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Muslim Witness Describes Last Sight of Son and Brothers

June 19, 1996

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ A Muslim sawmill worker recalled Wednesday how soldiers dragged away his son and two brothers on the orders of a man he had known most of his life. They were never heard from again.

The man, Dusan Tadic, is on trial for their deaths before the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. He is accused of murder, torture and rape committed at the Serb-run detention camps of Omarska, Trnopolje, and Keraterm in northwestern Bosnia.

Tribunal prosecutors say Tadic, a 40-year-old former cafe owner and part-time karate instructor, took part in the Serb attack on Kozarac, his hometown, and nearby hamlets in May 1992.

Muslims and Croats in the area were forced to march in columns to collection points for transfer to detention camps.

Salko Karabasic, who had known Tadic since he was a teen-ager, was among those forced to march.

Karabasic, 51, testified he saw Tadic _ armed and in uniform _ giving orders and standing near a shop in Kozarac. He said his brother Ismet and another Muslim man, Redo Foric, had been picked out of the column and were standing next to the shop.

His second brother, Ekrem, was targeted next the Serbs.

``In front of my eyes, I saw Ekrem (pulled out),″ he said.

Then his son, Seido.

``I tried to pull my son from him ... he snatched my son and said, `Do you want to come here too,′ ″ recalled Karabasic.

The column moved on. He never saw his brothers and son again.

When asked if he were sure he saw Tadic, Karabasic replied, ``1,000 percent sure.″

``Tadic was issuing orders and Borovnica was executing them,″ said Karabasic, referring to Goran Borovnica, a Serb who was indicted along with Tadic but is not in custody.

Tadic and Borovnica were charged with the slayings of the four men in the tribunal indictment.

Unlike other witnesses who avoided eye contact with Tadic, Karabasic occasionally glanced at the U.N. court’s first defendant. Impatient, Karabasic often blurted out answers before prosecutor Grant Niemann and defense counsel Steven Kay finished their questions.

Kay challenged Karabasic’s testimony during cross-examination by pointing at apparent discrepancies between what Karabasic told the court and his earlier statements to a tribunal investigator.

``What I suggest to you is that you didn’t see Tadic picking out anyone from the column,″ Kay said. ``He wasn’t there.″

The U.N. court has indicted 58 people, of which only a few are in custody in The Hague. Tadic is the first to go on trial.

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