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13 September 2007
News

Mejakic et al: "Mournful Shift in Keraterm"

BIRN BiH
A protected Prosecution witness speaks of the numerous murders and maltreatment that happened during his time in Keraterm detention camp.
Another protected Prosecution witness before the Court of BiH described the role of indictees Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic in the torture committed in Keraterm detention camp.

The Prosecution of BiH charged Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Fustar and Knezevic with having committed crimes against humanity against the non-Serbian population on the territory of Prijedor municipality from April 1992 until the end of that year.

The public has followed the testimony of witness K016 from a separate room, as identity protection measures have been introduced.

The witness has said that the maltreatment in Keraterm started in July 1992.

"Duca and Zigic were in charge of beatings in Keraterm. Knezevic used to visit the detention camp in order to beat the prisoners," says witness K016, who stayed in the camp from 31 May to 5 August 1992.

In February 2005, Zoran Zigic, also known as Ziga, was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for crimes committed in Keraterm.

The witness has told the Court that the guards in the detention camp never tried to stop the beatings. He claims to have been beaten up on two occasions.

"When the guards started beating me Fustar told them not to hit my head," the witness has said adding that Fustar's shift was "the most mournful of all".

"We were inside most of the time. They would not let us go out, but they would call some names out and those people would be beaten," witness K016 has said.

The indictment alleges that Fustar was commander of one of three guard shifts in Keraterm detention camp until the end of August 1992. The indictment further alleges that Knezevic used to visit the camp and, "without being interrupted, committed murders and beating of prisoners".

The witness has described the "massacre in room three", which allegedly happened at the end of July 1992 when "soldiers wearing red berets" arrived and started maltreating the prisoners.

"The soldiers gathered in the course of Fustar's shift. I do not know if the beating started at that time or later," the witness has said.

According to the witness, during the night a noise was coming from room three and then also a long shooting. The witness claims that, the following morning, the prisoners loaded the bodies on a truck, which then drove them away in an unknown direction.

The trial is due to continue on 14 September 2007.
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