Jezik / Language:
22 August 2013

Prisoner Recalls Good and Bad Guards in Silos

Amer Jahic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
At the trial for crimes committed in Hadzici, a prosecution witness recalled the different treatment he and others experienced in the Silos camp.

Jovo Krstic, villager from Do, near Tarcin, said he was brought to the Silos camp in May 1992 along with ten neighbours, after police arrived seeking weapons of Serb civilians.

Krstic said that on arrival they were greeted by Becir Hujic, the warden of the Silos. He also said he was beaten after interrogation, several days later.

“The guy from Sandzak [in southwest Serbia] immediately started beating me on my shins,” said the witness. He said he was also beaten when soldiers from Croatia came to the camp.

“The guy who organised the beating even forced prisoners to give an [World War 2 Croatian Fascist] Ustasha salute,” he recalled.

The witness said that one prisoner died on the second or third day from a beating. He said he knew of about four persons who died in the Silos in 1992.

Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember are charged with crimes against civilians and prisoners of war in the Silos camp and in other facilities in the territory of the municipality of Hadzici.

The witness said that once the camp guard, Buba Kalember, hit him. He added that he heard that this guard beat other prisoners, too.

He said that warden Hujic once came to the cell where prisoners complained to him about two guards beating them, after which the warden sacked them.

Krstic said the warden also drove a woman from the camp after he complained to him that she was cutting bread slices too thin.

In late 1992, the witness was moved with another 150 prisoners to the Krupa camp, where, he said, conditions were much better than in the Silos. “We had firewood. Even the food was better,” he said.

He said the warden of Krupa was Sero Mesanovic, adding that he had sacked some of the guards when he found out that they beat up two prisoners.

Krstic added that the prisoners had to do hard labour, but the warden had asked them if anyone harassed them, as he did not allow it.

According to the witness, four prisoners died during hard labour.

After nine months in Krupa, the witness was returned to the Silos, where, in his opinion, the conditions for prisoners had improved.

Krstic said that conditions were better under warden Halid Covic, but that a guard called Kazic hit him several times with a baton. However, after he complained, no one hit him any more, he recalled.

Krstic was released from the Silos in October 1995. “If it had not been for the good guards, if they all had been evil, few people would have left that place alive,” the witness said at the end of his testimony.

The trial will resume on August 29.

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