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15 February 2008
News

Bozic et al: Heading The Convoy

BIRN BiH
A joint Defence witness claims to have headed the column of buses and trucks that transported Srebrenica residents from Bratunac to Zvornik, and adds that he "did not see" any of his colleagues.
Mile Petrovic, deputy commander of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police Squad, has appeared as a joint Defence witness at the trial of four former members of that squad.

He said he "headed the column" of buses and trucks, which transported captured Srebrenica residents from the school in Bratunac to Zvornik.

"When we came to the school in Zvornik people started getting off the buses and trucks. They had to run between two lines of soldiers before entering the school gym. There were no incidents," Petrovic said, adding that he "did not see any Military Police Squad or brigade members".

The State Prosecution charges Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic, as members of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police Squad of the Republika Srpska Army (VRS), with having "escorted" the transport of captured Bosniaks from Bratunac and then "controlled" the school gym and playground where 1,000 to 2,500 unarmed civilians were situated.

The Prosecution alleges that the four indictees took part in the maltreatment, beating, cruel treatment and "actions which generated fear" among the Bosniaks detained in "Grbavica" school in Orahovac, Bratunac municipality.

Petrovic said that he stayed in front of the school building in Zvornik for about half an hour and that he and another military policeman, whose "last name he could not remember", returned to the brigade's base in Bratunac "in an UNPROFOR transporter".

"Prior to our return, a man with mustaches told us that we should stay there and guard the people in the school. However, Mirko Jankovic told the man that we had got another order and that we were supposed to return to Bratunac," Petrovic said, explaining that "Momir Nikolic had ordered" him to escort the convoy.

Jankovic, a former commander of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police Squad, was examined as a Defence witness on January 29 this year. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Momir Nikolic, former chief of intelligence affairs and security of Bratunac Brigade, to 20 years' imprisonment for war crimes.

Petrovic said that, when Srebrenica fell on July11, 1995, he was in the brigade's HQ together with an UNPROFOR member, whom he "treated as a colleague". In the course of cross examination the witness said that "the mentioned UNPROFOR member was unarmed".

The trial is due to continue on February 20, when three Defence witnesses will be examined.
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