COURTSIDE: Bosanska Krajina Trial

General Talic "alleviated suffering" of Manjaca camp detainees

COURTSIDE: Bosanska Krajina Trial

General Talic "alleviated suffering" of Manjaca camp detainees

A prosecution witness in the trial of General Momir Talic, the former Bosnian Serb commander charged with genocide and other crimes in north-west Bosnia, last week praised him for alleviating the horrific conditions in the Manjaca detention camp in 1992 that he himself helped set up.


Talic, arrested in 2000, is on trial with the Bosnian Serb politician Radoslav Brdjanin, another member of the Bosanska Krajina crisis staff, based in Banja Luka, which is alleged to have organised and run the campaign of ethnic cleansing.


However, Adil Medic, a Bosniak charity worker, said when he told the general of the beatings and killings in Manjaca camp, he made sure Medic got permission to take in humanitarian aid. "We must help the survival of the people in Manjaca," Medic was told by the then commander of the First Krajina corps, whose military police guarded the camp. Medic testified that 49 trucks with humanitarian aid were allowed into Manjaca.


When Medic's organisation, Merhamet, tried to get aid into the nearby camps of Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje, neither Talic nor Banja Luka mayor Predrag Radic accepted responsibility, saying the camps came under Prijedor town council.


There was no such praise for Brdjanin, the head of the Banja Luka crisis staff. On several occasions, he was identified as the head of the agency for deporting non-Serbs. Amir Dzonlic, a lawyer from Banja Luka, said the agency aided the removal of 50,000 Bosniaks and 30,000 Croats from Banja Luka municipality from 1992 to 1995.


He said deportees were allowed to take only 300 German marks with them. The rest of the money was confiscated and sent to the Bosnian Serb defence ministry and local government. The Serb authorities planned all aspects of the removal, he said.


Vjera Bogati is an IWPR special correspondent at The Hague and a journalist with SENSE News Agency.


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