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20 October 2014
News

Saric’s Speech on Jahorina

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial for genocide in Srebrenica, a State Prosecution witness says that he was on Jahorina, when a person, whose name, as he heard, was Goran Saric, gave a speech about the departure to Srebrenica.

Protected witness SG-13 told the Court that, in mid-1995 he was brought from Serbia to Jahorina, where a training camp was situated. As he said, one day prior to their departure to Srebrenica Goran Saric gave a speech on Mount Jahorina.
 
“We were lined up on a plateau, where officers, our chieftains, also gathered. A speech about our departure to Srebrenica was given. The speech was given by Mr. Goran Saric...The point of the speech was to tell us that we would participate in an operation and wished us luck,” he said.
 
He explained that he had not known Saric from before, but others told him what his name was. When asked whether the person, who gave the speech, was present in the courtroom, the witness said that, “logically, that would be the person sitting next to the Defence attorney”, but he was not able to recognize that person in the street due to the passage of time.   
 
Goran Saric is charged with having participated in a joint criminal enterprise that resulted in the forced relocation of 40,000 Bosniak residents and the murder of more than 7,000 persons from the Srebrenica area.
 
According to the charges, Saric commanded police forces, which participated in search, disarming and occupation of positions held by members of the United Nations troops, as well as the forced resettlement of women, children and the elderly and separation of men and boys, who were killed later on.
 
The witness said that he went from Jahorina to Bjelovac, near Bratunac, where his Unit’s Base was located. As he said, during his stay in that area, he went to the UNPROFOR’s Main Base as well.
 
“The transport of civilians from Potocari was organized on that occasion. Buses were there. Civilians got on them voluntarily. Nobody forced them to do it. Some men too were among the civilians. They were taken away,” SG-13 said.
 
The witness said that he was transported to a hangar in Kravica one night and that, as he was getting off the truck, he heard a burst of fire and an explosion.
 
“I fell down due to the shock. I dropped my rifle. I heard swearing and somebody mentioning the Sekovici police…” he said, adding that he left the place immediately.
 
As he said, his unit was once tasked with searching an area in which they found dumped weapons and equipment.  
 
The trial is due to continue on October 27, when a new State Prosecution witness will be examined. 
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