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Tolimir without Information on Execution of Srebrenica Residents

12. December 2013.00:00
Testifying in defence of Radovan Karadzic, former Republika Srpska Army, VRS, general Zdravko Tolimir says that neither he nor Karadzic knew about the mass executions of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in the summer of 1995.

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Tolimir, former Assistant for Intelligence-Security Affairs of the Main Headquarters of VRS, testified as per an obligatory warrant by The Hague Tribunal. When asked if he informed Karadzic that “captives from Srebrenica would be shot; that they were being shot or would be shot”, Tolimir said that he could not have informed him about “something that he did not know himself”.

He specified that he discussed Srebrenica with Karadzic on July 9, 1995, when he informed him that “the VRS is in the outskirts of Srebrenica”. “You said that they should take Srebrenica if they could,” Tolimir said, adding that Karadzic ordered them to “take care of UNPROFOR, civilians and captives”.

Tolimir said that he then went to Zepa, suggesting that he therefore did not know what was happening in Srebrenica after the fall of the enclave.  

Tolimir told the Tribunal that he did not know where the official correspondence sent by the Sector under his command to the Presidency and other Republika Srpska bodies from July 13 to 17, 1995, when the shooting of Bosniaks took place, were.

“I do not know at all what was written in those reports. A security body located at a forward command place prepared them. I was in Zepa at that time… I did not write to them. Even if I had written them, I would not be able to remember,” said Tolimir, whom the Prosecutors did not cross-examine.  

Earlier this year The Hague Tribunal pronounced a first instance verdict against Tolimir, sentencing him to life imprisonment for genocide in Srebrenica. Genocide in Srebrenica is charged upon Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska and supreme
Commander of its armed forces, as well. Besides that, he is on trial for the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats, which reached the scale of genocide in seven municipalities, terror against citizens in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.

Testifying in defence of Karadzic at this hearing, witness Vidoje Blagojevic said that he “knew nothing” about the mass murders in Srebrenica in July 1995. The Hague Tribunal sentenced Blagojevic, former Commander of the Bratunac Brigade of VRS, to 15 years in prison for having assisted in and supporting the commission of murders of Srebrenica Bosniaks.

Blagojevic said that he “has never received or issued any orders for unlawful activities” and that he “did not know about any plan to commit crimes and liquidate captives”.

“I did not have contacts with Karadzic,” Blagojevic said, adding that the Republika Srpska President did not issue orders to him.
While being cross-examined by Prosecutor Peter McCloskey, Blagojevic said that, “unfortunately”, he was “sentenced at an unfair trial”.

When asked whether he accepted the allegation that Serb forces committed murders of thousands of captives, Blagojevic said: “I cannot tell you whether crimes were committed, who committed them, when and where – I cannot tell you that”.  

The trial of Karadzic is due to continue on Monday, December 16.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian