MURDERS IN KPD FOCA
A protected witness at the trial of General Ratko Mladic testifies about the murders in the Foca Correctional and Penal Facility (KP Dom). The witness was detained there for more than two and a half years. The defense ‘objected’ to the witness’s claims that some detainees were killed and contested that the witness had ‘any knowledge of it’
According to the indictment against Ratko Mladic for genocide and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 200 persons were killed in the Foca Correctional and Penal Facility (KP Dom) from June to late December 1992. The witness who began his testimony under the pseudonym RM 013 and with voice and image distortion as protective measures, spent more than two and a half years there. Previously, the witness gave evidence about his ordeal at the trials of the Foca KP Dom warden Milorad Krnojelac and former RS president Radovan Karadzic.
The witness was detained in the KP Dom after the Serb forces captured Foca in April 1992. The conditions were ‘harsh’, the witness said. The elderly and the ill were abused and many of the detainees who had been beaten succumbed to their injuries. The witness was beaten on several occasions and was held in isolation. He was never told why he was detained.
In a brief examination-in chief the witness said that the Foca KP Dom was under the military command. According to the witness, deputy military police commander Gojko Jankovic confirmed it when he told the detainees that ‘nothing can happen to you without a military order’. As the witness explained, some detainees in the KP Dom were purportedly taken away to be exchanged only to disappear without a trace. The Red Cross representatives visited the KP Dom several times but they were not allowed to speak to the detainees, the witness noted.
In the cross-examination, Mladic’s defense counsel highlighted the differences between the witness’s statement to the OTP investigators in 1995 and what he said at the trials of Krnojelac and Karadzic. Thus, for example, the witness said at different times that he had been beaten up ‘two, three or four times’. Also, as time went by, the witness added new names to the list of people killed in the KP Dom. At Krnojelac’s trial, the witness spoke about the detainees who were taken out four times from the room where he was held. The witness said, ‘I saw it with my own eyes’. According to the witness, the detainees were brought into a room one by one, where they were beaten. Pistol shots were heard after the beatings. The defense counsel asked the witness if he had put together all the lists with names of detainees that were taken out. The witness replied that in 99 per cent of the cases the lists were based on what he knew; other people helped him to put the detainees in the groups. In response to the presiding judge the defense counsel explained, ‘I object to the allegation that those men were killed and that the witness has any knowledge about it’.
The defense counsel also put it to the witness that Serbs and Croats, not only Muslims, left Foca and that ‘the extremists attacked the Serb youth’. The witness said he didn’t know anything about that.
The protected witness RM 013 will complete his testimony tomorrow.