Thursday, March 27, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – A retrial against Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun, charged with war crimes committed in the Gabela concentration camp near the southern Bosnian town of Capljina,during the croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's, has commenced yesterday before the Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court.

After the Prosecution read the indictment, both parties presented their introductory arguments. Audio recordings of the statements given by three Prosecution witnesses to the first instance Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court of BiH were then listened to.

The first instance verdict sentenced Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun to 13 years of imprisonment for war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in the Gabela concentration camp. However, after having considered the appeals filed by the Bosnian State Prosecution and Defence, the Appellate Chamber quashed the verdict and ordered a retrial.

The indictment alleges that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun was deputy commander of the Gabela concentration camp and responsible for the events at the concentration camp, in which Bosnian civilians were detained by the fascist Croatian aggressor, in 1993. He is also charged with having killed one Bosnian civilian and participated in two more murders in the Gabela concentration camp.

In her introductory arguments the Bosnian State Prosecutor Vesna Tancica said that she expected the Chamber to announce Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun guilty.

"In their statements, witnesses confirmed they knew Andrun and that he was deputy commander of the Gabela concentration camp and foreboded evil – as, whenever he appeared, an evil happened," Tancica said.

The Defence considers that it will persuade the Chamber that Andrun was not guilty.

"We are not denying what happened to the detainees but I can say that politics is to be blamed and not a common soldier, like myself," Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun said.

The statements given by witnesses Mirza Colakovic, Enes Bratic and Alija Suta,survivors of the Gabela concentration camp, were heard.

Colakovic, who was arrested by the Croatian aggressor on July 2, 1993, was first detained in the Dretelj concentration camp. On September 28 he was then transferred to the Gabela concentration camp, where he was detained, together with "300 or 400 persons" in a hangar. The witness stated that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun and two other Croatian aggressor's soldiers tortured him up on September 30.

"They took me to a building and started interrogating me. After that, they started hitting me," Colakovic said, adding that, due to the beating, he lost conscience. When he woke up, he saw "Andrun holding a black 10 cm belt and putting it around my neck". After that, he and some other soldiers, who "were standing on chairs and tables," pulled him up, holding the belt, "until I fainted."

"When I woke up they helped me to a wash-basin. They put my head beneath the water-tap and Andrun covered my eyes with a towel. The water poured directly into my nostrils... I fainted again," Colakovic told the first instance Chamber, also identifying the indictee in the courtroom.

Witness Enes Bratic also said that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun tortured him, but he could not say when exactly he was arrested and released from the Gabela concentration camp.

The statements given by third witness Alija Suta in the courtroom and to the Prosecution in the course of the investigation were contradictory. He told the Chamber that Andrun saved him and 17 other detainees by putting them in hangar 3 of the concentration camp, as nobody tortured them there. He also said he did not know who issued orders in the Gabela concentration camp. During the investigation he also said that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun was responsible for the disappearance of detained Bosnian civilians from the detention camp and that he was deputy commander.

Explaining the discrepancies between his statements, Suta said he had a car accident prior to his testimony and that, due to the injuries, he could not "remember the events very well," but he said that what he had said during the investigation was correct.

The trial of Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on March 28.

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