A witness at the war crimes trial of ex-Bosnian Serb military policeman Savo Babic said he saw people imprisoned in a school in Bratunac in 1992 suffocating to death.
Prosecution witness Mustafa Delic said that while he was imprisoned for several days in the Vuk Karadzic school in the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac in May 1992, he had to take out the bodies of people who suffocated or were killed, among them his brother and two cousins.
“People suffocated inside because they had no air. Nine to 14 people suffocated. I took those who were killed and moved them to the hangar,” Delic told the court in Sarajevo on Monday, adding that he removed up to 50 dead bodies in all.
From the hangar, which was around 50 metres away from the school, the bodies were loaded onto a truck and taken to other locations, said the witness.
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 was beaten on the first day of his imprisonment in the school, on May 10, 1992.
“One of [the guards] hit me with a block of wood on the head, but there was no blood. The other soldier kicked me with his boot in the chest,” said the witness.
Speaking about the defendant Babic, witness Delic said that he saw him in front of the school only once, on the day when there was a prisoner swap with the Bosnian side.
Delic said that around 400 prisoners were sent by truck to the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale, where they were also abused, but ultimately exchanged.
The trial is set to resume on March 4.