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New pieces of evidence against war criminals

January 17 2009 at 9:46 PM
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Carla Del Ponte  (Login CARLADELPONTE)
Albania Forum Mods Group

 
INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL IN THE HAGUE


On May 17, after Serbian forces entered the town, Fazlic, other elderly residents, women and children were taken to the nearby village of Trnopolje. They spent two weeks in a detention center set up inside a sports hall. The able-bodied men and youths of Kozarac, including one of Fazlic's sons, were taken to Omarska. They have not returned. Muslim officials believe Omarska is a death camp.

In the detention center, Fazlic says he witnessed the execution of his next-door neighbors, Hadzic Ilijaz, and his wife, Ismeta. Ilijaz had been the local chairman of the Muslim SDA party, which had organized the town's resistance. "They demanded that he provide the names of all Muslim activists," Fazlic said. Ilijaz refused.

Fazlic spoke matter-of-factly as he described what happened to the Ilijaz family.


"They [the military] took electric drills and bored them into their chests," he said. The three children, ages 1, 3 and 5, were impaled on spikes. "We saw it with our own eyes," he said.

There were 200 men and women, tied together, arm to arm, in a detention center in the village of Trnopolje, near Kozarac.

At night there were rapes. Guards entered with flashlights looking for young women, whom they took away for the night. "If anyone resisted, they were killed. Only a few did."

Serbian officials would not comment on the specifics of these allegations. Maj. Milovan Milutinovic, the army spokesman in Banja Luka, told Newsday last week, "In Kozarac, there was a really big group of extremists. They were refusing any kind of negotiations about organizing community life. All attempts to find a peaceful solution failed. They openly resisted. So we answered them energetically."

Finally, the townspeople were deported on sealed trains - two separate trains carrying 2,200 people and 1,600, according to Red Cross officials in the Bosnian town of Zenica, where they eventually wound up before being brought to Zagreb.

The deportees were segregated by sex, except that children were allowed to stay with their mothers. The luckiest were the infants, who were still nursing, Fazlic said. The unluckiest were the small children. "Most of the dead were children," he said. "They'd open the door and take the bodies out and dump them by the roadside. We weren't allowed to bury them."

His car was stiflingly hot. There was no water and little air. The men stripped off almost all their clothes. The train began as a convoy of five freight cars followed by a car of bearded men with machine guns who he believes belonged to the Serbian Chetniks, a militia force.

When the train reached Banja Luka, a few hours down the line, the militia unit asked the army to take charge of the train, but its officers refused. Negotiations continued for three or four hours, and finally, the militia opened the doors of a women's car. The army then provided an escort for the next leg of the journey, into the war zone. Then new guards took over the train.

"They opened the doors. They beat us, demanding money. They ripped earings off the women. They grabbed anything they could." They stayed an entire night, and then proceeded to Maglaj on the same train.

Fazlic would like to return to Kozarac, what is left of it. The Serbs have renamed it Radosavci. "It was one of the most beautiful cities in Bosnian Krajina," said an official of the Muslim SDA party in Banja Luka last week. "But now, if you Americans decide to intervene, we can present it to you as a golf course. It has been completely flattened."


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