Witness Tells Tadic Trial
of Horrors Imposed on
Women at Omarska
‘I was taken to a room by some stairs and raped,’ she said,
adding that she was beaten, abused and called a whore.
—Testimony of Suada Ramic at War Crimes Tribunal
THE HAGUE, July 19 (Reuters) - Sobbing before a U.N. court on Friday, a Muslim woman said that repeated rapes and beatings by Serbs at the notorious Omarska prison camp in Bosnia had driven her close to suicide.
Giving evidence in the war crimes trial of Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic, 41-year-old former bus driver Suada Ramic said fellow inmates at the Serb-run camp had talked her out of killing herself. "They told me: "We'll survive to tell the truth."' she said through an interpreter, adding: "I still wonder, is it possible I'm still alive?"
In earlier testimony, Ramic told the panel of three U.N. judges that she had been taken to a blood-spattered room at Prijedor police station by two masked Serb soldiers and raped. Bleeding profusely, she took a taxi to hospital where she was told that she was already almost four months pregnant. The pregnancy was terminated without anaesthetic, she said.
Ramic told the court she was later transferred to Omarska where she was raped by Serb soldiers and camp guards, but not by Tadic, on at least five occasions.
Tadic, 40, denies charges of killing and torturing non-Serbs in the Prijedor region of northeast Bosnia, in particular at Omarska. He has been in jail since his arrest in Germany 29 months ago and says he is a victim of mistaken identity.
His trial, ending its ninth week, is the first before an international war crimes tribunal since those at Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War Two.
Over three dozen prosecution witnesses have built a picture of a widespread and systematic Serb campaign to "ethnically cleanse" areas of Bosnia of non-Serbs. The prosecution argues that Tadic's alleged crimes fitted within this brutal pattern. Ramic said that some 40 women, mainly Muslims, were held at Omarska, an old iron-ore mine in the Prijedor region, and were forced to perform menial tasks -- scrubbing toilets and wiping clean blood-stained instruments of torture.
While cleaning certain rooms in the camp, she said the women would find "batons, cables, copper wire, bits of wood, iron rods, aluminium pieces...covered with blood." "We had to clean these and give them to the (camp) commander. In the rooms we found teeth, hair, bits of flesh, clothes, shoes." Every night women were called out by Serb guards, but never discussed among themselves what happened to them, she said. "I was called five times. I was taken to a room by some stairs and raped," she said, adding that she was beaten, abused and called a whore.
Freed after Omarska was closed, Ramic returned to Prijedor where, she said, conditions for Muslims were impossible. She said that her uterus, damaged by the rapes and beatings, had since had to be removed and that she had not seen or heard of her husband since the fall of Prijedor in spring 1992.
The trial is expected to finish in late-October.
THE DUSAN TADIC TRIAL
Berserkistan, July 18 · Former Omarska Prisoner Says He was Beaten by Dusan Tadic
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
RAPE AS A WEAPON OF WAR
Berserkistan, July 2 · Tribunal Hears of Rape as Ethnic Cleansing Weapon
Berserkistan, June 17 · Supreme Court Allows Raped Women to Sue Karadzic
Berserkistan, June 1 · Women's Balkan Link to Aid Rape Victims, Build Peace
Women for Women in Bosnia
Rape Used as a Tactic Fact sheet provided by Women for Women in Bosnia
Serbian Women Victims of War Dr. Sanda Raskovic
The Rape of Bosnia Systematic Rape in Bosnia
Testimonies of Rape
Bosnia, Rape and the Problem of Evil by Greg Koukl
Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court Cornell University
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