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Defense Witness Claims Saric Wasn’t in Bratunac in July 1995

31. August 2015.00:00
A state prosecution witness at the Goran Saric trial said the defendant wasn’t in Bratunac in July 1995, the location of his alleged crimes.

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Saric, the former commander of a special brigade of Bosnian Serb police forces, has been charged with commanding police forces which participated in the search, disarmament and forcible resettlement of women, children and the elderly in Bratunac and the Srebrenica area, as well as with the detention of men and boys who were later executed in July 1995.State prosecution witness Mendeljev Djuric, who was sentenced to 28 years in prison for participating in the Srebrenica genocide, told the trial chamber that he had known Saric since secondary school. He said they began working together in the Bosnian Serb police force at the beginning of the war, when Saric was appointed brigade commander. “I didn’t see or hear about that [Saric’s presence] during my stay in Bratunac…I had no information indicating he had come there,” Djuric said.Djuric said he was in Belgrade until June 26, 1995, because of an exam and an invitation he had received to report to his unit. He said that he then went to a training center on Mount Jahorina, where he served as an instructor.Djuric said the training ran from June 29-30, 1995. He said he recalled going to Bratunac on July 11, 1995. “I neither saw nor received any orders. I was told that we were going to the field,” Djuric said. He said he thought the trip to Bratunac was part of the training. He said his knowledge about the military situation in that area was poor.The prosecution asked Djuric what the training activities in Bratunac consisted of. Djuric, who testified in the presence of his legal advisor, said he thought that information shouldn’t be included in his testimony.Djuric said he reported to Dusko Jevic, the head of the training center. He said he discussed the issue of deserters with him. Djuric said there was no need for him, as an instructor, to prepare a report upon his return from the field.Djuric said he didn’t know whether any deserters were suspected of murder or other crimes. He also said he didn’t know whether an investigation regarding Bratunac was conducted at the brigade level.The trial will continue on September 7. Dusko Jevic, who was sentenced to 32 years in prison for participating in the Srebrenica genocide, will be examined.

Lamija Grebo

This post is also available in: Bosnian