Bosnian Croat’s Prozor Murder and Torture Trial Opens

Former Croatian Defence Council fighter Nikola Maric is accused of involvement in the detentions, persecution and killings of Bosniaks in the Prozor area in 1992 and 1993.

Maric, a former member of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO), went on trial in Sarajevo on Wednesday, charged with participating in killings, torture and a series of other inhumane acts from November 1992 until October 1993.

He is charged with beating four prisoners on August 29 in 1992 at the fire station in Prozor, arrresting of dozens of Bosniaks from Paros, Duga, Luk, Gorica, Gracanica and other villages as well as from Prozor in 1992 and 1993, and detaining prisoners in jail camps inside and outside Prozor.

According to the one count in the indictment, on April 17, 1993, Maric ordered an HVO fighter to kill a sick old man.

He is also charged with the abuse of a father and son in Gorica in August 1993, by beating them and forcing them to play Russian roulette, as well as torturing the father by pulling out his nails with pliers and extinguishing cigarettes on his face.

According to the prosecution, Maric participated in the abuse of prisoners who were being held at the secondary school, in the bomb shelter and at several other locations in Prozor. He is also charged with taking six Bosniak civilians from the secondary school, who haven’t been seen since and whose bodies have never been found.

On July 18, 1993 in the village of Paros, the prosecution alleges, Maric and another HVO fighter killed a man called Djuzel Becirevic, saying: “Let the crows eat him now.” According to the prosecution, the next day he killed three members of the Omerovic family in the neighbouring village.

The first two prosecution witnesses will testify on May 8.

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