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21 January 2014
News

Transported from School to Branjevo

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial of Aleksandar Cvetkovic, who is charged with genocide in Srebrenica, a State Prosecution witness says that he saw bodies being carried out of the Cultural Centre in Pilica.

Zoran Bajic said that he was member of the Military Police Company with the Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, in July 1995, adding that he was in the field in Lokanj, where the First Battalion of that Brigade was situated.

“I went in front of the school building in Pilica in order to replace my colleagues, who had come to that place with our superiors,” Bajic said, adding that, upon his arrival, he saw his colleagues from the Battalion, civilians and some unknown soldiers and officers.

He said that he entered the school building, because he had to use the toilet, adding that he saw that men from Srebrenica, who were held in the school, walked freely.

“There were civilians and men dressed in camouflage uniforms. All of them were men of various ages,” Bajic said, adding that he left Pilica after having spent the night in it.

He said that his superior officer told him that the men, who were held in the school building, were killed.

Bajic said that, later on he drove his superior officer to the Cultural Centre in Pilica, where he saw corpses being loaded onto a truck. His superior told him that Srebrenica residents had been detained in that building as well.

Second State Prosecution witness Bogoljub Gavric, who used to work in the school in Pilica, recalled the events that happened on July 14, 1995. He remembered the date, because his son celebrated his birthday that day.

“Captives from Srebrenica were brought by about ten buses,” Gavric recalled, adding that he went to the school building several times in order to bring them fresh water and cherry plums.

He said that he saw several dead bodies around the school building and that he heard that a captive tried to jump through a window during the night, so he “was probably shot”.

Gavric told the Court that the Srebrenica residents stayed in the school until July 16, when they were taken away. They were blindfolded and some of them had their hands tied. According to the witness’ testimony, the buses went in the direction of Branjevo farm.

“Rumours said that those men were maybe executed on Branjevo,” witness Gavric said.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Aleksandar Cvetkovic, former member of the 10th Reconnaissance Squad with the Main Headquarters of VRS, with having participated in the shooting of about 900 Bosniak men on Branjevo.

Witness Mico Manojlovic said that he guarded the school, where Srebrenica residents were detained, in July 1995. He said that some unknown soldiers, who were dressed in black uniforms, were around the school building.

Manojlovic said that he could not return to Lokanj village via the Branjevo farm, because of a checkpoint. He heard that murders had happened on Branjevo.

The examination of a protected witness, which began on December 23, 2013, was continued at this hearing. It was not allowed to publish the content of his testimony given on that date. The Chamber allowed the publishing of his testimony given at this hearing, but his name must not be published.

The witness said that he did not remember any shooting, while the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that, in his previous statements he said that he “heard gunshots after the detainees had left Pilica, so he assumed that shooting of people was underway somewhere”.

The witness said that he did not doubt that it was written that way, but he did not remember that.

The trial is due to continue on January 28.
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