VENTING ANGER ON PRISONERS
The trial of Ratko Mladic continued in his absence because he was undergoing medical examinations. In 1992 and 1993, witness Elvir Pasic, former police officer from Rogatica, was detained in the Veljko Vlahovic School in Rogatica and in the prison camps in Susica and Batkovic
In 1992 and 1993, Elvir Pasic from Rogatica was detained in the Veljko Vlahovic school and the prison camps in Susica and Batkovic. In his evidence at the trials of Dusko Tadic and Dragan Nikolic, Pasic spoke about his detention, the beating and killing of prisoners in Serb prisons and camps. In the case against Mladic, the witness's statement to the OTP investigators from October 2004 was admitted into evidence.
Before the war Pasic worked as a police officer in Rogatica. After the police was divided based on ethnicity in late March 1992, Pasic resigned because he 'didn't want to get involved in any conflict'. Two months later, on 25 May 1992, Serb forces launched a surprise artillery attack on Rogatica and then entered the town. The Serb troops embarked on a campaign of cleansing the town of 'Muslim extremists' and 'Green Berets'; there were purportedly 4,000 of them. According to the witness, they were local civilians.
Pasic hid in a basement until 7 June 1992 when he was arrested and taken to the Veljko Vlahovic school. The witness was detained there together with about 300 inhabitants of Rogatica. After about 20 days, the witness was first transferred to a farm near Rogatica where the Serb forces' command was located. Pasic was then taken to the Susica prison camp and finally ended in the Batkovic prison camp. The witness remained there until July 1993 when he was exchanged and released.
In the examination-in chief, Pasic said that Serb soldiers who arrested him on 7 June 1992 wore camouflage JNA uniforms. Some of them had grey and blue uniforms and all but two of them wore black masks. Soldiers separated the captured men from the women and children, tied their hands with wire and then forced them to lie face down on the ground. Pasic was taken to the Veljko Vlahovic school with the women and children. Enes Korjenic was the only survivor from the group of men arrested that day. Korjenic was set free after Rajko Kusic intervened on his behalf.
In the cross-examination, Mladic's defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic put it to the witness that in his written statement he gave his assumptions, not facts. The defense counsel gave an example: the witness said in his statement that in 'mid-August' a 35-year-old man from Bijeljina, nicknamed Professor, was taken out of the hangar in the Batkovic prison camp and killed. The defense counsel then showed the indictment against the prison camp warden, his deputy and two other persons in charge in the Batkovic prison camp. The indictment alleges that Ferid Zecevic a/k/a Professor from Bijeljina was killed on 28 July 1992. Pasic agreed today that because of the ordeal he had been through he might have been mistaken about the date, but he still believed that Zecevic was killed in mid-August 1992.
In his response to the defense lawyer, the witness stuck to his claim that he saw two prisoners beaten to death in the Batkovic prison camp. Serb soldiers often came to the prison camp from the frontlines to 'vent their anger on prisoners', the witness explained. Some detainees didn't survive the beatings.
The trial of Ratko Mladic - who was absent from the courtroom because of some medical examinations - will continue on Monday, 5 November 2012.
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