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26 November 2010
News

Pelemis and Peric: Loading Corpses

BIRN BiH
At the trial for genocide committed in Srebrenica, a witness testifying in defence of the second indictee says he watched men load the corpses of Srebrenica residents who were killed in the Cultural Center in Pilica.

Testifying in defence of indictee Slavko Peric, Ratko Tesic said that as part of his civic duties he drove passengers and soldiers by bus from Zvornik to Pilica in the summer of 1995.

He added that after the fall of Srebrenica he once saw civilians being brought to the Kula school building in Pilica, Zvornik municipality.

“I noticed that those imprisoned men were not Serbs. They were escorted by a few soldiers. Pilica residents were upset. A few days later I heard that some men had been killed in the Cultural Center. I saw their bodies being loaded onto trucks. Later on I heard that the corpses were transferred to Branjevo,” Tesic said, adding he did not see Slavko Peric in the mentioned period of time.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has charged Peric and Momir Pelemis with genocide committed in Srebrenica and participation in the murder of several hundreds of men on Branjevo military farm and in the Cultural Center in Pilica on July 15 and 16, 1995.

The indictment alleges that the detainees had previously been held in the Kula school building.

It further alleges that Peric, former Assistant Commander for Security with the First Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, acting with Pelemis’ consent and under his command, found soldiers and deployed them to the area to guard it.

“I met Peric during the course of the war. He was Commander for Security with the First Battalion. He was a bit shy and vague, but he is a good man,” Tesic said.

Although the witness said he was performing his civic duties when the crimes were committed, the Prosecution included in the case file evidence that he was a member of the First Battalion.

Milivoje Nikolic also testified in defence of Peric at this hearing. He told the Court he was present at Branjevo military farm when civilians were shot in the area nearby.

“In mid July 1995, soldiers came by minivan. After that buses came one by one, bringing civilians. I was ordered to go to a stable. A soldier stood in front of me. I stood there while the civilians were being shot. It lasted for a few hours.

"When it was all over I went home. I did not go there to look at the killed people, as I was afraid that someone might see me and blame me for that,” the witness said.

The witness explained that the bodies were buried on the following day.

The trial is due to continue on November 29, 2010, when the Defence of indictee Peric will examine two witnesses.

A.S.

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