Former Susica Prisoners Say Ostojic Beat Detainees
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The district prosecution has charged Zarije Ostojic, a former member of reserve police forces with a special unit of the public safety station in Vlasenica, with participating in the physical abuse of civilians held in the Susica detention camp in the municipality of Vlasenica in 1992.
“I’ve been telling the same story for 15 years,” Mirsad Ombasic said. Ombasic has given several statements on crimes that took place in the Susica detention camp and said he could no longer “bear it, mentally and physically.”
Ombasic said he was abducted from his home and taken to the Susica detention camp. While in detention, he said Ostojic beat him severely twice.
He said on one occasion, while the detainees were walking towards the toilet, Ostojic singled him out and questioned him about certain individuals and their weapons. When Ombasic said he didn’t know the answer to Ostojic’s questions, he was assaulted by the defendant and others.
“They beat me. He had a baton or a cable…Everything was good until I tried to grab it. Somebody hit me. I fainted,” Ombasic said. He said the defendant and two other men participated in his assault.
He said Ostojic beat him on the following day or two days later. He Ostojic called out his name while standing at the door of a hangar.
Ombasic said the defendant and others beat him “wherever they could – on the face and head.” He said his toe was sprained as a result.
During cross-examination, Ombasic said he was transferred from the Susica detention camp to the Batkovic detention camp. He said he ended up in Tuzla, where he didn’t report the abuse he endured as a prisoner, because he didn’t feel the need to do so.
The defense said Ombasic didn’t previously mention the defendant in relation to the events he described in the Susica detention camp. He responded by saying the defense “probably didn’t ask about him.”
Another former Susica detention camp prisoner, Zijad Zimic, also testified at today’s hearing. Zimic said he was still a minor when he was abducted from his family home in Vlasenica.
“They gathered all of us and took us towards the Susica detention camp,” Zimic said. He said his neighbour, Mirsad Ombasic, was taken to the camp as well.
He said he remembered a group of soldiers coming to their detention cell with the defendant, and that Ombasic was ordered to go out.
Zimic said Ombasic told him the defendant had beaten him.
“He said he beat him due to some personal reasons, because of some pigeons,” Zimic said.
He said on another occasion Ostojic singled Ombasic out from a line of detainees returning to their cells from the toilet.
During the cross-examination, Zimic said he didn’t see the defendant hit Ombasic, but said he heard about the beatings from Ombasic himself.
The trial will continue on January 11.