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13 January 2016
News

Former Bosnian Army Prisoners Describe Rape of Protected Witness in Potoci

Emina Dizdarević BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial of five former members of the Bosnian Army charged with committing crimes in the Mostar area in 1993, a state prosecution witness said a protected witness known as B was taken out of a school building used as a detention facility several times and raped.

Enes Curic, Ibrahim Demirovic, Samir Kreso, Habib Copelj and Mehmed Kaminic have been charged with participating in the detention of Croat civilians who were subjected to severe physical and mental mistreatment in the municipality of Mostar from June to December 1993.

According to the charges, Curic was a member of the 49th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army and the manager of a detention facility in a school building and other buildings in Potoci, Demirovic was the commander of the 47th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army, Kreso was the chief of the military medical unit of the Mountain Brigade which was active in the Bijelo Polje area, while Copelj and Kaminic were members of the Bosnian Army.

Demirovic is also charged with an incident of rape which occurred in Potoci.

State prosecution witness Anica Grgic said she and her family were captured on June 30, 1993 and taken to a house in Meke in the municipality of Mostar, where they were detained for 15 days. They were then transferred to Mostar, where they remained for another 15 days before being sent to a school building in Potoci which was used as a detention site.

Grgic said civilian prisoners were taken out of the school to dig trenches and that women had to clean houses. She said younger women and girls were taken out of the school building at night.

“Person B was taken out at night as well. They would call out her name and she would leave. When she came back, I could see how she looked. She was exhausted. She would just lie down and keep quiet. We could assume the worst thing happened to her. You know what they do to girls and that rape happens. She was 22. She was a nice and pretty person,” Grgic said.

Responding to questions from the trial chamber, Grgic said she was present when B was taken away, but she could never talk to her about what happened to her.

“It wasn’t until this trial began that she admitted it and told me she had been raped. I can’t remember the name of the person who raped her,” she said.

Grgic said she knew Enes Curic and that according to rumour he was in charge of the school building.

State prosecution witness Mario Grgic was the second witness to testify at today’s hearing. Grgic said he was taken to Meke in late June 1993, transferred to Mostar and then sent to the school building in Potoci.

“Eno Curic was there. They introduced him as the manager. We assumed that. We were given such an impression,” he said.

Grgic said B was taken out of the school, but she didn’t talk about it. He said she was traumatized and shaken.

“She would assume a fetal position, lie down. She did not speak. I don’t know how many times she was taken out. Several times. A soldier would come and call out her name. She had to go. This would happen in the evening. She would return later in the night or in the morning,” Grgic said.

The trial will continue on January 21.

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