Vlahovic: Beaten as if in a Boxing Ring

10. May 2012.16:15
At the trial of Veselin Vlahovic, known as Batko, a prosecution witness said that the defendant tortured him and that he has yet to recover from the brutality of the beatings and abuse.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

In late April 1992, protected witness S-47 was taken from his apartment at Grbavica in Sarajevo to the Digitron Buje building, where he met defendant Vlahovic.

“When he saw the soldiers bringing me towards the Digitron Buje building, he cursed my mother and attacked me with a series of blows of such force that I don’t know how I endured it,” said the witness.

He said that Vlahovic instructed two soldiers to hit him on the ears and head. “I was in a daze but I did not fall down. I felt like I was in a boxing ring, and after that Batko said: ‘Look at Balija [pejorative for Bosnian Muslim], he’s still on his feet’. He ordered these two to trample me down and they continued beating me on the ground,” said the witness.

Subsequently, all three men took him to the toilet and were pushing his head under the water in the toilet bowl, and made him eat excrement. Later, Vlahovic put him in his car and drove him to the nearby Trebevic Mountain.

“We were passing a pit with some dead bodies in it and Batko told me I would end up like that if I don’t give him money and gold,” said the witness. The witness added that he was driven to his apartment, where he gave Vlahovic a substantial amount of money and half a kilo of gold.

Due to the attack, his face was bruised and he coughed up and urinated blood. He survived after 25 days of treatment from his neighbors.

“The most difficult aspect of my healing is emotional in nature. I take sedatives every day and whenever I hold a pill I recall what Batko did to me,” added the witness.

The Bosnian State Prosecution charged Vlahovic with several counts of murder, rape, abuse, robbery, disappearances and other inhumane acts committed in 1992 against Bosniak and Croat civilians in the Sarajevo neighbourhoods of Grbavica, Vraca and Kovacici.

The Trial chamber also heard from Witness A-1, who was 23 in 1992. He said he lived with his mother and underage brother, and that in May or June the defendant met their mother in front of the building.

“Mother told us we have to go down to be interrogated and as soon as we came down, they asked us why we were hiding, and Batko hit me with a rifle butt in the stomach,” the witness said.

According to the witness, a Bosnian Serb neighbour picked him and his brother up and took them to the first floor apartment and then they heard a shot. “Neighbours told us that Batko fired at us, but luckily he missed,” witness A-1 said.

The trial will resume on May 10.

Mirna Buljugić

This post is also available in: Bosnian