Former Policeman Describes Seeing Convoy of Srebrenica Civilians in Zvornik

2. February 2016.00:00
Testifying at the trial of five former members of Bosnian Serb police forces, a protected state prosecution witness said he saw a convoy of buses filled with Srebrenica civilians in front of the Zvornik police station mid-July 1995. He said the civilians travelled in the convoy with their heads down.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Defendants Dragomir Vasic, Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic have been charged with participating in the Srebrenica genocide. The charges against them include the forcible relocation of the civilian Bosniak population, as well as the capture and execution of men and boys.

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

Protected prosecution witness ST-178 said Dragomir Vasic, the former chief of the public safety center, went to Srebrenica around July 12, 1995. He said Vasic was ordered to form an public safety station in that area and stayed there until July 14 or 15, 1995.

ST-178 said he saw a convoy of buses in front of the Zvornik public safety center around July 14, 1995.

“I saw people sitting in the buses with their heads bent down. I saw one soldier in camouflage uniform in each of them [the buses]. I came closer and realized those men were from Srebrenica,” ST-178 said.

ST-178 said Vasic wasn’t present and that he couldn’t contact him, so he reached out to the deputy minister, informing him of the convoy’s presence in Zvornik.

ST-178 said he was told that the police shouldn’t do anything nor become involved in issues related to prisoners of war.

“The convoy departed an hour later. I don’t know what happened after that. I found out later on they took a turn in Pilica,” ST-178 said.

Prosecutor Ibro Bulic presented ST-178 with a statement he gave to Hague investigators, in which he said the convoy went to Pilica, then to Orahovo and ultimately at the “Ekonomija” agricultural farm.

ST-178 said he remembered the farm, adding that he heard murders were committed on the farm later on in the media.

During his examination, ST-178 repeated several times that he had changed his statements over the course of the past few years due to additional findings he had obtained from the media and police records.

Upon the prosecution’s request, a video recording depicting a police vehicle in front of a convoy of buses was played in the courtroom. ST-178 said he didn’t know whether the police vehicle intended to lead the convoy or if it was there by accident.

ST-178 said he didn’t receive information on the happenings in Srebrenica at the time, but heard later on that men emerged from the woods in Konjevic Polje and surrendered to the Bosnian Serb Army.

According to ST-178, public safety units were tasked with guarding and ensuring the uninterrupted flow of traffic on roads. He also said that during combat activities police units were subordinated to the army and received orders from the Bosnian Serb Army.

ST-178’s cross-examination will take place on February 9.

Srđan Kureljušić

This post is also available in: Bosnian