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Damjanovic: Forced labour and disappearances

19. September 2006.00:00
Survivors from Planjina kuca testified again about the torture and disappearances of detainees - and accused Dragan Damjanovic of these acts.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

A prosecution witness has claimed that in June 1992 indictee Dragan Damjanovic took two groups of detainees from Planjina kuca camp, but that none of them returned.

“That night we heard screams and beatings from the hallway. Then I saw through the small window half dead people being loaded onto a truck and taken somewhere. They never returned,” the witness said, adding that the same thing happened the next night with another group of men.

Damjanovic is charged with war crimes against civilians, non-Serbs, who were detained in camps on the territory of Sarajevo municipality Vogosca.

In June 1992 witness S.C. and his 22-year-old son were taken to Planjina kuca camp. The morning after they were taken, he claims, Damjanovic appeared and took the detainees to work as forced labour within the former Pretis factory.

“Arkan’s and Seselj’s men came, beat us, and Dragan watched and drank alcohol,” the witness said.

After work, the soldiers set up into two lines, including indictee Damjanovic, and beat the detainees as they were entering the truck that took them back to the camp.

Witness Mustafa Handzic, who was detained in mid-August 1992 and set free on March 9, 1993, also confirmed that Damjanovic came to Planjina kuca camp.

“When he came, he had a cockade, an old-fashioned gun and a long beard, like all Chetniks. Now he looks a little more civilised,” Handzic said while recognising the indictee in the courtroom.

Handzic claims that Damjanovic took him as forced labour on multiple occasions, but especially remembers one time at the beginning of December 1992.

“On Zuc hill, Damjanovic made us carry railway thresholds which weighed 200kg each,” the witness said.

Handzic remembers that on that day he lost his brother Ramiz, who was also a detainee on forced labour with him.

In common with some other prosecution witnesses from the camp, Handzic remembered professor Zahid Barucija, whom, as the witnesses described, indictee Damjanovic beat more than others, and who was taken “to a place from which he never returned”, allegedly by the indictee.

“A few days later I heard soldiers criticising Dragan for killing the professor, claiming that they could have got more people in exchange for him,” the witness said.

The prosecution holds Damjanovic responsible for the murder of Zahid Barucija.

The next hearing will beheld on Monday, September 25, 2006.

This post is also available in: Bosnian