Enes Sakrak, the man who murdered Ljubica Zadro and her four-year-old daughter Mladenka, testified about the crimes committed by BH Army troops in the Croat village of Grabovica on 8 and 9 September 1993
Double murderer Enes Sakrak testified about the crimes committed by BH Army troops in the Croat village of Grabovica on 8 and 9 September 1993 during the Operation Neretva ’93. He was the prosecution witness at the trial of General Sefer Halilovic.
Enes Sakrak was twenty years old in 1993 and was a member of the 9th Motorized Brigade in the BH Army 1st Corps. He came to the courtroom in The Hague from a prison in BH where he is serving a ten-year sentence for the murder of Ljubica Zadro and her four-year-old daughter Mladenka, in a massacre of 33 Croat civilians.
Only in 2003 did he face justice – he was arrested and sentenced for the crime ten years after he had committed it and two years after an indictment had been issued by the OTP against the “Neretva operation” commander Halilovic for failing to prevent or punish the crime in Grabovica. The investigators from The Hague were the first persons to question him about the crime, Sakrak confirmed at the Halilovic trial. To make the irony even greater, after his demobilization Sakrak was employed in the Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes, and later in the OSCE.
The massacre in Grabovica, as Sakrak recounted in the courtroom, began in late afternoon of 8 September 1993, with the killing of Pero Maric (born in 1914) in front of the house where the soldiers were quartered. Later that night, Maric’s wife Dragica (also born in 1914) was killed. Pero Maric was killed in cold blood by Mustafa Hota, who was talking to him at the time. Hota was, just like Sakrak, a member of the 9th Motorized Brigade. They were arrested together in late 2003. Hota was sentenced to nine years in prison.
In the morning of 9 September, the commander of Sakrak’s platoon, Nedim Vlahovljak, conveyed to Sakrak and two other soldiers from the unit, Haris Rajkic and Sead Karagic, an order: “Kill all the Croats in the village.” Sakrak now claims that he does not know where the order came from.
The three men then went to the home of the Zadro family, where they brutally killed Ivan (1924) and Matija Zadro (1923) and their son Mladen. Then Sakrak fired a burst into Mladen’s wife Ljubica (1956) and four-year-old Mladenka, at point-blank range.
As they went on their bloody rampage, the three men saw several other bodies near the railway station in Grabovica, but Sakrak was unable to say anything more about those murders. He remembers that they returned to Maric’s house where Nihad Vlahovljak would later convey another order to them – to remove all evidence of the crime. This order, as they were told, came from Vehbija Karic, who was a member of the Inspection Team that was set up by the BH Army Main Staff for the purpose of the operation and that was led by Halilovic.
Sakrak testified that he had assumed at the time that Sefer Halilovic had been in charge of the Operation Neretva ’93, but that he was unable to state that with certainty.
The indictment charges Halilovic in his capacity as the commander of the Operation Neretva ’93 with failure to prevent or punish the killing of civilians in Grabovica and Uzdol in September 1993.