Kerestinec Commander Admitted Abuse, Witness Says

At the trial for war crimes committed at the Croatian military prison Kerestinec, a witness testified that the prison commander, Stjepan Klaric, admitted that the prisoners were abused.Testifying on Friday at the trial of the Kerestinec prison commander, Klaric, and his four subordinates, Ivan Ivankovic, a former officer of the Croatian military secret service, SIS, said that he led an investigation into the allegations of the abuse in the prison.

Ivanovic testified that the investigation discovered the so-called “black room” full of torture devices.

“We talked to the commander Stjepan Klaric about that, and he said that there were abuse there, mainly during the night”, Ivankovic said to the court.

Three victims also testified on Friday, descrbing the torture they suffered.

Nada Milicevic, a Croatian Serb who was held in Kerestinec for two months, told the court that she was regularly beaten, in a variety of different ways, and that electrical shocks were applied to even the most intimate parts of her body.

“I did not sleep at all because of pain and fear,” Milicevic said.

Two other witnesses, Slobodan Kukic and Milorad Blagojevic, also testified about the torture in the “black room”.

Kukic and Blagojevic remembered that one of the guards was called Viktor.

The prison commander Stjepan Klaric and his four subordinates, Drazen Pavlovic, Viktor Ivancin, Zeljko Zivec and Goran Strukelj, are charged with the physical and psychological torture of detainees, and the sexual abuse of male and female prisoners during second half of 1991 and first several months of 1992.

The trial for war crimes in Kerestinec, which started more that twenty years after crimes were perpetrated, is revealing some of the cruellest crimes committed during the war in Croatia, including sexual violence towards male and female prisoners.

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