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Witnesses Describe Inhumane Treatment of Civilians in Bosanska Krupa

18. November 2015.00:00
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of three former Bosniak police officials said her mother told her she’d been wounded in the leg during her detention in Jasenica and that a man known as Apica shot her. The defendants have been charged with war crimes in the Bosanska Krupa area.

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Jadranko Saran, Samir Sabic and Zijad Kadic have been charged with detaining Serb and Croat civilians as well as one prisoner of war. The defendants allegedly killed and inhumanely treated the detainees. They have also been charged with unjustifiably delaying the dismantling of concentration camps in several buildings in Bosanska Krupa from September 1995 to July 1996.

According to the charges, Saran was the head of the public safety station in Bosanska Krupa, Sabic was the commander of the police section in Jesenica and Kadic was a police officer.

Saran allegedly ordered the detention of civilians in the Jasenica concentration camp. The civilians were observed by guards, over whom Sabic had effective control. The prosecution alleges that the civilians were held in inhumane conditions and taken to other locations to perform forced labour. Two children were imprisoned as well.

Under one of the counts in the indictment, Zijad Kadic has been charged with wounding civilian and former prisoner Milka Curguz while she was performing forced labour.

State prosecution witness Danica Cica testified at today’s hearing. Cica said she received indirect information about the events that took place in the Bosanska Krupa area in 1995 from her mother, Milka Curguz.

Cica said her mother lived in the village of Kozin near the Grmec Mountain before and during the war. She said her mother told her that Bosnian Army soldiers took her and other civilians from Kozin and a neighbouring village to Jasenovac, where they were ordered to perform forced labour in September 1995.

“Whenever she talked about Jasenovac, she said that was the most difficult time for her. I know they were accommodated in private houses and that they were ordered to clean and load firewood,” Cica said.

She said a soldier wounded her mother’s leg while she was loading firewood onto a truck.

“She told me a man known as Apica wounded her by shooting at her from a pistol. He forced her to load firewood onto the truck faster and then fired a bullet into the ground, wounding my mother in her right leg. I know she told me her opanak [a traditional peasant shoe] was filled with blood and that nobody tried to help her,” witness Cica said.

She confirmed that her mother and the other detainees were transferred from Jasenica to Podvran, where she was held in detention until the end of February 1996.

State prosecution witness Rajko Jelaca also testified at today’s hearing. Jelaca said he found out about the events that took place in the Krupa area from his cousin, Joja Jelaca. He was detained in Jasenica with his wife and two young grandchildren.

“Everything I know about it, I heard from Joja. He told me about Jasenica and how they were treated. He said the treatment was horrible. He also said the children were hungry, because they had nothing to eat,” Jelaca said.

He said he was one of the first people to return to Gornja Suvaja after the war, but he had never found out who killed his father, who was also detained in Jasenica.

When asked by defense attorney Fahrija Karkin whether he had ever heard that members of the 505th Buzimska Brigade had killed his father, Jelaca said he had never heard that before.

“My cousin Joja, who was detained in Jasenica with my father, informed me about his murder. He told me he had been killed by a military lieutenants or a policeman, but he did not want to tell me his name,” Jelaca said.

The trial will continue on December 16.

Dragana Erjavec

This post is also available in: Bosnian