COURTSIDE: Prijedor Genocide Trial

Military expert talks of link between Serb crisis staff and detention camps.

COURTSIDE: Prijedor Genocide Trial

Military expert talks of link between Serb crisis staff and detention camps.

Saturday, 28 September, 2002

The presiding judge in the trial of Milomir Stakic, charged with genocide in Bosnia-Hercegovina as the president of the then Prijedor Serb crisis staff, last week called on the prosecution and the defence to make compromises.


Wolfgang Schomburg's request followed the completion of the prosecution's presentation of evidence, in which they sought to prove that Stakic "planned, ordered, aided and abetted" crimes against non-Serbs in the area.


The judge asked the prosecution to be prepared to dismiss parts of the indictment considered “not proven beyond reasonable doubt”, and asked the defence to point out the charges it no longer contested.


Last week, the prosecution tried to prove a connection between Stakic and the Omarska detention centre, where the indictment claims non-Serbs were abused and murdered.


The prosecution’s military expert Ewen Brown testified on documents confiscated in Prijedor - one of which states that Omarska was founded by local police on the orders of the Serb crisis staff.


Brown claimed that more than a hundred such documents testify to the "constant and extremely close" links between the local armed forces and the civilian structures in Prijedor, especially the crisis staff.


While the Serb Democratic Party planned the takeover, the Yugoslav National Army supported these plans and its officers even participated in crisis staff decisions, claimed Brown.


He also alleged that Prijedor’s police forces - run by crisis staff member Simo Drljaca - participated in all military operations.


Brown also pointed out that the term "cleansing" of the population appears frequently in all the military documents on Kozarac, Hambarine and other places where the prosecution alleges Bosniaks were persecuted.


He said Serb military actions often ended with Prijedor residents being detained in such camps.


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