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Soldiers did not talk about actions

13. January 2015.00:00
Three former members of the 10th Reconnaissance Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army testified as defence witnesses at the trial of Aleksandar Cvetkovic, charged with participating in genocide in Srebrenica.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Zijad Zigic said that he was recruited to the 1st Tuzla Unit of the Bosnian Army at the beginning of the war and that he voluntarily went form Batkovic camp to the 10th Reconnaissance Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army in January 1994.

“I stayed in a squad, where I was a commander of one group, until the end of a war. Until then we had almost 90 people,” the witness said noting that ethnic composition of the squad was diverse.

He said that members of the squad received salaries regularly, as well as “rewards for each action – at least once a month from the Headquarters.”

Speaking about defendant Aleksandar Cvetkovic, the witness said that he knew he was a driver, and that he was providing all the members with clothes, food and firewood.

“Aco was a chauffeur. He was always absent. He was transporting wood throughout the year… I know that drivers never had arms, because they were not going to the front lines,” Zigic said.

Aleksandar Cvetkovic, a former member of the 10th Reconnaissance Squad, is charged with involvement in the murder of more than 900 Bosniaks at the Branjevo farm in July 1995.

Zijad Zigic said that he did not participate in the actions in Srebrenica in July 1995, because he was in Modrica “with half of a squad”. He said that he heard about killings in Srebrenica on the television for the first time, from his fellow fighter Drazen Erdemovic.

“Saboteurs did not talk about actions. That is the reason they had high salaries,” Zigic said.

Erdemovic admitted at The Hague Tribunal that he was guilty of the Branjevo crime, made a deal with the prosecutors and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Another witness Momir Ostojic, who also said that Cvetkovic was a driver in the 10th Reconnaissance Squad, and that he was usually bringing food and wood to the members of the squad,

Veselin Dosic, who was a member of the 10th Reconnaissance Squad, which had its base in Vlasenica, also testified as a defence witness.

He said that he knew Cvetkovic as a driver in the squad, and that he was driving soldiers in action several times, but that he never participated in the actions.

Dosic said that he was in hospital in July 1995 and that he returned to the unit at the end of the month.

“I remember that I used to see Aleksandar and that everyone were teasing him about some pig of 400 kilos,” the witness said.

“There were some stories about that… And were there stories about the killings of 1,200 people,” asked prosecutor Dubravko Campara. The witness replied that he did not hear stories about the killings.

During the cross examination, the prosecutor presented the order given to the 10th Reconnaissance Squad to participate in the attack on Srebrenica, where all the names of soldiers assigned for the action were listed.

“Among those names is the name of Zoran Stupar, who you claimed was a driver,” Campara said, adding that Stupar was listed as a soldier and that “drivers were going into action as soldiers.”

The witness repeated that drivers were not going into fight.

The trial continues on January 20.

Jasmina Đikoli

This post is also available in: Bosnian