Jezik / Language:
13 May 2015

Witness at Begovic Trial Describes Abuse and Humiliation of Batkovic Prisoners

Denis Džidić BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness identified defendant Gligor Begovic in the courtroom, and said he was the guard who hit him on the head when he arrived at the Batkovic detention camp in Bijeljina n 1992.

Witness Dzevad Durakovic said he was arrested with approximately 300 to 400 other Bosniak residents of Brezovo Polje, near Brcko, in mid-1992. Durakovic was then detained in the Luke detention camp in the municipality of Brcko for approximately twenty days, before being transferred to Batkovic.

Durakovic said that when he arrived to Batkovic, Begovic hit him on the head.

“Buses were parked in front of the detention camp. A soldier got on the bus. He hit each and every one of us...He hit me on the nape of my neck. I couldn’t see the object he hit me with, but it was hard. I lost consciousness...I didn’t know who the guard was, but I found out later on that his name was Gligor,” Durakovic said. He identified Begovic in the courtroom as the person who hit him.

Begovic, a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army, has been charged with participating in the beating of Bosniak civilians and prisoners of war at the Batkovic detention camp in the summer of 1992, as well as with having committed other crimes.

Durakovic said he was detained in Batkovic for 12 months and ten days,. He said during that time he was beaten several more times and was taken to other locations to perform forced labour.

“We were once taken to a place to work, in fact to mow grass. However, when we arrived, Gligor forced me to eat the grass. He gave the orders, which I had to follow or else I would be beaten,” Durakovic said.

During cross-examination Durakovic was presented with a statement he had given during the investigation, in which he failed to mention that he was forced to eat grass. Durakovic responded by saying he didn’t remember it at the time, but he recalled that incident later on while talking to other detainees.

Durakovic said he saw Begovic and other guards beating detainees in Batkovic.

The trial will continue on May 27.

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