Jezik / Language:
9 October 2013

Torture During Shifts in Dretelj

Igor Krstanović BIRN BiH Mostar

Testifying for the Mostar Prosecution at the trial for crimes in Dretelj, Capljina municipality, a witness says that detainees had to lie on a concrete floor and that “Goja’s soldiers then kicked them while wearing boots.”

Mustafa Dizdar, former member of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who was captured and taken to Dretelj, told the Court that indictee Gojko Granic took a small piece of paper out of his pocket and read his 14-years old son’s first and last name.
“Granic said that they had special treatment for my son. He wanted to provoke me, but when he noticed that I did not react to my son’s name, they began hitting me with their legs, boots and all sorts of objects. Senad Besic beat me as per an order by Gojko Granic,” Dizdar explained.

Granic is charged together with Mijo Banovic with having beaten detainees in Dretelj from July to September 1993. According to the charges, the two indictees were members of military police of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, at that time.

Dizdar said that Granic and HVO soldiers asked him to say where his hunters’ gun was, adding that he did not own one. The witness explained that this was an excuse for them to beat him even more.

“They hit me and then asked ‘Where is the gun’. He hit me with a rifle pipe. Later on I watched them beat Salko Maric,” witness Dizdar explained.

According to the witness, after lunch detainees were lined up in Dretelj.

“We would lie on the concrete floor. After that Goja’s soldiers would beat us with their boots,” the witness said.
Second witness Salko Maric told the Court that Gojko Granic invited him to come out of the hangar. After that he and two other HVO soldiers beat him with a baton, fists and legs. Maric said that they beat him while escorting him to an ambulance and then to an isolation cell to which the indictee sent him.

Salko Maric said that he watched the beating of Mustafa Dizdar.

“They asked him about a hunter’s gun. Goja and two or three other men were beating him. They beat him with rifles, rifle butts, batons. The whole thing lasted between 20 minutes and half an hour,” witness Maric said.
The witness explained that he did not know who ordered Basic to beat Dizdar.

Speaking about indictee Gojko Granic, the witness said that he “beat him up four or five times” on a runway in front of the hangar and explained the lunch “procedures” in Dretelj.

“We used to come out of the hangar holding our hands on our heads. After that we would be lined up against the hangar wall. Then they beat us. After that eleven detainees used to eat from an aluminum bowl on the concrete floor. They got one glass of water. We had to finish the lunch in seconds. Then we had to lie down on the asphalt. Everybody had to jump over other prisoners according to a sequence. They forced us to look at the sun for a long time,” Maric said.

Witness Mustafa Hodzic, a former member of ABiH, told the Trial Chamber that Mijo Banovic, whom he recognised in the courtroom and addressed as ‘Mijo Brada’, “committed torture” against him and other detainees in Dretelj detention camp.
“Mijo Banovic ordered us to lie on hot concrete floor. We had to lie down on our stomachs and backs after ‘lunch’. He ordered us to fight each other. He had an automatic gun. He beat me up during each shift, except towards the end of my stay in the detention camp,” Hodzic said.

Witness Semir Balavac, former HVO member, said that indictee Banovic “committed torture against him in Dretelj detention camp”. The witness recognised indictee Banovic in the courtroom.

“Mijo Banovic and five or six other soldiers beat me. Mijo hit me with a police stick. Two of my ribs were broken. He forced us to sign Ustasha songs and to stare at the sun for long. If we looked down, he hit us with the stick,” Balavac said.

The trial is due to continue on October 11.

comments powered by Disqus