The prosecution witness Elvir Pasic said at the trial of Ratko Mladic, that he was detained and abused, just like hundreds of Bosniaks from Rogatica, in the summer of 1992.
Testifying on Friday at the trial of the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, Pasic said that Serb forces shelled Rogatica at the beginning of June 1992 and then they entered the town and captured civilians, who were hiding in basements.
“After having taken over the control of the town, Serbs announced that they would clean the town of 4,000 extremists and ‘Green Berets’ [Bosniak forces]. As far as I knew, there were no extremists or military organisations in Rogatica. Had they existed, I would have seen them,” Pasic said.
He told the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, that he was captured on June 7, 1992, along with about twenty other civilians, in the basement of his building where he and the others were hiding during the shelling.
“When they forced us to leave the basement, I was struck by the fact that the surrounding houses were on fire, while people were lying on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs…Serb soldiers were dressed in camouflage uniforms or police uniforms,” Pasic said.
Pasic said that, after having been captured, he was transferred to a secondary school building with about 300 women, children and older and younger men.
A month later, Pasic spent a night in the Susica camp in Vlasenica, where he was “abused” by the security chief Dragan Nikolic.
After pleading guilty for crimes in Vlasenica before The Hague Tribunal, Nikolic was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Mladic, former Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, is charged with the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats in 20 municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Rogatica. Also, he is charged with the genocide in Srebrenica, terror against civilians in Sarajevo and taking the UN peacekeepers as hostages.
Pasic said that he spent a year in the Batkovic detention camp, near Bijeljina, where he personally saw few prisoners being beaten to death.
During the cross-examination Mladic’s defence attorney, Miodrag Stojanovic, asked Pasic about the negotiations about the division of the Rogatica municipality on the eve of the conflict.
The witness responded that Rogatica “became part of Republika Srpska” and that nobody asked Bosniaks about it.
“Most of the non-Serb population automatically became second-rated citizens,” Pasic said.
Responding to the defence’s suggestion, the witness confirmed that policemen guarded Bosniak civilians in the school building in Rogatica and on the farm and that no abuse took place at those locations.
The trial is due to continue on Monday, November 5.
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.