Jezik / Language:
18 January 2008

Bozic et al: Bratunac Gunfire "Normal"

A witness has said that he only heard about the execution of people from Srebrenica in Bratunac because of trials in The Hague.
Miodrag Josipovic, former head of the police station in Bratunac, has appeared in Court as a Defence witness for four former members of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) .

The witness claims that "he did not see or hear from anybody" that corpses had been found around the elementary school in Bratunac.

"About the murder of captured people, and of corpses lying around the Vuk Karadzic elementary school in Bratunac, I heard only during the TV broadcast of testimonies from The Hague tribunal," said Josipovic

Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic, former members of Military Police of Bratunac brigade VRS, are charged with having  maltreated prisoners, shot at the school building and killed a number of people while guarding the area around the school building in Bratunac on July 13 and 14, 1995. The indictment alleges that between 2,000 and 3,000 Bosniaks were held in the school building.

During his testimony, Josipovic stated that he was in Potocari for "15-20 minutes" on July 11 or 12, 1995, where he saw former Bosnian Serb military leader - and now Hague fugitive - Ratko Mladic "dispersing members of Military police units who came with the dogs, in order to prevent them to frighten gathered people".

The witness claims that during his time in Potocari "there was no separation of men and women" among the Srebrenica civilians..

After his return to Bratunac, Josipovic claimed to have seen the buses carrying prisoners and heard gunshots which "were not automatic" but "common, as heard during previous days". He also said that he had not heard rounds from the browing (machine gun)", neither he had he seen it in front of the school.

The Prosecution claims that Mladen Blagojevic was shooting from the machine gun, which was mounted on a vehicle, toward prisoners held in school.

During the cross-examination, Prosecutor Kwai Hong Ip presented statement given by the same witness who was questioned by the Hague prosecution as a suspect for the war crimes committed in Srebrenica.

The Defence objected to the Prosecutor's request to use this statement during the examination, and the Trial Chamber upheld the objections, and forbid to Prosecution to use this statement while questioning this witness.

The continuation of the trial is set for January 22.
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