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Testifying before the District Court in Bijeljina, Prosecution witnesses Fahrudin Hodzic and Admir Sarajlic recall the everyday beating of detainees in “Sabirni centar” [“Concentration Centre”] detention camp in Batkovic.
Hodzic said, at the trial of four indictees, who are charged with crimes in the detention camp, near Bijeljina, that he was captured, as a civilian, in “Š” neighbourhood, Brcko, during a big raid conducted by Serb defence forces during the night on July 12/13, 1992 and taken to the military barracks.
He said that five or six buses moved towards Batkovic.
“Upon our arrival, we were taken out of the buses and searched in small groups. Our personal possessions were confiscated. We then ran to the hangar. On our way to the hangar we were beaten by guards, who stood alongside the road at a distance of 5 or 6 metres away from each other. None of them managed to hit me on that occasion,” the witness said, adding that between 200 and 300 people were held in the hangar.
Hodzic specified that detainees were beaten in the detention camp every day and that he was personally hit by Spajzer Zahirovic, who too was a detainee, but they tasked him with taking care of order in the prison.
The witness said that, besides Spajzer, Gligor Begovic from Gorazde and Veselin Nikolic from Velino Selo, Bijeljina municipality, used to beat detainees as well. He said that other detainees told him that professor Zecevic from Bijeljina died due to the beating.
The Bijeljina District Prosecution charges Djoko Pajic, Petar Dimitrovic, Djordje Krstic and Ljubomir Misic with crimes against civilians, the wounded and prisoners of war in Batkovic detention camp in 1992 and 1993.
Witness Admir Sarajlic, who too was brought to Batkovic from Brcko, said that guards slapped and hit detainees with rifles during their admission and on their way to the hangar.
“I was beaten up once, but I do not know who that person was. Some guards used to beat and mistreat detainees – Gligor, Zoran Zoka Zaric and Spajzer. As far as I remember, two men – a professor and a goldsmith, died due to the beating during my detention,” the witness said.
When asked by the Defence if the name Velimir Velja Stojanovic sounded familiar, both witnesses said that this man commanded the prison during their detention in it.
Neither of the two witnesses recognised any of the indictees or associated them with the events described during their testimonies.
The main trial is due to continue on July 15.