians in his village at the trial of the former SDS leader charged with genocide.

Immediately after they surrendered, five Bosniaks were beaten and shot on the spot. The remaining 35 men were taken towards the village of Pec, but were killed en route. The witness saw his father for the last time as he headed there in the column; his body was later found in a mass grave in the village. As they left Prhovo, a Serb soldier was hit, but the witness does not know who fired the shot. The military police commander, Marko Adamovic, immediately issued an order over the megaphone "to burn the village and kill the women and children." The witness testified there was then a bomb explosion in the direction of Prhovo, followed by screams and cries for help.

At one point, the 35 detainees in the column were ordered to lie down on a meadow and Serb forces opened fire on them. "We all fell down, those who were dead and those who were still alive," the witness described. The commander of the Serb forces then called "those who were still alive to get up." When 14 people got up, he concluded "there were still many of them left." A soldier shot the first two with a pistol. Medanovic thought he would be next, but a Serb soldier who recognised him saved him. At that point, the commander ordered the soldiers not to waste any more pistol ammunition. "We were quite happy to hear that they should not be wasting ammunition," Medanovic said today. Together with 11 other survivors, he was led onwards to the village of Pec, from there to Sitnica, and finally to Manjaca where he spent five or six months, losing 30 kilos.

The municipality of Kljuc, where the village of Prhovo is located, is one of 37 in Bosnia and Herzegovina where, the prosecution alleges, the pattern of crimes and persecution of non-Serbs was applied in the spring and summer of 1992. The prosecution argues that this was a planned campaign to create Serb territories in BH; Krajisnik is accused of playing a leading role in its planning and implementation.