Jezik / Language:
28 September 2012

Silos: Testing the Limits of Human Endurance

Testifying at the trial for crimes in Hadzici municipality, Slavko Jovicic says that prisoners, who were held in Krupa military barracks, were forced to perform hard physical labour and that they were abused and beaten up.

On the second day of his testimony before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, witness Jovicic said that he was brought to Krupa, along with a few other prisoners, and that they were taken to several locations, where they performed “the hardest physical labour”.  

“It was a laboratory for testing the limits of human endurance. People were treated as animals. They were only good for doing things for the Army. Nobody considered you a human. The only thing that was important was to perform the planned works,” Jovicic said.  

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Serif Mesanovic, Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic and Nermin Kalember with crimes committed in the Krupa military barracks, Silos detention camp and “9. maj” school building.

The indictment alleges that Becir Hujic and Halid Covic were Manager and Deputy Manager of Silos detention camp, Serif Mesanovic was one of Deputy Managers of Silos and Manager of a detention camp in Krupa military barracks warehouse and Nermin Kalember was a guard.  

Witness Jovicic, who began testifying on September 13, said that he was among prisoners, who were transferred from Silos to Krupa building, adding that he was taken from Krupa to another location to perform forced labour on March 10, 1993 for the first time.

“We worked until we completed the job. The works included digging trenches, building bunkers or unloading merchandise. (…) They would beat us up, while other soldiers opened fire at Muslim positions. They would beat us until we could no longer bear it. They did not kill us only because they needed us to continue working on the following day,” the witness said.

As he said, on April 15, 1993 Jovicic was taken to Hrasnica, where he performed physical labour until October 1993, when he was returned to Silos.

“Some detainees fled while we were performing labour once. Guards beat the rest of us and then took us to the Police Station in Butmir, where they lined us up. They abused us horribly at that place. When we arrived in Hrasnica, a massacre and beating of the detainees happened,” Jovicic said.


The witness said that, during their detention in Silos, detainees were brought before a court, but the trials were “made up only to justify people’s stay in the detention camp”.

“I promised to myself that I would tell the truth if I survived. At times I prayed to God that somebody have mercy on me and kill me, so my suffering wound end,” Jovicic said, describing living conditions in the detention facilities.

He was exchanged, along with other detainees, on January 19, 1996.

“None of the detainees said that they wanted to go back to their pre-war places of residence. All of our land, wealth and ancestors’ graves were forgotten,” Jovicic said.

The witness said that his stay in the detention camps had had severe consequences for his physical condition.

The next hearing is due to be held on October 10, when the Defence of the indictees will cross-examine the witness. 



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