A former detainee said he was repeatedly beaten in captivity by Nedzad Hodzic, one of two Bosniak ex-servicemen accused of wartime crimes on Mount Igman.
Prosecution witness Miladin Borovic told the court in Sarajevo on Thursday that in May 1992 he was taken to the Silos detention camp near Sarajevo, where he spent seven months and was assaulted by Hodzic for the first time.
“It was Ascension Day. They told us to pack our things. Soldiers then entered the room… Hodzic beat me with a rifle. He knows that very well,” Borovic said.
Borovic said that he was then transferred from Silos to the Krupa military barracks and then to Mount Igman, above the Bosnian capital. A few days later Hodzic came and started attacking the detainees, he testified.
“He took a table leg and began beating us. We were not able to get up from the concrete floor for six or seven days after that,” the witness said.
Borovic, who testified from Melbourne in Austrlia via video link, also recalled having been beaten by Hodzic in front of the Mraziste Hotel on Mount Igman in March 1992.
“We returned after having dug trenches. Hodzic pulled a pistol out and told me and [another prisoner called] Goran to shoot at each other. I refused to do it, so he beat me. Goran pulled the trigger, but the pistol did not fire. Hodzic beat Goran up so brutally that he peed blood afterwards,” the witness said.
Borovic told the court that one day Hodzic took a prisoner called Jadranko Glavas out of the cell, saying that he would be exchanged. The next day they found Glavas dead in the cell.
“His head was smashed and spine broken. Hodzic said that he was killed because his brother was killing people in Ilidza,” the witness said. Challenged by the defence, the witness said that he did not personally see Hodzic committing the murder.
When the witness described Hodzic’s appearance at the time, defence lawyer Nedzla Sehic said that this was “an obvious case of identity mix-up” and that “this witness’s testimony is not credible”.
Hodzic is on trial alongside Dzevad Salcin, also known as ‘Struja’. Both of them are former members of the Bosnian Army’s Zulfikar Brigade.
The witness also testified that he saw a man nicknamed Struja sever the ear of another prisoner, Dragan Vukovic.
“He took a knife, grabbed him by his neck. Dragan began screaming. He cut his ear off, while the other soldiers were telling him to cut the other one off as well, so it would look the same,” the witness said.
However it was not clear whether he was referring to the defendant Salcin as the assailant.
The trial is due to continue on April 30.