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23 December 2015
News

Witnesses Describe Detention and Abuse in Bosniak Prison Facility in Potoci

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of five former members of the Bosnian Army accused of war crimes in Mostar said he was beaten several times by Bosniak forces in a school in Potoci.
Enes Curic, Ibrahim Demirovic, Samir Kreso, Habib Copelj and Mehmed Kaminic have been charged with participating in the detention of Croat civilians who were subjected to severe physical and mental mistreatment in the municipality of Mostar from June to December 1993.

According to the charges, Curic was a member of the 49th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army and the manager of a detention facility in a school building and other buildings in Potoci, Demirovic was the commander of the 47th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army, Kreso was the chief of the military medical unit of the Mountain Brigade which was active in the Bijelo Polje area, while Copelj and Kaminic were members of the Bosnian Army.

Demirovic is also charged with an incident of rape which occurred in Potoci.

State prosecution witness Stanko Bilic said Bosnian Army forces arrested him and his family in Lisani in the Mostar area on June 30, 1992. He said he and his wife and brother were taken to a house in Meka, where more Croat civilians were being held in detention.

Bilic said detainees weren’t taken away from the Meka house. He was then asked if he had given a statement to Bosnian police indicating that detainees had been taken away from the house. Bilic confirmed that he made that statement, but said he only heard that detainees were taken away.

After ten days of detention, Bilic said he was taken to Mostar and then to a school building in Potoci, which was being used as a detention facility.


“There were women with small kids and people who were 90 years old. There were about a hundred of us,” he said

Bilic said he was beaten by soldiers at the school several times.

During cross examination, Bilic said defendant Enes Curic was kind and helped people detained in the school .

“He almost died several times protecting us,” Bilic said.

Andja Bilic was also detained at the Potoci school during the war and was the second witness to testify at today’s hearing.

“Witness B was taken away. I don’t know by whom. They raped her, I saw her all sad and pitiful when she came back. She was taken away several times,” Bilic said.

She said male detainees held in the school building were forced to work. She said her brother in law was killed while performing forced labour.

The trial continues on January 13.
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