Former Omarska Prisoner
Claims He was Beaten
by Dusan Tadic
Tadic rammed the barrel of a submachine gun into his mouth and launched into a beating in tandem with another man, the witness said.
By Kieron Henderson
THE HAGUE, July 18 (Reuters) - A former prisoner at the Serb-run Omarska detention camp told the U.N. criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia on Thursday that a Bosnian Serb accused of warcrimes beat him savagely at the camp in 1992.
Giving evidence in the warcrimes trial of Dusan "Dusko" Tadic, 31-year old Muslim Edin Mrkalj said he had been detained at Omarska between June and August 1992 following the fall of Prijedor to Bosnian Serb forces in April/May, that year. Tadic denies charges of killing and torturing non-Serbs in the Prijedor region of northwest Bosnia, in particular at the Omarska camp. He has been in jail since his arrest in Germany 29 months ago and says he is a victim of mistaken identity.
Mrkalj, a former policeman, testified he had been taken to the camp early in June and kept in squalid conditions before being ordered to remove a dead body from the administration building at the Omarska iron ore mine on June 16. He testified that once inside the building he had to stand with his head bowed next to a man who was being beaten severely with a rubber baton. The man wielding the baton then jammed the weapon under Mrkalj's throat and jerked his head upright. "At that moment I saw and recognised Dusko Tadic," Mrkalj told the court.
"I saw the cynicism in his face, the smile, the grin on his face<... his look as if he was enjoying himself," Mrkalj said, describing his shock at recognising Tadic. "At one point the rubber baton fell on the floor then Dusko Tadic said to me: "Pick up the baton and say, 'Here you are, mister Serb,"' Mrkalj said. After Mrkalj stooped to pick up the weapon Tadic rammed the barrel of a submachine gun into his mouth, and launched into a beating in tandem with another man, the witness said.
Mrkalj, who lived in a village near Prijedor in 1992, said he knew Tadic after meeting him on a few occasions in the company of a fellow police officer.
"There was this barrel in my mouth, then I started receiving blows on my head.
I was receiving double blows with the baton and with a metal spring. My head was bursting, blood was bursting, my teeth were breaking, everything was breaking," he said, describing how his head was whipped backwards and forwards by the alternating blows.
Mrkalj said he had fainted and then, when he came round, was forced to land a blow on the collapsed body of a man lying about a metre and a half away from him. "Dusko Tadic told me to hit the man lying down on the head. That was awful...he had a head and did not have a head, the head had been crushed, you could not see a nose or eyes, only blood, blood, blood," Mrkalj told the court.
When asked to identify Tadic, the witness pointed firmly to the 40-year old former cafe owner and karate expert saying: "That is this garbage over there. He is sitting there in front of me between two policemen." Rebuked for his comment by presiding judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, Mrkalj was asked by the defence if he had made a mistake identifying Tadic. "No," he said. "It was Dusko Tadic."
The trial, now in its ninth week, has heard 34 prosecution witnesses build a picture of a widespread and systematic Serb campaign to "ethnically cleanse" areas of Bosnia of non-Serbs. Tadic's trial is the first before an international warcrimes tribunal since those at Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War Two.
THE DUSAN TADIC TRIAL
Berserkistan, July 17 · Defence Accuses Muslims of Lying in Tadic Trial
Berserkistan, June 21 · Tribunal Heads of Horrors at Trnopolje Prison Camp
Berserkistan, June 18 · Eyewitness Places Dusan Tadic at Omarska Prison Camp
Berserkistan, June 14 · Friend Watched as Tadic Slit Muslim Police Throats
Berserkistan, June 11 · First Eyewitness Testifies Against Dusan Tadic
Berserkistan, June 7 · Tadic Defense Won’t Challenge Serb-Yugoslavia Caused War
Berserkistan, May 9 · Historian Disclaims Civil War Defense in Tadic Trial
Berserkistan, May 8 · Historian Sets Context for Atrocities in Day 2 of Tadic Trial
Berserkistan, May 8 · Muslims in Sarajevo React to Start of Tadic Trial
Berserkistan, May 7 · Defense: Tadic Had No Role in Murder, Torture
Berserkistan, May 7 · On Trial's Eve, Tadic Claims Innocence
Berserkistan, May 7 · Childhood Friend Says Tadic was Cruel, Artistic
Key Facts about the War Crimes Tribunal
War Crimes Profile: Dusan Tadic
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia from the United Nations
Coalition for International Justice
Reports concerning human rights abuses in Bosnia published by Intac Access
Major War Criminals/Suspects from CalTech's Bosnia Site
Reports on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia from CalTech's Bosnia Site
Berserkistan World Links for more International Justice Resources
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