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Vlahovic: Witness Speaks of Mother’s Rape

11. April 2012.00:00
A prosecution witness at a trial for crimes in Sarajevo said that the defendant, Veselin “Batko” Vlahovic, beat up his parents and raped his mother.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Witness Samir Barleci said that his mother told him that on May 17, 1992, three soldiers came to their apartment, among them defendant Vlahovic, who introduced himself as “Batko”.

According to what his mother told him, the soldiers first asked for money and gold, and then beat them up, and eventually Batko took the mother to another room and raped her.

The witness said he left the Grbavica area in May 1992, while his parents stayed behind.

A day after, Vlahovic and others stormed his family’s apartment, he met up with his mother, who with the help of her Serb neighbours, managed to cross to the territory controlled by the Bosnian army.

“Her back was covered with bruises from the beating. When I asked her who had done that, she just repeated: ‘Batko, Batko…’” recalled the witness.

His mother told him that his father was taken in the direction of the Digitron Buje building, but his fate remains unknown to this very day.

The prosecution charges Vlahovic with murders, torture, disappearances and other inhuman acts against Bosniak and Croat civilians in the Sarajevo neighbourhoods of Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici in 1992.

A protected witness for the prosecution, S21, also testified at this hearing and said that he met the defendant for the first time on June 11, 1992, when Vlahovic, together with a dozen soldiers, came to the entrance of his building at Grbavica and took him and four other men away.

S21, who was under-age at the time, said that first they were taken to a warehouse near the settlement of Dobrinja, where they were beaten, and then to Lukavica, and from there they were taken back to the Digitron Buje building.

“When we entered, eight men were already there, bloodied from beating, and they said Batko did that. Then I started being afraid,” recalled the witness.

S21 said he was then taken to someone called Zoran Vitkovic, who was called “head”, and that the defendant came there too.

“He told Vitkovic that if they did not know what to do with me, he would take me down to the stream and then he looked at me and said: ‘You will be my 79th’”, the witness said.

S21 added that Vitkovic did not let Batko take him away, although the defendant “managed to hit him a couple of times”.

The hearing will resume on April 12, 2012.

This post is also available in: Bosnian