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Indictee Ostoja Stanisic’s Statement Read

5. November 2014.00:00
At the trial for genocide in Srebrenica the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, reads a statement, which indictee Ostoja Stanisic gave to a Hague Tribunal investigator in the capacity of a suspect.

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The statement, which was read by Prosecutor Predrag Tomic, indicates that the investigator told Stanisic that murders of Srebrenica residents were committed in the zone of responsibility of the Battalion, which was under his command, in July 1995 and that a part of his men participated in it and that he was a suspect because of that.

Stanisic, former Commander of the Sixth Battalion with the Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, said that he was in the Battalion Command premises in the afternoon on July 14, 1995 and that his Deputy told him that captives were supposed to arrive to the new school in Petkovci, Zvornik municipality.

Stanisic and Marko Milosevic are on trial for the murder of about 1,000 Srebrenica residents on a dam, near Petkovci, in mid-July 1995.

Stanisic said that the Zvornik Command informed his Deputy, i.e. indictee Milosevic, about the arrival of the captives. As he said, while he was in the Sixth Battalion Command, Stanisic was informed that Ljubisa Beara and Drago Nikolic were in front of the new school in Petkovci and that they should get in touch with them.

Stanisic said that he sent his Deputy Milosevic to find Beara and Nikolic. The Hague Tribunal sentenced Beara, former Chief of Security of the Main Headquarters of VRS, to life imprisonment for having committed genocide in Srebrenica and Nikolic, former Chief of Security with the Zvornik Brigade, to 35 years in prison.

Stanisic said that Milosevic informed him that, besides Beara and Nikolic, he saw some unknown policemen, soldiers and captives.

“The Deputy informed me that soldiers had arrived in order to guard them. (…) Some things may sound illogical to you. I was not obliged to inquire where the higher-instance command was,” Stanisic said.

As he said, while he was in the Battalion Command premises, he heard shooting coming from the direction of the new school. With regard to the happenings that took place on July 15, 1995 the investigator told Stanisic that Srebrenica residents were transported, by two vehicles belonging to his Battalion, from the school building in Petkovci, Zvornik municipality, to a nearby dam, where they were shot.

Stanisic said that he went to a forward command post in the morning hours on July 15 and that he stayed there the whole day.

Stanisic said that a driver took one vehicle to Srebrenica and returned on the following day, adding that he found the fact that the travel authorization indicated that the vehicle took six tours from Petkovci to the dam and back illogical.

“I know that this vehicle went to Srebrenica and stayed there overnight,” he said.

As far as the other vehicle is concerned, he said that somebody from the Command informed him that Petkovci local residents requested to use the truck in order to remove corpses and that he approved that.

“I know that there were bodies around the school building. (…) If they loaded them, judging by these authorizations, they could drive them to the dam,” Stanisic said.

The investigator said that he found the fact that his Battalion’s trucks transported the bodies illogical, but Stanisic said: “My basic duty is to defend the defence rayon.”

As he said, he realised what had happened, when he was informed that no more captives were present in Petkovci and heard shooting coming from the direction of the dam.

Indictee Milosevic’s statement will be read on November 12.

Amer Jahić

This post is also available in: Bosnian