Jezik / Language:
6 June 2013

Borovcanin Testifies in Defence of Karadzic

Radosa Milutinovic BIRN BiH The Hague
Testifying before The Hague Tribunal, former Republika Srpska police officer Ljubomir Borovcanin says that after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995 he did not know about a plan for the execution of Bosniaks and that it “is hard for me to believe” that Radovan Karadzic would consent to the murder of captives.
Borovcanin, who was sentenced, in April 2010, to 17 years in prison for having assisted in the commission of murders, extermination and persecution of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, said that he commanded a brigade of the Republika Srpska special police in July 1995.

In his written statement Borovcanin confirmed that, on July 13, 1995 he saw 20 or 30 dead Bosniaks in front of the Co-operative warehouse in Kravica village, which were recorded by Belgrade journalist Zoran Petrovic-Pirocanac, who was with him in the car at that moment.

The statement alleges that policemen under his command, who guarded the warehouse, told him that the captives were killed after an incident in which a Bosniak seized a rifle from a guard and killed him. As he said, Borovcanin informed the Command of the Bratunac Brigade with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, and Karadzic’s envoy for Srebrenica Miroslav Deronjic about the murder in Kravica.

Borovcanin said that, prior to arriving in Kravica on July 13, 1995, he saw VRS Commander Ratko Mladic, promising a group of Bosniak captives in Sandici that “they would be transferred to Kladanj by bus and that they would be reunited with their families”.

He said that he thought that “Mladic was honest”, adding that, at that moment he “did not know about any plans for killing the captives”. As he said, while he was at the Zvornik Brigade Command two days later, he heard that Bosniaks were being brought to the area, but “there were no indications that they would be killed.”

Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska and supreme Commander of its Army, is charged with genocide against about 7,000 Bosniaks from Srebrenica, whom members of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, shot after having occupied the enclave on July 11, 1995.

During the cross-examination Prosecutor Peter Mc Closkey asked Borovcanin if he accepted that Mladic lied to the Bosniaks and that they were killed.

“I believe that they were taken away and that, most probably, many of those people were executed,” he said.

When asked whether he claimed that policemen, who were under his command, did not commit any crimes, Borovcanin answered negatively.

The Prosecutor then asked him to say “what crimes you committed” and “how many people you killed”, Borovcanin said: “The verdict pronounced against me is the best answer to your questions… It was determined that a certain number of my men participated in the murders.”
When asked whether he accepted the responsibility and whether the verdict was fair, Borovcanin said: “The fact that I did not file an appeal against the verdict obliges me to accept the facts in the verdict.” The Prosecutor then asked him whether he admitted that 1,000 Bosniaks were killed in the warehouse in Kravica, as indicated in the verdict, the witness answered negatively, adding that he “could only confirm what he personally saw. Everything else is the matter of the Tribunal and evidence presentation.”

Responding to a prosecutor’s allegation that he was responsible for protecting the captives and that he failed to do so, Borovcanin said that he was “certainly one of the culprits.” “That is why they sentenced me,” Borovcanin said.

Prosecutor Mc Closky asked Borovcanin what he had done to help the captured Bosniaks. “What I did is generally known. I did not do enough,” he responded.

Karadzic is due to additionally examine Borovcanin on Friday, June 7.
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