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2 April 2015
News

Mladic ‘Didn’t Tell Troops to Massacre Bosniaks’

Radosa Milutinovic BIRN BiH The Hague
A former Bosnian Serb Army officer told his ex-commander Ratko Mladic’s trial that the defendant never made a gesture indicating that all Bosniak prisoners from Srebrenica would be killed in July 1995.
Defence witness Pero Andric testified the Hague Tribunal on Thursday that on July 13, 1995, he was Mladic’s bodyguard on the road from Bratunac to Vlasenica, and denied key prosecution testimony that the Bosnian Serb military chief gave a ‘kill sign’ to a subordinate.

Prosecution witness Momir Nikolic, a former security officer with the Bosnian Serb Army’s Bratunac Brigade, who has already been jailed for crimes in Srebrenica, testified at the trial in 2013 that he met the defendant near Srebrenica on July 13, 1995 and asked him what would happen to the Bosniak captives. Mladic made a hand gesture indicating they would be killed, Nikolic told the court.

But Andric said he did not see Nikolic at any point that day while he was with Mladic.

According to Andric, Mladic stopped near Konjevic Polje that day and talked to a group of soldiers, but Nikolic was not among them.

Mladic is on trial for the Srebrenica genocide and the persecution of Muslims and Croats which reached the scale of genocide in several other municipalities, as well as terrorising the population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Andric said that that he saw Mladic talking to a group of 300 to 400 Srebrenica captives in Sandici village after the fall of Srebrenica.

“He told them that they, as a people, weren’t guilty of anything. He said that the authorities, the commanders were to blame. He asked where they wanted to go and asked for buses,” said Andric.

Later on, according to the witness, Mladic also spoke to a group of prisoners in Nova Kasaba, and said the same thing. Andric added that he did not see any prisoners being abused. He also said that Mladic never gave him any illegal order.

During cross-examination, Andric admitted that Mladic told his bodyguards that day to hit an old man and a police commander because they did not go to the woods to fight Bosniaks.

According to Andric’s testimony, Mladic also stopped a Serb family and told them to go to the woods, and “take a stone or stick and kill Turks”.

The trial continues on Tuesday.
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