Jezik / Language:
6 May 2008

Vrdoljak: Detainees' cries

At the start of the trial of Ivica Vrdoljak, the first Prosecution witness speaks about the indictee's participation in the crimes in the Derventa and Bosanski Brod areas.
The first Prosecution witness Cedo Prodic described how indictee Ivica Vrdoljak tortured him during his detention in Bosanski Brod in July 1992. Forthis reason, he allegedly still has wounds. In its introductory arguments the Prosecution said it had "solid evidence" concerning the indictee's participation in the crimes against Serbs, while the Defence denied that Vrdoljak was even present at the crime scenes.

The State Prosecution charges Ivica Vrdoljak, also known as Geza, as member of the 103rd Derventa Brigade with the Croatian Defence Council (HVO), with having abused and beaten Serbian detainees, who were held in"Silos" building in Polje village, Derventa municipality, and "Beograd" store warehouse in Bosanski Brod in June and July 1992.

Prodic said that, on April 26, 1992 HVO members captured him and "about thirty" other residents of Derventa and took them to the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) Centre located in that municipality. As indicated by the witness, he was transferred to a military warehouse in Rabic village two days later.

"We were naked when they brought us there. They gave us JNA uniforms andtold us to put them on. While they were recording us, they said that we were Chetniks, whom they had captured," said Prodic, adding that there were about 160 prisoners at the time.

According to him, the soldiers transferred the captives to "Silos"building in Polje village in late June. This is where he saw Ivica Vrdoljak for the first time.

"We were not allowed to go out, except for when they took us out to beat us. This is when I saw Ivica Vrdoljak, whose name I found out later, taking a few prisoners out. After that we heard crying. They played some loud music all the time and we had to sing insurrectionist's songs and kiss Ante Pavelic's picture," said the witness, but he added that the indictee did not beat him at that time.

After having been detained in "Silos", Prodic claims to have been brought to "Beograd" store warehouse in Bosanski Brod, where he stayed until the exchange, which took place on July 12,1992.

"We had a hard time there. We were taken out to be tortured every day. I still have some scars from Vrdoljak. He cut my ear with pliers. Geza told me that I would not leave that place alive," the first Prosecution witness recalled, adding that detainee Luka Patkovic, who had known the indictee from before, told him his name and nickname.

In his introductory arguments Prosecutor Mirsad Strika said that the witness'statements concerning the indictee's participation in the abuse of detainees was "very persuasive."

Defence attorney Kresimir Zubak said that the "Defence is based" on the fact that Vrdoljak was not present at the crime location at that time.

The trial is due to continue on May 12, 2008, when two more Prosecution witnesses will be examined.
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