Prijedor Policeman ‘Beat Up Bosniak Detainee’
Prosecution witness Senad Kapetanovic told the state court in Sarajevo on Friday that when he was transferred from the Omarska detention camp to another detention facility at Manjaca in 1992, he was assaulted by one of the defendants.
Kapetanovic said that as he was leaving Omarska, he said he saw members of the Prijedor police force’s interventions squad – “Babic, who was their chief”, Darko Mrdja, Milan Gavrilovic, as well as a few others.
“More than 80 of us were in the bus. We had to kneel down, keeping our heads down on bus seats. The heat was unbearable. It was August and we were thirsty. Gavrilovic was walking, stepping on us,” the witness said.
“Gavrilovic kicked me with a military boot in the nape of my neck from my right-hand side, so I hit an arm rest with the left side of my head. Blood began pouring all over me,” he added.
Gavrilovic, Zoran Babic, Darko Mrdja and Radenko Marinovic are on trial for allegedly participating in the persecution of Bosniaks from Prijedor in 1992.
The indictment charges them with committing murders and being responsible for forcible disappearances and inhumane treatment.
Gavrilovic was a policemen in Prijedor and the other three were members of the police interventions squad in the town.
Witness Kapatenovic said that, upon arrival at the Manjaca detention centre, the prisoners from Omarska spent the night in the bus, while Gavrilovic, a soldier and the driver were in the front.
He said he heard that on the following day, several detainees from other buses disappeared.
Witness Branko Konta said meanwhile that he travelled as a mechanic in a convoy from Omarska to Manjaca. He spent the night in a small truck and inspected all the vehicles the following morning.
“When I returned, policeman Bosko Grubec and another man came and asked who the driver of the small truck was. They said we should follow them in order to unload that… The bodies of five or six detainees were loaded onto the vehicle,” Konta said, adding that the policemen told them to unload the corpses into the Vrbas river basin.
Responding to the defence’s questions, the witness said he knew Milan Gavrilovic, but he did not see him during the transportation to Manjaca.
In a separate hearing at the state court on Friday, at the trial of three former Bosnian Serb Army soldiers, a prosecution witness spoke about the murder of his brother committed in hamlet of Barakovac, near Kozarac.
Witness Mure Velic said he came from Germany to Kozarac in 1998 to inquire about what happened to his brother Himzo Velic, and several people said he had been killed by soldiers.
“I heard he was killed in front of the house. Others say it happened in front of the Besics’ house,” Velic said.
Former Bosnian Serb Army soldiers Rade Vlasenko, Drago Koncar and Milan Krupljan are charged with participating in the persecution of non-Serb civilians in the Kozarac area and the surrounding villages in the Prijedor municipality from late May to mid-August 1992.