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30 April 2015

Mladic Witness: Serbs Wanted Srebrenica Revenge

Radosa Milutinovic BIRN BiH The Hague
At the trial of Ratko Mladic in The Hague, a defence witness recalled a Bosnian Army attack on the Serb village of Kravica near Srebrenica in 1993 and said he was captured and tortured afterwards.
Witness Ratko Nikolic told the Hague Tribunal on Thursday that Bosnian Army units under the command of Naser Oric attacked the village of Kravica, where he lived, at Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 1993.

“The attack was in the morning. Fires burned... People yelled... I could not go outside, bullets were buzzing... I was injured in my leg I don’t know where the bullet came from,” said Nikolic.

He said that 48 civilians were killed that day.

After his wife fled with other villagers, Nikolic said he spend five days hiding in the nearby woods as he could not run because of his injury. He said he returned to the burned remains of his home and cooked potatoes on the ashes.

Five days later, he testified, Bosnian Army servicemen came and took him to Srebrenica, 24 kilometres away.

“We were beaten every day. They took us outside in that winter and poured water on us... Two Serbs died,” said the witness.

He added that Bosnian Army troops forced him to get up on his injured leg and act like Ratko Mladic, because his name was Ratko.

Nikolic was released in a prisoner exchange the next month.

Asked by Mladic’s lawyer Miodrag Stojanovic if Serbs wanted revenge for the Kravica attack, Nikolic replied: “I think so, because Oric burned and looted 17 villages.”

Oric was acquitted of war crime charges in Srebrenica by the Hague Tribunal in 2008.

During cross-examination, prosecutors claimed that 11 civilians and 35 soldiers were killed in Kravica.

“I don't think that’s right. There is a monument, I know those are civilians,” responded Nikolic.

Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic is on trial for genocide in Srebrenica in 1995, when more than 7,000 Bosniaks were killed. He is also charged with genocide in other municipalities in 1992, the persecution of Muslims and Croats, taking UN peacekeepers hostage and terrorising the population of Sarajevo.

The trial continues on Monday.
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