Kotor-Varos Crimes Trial Opens in Sarajevo

The trial of seven indictees charged with crimes in Kotor-Varos begins with the reading of indictment and presentation of introductory statements by the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Defence teams.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Savo Tepic, Dragoslav Bojic, Dusko Vujicic, Dusko Maksimovic, Radojko Keverovic, Rade Skoric and Ilija Kurusica with having participated in the widespread and systematic attack on Bosniaks and Croats in their homes in the Kotor-Varos area, as well as with detention, torture and other inhumane acts from May to the end of 1992.

The indictment names Tepic as Chief of the Public Safety Station, SJB, and member of the Crisis Committee of Kotor-Varos municipality, Bojic as Commander of the Police Station, Vujicic as an active policeman, Maksimovic, Skoric and Keverovic as reserve policemen, and Kurusc as a member of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS.

The Prosecution charges Tepic and Bojic with having had control over detainees who were held in the Police Station building, the prison next to the Court the ’24 April’ school building, the sawmill and other buildings, and with having failed to prevent and punish actions undertaken by their subordinates.

According to the charges, in the morning of June 11, 1992 unknown members of SJB, who were accompanied by Dusko Vujicic, came to KV-5’s apartment and mistreated him and his wife. After that they unlawfully detained them in the SJB premises in Kotor-Varos. On the same day, Ilija Kurusic also unlawfully deprived KV-6 of liberty, insulting him on the basis of his ethnic affiliation.

The indictment further alleges that, on June 25, Vujicic, Maksimovic, Skoric and Keverovic participated in the arrest of about 70 persons. The captives were brought in front of Stipe Zeba’s house in Ravne village, where, according to the Prosecution, Kurusic separated five men who were then killed by unknown policemen. The captives were then detained in several buildings. Many of them were beaten up and tortured afterwards.

It is alleged that, on that same day, Vujicic killed Miralem Avdic, while Skoric separated Ivica Kljajic from others. Kljajic has been missing ever since.

Keverovic is charged with having abused detainees in a cell in the prison located in the vicinity of the Court in September, while Maksimovic is charged with having mistreated detainees in the summer of 1992.

The Prosecution said that it would invite 70 witnesses and present more than 500 pieces of material evidence during the evidence presentation process. Prosecutor Ozrenka Neskovic said that eye-witnesses to the events will support the allegations in the indictment.

The Defence maintains that no widespread or systematic attack was conducted in Kotor-Varos and that the indictment is imprecise and contradictory.

First Prosecution witnesses will be examined on June 2.

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