Slapped without Reason

9. April 2014.00:00
Two Bijeljina District Prosecution witnesses say that prisoners, who were held in Batkovici detention camp, were beaten up, mistreated and taken to other locations in order to perform forced labour.

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)

Testifying before the District Court in Bijeljina, Jusuf Omerovic said that he was detained in a hangar within Batkovici detention camp along with between 400 and 500 other persons.
“I know that one man, whose health was very bad, ran away from the detention camp by crawling underneath the wired fence, but they captured him in Batkovic village. When they brought him back, they ordered all of us to come out and beat him up badly. I noticed that the man was totally disoriented. I assumed that they did it in order to scare the rest of us, so we would not try to do the same,” Omerovic said.
According to Omerovic’s testimony, a person named Lujic and one or two other men beat this detainee up, while indictee Djoko Pajic, the then Prison Manager, watched.
Omerovic recalled having been taken to a Catholic cemetery in Bijeljina, where he exhumed bodies of some Croats. He said that he recognized former detainees among those bodies. According to Omerovic’s testimony, those men had been taken away in order to perform forced labour a few months before, but they had never returned.
The District Prosecution in Bijeljina charges Djoko Pajic, Petar Dimitrovic, Djordje Krstic and Ljubomir Misic with war crimes in Batkovic detention camp. The indictment alleges that the four indictees beat and mistreated detainees, including civilians and prisoners of war, during the course of 1992 and 1993.
Second Prosecution witness Fahrudin Cemal said that he found out that Fuad Islamagic was killed during his stay in the detention camp after having been taken to old silo buildings in order to perform some works.
Cemal said that unknown members of the Republika Srpska Army slaughtered Fuad, tied him to a truck, dragged his dead body along the street and played football with his head. When asked whether he attended this, Cemal answered negatively, but he said that he got the information from a truck driver, who used to drive them to work locations and bring them back to the detention camp.
Cemal said that, when he found out that his brother was slaughtered, Ferid Islamagic and another detainee fled from the detention camp. This caused a revolt among the guards, who began mistreating other detainees even more, so “some people were beaten up only because their haircut was not good.”
Testifying at this hearing, witness Ajsa Pasic said that her stepfather Meho Mujkanovic was killed in March 1993, when he was taken from the Batkovici detention camp to Mount Majevica in order to perform forced labour.   
The trial is due to continue on June 2.

Boris Sekulić

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)