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2 March 2016
News

Witnesses Describe Forced Labor of Detainees Held in Potoci School

Emina Dizdarevic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of five former Bosnian Army members said he was ordered to perform forced labour while being detained in a school in Potoci near Mostar.
Defendants Enes Curic, Ibrahim Demirovic, Mehmed Kaminic, Samir Kreso and Habib Copelj have been charged with participating in the detention of Croat civilians who were subjected to severe physical and mental mistreatment from June to December 1993.

According to the charges, Curic was a member of the 49th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army and was also a manager of detention facilities in Potoci. Demirovic was the commander of the 47th Mountain Brigade. Kreso was the chief of the medical section of a unit that was active in the territory of Bijelo Polje, while Copelj and Kaminic were members of the Bosnian Army.

Demirovic has also been charged with an incident of wartime rape in Potoci.

Stanko Drinovac testified at today’s hearing via video link from Mostar. Drinovac said he was detained in a school in Potoci and forced to dig trenches at the end of June 1993.

“I have no idea who decided who would work. They just came to the school and said, ‘You, to the work squad.’ Two or three persons didn’t make it alive from the work squad. Stanko died, I don’t recall his last name. A shot hit him in the head and wounded another man. We buried him near a house,” Drinovac said.

He said working on trenches was difficult because of the gunfire.

Marija Kozul also testified from Mostar. Kozul said that on the night of June 29 to 30, 1992, she was in her family home in Bijelo Polje near Mostar. She said she heard shots around her home and went to her neighbor’s home.
Kozul said her son was captured and taken away. She said she was transferred to a basement in a house. Over the next few weeks, she said she was taken to a mosque. She said she was taken to Mostar and finally returned to the school in Potoci.

“In Meke, we were apparently guarded by Eno Curic. The conditions were poor in the school, hunger, thirst…I didn’t see anyone I recognized. Eno Curic was with us for five months. Some men were taken away from the school. Some worked in the squad. Some died. Three died on Mount Cucurak. I saw them being taken away, but I don’t know by whom,” Kozul said.

Mare Silic also testified at this hearing, in the absence of the public.

The trial continues.
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