Uncategorized @bs

Mejakic et al: Loading Bodies in Omarska

28. June 2007.00:00
A protected Prosecution witness speaks of the collection of corpses in detention camp.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

At the trial of four indictees for crimes committed in detention camps in Prijedor, a protected Prosecution witness has spoken about collecting the remains of killed detainees during his time in camp Omarska.

“I remember that, on one occasion, we loaded between 30 and 50 bodies of the killed detainees which were in such a condition that arms would fall off when we loaded the bodies on the truck. The truck returned three times to collect bodies which [were then driven] in an unknown direction,” the witness has said.

The witness, whose pseudonym is K034, testified via video-link. The public was not informed of where the witness was at that moment. He claims to have been brought to detention camp Omarska at the end of May 1992.

The prosecution charges Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Fustar and Dusko Knezevic to have participated, during 1992, in torturing, raping and beating of forcibly detained Bosniaks and Croats in detention camps Omarska and Keraterm near Prijedor.

The witness has said that detainees received orders for collecting the bodies from guards who would tell them to “collect the garbage” and to load the bodies on a yellow truck, which was then driven in an unknown direction.

The witness has also said that, at the beginning of June 1992, guards took more than 11 members of the Garibovic family out of so-called Garaze within the camp. The witness has not seen any of them again.

“Some guard came and ordered all Garibovics to go out. I think they were more than 11. They thought they would be exchanged. Later on, I found out from other detainees, who had been on the runway, that the family had been driven away in a truck,” the witness said. He claims that there were about 250 people in Garaza with him.

The indictment and this witness allege Mejakic was the manager of camp Omarska from 24 May to 30 August and Momcilo ‘Ckalja’ Gruban was chief of one guard shift in the same period.

“I know that there were Ckalja’s, Krkan’s and Krle’s shifts. Krkan’s was the most horrible one, but the others were dangerous as well. Commander of camp Omarska was Mejakic, although I heard that Kvocka and Prcac had been commanders before him,” the witness has said.

Mladjo Radic ‘Krkan’, Milojica Kos ‘Krle’, Miroslav Kvocka and Dragoljub Prcac were sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes committed in Prijedor and detention camps Omarska and Keraterm.

As indicated by witness K036, he was transferred from Omarska to Manjaca on 6 August 1992 and released on 30 August that year.

Asked by Mejakic’s attorney Ranko Dakic, during cross-examination, if he saw a bus with ‘Seselj’ written on it during his stay in the camp and if he ever saw 240 corpses in front of Bijela kuca, the witness responded that he “never saw so many killed people in one place” and that he does not know if such a bus ever came.

Certain witnesses, who testified earlier in the course of this trial, claimed that a bus with a sign ‘Seselj’ on it had come to Omarska at the end of July 1992 and that Sadeta Medunjanin and Edna Dautovic had been taken in the bus in an unknown direction. These witnesses said that, in July 1992, 240 detainees had been killed and that they had seen their bodies in front of Bijela kuca.

At the today’s hearing Mejakic personally addressed the Trial Chamber. He quoted parts of the text on Prijedor written by Dutch journalist Chris Keulemans, which was published in a local magazine this month.

Mejakic has said that the journalist “reveals the name of a protected witness” who testified during this trial before the Court of BiH in the text titled “Omarska – 15 years later”.

“I would like to point out that names of protected witnesses are not revealed by the defence,” Mejakic has said.

Neither the Trial Chamber nor the prosecution reacted to Mejakic’s remark.

The trial is set to continue on 3 July 2007.

This post is also available in: Bosnian