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8 March 2016
News

Former Military Police Officer Describes Seeing Dead Bodies in Bratunac

Albina Sorguc BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial of five defendants charged with participating in the Srebrenica genocide, a prosecution witness and former military policeman said he saw dead bodies in Bratunac after residents of Srebrenica had been brought to a school building on July 13, 1995.

The state prosecution has charged defendants Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Dragomir Vasic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic with genocide in Srebrenica. Their alleged crimes include the forcible resettlement of the local population, as well as the capture and execution of men.

According to the charges, Josipovic was the chief of the Bratunac public safety station. Tesic was the deputy commander of the police station in Bratunac. Vasic was the commander of the headquarters of the Zvornik police forces and the chief of the public safety center in Zvornik. Zoljic was the commander of special units of the public safety station and Pantic was the commander of the First Company of the special police forces.

Slobodan Mijatovic, the former deputy commander of the military police of the Bratunacka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, testified at today’s hearing. Mijatovic said assistant commander Momir Nikolic told them to go to the Vuk Karadzic school building in Bratunac on July 13, 1995, and assist in security activities.

“He said a crowd of people had been brought in from Potocari. He told us to stand next to the vehicles and check them...Members of the army were there. A couple of military policemen were there as well. I noticed a couple of civil policemen walking around. I didn’t know them,” Mijatovic said.

Mijatovic said he heard shooting from automatic weapons, both bursts of gunfire and individual gunshots, during the night.

Mijatovic said he went home at around 11pm. At that time he said he noticed four or five bodies lying on a field near the school playground. He said he passed by them. Mijatovic said he noticed approximately 20 more bodies on a truck on the following day.

Mijatovic said Srebrenica residents were in cars, but also in the school building and in a hangar. He said they were driven away later on. Mijatovic said he participated in escorting the last bus of Srebrenica residents from Bratunac to Pilica in the municipality of Zvornik.

“The driver knew where they were going. I didn’t know,” Mijatovic said. He said members of the Zvornicka Brigade took over custody of the men in Pilica.

Momir Nikolic, the former assistant commander for security and intelligence affairs with the Bratunacka Brigade, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for crimes against humanity in Srebrenica.

Mijatovic said that, as per Momir Nikolic’s proposal, he was in Potocari on July 12, 1995, with a few other military policemen. He said they were there “in order to assist in transportation of people from Potocari.”

Mijatovic also said he escorted Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic. He said he was present when he addressed Bosniaks in Potocari, Sandici and Kasaba.

“We knew those men had fled from Srebrenica. To be honest, they were dressed in civilian clothing. They were standing in a field...A certain number of soldiers guarded them,” Mijatovic said, recalling events in Sandici.

Mladic is on trial before the Hague Tribunal for the Srebrenica genocide and other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The trial of Josipovic and others continues on March 15.

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