A former Bosnian Serb serviceman told a Sarajevo court that he was forced to kiss the severed head of a murdered fellow prisoner while held captive by a unit of foreign jihadist fighters in 1995.
Miodrag Samac told the court that he was taken prisoner by the El Mujahideen unit in July, 1995, near Vozuca in the Zavidovici municipality, Balkan Insight reported. During his captivity he said he was beaten and given electric shocks.
Samac was testifying during the trial of former Bosnian Army Third Corps commander Sakib Mahmuljin, who is charged with failing to stop the foreign volunteers unit committing war crimes against Serb civilians and fighters in the village of Vozuca in 1995.
The El Mujahideen unit, consisting mainly of Arab fighters, formed in Bosnia in 1992, as nationalist Serb paramilitaries drove Bosnian Muslims from their homes in the east and west of the country.
After Croatian Catholics joined the war in 1993, the war became a three way struggle, with the El Mujahideen involved in the murder and kidnap of Serbian and Croat Christians.
"We thought they were members of the Bosnian army. However, they looked nothing like people from here. Some had big beards and did not speak the language," Samac told the court, as quoted by Balkan Insight. "They hit us while we were tied up. They gave us electric shocks, and while they beat us, they filmed it with a camera. I fell unconscious with a wire around my neck and my hands and legs tied," he said.
He said that the prisoners were taken from the village of Livade, where they were being held, to the El Mujahedeen camp in Gostovici on 23 July. "There they took us to the playing field, between white tents, and spat on us, beat us," he said.
"One night they told us to lie on our stomachs and blindfolded our eyes. Then one of the prisoners, Gojko Vujicic, said he would kill them all. We heard a shot, someone saying 'Allah Akbar', and a thud," he added.
After his blindfold was removed, he was forced to kiss Vujicic's severed head, said Samac. "The head was mounted in the room we were staying in," he added.
The crimes happened in the same month as 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered by Serbian forces in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
The Muslim volunteer unit is accused of killing around 50 Serb prisoners in Vozuca. Some were decapitated and their heads displayed to other prisoners. Mahmuljin is accused of failing to stop the murder and abuse of prisoners despite of being aware it was planned, and failing to take action against perpetrators.
The unit is also accused of kidnapping Croatia Christian Dragan Popovic in the town of Travnik in 1995, beheading him, and forcing other prisoners to kiss the head.
The trial resumes on 13 July.