Jezik / Language:
23 March 2015

Witness Describes Detainee Abuse at Susica Detention Camp

Lamija Grebo BIRN BiH Sarajevo

At today’s hearing of the Zarije Ostojic trial, an Eastern Sarajevo district prosecution witness said the defendant took a detainee out of a hangar and beat him.

Zarije Ostojic, a former member of the reserve police forces of the Special Unit of the Public Safety Station in Vlasenica, has been charged with participating in the assault of civilians in the Susica detention camp in 1992.

The indictment alleges that Ostojic, who was accompanied by other members of his formation, took Bosniaks out of the Susica detention camp and beat them with their fists and legs, as well as with police batons and rifle butts.

The witness, Zijad Zimic, said the Bosnian Serb Army collected all of the men from his village in June 1992. He said he and his neighbours were taken to the Susica detention camp. He was a minor at the time.

Zimic said they were the first detainees to arrive at the Susica detention camp, and that the hangar they were detained in was filled with new people every day. He said most of the detainees were able-bodied men, capable of serving in the army.

According to Zimic, Ostojic once took detainee Mirsad Ombasic out of the hangar. He heard cries of pain. Zimic said their confrontation was probably preceded by “a conflict they had prior to the war.”

“When Mirsad came back his arm was bent and he was crying. He said Zarije had done that to him,” Zimic said.

Zimic recalled another occasion in which Ostojic singled out Ombasic, while detainees were walking in a line towards the toilet. Ostojic allegedly took Ombasic out of the line, and then beat him with his fists and legs. Zimic said he sneaked a look at them while walking past them.

“Nothing happened to me personally except for a slap I got in passing,” Zimic said. He said Goran Pajic recognized him in the hangar and said “nobody was allowed to cause him any harm.”

The defense asked Zimic how he could see Ostojic and Ombasic, considering the fact that detainees were ordered to look down. Zimic said the line of detainees passed close to where he was standing.

Testifying at the same hearing, witness Faruk Kikic said he saw members of the Bosnian Serb Army take all the residents of one street in his town to detention camps in the beginning of June 1992. He said he wasn’t detained, because soldiers didn’t come to his house.

Kicic said that he knew Ostojic by sight, adding that they “still see each other in Vlasenica”.

The trial will continue on April 15.

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