In the case before the High Court in Belgrade for crimes committed in the area of Rogatica, through international legal assistance, a Prosecution witness was heard in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), who said that on the day of the shooting of the prisoners in Duljevci, a person called via radio link and said that he is Rajko Kusic.
Judge Mediha Pasic said that, according to the petition of the High Court in Belgrade, the Court of BiH called two witnesses to the hearing via video conference in the case against Rajko Kusic, the former commander of the Rogatica Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army (VRS), accused of crimes in Rogatica, but only one of them approached.
Armin Bazdar said that in 1992 he was 14 years old and that at that time he lived with his father, mother and sister in Seljani, a place three kilometers from Rogatica. He recalled that on June 3rd, they were prevented from moving and that there was an attack on this place in which “able-bodied men” were killed.
“On the August 4th, VRS soldiers came with a statement that they should protect us, that is, place us in the High School Center,” Bazdar said, adding that they took women, children and the elderly in a minibus “because they killed the men”, and that the Center was in fact, the camp, from which women and girls were taken out in the evening on August 4th, for whom he later found out had been raped.
He said that one of the soldiers started killing the prisoners one by one, and then “Spiro” killed the rest of the prisoners with a burst of fire. Bazdar said that he was shot in the left upper arm, during which he turned 180 degrees and fell on his stomach. He added that after that he was also shot in the right upper arm, after the bullet went through his uncle’s head.
“There was a silence and at that moment a voice appears over the radio link at ‘Spiro‘: Who is shooting? – Who is asking? – Rajko Kusic asks – ‘Spiro’ is shooting”, said the witness, who soon after this event managed to escape into the woods and reach safe territory.
In 2006, before the Court of BiH, Paunovic was sentenced to 20 years in prison for crimes committed in Rogatica, including the shooting of 24 civilians in a meadow in Duljevci. A year later, Ljubinac was also sentenced to ten years in prison.
When asked by the Judicial Council from Belgrade, Bazdar said that he did not remember that he said in an earlier statement that the action was ordered by the accused Kusic, and when asked again, he said that “it probably was”.
In March 2021, Kusic pleaded not guilty to the indictment charging him with war crimes committed in the area of Rogatica. According to the indictment, Kusic was the commander of the Territorial Defense in Rogatica, and later the commander of the Rogatica Brigade of the VRS, and at the same time a member of the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of Rogatica. The BiH Prosecutor’s Office charged Kusic in 2014, but since he lives in Serbia, his case was taken over by the Serbian judiciary, which filed the indictment in October 2020.
The continuation of the trial before the High Court in Belgrade was not mentioned at the hearing in the Court of BiH, and according to Kusic‘s defense, it was scheduled for October 31st, Detektor writes.