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Mladic: Killing Prominent Prijedor Residents

9. November 2012.00:00
Testifying at the trial of Ratko Mladic, witness Nusret Sivac speaks about his detention in Omarska detention camp and the ethnic cleansing of the non-Serb population from Prijedor in 1992.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Sivac said that local Serbs forcibly took over the authority in Prijedor in April 1992 and that “the ethnic cleansing” of non-Serbs began in May 1992.

As he said, after having been taken to Keraterm and Omarska detention camps for the first time, Sivac was released on June 10, 1992. Ten days later he was arrested again and transferred to Omarska, where hundreds of Bosniaks from Prijedor were held in “brutally inhumane conditions”.

“They were beaten up, killed – particularly prominent Prijedor residents, tortured and deprived of food, while women were abused,” the witness said.

Mladic, former Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, is charged with the persecution of Bosniak and Croat civilians in 20 municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the charges, the persecution reached the scale of genocide in seven municipalities, including Prijedor. Besides that, he is charged with genocide in Srebrenica, terror against civilians in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage in the period from 1992 to 1995.

Sivac specified that members of active and reserve police forces and mobilised members of VRS were “the internal security” in the detention camp, while local VRS units guarded the detention camp from the outside.

According to Sivac’s testimony, in late July 1992 Bosniaks from several villages from the Novo Brdo area, where the Republika Srpska Army had conducted a “cleansing” operation the day before, were brought to Omarska in 12 buses.

Many of the non-Serbs, who were brought to Omarska, were killed that same day. Other detainees were forced to remove the traces – the witness said.

Sivac told the Tribunal that, on July 17, 1992 Omarska detention camp was visited by regional officials from the Serbian Democratic Party from Banja Luka and their colleagues from Prijedor, adding that the delegation was led by Radoslav Brdjanin, President of the Autonomous Region of Bosnian Krajina.

Among other things, the delegation was comprised of Simo Drljaca, Chief of Prijedor police, Milomir Stakic, wartime Mayor of Prijedor, and Stojan Zupljanin, Chief of police in the Banja Luka region.

The Hague Tribunal sentenced Brdjanin to 33 years in prison for crimes against Bosniaks and Croats in the Bosnian Krajina area.

The witness said that detainees were forced to line up in front of the political and “sing Serbian songs”.

Witness Sivac, who worked as TV cameraman prior to the war, is due to respond to the Defence’s cross-examination questions on Friday, November 9.

This post is also available in: Bosnian