Former Rabic Prisoner Describes Beating by Almaz Nezirovic

10. March 2016.00:00
Testifying at the trial of Almaz Nezirovic, Marko Markovic said that he, his father, and cousin and were taken away from their homes and sent to the Yugoslav National Army Center on May 11, 1992. He said they spent three days in the center before being transferred to the Rabic military hangar.

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Defendant Almaz Nezirovic, a former member of the Croatian Defense Council (HVO), has been charged with participating in the torture and inhumane treatment of Serb civilians detained in the Rabic and Silos Polje detention camps in the municipality of Derventa as well as a detention camp in Tulek in the municipality of Bosanski Brod in 1992.

Testifying at today’s hearing, Marko Markovic said the Rabic military hangar was a long and cold concrete building. He said local residents of Cardak were detained in the left part of the hangar, while other detainees were held in the right side. According to Markovic, sometimes they heard food being brought to their door, but the guards would then pour the food down a hole the detainees used for urination and defecation.

“This gentleman sitting here and Edin Mrkonjic used to spill food. Mr. Almaz Nezirovic, whom I had known personally from before. He had a white belt, boots and a garrison cap. I think he had emblems of the HVO and a camouflage military uniform,” Markovic said.

Markovic said he remembered Nezirovic entering the hangar carrying a baton, making a circle and ordering all his colleagues from the Unis factory to stand in front of a desk. He then ordered them to put their hands on the desk and hit them, one by one, on their fingers with a big baton.

“I bent down due from the pain. I was crying. He hit me on the back and legs with the baton when I fell. He no longer hit me, but he continued beating others. Once some men had to take their clothes off. Almaz ordered them to do it. They had to put three fingers on the desk. He then hit them on the fingers with a baton,” he said.

In late June 1992, Markovic was transferred to Polje, where he was detained in Silos. He said they were guarded by the same individuals who guarded them in Rabic.

Witness Drago Knezevic said Derventa was surrounded by regular Croatian forces and domestic paramilitary forces on April 15, 1992. He said a part of the local population of Cardaci was killed, some were captured, while others managed to flee.

Knezevic said he hid until May 5, 1992, when he was taken to the Yugoslav National Army Center. Seven or ten days later he was transferred to Rabic, in an underground military warehouse.

“This man sitting here, Almaz, was a guard. I’ve known him since childhood. He was in military uniform. He had a multi-coloured cap on his head. I can’t remember if he had any emblems on his cap. Edin Mrkonjic abused me more than anyone else. I have to be honest and say that Almaz did not beat anyone in the beginning. Something changed later on. He started beating, hitting. I can’t remember if he beat me. He once approached me and gave me a chewing gum. He told me, ‘They beat you more than anybody else, but they don’t give you anything,’” Knezevic said.

The trial will continue on March 17.

Emina Dizdarević Tahmiščija

This post is also available in: Bosnian