Former Derventa Prisoners Describe Abuse at Almaz Nezirovic Trial

26. February 2016.00:00
State prosecution witnesses testifying at the trial of Almaz Nezirovic said the defendant beat them in the Rabic detention camp in the municipality of Derventa. Nezirovic has been charged with crimes committed in 1992.

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Nezirovic, a former member of the Croatian Defense Council, has been charged with participating in the torture and inhumane treatment of Serb civilians held in the Rabic and Silos Polje detention camps in the municipality of Derventa and the detention camp in the village of Tulek in the municipality of Bosanski Brod in 1992.

Testifying at today’s hearing, Radoslav Stojakovic said shooting began in his village of Cardak in the municipality of Derventa in April 1992, causing local residents to leave the area. He was captured along with his neighbours while trying to leave the village and travel towards Derventa on April 26, 1992.

He said they were captured by “the regular Croatian Army” and Derventa’s Territorial Defense forces, whose members wore camouflage uniforms. He said they were taken to the Army Center, where they were detained from two to four days before being transferred to the Rabic military hangar.

“The hangar was below ground level. Concrete, dark. There were no windows. Two small openings on the door. We could not leave the hangar, we were detained. We were guarded by members of the army. I remember Fric, Almaz, Mustafa,” he said.

Stojakovic said he didn’t know Almaz Nezirovic, a guard at that time, but his neighbours told him his last name later on. According to Stojakovic, some guards in the detention camp treated them fairly and correctly, while others abused and beat them.

“Almaz beat me personally, among others. He hit me on two or three occasions. He used to beat people he knew more than others. He didn’t know me, so he would just hit me in passing. He once forced us to take our clothes off and put three fingers on a desk. Then he hit us with a police baton. They were the fingers used for making the sign of a cross when praying…Then he hit our heads and backs with the baton,” Stojakovic  said.

Stojakovic said he was transferred to the village of Polje and was detained in the Silos detention facility on June 3, 1992. He said he couldn’t remember whether Nezirovic was present at the Silos detention facility.

Prosecution witness Cedo Prodic said he was captured and taken to the Army Center in late April 1992,  along with local residents of the village of Cardak. A couple of days later, he said they were transferred to the Rabic military warehouse.

He said other detainees told him the names of the detention camp guards. He said one of them was called Almaz. He said he learned his last name from the media after the war.

“Everyone except guard Mustafa beat us. Almaz hit us several times. We once had to put three fingers used for praying on a desk. Then he hit us on those fingers,” Prodic said. He said he was transferred to Silos Polje a couple of months later. He said didn’t see Nezirovic there.

The trial will continue on March 10.

Emina Dizdarević Tahmiščija

This post is also available in: Bosnian