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Source: Department of State Reports on War Crimes, as cited


Drazenko Predojevic, Omarska staff

Logor Omarska: Accounts of Camp Inmates



The bus stopped outside the administration building of the iron ore mine of Omarska, only a few miles from the village of the same name. On one side, looted cattle grazed in the mowed fields, while across from them the mining embankments--busy with workers until only days before--lay remote and isolated, seared by the unbearable heat. Two huge buildings stood in the center, separated by a wide asphalt lot with two smaller buildings. The prisoners were ordered to get off the bus with their arms raised over their heads, holding up three fingers on each hand.

The Tenth Circle of Hell
Rezak Hukanovic



The climax came suddenly. The (train) door opened with a crash, and the dark echoed with outlandish orders in that curt, barbaric barking of Germans in command which seems to give vent to a millennial anger. A vast platform appeared before us, lit up by reflectors. A little beyond it, a row of lorries. Then everything was silent again. Someone translated: we had to climb down with our luggage and deposit it alongside the train.

Survival In Auschwitz
Primo Levi


May-Jul 92:
A 24-year-old Bosnian Muslim witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Kozarac and the Prijedor area from May 26 until his capture three days later. From his place of hiding in the woods, he witnessed the killing of Hasan and Zejna Alic; she was shot in the breast, her husband in the head. Two days later, the witness saw the same killer stab a young man, force him to walk away, and then shoot him.

The witness and his friends were captured by "chetniks" in the nearby woods on or about May 29. One of the young Serbs who caught him was a school friend who personally took charge of the witness and his brother, and arranged for them to change into civilian clothes taken from a nearby house. His Serb friend warned the two brothers not to admit to Serb prison authorities that they had been "fighters."

The witness was taken to Keraterm for the first night, then to Omarska. Upon arrival, he witnessed the killing of a detainee by a former taxi driver whom he identified. On June l, he watched as a member of the "taxi driver's band" killed a Muslim named Jasmin Velic with a pickax. He also witnessed the slow death of Hasic Eno, who had been stabbed in the back and took five days to die.

During the witness's second month at Omarska, Asur Jakupovic arrived as a prisoner. With a ring in his nose (the kind used for pigs) and attached to a chain, Jakupovic was dragged into camp on his hands and knees by a young Serb soldier. The victim was naked from the waist up, which revealed a bloody Serb cross carved in his back. The guards announced to Muslim onlookers that this was the way Serbia's enemies would look. Jakupovic was then tossed onto a burning stack of truck tires, where he died.

The witness said that such killings were often observed by three senior camp officials from the second floor of the administration building. He identified these camp officials.
Department of State, from the First Report of War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia

May-Aug 92:
A 35-year-old Muslim from Prijedor was held prisoner by Bosnian Serbs from May 30 until August l3, 1992, nearly all of this time at Omarska camp.

Upon his arrival at Omarska on May 30, he and his fellow prisoners were immediately ordered to stand with their hands against a wall while they were beaten with sticks and other objects. At the beginning of his captivity, the witness regularly saw people beaten badly, often until they died, near the entrance of the camp's administration building.

The worst beatings occurred after Serbs from the area were killed in combat. Following the death of six local "chetniks," for example, guards put a mixture of oil and water on the ground to trip up prisoners. Those who fell were beaten badly.

One evening, about halfway through his stay at Omarska, the witness saw a prisoner in the kitchen standing on a chair and complaining about "chetniks". A Serb soldier, after warning him to sit down, shot into the crowd, killing the man and wounding four other prisoners. The witness said he could identify the guard who had done the shooting.

During his imprisonment, the witness saw at least 10 to 15 prisoners beaten to death between the interrogation area of the second floor of the administration building and the building's entrance. One of the victims, Risah Hadzalic, was a personal acquaintance. Every night people were taken out of their bunk facilities: five, 10, sometimes 15. Some came back badly beaten; many never came back.
Department of State, from the First Report of War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia

18 June 92:
A 42-year-old Muslim from Kevljani was interned at Omarska camp from May 27 until August 28. On June 18 or 19, he was called out of Building 11 and taken to Building 10, to a room with four soldiers.

The soldiers made the witness undress to his underwear and lie down on his stomach on the tile floor. One guard took an iron chair, put it on his back, and sat down. Another guard took a large caliber automatic rifle and beat him on his spine with the butt of the rifle, pounding each vertebrae twice. A third guard continually kicked him along his legs and groin. The other guard pounded his rib cage continuously, which resulted in the witness sustaining four broken ribs. The witness lost consciousness, but when he awoke, the four guards were standing around him, and began to beat him again, on his legs, shoulders, and head. One guard took a police baton, straddled the witness' back, and beat his back and ribs continuously. He felt the pain of only the first 10 blows, then felt no more. Another guard pulled out a knife and said he would "circumcise" him. The guard then cut his knee cap, but the witness said he did not even feel the knife as he watched blood pour out of his leg. (Department of State)
from the Fifth Report of War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia

June-July 92:
A 38-year-old Bosnian Muslim described the beating deaths of two men at Omarska camp.

He recalled a Croatian man, under 30 years old, named Petrovic, who had come from Ljubija. The Serbian guards were especially brutal to Petrovic and beat him repeatedly in the "White House" over several days. After the last such beating, the witness helped take the bloody shirt off his back and saw that it was bruised black from the waist to neck. Petrovic died about 4 am on July 1 or 2.

A man in his twenties, named Avdic, was beaten in the White House repeatedly over the same open wounds until the witness could see the bone in his upper back where the skin and muscle had been torn away. The wounds, oozing blood, had festered so much that other prisoners could not bear to sit next to him because of the stench. About 1 PM on August 18 or 19, the Serbian guards took Avdic outside. The witness heard the burst of gunfire about an hour later. He never saw Avdic again.
Department of State, from the Seventh Report of War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia

May-Aug 92:
A 34-year-old Bosnian Muslim told of his experiences at Keraterm and Omarska camp from late May to August 1992.

On May 26, Bosnian Serb soldiers arrested the witness on the road to Prijedor. They brought him to Keraterm for three days, then to Omarska. Upon his arrival at Omarska camp, he saw the beating death of 38-year-old Ahiz Dedic, a Muslim ex-policeman, by two men from a Bosnian Serb special unit. After his own torture the next day -- he was beaten until he fainted -- the witness watched five "chetniks" stab Ikrem Alic to death.

The witness was moved to the "electricians' house" from where, about a month later, he watched as a man with his hands against the wall of another nearby building was beaten by camp guards until he almost fell. One of the guards then took a running jump from several meters, pouncing on the man's back and knocking him down. He then turned the victim over, cut his ears off, and then cut his throat. Another guard turned and killed the man with his revolver.

The witness saw the killing of about 30 men during his stay at Omarska. Among the victims whose names he knew were: Muharem Kahrimanovic, Emir Karabasic, Jasmin Hrnic, Avdo Mujkanovic, Islam Bahonjic, and Imeoca Grozdanic.

The most sadistic killings were of Hrnic and Karabasic. In the course of a horrible beating, they were forced to bite off each other's sexual organs. Before the final death blows, they were also forced to drink motor oil and chew on dead pigeons.

At the end of August or beginning of September, the witness was taken to Manjaca camp, where he spent half a month. During the trip, he witnessed the beating deaths of Nezir Krak and Dedo Crnic, and identified their killer. Outside Banja Luka, Serb children were encouraged to board the bus and beat the prisoners.
Department of State, from the First Report of War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia

21 July 92: A 42-year-old Bosnian Muslim, married to a Serb, was arrested in his apartment in Prijedor on July 21. Civilian police took him in a police car to Omarska, where at the gate to the camp, guards began to beat him. During the beating one of the guard said, "Don't forget, his wife is a Serb." The prisoner hoped this would cause the guards to go easier on him. Instead, they beat him more violently. Three soldiers beat him for about 10 minutes.

The prisoner was then taken to Omarska's "white house." There the guards began beating him and other prisoners, forcing them to lie on the floor and stomping on them with their jackboots. After 2 days without any food, he was taken for "interrogation."

He was led to a room in what he thought had been the administration building of the Omarska facility before the war. There were five guards in the room. He was told to kneel on the floor. The guards then circled him, beating him with metal bars and police batons. Twice he lost consciousness and collapsed on the floor. Each time the guards doused him with water, revived him, and continue to beat him.

After 2 or 3 more days of beatings, he was transferred from the smaller room in the white house to a larger hall full of prisoners. For 5 days, he was unable to walk and had to lie next to the sinks that were used as toilets. During his 12 days at Omarska, this prisoner received food only once. Department of State, from the Third Report of War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia: Part II

26 May-6 August 92:
A 30-year-old Muslim was imprisoned for over 9 weeks at Omarska camp. He had been apprehended by Serbian forces in Prijedor on May 26. The witness reported having seen the following:

Guards frequently beat people with thick electrical cables, often so badly that they could not stand afterward; in administering these beatings, guards would hit prisoners in specific places on their bodies, often the kidneys, in an effort to rupture important internal organs.

Prisoners were forced to run across broken glass in their bare feet; when they fell, guards would beat them with nightsticks and iron bars.

As a punishment administered in front of a group of prisoners, a guard cut off the testicles of a prisoner with a knife; one prisoner was forced, under threat of being executed, to bite off the testicles of another prisoner with his teeth. The only water that prisoners had to drink was from a river contaminated by discharges from an iron mine; the water was yellow, the prisoners urine ran red.
Department of State from the Third Report of War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia: Part II

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