Analysis– Begovic: Accused of Beating Detainees in Batkovic

9. December 2015.00:00
On December 9, the Bosnian state court will hand down a verdict in the Gligor Begovic trial. Begovic, a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army, has been charged with war crimes committed in the Batkovic detention camp near Bijeljina.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

“I remember Gligor Begovic. He set himself apart with his inhumane treatment and atrocities. He was a butcher and the greatest villain. At his hands I suffered in a way I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy,” said state prosecution witness Nedim Mustacevic. Mustacevic identified the defendant in the courtroom.

Mustacevic said Begovic beat him daily all over his body. He said Begovic punched and kicked him, and also hit him with guns and sticks. He said Begovic also stomped on his wounded leg.

Seventeen witnesses testified in support of the state prosecution’s allegations. The defense presented four witnesses who claimed that Begovic wasn’t violent and did his military service in Batkovic.

Mustacevic said he saw Begovic and another guard beat a 70 year old man, who died from his injuries. Mustacevic said he also saw Begovic beat three prisoners from Bijeljina. Two of them died from their injuries.

Begovic confirmed that he beat prisoners as they walked through a line of Serb soldiers, who hit each prisoner as they passed by. Begovic said not every prisoner was hit, but only every first and third one. He said they were punched and hit with rifles.

“One of the Worst Guards” at Batkovic

State prosecution witness Ejub Smajic said Begovic beat him with knuckle-dusters and a baseball bat, and also punched and kicked him. He said Begovic was one of the worst guards at the Batkovic detention camp.

State prosecution witness Amir Bebric identified Begovic in the courtroom as the man who beat him during his detention in Batkovic.

Berbic said a prisoner named Zulfo Hadziomerovic was beaten to death. He said the defendant had ordered Hadziomerovic to leave the hangar he was detained in.

Testifying in his own defense, Begovic said that no one was killed in the detention camp while he was present. He said some people disappeared but he didn’t know what happened to them.

According to the state prosecution, five detainees at the Batkovic detention camp died due to beatings Begovic participated in.

The state prosecution also believes that Begovic participated in the sexual humiliation of prisoners. During the trial, the public was excluded from these hearings in order to protect the privacy of the defendant.

In its closing argument, the state prosecution indicated that sexual abuse occurred on the scaffolds were grain was stocked. Begovic denied that any sexual abuse occurred at that location. He said approximately twelve prisoners were brought there in order to prevent them from being seen and listed by the Red Cross.

Begovic Not Violent, Defense Witnesses Say

Defense witness Slavko Vukovic said Begovic was with him in Bijeljina during their military service. He said he was a driver and went to Batkovic for food. He said Begovic spent all of his time in the barracks.

Mirko Begovic, the defendant’s brother, said they had socialized with their Muslim neighbours. He said his brother had never been violent.

Radmila Begovic, the defendant’s wife, said she was the defendant’s spouse and that they had three daughters together. She also said her husband never acted violently.

The Begovic trial began on November 26, 2014. Begovic defended himself at liberty under prohibitive measures.

Albina Sorguč

This post is also available in: Bosnian