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29 September 2014
News

Attacks on Milici

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at Ratko Mladic’s trial, a former inspector with the Public Safety Station in Milici says that Muslim forces attacked Serb villages in the Milici area.

Defence witness Zoran Durmic said that most of the activities performed by police forces were related to guarding the part of the road between Milici and bauxite mine, “because the communication was cut and people were captured at that place all the time”.
 
“It happened that a whole shift of bauxite mine workers was captured. Several mine workers were killed on the road. We were even engaged in guarding the loading and unloading of ore,” the witness said, adding that he had never “exchange fire” with Muslims.
 
Durmic testified at the trial of Ratko Mldic, former Commander of the Main Headquarters of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, who is charged with having participated in the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats from 15 municipalities under the control of Serb forces.
 
Mladic is also on trial for genocide in Srebrenica, terror against citizens in Sarajevo by conducting an artillery and sniping campaign against civilians and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.
 
The Hague Prosecution asked the witness if he knew that combats with Muslims forces were conducted in the vicinity of Opetci village on May 16, 1992. He responded by saying that unblocking of a part of the road was conducted on that occasion and that the police’s task was to occupy the area from which it would be able to control certain points.
 
“Fierce combats were going on at that location. Muslims were pushing us back… I was on the liberated territory. Our task, the police’s task, was to keep the road under control,” he said.
 
When asked by the Prosecution whether he knew if an attack on Zaklopaca village happened that day and that several Muslims were killed, the witness said that he found out about it later on.  
 
The Prosecution said that, one day after the attack a group of 30 women, children and one old man, who survived the events in that village, went to Vlasenica and surrendered. After having signed statements, handing their property over to Serbs, they went towards Kakanj.
 
Second witness Djordjo Krstic, former Deputy Manager of Batkovic concentration camp, near Bijeljina, said that he remembered that a group of people from Manjaca was brought to that facility and that those people were exchanged a short time later.
 
“I did not know much about their status, but, according to the information I had, they were kept at that place, because technical aspects of the agreement related to their exchange had not been specified. It was as if they waited there until the problem was solved,” Krstic said.
 
He said that it was not known to him that women, children and the elderly were held in Batkovic, adding that prisoners did not perform labour on frontlines.
 
The trial is due to continue on Tuesday, September 30.
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