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21 April 2008
News

Fustar: Deep and absolute regret

BIRN BiH
Dusan Fustar has expressed regret for the crimes committed in the Keraterm detention camp.
Dusan Fustar, one of the four convicted before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for war crimes in the Prijedor detention camps, has concluded a guilt admission deal for participating in the murders and beating of Bosnians and Croats in Keraterm.

According to this agreement a punishment of nine years of prison is specified. The Court Chamber will state its verdict on Tuesday, 22 April 2008.

“The Court Chamber has accepted a guilt admission agreement signed by the Prosecution and Dusan Fustar on March 22, 2008.We determined that the agreement is accepted gladly and advisedly, and the Court had in mind all the evidence presented by the Prosecution,” the President of the Court Chamber, Saban Maksumic stated.

Fustar, who initially indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, at the Hague, surrendered in2002. If the verdict based on the agreement is reached, he could be free within three years.

Dusan Fustar read his “regret statement” in the court room asking for forgiveness.

“I state my deep and absolute regret, as well as sympathies for the killed ones and their families and I ask from them to forgive me. The pressure of my consciousness dictates me to regret for all who were harassed, abused and killed. I regret even more so because I used to know those people. I regret from the deepest of my heart for everything that happened,” Fustar read.

Peter Kidd, the Prosecutor stated that “the Prosecution claims that the punishment of nine years is in the public interest,and that the Court should consider the principal of equality and punishments in line with the Hague.Among the human value of the statement given by the convicted that he is guilty,the Court time for presenting evidence will be saved, and it presents a positive impact to victims given by an honest regret.”

As stated by modified indictment, Fustar was one of three shift commanders in the Keraterm detention camp in the period “from the middle until the end of June 1992.”

“The beatings were most frequent during Fustar's shift and he deliberately contributed to the strengthening of crime acts with his own acts,” Kidd stated.

“Fustar has a position of trust and he should have used his powers to prevent the beating and abuse. The Prosecution accepts that Fustar personally did not beat nor kill any of the prisoners, and that he did not participate in the massacre that happened in room 3,” Kidd added.

At the end of June 1992, some Prosecution witnesses during the trial claimed that in room 3 of the Keraterm detention camp, a few hundred people were killed. The people were taken from the Brdo region and their bodies were taken to an unknown direction.

The Court of BiH has modified the indictment by signing the agreement with Dusan Fustar, who was previously indicted along with Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban and Dusko Knezevic forthe murders, raping, beating, harassing and forced detention of Bosnians and Croats in the Omarska and Keraterm detention camps.

The Prosecution has dropped the part of the charges against Fustar, and charged him with the modified indictment for helping in the murders, beating and detention of civilians in 1992.

The Prosecution and Fustar's Defence has accepted the facts that the Keraterm detention camp existed from May 24 until August 5, 1992 and that “between 1000 and 1500 persons” were placed in Keraterm, and that prisoners were kept in inhumane conditions, beaten on a daily basis and abused.

The Admission of guilt came after almost a year of the trial and during this period the Prosecution has concluded its presenting of evidence while the Defence nears the end of its procedure.

This is first agreement before the Court of BiH to be reached at this late stage in the trial.

The case against Mejakic and the others was submitted for prosecution at the Court of BiH in May 2006 from the Hague.
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