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30 September 2015
News

Witness Describes Abuse and Forced Labour of Bijelo Polje Prisoners

Emina Dizdarevic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of five former members of the Bosnian Army said he was ordered to perform forced labour during his detention in Bijelo Polje in Mostar.
Enes Curic, Ibrahim Demirovic, Samir Kreso, Habib Copelj and Mehmed Kaminic have been charged with participating in the unlawful arrest and detention of Croat civilians in the municipality of Mostar from June to December 1993.

Curic was a member of the 49th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army and the manager of a detention facility in a school and other buildings in Potoci. Demirovic was the commander of the 47th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army. Kreso was the head of medical services with the military unit of the Mountain Brigade (active in the Bijelo Polje area), while Copelj and Kaminic were members of the Bosnian Army.

Demirovic, who was also a member of the 449th Eastern Herzegovina Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army, has been charged with the rape of a woman in Potoci in 1993.

State prosecution witness and former Bosnian Croat Army member Alen Rozic testified at today’s hearing. Rozic said in June 1993 he was captured as a prisoner of war by the Bosnian Army.

“I spent several days in Meke in a house. There were Croat civilians there. After that, 15 of us able bodied men were taken to Skender. We were taken to work there every day. We were taken by the Bosnian Army’s military police,” Rozic said.

He said he was later taken to a school in Bijelo Polje to continue his detention. He said the school held 108 detained civilians. He said the conditions in the school were poor and they slept on the floor.

“Curic was in charge of taking civilians. Every day the military police came. He let police enter the halls and he was with them,” Rozic said.

Rozic said he heard Hebib Copelj took a protected witness known as B and Mladenka Nikolic out of the school to clean houses.

Prosecutor Stanko Blagic read a statement Rozic gave in 2006, in which he said that Ibrahim Demirovic took female prisoners out of the school. Rozic confirmed this statement.

Rozic said he didn’t know if anyone gave Curic orders. He said Curic never made them do forced labor.

“Curic always came with military police,” Rozic said.

The trial will resume on October 14.
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