COURTSIDE: Bosanska Krajina Trial

Witness talks of beatings in Manjaca

COURTSIDE: Bosanska Krajina Trial

Witness talks of beatings in Manjaca

Witness Sakib Muhic last week told the court about the beatings he allegedly endured in various detention centres set up by the Serb crisis staff in Sanski Most. Radoslav Brdjanin and General Momir Talic, then president and member of the crisis staff respectively, are on trial for persecution of non-Serbs in the area.


A defendant in a separate trial, Milomir Stakic, former president of Prijedor's crisis staff, has said the centres were "necessary at the time" to investigate and deal with Muslim "extremists" in northern Bosnia.


Muhic, a Muslim, was not a member of any political party. Nevertheless, in spring 1992 he was taken to the detention centre in Sanski Most sports hall, where he described the conditions as good. There was no explanation for his arrest but after he was taken for questioning, he was beaten on the head by anyone who passed by.


The witness was then taken to the Manjaca camp, which was under military command. Muhic told the tribunal how, on his arrival, he saw six Muslim inmates being beaten to death with wooden bats and boards.


Muhic no longer has the use of his fingers following an attack by men including his pre-war Serbian neighbour. Such assaults were commonplace in Manjaca, he said, with five or six inmates called out and beaten every night.


The witness claimed he had lost around 50 kg in weight at Manjaca before the arrival of the Red Cross, after which food rations began to increase.


Mirna Jancic is an IWPR assistant editor


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