State Prosecution Witness Describes Bosnian Serb Police Activities in Potocari and Sandici

19. January 2016.00:00
Testifying at the trial of five former members of Bosnian Serb police forces charged with genocide in Srebrenica, a state prosecution witness described the activities of the First Company of the Zvornik public safety center in Potocari and Sandici in July 1995.

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Defendants 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.

Testifying at today’s hearing, state prosecution witness Radoslav Stuparevic said special police units, which were divided into companies, were formed within the Zvornik public safety station.

“I was the deputy commander of the First Company. Radomir Pantic was the commander. The special units had their command. Danilo Zoljic was their commander,” Stuparevic said.

Stuparevic said the First Company was deployed to the field after July 11, 1995. He said they were ordered to prevent the intrusion of any enemy forces into Bratunac and were stationed at a yellow bridge.

He said he was ordered to take the First Company to Potocari on July 12, 1995. He said commander Pantic, who maintained contact with Ljubisa Borovcanin, conveyed the order to him. Their task was to search the area to see if any enemy forces were present.

“When you search an area, you have to look everywhere. You can see visually that there is nobody. We didn’t enter any buildings, because they could have been mined. We passed by all the buildings,” Stuparevic said.

He said Radomir Pantic was with him in Potocari the entire time, including when they went to Sandici in order to guard the road.

Stuparevic said Pantic only told them that a group of enemy forces had separated and was moving towards the Bosnian Federation.

According to Stuparevic, just before dawn on July 13, 1995, one policeman was killed and three were wounded. He said Bosniak men, including “civilians, semi-civilians and semi-soldiers,” began surrendering in the afternoon.

Stuparevic said he assumed a number of them surrendered to the First Company, but its members didn’t guard them while they were on a field where approximately 400 captives were gathered. Stuparevic said they asked Danilo Zoljic to relocate the men and he told him he would check with Ljubisa Borovcanin.

“I don’t know if he arrived to Bratunac, but military vehicles came soon and transported the men,” Stuparevic said. He said they were taken in the direction of Bratunac.

Responding to questions from the defense, Stuparevic said Borovcanin passed by and said the problem would be solved during the day.

The Hague Tribunal sentenced Ljubomir Borovcanin to 17 years in prison for war crimes in Srebrenica.

The former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic, is currently on trial for the Srebrenica genocide and other crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During this hearing it was revealed that an investigation against the witness was opened on May 7, 2007, and was discontinued five years later.

Albina Sorguč

This post is also available in: Bosnian