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Witness Describes Police Sweep in Bratunac in July 1995

24. November 2015.00:00
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of five former members of Bosnian Serb police forces said members of the First Company of the Zvornik public safety center conducted a terrain search in Bratunac and guarded the road between Bratunac and Konjevic Polje in July 1995.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Dragomir Vasic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic have been charged with genocide in Srebrenica. According to the indictment, they forcibly resettled civilians and also captured and executed men and boys.

According to the charges, Josipovic was the chief of the public safety station in the area. Tesic was the deputy commander of the police station in Bratunac. Vasic was the commander of the police headquarters in Zvornik. Zoljic was the commander of special units at a public safety center. Pantic was the commander of the First Company of the special units.

Jovan Lazic, a former member of the Zvornik public safety center, testified at today’s hearing. He said Radomir Pantic was the commander of the First Company and that he saw him in the vicinity of the Bratunac police station, where police officers gathered.

Lazic said his company was deployed to Bratunac sometime around St. Peter’s Day on July 12, 1995. He said they had received an order which stated that the Zvornik squad should do a sweep of the terrain in Bratunac. He didn’t say who issued the order.

Lazic said he conducted the sweep dressed in overalls, and was assigned a rifle with four rounds of ammunition.

“It was said that the army would do things around Srebrenica, while we would perform police tasks…we were only supposed to become involved to protect Bratunac,” Lazic said.

Lazic said that according to rumour some villages in Bratunac had been burned by Bosnian Army forces, which is why the police was tasked with searching the area.

“We didn’t find anyone…we walked in a column. The commander probably walked in front of us…one could notice nobody was there. We didn’t go far. We only went to a hill. We stayed there for a certain period of time,” Lazic said.

Lazic said he guarded the road between Bratunac and Konjevic on the second day of his field mission, on July 13, 1995. He said he watched vehicles passing by.

“We were lined alongside the road. Our task was to guard the road…The road had to be passable for all the vehicles on it,” Lazic said. He said they ensured the free passage of vehicles transporting civilians, among others.

He confirmed having seen Pantic while guarding the road.

Lazic said he didn’t see members of the Bosnian Army walking through the woods in the area.

The trial will continue on December 1.

Albina Sorguč

This post is also available in: Bosnian