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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006, 00:36 GMT 01:36 UK
Bosnia wartime camp trial opens
Prisoners at Omarska
Many detainees did not leave the Bosnian Serb-run camps alive
Four Bosnian Serbs have appeared in a Sarajevo court accused of committing crimes against humanity at detention camps during the war in the 1990s.

Zeljko Mejakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan Knezevic and Dragan Fustar denied all the charges of prisoner abuse at the Omarska and Keraterm camps in Prijedor.

Footage of emaciated prisoners from the Prijedor area had led to calls for foreign intervention during the war.

This trial is the third one to be transferred to Bosnia from The Hague.

The UN war crimes court in The Hague has been shifting some low-level cases relating to the wars in the former Yugoslavia back to the region, as it winds down its operations by 2010.

Torture and execution

Zeljko Mejakic, the former commander of the Omarska prison camp, has been accused of the persecution, murder and inhumane treatment of Muslim and Croat detainees.

Momcilo Gruban, another commander at the camp, faces similar charges.

Dragan Fustar and Dusan Knezevic face charges of crimes against humanity at the nearby Keraterm camp.

All four had tried to block the transfer of their case to Bosnia, arguing they would not receive a fair trial there.

Detainees at the camps, all three near the town of Prijedor in western Bosnia, were subjected to beatings, torture, rape and execution.

More than 2,000 bodies of Muslims and Croats have been exhumed from wartime mass graves in the Prijedor area.

Ten Bosnian Serbs have been tried and sentenced by The Hague court for crimes committed at the camps.




SEE ALSO
Analysis: Serb surrender surge
29 Apr 05 |  Europe
Omarska: A vision of hell
02 Nov 01 |  Europe
ITN wins Bosnian war libel case
15 Mar 00 |  UK News
Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina
22 Sep 04 |  Country profiles

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