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Saric, the former commander of the Special Brigade of the Republika Srpska police, has been charged with commanding police forces which participated in the search, disarmament and forcible resettlement of women, children and the elderly in the vicinity of Bratunac and Srebrenica, as well as with the detention of men and boys who were later executed in July 1995.
A protected witness known as SG5 testified at today’s hearing. SG5 said he was arrested for being a deserter in June 1995. He said he was taken to Jahorina with a protected witness known as SG-8 and a few other men. He said he attended weapons training with the Second Company of the Special Squad of the Republika Srpska police while in Jahorina.
SG5 said he remembered Nedjo Ikonic, Dusko Kusmuk and Dusko Jevic from his training sessions. He said they were all members of the commanding staff and that Jevic was the commander of the training center in Jahorina. Dusko Jevic was sentenced to 32 years in prison for assisting in the Srebrenica genocide. Nedjo Ikonic was acquitted of charges of war crimes committed in the Srebrenica area.
“Goran Saric was the commander of the Special Squad of the Republika Srpska police. I saw him once or twice maybe,” SG5 said.
SG5 identified Saric in the courtroom, but was unable to specify when he saw Goran Saric. He said Saric didn’t participate in his training.
“I saw him once during a line-up prior to my redeployment. I think I was transferred to the Trebinjski Squad on that day. I don’t know whether I saw him on Mount Jahorina or in Trebinje,” SG5 said. He said he didn’t see Saric in Jahorina in June 1995.
SG5 said his company was deployed to the Srebrenica area at the beginning of July 1995, right before St. Peter’s Day. He said they were deployed there in order to ensure uninterrupted traffic between Konjevic Polje and Bratunac.
SG5 said members of his company received their orders to protect the road from their superior officer. He said he couldn’t remember the officer’s name, but said he had a moustache. The prosecution said that in previous statements SG5 had said that Nedjo Ikonic had issued the order.
“I don’t know who it was. I think it was him, but that might not be true,” SG5 said.
SG-5 said they stayed on the road between Konjevic Polje and Bratunac for three or four days. He said their goal was to prevent Bosnian Army soldiers from passing by, but nothing unusual happened.
The state prosecution presented SG-5 with three statements in which he had said he saw trucks and buses transporting women and children towards Konjevic Polje. SG-5 responded by saying he thought this was true.
SG-5 also said he thought that Bosniak men who were hiding in the woods surrendered to members of his company on that day.
“Two men surrendered to me personally. I noticed them in the distance and realized they were going to surrender, with white shirts and stuff like that,” SG-5 said. He said he couldn’t remember what happened to the men who had surrendered to him.
The prosecution presented SG-5 with his previous statements again.
“I can’t remember that. It was traumatic for me. Why are you inciting and mistreating me? Somebody passed by and deprived them of their lives,” SG-5 said.
SG-5 said a soldier he served with named Rudo was wounded while fetching water. He said two Bosniak men surrendered when they were invited to do so, and a third ran away. He said they put their weapons away and searched them.
“One of them had three sugar cubes…Then this guy appeared. I used to see him in Jahorina. He was probably revolted by the wounding, he was yelling. He killed one of them using a shotgun and the other one with an automatic rifle,” SG-5 said. He said they were between 25 and 28 years old.
SG-5 said he told his commander, who was named Brko, what had happened. He said a dredger drove the bodies away on the following day.
When prompted by the state prosecution, SG-5 said he saw Dusko Jevic order approximately 150 captives detained in a field to hand their weapons over.
“There were all sorts of rumours. They killed some of them near Bratunac, while the others were taken towards Konjevic Polje,” SG-5 said.
SG-5 said members of his unit rumoured that his superiors asked for volunteers to commit executions. He said he wasn’t asked to volunteer to execute captives. He denied having said in an earlier statement that he saw members of his company on a truck which carried such volunteers.
The trial will continue on October 19.