News 14 Feb 13

Croat Fighters ‘Beat Bosnian Serb Detainees’

At the trial of eight men charged with abusing Bosnian Serbs held at camps in Hadzici near Sarajevo, a witness explained how he and other prisoners were assaulted.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

Prosecution witness Dusan Samoukovic, a Serb who used to live in Hadzici, said that he was captured on May 25, 1992, and then detained in the Silos camp in the Sarajevo suburb.

The witness recalled being taken from Silos to the nearby Mount Igman, where he was beaten up by members of the Croatian Defence Forces.

“A group of people, who were probably soldiers, entered the premises and beat us up… I was beaten up as well,” the witness said, adding that he suffered bruises on his face and body.

The Bosnian prosecution accuses Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember of war crimes committed in the Silos camp, the Krupa military barracks and the 9th of May primary school in Hadzici.

According to the indictment, Hujic was the warden of the Silos camp, as was Halid Covic at a later date. Mesanovic was one of the deputy wardens in the Silos and also camp warden at Krupa, while Kalember was a guard at Silos. The others were members of the civilian, military or police authorities.

Samoukovic said that Becir Hujic and Halid Covic were the manager and deputy manager of the Silos detention camp and that they treated him in “a correct manner”.

However he also said that prisoners were forced to beat each other, adding that soldiers, who used to “crash into the prison” ordered them to do it. The witness was transferred from Silos to the Krupa barracks in late December 1992.

In January 1993, the witness and other detainees were taken to another Sarajevo suburb, Hrasnica, where he had to dig trenches and canals. He said that the living conditions there were “disastrous”.

“While we were labouring one evening, they began shooting from the Serbian side. Bosnian soldiers took us into a house and beat us up,” he said, adding that the guards at Hrasnica used to mistreat detainees as well.

Samoukovic said that, after having returned to Krupa two months later, he informed the manager about what had happened and was told that he would “not go anywhere” again.  

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for February 21.

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Background

Timeline – Cuska Case

Timeline of events in the case against 13 former Serb fighters charged with committing war crimes in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Ljubenic and Pavlac in Kosovo in 1999.

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