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Witness: Onetime Neighbor Presided Over Atrocities In Serb-Run Camp

October 12, 1995

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ A Bosnian Muslim truck driver testified Wednesday that his Serb neighbor and onetime card-game partner turned into a sadistic torturer who presided over a Serb-run prison camp.

Suad Mahmutovic told the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal that Dragan Nikolic, indicted on charges of murder and torture, ordered two Serbs to beat the unidentified Muslim inmate of the Serb-run Susica prison camp, but their brutality didn’t satisfy him.

``He (Nikolic) said: `What kind of Serbs are you? You can’t even kill him.′ He uncocked a submachine gun and fired a round ... Of course he killed him,″ Mahmutovic recounted.

The hearing is being conducted in Nikolic’s absence; he is believed to be in Bosnian Serb-held territory. The tribunal probably will issue an international arrest warrant for Nikolic when the hearing ends.

Hasim Ferhatovic, pressed into service as an undertaker at the camp near Vlasenica in northeastern Bosnia, described scooping up fragments of the skull of another inmate who was beaten to death.

``The part behind his forehead ... was gone, disappeared,″ said Ferhatovic, a construction worker and part-time undertaker. ``I had to put all the pieces of his skull in his cap.″

Ferhatovic also told of prisoners being hung by their thumbs from chains until they passed out.

Nikolic, Ferhatovic said, would sit in the shade of his office watching the torture ``as if it was his pleasure.″

Ferhatovic, who told of burying six inmates killed at the camp, said that before war came to Bosnia, he used to play cards with Nikolic in a cafe in Vlasenica _ and even buried his father.

The U.N. court has indicted 43 suspects _ all but one of them Serbs _ but has just one in custody.

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