Jezik / Language:
13 May 2016

Witness Recalls Killings and Abuse in Kotor Varos

Emina Dizdarevic BIRN Sarajevo
At the trial of six former Bosnian Serb soldiers for wartime crimes in Kotor Varos, a prosecution witness recalled the arrests, abuse and killings of Bosniak and Croat men in June 1992.

Witness Sejfo Bilic told the state court in Sarajevo on Friday that he left his village of Kukavice near Kotor Varos on June 10, 1992 to hide in the woods after the Bosnian Serb Army started attacks.

In mid-June however, he was arrested and then released and allowed to go back home.

“The army and police came and searched the area non-stop… That lasted for ten days,” he said.

“I was woken on June 25 by an explosion, yells, guns… They detained about 100 men, Bosniaks and some Croats…. After that they torched houses and killed five people in front of [a man called] Stipe’s garage,” he added.

He added that after two hours the men were taken to the local hospital. Some 25 of them were killed on the way.

“We were sentenced to death. They beat us in front of the ambulance. I saw many uniforms. They beat us in front of the old building of the emergency room. It lasted for hours,” he said.

Bosko Peulic, Slobodan Zupljanin, Aleksandar Petrovic, Manojlo Tepic, Janko Trivic and Nedeljko Dukanovic are charged with taking part in a widespread and systematic attack against non-Serbs in Kotor Varos.

Also on Friday, a protected prosecution witness told the trial of former detention centre warden Edhem Zilic that he was psychologically, physically and sexually in the Musala detention centre in Konjic.

“We were brought to Musala and a man came and introduced himself as Edhem Zilic. He said he was warden. I remember his black boots and I will never forget him,” said the protected witness codenamed S3.

He added that prisoners were taken to Zilic for questioning. He was also questioned there and asked to admit that he raped someone.
“We were brutally beaten that time. The warden hit me first. He kicked me in the ribs and in the kidneys and I lost consciousness. When I came to, he took my head and banged it against the wall,” said S3.

S3 also recalled how one Friday in 1993, two guards, ordered him and another prisoner to kneel and have oral sex with each other.
“We had to do it. They beat us… We were not living beings then,” said S3.

Zilic is charged with ordering, enabling and not stopping the inhumane treatment of Croat and Serb prisoners at the Musala detention centre in Konjic.

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