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Testimony of Croatian War Crimes in [the early] 1990s Against Ethnic Serb Civilians

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  • Predrag Tosic
    [ Received from Mary Mostert ( Banner of Liberty , www.bannerofliberty.com). Some (minor) corrections are made in the text translation from Croatian (see
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2006
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      [ Received from Mary Mostert ('Banner of Liberty', www.bannerofliberty.com).
      Some (minor) corrections are made in the text translation from Croatian
      (see below), and a few comments added in brackets and marked with my
      initials, 'PT'. So: comments from the translator are in *parentheses*
      '(...)', whereas my comments are in *brackets* '[...]'. The comments
      before and after the translated 'Feral Tribune article itself are Mary
      Mostert's.


      Predrag Tosic ]


      ********************************************************************************


      To my Serb Readers.

      This was sent to me by Igor, one of you on this list, in Croatian with a
      brief English note that asked me to have someone translate it into English.
      So, I sent it to Alex, another reader, who translates many things for me
      that are in the News in Belgrade so my American readers can learn what is
      happening there. This is a very valuable service. The American people
      know very little of the Serb side of the story - and I'm beginning to
      think that perhaps part of the problem has been that very few Americans
      read Serbian and not many Serbs translate what is going on into English.

      I am of the WWII generation and this made me think of the first stories I
      read, after WWII when the American soldiers reached and liberated Nazi
      concentration camps. The incredible horror of those camps has stayed with
      me my entire life. This is a horrible story but I think it is a story
      that the Western World needs to learn about.

      Mary Mostert




      Testimony of Croatian War Crimes in 1990s Against Serbian Civilians

      [The civilians referred to in the title are ethnic Serbs in the Krajina
      region of today's Croatia. ]

      http://www.bannerofliberty.com/Serbs,BosniaKosovo/11-2-2006.1.html

      By Miro Bajramovic

      The following text is a testimony of Croatian war crimes against Serbian
      civilians during the 1990s. Please be advised of reader discretion.


      How Serbs were murdered at the Pakrac Field (Pakracka Poljana)


      Warning: The text is a testimony of an Ustashi (Croatian Nazi) and it is in
      its original (beastly) form, and may be extremely unpleasant for sensitive
      persons.

      http://www.srpskapolitika.com/index.html (Serbian Politics)

      Translated by: Alex, Belgrade

      Note by Alex: The translation is complete, the only problem appeared with
      the months. The months in Croatian are totally different than in Serbian, so
      the only mistake could be with the names of the months. Everything else has
      been translated fully and completely, with some additional information in
      the parentheses).

      Miro Bajramovic, former member of the so-called Mercep Unit, openly
      testifies about the crimes that he and his war comrades had committed in
      Pakrac, Gospic, Zagreb, Slani...

      Feral Tribune Magazine - Croatia

      Sept. 1, 1997

      Serbian Civilians Murdered

      Gospic, November 1991

      My name is Miro Bajramovic and I am personally responsible for the death of
      86 people. This is the fact that I got to bed with every night, and that I
      awake with every morning - that is, if I can sleep at all. I have, by my own
      hands, murdered 72 people, including 9 women. We (the Croats) did not make a
      difference, for us they (the Serbs) were all Chetniks and enemies. It was
      really difficult to burn the first house and kill the first man. After that
      it all followed a pattern.

      I met Tomislav Mercep in 1991 in Dalj. Since then we were in war together.
      We've been through a lot together. Our Unit was called "The Rains of
      Autumn", officially known as The First Zagreb Special Unit Under
      Jurisdiction of the (Croatian) Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Croatian
      defenders and people know very well who "The Rains of Autumn" are.


      MURDERS AT GOSPIC AND SLANO


      Before we departed for the Pakrac Field (Pakracka Poljana), sometime in
      (September?) 1991, we were at Gospic. At Gospic, it was enough for you to be
      a Serb, and for you to cease to exist. Our group killed between 90 and 110
      people down there, because we stayed there for a short time, not even a
      month. For (the town of) Gospic, the order was: "ethnic cleansing"; we
      killed the director of the Post Office, the Hospital, restaurant owners and
      various other Serbs. Murders were done by a bullet to the forehead, because
      we did not have time. I repeat, from the top, there came an order to
      decrease the percentage of Serbs at Gospic.

      We went to Slano 4 times and murdered 13 persons, all Serbs. Out of those
      13, I killed 8. My group consisted of (the following people): Sinisa Rimac,
      Miroslav Brisevac, Igor Mikula and the little Gordana, whose last name I
      cannot recall.


      THE PAKRAC FIELD - "PROCESSING" THE PRISONERS


      We arrived at the Pakracka Poljana, (translated as the Pakrac Field)
      sometime in 1991, after we returned from Gospic. We held the prisoners at
      the basement of the Middle School, and, in case there were more of them, we
      put them in the classrooms. For them, the worst nights were those when we
      "processed" them in groups, meaning that we tried to find the best way
      possible to inflict as much pain as possible upon them, so that they would
      admit more. You know what's the best way? You burn the prisoner - with a
      flame from a bottle of gas and then you spray some vinegar on them, mostly
      on the genitals and the eyes. Then there is a small inductor, an outside
      telephone, and you connect the Serb to that. It's a current flowing in one
      direction, it can't kill a man, but it can make an unpleasant feeling in a
      man. Then you ask the connected Serb where he is from, and he says - from
      Dvor Na Uni [the town of Dvor on the Una river -- PT], and then you dial
      Dvor Na Uni with the telephone.

      We stuck up five-wired cables, inside the prisoners' anal holes, we would
      leave them there for a few hours so that they could not sit down. We
      opened their wounds and placed salt or vinegar on them. Basically, we did
      not allow them to stop bleeding. Also, all of them had to learn the
      Croatian National Anthem "Lijepa Nasa" (free translation: "Our Beautiful
      Homeland") on the same date, and the commander of the prison, Mijo Jolic,
      made them sing it. He, today, just like Suljic, owns restaurants across
      Croatia.

      As I recall all those tortures, I wonder how they (members of the Unit)
      managed to think of all that. For example, the most painful thing to do was
      to stick small metal nails underneath one's fingernails. Add to that
      3-phased electricity and nothing is left of a man. Ashes! Under such
      tortures, people confessed to everything they knew, and to everything that
      was demanded of them. In the beginning, we acted as some sort of democratic
      policemen, we would give the Serbs paper on which they would write down
      everything they knew, and we asked them to list as many names and locations
      as possible.

      Tomislav Mercep commanded at the (Pakrac) Field, and I was second in
      command. Mercep knew it all. He did not participate personally in the
      executions, but he read everything we wrote in our reports, even though most
      of the information was spoken verbally. He knew of every murder, because he
      was the commander and because he was a harismatic person to us. A few times
      he told us: "Tonight, clean all that shit". That meant that the prisoners
      were to be murdered. If you disobeyed the order, then you were a traitor and
      we at the Pakrac Field murdered equally Croats as well as Serbs. Even the
      Croats at the Field were terrified of us. The village would listen to the
      cries and screams coming out from the prison, the people could not sleep,
      but they did not dare say anything to us. They knew that, if they asked
      questions, they could end up in prison themselves.

      I once said that all those whom I have killed, have died happy, because I
      would write down on a tiny piece of paper that they could pass through our
      guards, and they would venture home feeling happy. Then I would take them
      down with a sniper. They died with a smile.


      Murdered Serbs at Sisak, May 1995


      We did not classify Serbs into military and civilian; if we found a gun
      hidden anywhere, to us he was a Chetnik. Serbs could barely survive, because
      people don't say for nothing - where we passed, the grass did not grow back.
      As far as I know, more than 50 Serbs were brought to the (Pakrac) Field from
      Zagreb, and those who were close to Mercep had brought them - Rimac, Suljic,
      Mikula, Hodak, myself.

      How long we kept the prisoners [alive -- PT] varied. It mostly depended on
      how long would it take to wear them down. Mostly, before killing them, we
      would keep them between 2 and 5 days. Even if they survived, they would
      not be normal people any more. Serbs who were good and loyal, were used
      to dig graves, but we told them that they were digging covers (holes) for
      the machineguns. One of the prisoners once said that it must have been his
      15th or 16th cover (hole). We killed him on the spot, because it was not
      his duty to count, but to dig.

      We were very greedy at the time. The 30 of us went 50 meters in front of the
      first tank, we would cleanse and murder everyone we would see. Behind us
      came some who were called "Mercep's people" who looted and burned homes.
      People such as Mardjeralo and Rukavina. Mercep told us to take away
      everything from the Serbs, and the money that we found must be given to
      the headquarters for buying arms. But, Trusic, Mercep, Rukavina also known
      as The Priest and Nedeljko Posavec split the money amongst themselves. How
      do I know this? A day before the killing of Pavo Mlinarica, Posavec and
      Rukavina shot each other, because they did not split the money into equal
      parts. Posavec was removed from the Unit, but the money was not taken from
      him, and I am talking about [at least] 100,000 German Marks, or [possibly]
      much more.

      I could not say that, at the Pakrac Field, mass executions took place. There
      were groups of 7 to 10 people. Basically, it all depended on the number of
      people currently imprisoned. Sometimes we murdered people in their homes,
      and then the homes would be blown up. No bodies. There were lots of such
      houses, most of them in the village of Bujavica.

      In those days, the mindset was as follows: kill the Serb's child, because it
      [would otherwise keep] grow[ing] even at a [temperature of] minus 20
      degrees Centigrade.

      Back in those days, I did not feel that the Serbs were humans like us, and
      that they were someone's fathers, brothers, children... No, we did not
      kill children, except for Suljic, he killed Alexandra Zec. According to my
      estimates, at the (Pakrac) Field, altogether about 280 people were
      murdered and that [number] would include about 10 women. Except for Marina
      Nuic, I remember a woman named Nada from Kusonje who was infiltrated among
      us. There was also an old woman in whose house a sniper had been found.
      Except for that old woman, all the other women were raped and then killed.
      That is the truth.


      THE MURDER OF THE ZEC FAMILY


      I don't understand one thing - how come the Zec family consisted of
      harismatic people? It is known that Mihajlo Zec worked for the enemies,
      the Serbs, although he was a member of HDZ (Franjo Tudjman's rulling
      party, the Croatian Democratic Union) and tried to help the Croatian Army.
      The fact remains that we guarded the intersections in the Dobrovac village
      near Lipik, and so we learned that Milorad Zec, Mihajlo's brother, comes
      home to sleep every night from Subotska (Subotica? - a town in Serbia?).
      And so one night we waited for him in his home in Dobrovac.

      We could discuss the "operative processing" of a person, but there are no
      secrets there - beatings, harrassments, forced confessions, in any way
      possible. It was then that he told us about his brother Mihajlo - what he
      was doing and for whom.

      Upon my arrival to Zagreb, I gave the order for the detention of Mihajlo
      Zec, and I received that order from Tomislav Mercep. Mihajlo Zec was more
      valuable to us alive, than dead. But, the group that was to take Zec in for
      questioning, was joined by Munib Suljic, on his own will and not on anyone's
      order, who was high and drunk that night. I told Sinisa Rimac that only
      in the case of resistance should he murder Mihajlo. He tried to escape,
      Rimac let him (although I do not get it - how can a young man, 19 years old,
      not catch up with a [much older -- PT] man and overpower him, but, okay,
      maybe it all happened in a second), and then Mihajlo was shot.

      Then, out of a blue van with no licence plates, because we detained people
      in Zagreb in unmarked uniforms and vehicles, came Munib Suljic, who returned
      to get little Alexandra and Mrs. Zec. He took them to the Panorama Hotel,
      then to Sljeme, where he murdered them.

      A few days ago, the Nacional published Suljic's denial. He claimed that he
      had never committed that murder. The truth is that Suljic, upon being
      arrested, had told the whole story, and the whole confession - he went with
      the police investigators from Djordjiceva Street to Sljeme and he
      finger-pointed at the graves. Then he admitted that he had done it. The
      saddest thing is that he threatened Nebojsa-Hodak-Cena, Igor Mikula, Sinisa
      Rimac and the little Snjezana Zivkovic from Gospic, and he made Mikula fire
      20 bullets into little Alexandra and Mrs. Zec. Just to make sure. And then
      he made those men bury the bodies. That was their role in the affair. Rimac
      confessed during the investigation: "I killed Mihajlo Zec, and do not get me
      involved with anything else". This is the truth. Today, Mihajlo Zec is being
      made into some kind of hero, and people say that he died for no good
      reason, and I often wonder, if I were making some newspaper, I would write
      more about Marina Nuic, because she died for nothing and was innocent.


      GIVING THE ORDERS


      I would deny the words of Ivan Vekic in the latest edition of the Feral
      Tribune. He is lying, he knew it all. I could tell him how many orders our
      Unit had received from him. He would say: "I am demanding from you to make
      this happen... and this... and this..." We would never return without
      accomplishing the tasks, that being, most of the time, murders. His order
      was to murder Milos Ivosevic, and because of him the only Serb who survived
      the (Pakrac) Field was also to be murdered - Stefan Brajanovic. I repeat,
      Ivan Vekic knew it all.

      I have spent in prison from the 2nd (of January?) to the 30th (of April?)
      1992. It was so sad for me when Croatia was recognized on the 15th of
      (January?) and I was at the Remetinec prison. We were released when Sheks
      became public prosecutor, but we were let go in 2 groups. Mikula, Hodak,
      Snjezana Zivkovic, Suljic and Rimac stayed about 40 days longer in prison
      because of [the murder of] the Zec family. The first month in prison was
      cruel. No, nobody could touch us, because, had there been any physical
      torture against us, the police building at Djordjiceva Street would not
      exist. Mercep had big influence, he organized our defence, and also Ivan
      Vekic, who today says a lot of nonsense. In those days, he was on our
      side. Maybe I have mentioned this before, but I repeat that investigating
      judges Jovanovic and Horvatinovic were okay and were not interested in
      details.

      I am a big [religious] believer. I hold on my hand the ring from
      Medjugorje (the place of worship in Croatia where it is believed that the
      Mother of God appears every once in a while). God forgives everything to a
      point. I think I have thus far been punished enough for everything that I
      have committed. My life's satisfaction would be for my children's
      existence, because I know very well what will happen to me after this
      story, so I would just like someone to look after my children. I really
      have a wonderful marriage and a wonderful family, two wonderful little
      children. My wife knows about everything that I had done, because this is
      the only way we can (continue to) live together.

      I do not feel better now that I have told you everything. I am afraid
      [from the former members] of my Unit. These are all experienced
      professionals, who do not miss often. And I know that I won't escape the
      Hague Tribunal.

      * ________________________________________

      The testimony that you have just read is that of Miro Bajramovic, Tomislav
      Mercep's deputy, and is about the crimes of Croatian policemen and
      paramilitary units against the Serbian civilians. At the time the depicted
      events took place, the secessionist Croatia was still part of the legal and
      recognized entity of Yugoslavia.

      Most Western media have, in some way of another, reported about this. But,
      the Swedish media refused to make one word of this public. Swedish TV News,
      "Aktuellt", had refused to even mention a single word of this planned murder
      of innocent Serbian civilians in Croatia. The murder was planned by the top
      of the tops of the Croatian authority system.

      Website: http://www.bannerofliberty.com
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