Jezik / Language:
24 February 2016

Former Prisoner Describes Severe Abuse in Livno School Building

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial of three Bosnian Croat fighters charged with crimes in Livno, a state prosecution witness said he was beaten during his detention in the Ivan Goran Kovacic school building.

Defendants Zdenko Andabak, Muamir Jasarevic and Sead Velagic are on trial for the detention, torture and murder of Serb civilians in the Ivan Goran Kovacic school building in 1992. The indictment against them contains 29 counts.

According to the charges, Andabak was the commander of military police with the Croatian Defense Council for the North-Western Herzegovina Operational Zone, Jasarevic was his deputy, while Velagic was a member of the crime service sector of the Croatian Defense Council’s military police.

Testifying at today’s hearing, a protected witness known as S-1 said policeman Tomislav Garic brought him to the Ivan Goran Kovacic school as a prisoner.

“Garic asked me about policeman Milenko Brkanic, a colleague of his. He said, ‘You shall start talking.’ He then ordered them to beat me. I remember Ibrahimovic and him from the school building. They abused me. There were three or four other men as well,” S-1 said. He said he was punched, kicked and beaten with other objects.

S-1 said his ribs were broken and he experienced trauma and stress as a result of the abuse he endured. He said he had undergone medical treatment for seven years.

“I spent one night at a hospital after having been brought there from the prison. The hospital director threw me out, saying, ‘I don’t want to treat Chetniks.’ A surgeon didn’t dare write down that my ribs were broken, but he said that to my wife,” S-1 said.

The state prosecution included voluminous medical documentation referring to S-1 in the case file.

Also testifying at today’s hearing, Kosta Pajcin said he was detained in the school building in Livno for about ten days in late August 1992. He said he was taken out of the school in order to perform forced labour, but wasn’t beaten or abused.

“I heard that all sorts of things had happened prior to my arrival,” he said.

Pajcin said the gym he was detained in was filled with men. He said a group of detainees referred to the celavci (the “bald men”) were held in a separate room behind bars.

Pajcin said he thought a man named Ibrahimovic was the chief of the school. He said he heard about Zdenko Andabak as well, but didn’t know him.

He said he stayed in Livno after having been released from the school building.

The trial will continue on March 2.
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