One of the few survivors of a 1991 massacre of Croats at Ovcara farm near Vukovar told the Hague trial of former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic how prisoners were assaulted.
|Goran Hadzic I Photo by the ICTY|
A protected witness codenamed ‘GH 080’, a former member of the Croatian defence forces in the town of Vukovar, told the Hague Tribunal on Wednesday how he was taken from Vukovar hospital to the nearby Ovcara farm in November 1991, where the mass execution of at least 260 Croats took place.
“In the morning, soldiers told us to leave the hospital rooms and come to the yard. They told us to get into the buses which were waiting for us,” said the witness, one of just seven survivors of the notorious wartime massacre.
He said that around 50 people, both civilians and Croatian defence fighters, were put in each bus by the soldiers who he described as Yugoslav Army reservists.
“After an hour or two, we got to Ovcara where a lot of troops and reservists were. They told us to enter the hangar. They started beating us with everything they could: arms, legs, guns,” the witness said.
“There were around 300 people imprisoned in the hangar. I think 10 per cent died from the pain they received when they were beaten up by soldiers,” he continued.
Hadzic faces 14 war crimes charges, including the persecution, extermination and torture of non-Serb civilians from Croatia between 1991 and 1993.
The Hague Tribunal has already sentenced Yugoslav Army colonels Mile Mrksic and Veselin Sljivancanin to 20 and ten years in prison respectively over the Ovcara killings.
The trial continues on Thursday with the cross-examination of witness GH 080.
The Hague Prosecution charges Goran Hadzic, former President of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, with crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war in Croatia in 1991 and 1992.
Timeline of events leading up to the arrest of Goran Hadzic.