Jezik / Language:
14 January 2016

Witness Forced to Throw Dark out of Cell

Lamija Grebo BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness said Ivan Kraljevic, also known as Ivica, was present once during his examination and beating in a prison in Ljubuski, but he did not participate in it.

“I was transferred from one detention camp to another all the time,” Salko Maric said, explaining he was arrested in Stolac in the second half of April 1993 and that he was detained in Dretelj, Gabela and Heliodrom several times and the prison in Ljubuski twice.

As he said, he first came to Ljubuski with a group of six people, where they were supposed to serve their sentences, because they were told they were sentenced, but he could not specify what they were sentenced for. He explained the prison was full, adding they “were mostly beaten by the guards who guarded them” and that “whoever wanted to enter the prison and beat them could do so”.

Maric said they mistreated Rudolf Jozelic, who arrived later, even more than some other prisoners.

“They forced him to pretend he was landing a plane. (…) They forced him to do all sorts of things,” the witness said, adding Jozelic was beaten up as well.

Speaking about the second time he was brought to the prison in Ljubuski with Alija Festic at the beginning of October, the witness recalled that “Ivica Ivan Kraljevic was standing at the door and told the men to take him downstairs to the isolation cell”.

Maric explained he had known Kraljevic from Stolac by sight, adding they called him Ivica.

As he said, he was detained in a cell together with other persons, including protected witness S-1, Rudolf Jozelic and two men from Sarajevo, while Enes Gutosic was brought later.

According to the witness' testimony, the cell floor was covered with 20 cm of water. They slept on the concrete floor and urinated and defecated into a bucket.

“Enes Gutosic had to bark the whole night. The guards ordered him to do it,” the witness said, pointing out that he was not abused in that cell, but he was abused when taken out for an examination.

Maric said a woman, who, as he was told, was a judge, as well as a few officers with ranks, Ivica Kraljevic and two policemen were present when he was taken out for the examination. He said he was hit with a police baton.

“Ivica Kraljevic stood on the side. He neither examined nor hit me,” the witness explained during the cross-examination.

This witness said he stayed in several cells during his detention in the prison in Ljubuski and that the conditions and the amount of mistreatment varied.

“Alija and I had to throw dark out of the cell the whole night,” Maric said, adding he was transferred to another cell later on, where conditions were better. He was then told that “a Skender was appointed the prison manager”.

He said he heard that S-2 and S-5 were physically mistreated and beaten almost every day, explaining he was in the cell next to theirs and that he heard their screams, but he did not know who beat them.

“They took them out to give oral … they took them to … each other ...” the witness said.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has charged Ivan 'Ivica' Kraljevic, Mate Jelcic, Slavko Skender, Stojan Odak, Vice Bebek, Vinko Radisic and Dragan Milos with committing crimes in Ljubuski.

According to the charges, Kraljevic, Jelcic and Skender were managers of the military investigation prison in various periods of time from September 1993 to March 1994. The prison was situated in the police building in Ljubuski. More than 100 persons from the municipalities of Maglaj, Zepce, Mostar, Livno, Stolac and Jablanica, as well as other places, were detained in it.

They have been charged with having held the captured civilians and prisoners of war in inhumane conditions, allowed others to mistreat them, gave them very little food and took them to other locations in order to perform forced labour.

Odak, Bebek, Radisic and Milos have been charged with participating in abuse of detainees in their capacity as guards.

The trial will continue on January 21.

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