At the trial of Veselin ‘Batko’ Vlahovic, a State Prosecution witness says that the indictee beat him up with a wooden stick in a gym in Pale in May 1992.
Testifying before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sefik Menzilovic identified indictee Vlahovic in the courtroom, saying that he hit him with a wooden stick on his back a few times on May 15, 1992.
“He introduced himself. He said his name was Batko and he came from Vraca. Passing by me, he hit me four or five times with a stick on my back,” Menzilovic said, adding that he saw Vlahovic twice during the course of his detention in Pale in May 1992.
“I saw him for the first time when he beat me and for the second time when he came to the gym and said that he would kill us unless his brother ‘Rambo’ was exchanged,” Menzilovic said.
Menzilovic, who was apprehended to the Court because he failed to respond to a Court summon, said that he failed to respond to the invitation to testify because he was “irritated” by the fact that his identity was disclosed in a daily newspaper, while he intended to propose to the Prosecution to testify as a protected witness.
The State Prosecution charges Veselin Vlahovic, known as Batko, with having killed and participated in the murder of more than 30 people in Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici from May to August 1992. In addition, he is charged with having abused, beaten up and confiscated money and other valuables from Croat and Bosniak citizens, acting on his own or together with other armed persons.
Among other things, the indictment alleges that, at the beginning of May 1992, Vlahovic hit one person on the right side of his back with a wooden axe handle.
On May 25, 2011 the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina filed another indictment against Vlahovic, charging him, under 14 counts, with the murder or taking people in an unknown direction and forcible disappearances of 14 people, as well as the rape, torture, beating and abuse of civilians.
Prior to Menzilovic’s examination, Trial Chamber Chairman Zoran Bozic said that the State Prosecution had filed a motion for joining of the indictments. He asked the Defence to respond to the Prosecution’s proposal.
Radivoje Lazarevic, Defence attorney of indictee Vlahovic, asked the Court to let him have two days to prepare a written response. The Court accepted the request.
The trial is due to continue on July 4 this year.