As the trial for war crimes in Hadzici municipality continues, a prosecution witness describes horrific conditions during his five-month detention in the Silos camp.
Vinko Lale, a Bosnian Serb, told the court in Sarajevo that he was taken to the Silos detention camp, along with Spasoja Kovacevic, from his home village of Tarcin on July 13, 1992. The witness said that, upon his arrival to Silos, he was questioned and then taken to one of the rooms.
“They took me and Spasoja into a room. It was dark. A guard, who was holding a rifle, told us to make five steps forward through water. He forced us to stand in that water. We did not dare move, as he said he would shoot us otherwise. We spent the night standing there,” Lale said.
The witness said that, later on, the defendant Halid Covic took him to a cell, where he saw some people, who looked “scary”.
“When the cell door was opened, we sensed a horrible smell of urine and faeces. People were dirty, unshaved. Some had bruises. People looked scary. If there was a horror picture, it would be the scene that I saw when the door was opened,” Lale said.
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges the crimes in Silos detention camp, “Krupa” military barracks and “9. Maj” school building upon Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember.
According to the charges, Becir Hujic and Halid Covic were warden and deputy warden of the Silos camp and Nermin Kalember was a camp guard. The other defendants were members of police, civil and army forces in Hadzici.
Witness Lale said that three people, including Zulfikar 'Zuka' Alispago, once came to the Silos camp and that they wanted to shoot him and Spasoja.
“Kalember was with us. Zuka cursed him and told him: 'Is that how you guard Chetniks? Holding your rifle on your back!?'. They then ordered me and Spasoja to stand against the wall, so they could shoot us. These three men then went to bring somebody else. Kalember told us to run back to the cell, as those were lunatics,” Lale said.
Alispago is on the trial before the Sarajevo Court for crimes in Trusina village, near Konjic in 1993.
The witness said that he knew that Becir Hujic was the warden of the Silos camp and that Halid Covic was his deputy. He said that he left Silos on December 22, 1992.
“I think that a friend of mine paid to release me. I never found out how much he paid. When we went out, Becir congratulated me and drove me home,” the witness said.
As he said, after having left Silos detention camp, he underwent medical treatment. He was diagnosed with Posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
The next hearing is due to be held on August 23, when the defence teams will cross-examine the witness.