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Kos et al: Voluntary Participation in Combat Unit

13. May 2011.00:00
At the trial for genocide committed in Srebrenica, a State Prosecution witness says that members of the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, participated in the murder of Srebrenica residents on Branjevo farm in July 1995.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Petar Salapura, former Chief of the Intelligence Department with the Main Headquarters of VRS, said that he found out about the participation of six or seven members of the VRS Tenth Reconnaissance Squad in the murder of Srebrenica residents in late 1995 or the beginning of 1996, adding that Miso Pelemis, former Commander of that Unit, told him about it.

“I called Pelemis. We met in Bijeljina. I asked him if a group of soldiers had participated in the execution of captured Srebrenica residents and he answered affirmatively. He said that there no order was given for that, but whoever wanted to participate in it volunteered. I did not ask him who had given the order, but I did tell him that someone had to be held responsible for that,” witness Salapura said.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Franc Kos, Stanko Kojic, Vlastimir Golijan and Zoran Goronja with having participated in the shooting of at least 800 Bosniak captives on Branjevo military farm, Zvornik municipality, in July 1995.

The State Prosecution alleges that Kos was Commander of a unit with the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad, while the other indictees were members of that unit.

During the course of his testimony, Salapura said that he knew indictee Kos by his nickname “The Slovenian”. “He was one of the best soldiers. He always executed orders. I respected him and so did Commander Ratko Mladic,” Salapura said.

Ratko Mladic, former Commander of the VRS Main Headquarters, who is indicted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, for war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war, is on the run.

Salapura said that he proposed that combat tasks be executed by the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad, which was “an independent unit subordinate to Commander Mladic”.

The witness said that the selection of soldiers who became members of that Squad was conducted on the basis of regulations issued by the Intelligence Department of the VRS Main Headquarters. He said that the Squad consisted of two units – one based in Bijeljina, and the other in Dragosavci, Vlasenica municipality.

The witness confirmed that the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad participated in the attack on Srebrenica in July 1995, adding that Mladic was the only person who could give an order to the soldiers to go to the military farm in Branjevo.

“It was an elite unit whose reputation was damaged by an ill-judged move,” Salapura said, adding that he did not know the names of the soldiers who committed the murder of Srebrenica residents.

Indictee Kojic left Friday’s hearing before it ended, saying that he did not “feel well”.

The trial is due to continue on May 17.


This post is also available in: Bosnian