Berserkistan Navigator Tribunal Hears of
Prisoner Ordered to
Rape His Dead Mother

The son is then killed by guard who shot his mother.
A prisonerís wounds infested by maggots.
Tribunal begins exposing Serb prison camp conditions.

By Ian Geoghegan

Trnopolje Prisoners THE HAGUE, June 21 (Reuters) - A Muslim survivor of a Bosnian prison camp told a war crimes trial on Friday how a drunken Serb soldier shot dead a young man after ordering him to rape his dead mother, killed by the same soldier just moments before.

Suljeman Besic, 46, a former lumberjack, told the U.N. war crimes trial of Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic how the woman, in her mid-30s, had come to the Trnopolje camp in northwest Bosnia to bring food to her son who was held there. He described how the soldier shouted at the woman that he would kill her if she did not tell him where her husband was. He then ordered her to strip off her upper clothing.

"She was crying terribly, but she took them off," Besic said. "Then I heard firing and saw her lying on her back. He shot her in the head. The son was screaming so much you had to close your ears. The soldier told the son to get naked so everyone could see and then said these words to him: "Now I will make you rape your dead mother."

Besic said prisoners standing nearby tried to retreat inside buildings but were ordered by Serbs to watch or be killed. "I heard firing and saw the boy fall next to his mother." The soldier was then led away in handcuffs by other guards but was back on duty as normal the following day, Besic said.

Besic earlier described how the stench from a fellow inmate's gaping maggot-infested wounds -- crosses gouged on his front and back -- prevented other prisoners from treating him. "When we looked on his back where they had cut him there were worms, live worms wriggling around and we tried to take them out... but the stench was so horrible you could not get near him," he told a hushed court.

Besic was testifying towards the end of the seventh week of Tadic's trial, the first before an international war crimes tribunal since those in Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War Two. Tadic, 40, is accused of visiting three prison camps in the Prijedor region of northwest Bosnia in 1992, killing and maiming non-Serbs at will. He claims he is the victim of mistaken identity.

On another occasion, Besic, who told the court that he had known Tadic before the war, said that he had been ordered with other inmates to leave the camp to dig a hole, during which he had asked to go to the toilet. Away from the guards, Besic said he had smelled something unpleasant and "saw a heap of people wrapped in something, dead people... around 20 bodies."

"They were placed as sardines, one on top of the other. Their heads were shattered. I concluded they were not killed with firearms," Besic said, adding that a "huge stick, wooden and bloody" had been left nearby.

Another day Besic said he awoke to find all the men in his building crying. Taken to a nearby cinema, part of the Trnopolje complex that housed women and children, he said he was shown the blood-spattered bodies of two girls in their early teens lying by an outside toilet. Inside the cinema, Besic said he saw more girls' bodies, some naked, some covered with blankets, as well as the bodies of four old men "slaughtered, with blood all around."

Other inmates told him that groups of Serb soldiers had arrived in the night to select girls they liked. "Elderly women trying to save them were killed," he said.

Speaking in low, even tones, Besic recalled how a prisoner, an aged Croat professor, had been led away and presumably killed by a soldier, a former pupil, to whom he had awarded low marks.

Tadic, flanked by two U.N. security guards, sat impassively throughout the grisly testimony. The trial continues on Tuesday.

Set up in 1993 by the U.N. Security Council, the tribunal has charged 58 suspects -- 46 Serbs, nine Croats and three Muslims -- seven of whom it holds in its cells near The Hague.

War Crimes Tribunal
The War Crimes Tribunal logo
on any Berserkistan page
is a hot-link to the
Tribunal's World Wide Web site.

To learn more...
Berserkistan, June 18 · Eyewitness Places Dusan Tadic at Omarska Prison Camp
Berserkistan, June 14 · Friend Watched as Tadic Slit Muslim Police Throats
Berserkistan, June 11 · First Eyewitness Testifies Against Dusan Tadic
Berserkistan, June 7 · Tadic Defense Wonít Challenge Serb-Yugoslavia Caused War
Berserkistan, May 9 · Historian Disclaims Civil War Defense in Tadic Trial
Berserkistan, May 8 · Historian Sets Context for Atrocities in Day 2 of Tadic Trial
Berserkistan, May 8 · Muslims in Sarajevo React to Start of Tadic Trial
Berserkistan, May 7 · Defense: Tadic Had No Role in Murder, Torture
Berserkistan, May 7 · On Trial's Eve, Tadic Claims Innocence
Berserkistan, May 7 · Childhood Friend Says Tadic was Cruel, Artistic

Key Facts about the War Crimes Tribunal
War Crimes Profile: Dusan Tadic
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia from the United Nations
Coalition for International Justice
Reports concerning human rights abuses in Bosnia published by Intac Access
Major War Criminals/Suspects from CalTech's Bosnia Site
Reports on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia from CalTech's Bosnia Site
Berserkistan World Links for more International Justice Resources

Trnopolje Detention Camp Council of Experts
Trnopolje Detention Camp Helsinki Watch Report
Faces of Sorrow Photo Perspectives
War Crimes in BiH: Bulletin 1-1 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
United Nations Commission on Human Rights Tadeusz Mazowieckiís Reports

Berserkistan is a world news service of Michael Linder Productions, Inc.
©1995-1996, All Rights Reserved