Survivors of Concentration Camps in BiH during the War drove Sketches for Exhibition

June 11, 2019 7:00 AM

Approximately 7000 witnesses have testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (“ICTR”), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”), and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (“Mechanism”).

Through written statements and oral testimony, witnesses have provided the Tribunals as well as the Mechanism with expert opinions, insider knowledge, and first-hand accounts of the crimes that took place in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

To support their statements and testimony, some witnesses have created drawings or sketches of complex concepts, particular events, or specific items or locations. These illustrations help to explain how, where, and why events occurred or describe and clarify complicated ideas and processes. Occasionally, witnesses have also been asked to testify about certain aspects of drawings or sketches created by others.

This exhibition features a number of drawings and sketches, all of which were admitted into evidence in court proceedings before the Tribunals. It explores the various ways in which these drawings and sketches have been used in the proceedings.

One sketch was drawn by Prosecution Witness Jusuf Arifagić, who was detained at the Keraterm Camp in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the summer of 1992.

The sketch was used in court by the witness to identify the location of machine-gun nests, which were stationed in three areas of the Camp: one outside Room 1; one to the left of the toilet; and one in the area identified as “machine-gun and spot-light used for massacre in Room 3”.

During his testimony, Arifagić noted that there was an error in his sketch; Room 3 should be where the toilet is and vice versa.

Arifagić’s sketch and his testimony were used to establish what transpired in Room 3 in the Keraterm Camp. In the trial of the former President of the Crisis Staff of the Prijedor Municipality, Milomir Stakić, Arifagić’s sketch was admitted into evidence and his testimony assisted the Trial Chamber to determine the circumstances of the massacre of non-Serb detainees in Room 3 at the end of July 1992. Arifagić’s testimony was later used in other cases before the ICTY, such as in the trial of former the President of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadžić, where it was established that at least 190 Bosnian Muslims were killed in the massacre in Room 3 in the Keraterm Camp.

In addition to Keraterm Camp, Bosnian Serb authorities also operated two other large camps in Prijedor in 1992, “Omarska” and “Trnopolje”, where Muslim and Croat civilians were detained, tortured and killed. In 1992, Bosnian Serb authorities forcibly expelled tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and thousands of Bosnian Croats from Prijedor, many of whom had been detained in these camps.

Milomir Stakić was sentenced to 40 years in prison for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war committed in Prijedor in 1992.

 

All sketches can be seen here.

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