Jezik / Language:
27 November 2006

Samardzic: Court hears of rape trauma

Appeal judges in the retrial of Nedjo Samardzic hear the testimony of protected witnesses about rapes in Miljevina and Foca.
The Appellate Council considering the case of Nedjo Samardzic has continued hearing testimony on events in Miljevina and the Partizan sports hall in Foca in the summer of 1992. The testimonies were given in the indictee's previous trial.

According to the witnesses, on 9 June 1992 a group of 35 men disappeared without trace after being taken from the Miljevina village near Foca. All had been taken for "questioning"in the direction of the local police station, where protected female witness"H" saw the accused Nedjo Samardzic.

Witness "H" also said that everyone in Miljevina knew who Samardzic was by the car he was driving. "Nedjo's car made us afraid," she said.

She pointed out that all women were afraid of the accused because he took them to the so-called Karaman's House, a private home that Serb soldiers turned into a camp for women and a brothel during the war.

"Men would come to Karaman's House to indulge in sex with women," witness "H" said, adding that she had been in hiding throughout that period to avoid being taken away. However,on 3 September she, together with a group of women from the village, was taken to the Partizan sports hall in Foca, which was also used as a camp.

On that evening she and a group of other women were taken from the sports hall to an apartment in Foca.

“They took us to an apartment where they abused us, beat us, and took our money. A soldier put a gun in my mouth. Afterwards they raped all of us,"the witness said.

"I would call that a systematic destruction of a woman's morale," she added.

One day after the rape, she and the other women held in the apartment were released.

Protected witness "R" also lived in Miljevina with her husband and three underage daughters. After her husband was taken away,unidentified men also took her 12-year-old daughter.

In her testimony, the witness told how,on the following day, Samardzic brought the daughter home "just so the family could see her" and then took her back to Karaman's House, where she was held with other young girls and women.

Ten days later the daughter of witness"R" was released and returned home. She talked to her mother about Karaman's House, saying that "there are many girls who cook, wash clothes,and perform chores for the soldiers." Her mother said that she had been a waitress in the house.

Witness "R" and her three daughters, together with the remaining Bosniaks in Miljevina, were taken to the Partizan sports hall. There the witness saw Samardzic again. He promised that no one would touch her or her daughters if she gave the remaining money. The witness said that she did as she had been told.

On that same day they were put on a bus and promised that all of them would be exchanged and brought to the territory controlled by the Bosnian army. The bus with the witness and her three daughters stopped at the Drina bridge. Unidentified soldiers entered the bus and took out"A.B.", the witness's 12-year-old daughter, who disappeared and has never been found.

"I heard her crying and telling them that she was only 12. I then lost consciousness and did not see who took her,"the witness said.

The indictment says that between June and September 1992 Samardzic, together with Nikola Brkic and Radovan Stankovic,"held as sex slaves a number of Bosniak women, including underage girls" in Karaman's House in Miljevina. Samardzic is also charged with raping the 12-year-old "A.B.", whom he previously separated from her mother.

The Appellate Council also heard the testimony of protected witness "P" from Miljevina. She said that she had seen Nedjo Samardzic in front of the Karaman's House, but did not know what he had been doing there.

She "heard from other women"that women and underage girls were taken to the house to be raped.

She also saw Samardzic in Partizan,"in uniform and armed," searching women. She subsequently saw him in front of the bus that took the women to be exchanged.

The Council also listened to the testimony of witness "D" from Miljevina. She said that she knew about Karaman's House and that "girls were taken there to be raped". She also said that neighbors told her that Samardzic "did not take the girls,but was in charge because he issued orders".

Protected witness "F" also confirmed that Samardzic was in Partizan, where Bosniaks - mostly women and children - were held.

Samardzic is charged with participating in expelling residents of Miljevina and taking them to Partizan, "where they were exposed to physical abuse and robbery, and from where many women were taken to apartments to be raped." They subsequently were transported by bus in the vicinity of the line of separation between the two armies.

The trial continues on 28 November.
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