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Vukovic and Tomic: Scared and Upset

20. March 2009.00:00
A former commander of special police units from Zvornik speaks about the activities of the Second Special Police Squad from Sekovici in Srebrenica in July 1995.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

At the trial for genocide the State Prosecution examined Danilo Zoljic, who said the First Special Police Squad from Zvornik and the Second Special Police Squad from Sekovici “undertook activities in the Srebrenica area” on July 10, 1995.

Zoljic was testifying at the trial of Radomir Vukovic and Zoran Tomic, former members of the Second Special Police Squad from Sekovici, who are charged with participation in escorting a group of about one thousand captured Bosniaks from Sandici village to the Agricultural Cooperative warehouse in Kravica, where they were killed with automatic weapons fire and grenades.

The witness said that on July 12, 1995 the special police units from Zvornik and Sekovici, acting on an order issued by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska, RS, were associated to “the Tactical Group Staff, which was commanded by Ljubisa Borovcanin”.

Ljubisa Borovcanin, former commander of the joint forces of the Ministry of Interior of RS, is currently on trial before the Hague Tribunal for genocide committed in Srebrenica.

“On that day, July 12, I decided to go to the field and visit our units. I spotted them by the yellow bridge, near Potocari. Borovcanin informed me that the units had the task of searching the villages and buildings in order to check whether there were any civilians or armed groups who might provoke an incident. I stayed there until the forces reached the top  of the hill. I noticed that there were no problems,” Zoljic said.
The indictment alleges that, on July 12, 1995 Vukovic and Tomic participated in the search of Bosniak villages in the vicinity of Potocari “with the aim of evicting them and deporting them to the territory controlled by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

Witness Zoljic told the Court that after having completed the search the Units were deployed to secure the road in the vicinity of Sandici village, due to fears that “a column of Bosnian Army soldiers from Srebrenica might attempt a breakout in the vicinity of the road”.

“The following morning (on July 13, 1995), I was informed that during the night one of our policemen had been killed and three had been wounded. So I went to Sandici in order to check how the units were doing. Following my arrival, I noticed a large group of Bosniaks who had surrendered standing in a meadow. More were pouring in. I was informed that some battles had taken place during the course of the previous night,” Zoljic said.

The witness told the Court that he thought there were between 100 and 150 Bosniaks in the meadow and “not more than 60” policemen. He also said that the policemen were “scared and upset”.

“After that I left the area and I contacted Chief Vasic, asking him to contact some civil or military authorities and ask them to hand over the prisoners. In the evening I heard that one policeman had been killed while escorting the prisoners, while later the Commander of the Police Squad from Sekovici, Cuturic, had been wounded,” Zoljic said, adding that he had found out about the murder of these
Bosniaks only a couple of years ago.
The trial is due to continue on March 23, 2009.

This post is also available in: Bosnian