Ex-paramilitary testifies at Zvornik trial

Former paramilitary unit member Miroslav Nikolić testified yesterday at the 1992 Zvornik war crimes trial.

Source: Beta

The former Yellow Wasp member said that he had no direct knowledge of the crimes that had taken place in that municipality.

Nikolić told the War Crimes Chamber at the Belgrade District Court that he had fought as a volunteer in Zvornik between April and early June 1992 in a unit commanded by Vojin Vučković,and had been responsible for the village of Kozluk.

The witness added that having been wounded, he left Zvornik in the middle of May, and that on his return, Kozluk had been deserted.

Former President of the Zvornik temporary government Branko Grujić and then Territorial Defense commander Branko Popović stand accused of the forced expulsion of villagers from Kozluk and Skokić.

They are also accused of knowing about, but doing nothing to prevent Yellow Wasp members killing at least 19 of a group of 163 abused Muslims from the village of Divič inside the House of Culture in Čelopek, and at least a further three in the Ekonomija and Ciglana districts.

Nikolić said that he had once been in the House of Culture in Čelopek following a tip-off that three Muslims were there who, before the war, had hidden weaponry.

“I was told that they were three Muslims from Divič, but because that place had been cleared, I inquired and found out that they were in Čelopek,” he continued

After interrogation in a separate room, the witness said that the three prisoners had been returned to a part of the building where between 150 and 200 people were being kept, and that there had been no wounded.

Nikolić testified that there had been a rumor at the time that Repić (Dušan Vučković, who died prior to the trial in Belgrade) had killed some people from Čelopek.

“I told Vučković that I had heard that his cousin had killed seven or eight Muslims,“ recalled the witness, adding that he could not remember the Yellow Wasp commander’s reaction.

He said that Repić had been “mentally ill” and that on one occasion had even pulled his gun on Nikolić when he had told him to calm down.

The witness claimed he had heard about the crimes in Ekonomija and Ciglana in the press.


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Crime Wednesday, January 30, 2008 16:11 Comments: 0
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