At the trial of five ex members of the Croatian Defence Forces, HOS, a prosecution witness says that the defendant, Ivan Zelenika, treated him correctly during his time in the HOS run prison in Mostar.
The witness, Tihomir Cvoro, said that on August 6, 1992 he was taken, along with his parents, to the HOS prison in Mostar, where he encountered Zelenika, whom he had known before the war.
“When we came to an office and only Ivan Zelenika was there. He was the manager of the HOS prison. He asked me: ‘My friend, how come that you are here?’. I felt relieved immediately, as I thought I would come to no harm,” Cvoro said.
Zelenika is charged, together with Srecko Herceg, Edib Buljubasic, Ivan Medic and Marina Grubisic-Fejzic, with crimes against Serb prisoners in the Dretelj camp in 1992.
The indictment alleges that Zelenika was a HOS officer, Herceg was the commander of the Dretelj camp, Buljubasic his deputy, while Medic and Grubisic-Fejzic were guards.
According to the charges, they tortured the prisoners, whom they also forced to perform hard labour in the Dretelj camp, where several persons died due to having been abused.
The prosecution also charges Zelenika, with having detained several Serb civilians in a military dispensary in Mostar.
Cvoro testified that, following his conversation with Zelenika, he was taken to a cell, where there were already between 30 and 40 Serb men.
“On the following day a guard took me to Kapetanovic, military police commander, who interviewed me. One day later, on August 8, my father and I went to Zelenika’s office. He gave us a document, confirming that we were held in the prison and allowing us to freely move across the town,” the witness said.
When asked by Zelenika’s defence whether the defendant treated him in a correct manner during his stay in the HOS prison, the witness answered affirmatively. He pointed out that Zelenika “helped me and my parents a lot”.
Zelenika, Herceg, Medic and Grubisic-Fejzic are all Bosnian Croats, while Buljubasic is a Bosniak. Marina Grubisic-Fejzic is one of a few women being charged with war crimes during the Bosnian war.
Buljubasic is serving a sentence in the Zenica prison for 4 murders committed before and after the Bosnian war, while the rest of the defendants are defending themselves at liberty.
The next hearing will take place on October 23.