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Kravica: Guilt denied

22. August 2007.00:00
The Special Police Forces did not take part in attacks on civilians, witness claims.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Goran Saric, a commander of the Special Police Brigade of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska since 1994, has appeared as a joint defence witness at the trial of 11 persons indicted for genocide in the village of Kravica.

Saric has told the Court of BiH that in 1995 the Special Police Brigade was “providing support” to other units during difficult operations and that it was controlled by “military units in the field”.

“The police never planned any military actions, because it was not in our job description. We received orders to perform some tasks only when we arrived at some spot,” said Saric.

The witness claims to have received, on 10 July 1995, an order to send a unit to Srebrenica to help “protect a road”. According to this witness, he sent the Second Squad of the Special Police Forces from Sekovici commanded by Rado Cuturic.

“In mid June Rado replaced Milos Stupar. It was not a regular replacement, but rather an agreement so that [Stupar] could take some rest and take up some other post,” Saric has explained.

During cross-examination the prosecutor presented a letter, dated mid July 1995, signed by Milos Stupar in his capacity as Commander of the Second Squad. The witness has replied that they often used to write
Stupar’s name on official correspondence although Cuturic performed the duty.

“I still claim that Rado Cuturic was the commander, but the official handover papers had still not been prepared,” the witness has said.

The indictment alleges that Milenko Trifunovic, Petar Mitrovic, Brano Dzinic, Aleksandar Radovanovic, Slobodan Jakovljevic, Miladin Stevanovic, Velibor Maksimovic, Dragisa Zivanovic and Branislav Medan
were members of the Second Squad of the Special Police Forces in Sekovici commanded by Milos Stupar and that Milovan Matic was the Republika Srpska Army member. They are all charged with execution of about 1.000 Bosniaks at a farm in the village of Kravica on 13 July 1995.

Saric claims that it was only after the war had ended that he heard about the mass execution in Srebrenica.

“Nobody ever informed that any members of the Special Forces had taken part in something like that,” the witness has said.

Originally the defence planned to examine one more witness, with the public excluded. However, after a short discussion at a closed session, they have decided to “give up the examination of this witness for the time being” with a possibility calling the individual at a later stage.

The trial is set to continue on 13 September when three defence witnesses will testify.

This post is also available in: Bosnian