Jezik / Language:
16 December 2014

Same Meals for Everybody

Dragana Erjavec BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial for crimes in “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks in Sarajevo, a Defence witness says that, over the course of two years she never saw or heard that indictee Iulian-Nicolae Vintila or anybody else beat or physically mistreated detainees.

Emina Maksic, who worked as a cook in “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks in Sarajevo as of June 1992, told the Court that she used to make two meals each day together with other cooks – Vintila and Safet Kovac. The meals were made for detainees and staff members in “Viktor Bubanj” barracks.
As she explained, not many ingredients were available at that time, but everybody, with no exceptions, used to get identical meals.
“We ate rice, lentil, pasta and beans. Those were the main ingredients from which we cooked at least one hot dish each day. We used to serve two slices of bread, some kind of cheese sometimes and tea for breakfast. Everybody received the same meals, including us, the workers, and those, who were detained in that building,” witness Maksic explained.  
As she continued testifying, she mentioned that it had never happened, during her work in the “Viktor Bubanj” barracks kitchen, that detainees failed to get their meal, pointing out that the living conditions in Sarajevo were difficult at the time and that nobody had as much food as they needed.
Vintila and Ramiz Avdovic are on trial with having participated in the establishment and maintenance of a system for abuse of Serb civilians from June to the end of November 1992.
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, 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. 
Responding to the Prosecution’s questions during the cross-examination, the witness said that she worked in the barracks until June 1994 and that she could not remember exactly when indictee Vintila stopped working as a cook and became a guard. 
“I do not remember the period, when Vintila left the kitchen. I only remember seeing him in a white cook’s uniform in the kitchen. I never noticed that he had boots. He always had slippers. That is how I remember him on the first day of my work and the last day too,” Maksic explained. 
She explained that Vintila and cook Kovac always distributed food to prisoners, adding that she was not allowed to access the part where the cells and prisoners were. 
She confirmed that she knew that “Viktor Bubanj” military barracks was a military detention unit. According to her testimony, Serb and Bosniak detainees were held in it.
The trial is due to continue on January 13, 2015.

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