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23 August 2016
News

Srebrenica Survivor Recalls Escaping Execution

Justice Report BIRN BiH Sarajevo

At a Srebrenica genocide trial, a prosecution witness recalled how he survived the killings of Bosniaks in a meadow near the village of Orahovac in July 1995.

Prosecution witness Mevludin Oric told the state court on Tuesday that the morning after the fall of Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, he started out with his father through the woods to Tuzla in a column of around 15,000 people who were fleeing the Bosnian Serb attack.

"My father did not make it. They found nine bones and I buried them this year," said Oric.

He recalled being arrested on July 13 and taken to a school in Orahovac. According to the witness, the school hall was full of prisoners and he saw five children.

Oric said that the detainees were blindfolded and taken outside, from where a truck took them to a nearby meadow.

He heard orders - "Come out, jump out and form a line" - and then heard shots.

He told the court that he survived because a cousin fell on top of him.

"My cousin was on my spine. His blood was on mine. They thought I was dead," the witness said.

He said the soldiers were then ordered to shoot all the victims again in the head, to make sure none survived.

"I knew I was done for. There were a lot soldiers, I heard them shouting and laughing," Oric said, adding that the soldiers were joking about the victims.

He said he then passed out and woke up that night. He found another survivor and they ran away together.

Oric was testifying at the trial of Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Dragomir Vasic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic, who are on trial for genocide in Srebrenica.

All five defendants are former Bosnian Serb police officials and are charged with the forcible removal of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, as well as capture and killings of able-bodied men.

Also on Tuesday, at a trial for crimes in Mostar, a prosecution witness recalled that defendant Sasa Savinovic broke into his apartment and forced his family out.

Protected witness S-3 said that in the night between August 7 and 8, 1993, three soldiers came into his house.

The defendant was one of them, the witness said, adding that the soldiers told his family they were going to be deported.

"They said we have to go to the east side of the city and not to look back or they would kill us," said S-3, who was 16 at the time.

Savinovic is on trial, as a member of Bosnian Croat forces, accused of taking part in the killings and forcible removal of Bosniaks.

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