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24 April 2008
News

Mejakic et al: Good neighbour

BIRN BIH
A former neighbour of indictee Dusko Knezevic described Knezevic in Court as a good neighbour and a tidy and meticulous man from a good family.
The Defence witness, a former neighbour of Dusan Knezevic, told to the Court that he had always been helpful towards him.

"People in Orlovci have a very good opinion of Dusko Knezevic's family," Bosko Matijas said. "They have a reputation as an antifascist family, thanks to Dusko's grandfather. Dusko helped me a lot and I am thankful for that."

The BiH Prosecution is charging Dusko 'Duca' Knezevic, Zeljko Mejakic and Momcilo Gruban with murder, rape, beating and forcible detention of Bosniaks and Croats at Omarska and Keraterm detention camps during 1992.

"On two or three occasions Knezevic accompanied me when I visited my brother-in-law, who was detained in Keraterm detention camp. When we came to the detention camp, the guards would not let us go in, but we had to leave the food and clothes at the entrance," Matijas said, adding that his brother-in-law was killed in Keraterm detention camp.

According to this witness, Knezevic was ordered to go to "a battlefield near Gradacac" in June 1992.

The witness also said that, as far as he knew, Dusko Knezevic's nickname was Cuco, and not Duca, as stated in the indictment.

"When he was a little child he was cute and we used to call him Cuco, so I do not understand where the nickname of Duca has come from. I can see that he is older now, just like me, and he has lost his hair. He was meticulous and his hair was always freshly cut and tidy," Matijas said.

Some Prosecution witnesses who testified earlier claimed that Dusko 'Duca' Knezevic used to come to Keraterm detention camp, where he participated in the maltreatment of detained Bosniaks and Croats and that he had long hair.

After he admitted his guilt in April 2008 and signed an admission-of-guilt agreement with the BiH Prosecution, the BiH Court sentenced Dusan Fustar, a former guard shift chief, to nine years in prison for crimes committed in Keraterm detention camp. Following the signing of the agreement, Fustar's case was dissociated from the cases of Mejakic and the others.

Fustar, Mejakic, Gruban and Knezevic were transferred from the Hague Tribunal to the BiH judicial system for further processing in 2006.

The trial is due to continue on Wednesday, May 7.
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