In the continuation of the trial for the crimes committed in the area of Orasje, the Defense witnesses of the first accused, as direct participants, spoke about the wartime roles and command responsibilities of individuals within the units of the 106th Brigade of the Croatian Defense Council (HVO).
After the attack on the village of Vidovice at the end of April 1992, Kresimir Matanovic was tasked by the Local Board to organize the defense in Vidovice. As he told the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), given that he had no military experience, he asked the commander of the Territorial Defense (TO) Djuro Matuzovic to send him someone, and Ivo Vincenticcame to Vidovice, who took over the job of organizing the defense.
He explained that part of the population retreated towards Orasje, and that the majority went to Croatia. After that, he joined Marko Benkovic‘s group known as Balkan, and participated in the defense of Vidovice in October 1992.
“We who were from Vidovice were the guides of the groups, and since the Serbs had already retreated, we entered Vidovice without resistance,” said the witness and added that on that occasion he saw burnt houses and massacred bodies of people.
He stated that after a few days they buried 17 dead people from Vidovice in a mass grave.
“It is the only mass grave that has not yet been exhumed, and a memorial has been built on it,” said the witness.
The witness stated that after that, he was assigned to IPD duty (information-political activity), which included talking to soldiers and encouraging soldiers on the front lines.
Djuro Matuzovic, Ivo and Tado Orsolic, Marko Dominkovic, Joso Nedic, Marko Blazanovic, Mato and Anto Zivkovic, Stjepo Djuric and Mirko Juric were accused of the persecution of the Serbian population – murders, imprisonment, torture, rape and other acts committed in Orasje. According to the indictment, they committed the crimes as members of the command structures of the HVO, as well as the military and civilian police in Orasje.
The second Defense witness of the first accused, Semir Dervisevic, had a number of command duties during the war.
He told how on one occasion the Military Police detained one of his soldiers, and that he contacted Djuro Matuzovic, who arranged a meeting with Ilija Vincentic and Pero Vincentic, since they are brothers, and that on that occasion Ilija told Peroto release the soldier and not to make any incidents with Bosniaks.
The continuation of the trial is scheduled for January 11th, 2023, Detektor reports.