Press Release · Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 13 February 1995
THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA CHARGES 21
SERBS WITH ATROCITIES COMMITTED INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE OMARSKA DEATH CAMP
Today, Monday 13 February 1995, the Registry of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia makes public the indictments of twenty-one individuals held responsible for serious violations of humanitarian law, and against whom warrants of arrest have been issued.
The 19 accused named in one indictment are : - The camp's commanders: - Zeljko MEAKIC also known as MEJAKIC and as MEAGIC, Chief commander - Miroslav KVOCKA and Dragoljub PRCAC, Deputy commanders - Mladen RADIC also known as KRKAN, Milojica KOS also known as KRLE and Momcilo GRUBAN also known as CKALJA, shift commanders of the guards - The camp's guards: - Zdravko GOVEDARICA , - Goran GRUBAN, - Predrag KOSTIC also known as KOLE, - Nedeljko PASPALJ, - Milan PAVLIC, - Milutin POPOVIC, - Drazenko PREDOJEVIC - Zeljko SAVIC - The camp's visitors: - Mirko BABIC, - Nikica JANJIC, - Dusan KNEZEVIC also known as BUCA, - Dragomir SAPONJA - Zoran ZIGIC also known as ZIGA,
These accused are all charged with atrocities committed in the summer of 1992 against civilian prisoners held at Omarska, a camp run by Bosnian Serbs in the Prijedor opstina (municipality) in northwestern Bosnia.
The 2 accused named in the other indictment are: - Dusan TADIC also known as DULE - Goran BOROVNICA
TADIC is charged with the collection and mistreatment, including killing and rape, of civilians within and outside the Omarska camp. BOROVNICA is charged with killings outside of the Omarska camp.
Today's indictments against the 21 Omarska defendants are the result of a five-month investigation by a team of 20 investigators, attorneys and analysts from the Office of the Prosecutor. This team travelled to 12 countries to examine evidence and to interview victims and witnesses.
THE OMARSKA "DEATH CAMP"
From about 25 May 1992 to about 30 August 1992, Serb forces which had seized power in the Prijedor district collected and confined more than 3000 Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from the area in the administrative centre of an iron ore mine, a few kilometres from the predominantly Serb village of Omarska.
The Omarska camp housed many of the local Muslim and Croat elite, including political, administrative and religious leaders, academics and intellectuals, business leaders and others, who led and influenced the non-Serb population.
The prisoners were held under armed guard, in brutal conditions. They were murdered, raped, sexually assaulted, severely beaten and otherwise mistreated. For example, one of the four buildings of the compound was known as the "red house": most of the prisoners who were taken to it did not emerge alive.
The victims were Muslims and Croats.
The accused are all Serbs, a term referring either to Bosnian citizens of Serbian descent or to individuals for whom it is unknown whether they are Bosnian Serbs or citizens of Serbia proper.
The crimes the accused are charged with are the following:
1. Genocide, being prohibited acts (such as, among others, killing members of a group or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group) committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical racial or religious group.
Indicted for genocide is: Zeljko MEAKIC also known as MEJAKIC or MEAGIC.
2. Crimes against humanity, being prohibited acts (such as, among others, murder, rape and sexual assaults, torture or persecution on political, racial, or religious grounds) committed in armed conflict, international or national in character, and as a part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.
Indicted for crimes against humanity are : all the accused, in both indictments.
3. Violations of the law or customs of war, against persons playing no active part in the hostilities, in particular violence to life and person, murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture, as well as outrages upon personal dignity (in particular humiliating and degrading treatment).
Indicted for violations of the law or custom of war are: all the accused in both indictments.
4. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war, including forcible sexual intercourse.
Indicted for grave breaches are: all the accused in both indictments.
5. Command responsibility: an individual who knew or had reason to know that persons in position of subordinate authority to him was about to commit the above mentioned crimes, or had already committed those crimes, and failed to take the necessary and reasonable steps to prevent or to punish the commission of those crimes, is held individually responsible for the crimes.
Indicted for command responsibility are: Zeljko MEAKIC, Miroslav KVOCKA, Dragoljub PRCAC, Mladen RADIC, Milojica KOS and Momcilo GRUBAN.
The individual charges against each of the accused can be found in the annexe attached to this Press Release.
On Thursday 9 February 1995, under Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Tribunal, the Prosecutor, Justice Richard Goldstone, forwarded the indictments to the Registrar for confirmation by a Judge.
The indictments were reviewed by Judge Adolphus Karibi-Whyte.
On Monday 13 February 1995, Judge Karibi-Whyte confirmed the indictments, and signed the warrants of arrest.
The warrants of arrest are directed to the relevant authorities in whose territory the accused are believed to be, namely the Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina, the Bosnian Serb administration on Pale and the Federal Republic of Germany in the case of Tadic
Rule 57 of the Rules provides that "Upon the arrest of the accused, the State concerned shall detain him, and shall promptly notify the Registrar. The transfer of the accused to the seat of the Tribunal shall be arranged between the State authorities concerned and the Registrar".
If a warrant of arrest is not implemented, Rule 61 will apply as explained in the Information Memorandum attached to this Press Release.
1. Annexe: Individual charges against the 21 accused
2. Information memorandum: Rule 61 (both in English and French)
Annexe to the Press Release
INDIVIDUAL CHARGES IN THE "MEAKIC AND OTHERS" INDICTMENT
1. Zeljko MEAKIC (camp chief commander):
A. Complicit in the killing of, and in the causing of serious bodily or mental harm to, and in the deliberate infliction of conditions of life on, Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats people, intending to bring about their physical destruction as a national, ethnic or religious group
B. Held individually responsible for the crimes committed by his close subordinates (deputies and shift commanders) and by the guards who regularly and openly killed, raped, tortured, beat and otherwise subjected prisoners to conditions of constant humiliation, degradation, and fear of death
C. Personally beat the prisoners upon arrival with batons and other weapons
D. Kicked one prisoner who was tortured in the chest.
2. Miroslav KVOCKA and Dragoljub PRCAC (camp deputy commanders):
A. Held individually responsible for the crimes committed by their subordinates (shift commanders) and by the guards who regularly and openly killed, raped, tortured, beat and otherwise subjected prisoners to conditions of constant humiliation, degradation, and fear of death.
3. Milojica KOS and Momcilo GRUBAN (shift commanders):
A. Held individually responsible for the crimes committed by the camp guards under their command
4. Mladen RADIC (shift commander):
A. Held individually responsible for the crimes committed by the camp guards under his command
B. Repeatedly subjected one victim to forcible sexual intercourse, and raped the same victim, at five occasions
5. GRUBAN (camp guard):
A. Subjected one victim to forcible sexual intercourse and raped her
6. Predrag KOSTIC a.k.a KOLE (camp guard):
A.Subjected the same victim than GRUBAN (see above) to forcible sexual intercourse, and raped her
7. Milutan POPOVIC, Drazenko PREDOJEVIC, Zeljko SAVIC and Nedeljko PAPALJ (camp guards);
A. Beat to death one prisoner who used a common polite Bosnian Muslim expression in response to a comment by a guard
8. Milan PAVLIC (camp guard):
A. Fired his rifle to an elderly man, distressed and possibly mentally disturbed, who refused to seat down, killing him and wounding several other prisoners sitting nearby
9. Zdravko GODEVARICA (camp guard)
A. Took, with four other guards whose names are not known, one prisoner to a room where they stripped him to his underwear, kicked him in the testicles, repeatedly beat him with a baton and a rifle, and kicked him in the ribs, causing him to lapse in and out of consciousness
10. Zoran ZIGIC, Dusan KNEZEVIC, Dragomir SAPONJA and Nickica JANJIC (camp visitors):
A. KNEZEVIC was part of a group of Serbs who ordered prisoners, whose names are not known, to drink water like animals from puddles on the ground, jumped on their backs and beat them until they were unable to move; as the victims were removed in a wheelbarrow, one of the Serbs discharged the contents of a fire extinguisher into the mouth of one of the victims (see 1.D.on page 3)
B. ZIGIC and KNEZEVIC savagely beat one prisoner on two occasions over a two day period, assaulting him with a club, a chair, a baton, and kicked him to death
C. ZIGIC, KNEZEVIC, SAPONJA and JANJIC called one day four prisoners and severely beat them, using metal batons, cables, a knife, their fists and kicked the victims with their military-styled boots
11. Mirko BABIC
A. Subjected to forcible sexual intercourse one victim (the same than GRUBAN and KOSTIC, see above) and raped her.
INDIVIDUAL CHARGES IN THE "TADIC AND OTHER" INDICTMENT
1. Dusan TADIC:
Crimes committed inside the Omarska camp:
A. Subjected one victim (the same than BABIC, GRUBAN and KOSTIC, see above) to forcible sexual intercourse, and raped her
B. Belonged to a group of Serbs from outside the camp, who called on one day prisoners out of their rooms, severely beat them with various object and kicked them on their heads and bodies (see 10.3, on page 2). After one of the four prisoners was beaten, two other prisoners were called on and ordered by a member of the group to lick his buttocks and genitals, and then to sexually mutilate him: one of the two covered the prisoner's mouth to silence his screams, and the other bit off the prisoner’s testicle. This prisoner and two other died from the attack; the fourth one, who was severely injured was thrown onto the back of a truck with the dead and driven away
C. Belonged to various groups of Serbs from outside the camp who severely beat and kicked at least five prisoners; three died
D. Belonged to the group of Serb from outside the camps who ordered prisoners to drink water like animals from puddles on the ground, jumped on their backs and beat them until they were unable to move. As the victims were removed, TADIC discharged the contents of a fire extinguisher into the mouth of one of the victims (see 10.A. on page 2)
Crimes committed outside the Omarska camp:
A. Belonged to a group of Serbs who pushed four prisoners out of a column of Bosnian Muslim residents of the Kozarac area who were forced to march toward the town of Kozarac prior to be bussed to one of the various camp of the Prijedor district, pushed them against a wall and shot and killed them.
B. Belonged to two groups of Serbs who forced Muslims of the villages of Sivci and of Jaskici to leave their homes and to follow them. In Sivci, 5 men were shot and killed in front of their homes. In Jaskici, 6 men were forced to lie on the ground, were beaten with thick wooden stick, kicked, and then taken from the village to an unknown location.
2. Goran BOROVNICA
A. Belonged to a group of Serbs who pushed four prisoners out of a column of Bosnian Muslims residents of the Kozarac area who were forced to march toward the town of Kozarac prior to be bussed to one of the various camp of the Prijedor district, pushed them against a wall., and shot and killed them.