|War crimes: “Vozuca case”, six years later|
|Написао Slobodna Bosna, Sarajevo, Ex-yupress.com|
|понедељак, 20 јануар 2020 19:49|
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Six years ago, on September 11, 1995, members of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina liberated the town of Vozuca in central Bosnia; Hague investigators have for several years been investigating crimes committed by members of the unit “El Mujaheed” against captured Serb soldiers and our journalist for the first time addresses this so far ignored bloody episode of the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina
Mujahedeen decapitated tens of captured Serb soldiers; Video-tapes of this massacre were sold and cut off heads sent to Sarajevo and Iran!?
For more than three years investigators from the Hague have been dealing with the massacre of Serb prisoners of war that took place in the village of Kesten in the Zavidovici municipality; the primary goal of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina, because of which Vozuca was attacked, was to secure space for the settlement of 10-15 thousand Bosniak refugees from Srebrenica and Zepa; out of several tens of exhumed bodies of Serbs, most did not have a head; Serbs claim that cut off heads of Serb prisoners of war as well as a video-tape of the execution were sent to Alija Izetbegovic to Sarajevo “as a present”; in early 1999 Semsudin Mehmedovic, at the time the powerful police minister in Zenica-Doboj canton, was concerned about the visits of the Hague investigators to his canton.
“The worst is yet to come,” he said, “when the Hague completes its investigation about events in Vozuca”. Mehmedovic had been informed that the Tribunal investigators were interested in the events that took place in September 1995, when many Serb soldiers went missing in the military operation of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina in Vozuca, codenamed Uragan [hurricane] ’95. The commission for the search for missing persons of the Republic of Srpska, which after the war sought almost 6,000 persons, was looking for about one thousand soldiers, almost a half of whom, 463 persons, disappeared in the autumn of 1995 near Vozuca. After all three sides were obliged to release prisoners of war in early 1996, 157 Serb soldiers returned home. In the following years some bodies were found and exhumed, but about 240 persons are still missing
by Suzana ANDJELIC
Families of the missing as well as the Association of Prisoners of War Vijenac and Vozuca have on several occasions tried to draw attention to the fate of the missing soldiers. In the letter they sent in 1999 to the then high representative in Bosnia-Hercegovina Carlos Westendorp in 1999 and the chief prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal Louise Arbour they demanded an investigation of the crimes committed in Vozuca, identifying soldiers of the Second and Third Corps of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina, and the commanders of the Second and Third Corps Sead Delalic and Sakib Mahmuljin, respectively, as culprits. “We plead with you to shed light on the fate of more then 50 Serb prisoners of war who were on September 11, 1995, kept in one of collection centers in the former youth hall in the village of Kesten.” In the letter to Arbour they state that surviving prisoners can testify about this events. “Pure luck has it that eight prisoners from the hall in Kesten survived. The rest were executed by mujahedeen from the paramilitary unit ‘El Mujaheed’ which was at the time based in the village of Podbrezje near Zenica and acted within the Third Corps under command of Sakib Mahmuljin, participating, among other, in the action ‘Uragan ’95′” According to the information available to Slobodna Bosna, the investigation of the Tribunal about the crimes against Serb soldiers near Vozuca is in its final stage. It deals with the responsibility of the unit “El Mujaheed” for committed crimes, as well as wider activities of this unit made up of volunteers from Islamic countries who fought within the Third Corps of the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
The unit “El Mujaheed” was founded in August 1993 in Zenica. Sakib Mahmuljin was the Army of Bosnia-Hercegovina officer in charge of contacts with “El Mujaheed”. The Islamization of ABH was carried out under his watchful eye and this process was especially obvious in central Bosnia. After the arrival in Zenica, Mahmuljin was at first without a concrete assignment in the cabinet of the commander of the Third Corps Enver Hadzihasanovic, but was a favorite of the people who worked at the Zenica Islamic Center and Halil Brzina who was the engine of the Seventh Muslim Brigade. In the spring of 1994 Mahmuljin replaced Muhamed Alagic as the commander of the Third Corps and remained in that position until the end of the war. There were many stories about Arabs who arrived in Bosnia as volunteers through Croatia. “Some people claimed that they were not willing to attack until a page from Qoran showed up in the sky. When I asked them whether that was possible, they laughed: ‘That is not true. We attack when the military conditions are right, when emir orders us to attack and when Alija orders attack,” Vladimir Populovski Makedonac from Zavidovici, who fixed weapons for Mujahedeen, claimed.
Military preparations for the taking of Vozuca started in May 1995 and ended with the operation “Uragan ’95” which started on September 10, 1995, and was the responsibility of colonel Refik Lendo, the commander of the operative Group Bosna which was active in Zepce and Zavidovici. Together with the units of the Second and Third Corps, reinforced with the units Black Swans, the unit El Mujaheed participated in the operation. Its task was to take the hills Poceljevo and Paljenik.