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Findings of Exhumations from Cerska, Orahovac and Branjevo

23. July 2013.00:00
As the trial of Ratko Mladic continues, court anthropologist William Haglund testifies about exhumations from mass graves in the Zvornik surroundings, where bodies of hundreds of Srebrenica Muslims were found.

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In his expert report Haglund presented results of exhumations from mass graves in Cerska, Orahovac and on Branjevo military farm. 

He said that bodies of 150 men were exhumed from a primary mass grave located by the road in Cerska, adding that all but one were killed by bullets from firearms. Hands of 24 victims were tied, while as many wires were found in the vicinity of other remains.

Haglund exhumed 112 nearly complete bodies from an intact grave marked as Lazete 2a at a location near Orahovac. According to the witness, a nearby pit, known as Lazete 2b, had been dug earlier with the aim of removing bodies from it. As he said, 52 incomplete bodies and 98 body parts were found in it. 

Out of the total of 165 victims, 158 were killed by bullets. Blindfolds were found in those graves as well.

Bodies had also been removed from the grave in Branjevo before the arrival of Tribunal’s investigators in an attempt to conceal traces of the crime. Haglund said that most part of the grave, which was about 30 meters long and five meters deep, was empty, adding that remains of at least 132 persons were exhumed from another part of that grave. 

The indictment alleges that Mladic, former Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, is charged with genocide against about 7,000 Muslim men from Srebrenica in July 1995, as well as other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

According to the charges and previously pronounced verdicts, Serb forces killed about 1,200 Muslims on Branjevo and about 1,000 persons in Orahovac on July 14. 150 captives from Srebrenica were shot next to the road in Cerska. 

During the cross-examination Mladic’s Defence attorney Branko Lukic suggested that, considering the fact that they were in various stages of decay when found, the bodies could have been buried in different periods of time and that the victims from Cerska got killed at various locations. 

“No, they were not. They were buried at the same time and at the same place. Many bullet capsules were scattered around. They were shot at that place. It is possible that some of them were killed at another location, but most of them were killed at the grave site,” Haglund said.

Defence attorney Lukic is due to complete the cross-examination of the Prosecution’s expert on July 24.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian