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11 July 2007
News

Mejakic et al: Detainees Beaten

BIRN BiH
Prosecution witness describes how those held in Omarska and Keraterm were tortured.
Protected Prosecution witness K09 has testified in a Court from which the general public was excluded.
He has spoken about maltreatment of detainees Omarska and Keraterm during 1992 and about those who were beaten and died from their injuries.

"During an interrogation in Omarska detention camp four guards were kicking me, hitting me with cables and police sticks, while the fifth had a gun pointed at me. After the beating, my skin of my back was blue," K09 has said.

The prosecution charges Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic with murder, rape, torture, beating and the forcible detention of Bosniaks and Croats in Omarska and Keraterm detention camps during 1992.

"A few days after his arrival at Keraterm the guards asked Drago Tokmadzic to leave our room. After he had gone out, we heard noises - hits, screams and moans - for an hour. Other detainees brought him back into the room. He was unconscious. He passed away the same evening," witness K09 recalled and added that Jovo Radocaj was killed in a similar way in Keraterm detention camp.

"When they took him out we heard them telling him 'You, Serb, have joined the Muslims again'. Later on, other detainees told me that Jovo had been arrested for being a member of the Party for Democratic Action (SDA)," K09 claims.

The witness pointed out that other detainees in Keraterm told him that "Dusa and Ziga visited the camp and took part in beatings" every night.

The indictment alleges that Dusko Knezevic, also known as Duca, visited Keraterm detention camp during 1992 on a daily basis and took part in the beating and maltreatment of detained Bosniaks and Croats.

In February 2005 Zoran Zigic, also known as Ziga, was sentenced, by a legally-binding verdict, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to 25 years imprisonment for crimes committed in Omarska and Keraterm detention camps.

The witness arrived in Keraterm on 23 June 1992. On 4 July he was transferred to Omarska and then transferred, together with other detainees, to Manjaca detention camp on 6 August.

"During my stay in Omarska, on one occasion I and three other detainees had to take a dead body out of Bijela kuca and load it on a yellow truck. We had to load other bodies, with cut throats, on the same truck. I remember that this truck came frequently. The driver was of mid height, had mustaches, black hair and a long raincoat," K09 has said.

At the request of the Prosecution, the public has been excluded from this hearing and followed the trial from a separate room where it has only been able to listen to what is said but not to see the courtroom.
The reasons for the exclusion of the public and the Trial Chamber's decision were announced in closed session.

The trial continues on 13 July.
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