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3 May 2007
News

Mejakic et al: Witness Changes His Testimony

BIRN BiH
Doubt is cast on sighting of primary indictee in Omarska.
The first Prosecution witness to appear at the trial of four indictees accused of committing crimes in Prijedor detention camps has been cross-examined by the Defence. This was initially scheduled for February, but was postponed due to a lack of time.

During cross-examination, it was revealed that witness Asmir Baltic - who is appearing in the trial of indictees Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic - has changed the testimony given on 28 February this year.

During the examination in February, Baltic said that Mejakic had met the captured Muslims at the entrance of Omarska detention camp, while, during cross-examination, he said he was not sure that this statement was correct.

"I did say it had been Mejakic, but I am no longer sure in that. There is a possibility that he was not there at the time, as he only arrived in July, after Kvocka's departure," said Baltic.

The indictment alleges that Mejakic was the manager of detention camp Omarska in the period from 24 April to 30 August 1992.

The four indictees are charged with crimes against humanity committed against civilians in detention camps Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje.

The State Prosecution considers that the indictees took part in maltreatment, murders and deportation of civilians on the territory of Prijedor municipality from 30 April to the end of 1992.

During cross-examination, Baltic said that it was possible that he "had mixed up" Mejakic with Kvocka's deputy, who had been in Omarska at the time.

"[Kvocka's deputy] is the fifth man who is missing here," claimed Baltic.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Miroslav Kvocka to seven years imprisonment for crimes committed in Omarska and Keraterm. After serving his sentence, Kvocka was released on 31 March 2005.

Although planned for today, hearing of the Prosecution's protected witness K022 has been postponed. Prosecutor Peter Kidd has informed the Trial Chamber that the witness is not able to appear before the court due to "medical reasons".

The trial continues on 7 May 2007 when the Prosecution's evidence process will take place.
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