At the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik, the former president of the crisis staff and of the municipality of Sokolac testified about two mass executions of Bosniaks and the destruction of Bosniak villages. Witness Milan Tupajic says he knew that he would be “investigated in some way too"

Milan Tupajic, witness in the Krajisnik trialMilan Tupajic, witness in the Krajisnik trial

A number of Bosniak villages in the Sokolac area, east of Sarajevo, were systematically attacked and destroyed in 1992. Bosniaks in that municipality faced murder, unlawful arrest and detention, confirmed Milan Tupajic, the then president of the crisis staff in Sokolac. After the war, between 1996 and 2004, he was also the chairman of the SDS Deputies' Club in the RS Assembly. He was ousted from there at the behest of the High Representative. He was called to testify by the prosecution following the interviews he had given as a suspect as part of the OTP’s investigations.

According to Tupajic, the Bosniak villages were attacked by troops from the 2nd Romanija Brigade, commanded by Radislav Krstic at the time. Krstic has been convicted of genocide in Srebrenica before the Tribunal. When the prosecutor asked Tupajic if the military was assisted by the RS police, the witness claimed he had no information to that effect.

The former president of the crisis staff and of the municipality of Sokolac then spoke about two mass executions of Bosniaks in that area "that have never been discussed in Republika Srpska", as he says.

“I learned about the crime in Novoseoci [which happened on 22 September 1992] in the evening that same day, from the 2nd Romanija Brigade soldiers who had seen the bodies.” Tupajic recounts that the bodies were at a garbage dump a few kilometers from Novoseoci. "This incident remains a taboo to this day in RS, but there have been rumors that the 2nd Romanija Brigade surrounded the village, that the women and children were bussed away and that the men were executed.. the number that is circulated is about 45 victims," Tupajic says. He confirms that the village mosque was destroyed, as were the other four mosques in the municipality, "because the Serbs believed that through their destruction, the motive for the Bosniaks to return was destroyed."

In October 1992, Tupajic wrote his resignation from the office of the president of the municipality. He states in the document that he can "no longer live with the fact that so many things are happening" while he remains unable to change the course of events. When his car was blown up, which was either "a warning or an assassination attempt", he decided to remain in the office out of fear, Tupajic says.

When the prosecutor asked him if he had filed a report about the massacre in Novoseoci to Karadzic or Krajisnik, Tupajic said he had not, "because worse crimes were committed throughout BH and no one was punished… I knew that nothing would be done in this case either."

Tupajic took the opportunity while he was on the stand to "speak out in public for the first time" about another massacre in his municipality "that has not been discussed and is little known in RS." In May 1992, Tupajic heard that a group of 38 men who had been shot was found in Ravna Romanija. He ordered the victims to be buried immediately and the terrain to be cleaned up. Later on, as he says, he concluded that those might have been the Bosniaks who had been taken from the Sarajevo suburb of Nedzarici.

Krajisnik's lawyer asked Tupajic if he feared an indictment would be issued against him too. The witness replied he was "aware" he would "be investigated in some way." When the lawyer put it to him that he was a "potential culprit", Tupajic replied, "this is your opinion”. Since the witness is still a member of the SDS, the lawyer wanted to know if in all those years Tupajic had ever had any dilemmas in relation to the actions of the party leadership. He says he did have certain disagreements, but that he always thought it better to resolve them within the party.