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Eyewitness Claims Serb Defendant Slit Muslim Cops’ Throats

June 14, 1996

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ At times shouting in anguish, a Muslim man testified Friday that after rebel Serbs overran his hometown in 1992 he saw Bosnian Serb defendant Dusan Tadic slit the throats of two Muslim policemen.

Tadic, a 40-year-old cafe owner and part-time karate instructor, is charged with murder, torture and rape at three Serb-run detention camps in the northwest Bosnian region of Prijedor.

He is the first person to be tried by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, which has indicted 58 people, including top Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. Only eight of those are in custody.

Nihad Seferovic, 46, testified Friday that he used to play with Tadic when they were kids growing up in Kozarac in northwestern Bosnia, and kept in touch with him after that. He said he helped build Tadic’s cafe.

Seferovic is the first tribunal witness to claim to have seen Tadic committing murder, though a tribunal source could not confirm that the victims named by Seferovic on Friday are mentioned in the tribunal indictment.

Seferovic said that after rebel Serbs began shelling Kozarac in late May 1992, he fled to a friend’s house just outside town, returning several days later to search for his missing brother.

It was during this trip, he said, that he saw the murders of the two policemen in front of a Serbian Orthodox church near his brother’s house.

``I could see clearly, there were (Muslim) policemen with their hands behind their heads. There were six of them and I recognized four,″ said Seferovic.

He said Tadic was among a group of approximately 15 Serbian paramilitary soldiers standing in front of the policemen. Seferovic told the court how Tadic dragged one of the policemen from the line-up and slit his throat.

``He (Tadic) got him by the neck .... but I didn’t see the knife ... just blood gushing from all sides,″ said Seferovic, adding that Tadic did the same to another policemen.

Seferovic identified the two men only as ``Osman″ and ``Edin.″ The tribunal source could not provide the complete names of the alleged victims.

It was unclear what happened to the other four people in the line-up.

Seferovic was later imprisoned at the Serb-run Omarska camp.

During cross-examination, defense lawyer Stephen Kay grilled Seferovic, accusing him of fabricating his testimony.

But as Tadic sat motionless in the court dock, Seferovic answered: ``I saw it with my own eyes.″

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