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4 June 2007
News

Mejakic et al: Omarska's women

BIRN BiH
Protected prosecution witness speaks about sexual abuse that she suffered in detention camp Omarska.
At the trial of four indictees charged with crimes committed in detention camps Omarska and Keraterm
during 1992, protected witness K027 said that she had seen the bodies of murdered detainees on a daily basis.

"We started every working day in the restaurant by counting the bodies discarded in front of Bijela house," said  the witness, who was detained and maltreated in camp Omarska, together with 36 other women,
during 1992. "We would see 20 or 30 bodies which detainees had to load onto a yellow truck."

The prosecution charges Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic to have participated, from April to August 1992, in torturing, beating, murdering and raping forcibly detained civilians in detention camps Omarska and Keraterm in Prijedor.

The witness claims that all women used to stay in a room in which detainees were examined and beaten on a daily basis.

"When we returned to the room in the evening, we could see traces of blood on walls and various devices used during examinations. We frequently found metal sticks and balls, sticks and similar things," said the witness and pointed out that she had "often" seen Mejakic and Momcilo "Ckalja" Gruban in the detention camp.

"Mejakic was chief in the camp and guards used to address him as 'chief' or 'manager'. Miroslav Kvocka was his right hand, and Gruban, Milojica "Krle" Kos and Mladjo "Krkan" Radic were chiefs of guard
shifts. I know that Ckalja deployed guards within the camp and gave them instructions as to what they should do," says the witness.

Kos, Radic and Kvocka were sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes committed in detention camps Omarska and Keraterm during 1992.

The indictment alleges that Mejakic was a commander of detention camp Omarska from 24 May to 30 August 1992. In the same period, Gruban was a commander of a guard shift in the same camp.

The witness has told the court of sexual abuse of detained women in camp Omarska and of two incidents in which she was a victim.

"One evening, Krkan invited me to a room and started touching and sexually abusing me. I remember he would become rough at times so I asked him to let me go. Next time I was abused by Nedeljko 'Kapetan'
Grabovac in the same room," said the witness.

This witness has pointed out that sexual abuse of women was frequent. Upon return to the room the women would be "worried, absent minded and kept quiet".

"I remember when they took Hajra Hadzic, who had been in Bijela kuca all the time, to the runway together with other men. They bathed them using a syringe, and they were all naked. She was upset and she was trying to hide parts of her body," the witness said.

She alleges that, in July 1992, Mejakic entered the room and took Edna Dautovic and Sadeta Medunjanin with him saying they were going to be exchanged.

"It was not an exchange, it was a road to death. Their bodies were found, later on, in a mass grave in Bosanska Krupa," claims witness K027, who was transferred from the camp to Trnopolje on 3 August 1992. She was released "five days" later.

The trial continues on 5 June.
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