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27 February 2015

Protected Witness Describes Petkovci Dam Killings

Emina Dizdarevic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
A protected witness known as SB-4 gave testimony about digging a hole for bodies on a dam near Petkovci in July 1995.
SB-4 testified at the trial of Srecko Boskovic, a former soldier of the Bosnian Serb Army. Boskovic is charged with murdering a boy in the village of Djulici in July 1995, while Serb soldiers were killing Bosniaks following the fall of Srebrenica. Boskovic allegedly told the boy that he was free to leave, and then shot him with an automatic gun when he began to walk away.

At today’s hearing, SB-4 described the burial of bodies at the Petkovci dam and the soldiers in the area. He testified in a separate cabin with his face and voice altered.

“I saw about thirty corpses, I don’t know the exact number...The corpses were on the plateau, facing the ground...One of the soldiers ordered me to dig a hole,” SB-4 said.

SB-4 said he found out later that they were the bodies of Bosnian Muslims. He described the bodies as “torn and dirty.”

In response to questions by prosecutor Predrag Tomic, SB-4 said all the soldiers in the area were uniformed and some of them had small white stripes on their shoulders.

SB-4 said a red tractor also came to the area with a few civilians and new bodies, but he didn’t know where the bodies were transported from.

“After the tractor had come and gone two or three times, I heard shooting...The civilians were in the hole, piling the corpses. I assumed they shot at them,” SB-4 said.

SB-4 said the soldiers ordered him to go back to the dam the following day to finish burying the bodies.

“On that day I saw that white powder was spread over the corpses. I then covered them with dirt,” he said.

Predrag Tomic presented SB-4 with photographs of Boskovic. SB-4 said he recognized him. He said he hadn’t seen Boskovic at the dam, but he looked familiar from the post-war period.

Radenko Basic, the second state prosecution witness, said he was a member of the Sixth Battalion of the Bosnian Serb Army, which was stationed in Petkovci.

“I found out that a group of people were transported to that place [Petkovci]. They were from Srebrenica and were waiting to be exchanged,” Basic said. He said the group was accommodated in a new school building.  

Basic said that later on he saw many people at the school. He said he saw an auxiliary facility and dead bodies in front of the school.

“A few days later I found out that they were killed, transported to the dam, and buried,” he said.

When asked by prosecutor Tomic whether he went to the dam, Basic said he hadn’t. He said he heard that people who had come from other places participated in the killings.

The next hearing will take place on March 6.

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