A prosecution witness at the Bratunac war crimes trial said she saw a Bosnian Serb commander burn houses and then abduct her son.
Sefika Ramic said she lived with her son Sejad and two daughters in the village of Hranca, near Bratunac in northern Bosnia, where Bosnian Serb forces attacked on May 3, 1992.
She testified at the trial in Sarajevo that she heard shots and told her son, who was 19 at the time, to flee to the woods while she took her daughters to hide in a neighbour’s basement with a group of other Bosniaks.
“We were in there for hours. At one point I wanted to check on my house, but when I looked out I saw burning houses,” said Ramic.
She said that after a while she heard steps, as a group of Bosnian Serb soldiers arrived to take the villagers out of the basement.
“I saw a man with a uniform and a stocking on his head. He took it off to look at his pistol and I saw it was [the trial defendant] Najdan Mladjenovic,” she said.
The man then threw an explosive device at the house, setting it on fire, Ramic testified, adding that she also saw Mladjenovic torch several other homes.
Bosnian prosecutors accuse Mladjenovic, along with Savo Zivkovic, of participating in the attack on Hranca, during which several Bosniak civilians were captured and killed while their houses were torched on his orders.
According to the charges, Mladjenovic was the territorial defence commander in Bratunac and Zivkovic was a member of his unit.
Ramic said she saw soldiers taking away nine Bosniaks, including her son Sejad.
“They ordered them to lie on their stomachs and I wanted to come closer, but they wouldn’t allow me… The other women were also forbidden… I saw Mladjenovic approach the prisoners and that’s the last I saw him,” said the witness, crying as she spoke.
She added that it was also the last time she saw her son.
The trial will resume on January 22.