No Known Number of Missing Persons, Krcmar Says
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Testifying at the Ratko Mladic trial, Goran Krcmar said he didn’t know the official number of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Srebrenica. According to Krcmar, no census of missing persons has been conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Srebrenica.
Since the end of the war, Krcmar has dealt with the exchange of detainees and the search for missing persons as an official with Republika Srpska. Krcmar said that in the absence of a definitive list of missing persons, “the whole issue remains in the sphere of speculation and daily politics, depending on what suits each side.”
“Presently people speculate that there are about 8000 to 13,000 missing people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is really thoughtless,” Krcmar said. Krcmar said he participated in the exhumation and identification of approximately 3500 people who had been registered as missing.
Mladic’s defense attorney, Branko Lukic, presented Krcmar with recordings of Serb victims who were decapitated by members of El Mujahideen forces within the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.
Krcmar said the heads of those victims have not been found.
Krcmar also added that 36 bodies which had been hidden beneath the bodies of stillborn infants from the Kosevo hospital in Sarajevo, were exhumed from a mass grave in that area.
According to Krcmar, the bodies of 471 Serbs have been exhumed in Sarajevo thus far.
During cross examination, the Hague prosecutor said 7000 persons were still registered as missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that an additional 2500 remains were located in morgues.
“No, I can’t agree that there are 7000 persons…there’s no registry of the missing. That’s why there are manipulations,” said Krcmar.
While providing testimony last week, Krcmar had accused Sarajevan authorities and the International Commission for Missing Persons of exaggerating the alleged number of war victims throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Hague prosecutor said that the civil commission for the exchange of people in Republika Srpska was part of an attempt to ethnically cleanse the area during the war.
“You say so, I don’t…I didn’t participate in the exchange of civilians, so I can’t testify about that,” Krcmar said.
According to Krcmar, civilians left the area “voluntarily” and in an “organized manner.”
“They didn’t leave from detention facilities or prisons, they left of their own accord,” Krcmar said.
Krcmar said the exchange of prisoners, a process he was involved in, was approved by the Main Staffs of the Army of Republika Srpska. According to Krcmar, in most cases approvals came from Mladic’s assistant for intelligence and security affairs, Zdravko Tolimir. The Hague Tribunal previously sentenced Tolimir, under a first instance verdict, to life imprisonment, finding him guilty of genocide in Srebrenica.
Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic has been charged with the genocide of approximately 7000 Bosniaks in the days that followed the occupation of Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. Mladic is also charged with the persecution of the non-Serb population (persecution which reached the scale of genocide in several municipalities), exercising terror upon local citizens in Sarajevo, and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.
The Mladic trial will continue on Tuesday, March 3.