News 25 Oct 12

Witness Remembers Rows of Dead People near Srebrenica

The first witness at the trial of Ostoja Stanisic and Marko Milosevic, who are charged with genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995, describes how he survived the massacre at the Petkovci dam where over 1,000 Bosniaks were killed.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

The protected witness SM-100 told the Bosnian State Court that he was among the Bosniak men who were fleeing from Srebrenica to Tuzla in July 1995, after Bosnian Serb forces attacked the city.

He said he had surrendered to Bosnian Serb soldiers and was first transported to Bratunac and afterwards to a location near a dam in Petkovci.   
 
“People were coming out of the truck in groups of five. After half of the men had left the truck, those to remained refused to go out. We were hiding behind each other. We knew that we would be killed. We wanted to live…A man asked me if I wanted him to untie my hands. I said no, because I was going to be killed anyway,” SM-100 said, describing his arrival at the execution site.
 
After having been forced to come out of the truck, the witness saw “rows of dead people”. When the shooting began, he got shot on the right side of his chest and arm.
 
“They continued shooting. A man next to me was sobbing. I was losing lots of blood, so I just waited for death to come. I was lying and shaking. All of a sudden I saw a boot next to me. Somebody fired a bullet. I had several wounds, so I wanted to ask them to kill me, but I did not dare do it,” the witness said.
 
Stanisic and Milosevic are charged with having participated in crimes committed at the Patkovci dam, where about 1,000 Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica were shot in July 1995.

The indictment alleges that Stanisic was the Commander of the 6th Battalion of Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, while Milosevic was his deputy.
 
The witness said that he lied among the dead bodies for a while, when he noticed there was another survivor.

“We managed to untie the bandages on our hands. He started walking over the dead bodies. I was crawling on top of them. It was a horrible scene,” he added.
 
The witness said that, after they had arrived on a hill, they realized that they were close to the dam. Later that day they watched a machine loading the dead bodies that covered the field.
 
Speaking about his stay in a school building from which he was taken to be executed, the witness said that prisoners were taken away at night and probably shot.
 
“We would hear them taking people out. Then we heard burst fire. I supposed that those men were killed,” the witness SM-100 said, adding that men, who were held in the school building, did not have enough water or air and that some of them drank urine.
 
The next hearing is due to be held on November 7.

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Background

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

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.

Ratko Mladic: The Force Behind the Srebrenica Killings

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.

The Indictment Against Ratko Mladic

Indictments in 1995 and 2000, further amended in 2002 and 2010, charge the former commander of the Republika Srpska Army with genocide and other crimes.

Ratko Mladic: From Promising Officer to Bloodstained Warlord

When Mladic ordered his army to bomb the people of Sarajevo until they ‘go insane’, he revealed the murderous intentions that would culminate in the Srebrenica massacre.

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