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27 February 2008
News

Bozic et al: Military Policemen Testify

BIRN BiH
Four Defence witnesses have spoken of the aftermath of the fall of Srebrenica and the role of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police.
Nenad Djokic, a joint Defence witness at the trial of four former members of the Republika Srpska Army (VRS), said that members of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police safeguarded the places where Bosniaks from Srebrenica were held.

"There were many soldiers, and people who were brought there by buses and trucks, in front of the school. I saw Zdravko Bozic, Milovan Mitrovic and many other members of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police Squad, but I cannot remember all the names now," said Djokic during direct examination.

The State Prosecution charges Zdravko Bozic, Mladen Blagojevic, Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic, as members of the military police, with having safeguarded the buses which transported men from Srebrenica to Bratunac, where they were detained in the school building, tortured and maltreated, while some of them were killed.

Dokic, a former member of the Military Police, also participated in the safeguarding of the school building in Bratunac. He claims to have seen one prisoner jumping from a window on the first floor and then being returned to the school. He said he then heard shooting from an anti-aircraft gun.

During his testimony, Djokic said he was in Potocari, together with other military police members, while women and children were separated from the men.

When Srebrenica fell, second Defence witness Miladin Gavric was working as a policeman at the border crossing over Drina river. The Bratunac  Brigade military police had its check-point at that location.

"I knew the indictees as they often came to the border crossing where I used to work. I never saw them on that bridge after the fall of Srebrenica. However, I saw Zoran Zivanovic in front of the bakery shop located in a street close to the school in Bratunac," Gavric said, adding that Zivanovic told him that he was "safeguarding the people in the trucks".

Defence witness Miroslav Obackic said that military police members did not have any special tasks during the military operation conducted in Srebrenica "some time" in July 1995. At that time, he was at home healing his leg, as he had been wounded some time ago. He presented the Court with medical documentation concerning his treatment.

Unlike the previous witnesses, who were former members of the Military  Police, Obackic said that they were all informed about "how to treat prisoners of war".

The Defence also examined Milo Janic, who had testified as a Prosecution witness at this trial. Janic said he was in Rocevic village in Zvornik municipality, together with Mladen Blagojevic and "a few other military police members".

The indictment alleges that Bosniaks were transported from Bratunac to the school in Rocevic near Zvornik.

"I do not know who gave Mladen Blagojevic a hundred mark banknote, so that we could go out for a  drink. We had dinner in Drinjacka, which is located by the road leading from Rocevici towards Bratunac," Janic said, adding that he "does not know what Blagojevic got the money for".

The continuation of the trial has been postponed until further notice, as it is not known when the Court will manage to get in touch with  some potential Defence witnesses, some of whom are serving sentences passed down by the Hague tribunal.

The Defence wants to examine Radislav Krstic (sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment), Vidoje Blagojevic (15 years') and Drago Nikolic, who is  being held in the Detention Unit in Scheveningen, The Hague.
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