COURTSIDE: Bosanski Samac Trial

Town effectively became a detention camp for non-Serb residents.

COURTSIDE: Bosanski Samac Trial

Town effectively became a detention camp for non-Serb residents.

Witnesses in the trial of four Serb municipal officials over the ethnic cleansing of Bosanski Samac, in northern Bosnia, last week said Croats and Bosniaks who had not been deported or sent to detention centres in 1992 also suffered privations in the "town camp".


Snjezana Delic, a Croat married to a Bosniak, described how their lives changed in April 1992 when the local radio station announced the town had been "liberated" and a curfew imposed.


The indictment against Blagoje Simic, Milan Simic, Miroslav Tadic and Simo Zaric of the municipal crisis staff claims the "liberation" was in fact a Serbian military take-over, assisted by paramilitaries from Serbia and the Yugoslav National Army, JNA.


Delic said posters banning gatherings of more than two Bosniaks or Croats, signed by Simic in the name of the local crisis staff, were put up all over town.


She said when her husband obeyed a summons to the police station in the summer of 1992, he did not return home after telephoning to say he would only be absent for a short time. He had been taken to a camp. She, meanwhile, along with other non-Serbs who remained in the town, was forced to endure many privations.


By the time Delic's husband returned from the camp, she had lost her teaching job, access to her bank account, her car and her phone. They decided to participated in an "exchange" in September, supervised by Tadic. These transactions were probably the best option for the non-Serbs to get out of what became known as the "town camp" although this meant they could no longer claim their property. The trial continues.


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


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