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19 November 2015

Witnesses Describe Abuse of Batkovic Prisoners at Bijeljina War Crimes Trial

Boris Sekulic BIRN BiH Bijeljina

Testifying at the trial of four former commanders and managers of a detention camp in Batkovic, a former prisoner said detainees were beaten and physically mistreated. The defendants have been charged with war crimes in Bijeljina.

Djoko Pajic, Petar Dmitrovic, Djordje Krstic and Ljubomir Misic have been charged with the abuse of detainees in 1992 and 1993.

The defendants performed the functions of manager, deputy manager, and guard commander at a detention camp in Batkovic.

Prosecution witness and former Batkovic prisoner Faruk Brodlic testified at today’s hearing. Brodlic told the district court of Bijeljina that he was beaten once during his four months of imprisonment in the detention camp managed by the defendants. He said some of the detainees died as a result of severe beatings.

“Two detainees fled. After that all of us had to sit down in the hangar and bow our heads. Soldiers then began beating our backs. I was hit in the back twice. The third blow was close to my neck, so I felt like I was starting to lose consciousness. The fourth blow was in the lower back area, so I didn’t end up fainting,” Brodlic said.

Brodlic said about 1000 detainees were in the hangar and all of them were beaten in this way.

Brodlic said some detainees were mistreated much more often and more brutally than the others, almost every day, and some died due as a result.

“I remember they carried a man known as Mesar out of the hangar in the morning, because he was dead. They had brought him in the night before. The man had been moaning the whole night,” Brodlic said. He said he didn’t know who beat and abused the detainees.

Brodlic did not recognize any of the defendants.

Fadil Lokmic, another witness for the prosecution, also said detainees were beaten and mistreated in the Batkovic detention camp. He said he didn’t want to discuss any details or names.

He said he was afraid of putting himself in danger, because he lives in Republika Srpska.

“The distance between Bijeljina and Osmaci is within the range of a good rifle, let alone something else,” Lokmic said.

The trial will continue on December 28.
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