Jezik / Language:
28 March 2014

Defendant Was Shortly On Guard Duty

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying on his own behalf, defendant Ramiz Avdovic said he was a guard only for a short period of time in the Viktor Bubanj army barracks, because he was assigned with other jobs, and that he was not even present in the Central Prison in 1992.

Avdovic said that he first came to the Viktor Bubanj barracks on June 10, 1992, when Besim Muderizovic sent him there with a group of people to clean the facility. When the cleaning of the building was towards its end, as the defendant described it, he was told prisoners would be brought in.

“Besim  told us prisoners are being transferred here from the Central Prison. A lot of us was there and Besim told us who would be doing what. It was late June or early July. I was assigned with keeping the notes on which prisoner is put in which cell,” said the defendant.

Avdovic is on trial, together with Iulian-Nicolae Vintila, for crimes committed in Viktor Bubanj and Central Prison in Sarajevo. They are charged with establishing and maintaining the system of abuse of Serb civilians.

The prosecution believes that the imprisoned civilians were exposed to suffering, torture and forced labour. According to the indictment, Avdovic was guard commander on the fifth floor of the District Prison in Sarajevo and former army barracks Viktor Bubanj, while Vintila was a cook and guard in former barracks.

Avdovic said that Ismet Bajramovic was commander of security of “imprisoned aggressor’s soldiers”, and that only later was Besim Muderizovic appointed security commander in Viktor Bubanj. Muderizovic was on trial together with Avdovic and Vintila, but he died eight months after the start of trial.

The defendant said that after Muderizovic assigned him with brining in food and water, and taking prisoners to the doctor, he stopped being a guard. He said he did all those jobs on Muderizovic’s orders.

He added that prisoners were being brought to Viktor Bubanj with visible injuries.

“One should be honest and admit that in those time it was difficult being a Serb in Sarajevo, just as it was difficult being a Muslim in Foca. People were being arrested, transferred to various places for a month, and then brought in here. They were brought in a poor shape,” he said, adding that they were being brought in by the military police.

He said that prisoners were cleaning the facility, but that he did not know about them being taken to do hard labour outside of the barracks. Speaking about the conditions of their stay in the barracks, the defendant said that there was hunger in Sarajevo at the time, and there was not enough food for anyone.

At the beginning of the trial he said that in early days of war he lived in Foca and from there he came to Sarajevo in late April 1992, joining the Territorial Defence. Up until early June 1992, he said, he was a guard in Tito’s Street. Asked by the Trial Chamber whether in 1992 he was in Central Prison, he said he was not.
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