Jezik / Language:
16 January 2007

Mandic: Separation of Bosniak detainees in Foca

Prosecution witnesses have told the Court how inmates at the Foca correctional facility were divided by ethnicity.
Three prosecution witnesses in the case against Momcilo Mandic have said that, during 1992, Bosniaks were detained in a separate area of the Foca correctional facility.

Mandic is charged that, as former justice minister of the former Srpska Republika BiH, he was responsible for the formation and operation of detention camps in Butmir and Foca. 

According to the indictment, detained non-Serbs were kept in inhumane conditions in the two camps that served as prisons during the war, suffered abuse and were forced to perform various jobs.

Mandic, as well as other detainees, continues to refuse to attend the hearings.  Some indictees are still on a hunger strike, which began on January 8, as a sign of their dissatisfaction in regards to the application of the new Criminal Code of BiH. 

Witness Lazar Stojanovic, a Serb, was serving a prison sentence for murdering three persons when the war began.  According to him, imprisoned Serbs served their sentence in one part of the Foca facility, while Bosniaks, who were being brought in from 1992 onward, were detained in separate facilities. 

"We didn't see them often and I think they were hidden so that someone wouldn't kill them on the street," Stojanovic said and added that he does not know who "hid" these civilians.

The second witness Radomir Dolas, also of Serb nationality, worked in the printing house at the Foca correctional facility, when the Bosniaks were being brought in.  Dolas also said that these detainees were put in separate facilities. 

"The guards were fair towards those civilians and 'third parties' were strictly forbidden from entering the part where they were," this witness said.

Witness Juso Selimovic described how in April 1992 members of Beli orlovi (White Eagles) unit took him from Zubovici village, Foca municipality, to the correctional facility, where he stayed until August of the same year.

The witness told the Trial Chamber heard of the very poor conditions he and other detainees were held in, and said that guards beat some of the detainees.

"They beat one guy from my cell so badly he could not get up for 15 days," Selimovic claims.

As Selimovic said, at the end of August 1992, he was transferred by bus to Ploce, Croatia, then to Titograd (today Podgorica), Montenegro, and finally to Novi Pazar, Serbia.

"When we arrived, they just told us to get off the bus and they left," the witness concluded.

None of the witnesses said that they saw Mandic in the Foca correctional facility.

The trial will continue on January 16.
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