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Families of Missing Persons in Hadzici Objected to Exchange of Silos Prisoners

20. August 2015.00:00
A defense witness testifying at the trial of eight former Bosnian military and police officials said the families of missing persons in Hadzici objected to the exchange of Serb prisoners held in the Silos detention facility.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember have been charged with the unlawful detention, inhumane treatment, physical and mental suffering and forced labour of detainees in Hadzici.

According to the charges, Djelilovic was the president of the municipal assembly, crisis committee and wartime presidency of the municipality of Hadzici, while the other defendants were members of military and police authorities and managers of detention camps. Kalember was a guard at the Silos detention facility.

Mehmed Music, who was a member of Hadzici’s municipal commission for the exchange of prisoners in December 1992, testified at today’s hearing. Music said the families of missing Bosniaks in Hadzici called upon municipal authorities to investigate the fate of their family members.

Music said that since municipal commission was unable to obtain any information on Hadzici’s missing persons, their families objected to the exchange of Serb prisoners. He said municipal authorities then called upon the presidency to resolve the issue, but they were also unable to do so.

The prosecution asked Music if Djelilovic was against the release of Serb prisoners held in the Silos detention facility. Music said he was not.

“In my opinion, Mr. Mustafa did everything legally. The families of the missing requested that the prisoners not be sent to Sarajevo or Zenica until the fate of their family members had been revealed,” Music said. He said the families also organized protests to this end.

Music said private exchanges of prisoners took place in the beginning, but they were discontinued later on.

“Some people saw business opportunities in it. However, when the army and MUP (the Ministry of Internal Affairs) took over, it no longer happened,” he said.

Music said that after he became a member of the commission he participated in negotiations on the exchange of approximately 200 Serb prisoners.

Djelilovic’s defense attorney asked Music if he knew that the Bosnian presidency exempted Tarcin from negotiations on the release of prisoners. Music affirmed that this was the case, and said it “confirmed that nothing could be done.”

He said Becir Hujic, the former manager of the Silos detention facility, performed his duties appropriately and couldn’t decide which prisoners would be exchanged.

Since thirty days have past since the last hearing, the trial has formally begun again today.

The trial will continue on August 27.

Selma Učanbarlić

This post is also available in: Bosnian