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Defendants Describe Wartime Operations at Zvornik War Crimes Trial

1. December 2015.00:00
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of five former members of Bosnian Serb police forces said he was the commander of the First Company of the Public Safety Center from Zvornik and was present in Bratunac and Sandici in July 1995.

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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.

Milutin Kandic, former member of the First Company, said he was sent to a field mission in Bratunac.

“Of course it was a combat task. We were at war. That field mission was the same as any other. We were informed that armed soldiers might leave Srebrenica and go towards Bratunac,” Kandic said.

He said Pantic was the commander of the First Company, and a man named Duca was the commander of his squad. Kandic said Duca deployed them next to the yellow bridge, and said they were then sent towards Potocari.

“When we came closer, we saw soldiers with blue helmets standing behind tape, holding each other’s hands, while women, children, civilians were standing behind them. We, the policemen, were standing on the other side of the tape…There was a huge crowd behind UNPROFOR,” Kandic said, adding that soldiers and other police units were present as well.

Kandic said that members of the First Company went from Potocari to Konjevic Polje, where they were supposed to guard the road. Meanwhile he stayed in the vicinity of the police station in Bratunac in order to wait for food. He said he spent the night at that location.

He said a policeman from Bratunac woke him up and told him to go to Sandici, because some members of his squad had been wounded. Kandic said he and others drove their wounded comrades to Bratunac. Upon his return to Sandici, he saw commander Pantic.

“I don’t know what time it was, but people began coming out of the woods. They were most probably people from Srebrenica, who had left the town on foot. Most of them were dressed in civil suits, but some had military trousers and shirts,” Kandic said.

He said the First Company’s task was to guard the road, while the people who surrendered passed by them and went to a meadow, as instructed by the army.

As he said, he saw a girl aged 10 or 12 among those who had surrendered. Kandic said he asked his father whether he would take her to a bus. Her father agreed, so the girl entered the vehicle. After that two more boys came running.

According to Kandic’s testimony, her father stayed with the other men, who moved towards Bratunac and Kravica.

“Obviously the army directed those people. I thought they would go to reception centers and be exchanged,” Kandic said.

The next hearing is scheduled for December 8.

Albina Sorguč

This post is also available in: Bosnian