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recordings-of-prisoners
24 May 2013
News

Recordings of Prisoners

Radoša Milutinović BIRN BiH Hague

The trial of Ratko Mladic continues with testimony by Prosecution investigator Tomasz Blaszczyk about a film footage made by Belgrade journalist Zoran Petrovic Pirocanac in the Srebrenica surroundings following the occupation of the enclave by the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, in July 1995.

Blaszczyk commented on Petrovic’s footage, which was recorded on July 13 and 14, 1995 and broadcast on Studio B television in Belgrade soon after, in the courtroom, providing judges with information about the places, persons and events depicted in the film.  
Ljubomir Borovcanin, the then Chief of joint police units, was Petrovic’s host during the making of the footage.

The Tribunal sentenced Borovcanin to 17 years in prison for having assisted in the murders, extermination and persecution of the population from Srebrenica.  

Petrovic recorded Muslim men, whom Serb forces separated from women and children in Potocari, on “a white house” terrace. They were held in the house prior to being transported by buses to several locations in the Zvornik surroundings, where, according to the charges, they were shot.

“Some people attempted to smuggle themselves in the convoys. Maybe some of them are criminals,” Petrovic commented during the footage, depicting a large pile of bags and bundles, which the prisoners had to put down and leave.


In addition, Petrovic’s film shows the surrender of tens of Muslims, who tried to break through the ring around Srebrenica by walking towards Tuzla through the woods. He recorded Ramo Osmanovic, calling his son Nermin and others to come out of the woods and surrender.

Testifying at Mladic’s trial a week ago, his wife Saliha said that the bodies of Ramo and Nermin Osmanovic were found in mass graves in 2009.

Mladic, the then Commander of VRS, is charged with genocide against about 7,000 Muslim men from Srebrenica.

Petrovic recorded several groups of captives, sitting on meadows alongside the main road between Srebrenica and Bratunac. According to the charges, most Muslim captives were shot later on.  

Also, Petrovic recorded a VRS soldier, who was standing on the road facing the forest, and shouting: “Come on guys! Come out with your hands up!” When Petrovic asked him: “How many people have come out?” he said: “Three or four thousands of them have surrendered.”
Witness Blaszczyk confirmed that, according to results of an investigation, this was the correct number of captives held by VRS forces at that moment on July 13, 1995.

Blaszczyk is due to continue testifying about Petrovic’s film on June 14, when he will draw the judges’ attention to the part of the footage, depicting a pile of bodies of killed Muslim captives in front of the Agricultural Co-operative warehouse in Kravica village, as well as Serb soldiers standing around them and gunshots resounding.

The trial of Mladic, who is also charged with persecuting Muslims and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising civilians in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage, is due to continue on May 28.

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