Jezik / Language:
14 April 2016

Ljubuski Jail Guard ‘Used Prisoner as Target’

BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A witness at the trial of seven former guards at a wartime prison in Ljubuski said he was kept in filthy conditions and used as a target for shooting practice by one guard.

Prosecution witness Mirsad Brzina told the state court in Sarajevo on Thursday that he was detained in filthy conditions at the Ljubuski prison in November 1993 in one of the cells that were each packed with 15 people.

“We had lice, big wounds on our bodies and scabs,” Brzina said.

“Sometimes we had nothing to eat for two days in a row. We bathed for the first time two months after our arrival, when some changes were introduced in the prison,” he added.

He also accused a guard of using him for target practice.

“Some time in December, they took me out in order to wash a soldier’s car. He then ordered me to take a sponge and spread my arms. He shot at the sponge, practicing shooting,” Brzina said.

He said he could not remember who the wardens of the prisons were, but he heard their names were “Mato and Skender”. The witness also said he knew defendant Ivan Kraljevic from before the war.
Kraljevic, Mato Jelcic, Slavko Skender, Stojan Odak, Vice Bebek, Vinko Radisic and Dragan Milos have been charged with torturing, abusing and holding civilians and prisoners of war in inhumane conditions.

According to the charges, Kraljevic, Jelcic and Skender were managers of the prison in Ljubuski at various times from September 1993 to March 1994, while the other defendants were guards.

Also on Thursday, the trial of Serb policeman Milan Bogdanovic for crimes against humanity in the Srebrenica area in the summer of 1995 opened at the state court.

According to the charges, Bogdanovic, a retired physical education teacher from Srebrenica, participated in the persecution of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, as well as murders, forcible resettlement and the detention and disappearance of civilians from July 10 to October 1995.

The indictment alleges that, as commander of the Sixth Company of the Special Police Unit from Zvornik, Bogdanovic commanded and supervised activities undertaken by his subordinates, who participated in the capture of Bosniaks.

“Following an attack on the [UN] protected zone of Srebrenica, Bogdanovic participated in the capture and examination of Bosniaks at the cross-roads in Konjevic Polje. The Bosniaks were then taken towards Cerska and Nova Kasaba,” state prosecutor Predrag Tomic said.

“Fifty Bosniaks were killed, loaded onto excavator buckets and buried in Cerska. Only one person survived the shooting,” Tomic added.

Bogdanovic’s defence lawyer Petko Pavlovic said he would refute all the state prosecution’s evidence and that none of the counts would be proved.

“Three different police units, as well as several different military units, were active in the Konjevic Polje area at that time. Bogdanovic and his subordinates did not do anything personally. He had no information that crimes were committed,” Pavlovic said.

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