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investigator-s-suggestions
10 November 2014
News

Investigator’s Suggestions

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial for genocide in Srebrenica, a State Prosecution witness says that, while he was giving his statement, an investigator suggested to him what he would say about the events in Srebrenica in 1995.

Jelenko Kljajic said that police brought him from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the summer of 1995 and that he was accommodated on Mount Jahorina. As he said, his unit Commander informed him that he would go to a field mission in Srebrenica.
 
The witness said that, upon arrival to that area, he was deployed in the vicinity of a cross-road in Konjevic Polje and that he was told to stay near the road and let Muslims, moving towards Konjevic Polje, pass.    
 
When asked by Prosecutor Ibro Bulic whether he knew Goran Saric, the witness answered negatively, adding that he had seen him on TV. The Prosecutor asked him whether anybody addressed his Unit prior to their departure to the field. The witness said that he did not remember.  
 
After that Prosecutor Bulic read him a part of a statement, saying that Goran Saric addressed those present on Jahorina. The witness responded by saying that some men, who were present there, mentioned his last name, but he did not know whether that person was Saric.
 
The Defence asked the witness whether his Unit went to the field mission right after Saric’s address on Jahorina, but the witness said that he did not remember.
 
Goran Saric is charged with having participated in a joint criminal enterprise, which resulted in the forced resettlement of 40,000 local Bosniak residents and the murder of more than 7,000 persons from the Srebrenica area.
 
According to the charges, Saric commanded the police forces, whose members participated in the search, disarming and occupation of positions held by members of the UN as well as the forced resettlement of women, children and the elderly, as well as separation of men and boys, who were later executed.
 
The witness said that he could not even remember whether he saw Saric during his field mission. Prosecutor Bulic then said that the witness said a different thing during the investigation. The part of the statement, which Bulic read, indicated that the witness said that he saw Saric next to the crossroads in Konjevic Polje and that he had previously seen him on Mount Jahorina and in Janja, near Bijeljina.
 
When asked by the Prosecutor whether he said that, Kljajic said that he did, adding that, while taking his statement, the investigator suggested to him what he should say.
 
“I said that I did not remember many of the events, but the gentleman, who examined me, said that others had said differently. (...) That man brought me some papers and said that twenty persons had said the same thing. I told him: ‘If they did, I shall say the same thing’,” the witness explained.  
 
In the end the Trial Chamber asked the witness how he knew that Saric was the person who was present in Konjevic Polje. The witness responded: “All that could be heard from those present at that place.”
 
The trial is due to continue on November 17. 
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