Witness Says He Guarded Buses Filled with Srebrenica Civilians

15. March 2016.00:00
A state prosecution witness testified at the trial of five former Bosnian Serb police officials charged with participating in the Srebrenica genocide. The witness, Mile Vuksic said he guarded buses in Bratunac, where Bosniaks from Srebrenica were transported.

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The state prosecution has charged Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Dragomir Vasic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic with genocide in Srebrenica, which encompasses the forcible resettlement of the local population, as well as the capture and execution of men.

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

Mile Vuksic, a former member of the Second Battalion of the Bratunacka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, testified at today’s hearing. Vuksic said that he went to the police station in Bratunac after the fall of Srebrenica. He said a vehicle passed through the town with an announcer on a megaphone, ordering all men not engaged with military forces to appear in front of the police station.

“Many military policemen and some officers were in front of the station. We were then tasked with guarding those buses…A small group of us went there. Somebody gave us the task,” Vuksic said.

Vuksic said two or three active policemen on duty found themselves in front of the police station. He said he guarded a bus in front of a bakery shop.

“When I came, I saw civilians inside. I assumed they were Bosniaks from Srebrenica, who were going towards Kladanj in the Federation,” Vuksic said.

When asked whether the passengers could get food or water, Vuksic said women on the street brought them some water and that someone purchased them a couple kilograms of bread. Vuksic said they were extremely hungry.

Vuksic said very few people guarded the buses. He said he got scared and went to the police station, where he saw Josipovic, the commander of the Internal Affairs Service.

Vuksic said he asked Josipovic if he could send more men to that location. He said he responded that it was “not under civilian, but military [responsibility].”

When asked whether civil police was engaged in guarding the buses, Vuksic they weren’t. He said civil police passed by and patrolled the area, but did not guard the buses.

Vuksic said an hour or two after his conversation with Josipovic, some elderly men gathered and came to guard the buses.

He said he heard gunshots from automatic rifles coming from the playground and school building. He said ten days later he heard that some murders were committed there.

“It was hearsay, that some people had attempted to flee,” Vuksic said.

State prosecution witness Radomir Eric said he was a member of the former border police in July 1995. He said Josipovic was not his superior and could not issue orders to him.

Eric said that while he was guarding the border police station in July 1995, he saw buses loaded with men in front of the Vuk Karadzic school building.

“People came out of the buses and entered the school building and hangar, which was in the close vicinity of the school,” Eric said.

The trial will continue on March 22.

Albina Sorguč

This post is also available in: Bosnian