Witness Recalls Beatings by Bosnian Croat Fighter

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, May 12, 2014
Posted in category Balkans, Bosnia Hertegovina
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The first prosecution witness at the trial of Nikola Maric, accused of the detention, persecution and killing of Bosniaks in the Prozor area, said that the defendant repeatedly assaulted him.

Witness Esad Beganovic told the Sarajevo court on Thursday that he was assaulted by the defendant while he was at a café in Prozor with his friends in May 1993.

“While we were sitting in the café, Nikola Maric came and cursed our Muslim mothers,” Beganovic recalled.

He said that Maric then hit him on his head with a pistol in front of the café.

Beganovic said while running away, he heard a gunshot, but he did not know in which direction Maric fired.

The witness said that he did not know how long it was until he met Maric again at the fire brigade building in Prozor, where he said the defendant beat him for 15 minutes and then locked him in a detention unit.

Maric, a former member of the Croatian Defence Council, is charged with participating in murders, torture and other inhumane acts from November 1992 to October 1993.

He is charged, amongst other things, with the abuse of the witness Beganovic, the murder of a man called Munib Grcic and the disappearance of six civilians from a secondary school.

The witness said that he saw Maric again at the secondary school, where prisoners were being detained by the Croatian Defence Council.

“While I was in the corridor one evening, I saw two men, holding their hands on the napes of their necks, entering the building. They were followed by Nikola Maric,” the witness said.

Beganovic said he then heard a curse and a gunshot, but did not know who fired.

“I found out that Munib Grcic was wounded. His body has never been found,” he said.

Seven days later, he continued, Maric came to the school building again in a small green truck. He heard the defendant calling out the names of seven people who were then taken away in the truck. They have never been seen since.

The trial is due to continue on May 15.

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