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Massacre at Bosnia’s Branjevo Farm ‘Like a Movie’

4. February 2014.00:00
War criminal Stanko Kojic told the genocide trial of Aleksandar Cvetkovic that Bosnian Serb troops killed several hundred prisoners from Srebrenica one by one in order not to waste any bullets.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Kojic told the Sarajevo court on Tuesday that he was sent on a mission to the Branjevo farm just before the massacre of Bosniaks took place in July 1995, along with seven other members of the Bosnian Serb Army’s 10th Sabotage Squad.

He testified that they were driven there by Cvetkovic, although he could not say whether the defendant took part in the killings that followed.

“When we got to Branjevo, I saw an old man in the uniform and I learned afterwards that was Ljubo Beara [chief of security with the Bosnian Serb Army’s main headquarters, jailed for life for genocide by the Hague Tribunal in 2010]. There were some stories that we were waiting for detained war criminals,” said the witness, who is serving 32 years in prison for participating in the killings in Branjevo.

“[Another soldier called Drazen] Erdemovic and I went for rakija [brandy] and I thought that we would keep them [the prisoners] in the stables. When the first bus arrived, I heard shooting and I thought it was an attack. I went there and saw wounded people and bodies in the meadow,” said Kojic.

He said that the commander of the squad was Franc Kos, who complained that too many bullets were being wasted by Zoran Goronja, a soldier who was shooting the prisoners with a machine gun, and ordered the troops to form a firing squad instead.

“Kos was saying: ‘Boys, that is not good.’ Everything was like in a movie. I was scared to death. I saw Kos taking a gun and shooting every prisoner in the head… Erdemovic the same,” Kojic recalled.

“Kos said: ‘From now on, one man, one bullet – in the back of the head.’ I could not stand that, I took a handful of pills, I started protesting, but everyone was firing,” he said.

Prosecutor Dubravko Cempara asked Kojic whether he saw Cvetkovic shoot anyone, but the witness said he could not recall that.

The Hague Tribunal jailed Erdemovic for five years, while the Bosnian state court sentenced Kos to 35 years and Garonja to 30 years over the killings in Branjevo.

Cvetkovic, also a former member of the 10th Sabotage Squad, is being tried for the killings of at least 900 Bosniaks at the Branjevo farm.

Kojic said that he saw total of six buses carrying prisoners from Srebrenica, and said he believed that less than 200 people were killed at the farm.

After the killings in Branjevo, said Kojic, members of the 10th Sabotage Squad went to a restaurant in the village of Pilica.

“I was drinking… I heard them talking about prisoners from the local cultural centre, more people were killed there than in Branjevo, but we did not go there,” he said.

Cvetkovic’s trial resumes on February 11.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian