Bosnian Serb Police Unit ‘Never Beat Up Prisoners’

Witness Zeljko Markanovic, who was also a Bosnian Serb reservist policeman during wartime, told the trial of Milorad Jovanovic at Belgrade Higher Court on Monday that he did not see his colleagues beat up prisoners at the Simo Miljus Museum prison in Lusci Palanka in Bosnia's Sanski Most municipality in the summer of 1992.

Prior to the trial, Markanovic had told the investigation that there were members of one police unit who beat up prisoners in custody in Lusci Palanka.

Presiding judge Vinka Beraha Nikicevic reminded Markanovic of his previous statement: "You said: 'I know that members of unit who were training in Knin [in Croatia] were getting into the prison [in Lusci Palanka]. I saw them hitting and kicking prisoners.'"

"I did not say that," Markanovic responded.

According to the indictment, former reservist policeman Milorad Jovanovic, together with his commander Slavko Vukovic, who has since died, and other unnamed police officers, forcibly brought non-Serbs from villages near Sanski Most in June and July 1992 and imprisoned them in the Simo Miljus Memorial Museum in Lusci Palanka.

In order to get evidence of the possession of weapons or information about a group allegedly resisting Serb troops, Jovanovic hit prisoners with his hands, a shotgun and other objects, kicked them, tied them to a chair or a beam on the ceiling and beat them, forced them to be baptised, and made them crawl on the floor and kiss his boots. One civilian died as a result of the beating.

Jovanovic admitted that civilians were detained at the museum in order to be questioned about arms or information about Bosniak armed forces.

However, he denied that he beat them or hurt them. He said that he did hit one civilian prisoner several times but, he...

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