Jezik / Language:
30 October 2006

Andrun: Witness claim indictee was only a soldier

Three defence witnesses spoke of their experience in Gabela detention camp and stated that they are not aware that the indictee was anything more than a simple soldier.
Three former camp inmates from Gabela have testified in favour of the defence of Nikola Andrun, former deputy camp who is accused with torture and murder of camp inmates.

Omer Torlo told the court that he was arrested on July 14, 1993 and taken to Gabela camp, where he spent the next 44 days. As he was sick he did not have to act as forced labour, nor did he leave the camp. He also claims that he was set free thanks to Andrun on August 28, 1993, immediately after a visit of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"I asked of them to take me with them because I was sick.  Then Andrun also asked them to take me with them because I was his neighbour," Torlo said and thanked the indictee in the courtroom for that.

On July 14, 1993 Ramiz Torlo was taken to Dretelj detention camp, which was also controlled by members of Croat defence council (HVO) and which was formed at the time of disputes between Army of BiH and HVO.  He was detained in Dretelj for nine months, after which he was transferred to Gabela.

He claims that during the time he spent in Gabela, camp inmates were not forced to work but rather acted as voluntary labour.

"I rather liked going out to get some fresh air and cut woods than stay in the camp," Ramiz Torlo said, adding that nobody tortured them during that time.

Emir Sabanovic, also a former camp inmate from Gabela, says that they were taken to act as forced labour.

"We did volunteer for work but had we not volunteered they probably would have taken us by force," Sabanovic said.

All three witnesses said that Andrun did not beat or torture them and that they are not aware that he did so to anybody else in the camp. They also said that, as far as they knew, the indictee was "only a soldier".

The defence is trying to prove that Andrun was not deputy warden of the detention camp, as is stated in the indictment.

Ramiz Torlo said that in Gabela camp the "monitors" treated the inmates worse than the HVO soldiers did.

"The monitors were Bosniaks who searched us when we would come back from work.  They often abused us in the camp as well.  They were worse than the soldiers," Torlo said and admitted that indictee Andrun was always present during the search of the inmates.

The trial will be continued on November 6, 2006.
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