Jezik / Language:
5 March 2014

Bosniak Prisoner ‘Assaulted’ at Bijeljina’s Batkovic Camp

Boris Sekulic BIRN BiH Bijeljina
An ex-prisoner told the trial of four former Serb guards accused of abusing inmates at the Batkovic camp in north-east Bosnia in 1992 that one guard hit him for around ten days in a row.
Prosecution witness Fikret Malovcic told the trial in Bijeljina on Wednesday that he was captured at his home in Sanski Most on June 1, 1992 and taken to the Manjaca detention camp.

In December, he said, he was sent to Batkovic with more than 500 other detainees, in anticipation of their release as part of a prisoner exchange.

Malovcic, who was a singer before the war, said that conditions at Batkovic were much better compared to the camp in Manjaca, but one of the guards hit him every day.

“Every morning he would call me: ‘You, singer, come over here’, and he would slap me, asking why I was peeking through the wire [surrounding the camp]. Everyone who was near at that moment could see that,” said the witness.

He also said that he was once beaten by police because a prisoner escaped while they were doing forced labour in Bijeljina.

Alleged former camp guards Djoko Pajic, Petar Dmitrovic, Djordje Krstic and Ljubomir Misic are standing trial for beating and abusing prisoners, among them civilians, wounded people and prisoners of war at Batkovic in 1992 and 1993.

When asked by the accused Pajic why he did not report the abuse, the witness replied that he did not dare because he was scared that other guards would abuse him, or that much worse things might happen to him.

Three other former Batkovic prisoners, Nihad Kljucanic, Osman Talic and Redzo Kurlebovic, also testified on Wednesday, saying they were taken to do forced labour in and around Bijeljina, as well as on the frontlines where they had to dig trenches and deliver ammunition for Bosnian Serb Army.

During cross-examination, they said that they were not physically abused at the camp, but they heard that some of the guards beat and abused prisoners.

All four witnesses identified defendant Pajic as the camp’s manager but they could not link him with any of the incidents they mentioned in their statements.

The trial is due to continue on April 9.

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