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11 February 2008
News

Trbic: Accidental Guard

BIRN BiH
Prosecution witness Milovan Djokic has been testifying about how he helped detain captives taken from Srebrenica, and how they were transferred to the town of Pilice.
Djokic, speaking at the trial of Milorad Trbic, described how he saw columns of buses, loaded with men, women and children in Potocari in July 1995, when he delivered food to the Military Police officers there.

Djokic claims to have been a driver in the Bratunac Brigade Military Police Squad with the Republika Srpska Army (VRS). After the fall of Srebrenica, he and other soldiers had to guard the school in Bratunac where civilians were held.

The State Prosecution for Bosnia and Herzegovina accuses Trbic, as assistant Commander for security of the VRS Zvornik Brigade and Officer-in-Charge of the Brigade's Military Police Squad, with "deliberately participating in the forcible resettlement of Bosniaks from Srebrenica" and in their execution and burial in mass graves between July 11 and November 1, 1995.

The witness said he took on the responsibility to guard the school because of a lack of soldiers. He also claimed he saw other soldiers giving weapons to civilians, "even minors".

The detainees were held in the school building and also in the buses parked in front of it. Djokic said most of them were "middle-aged Muslim men". He recalled that he fell asleep while on duty but shooting woke him up.

During examination, Djokic was not able to remember the names of the people who were shooting. Prosecutor Kwao Hong Ip read Djokic's statement provided to State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) investigators. In this, he claimed that military policemen Sreten Stankovic and Mladen Blagojevic were shooting.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently trying Blagojevic for the murder of civilians held at the Vuk Karadzic School in Bratunac.

Djokic was again on duty as a guard the following day, when Slobodan Mijatovic told him to get on one of the buses and guard it.

"There were about 100 men in that bus. As I was facing them, I could not see where the bus was going. Two more soldiers were with me, but they later got off," Djokic said.

He could not remember how many buses there were in the column.

Prosecutor Ip reminded him of his earlier statement, where he said there were "about ten buses".

"The men who were in the bus thought that they were going to be exchanged. I thought so as well. I did not get any orders. Our bus followed the ones which were ahead of us," Djokic added.

The buses transported detainees to the Culture House in Pilice.

"The men got off the bus and entered the Culture House. I wanted to leave but a civilian policeman told me I had to stay and guard the prisoners," Djokic said.

The indictment alleges that on July 13 and 14 1995, Trbic participated in organising the transfer and detention of Bosniak men from Srebrenica. They were transported by buses from Bratunac to Zvornik, where they were then detained in school buildings in Orahovac, Petkovde, Rocevici and Kula, as well as in the Culture House in Pilice.

The trial of Milorad Trbic is due to continue on Tuesday, February 12.
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