Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Miroslav Kvocka, suspected of being a deputy commander of the Omarska camp in June 1992, stoutly maintained his defence that he was just an ordinary policeman, during a three-day cross-examination by prosecutor Susan Somers last week.
Somers, who has only recently joined the prosecution team in the Omarska case, failed to break down Kvocka's line of defence, presented at length during his testimony at the end of February and the beginning of March 2000 (See Tribunal Update Nos. 166 and 167).
Kvocka insisted that during the 25 days he spent in Omarska he was only an "ordinary policeman" with no powers.
Except for four or five corpses of detainees, he "did not see anything" during that time, and only once heard the cries of an inmate being beaten. He had seen the occasional injured prisoner, but had no powers to investigate what had happened.
This despite several former detainees testifying that he was "camp chief" in the absence of Omarska commander Zeljko Mejakic.
He dismissed testimony of his seniority as "impressions" the inmates acquired because he "distinguished himself so much with good deeds". He said he brought them food packages, cigarettes and protected them.
The only new information to emerge during the three-day cross-examination concerned the circumstances of Kvocka's arrest. He said he had been warned not to give himself up by police chief Sima Drljaca (killed in July 1997 while resisting arrest).
When he was eventually detained by SFOR officials, he said they were "scared to death" and their hands were trembling while they handcuffed him.
After they allegedly pointed their rifles at him, his wife and daughter, he told them, "OK, everything will be all right, don't be afraid".
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