Jezik / Language:
10 June 2013

Trial of Savo Babic Adjourned

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The trial of Savo Babic for crimes in Bratunac was adjourned after the Trial Chamber determined that a State Prosecution witness might incriminate himself.
Witness Milenko Prodanovic said that he was mobilised by an anti-reconnaissance squad in Bratunac in the spring of 1992. He came to the “Vuk Karadzic” school building in order to “take a Muslim man out”.

Prodanovic said that he saw several beaten men and a corpse in the school building. He denied his allegations contained in a statement given to the State Prosecution several times. The mentioned statement says, among other things, that he saw soldiers lining prisoners against a locker room wall.

Prodanovic was not able to explain the differences between his statement given in 2012 and the testimony today, claiming that what he said during the investigation was not true. The witness confirmed that the statement contained his signature. The Prosecution included, in the case file, an audio recording taken during the investigation.

Prodanovic said that he watched, from a secondary road, prisoners being loaded onto trucks and taken away from the school building. The Chamber then ordered a break due to consultations about the differences between his statements. Trial Chamber Chairman Davorin Jukic said that there was a danger that the witness might incriminate himself, adding that his testimony should be interrupted until an attorney was appointed to assist him.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Babic, former Commander of military police with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, in Bratunac, with having ordered, committed and failed to prevent the detention of non-Serb civilians in the “Vuk Karadzic” school building in Bratunac in May 1992.

According to the charges, about 400 civilians were detained in the school building. Some of them were beaten up and hit, while several tens were killed. It is further alleged that some people died due to the bad conditions in the school building.

Witness Prodanovic said that the situation in Bratunac became tense when volunteers arrived in the town. As he said, the volunteers, “the Serbian Guard” and other military formations took civilians from Muslim villages to a stadium in Bratunac and then to the “Vuk Karadzic” school building.

“Those volunteers were frightening both for us and for Bosniaks,” Prodanovic said.

The Trial Chamber will set a date for the next hearing at a later stage.
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