Obstructions Prevented Exchange of Silos Prisoners, Witness Says

3. March 2016.00:00
At the trial of eight defendants charged with war crimes in the municipality of Hadzici, a defense witness for Fadil Covic said he hadn’t heard any negative things about him or defendant Mirsad Sabic.

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Defendants Fadil Covic, Mustafa Djelilovic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember have been charged with crimes committed in the municipality of Hadzici. According to the charges, they were members of military and police authorities as well as managers and guards in detention camps.

They have been charged with the unlawful detention, inhumane treatment, and physical and mental suffering of detainees. They also allegedly took detainees locations where they performed forced labour.

Radomir Susic, the former president of the Commission for Exchange of the Serbian municipality of Hadzici, continued his second day of testimony. Susic said he expressed warnings about the problems facing the local commission during a meeting held in July 1993.

“Big obstructions of the exchange process happened, unauthorized apprehensions, or, so to speak, the selling of people and private exchanges…Dragan Bulajic was a member of the military commission for the exchange of the Sarajevsko-Romanijski Corps, but he introduced himself as member of the State Commission,” Susic said.

Susic said it was important to differentiate between unlawful and private exchanges, which were approved by the Commission for Exchange on behalf of the Serbian municipality of Hadzici. He said approximately 500 people were saved through those exchanges.

Susic said he was involved in solving the issue of the prisoners in the Silos detention facility. He said he simultaneously tried to obtain information on missing Bosniaks whose families were searching for them.

Responding to questions from Nermin Kalember’s defense, Susic said his brother, nephews, brother-in-law, other relatives and friends were in the Silos detention camp. He said they didn’t complain about the way the guards treated them.

“Those who entered the place beat some people. I heard that guards were also afraid of paramilitary soldiers,” he said. He said his nephew was beaten by guards while he was doing forced labour.

He said some people who were held in the Silos detention facility volunteered to perform labour.

Susic said the International Police Task Force (IPTF) interrogated him on policemen from the municipality of Hadzici after the war.

“I said they were professionals. I also said had they not be present at the time, everything would have been worse…I heard only good things from everybody about Fadil Covic,” Susic said.

Susic said he also knew Mirsad Sabic. He said he was thankful to him for his correct behaviour when he came to a meeting in the village of Luke in May 1992 to ask the Serb population to hand over their weapons.

“I am thankful to Mirsad Sabic for allowing us, 130 Serbs, to leave the village…I heard he has not done wrong to anybody,” Susic said.

The trial will continue on March 10.

Džana Brkanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian