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9 February 2015

Petrovic Denies Allegations Made Against Him by Former Superior Nikolic

Radosa Milutinovic BIRN BiH The Hague
Testifying at the trial of Ratko Mladic, former military police officer Mile Petrovic denied killing Bosnian Muslims who had surrendered to Serb forces after the fall of Srebrenica. He’d been accused of the killings by his former superior, Momir Nikolic, in testimony he’d given to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
"It [Nikolic’s accusation] was about two Muslims, and I did not kill them," Petrovic said, adding that that Nikolic "absolutely did not tell the truth."

During testimony given previously at the Ratko Mladic trial, Nikolic had said that Petrovic killed six Bosnian Muslims who had surrendered to Serb forces driving a stolen UNPROFOR transporter on July 13, 1995.

"He [Petrovic] told me, 'chief, I took revenge for my brother today.’ I asked him what he did, and he said 'I killed them.' I didn’t comment or do anything. I accepted it as a done deal," Nikolic had said.

During cross examination by prosecutor Melisa Pek, Petrovic confirmed that his brother was killed in 1992.

However, during today’s hearing Petrovic denied Nikolic’s allegations.

Petrovic did not deny that he was in an armored vehicle along with Nikolic and his commander Mirko Jankovic that day. However, he claimed that they took two Bosnian Muslims as prisoners to Konjevic Polje. There they joined others, and they did not kill the two prisoners.

According to testimony previously given by Nikolic, Mladic had gestured at them, indicating that that all the Bosnian Muslim prisoners were to be killed. Petrovic also denies this, saying that they did not see Mladic on their way to Konjevic Polje.

Petrovic also denied that he forced two Dutch UNPROFOR peacekeepers to surrender Bosnian Muslim men from an armored UNPROFOR transporter, as per Nikolic’s orders.

Petrovic confirmed that he escorted a convoy of thousands of prisoners from Srebrenica to the Zvornik area on July 14, 1995. However, he said that he did not know that Serbian forces would execute them. He said that he heard about the mass killings in Srebrenica through the media.

Nikolic, a former security officer of the Army of Republika Srpska, pleaded guilty to the persecution of Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica at the ICTY in 2003. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, a sentence he is currently serving. He has testified in several other cases against suspected perpetrators of the Srebrenica genocide.

Ratko Mladic, the former commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, is on trial for his role in orchestrating and carrying out the Srebrenica genocide, in which over 7000 Bosnian Muslim men were killed in the days following the takeover of the enclave by Bosnian Serb forces. He is also charged with terrorising the population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Rade Javoric, a former commander of Territorial defence in Prijedor, will continue giving his testimony on February 10. According to the indictment, Prijedor is one of the locations where the persecution of Bosnian Muslims and Croats reached the scale of genocide during the Bosnian war.
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