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23 March 2009
News

Bastah et al: Susica Concentration Center

BIRN BiH
A former technician at the police station in Vlasenica says that he "did not know" that Bastah participated in the capture of Bosniaks.
Testifying as a witness for Predrag Bastah's Defence at the trial for crimes committed in Vlasenica, Milanko Sorgic said that he was not aware that Bosniaks from Vlasenica had been detained in the police station. He said he thought they had been "invited to come there to hand over their weapons, just like all other people".

"I heard about Susica detention camp only after the end of the war. I read in the media that this was a camp. During the course of the war I was told that this was a concentration center, whose purpose was to protect citizens. I never visited it," the witness said.

The State Prosecution charges Predrag Bastah, a former member of the reserve police forces, and Goran Viskovic, a former member of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, with a number of crimes committed in Vlasenica in the course of 1992 and "actions that contributed to the functioning of a detention camp abuse system" in Susica camp and other prisons in Vlasenica.

"I used to see people in the station, but the situation was chaotic so I did not know who those people were. I spent very little time there, because the crime service was in disorder," Sorgic said.

He said the war in Vlasenica began in April 1992 after "the Novi sad Corps had entered the town". After that all citizens were asked to hand in their weapons".

"I also went there to hand over my weapons. Some people, with masks on their faces, took it from me, recommending that I put a white stripe and a Serb flag on my sleeve, for my own safety," the witness added.

Answering questions pertaining to the first indictee, Sorgic said that he had known the Bastah family "from before the war", adding that he knew that Predrag Bastah was a member of the police forces, but he could not confirm what his function was.

When asked by Bastah's Defence about the competencies of the reserve police forces, Sorgic said that he thought that reserve policemen "did not capture people without warrants", adding that he did not have any responsibility for captured people after having "handed them over to a duty officer".

The trial is due to continue on March 26, 2009.
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