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20 August 2013

Defence Witnesses Speak about Abusers in Uzamnica

Marija Tausan BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The first Defence witnesses in the trial of Oliver Krsmanovic’s say that they were abused during their detention in Uzamnica military barracks in Visegrad in 1992, but they do not mention the indictee.
Witness Nurko Dervisevic spent 28 months in a warehouse next to the barracks. He said that he was hit several times while he was in Uzamnica, but that other detainees were beaten much more.

“I knew Oliver a little bit. I did not see him. I do not know if he was there or not. I did not hear anybody mentioning him,” he said.  

When Prosecutor Mirko Lecic presented the witness with his statement given during the investigation in 2011, the witness confirmed that he said, at the time, that a detainee mentioned to him that Krsmanovic had visited the place.

The indictment charges Krsmanovic, former member of the Second Podrinje Light Infantry Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, with having participated in the torture of civilians in the military barracks, along with Milan Lukic, whom the Hague Tribunal sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes committed in Visegrad.

A statement given by witness Adem Berberovic, who currently lives in the USA, was read in the courtroom. Just like witness Dervisevic, he confirmed that Saban Muratagic was detained with them and that Muratagic “collaborated with Serbs” and beat other Bosniaks.  

In his statement, which the State Prosecution previously included as evidence, Muratagic, who has since died, said that the indictee was among a group of people who used to come in the evening in order to beat detainees.
Witness Berberovic said that they were beaten by guards, as well as soldiers, who used to come from other places. Some of the detainees did not survive the beating, while others went missing after having been taken away. He said that they were once forced to rape women.  

“They beat me so many times that I cannot remember each single case. When Stojan replaced Djuro Djurisic as military barracks Commander, they did not beat us as much as before… Milan and his soldiers beat me up many times. Guards would let them enter the hangar. They did not beat Saban. Lukic once took four men out. They never came back,” Berberovic said.
The witness said that Lukic was accompanied by Milos and Sredoje Lukic, Budimir Kovacevic and a certain Sekaric from Gorazde.

Prosecutor Lecic did not object to the inclusion of this statement as evidence, but he mentioned that Berberovic testified against Lukic and that he was not asked about others. Defence attorney Slavisa Prodanovic responded by saying that the witness named the people who used to accompany him.  

The Prosecutor said that, in his statement given to the “Women, Victims of War” Association in 2008, Berberovic listed 16 persons, who “committed mistreatment”, and that the indictee was one of them.  

The trial of Krsmanovic, who is also charged with murders, rape and forced disappearances of the Bosniak population from Visegrad, is due to continue on August 27.
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