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5 February 2008
News

Rasevic and Todovic: The End of "Togetherness" in Foca

BIRN BiH
The examination of indictee Savo Todovic has taken place - but mostly behind closed doors.
At the request of indictee Savo Todovic, who has testified as a Defence witness, the Court of BiH decided to exclude the public for most of his testimony. The decision was rendered "in order to protect [the indictee's] family".


"I am afraid that my family may be endangered, as I am going to mention some persons whose past is not so nice, who live in the same country as my family," Todovic said.


Todovic and Mitar Rasevic are charged with participation in the establishment and maintenance of a system for the punishment and maltreatment of at least 700 prisoners in the Foca Correctional Facility, which had all the characteristics of a detention camp during the war. The indictment alleges that Todovic was deputy commander of the facility, while Rasevic was commander of guards.


During the open part of his testimony, Todovic said that, before the outbreak of war in 1992, the relations among Foca residents were "real, human" and that "all people celebrated and mourned together", but when the "nationalistic parties took charge of the town the togetherness was abolished".


He also said that, at the beginning of the first conflicts in April 1992, he spent some time in his native village of Rijeka and that he returned to Foca on April 24, when he was recruited and started his military service in the Foca facility. He claims to have seen Milorad Krnojelac for the first time when he came to the facility. Krnojelac told him he was "temporary manager".


Krnojelac, former manager of the Foca facility, was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to 15 years' imprisonment.


"I did not know the manager, who is now unfortunately a convict, before that. I knew he did not meet the formal requirements for that post, so he must have been appointed by the Crisis Committee. At that time, it was not possible to enter the facility, as it was guarded by a military unit from Uzice, which stayed there until May 18, 1992," Todovic said.


The indictee also said that all employees in the facility who were capable of performing military service, with the exception of the manager, went to the frontlines every month in the period from September 1992 to November 1993.


According to the official timetable of the Court of BiH, the next hearing is scheduled on February 12, when Todovic's Defence is due to complete its evidence presentation process by presenting its material evidence.
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