June 01, 2000
THE EXCLUSIVE TRUTH ABOUT THE CRIMES OF 'CACO'
prepared by Senad Pecianin and Vildana Selimbegovic
Behind the name of Kazan is hidden one of the concealed passages on mount Trebevic. In this evil place members of the Tenth mountain brigade commanded by Musan Topalovic "Caco" during the war savagely killed the citizens of Sarajevo mostly of Serb nationality. For years this was mentioned in whispers, rarely spoken and even less written about. The paper "DANI" have now released extracts of the terrible statements made before the Municipal Military Court by Caco's soldiers. Musan Topalovic was not before the court as he was killed the 26th October 1993 in the long awaited reckoning with the criminals. With this dossier "DANI" are at the same time making their own contribution towards the debate whether one should write about ones "own" crimes and "own" criminals. The only correct answer to this is that this is the right way. The killings in Kazan are a dark stain on the shining war history of Sarajevo. It is wrong that for this town to keep quiet about this stain. During the trial hearings enormous numbers of disappeared civilians were mentioned; from Kazan only several tens of bodies were exhumed and identified. The investigation was stopped, the court trial was held, four soldiers remained in prison where they are still held, and three sent to a neuropsychiatric clinic. The highest ranking military, police and state officials knew about the crimes in Kazan. In the same way that one kept silent about Kazan at the time of arrests, murders and killings- the secrecy of the crimes was kept strictly hidden in the files until today. "DANI" are able for the first time to open them up.
Prepared by Senad Pecianin and Vildana Selimbegovic
THE KILLING OF VASILIJE LAVRIV AND ANA LAVRIV.
On the 20 December 1994 the Municipal Military court of Sarajevo found Zija Kubat, Tucakovic Esad called "kliker" - ("marble") Tendzo Omer, Alibasic Asif, Seferovic Samir, called "Ceble" guilty because in October 1993 in Sarajevo , by order of the commander of the 10 th mountain brigade (hereafter shortly 10 b.b.) Topalovic Musan called "Caco", the said accused Tucakovlc Esad, Tendzo Omer, Alibasic Asif and Kubat Zijo did take from their home at Pionirska Street. in Sarajevo Lavriv Vasilije and his wife Ana to the Headquarters of the 10 bb. at Bistrik, where the two were beaten and later taken in two cars by Kubat Zijo, Seferovic Samir, Alibasic Asif and Tucakovic Esad in the direction of Bogusevac at a place called Kazan, a natural pass between the rock side, in the area of responsibility of the 3 battalion 10 bb, and that after that Seferovic Samir and Turcalo Meho returned to the Headquarters of the 33 battalion to pick up Draskovic Milena who was held there prisoner, and took her to the place Kazan where all three civilians where kicked and punched by Kubat Zijo, Tucakovic Esad, Omanovic Suad and Tendzo Omer, to be then beaten by wooden bats by Omanovic Suad, Tucakovic Esad, Kubat Zijo, and that Kubat Zijo then took a knife he carried with him and killed Lavriv Vasilije by cutting open the front of his throat, while Tucakovic Esad then took a knife 40 cm long and 8 cm wide called "granade" and with one blow to the back of the neck killed Lavriv Ana and separated her head from her body and threw her into the abyss, while Seferovic Samir, Tendzo Omer, and Alibasic Asif who were present at these killings ,although witnesses, did not report this to the organs of security so that the perpetrators of these criminals acts were not caught for a relative lengthy period.
THE KILLING OF NIKOLIC ERGIN AND JOVANOVIC DUSKO
Kadic Sead, called "Guz", Hodzic Armin, Raonic Esad called "Eso Maskirni", Ljubovic Samir called "Mica" and Hasic Sead were found guilty because in the middle of September 1993 in Sarajevo they beat up the members of the lst battalion 10 bb Nikolic Ergin, called "Ego", and Jovanovic Dusko cal1ed "Tarli", by Bejtic Samir, Kadic Sead and after which Topalovic Musan, Dozic Armin, Ziga Sabahudin, Bejtic Samir, Hasic Senad, Kadic Sead, Ljubovic Samir, Selak Mevludin and Raonic Esad took them to a place called Bogusevac, entering a trench of the snipers' army group where they were kicked and punched and then killed so that Bejtic Samir took in both hands and sword and pierced the neck of Nlkolic, who was in the trench followed by Hodzic Armin piercing his knife in the body of Nikolic Ergin, and then Topalovic Musan pierced his knife several times into Jovanovic Dusan, followed by Hodzic Armin and Kadic Sead, they then took the bodies of the killed to the edge of the Kazan when Bejtic Samir cut off the head of Nikolic from the body and both parts though into the abyss of Kazan, and Raonic Esad, Ljubovic Samir, Hasic Senad who were present at these killings although witnesses did not report this to the organs of security so that the perpetrators of these deeds were not found out until a relative long time had past.
THE KILLING OF SALIPUR PREDRAG AND RADOSAVLJEVIC BRANISLAVA.
Tendzo Omer, Ziga Sabahudin, Alibasic Asif and Haradzic Senad were found guilty because in the middle of October 1993 in Sarajevo, by order of the commander of the 10 bb Topalovic Musan, Bejtic Samir , Hodzic Armin, Ziga Sabahudin, Tendzo Omer went to the apartment of Salipur Predrag in Sarajevo, Borisa Kidrica street. 3-15, where they found beside him also Radosavljevic Branislav, and after this they took them to the Command of 10 bb Bistrik where the two young men were beaten by being kicked and punched by Ziga Sabahudin, Haradzic Send, Alibasic Asif, Musan Topalovic , and by Bejtic Samir with a metal rod on their knees legs and feet, after which Topalovic Musan, Ziga Sabahudin, Haradzic Senad, Tendzo Omer, Alibasic Asef, Hodzic Husein and Omanovic Suad took them by car to a place called Kazan. Musan Topalovic kicked Branislav in the head while he leaned against a stone, and several times pierced with his knife the body of Predrag and threw both bodies in the abyss of Kazan, while Ziga Sabahudin, Tendzo Omer, Alibasic Asif and Haradzic Senad who where present during the killing, although being witnesses did not report this to the organs of security so that those who committed these deeds were not discovered until a relatively long time period.
THE KILLING OF KOMLJENAC RADOSLAV AND KOMLJENAC MARINA.
Tendzo Omer, Alibasic Asif, Colak Refik, called "Refko", Selak Mevludin were found guilty because at the end of June 1993 in Sarajavo , after the death of six children as a consequence to the bombing by the aggressor in Dragica Pravica Street, at the command of Topalovic Musan "Caco", they brought the elder married couple Komljenac Radoslav and Marina, invalids who needed walking support, from their apartment in Sarajevo, Dragica Pravica Street #.7, and Hodzic Armin and Bejtic Samir took them to the command of the brigade and then by car to a place Kazan in Bogusevac, where Bejtic Samir passed them on to Tendzo Omer and Alibasic Asif with the order that the soldiers Selak Mevludin and Dzolak Refik kill these person which was done by Selak Mevludin by knife, given to him by Tendzo Omer, killing Komljenac Radoslav ceasing him by his hand over his mouth throwing him to the ground, and drawing the knife over his throat slaying him thus, while Colak Refik, receiving then a knife from Alibasic Asif, killed Komljenac Marina ceasing her with his hand by the mouth, knocking her to the ground, kneeled besides her holding her mouth, cut her throat on the front, and both bodies were thrown into the abyss.
THE KILLING OF VUCUREVIC ZORAN
Hodzic Armin was found guilty because on the 25 December 1992 in Sarajevo, he and Bejtic Samir took by a car (make "puch" ) Vucurevic Zoran to Bogusevac and Bejtic Samir took with him three bottles of spirits, and on arrival, Bejtic Samir took the said Vucurevic Zoran in the front line held by the RB&H army and killed him by shooting him twice with a pistol "scorpion" and then pored the body with the spirits and lit it after which Bejtic Samir returned to the command of the brigade, while Hodzic Armin remained at his post , and was a witness to this incident, but did not report it to the organs of security so that the perpetrator of this deed was not found until the end of 1993.
"I am a member of the 10th Mountain Brigade. I remember the event. I came to Caco, he was shouting, I found out that there was a rumor about Ergin Nikolic, a.k.a Ego, and Dusko Jovanovic, a.k.a. Tarli, whom I knew. I don't know whether those people were abused at brigade headquarters; I saw them sitting in a car parked in front of brigade headquarters and I also sat in the car and we drove toward Bogusevac. When we reached the dugout which was in the immediate vicinity of Kazani, I went in, and so did Caco and the two guys. There were also some soldiers inside, sleeping. When we entered, Caco ordered to move the table away; I moved it and then we sat on a bench. Caco discussed Nikolic's and Jovanovic's behavior with them, as well as some murder that they had committed. At one point Tarli jumped on Caco, hurt his arm. Then we allstarted hitting those guys, I hit kicked Nikolic two or three times, and somebody hit me in the testicles. I saw Senad Hasic standing at the door and Caco also said: 'What are you waiting for.' Then Caco began stabbing Dusko Jovanovic with a knife, who was lying down on his stomach -- and handed me the knife and said: 'Hit him.' I hit Jovanovic two or three times with the handle of the knife, and Caco said: 'Hit him with the blade of the knife, so I hit him with the blade of the knife on the thighs and buttocks. I do not know whether Jovanovic was alive. Ergin Nikolic was on the other side and I did not see what happened to him. I cannot tell exactly what happened after Nikolic and Jovanovic were dragged out of the dugout. I remained in the dugout and tried to clean the blood off my trousers, when I came out of the dugout, I saw Senad Hasic standing to the left of the dugout in relation to Kazani. Caco later said that we should return and we did. The left leg of my jeans was stained with blood. I went to the warehouse. changed, put on a clean pair of trousers and threw these away. We later returned by car -- Caco, I, Senad Hasic, and someone else whom I cannot remember. I saw Armin Hodzic, Samir Bejtic, and other people there."
"I am a member of the 10th Mountain Brigade. I cannot remember the date, but I remember the event. Caco called me to the brigade headquarters and I came. He told me to go with Samir Seferovic, he didn't say where to. I sat in a car type "Golf", Samir Seferovic was driving us to the place called Bogusevac. Two young men got into the car. I knew that they were soldiers of the 10th Mountain Brigade, their names were Dusko Jovanovic and Ergin Nikolic. We drove them from Bogusevac to the brigade headquarters . I remained in the car with the two young men. Caco, Sabahudin Ziga, Samir Bejtic, Senad Hasic, Sead Kadic, and a person called Mica exited the headquarters. I was sitting in the back with the two young men. Senad Hasic then sat in the car and Samir Seferovic drove. We were going in the direction of Bogusevac, I did not know where we were going nor why. In a second car were Caco, Samir Bejtic, Sead Kadic, the person called Mica, and Sabahudin Ziga. When we reached Bogusevac, we went toward a dugout to the place called Kazani. This was the first time I had been here. When we reached the dugout, Caco went in first, called Mevludin Selak, who was sleeping inside, and later everyone except me and Senad Hasic went inside. We heard voices and blows from the dugout, I heard Jovanovic's voice say: 'Caco, in the name of your child, don't!' I did not see what went on inside, because I did not go in. Somebody opened the door, called Senad Hasic to enter, but he did not go inside. At that moment they starting carrying Nikolic out. I think we wasn't alive, because from the position of his head that I saw, which was lowered, there was blood on the area of his neck. Didn't see what happened to the other young man, since I was backing away, I heard that something crashed, but didn't see what. I did not stab either of those two men with a knive or hit them with anything."
"I am a member of the 10th Mountain Brigade. I cannot remember the date, but I remember the event. I was in the dugout at Kazani, I, Omer Tendzo, Asif Alibasic, and Mevludin Selak were sleeping. It was night. The telephone rang, Omer Tendzo answered it, talked to someone, and said that he had to go to the headquarters. He and Asif left, Mevludin and I went back to sleep. At about 5 o'clock in the morning Omer Tendzo woke me up, and told me to go and help Asif drive a woman here. I went and saw Asif help a woman to walk, there was also a man there. They were elderly. I helped Asif bring the woman to the dugout, so the two people sat on the bench in front of the dugout. Omer came in and told Mevludin and me: 'Caco ordered those two killed.' Asif was sitting outside, so I asked: 'Why you?' He said that we must carry out the order. Omer Tendzo gave Mevludin Selak a knife, and Asif Alibasic gave me his knife, which I put under the armpit of the jacket and went out. Omer told me to take those people to another trench to have tea and warm up. I took the woman toward the left part of Kazani; I led her by the arm. Mevludin followed me with the man, while Omer and Asif remained in front of the dugout. When we were approximately 10 or 15 meters away from the dugout, I saw Mevludin grab the man across the mouth and push him to the ground, the woman began to scream. I grabbed her across the mouth, pushed her to the ground, and knelt down beside her. With the other hand, which was holding I the knife, I put the knife on her throat and started cutting. After that, all four of us -- I, Omer, Asif, and Mevludin -- threw the corpses into Kazani. I did not see what Mevludin had done with the man, because his back was turned, but the man's corpse was thrown into Kazani."
"I remember the event. I was in the trench, in the dugout at Bogusevac, the telephone rang. Omer Tendzo answered and talked. He later told Asif Alibasic to go with him. Omer and Asif woke me up in the morning. I saw a man and a woman sitting outside in front of the dugout. Omer Tendzo took me inside the dugout and told Refik Colak and me to liquidate those two people. I knew that Caco's orders had to be carried out. When Omer Tendzo told me that, I began thinking. Omer gave me a knife, and I do not know where Refik Colak got the knife. We went outside, Refik Colak went ahead with the woman 5 or 6 meters in front, and I followed him with the man. We walked in the direction of the border of Kazani. I put my hand across the man's mouth, pushed him to the ground, closed my eyes, and drew the knife across his throat. I was lost and bewildered and I do not know what Refik did with the woman. Later I that the woman's throat was cut, but I did not witness the moment when Refik do it."
"I am a member of the 10th Mountain Brigade. I remember the event. I had some work to do at the brigade headquarters, so I came and sat in Caco's office. They were beating somebody up in the office, I went outside and tried to go in again, but I could not because there were many people in the office. Later I entered the office, saw two young men sitting against the wall. Caco was interrogating them and said that one of them was a Chetnik. While I was there, Caco hit the taller man twice. I kicked one of them in the ribs, and nobody gave me orders to do so. Then Caco gave orders that these men had to be taken away. Caco, Sabahudin Ziga, Nihad, and those two men sat in a car. I saw Omer Tendzo, Mevludin Selak, Asif Alibasic, and a man whose surname was Hodzic. We headed for Bogusevac by car. When we reached the dugout, the two men were taken to the left side of Kazani. I saw them lying on the ground, and I was 5 or 6 meters away. Caco stood by those two men and interrogated them, the others were standing farther away. At one point he kicked the dark, smaller guy in the head. I think that his skull cracked, he just said 'Ah.' After that, Caco stabbed him in the neck region. He also stabbed the other guy four to five times. I did not see Sabahudin Ziga or Tendzo Omer stab anyone. The people present were Caco, Sabahudin Ziga, Omer Tendzo, Asif Alibasic, Mevludin Selak, Nihad Hodzic, a young man from Skenderija whose surname was Hodzic, and Suad Omanovic."
Witness NEDZAD AJNADZIC:
"In the course of my regular duties, I contacted Husein Hodzic. He attended the First Corps meeting, which was called in order to solve problems in the 9th and 10th Mountain Brigades. I noticed that he was struggling with something. From our conversation I learned about the event that had taken place at Kazani, Husein told me about the events in which he had participated as member of the 10th Mountain Brigade. I noticed that he was in a serious psychological state."
SEAD HODZIC, secretary in the Ministry of Justice and general law:
- Article 10 of the Tribunal Statute, and the rules of procedure and evidence assume a specific rule: that rule is to forbid repeat of a murder trial when there is a verdict to the case. That means: if the Tribunal tries a specific person for a crime or violation under the Tribunal's jurisdiction, then the court in the state where the person is a citizen cannot try him for that crime, or felony. This rule has another side: if a court in the state, as the Tribunal Statute says national court, tries a case for felonies or crimes which is under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, then the Tribunal has jurisdiction to investigate the legality of the national court, i.e. court in that state. However, that rule has specific limitiations. This can seen in the following cases: if a felony, therefore crime in the jurisdiction of the Tribunal legally qualifies in a domestic court as a regular felony. Therefore, if instead, for example, crime of a war crime against a prisoner or civlian population is legally qualified as a crime of murder. That is just one case. Another one is: if the acts of a national court, that is court in a specific country, were not neutral or the court was not independent, or, as the Statute says, were rigged to protect the defendent from international criminal responsibility i.e. responsibility before the Tribunal. In that case the Tribunal has jurisdiction to investigate the legality of the conviction of the national court, that is court in that country. Otherwise, the rule called Non bis in idem, not to try the same case twice is one of the fundamental rules of criminal trials and it means that a case cannot be tried again if there has been a verdict. Whether the verdict was an acquittal, or the verdict convicted the defendent. So, the Statute of the international Tribunal makes an exception, but only in these which I mentioned.