Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Arrest Of Damir Dosen
Dragan Kolundzija's case to the 'Kvocka & Others' Indictment - both relate
all or in part to crimes at Keraterm - Kolundzija was united with another
Keraterm suspect anyway, when co-accused Damir Dosen joined him in the
Tribunal detention centre.
On October 25 SFOR troops in north-western Bosnia arrested Dosen, former
shift commander in the Keraterm camp, who was accused in July 1995 along
with Kolundzija and five more Bosnian Serbs, still at large.
Dosen was to make his first appearance before the judges on November 1, to
enter a plea on the indictment's seven counts, charging him with crimes
against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. The original
indictment was issued in 1995, amended in 1998 when the charges against the
six were withdrawn but secretly amended again last September, by which time
the indictment was under the tribunal's seal.
The arrest of Dosen removed the seal from that part of the new Keraterm
Indictment that refers to his role at the camp. Of the new amendments now
revealed, the most striking is the removal the charges for grave breaches
of the Geneva Conventions from the second amended indictment.
It suggests that the prosecution had decided against claiming that the
conflict in that part of Bosnia was of 'international character' - needed
to qualify the acts as in breach of the Conventions - despite the fact that
this character had been confirmed by the appeals chamber judgement in the
According to the indictment, Dosen was one of the shift commanders in the
Keraterm camp, near Prijedor. "Between 24 May until 30 August 1992, Bosnian
Serb authorities in the Prijedor municipality unlawfully confined more than
3,000 Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serbs in the Omarska,
Trnopolje and Keraterm camps," it reads.
"In Keraterm, interrogations were conducted on a daily basis, regularly
accompanied by beatings and torture. Severe beatings, torture, killings,
sexual assault and other forms of physical and psychological abuse were
commonplace at that camp. "At a minimum, hundreds of detainees whose
identities are known or unknown, did not survive."
Dosen, 32, also known as 'Kajin', was in "a position of authority to camp
personnel," says the indictment. He has been accused, in the first three
counts, of alleged persecutions, inhumane acts and outrages upon personal
dignity. "He had the authority to control the conduct of guards, and as a
policeman on active duty he had the obligation to safeguard the lives and
property of civilians," notes the prosecutor. Therefore, "by his acts and
omissions" he committed crimes against humanity and violations of the laws
or customs of war.
The accused is separately charged with four more counts of crimes against
humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war over his alleged
participation in the beating of detainees. "On around 25 June 1992, a group
of detainees was called out of Room Two. Dosen and others severely beat the
group," states the prosecutor.
In both clusters of charges, Dosen is found criminally responsible pursuant
to Articles 7 (1) and Article 7 (3) of the Statute. Article 7 (1) reads as
follows: "A person who planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise
aided and abetted in planning or execution of (above referred) crime shall
be individually responsible for the crime."
Article 7 (3) reads: "The fact that any of the acts...was committed by a
subordinate does not relieve his superior of criminal responsibility if he
knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such
acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary measures
to prevent such acts or punish the perpetrators."
The "Sikirica & Others" indictment contains the names of seven persons, of
whom the former commander of Keraterm, Dusko Sikirica, is additionally
accused of genocide.
Three shift commanders at Keraterm - Dosen, Dragan Fustar and Dragan
Kolundzija - are accused on the basis of their superior authority, but also
for their alleged individual participation in crimes. Nenad and Predrag
Banovic, and Dusan Knezevic are accused as persons, who in their capacity
as guards or visitors, participated in the killing, beating or other
Dosen and Kolundzija, who was arrested by SFOR in June this year, are so
far the only persons from that indictment in custody in The Hague. Before
Dosen's arrest, the Prosecutor had requested that Kolundzija be joined to
the Kvocka & Others indictment, that concerning crimes in the Prijedor
The judges refused that request, considering that such a "joinder" would
delay proceedings against the other accused charged in the Kvocka & Others
indictment. Kolundzija and Dosen could now request that they both be tried
separately as their co-accused are still not available to the Tribunal.
But if SFOR continues to carry out its mandate in Bosnia "in a firm manner"
as NATO Secretary-General George Robertson announced after Dosen's arrest,
the remaining five co-accused could find themselves in the Hague custody in
the upcoming period. Since June 1997, SFOR in B-H has detained 14
individuals indicted for war crimes, including four this year.
There were no trials at the Tribunal last week. This week (week beginning
November 1) the Kordic & Cerkez Trial as well as "contempt proceedings"
against the accused Milan Simic and defence counsel Branislav Avramovic
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