At the trial of Nihad Bojadzic, a prosecution witness described his captivity in the “Battle of Neretva” museum in Jablanica in 1993 as the worst part of his life.
Miroslav Stipanovic, a Bosnian Croat, said that he was captured by the Bosnian army and police on July 27, 1993, in the village of Doljani near Jablanica.
He said that he was a member of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, but that at the time of his arrest he wore civilian clothes, because he had just returned from a military assignment.
The witness added that he was taken to the Battle of Neretva museum, where he saw around 300 captured Bosnian Croats– children, women and men.
In the night of the first day of his captivity, Stipanovic said he was beaten during the interrogation.
“My hands were held above my head. I was hit with a broomstick and kicked while being interrogated,” said Stipanovic, who is the first witness at the trial of Bojadzic for crimes committed in Jablanica.
Stipanovic explained that he was brought to the basement by a policeman he knew and another man who interrogated him and held the broomstick.
The witness said that he could not recognize the man, but he remembered his “Montenegrin-Sandzak accent.”
Asked by the prosecutor, Vesna Budmir, if he learnt or heard the name of the man who hit him, the witness replied that “the only name he heard mentioned was Nihad Bojadzic”.
Bojadzic, former deputy commander of Zulfikar detachment with the headquarters of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is charged with beating, sexual abuse and rape of Bosnian Croat prisoners in the Battle of Neretva museum.
While in captivity, Stipanovic added, he had heard of women being raped, and that men were forced to have sexual intercourse.
“I have spent the worst part of my life there,” said the witness, who left the museum in March 1994.
Before examining the first witness, the prosecutor presented her opening statement, emphasizing that “the victims felt the hand of Nihad Bojadzic and remembered it well.”
Bojadzic is already on trial, with five other men, before the Bosnian court for the crimes against Bosnian Croats in the village of Trusina in 1993.
The trial will resume on September 27, when the defence will cross examine Stipanovic.