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Mladic in an Offensive on Srebrenica and Zepa

21. May 2013.00:00
Former lieutenant colonel of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, Mirko Trivic confirms that Ratko Mladic, former VRS Commander, who is on trial for genocide, was directly involved in an offensive on Srebrenica in July 1995.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Witness Trivic, the then Commander of the Second Romanija Brigade of VRS, said that he met General Mladic in central Srebrenica on the day of its fall, July 11, and that Mladic gave him some orders, adding that their conversation was recorded by camera.

As he said, in the evening on the following day Trivic attended a meeting in Bratunac. The other participants included Mladic, Radislav Krstic, Commander of the VRS Drina Corps, and Vinko Pandurevic, Commander of the Zvornik Brigade.

According to his testimony, Mladic ordered them to prepare for the continuation of an offensive on Zepa, another protected enclave in Eastern Bosnia.  

Trivic said that he and Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic suggested to Mladic to let soldiers have some rest, but he did not accept the suggestion. The witness said that he “had an undisputable right” to do that as their commander.

The Hague Tribunal pronounced a second instance verdict against General Krstic, sentencing him to 35 years in prison for having assisted in and supported the commission of genocide in Srebrenica. Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic was pronounced guilty of having assisted in the killing and persecuting Srebrenica Bosniaks. He was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment.

Trivic said that the primary goal of the VRS offensive was to separate the enclaves where ABiH’s forces were present, and narrow them down according to an agreement from 1993. After having read an order, which was presented to him by Prosecutor Peter McCloskey, the witness confirmed that “the creation of conditions for the elimination of the enclaves” was mentioned as the goal of the offensive.

While being cross-examined by Mladic’s Defence attorney Branko Lukic, Trivic said that most Srebrenica residents had already left towards the UNPROFOR’s Compound in Potocari, when the VRS entered the enclave.

The witness said that the participants in the meeting with Mladic in Bratunac on July 12 did not discuss the fate of prisoners of war from Srebrenica, but “the evacuation of the population” only.  

Responding to a suggestion by Defence attorney Lukic that “nobody said that Muslims should be killed,” Trivic said: “No, nobody spoke about it or mentioned it.”

Trivic said that he thought that he saw buses, which evacuated civilians, in Potocari in the evening on July 12. He confirmed that he was in a convoy transporting the civilian population from the enclave on July 13.

The Defence of Mladic is due to continue cross-examining the witness on May 22.
The indictment also charges Mladic with persecuting Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising civilians in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage. 

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian