Published in Nacional number 563, 2006-08-28

Autor: Berislav Jelinić


Testimony of participants in the massacre of the Serbian Olujic family

Nacional releases sections of the testimony of Zoran Postic and Davor Lazic, 2 of the 5 former members of the HOS brigade suspected of the brutal murder of the Olujic family from Cerna near Vinkovci in 1992; they reveal the motives, those who committed the crime and those who ordered it

Olujić FamilyOlujić FamilyThe State Prosecutor's Office has succeeded in reconstructing who killed the family of Radomir Olujic, a Serb from Cerna, and his family in February 1992. Zoran Postic and Davor Lazic, two of the five men suspected of the savage murder of the Olujic family, gave police a comprehensive statement about the crime, describing in detail how and why Tomislav Madi ordered the family be liquidated. The misfortunate family was killed in the early morning hours of 18 February 1992, and virtually nothing was known about their fate was known until late last year. It was uncertain until last week whether police would ever find the persons responsible. At that time, police suspected former HV members for the murder: Postic, Lazic, Mario Juric, a person nicknamed Bosanac and Tomislav Madi as the one giving the order. All these men, with the exception of Bosanac, have been taken into custody. Zoran Postic and Davor Lazic were members of Madi's units at the time, which already then was outside the HOS system and annexed to the 105th Bjelovar Brigade.

These two men hopped on a train, without their parents' knowledge, and went off to defend Croatia. The National Guard refused to take them because they were too young, so they headed off to the HOS headquarters in Zagreb. There they were sent to Vinkovci, where they spent a few days, and then transferred into the HOS unit commanded by Tomislav Madi. They slept in the rooms of the elementary school in Komletinci. On the evening of the murder, a man named Branko came to the room and asked for two volunteers. Lazic and Postic immediately volunteered. Branko lead them to Madi's command office. There they met a man named Starcevic, a driver in the unit, a person nicknamed Bosanac and Mario Juric. It was there that Madi informed them that there were assigned to kill some “weekend Chetniks” h knew. This was the Olujic family.
Radomir Olujic was manager of a grocery store in Cerna and his wife Anica, a Croat, worked as a bank teller. They were relatively well off. When Madi told the men gathered in his office what they were to do, he asked who would kill them. Postic and Lazic claimed that they refused to do it, but Bosanac and Juric accepted the task. Madi ordered them to change out of the camouflage uniforms and to put on former YNA army uniforms, as only in that way would the Chetniks let them into the house. They went to the warehouse and obtained uniforms and arms.

All the men received automatic rifles, Bosanac and Juric received silencers. Postic claims that he received an empty munitions case, but that Madi told him he would receive bullets later, which he never did, and he went off to action with an empty rifle. Lazic also claims that his rifle was empty. They also received three anti-tank mines, several sticks of explosives and a detonator, in order to bomb the house when they were finished. They were forced to leave all their personal documents behind at the base.

After they changed clothes, they sat in an old white Mercedes and Starcevic drove them to Cerna. There they parked and walked towards the Olujic home. The group was lead by Bosanac after the driver Starcevic told them where to go. They walked about fifteen minutes. The gate in front of the Olujic house was open and they walked right up to the front door. Bosanac knocked and Olujic opened the door. He let them into the house. Bosanac said that they were from the police and that they were there to search the house. Bosanac and Olujic headed towards the room at the end of the hallway. Olujic’s wife Anica said she would call the police, to which Bosanac bent down and ripped the telephone wires out of the wall. Bosanac ordered Postic and Lazic to stay in the hallway and to later search the bedroom, while he and Juric walked into the room where the massacre took place. Postic and Lazic laid the explosives down in the hallway and went into the bedroom. There they found a hunting rifle, ammunition, about 1500 DEM in small bills, documents, camouflage uniforms and a black beret with a Chetnik crest. Meanwhile, they heard screaming and shots from the next room. Postic went to see what had happened.

On the couches, he saw several lifeless bodies, with Bosanac and Juric standing above them. The scene was horrifying. The victims laid on the bed and couch – wherever the bullets happened to catch them. From the amount of blood, it appeared as though their throats had been cut. “I’ll never forget it. Human blood has a characteristic smell, it’s something you can never forget,” said one of the neighbours who saw the crime scene.

Immediately after the murder, Postic returned to the bedroom and wet his pants out of fear. He and Lazic just looked at one another for a while, then grabbed the things they had found and headed towards the car. They passed a solider check point, but weren’t stopped. Juric had previously said that he knew how to set up and activate explosives. However, he failed; the mines didn’t explode, giving police the opportunity to find concrete evidence tying the suspects to the murder scene after 14 years.

When they returned to Komletinci, all five men went to the Madi’s office. They placed the items from the raid onto Madi’s table, along with the pile of money. Postic and Lazic were unable to sleep. At dawn the next morning, Postic, Lazic, Madi and two other men went into a reconnaissance operation. Lazic feared for his life, as already then there was talk that no one would be permitted to leave the unit, and anyone wishing to do so would get a bullet in the back during a reconnaissance mission. When they returned, both men asked for a day off the following day. In the evening, the unit commander approached them and told them to go home the next day. That evening, Bosanac told Lazic to keep quiet about the entire incident, otherwise he would “rip out the throats” of him and his family. One day later, Madi told Postic and Lazic that they would have to leave the base as the action was not carried out properly – they failed to blow up the house. He gave each man 100 DEM. They arrived in Zagreb and each headed off on his own.

Both men later returned to the battlefield, though neither had any contact with Madi. Lazic claims that for years, he was haunted by fears of Madi, particularly since the newspapers then ran stories on Madi’s business career, which only further created the impression of influence.

The public knew nothing of the Olujic tragedy right up until September 2005, when the show ‘Latinica’ was broadcast on HTV on the topic of liquidation of political enemies in Croatia in the 1990s. After the piece about the family’s tragedy in that show, it was learned that in December 1998, an unknown man with a stocking pulled over his head knocked at the door of Olujic’s mother, Stojanka Olujic. He stared at her for a few moments and then left. Stojanka Olujic interpreted this visit as a death threat and reported the incident to police. Then she told police everything she knew about what happened to her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

Nothing concrete happened until 17 May 2006. At 7:30 that morning, police rang the doorbell of the apartment of Romeo Stuparic in Velika Gorica after learning from some local drug addicts, former HOS members, that Romeo Stuparic and Frano Gabric might know something about the Olujic case. As a member of HOS, Stuparic fought in Slavonia, where he was injured. He also fought at Kupres and in Operation Storm. He was sent into retirement in 2001. Today, he suffers from PTSP, fishes as a hobby and tries to be an ideal father to his five-year old child.

No one was home when police rang the door bell, so a neighbour called up Stuparic’s wife and told her that police were looking for them. When he learned what they were after, Stuparic bought a can of gas, poured it over himself and threatened to light himself on fire. He arrived in front of the building, called his friend Sasa Bozic, editor of the newspaper Glas Turopolje and said he would light himself on fire because he didn’t know what they were accusing him of. The police responded only after Bozic’s call. The drama on the balcony of the 8th floor where Stuparic lives lasted several hours. The incident ended well only after Stuparic received the promise that he would be questioned at the police station in Velika Gorica and not in Zagreb. His fellow HOS veteran Frano Gabric also came to convince him not to light himself on fire. Gabric was also questioned on suspicions that he participated in the murder. It is not known how police obtained this information. However, the investigation soon took on new direction and brought the horrible incident to light.

One day after the incident in Velika Gorica, Zoran Postic, one of the suspects in the Olujic murders, contacted Nacional through a mediator, offering information relating to the savage murders and warned that police had the wrong people in mind. The drama that Stuparic experienced stimulated Postic to speak out. He knew that Stuparic had nothing to do with the murders. His mediator first informed Nacional that he knew a great deal about the case and that he would be willing to speak up if the police took Stuparic into custody. Postic later refused to talk about the case, as the police did not arrest Stuparic.
After three months time, police suspected that Postic had participated in the liquidation of the family. Tomislav Madi was suspected as having given the order. Right up until his arrest, Madi lived a quiet family life with his wife and two young children and had a relatively successful career, having founded and run the companies Ekomas, Grata and Madi. One of these companies had planned to build some 40 vacation homes on Mt. Bjelolasica.

Ivica Zupkovic, Madi’s former commander in HOS revealed a few details about Madi for Nacional. Zupkovic was commander of the 1st HOS Brigade, which was later annexed to the 105th Bjelovar Brigade of HV, becoming its 6th Company. Zupkovic commented that Madi was always problematic. “As far as I can remember, Madi worked as a physical labourer at the local grain silo earlier. The rumour in Vinkovci was that he ran off to America after a traffic accident. There he gave himself the nickname ‘Chicago’ and called his unit this as well. He was very arrogant and always asking me to promote him to the rank of captain or major, though this never even crossed my mind. He was just a regular soldier. He was in HOS from 28 August to 31 December 1991. Since then, we’ve had differences on many occasions,” says Zupkovic.

Madi and his commander Zupkovic fought over the distribution of food and drinks. Once, a shipment of pears and apples arrived at HOS from Borinci. Zupkovic allocated five large boxes of fruit for Madi’s unit, but he asked for almost all of it. “In the end, I gave him nothing because he was so rude. What did he need all that fruit for? Same with water shipments. He asked for almost 3000 L of water for his 20 men, and cared nothing about the other men. In the end, he was left without water and fruit. I was very happy when he came to me in December 1991 and said he was leaving my unit. I don’t know what he did later, but I had him under my control while he was under my command. Of the other suspects, the only man I know is Juric. I am not surprised that he is among the suspects, because he is very primitive,” commented Zupkovic.

Zupkovic holds very systematic and detailed documentation on the activities of the HOS units at that time. Among them are documents on who was under Madi’s command and how much he earned. The HOS unit that Madi was a part of was on the Vinkovci battlefields from August to December 1991, as part of the 109th Vinkovci Brigade as the 6th Company ‘Marijan Baotic’. After the ceasefire, Madi and his HOS unit were transferred into the 109th Vinkovci Brigade under the command of the 105th Bjelovar Brigade, where he remained until the end of February 1992. In the meantime, while Madi and his unit were part of the 105th Bjelovar Brigade, the Olujic family was killed on 18 February 1992. Brigade Commander, Major Stanko Palic, did nothing to sanction the crime. However, no investigation is possible against him as he was killed on 8 September 1993 form a mine in the village Kusonje near Pakrac.
From 1 March 1992, Madi continued his military career in the units of the 2nd Guard Brigade and went into retirement in 1994. Nacional tried to contact Madi’s family. His mother first agreed to speak with us, but his wife refused. Madi’s mother only briefly commented that Madi knew who turned on him. However, this is not important for Madi now, as he is facing a well-deserved long prison sentence.

email to:Berislav Jelinic

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