SERBIAN CRIMINALS OFFERED MONETARY INCENTIVES FOR FALSE TESTIMONIES
PHOTO: Zuhdija Tabakovic, initial appearance at the Hague Tribunal on December 22 2009. Before the war, Tabakovic worked as a policeman in Visegrad and was a close acquaintance of a convicted Serb war criminal and former Visegrad policeman Milan Lukic. Credit: ICTY.
In 1992, three years before the Srebrenica genocide, Serb forces committed unprecedented levels of cruelty against the Bosniak civilians. In order to prolong the suffering of innocent victims, Serbs around Srebrenica would barricade Bosniak women, children, and elderly men in abandoned houses and then set them on fire alive [Warning: graphic photos]. In July 2009 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia sentenced Milan Lukic to life imprisonment and Sredoje Lukic to 30 years in prison for their involvement in crimes against Bosniak women, children and the elderly around Srebrenica. The living pyres for which they were convicted occured in a neighbouring municipality of Visegrad which borders with Srebrenica.
Zuhdija Tabakovic, a Bosniak from Visegrad, is one of those filthy criminals who have no conscience. According to the confirmed indictment, Tabakovic met with Jelena Rasic [Serb] in Sarajevo on October 18, 2008. Jelena Rasic was a member of Milan Lukic's Defence team and she offered Tabakovic a monetary incentive of €1,000 to sign a false, "previously written statement", even though Tabakovic did not witness the events described in the statement. He took the money and agreed to offer a false testimony which was supposed to lead to an acquittal of the Serb war criminal Milan Lukic. The indictment also charges Tabakovic with having "agreed", as abetted by Jelena Rasic, "to find two more men, who will sign the previously prepared statements".
"In exchange for signing those statements, each man was given € 1,000 from a person named Dragan, who works with Jelena Rasic. Zuhdija Tabakovic was present in the Novi Grad municipality building in Sarajevo when they signed the statements and took the money," the Hague Prosecution's indictment alleges.
It has been a common practice of the Bosnian Serb defendants at the Hague Tribunal to offer monetary incentives in return for false testimonies. For example, Hamdija Vilic was offered € 100,000 by Milan Lukic’s defense to secure an alibi for Milan Lukic for the living pyre crimes. "Vilic accepted their offer as he ‘wanted to see’ what Lukic, who had ‘destroyed his life and family’, wanted from him." Then, he testified for the prosecution against Lukic.
Another example is Lukic's other cousin, Mitar Vasiljevic, who is also suspected of using false witnesses to secure alibi. Even though some eye-witnesses identified Vasiljevic as one of the willing participants in the living pyre crimes; nevertheless, he was acquitted of any involvement in these incidents based on a testimony of Dr Alexandar Moljevic - his personal friend. However, in the judgment against Lukic, Vasiljevic's alibi would collapse because majority of judges agreed that evidence used to acquit him was actually falsified. It was Dr. Moljevic who secured false hospital records which led to Vasiljevic's acquittal on the most serious counts. A must read analysis of Lukic/Vasiljevic scandal can be read here: "Pravda za Višegrad i Kolaps Alibija Mitra Vasiljevića." (please use online translation tools if you don't understand Bosnian language)