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11 April 2016
News

Bosnian Army Troops ‘Beat and Abused’ Vitez Prisoners

BIRN BiH Sarajevo

At the trial of five former Bosnian Army soldiers for wartime prisoner abuse in the Vitez area, a prosecution witness testified that he was beaten up and subjected to a mock execution.

Witness Nenad Krizanovic told the state court on Monday that he was 16 when he was captured while making hay near his home village Gacice on July 1, 1993, and then transferred along with other captives to the Crna Kuca prison in the village of Kruscica near Vitez.

The witness said defendant Saban Haskic beat up his cousin Stipe Krizanovic immediately after they arrived at the prison, but apologised to him later on because he had mixed him up with somebody else.

According to the witness, Haskic also organized of a mock execution of prisoners.

Haskic, along with defendants Minet Akeljic, Senad Bilal, Hazim Patkovic and Semsudin Djelilovic, is charged with having mentally and physically abused Croat civilians and prisoners of war in the village of Kruscica from July to November 1993.

According to the charges, they were military policemen with the First Battalion of the 325th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army.

Witness Krizanovic identified all the defendants except Djelilovic in the courtroom as the policemen at the Kruscica prison.

He said the prisoners were most often beaten by Bilal and Patkovic, who used to hit them with rubber batons, punch them and kick them.

Krizanovic said Bilal and Patkovic used him for “karate training”, hitting him all over his body, except in the face, so representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross would not notice the injuries.

Also on Monday, after a break in the trial lasting more than a year, the state court separated the proceedings against Dragoslav Bojic from the case against five other defendants charged with crimes in Kotor-Varos.

Bojic’s health condition was the reason cited by the court in its decision to split his case from the others’.

The last witness at this trial was examined in February 2015, because the court was waiting for Bojic to complete his current course of chemotherapy.

Several hearings were held in the meantime, at which a court expert said he believed Bojic would be able to attend the trial after his recovery.

But at Monday’s hearing, defence lawyer Milan Romanic said Bojic would need to undergo a new course of chemotherapy or medical treatment somewhere else.

Bojic is charged, alongside Savo Tepic, Dusko Maksimovic, Dusko Vujicic, Radojko Keverovic and Ilija Kurusic, with having participated in detention, torture and other inhumane acts against Bosniaks and Croats in Kotor-Varos.

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