At the trial of the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, two survivors described mass murders of Bosniaks committed in the summer of 1992 in the municipalities of Kalinovik and Kljuc.
The protected witness, RM-010, testified about the murders of several dozens Bosniaks committed around the school in the village of Biljani near Kljuc in July 1992.
RM-010 said that on July 10, Serb military policemen ordered all men of fighting age from his village to gather on a nearby meadow and then took them to the school in Biljani.
The witness said that killing started already in the schoolyard, before the majority of prisoners were taken to the bus through the gauntlet of soldiers who beat them. They were told they would be taken to a prisoner exchange in Kljuc.
The bus, however, stopped soon afterwards and Serb soldiers first took out four and then another four Bosniaks, among them RM-010.
“Two military policemen took us to a house, and I heard someone say: ‘Dear mother, what is this?” I felt a barrel on my back and heard the policeman behind me say: ‘Go on, cursed your Balija [pejorative for Bosnian Muslim] mother.’” Recalled the witness.
“I saw four bodies in front of me in the grass. We started running, and they opened fire. Besim, in front of me, fell with two huge holes in his back. My legs gave up on me and I fell beside him,“ said the witness, adding that he acted dead and later crawled to the woods and ran away.
According to the indictment, 144 men were killed on that day.
Mladic has pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide, including in Kljuc, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war during the Bosnian conflict between 1992 and 1995.
On Wednesday another prosecution witness, Fejzija Hadzic testified that on August 5, 1992, at Jalasacko Polje near Kalinovik, the Serb forces executed 24 Bosniaks from the nearby villages who were held prisoners since June.
“They told us we are going to the prison in Foca, for exchange. The hands of younger ones were tied with wire. They tied my hands too and hit me on the head. 24 of us were put on a truck and taken to a meadow... They lined us up and opened fire from automatic rifles from all sides. I was hit in the left leg, so I, like others, fell and played dead,” testified Hadzic.
According to Hadzic, the soldiers took him together with dead bodies to a nearby barn, which was set on fire. “I managed to jump into the lower level of the barn and flee,” said Hadzic.
During the cross-examination, Mladic’s lawyer Miodrag Stojanovic suggested that “executions” were committed by police and not the army.
“I have been authorised by Mr Mladic to tell you that he is ready to offer you his hand at any moment and apologise to you for everything that you went through,” Stojanovic told the witness, who confirmed that as a young boy he “played ball” with Mladic, who is also from the village of Kalinovik.
The trial will resume on Thursday, August 30.
In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.
Key dates and events in the Bosnia war.
The Bosnian Serb commander’s role in the genocide committed in Srebrenica is described in detail in many indictments and verdicts pronounced before local and international judicial institutions.