Protected Witness Said He Was Abused by Defendant in Petkovci School, Survived Mass Execution

27. January 2016.00:00
While testifying at a trial dealing with the Srebrenica genocide, a protected state prosecution witness identified Ostoja Stanisic as the man who mistreated him during his detention in a school building in Petkovci after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

According to the charges, Stanisic was the commander of the Sixth Battalion with the Zvornicka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, while Marko Milosevic was his deputy. They have been charged with participating in the mass killing of approximately 1000 Srebrenica civilians on a dam hear Petkovci in July 1995.

A protected witness known as SM-101 described an indicent of abuse he experienced while being detained at the Petkovci school building.

“We were standing in the hallway. There were five soldiers. One of them tied our hands up with rope. Then a blonde, balding soldier with a long face approached me and asked me where I was from. I said I was from Srebrenica. ‘Everyone is from Srebrenica. There’s nobody from Kamenica,’ he said and cursed my ‘Balija’ [ethnic slur for Bosniak] mother. He hit me strongly and pushed me into a classroom where the other prisoners were. I shall never forget that face,” SM-101 said.

SM-101 said while reading BIRN BiH reporting on the trial on the Justice Report website, he saw a photo from the courtroom and recognized Stanisic as the soldier who struck him in the Petkovci school.

SM-101 pointed to Stanisic and said he was “90 percent sure” he was the person who hit him.

He then went on to describe the aftermath of the Petkovci killing on the dam.

“In the morning on July 15, I saw a loader, a mine bulldozer and tractor. We didn’t stay close to them for long. We were only in our undershirts. We stepped over the corpses barefoot. The bodies were still hot. There was blood all over the place. We went down into a canal. We did not see much from there, but we heard the machines working,” said SM-101, who survived the mass execution.

The defense teams denied the credibility of SM-101’s testimony, claiming his story contradicted testimony he gave as a protected witness at several trials in the Hague as well as statements he gave upon his arrival to territory controlled by the Bosnian Army.

According to the defense, in his previous statements he described the soldier who mistreated him in the school as thickset.

“I’ve given many statements. Some were translated. Translators may have changed the meaning of some sentences. However, what I said today, I said on other occasions as well. I remember that man. His image is deeply engraved in my memory. When I saw the photo, I approached the prosecution and said I wanted to testify. It’s my obligation to do so for the sake of all the victims,” SM-101 explained.

The trial will continue on February 3.

Nedim Hasić

This post is also available in: Bosnian