News 11 Feb 13

Detained Bosniaks Were ‘Brutally Murdered’

A witness at the war crimes trial of ex-Bosnian Serb military policeman Savo Babic said he saw killings and savage beatings at a school building in Bratunac in 1992.

Justice Report

Prosecution witness Vahid Salkic said that Bosnian Serbs attacked his village of Cerovac near the eastern town of Bratunac in May 1992 and several men were killed. He hid in the woods with other villagers but after three days, they were ordered to surrender or be killed.

“They gathered 50 or 60 of us Bosniaks. They drove us to the school building. They put [two prisoners] in front of the gym door and killed them,” Salkic said.

“On the second morning, nine people suffocated in the corner due to lack of air. We heard shooting during the following night. Windows were broken, so we got some air,” he said.  

He said that prisoners were beaten to death with wooden batons.  

“They killed people with a pickaxe handle in the gym. Some were slaughtered. They threw the dead people into the hangar. I knew that they slaughtered them, because I saw blood,” Salkic said.

He said that they beat him and his son at the school building.

The prosecution charges Babic, then commander of the military police in Bratunac, with ordering, committing and failing to prevent the imprisonment of non-Serb civilians in the school in May 1992.

Around 400 detained civilians were beaten and tortured every day, and several dozen were killed or died as a result of the conditions at the school, the indictment alleges.

The witness said that he had known Babic before the war. He confirmed that he neither saw the defendant in the village, in the school building nor in front of the school building.  

“I do not know what I would accuse Savo of, because I did not see him,” Salkic said.  

The trial is due to continue on February 18.

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