Jezik / Language:
27 September 2007

Kravica: Applause for Mladic in Sandici

The defence teams at the trial for genocide in Kravica want to invite Hague tribunal indictees as witnesses.

The defence teams of the 11 indictees charged with genocide before the Court of BiH, have announced that they want to invite individuals indicted and convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague to testify in Sarajevo.

The list of potential witnesses drawn up by Borislav Jamina, defence attorney of indictee Branislav Medan, includes, among others, ICTY Srebrenics indictees Ljubisa Beara, Zdravko Tolimir and Milan Gvero, as well as Radislav Krstic (convicted to 35 years imprisonment) and Vidoje Blagojevic (sentenced by a first instance verdict to 18 years imprisonment for crimes committed in Srebrenica).

Ljubisa Beara has already been included in other potential witnesses lists, but the Trial Chamber was informed that he refused to testify. Attorney Jamina considers that these people are "a source of information" and that their refusal to testify should not represent a problem.

"I do not know about Beara, but I think that many of these witnesses are the citizens of BiH. I would not say that they have the choice to refuse to testify," Jamina has explained.

The Prosecution considers that the 11 members of the Special Police Forces and Republika Srpska Army guarded, in the village of Sandici on 13 July 1995, several thousand captured civilians, who were then driven to detention camps or executed. In addition, the Prosecution charges the 11 indictees with the murder of around 1,000 prisoners in Kravica.

Two defence teams have examined two more witnesses. Slobodan Mijatovic, a member of the Military Police with Bratunac Brigade, has said that he was guarding and escorting the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic - now a ICTY fugitive - on 13 July 1995. Mijatovic has recalled that Mladic visited the prisoners held by VRS on a meadow in the village of Sandici.

"Mladic told them not to worry. He also said that their families had been taken in the desired directions and that they would join as soon as the transportation was organised. Applause followed and people started shouting 'Cheerio!'," the witness said, adding that he did not see any policemen, because the civilians were guarded by Republika Srpska Army (VRS) members.

Mijatovic has said that, in the evening of the same day, he passed by the Agricultural Cooperative in Kravica but he did not "notice anything unusual".

During cross-examination, Prosecutor Ibro Bulic presented the witness with the statement he gave to the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) on 8 September 2006. According to this statement, on 13 July 1995 Mijatovic passed by Kravica and saw "a large group of soldiers" and he "supposed" that the civilians, whom he had seen in Sandici earlier, were killed on that location.

The witness has not denied this part of the statement.

Witness Barisa Jankovic has said that, on 13 July, between 2200 and 2300 hours, indictee Miladin Stevanovic informed him that "a Muslim neighbour" had killed Krsto Dragicevic and that the two of them went to the Special Police "camp" in Resagici village. In the camp he allegedly spoke to indictee Milenko Trifunovic about providing supplies for Dragicevic's family.

"Almost all the people in the camp were members of those police forces, and I also saw them the following day," the witness said, adding that they all attended the funeral on 15 July.

The witness also claims that indictee Dragisa Zivanovic invited him and his wife to a farewell party for his brother Slavisa on 13 July 1995.

The trial is due to continue on 3 October, when four defence witnesses will be examined.

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