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29 August 2007
News

Mejakic et al: Witness Fails to Identify the Accused

BIRN BiH
A prosecution witness who claims two indictees beat him up in Keraterm camp has failed to recognise the individuals in the courtroom.
Protected prosecution witness K05 has spoken of severe injuries sustained during beatings, and about
the participation of two indictees in the maltreatment of detained Bosniaks and Croats in detention camps in north-western Bosnia.

"In June 1992, [Dusan] Fustar beat captured prisoners using a cable with a screw fixed to its end," claimed K05, who was brought to Keraterm on 30 May 1992. "On that occasion, he also hit me as I was standing close to him. The injury that he caused on my head got infected later on."

The State Prosecution charges Dusan Fustar, Dusko "Duca" Knezevic, Momcilo "Ckalja" Gruban and Zeljko Mejakic with having participated in the rape, murder, beating up and forcible detention of Bosniaks and Croats in Omarska and Keraterm detention camps in 1992.

Witness K05 pointed out that the detainees in Keraterm were beaten up with "bats, legs, cables" every day and that "Fustar and Sikirica's shifts were the worst".

"During their shifts detainees were beaten the most. They would take the nine of us from Kozarac out and beat us with various objects. They said we were extremists. In the evenings, we were often beaten up by
the Republika Srpska Army members who used to secure the detention camp," K05 said.

In November 2001, Dusko Sikirica was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for crimes committed in Keraterm detention camp.

Witness K05 claims that "Dusan Knezevic, known as Duca," and Zoran Zigic, also known as Ziga, beat the prisoners in Keraterm, and one Emsud Bahunjic, more than others.

"Zigic and Duca used to beat Bahunjic up every day. That usually happened in the course of Fustar's shift. I remember that, on 15 or 16 June, Bahunjic was taken to a hospital because he was heavily beaten.
When he returned we saw four letters S carved on his forehead and chest. He said that Zigic had done it," K05 said.

In February 2005 Zoran Zigic, known as Ziga, was convicted by the ICTY and sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for the crimes comitted in these camps.

But witness K05 was not able to identify the two indictees who he claims maltreated the detainees. The witness pointed at Gruban instead of Fustar, and also pointed at defence attorney Milenko Ljubojevic instead of Gruban.

Asked by attorney John Ostojic if he remembers what Fustar looked like in 1992, the witness has answered that he "had glasses, a gun and he was dressed in a military uniform".

"I think he was about 170 cm tall and thinner than he is today. He had short brown hair," witness K05 has said adding that he does not know his full name but knows he was referred to as "Fustar".

The indictment alleges that Fustar was commander of one of the three guard shifts in Keraterm detention camp from 24 May to 30 August 1992 and that he was "superior and had a real control over the work and behaviour of guards".

The trial is due to continue on 4 September 2007.
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