Jezik / Language:
25 July 2006

Inmates recall beatings administred by Damjanovic

Prosecution witnesses say the former Serb fighter assaulted camp inmates and took away one prisoner who was later seen dead.
Three Prosecution witnesses have testified before the Bosnian State Court that the former Serb fighter Dragan Damjanovic beat inmates at the Planjina kuca camp in Semizovac, in the municipality of Vogosca.

Two of the witnesses were able to identify Damjanovic, who is accused of crimes against civilians, in court.

Bego Selimovic, Izet (Huso) Sehic and Izet (Hasan) Sehic said they spent a number of months at the Planjina kuca camp after Serb forces took them from their homes in Ilijas in May 1992. The 100-odd inmates who were held at the facility, they said, were subjected to forced labour and were sometimes used as human shields.

The three agreed that Damjanovic took the inmates to carry out forced labour, and that he beat and insulted them.

“Dragan took us to forced labour. He always cursed at us and beat us,” Izet (Huso) Sehic told the court, adding that the prisoners were also forced to sing “Chetnik songs”.

The witnesses also spoke about the torture of teacher Zahid Barucija, who prosecutors say Damjanovic later murdered.

Selimovic recalled a confrontation between Damjanovic and Barucija, in which the accused apparently berated his former teacher for refusing to give him good grades.

On January 25, 1993, the witness said, Damjanovic and another soldier referred to as Bosko took Barucija away to an unknown location.The next time Selimovic saw Barucija was a few days later, when he and another inmate were made to bury his body and the bodies of two other civilians, one of whom had been decapitated.

Izet (Hasan) Sehic told the court that when he first saw Damjanovic at the Planjina kuca camp, the accused introduced himself as “an independent Chetnik”. The witness said he didn’t know Damjanovic before the war, adding, “I would be happiest if I had never met him at all.”

During Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutor Vaso Marinkovic announced that the State Commission for Missing Persons had discovered a mass grave containing the remains of five people at Zuc hill. It was possible, he said, that these were the remains of persons who Damjanovic is accused of murdering. The identities of the bodies will only become clear once they have been exhumed and examined.

Also on Tuesday, witness Izet (Huso) Sehic spoke about a visit by the former Bosnian Serb justice minister Momcilo Mandicto a school in Podlugovi where he and other inmates were held temporarily. The witness said the politician addressed the prisoners and introduced himself.

Mandic recently pleaded not guilty to war crimes charges before the State Court.

Damjanovic’s trial is set to continue on July 28.
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