Jezik / Language:
26 April 2013

Cell Number Nine

Dragana Erjavec BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A Prosecution witness says at the trial for crimes in “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks in Sarajevo that he was physically and mentally mistreated during his detention, but he did not see indictees Ramiz Avdovic and Iulian-Nicolae Vintila.

Dragisa Andric told the Court that he was brought to the “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks in Sarajevo on August 27, 1992 and that he was put in a cell along with eight other persons. As he said, the cell was “narrow and small”, so the prisoners “could hardly fit in it”.
“I was the ninth person in the cell number nine. I do not know how we even fitted in it. We slept like sardines in a can. When twelve of us were held in that room, we had to lie on top of each others,” Andric explained.
He confirmed that he was beaten up several times and taken to other locations in order to perform physical labour during his 13-day detention in “Viktor Bubanj” barracks.
“They would hit us, but we did not know why. They did it with their legs, hands and all sorts of objects. There were no rules. We did not see who hit us. It did not even occur to us to take a look at those people,” the witness said.
Describing the conditions in the former barracks, the witness said that they were “bad and horrible”, that the food was of bad quality and that there was not enough water. 
“We used to get some tea in the morning and a loaf of bread, which we had to divide into 15 pieces. The second meal was some water that sometimes smelled like kidney beans and, at other times, we did not even know what it really was. I lost about 20 kilograms during the 13-day detention,” Andric said.
Ramiz Avdovic and Iulian-Nicolae Vintila are charged with crimes in the former “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks. According to the charges, they participated, as members of a joint criminal enterprise, in the establishment and maintenance of a system for abuse of Serb civilians in the period from June to the end of November 1992.
The indictment alleges that Avdovic was Commander of guards on the fifth floor of the District Prison in Sarajevo and former “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks, while Vintila was a cook and guard in the former barracks. 
When asked whether he knew Avdovic and Vintila, Andric answered negatively.
Ramiz Borcak, who worked as a guard in the “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks as of December 1992, testified at this hearing too.
During his testimony Borcak said that Ramiz Avdovic was not Commander of guards and that no such function existed.
“There was no commander of guards. Ramiz Avdovic was a link with the Barracks Manager, but no such commander officially existed. I think that he had no important role in the barracks. The Manager was the only person, who could make decisions,” Borcak said.
The Trial Chamber asked the Prosecutor why this witness had been invited to testify, considering the fact that he began working as a guard in “Viktor Bubanj” in December 1992, while the indictment covered the period until November that year.
The trial is due to continue on May 10.

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