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Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect transferred to UN tribunal

Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect transferred to UN tribunal

A Bosnian Serb suspected of committing war crimes at two prison camps during the Balkans conflict in 1992 has been handed over to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Dusan Knezevic, charged in two separate indictments for crimes allegedly committed in the Omarska and Keraterm camps, was transferred on Saturday to the ICTY's detention unit in The Hague, the Tribunal said today.

The Omarska indictment alleges Mr. Knezevic entered the camp "to kill, beat or otherwise physically abuse" Bosnian Muslims and Croats taken prisoner by Serb forces during the summer of 1992.

According to the indictment, the living conditions were brutal at the Omarska camp, where more than 3,000 Muslim and Croat were held, many of them intellectuals, professional and political leaders from Prijedor municipality.

Severe beatings were commonplace and the camp guards and others who came to the camp used all manner of weapons to physically abuse the prisoners, according to the Tribunal. Both female and male prisoners were beaten, tortured, raped, sexually assaulted, and humiliated. In addition to regular beatings and abuse, there were incidents of multiple killings. Many, whose identities are known and unknown, did not survive the camp.

For these actions, Mr. Knezevic faces six counts of grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, six counts of violations of the laws or customs of war and another six counts of crimes against humanity.

In the second indictment, Mr. Knezevic, who did not appear to hold a position in the Keraterm camp, supposedly entered the site "on numerous occasions for the purpose of abusing, beating torturing and/or killing detainees."

The indictment alleges that killings and various forms of physical and psychological abuse were commonplace at the Keraterm camp. These acts were particularly targeted against Bosnian Muslim and Croat political and civic leaders, intellectuals, the wealthy, and non-Serbs who were considered as extremists or to have resisted the Bosnian Serbs.

For the acts allegedly committed at Keraterm, Mr. Knezevic faces 15 counts of crimes against humanity and 13 counts of violations of the laws or customs of war.