Female Guard ‘Assaulted and Humiliated’ Derventa Prisoners

7. April 2017.17:20
A former prisoner told the trial of former Croatian Defence Council fighter Azra Basic that he was assaulted and ridden like a horse by a female guard while in custody in 1992. Prosecution witness Stanimir Pijetlovic told the state court in Sarajevo on Friday that he was detained on April 26, 1992 by Croatian Defence Council fighters and held in the Army House in Derventa, where he and other prisoners were abused.

He said that he and other detainees from the village of Cardak were taken into a big hall, where they saw civilians and members of the Croatian Defence Council, including a woman named Azra, who seemed to be the boss.

He said that Azra made prisoners kneel and then rode them like horses, with a belt tied around their necks so another fighter could drag them along.

“She rode me three times… Azra used to kick me on all the parts of my body more than anyone else,” Pijetlovic said.

He said that Azra put a knife to his forehead and gave him a lecture at the same time.

He also said he saw her carve a cross on prisoner Blagoje Djuras’ forehead and cut a vein in his neck.

The witness was then taken to the basement so he did not see whether Djuras lived or not.

The defence then presented the witness with a statement given during the investigation, indicating he said that a soldier named Ivica approached Djuras and cut veins on his neck.

Pijetlovic denied this and said that he stood by his testimony at the trial.

Basic, a former member of the Croatian Defence Council, is charged with participating in murders, torture and causing suffering and injuries at the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) House in Derventa and in the village of Polje from April 26, 1992 to the beginning of May.

Also on Friday, a prosecution witness at the trial of four former Bosnian Serb policemen accused of wartime crimes in the Prijedor area said that one of the defendants hit a prisoner on the head.

Witness Vahid Rizvanovic said that he and other prisoners at the Omarska detention camp were told on the morning of August 6, 1992 that they would be “going somewhere”.

He asked defendant Milan Gavrilovic, who had been his work colleague for ten years, exactly where they were going.

“He laughed cynically and said: ‘You are not going home, that’s for sure. Get on the bus,’” the witness said.

Former Bosnian Serb policemen Milan Gavrilovic, Darko Mrdja, Zoran Babic and Radenko Marinovic are charged with participating in the persecution of the Bosniak population of Prijedor.

They are accused of being responsible for murders, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment in 1992.

The witness said that during the bus ride, they heard screams and were ordered to sing some songs which he did not know, so the men transporting them hit him.

Defendant Darko Mrdja also hit one of the prisoners, he said.

Erna Mačkić