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29 January 2008
News

Bozic et al: Contradictory Statements

BIRN BiH
The commander of the VRS Bratunac Brigade Military Police says that he did not know that his soldiers safeguarded the school in Bratunac.
The former commander of the Military Police Squad with Bratunac Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army said he did not know that this brigade safeguarded the school building in Bratunac, in which Bosniaks from Srebrenica were detained in July 1995.

The Prosecution of  BiH charges Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic, former members of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police Unit, with having participated in the safeguarding of buses used for transporting Bosniaks from Potocari to the school in Bratunac, as well as the building and the buses in which the detainees spent the night.

"I am not saying that they could not have been there. However, I am sure I did not tell anyone to go to the school building. They may have received an order from Momir Nikolic, who was my superior," said Mirko Jankovic during the cross-examination.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague sentenced Momir Nikolic, former chief of security of the VRS Bratunac Brigade, to 20 years' imprisonment for war crimes.

Jankovic said he did not know when the prisoners were brought to Bratunac, as he "did not go there" or see any report indicating that someone had been killed in the vicinity of the school.

During the examination Jankovic said he drove the UNPROFOR military transporter leading the convoy of trucks and buses by which the prisoners were transported from the school in Bratunac to Orahovac.

"We arrived to the school in Orahovac. The convoy was a long one. There were no incidents as the prisoners were getting off the buses and trucks, so I returned to Bratunac," Jankovic said.

Describing the indictees' personalities, the witness said they were "honest, hardworking and disciplined".

Another Defence witness, Pero Andric, a former member of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police Unit, said that members of his unit did safeguard "Vuk Karadzic" school building.

"We helped in the safeguarding of the 'Vuk Karadzic' school in Bratunac," Andric said, adding that a military police vehicle was parked in front of the school. An anti-aircraft weapon was mounted on top of the vehicle.

The indictment alleges that Blagojevic opened fire at the prisoners in the school from a machine gun mounted on a military vehicle.

Andric said that, on the following day, he saw a few persons - including his father - loading bodies of killed Bosniaks behind the school building. The witness was not able to say how many dead bodies were loaded into the vehicles.

The trial is due to continue on February 14.
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