Other People’s Stories

19. February 2014.00:00
At the trial for genocide in Srebrenica a State Prosecutor reads a late witness’ statement given during the investigation, in which the witness spoke about captives from Srebrenica, who were brought to Petkovci, near Zvornik in mid-July 1995.

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Prosecutor Predrag Tomic read the statement, which Slavisa Rakic gave to State Prosecution’s investigators in 2009 – a year before his death.

Rakic said that he was member of the Communications Centre with the Sixth Battalion of Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, when he heard that captives had been brought and accommodated in a new school building in Petkovci. As he said, he did not leave the Communications Centre base, so all his findings were obtained from stories told by other people.

“We were not allowed to go out,” the witness said.

The Prosecutor read the witness’ statement at the trial of Ostoja Stanisic and Marko Milosevic, who are charged with having participated in crimes committed on a dam near Petkovci village, Zvornik municipality, where about 1,000 captives from Srebrenica were killed in mid-July.

According to the charges, Stanisic was Commander of the Sixth Battalion and Milosevic was his Deputy.

When asked by an investigator if “your men” guarded the captives, Rakic said that he heard that soldiers from various companies guarded the captives in the new school building.

Milos Peric, Defence attorney of Stanisic, said that, if he had had the possibility, he would have asked Rakic whether those companies were parts of the Sixth Battalion.

The indictment alleges that the captives were transported from the new school building to a nearby dam, where they were executed.

Witness Rakic said that a few soldiers came to the Communications Centre and said: “They told us to report to the Command. That is how they passed through”. According to the witness’ statement, approximately an hour later a person stopped by and told him “to report to Ostoja’s office”.

Defence attorney Peric said that he would have asked the witness whether Ostoja Stanisic was present, when the captives were brought, considering the fact that he gave different answers to the investigators. Also, he said that the investigators suggested to the witness that the Battalion Commander asked the soldiers to guard the captives and that he gave different answers to those questions.

“I consider that those questions were unallowable,” the Defence attorney said.

The witness said that, while the breakthrough by Srebrenica residents was underway, he forwarded calls from the Zvornik Brigade Command to the Sixth Battalion Command, but he did not know what they spoke about.

“We were not allowed to hear anything. We were not allowed to ask who the calls came from,” he explained.

The trial is due to continue on February 26.

Amer Jahić

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)