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24 May 2007
News

Mejakic et al: Helping Detainees

BIRN BiH
A witness has told the Court how one of the indictees helped him several times during his detention in Omarska.
Kerim Mesanovic - the witness directly examined by the Prosecution on 23 May - has given answers to many Defence queries about the help that detainees received from indictee Zeljko Mejakic in detention camp Omarska.

A process is ongoing before the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of BiH against Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic, who are charged to have participated in torturing, beating, killing and raping of forcefully detained Bosniaks and Croats in detention camps Omarska and Keraterm in the period from April to August 1992.

Mesanovic said that, upon his arrival to Omarska, Mejakic had transferred him from Bijela kuca to another part of the camp called Staklenik, where living conditions had been slightly better, and had given him a blanket.

"The day after, he gave me a package from my family," said Mesanovic, who had been brought to detention camp Omarska on 24 June 1992.

When asked by attorney Jovana Simic if indictee Mejakic had helped other people in the detention camp, the witness gave a positive answer.

"I know he helped some other people, but I do not know in which way," the witness answered and pointed out that "Mejakic was not a supervisor to interrogators in Omarska".

The indictment alleges that Mejakic was commander of detention camp Omarska from 24 May to 30 August 1992.

The witness has confirmed that he left Omarska on 6 August, when he was transferred to detention camp Trnopolje. He claims to have been released from Trnopolje with Mejakic's help.

"It is true he came to pick me up. He took me to Petrov Gaj where his uncle had a cottage," explains Mesanovic.

The witness also told the Court that, in 1992, he had left Prijedor using falsified documents obtained with Mejakic's help.

"Zeljko drove me in his car to a crossroad in Omarska so that I could leave to Serbia. I could not find transport on that day, so he took me to his apartment. Next day, he arranged for me to leave Bosnia by bus," the witness claims.

During cross-examination, Mesanovic said that he remembered how "45 men and two women were taken away for prisoner exchange" in July 1992.

"I did not see them being taken away, but I heard the bus that night. The men were detainees from Bijela kuca and Edna Dautovic and Sadeta Medunjanin left with them," Mesanovic told the Court.

A few Prosecution witnesses, who testified earlier, said that a bus with a word 'Seselj' written on it had arrived in Omarska on 27 July 1992. They said that Mejakic had put Edna Dautovic in the bus. She has not been found to date.

The trial continues on 29 May.
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