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COURTSIDE: Bosanska Krajina Trial

Witness tells of fatal journey to Manjaca camp
By Mirna Jancic

Another prosecution witness last week gave evidence on conditions in the Manjaca and Betonirka detention centres set up in north-west Bosnia’s Bosanska Krajina by Serb authorities.

Bekir Delic was testifying against Radislav Brdjanin and General Momir Talic, who are standing trial for genocide and other war crimes against non-Serbs.

The witness was present in the Mahala district of Sanski Most when Serbian forces shelled the town in spring 1992. He told the court that contrary to the claims of the authorities at the time, he had seen no Muslim fighters and that no battles took place as no one resisted the Serb attack.

Delic was arrested and taken first to Betonirka before being transferred to Manjaca on July 7. Describing the prisoners' sufferings on the trip, the witness said their truck stopped to pick up more men in front of Sanski Most sports centre before travelling for another eight hours or so to Manjaca.

The heat was unbearable and 18 men suffocated on their way to the camp, where officials insisted the dead be returned to Sanski Most as "the authorities there were responsible for them". The others were taken inside.

The witness said three prisoners were selected to escort the dead. One was a son of Faik Biscevic, a witness who gave evidence two weeks ago. Biscevic’s son was never seen again and, in his testimony, the distraught father appealed to Talic to help him find out what had happened.

Mirna Jancic is an IWPR assistant editor.

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