Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Witnesses in Martic Case Speak of Brutalities

TU No 447, 07-Apr-06
Martic faces charges for murder and expulsion of non Serbs from part of Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina during the war and attacking civilian targets in Zagreb as retaliation for Croatian military action.

A protected, known only as MM-079, described his meetings with Martic in 1991 as a member of an undisclosed peace mission. He said that Martić rejected all efforts to calm the situation.

Martić was told by the witness about the proof he had that Martic’s militia was brutalising Croatians. The witness said Martic replied “that his men haven’t beaten anyone unless they had reason for it”.

The next protected witness MM-036 described how in 1991 his village was taken first by the Yugoslav People's Army, JNA, and then, after they left, by Martić's men who burned all the houses and killed all the remaining Croatian civilians. Because of his protected identity it was left unclear how the witness survived the executions.

He was followed by Luka Brkić who was captured by JNA forces in his village Škabrnja while trying to protect it as a member of the village guard. He said that 64, mostly elder Croatian civilians, were executed when Serbian forces entered the village on November 18, 1991.

Brkić himself escaped death because he was guarded by the JNA from Martić’s men and other Serbian paramilitaries. But he still ended up in Martić’s detention units from which he was released after five and half months.

Even now, after 15 years, he said he still suffers from the torture he survived. “My face was altered after those beatings,” Brkić told Judge Janet Nosworthy.

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