At the trial of former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic, a former villager of Erdut recalled how he was tortured on a daily basis by the Serb paramilitary unit, Arkan’s Tigers.
On the second day of Goran Hadzic’s trial, the defence cross examined Zlatko Antunovic, a former member of the youth branch of the Croatian Democratic Union who used to live in the village of Erdut in Croatia.
Antunovic recalled how he was tortured in 1991 in one of the prisons in eastern Croatia run by both local Serbs and the paramilitary unit known as Arkan's Tigers.
He said he was beaten on a daily basis just for being a Croat.
"Every morning started with insults, they shouted and spat at us, cursing our Ustasha [the WW2 Croat forces] mothers. After that we would be taken to forced labour," says Antunovic.
He recalled meeting Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, the leader of Arkan’s Tigers, for the first time.
“Arkan asked me ‘do you know who I am?’. And I didn’t know. So he slapped me. He told me to lie down and write the names of all the Croats from the village. Then he took the paper and told me that he did not understand as it was not written in Cyrillic,” Antunovic recalled.
“Then he forced me to lie down again and write it in Cyrillic. As my writing was not good enough he told me ‘there is time. You will learn to write and read Cyrillic’” he added.
According to the ICTY prosecution Arkan was one of the members of joint criminal enterprise, JCE, together with the defendant Hadzic , with an aim to expel non-Serbs from then Serb run parts of Croatia.
Beside Hadzic and Arkan, the other ICTY indictees who participated in this JCE include Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Martic, Milan Babic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic (also known as Frenki) and Vojislav Seselj.
Hadzic is alleged to have participated in the JCE from June 1991 until at least December 1993, during which period he was the highest civilian and political authority in the SAO SBWS and the RSK.
During the Croatian war, Hadzic was the President of the Government of the self-proclaimed Serbian Autonomous District of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, SAO SBWS, and subsequently the President of the Republic of Srpska Krajina, RSK.
Hadzic is indicted for persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, murder, imprisonment, torture, inhumane acts, deportation and forcible transfer, devastation not justified by military necessity, destruction or wilful damage to educational and religious institutions and plunder of public or private property.
The trial will continue on Thursday, October 18.
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.