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Source: ICTY trial transcript

Woman Describes Omarska (from ICTY transcript)

(10.00) SUADA RAMIC, recalled.
THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Miss Hollis, could you continue, please?

MISS HOLLIS: Yes, your Honour. Examined by MISS HOLLIS, continued.

THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You may be seated, Mrs. Ramic. You are still under oath, the oath that you took yesterday. You may be seated. Thank you.

MISS HOLLIS: Perhaps we could turn off one of those microphones and, Mrs. Ramic, if you could sit back a bit from the microphone? Thank you. Mrs. Ramic, when we finished yesterday you had indicated that after the events that occurred in the military barracks you a few days later went to your village to visit your brother and after some time you came back again to your home in Prijedor. Do you recall your home being searched after your return to Prijedor?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you recognise any of the people who searched your home?

A. Yes.

Q. Who did you recognise?

A. Milorad Kicanovic.

Q. How did you know Milorad Kicanovic?

A. Because we had worked together in the Auto Transport Company.

Q. What was his ethnic group?

A. Serbian.

Q. Did he explain to you why your home was being searched?

A. No, he said nothing. He only said, "I need to search your home".

Q. Was anything taken from your home?

A. No, he just threw things around, took everything from the wardrobe, searched everything and then left.

Q. What happened after this search?

A. Since I was standing in the corridor on his way out from the bedroom, he knocked me down and raped me in the corridor.

Q. Did he threaten you in any way after the rape?

A. Yes, if I told about this to anybody he would come back and kill me.

Q. The day after this search were you again taken to the police department?

A. Yes.Q. Who took you there?A. Strika.Q. How did you know Strika?

A. Because he had been on duty at the bus station and travelled with me when we went from Dubica. Sometimes he got on the bus sometimes in Donji Milanovac sometimes in Gornji. That is how we knew him as a policeman.

Q. What was his ethnic group?

A. Serbian.

Q. How were you transported to the police station?

A. In a green Mercedes.

Q. Did he say anything to you on that trip to the police station?

A. He cursed me and mentioned the derogatory names and we should all be killed since we do not want to be controlled by Serbian authority.

Q. When you were at the police department did you see any Muslims there that you knew?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was that?

A. Faruk Rizvic and his workman, Osman.

Q. What was their condition when you saw them at the police station?

A. They were in a bad condition. They were covered with blood. Their clothes were torn.

Q. When had you last seen Faruk prior to that day in the police station?

A. I had seen him one day prior to that time during the search.

Q. When you saw him that day who was with him?

A. His workman, Osman.

Q. You said this man's name is Faruk or Farud?

A. Faruk Rizvic.

Q. Thank you. After you saw Faruk were you taken to a room at the police station?

A. Yes, they took us to a room called "buhara".

Q. What was the condition of this room to which you were taken?

A. It was all covered with blood.

Q. What happened to you in this room?

A. Zeljko Boronja who had worked in Kripo came in with two soldiers in camouflage uniforms and with masks on their faces. You could not see who they were and then I was raped again.

Q. When you were raped were you also beaten?

A. Yes.

Q. Mrs. Ramic, at this time after the things that had occurred to you over the last few days, what was your emotional and mental state?

A. Horrible, very, very bad.

Q. After this last rape at the police station were you taken to Keraterm from there?

A. Yes.

Q. Who took you there?

A. Strika.

Q. Do you recall how long you were held at Keraterm?

A. I cannot remember. I know when they brought me to the guard house at the entrance they took me to the gate where I saw about 2,000 people in two rooms.

Q. While you were being held at Keraterm, did you see any of the detainees that you recognised?

A. At the first door, in the first room, I saw Faruk Rizvic, his workman Osman, Feho Ramic, Halid Nezirovic and a lot of other people I knew because I cannot remember, but most of them were known to me. In the second room, when I saw my brother, Suad Ramic, and my nephew, Fadil Softic, and (indecipherable), then I was sick.

Q. What was the condition of these people that you saw there?

A. They had -- they were all beaten up, exhausted, covered with blood. Their clothes were torn.

Q. Mrs. Ramic, while you were held at Keraterm did you see any detainees there who were beaten or injured?

A. Yes, a guard who was a stranger came and took me to the guard house and 10 minutes after that, I cannot quite remember how many, Zigic, the taxi driver, Zoran Zigic, followed by someone who called him Nedeljko, was called Nedeljko, they brought me to the area behind the guard house. I could not recognise who was who and what they looked like. When they knocked me down and when Zigic took out the knife and started to stab people, I started vomiting and I lost consciousness and I do not know anything what happened after that.

Q. From Keraterm camp were you then taken to Omarska?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was it who took you to the Omarska camp?

A. Policeman Bojic, the son of the forester, the ranger, forest ranger, from Bojici.

Q. What was Bojic's ethnic group?

A. Serbian.

Q. How long were you held at Omarska camp?

A. I know that on 3rd August we left so we stayed there until 3rd August.

Q. In what building were you held while you were at Omarska camp?

A. In the building where the restaurant is.

Q. Could you take the pointer on that table and point to the building in which you were held?

A. Yes, I can do that because I experienced.

Q. To the side of your console there, yes.

A. At this entrance, the room right next to this entrance.

Q. This is the smaller building across from the long red building?

A. Yes.

Q. If you would be seated, please? While you were held in that restaurant building during the night, were you held on the first floor or on the ground floor?

A. On the first floor, the second room to the left.

Q. Do you know a woman named Hasiba Harambasic?

A. Yes.Q. Were you in the same room that she was in?

A. Yes.

Q. During the day where were you held in the restaurant building?

A. Downstairs in the restaurant. As you go into the restaurant on the left-hand side, we were sitting at a table there, all the women there.

Q. So you were in the big room where the food was served?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you know any of the camp personnel, had you known them before you came to Omarska camp?

A. I did know some of them, but others I did not, but I did know most of them.

Q. Who are the ones that you knew?

A. Mladjo Krkan, Mladen Radic, because he had several names, some people called him "Mladjo", others "Mlado", but his real name is Mladen Radic, Zeljko, Drago Prcac, Nedeljko, Pop, Rade, Brk, Stole, Ckalja, Dragenko and a couple of others. There are more of them, but I cannot remember at this moment.

Q. You knew all of these people before you came to the camp?

A. Yes, most of them.

Q. The ones that you just named you knew before you came to the camp?

A. Yes.

Q. You mentioned a man named Zeljko, do you know what his last name was?

A. Zeljko Meagic.

Q. To your knowledge, what was the ethnic group of these people?

A. Serbian.

Q. The guards and other camp personnel who worked at the camp, how did they dress?

A. They were dressed in camouflage uniforms, or some former JNA uniforms, or in civilian clothes, but most of them wore camouflage uniforms.

Q. While you were at the camp were you ever required to perform work duties?

A. Yes.

Q. What type of duties were you required to perform?

A. I had to clean the toilets, the rooms upstairs, or go to the separation.

Q. Did you perform any duties in the restaurant area itself?

A. Yes.Q. What did you do there?

A. We washed the dishes and handed out the meals.

Q. When you would clean the rooms did that include rooms on the first floor?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever find anything unusual as far as objects in those rooms?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you find?

A. We used to find batons, a piece of cable, copper wires pushed through hose, pieces of wood, iron rods, square iron rods, aluminium pieces, and then there was led on top. It was all bloody. We had to clean that and hand it over to the Commander's office.

Q. What was the condition of those rooms when you cleaned them?

A. They were bloody. We used to find teeth, hair, pieces of human flesh, clothes, shoes.

Q. While you were in the camp at Omarska, did you ever see corpses there?

A. Yes.

Q. How often would you see them?

A. Almost every day.

Q. Where would you see them?

A. Between the big workshop where men were held, where they came out of to go to lunch, and in the area between that building and the hedge.

Q. Did you ever see what was done with those bodies?

A. They used to come with a small lorry, a yellow lorry, which had a long body, and they would take the dead bodies in the direction behind the white house.

JUDGE STEPHEN: Can I ask you to enquire about the hedge? We have not heard of the hedge before.

MISS HOLLIS: Yes, your Honour. (To the witness): You mentioned a hedge. Where was this hedge located?

A. The hedge was to the left of the white house. There was a lawn there and the hedge was -- and the dead bodies were placed in front of that hedge.

Q. If I could ask you, please, what I am going to ask you to do will be to leave where you are sitting, come around to the model and for the Court point out where this hedge was located near the white house. If you could do that now, please? You can take off your headphones and just come around and point to where it was.

A. (The witness indicated on the model).

Q. How far -- if you could put on the headphones -- along there did that hedge run?

A. It was a long one, but we did not pay much attention, but this is where the hedge was and this is where the dead bodies were.

Q. So did the hedge run parallel to the white house and the small red building? Point in the direction in which the hedge was growing. Is it long-wise?

A. It was a long hedge.

Q. It ran from that location you pointed how far toward the white house?

A. It did not go towards the white house. The hedge was on this side.

Q. All right.

A. So, we could go around the white house.

Q. So the hedge was closer to that small red building?

A. Yes, yes it was closer to the red building.

Q. Thank you very much. If you could resume your seat? To your knowledge, this yellow truck that you talked about, was this truck used for anything else?

A. They brought food in on it.

Q. Do you recall an occasion when you saw bodies taken away in a larger truck?

A. Yes.

Q. What do you recall about that occasion?

A. When a guard came to pick us up to take us down there, we came to the glass on the way out of the staircase, suddenly they returned us, they took us back.

Q. What had you seen before they took you back?

A. We had seen the yellow lorry and machine for loading.

Q. How big was this truck that you saw on this occasion?

A. It was big, bigger than the yellow lorry I referred to earlier on.

Q. Had you seen similar trucks like that?

A. Please repeat, I did not understand the question.

Q. Yes. Prior to seeing this truck, had you seen trucks that were similar to this one?

A. Yes.

Q. What type of trucks were these?

A. They were similar to the Mann, Fap which is a Yugoslav factory or TAM which is a Slovenia factory of lorries.

Q. Do you know what those types of trucks were used for?

A. Yes.

Q. What were they used for?

A. They used them for public transportation, for the transportation of gravel, wood, etc.

Q. Had you heard any sounds or unusual activity the night before you saw this truck?

A. Yes.

Q. What had you heard?

A. We had heard moans, screams and the noise, the noise of something like a fence being broken.

Q. What do you mean "something like a fence being broken"? What kind of noise is that?

A. As if you were breaking something.

Q. Later that morning, after you had been told to go back to your room, were you brought down to the restaurant area?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see any unusual activity at the white house that day?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you see?

A. We saw men being taken out of the white house and then, using a hose, forced them to strip, beat them on the pista, there were people facing the wall.

Q. While you were held at Omarska were other women held there with you?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you have any idea of the number of women who were held there?

A. 36 Muslim women and two Serbian women and two Croat women -- three Croat, three Catholic women.

Q. While you were there at Omarska do you recall an occasion when two women named Edna Dautovic and Sadeta Medunjanin were taken from the camp?

A. Yes.

Q. What do you remember about that occasion?

A. I remember clearly because that day on 20th a guard had a birthday, he said. On 20th July at half past 10 they came and took away Sadeta.

Q. Did you see where they were taken when they were taken from the restaurant building?

A. We rushed out, a couple of us, we went to the place where there was a bath tub and a toilet and, of course, when we saw we were shocked because we were expecting that to happen to us every day.

Q. What did you see when you looked out of that window?

A. Out of the window I saw Zeljko Meagic and Mirko.

Q. Who was Mirko?

A. I cannot remember his surname. He had a beard. Babic, yes, Babic was his surname. Then we saw the bus with people being taken to it and it said, "Unatrans Bihac" on the bus and then it said, "Private business, owner Seselj".

Q. You saw people being put on that bus?

A. Yes, when I saw that we were all frightened, but since Tidza had remained behind, because her brother had been called out, she remained with us and watched that incident.

Q. Then the people were loaded on the bus. Did you recognise any of the people loaded on the bus?

A. No.

Q. Did you ever actually see Sadeta or Edna being put on the bus?

A. Yes, when they took them away, they said they would be exchanged in Bihac. As soon as they got on the bus, we went back to our room and Tidza remained behind and then heard her brother's name being called.

Q. Without mentioning the names of any women, I would ask you if during the time you were at Omarska, during the night, any women were called out of the room?

A. Yes.

Q. How often would this happen?

A. Every night.

Q. Who would call the women out?

A. Mladjo, Drago Prcac, Zeljko Meagic, Nedelkjo Grabovac or Pop, fat, heavily built with a moustache.

Q. Again without mentioning the names, did any of the women who were called out ever tell you what had happened to them?

A. No, we never told each other what happened.

Q. Were you yourself called out of the room at night?

A. Yes.

Q. How often did this happen to you?

A. Five times.

Q. Who was it who called you out?

A. Mladjo, Mladen Radic.

Q. This is the man you also referred to as "Krkan"?

A. Yes.

Q. When this man would called you out of the room where would he take you?

A. He would take me downstairs to the first room next to the staircase on the way to the kitchen.

Q. When he took you down there to this room what did he do to you?

A. Raped me.

Q. Were you beaten by him as well as raped by him?

A. Once only as I was going out.

Q. Did you ever see any of the other camp guards or personnel when you were being taken to that room or back from that room?

A. Yes, Zeljko Meagic while I was coming out.

Q. What happened when you saw Zeljko Meagic?

A. He only slapped me in the face and said, "You, whore, scram to your room".

Q. As a result of the treatment to you in the camp at Omarska and what had happened to you previously, did you eventually come to a point where you contemplated trying to find a way to commit suicide?

A. Yes.

Q. Did someone talk to you about that?

A. Biba and Zlata, they did, and they were crying, "No, please do not; we shall survive, we shall live, to tell the truth".

Q. As a result of the rapes that were done to you, did you have continuing medical problems after you left the camp and after you left Bosnia?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. Did those medical problems eventually result in your having surgery to remove your uterus?

A. Yes.

Q. After you left the Omarska camp where were you taken?

A. To Prijedor -- sorry, to Trnopolje.

Q. From Trnopolje you went back to Prijedor?

A. Yes.

Q. How long did you remain in Prijedor?

A. Until January 13th '93.

Q. What were the conditions like for you in Prijedor during that time?

A. Bad. We could not go out. We could not buy anything. If you went out, somebody beat you because many people knew you, so they would take you to the MUP and give you beating, and that was that.

Q. How were you able to leave Prijedor?

A. I still wonder, is it possible that I am still alive?

Q. Did you have to pay someone to get you out of Prijedor?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you recall how much you had to pay?

A. I cannot recall that and I would not say that. The important thing is that life was dear.

Q. When did you last see your husband?

A. Some 10 days before I was taken to the camp.

Q. Have you heard anything from him?

A. I know nothing. I only know that we saw each other that day.

Q. Have you made attempts to find him?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you had any success at all in determining what happened to him?

A. No, we did not learn anything.

MISS HOLLIS: No further questions.

THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Cross-examination?

MR. KAY: No cross-examination, your Honour.

THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Is there any objection to Mrs. Ramic being permanently excused?

MR. KAY: No, your Honour.

THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mrs. Ramic, you are free to go. You are free to leave. Thank you very much for coming.

THE WITNESS: Thank you.

THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You may leave now. The usher will help you. (The witness withdrew)