Vojislav Seselj attempts to prove that the Muslims in Zvornik were tortured by self-proclaimed vojvoda Dusan Vuckovic Repic, member of Yellow Wasps, a paramilitary unit, and not one of ’Seselj’s men’ nicknamed ’ vojvoda Cele’, or just ’ Vojvoda’ as alleged by former detainees from Zvornik testifying for the prosecution

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

Another prisoner who was detained in Zvornik camps at ’Ekonomija’ and ’Ciglana’ testified today as protected witness with the pseudonym VS-1015, following the evidence given yesterday by the protected witness with the pseudonym VS1013. Mostly he confirmed what was stated yesterday about the participation of ’Seselj’s men’ in the beatings and torture of Muslim civilians. Despite the fact that he was beaten brutally dozens of times during his captivity from 7 May to 15 July 1992, witness VS-1015 said today that one incident was particularly striking for him.

At dawn on 12 May 1992, a guard nicknamed Zoks took out first Enver Dautovic and then his father Nesib from the warehouse of the ’Ekonomija’ farm. Both were brutally beaten and then returned to the warehouse. Zoks then picked the witness and took him out. Leading him to a man with longer hair and a short beard, Zoks told the witness that the ’ Vojvoda’ was going to question him. The two of them then started beating the witness with a metal bar and a wooden stick until he fainted. After he was taken back to the warehouse, he saw that Nesib Dautovic had died of his injuries.

In his description of the same event, prosecution witness testifying as VS-1013 stated that ’ vojvoda Cele’ had been the person who beat Nesib Dautovic to death together with Zoks. Cele’s full name is Miroslav Vukovic and in May 1993 he was promoted to the rank of vojvoda, Chetnik war leader, by Seselj. Yesterday, Seselj attempted to prove that Cele fought as a SRS volunteer before the attack on Zvornik and that he had links with the Serbian Radical Party later. According to Seselj, at the time of the events in Zvornik, Cele was a volunteer in another formation.

Today, however, Seselj claimed that vojvoda Cele did not beat Nesib Dautovic to death, together with Zoks. According to him, it was Dusan Vuckovic Repic. Seselj pointed to the statement the witness VS-1015 had given to the BH War Crimes Commission in 1993. In it, the witness stated that he had been beaten up by a Chetnik war leader whose last name was Repic. As Seselj put it, it was not his last name but a nickname of Dusan Vuckovic. Two years ago, Vuckovic killed himself in a prison in Serbia where he was serving his lengthy sentence for war crimes. The witness clarified that he might have mentioned the word ’repic’ in his statement, but that was because the vojvoda had his hair tied in a pony tail. He was not aware of the man's nickname.

In addition to this, Seselj also noted that in his 1993 statement, the witness didn’t mention ’Seselj’s men’ he spoke of today as he described the torture and killing of captured Muslims who were also forced to loot property in Zvornik and surrounding villages for them. The witness replied that the statement to the State Commission in 1993 was given in haste and as a result it contains only two pages. Not everything he said was recorded. Contrary to that, the statement he gave in 1996 was the result of a detailed conversation with the OTP investigators over the course of three or four days, when he told them what he knew about what ’Seselj’s men’ had done on ’Ekonomija’ farm and the ’Ciglana’ factory.

The trial of Vojislav Seselj continues next Tuesday.