Milidragovic et al: Witnesses Sentenced for Srebrenica Genocide Had no Knowledge of Kravica Crimes

29. November 2021.15:41
Mendeljev Djuric and Petar Mitrovic, who were sentenced for the Srebrenica genocide, were examined before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina by way of the international legal assistance as defense witnesses at the trial for crimes in the village of Kravica conducted before the Higher Court in Belgrade. They denied having any knowledge of the crime in question.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Belgrade Higher Court. Photo: BIRN.

Defense witness Petar Mitrovic said that, following an order to guard the road, he spent two days in the vicinity of the Kravica hangar with the Second Squad of the Sekovici Special Police. He said no murders happened in that period, but following one incident he saw dead people in front of the hangar.

“The lives of policemen were endangered. I didn’t see the incident. I heard later that someone seized a rifle and 15-20 people got killed. They were members of the 28th Bosniak Division, not civilians,” Mitrovic said.

He said that, following the rifle incident, he and his squad left the hangar area on July 13, 1995 and went to Skelani, adding that they didn’t return to that place again.

“Sir, I neither know you nor did I see you at those locations. This is the first time I have seen you,” Mitrovic said when asked by defendant Nedeljko Milidragovic if he knew him.

The witness said he was not aware of the outcomes in the hangar and he hadn’t heard of a murder of civilians.  

“Those were prisoners of war, given that they were members of the 28th Bosniak Division,” Mitrovic said.

Mitrovic said he was sentenced for the Srebrenica genocide, adding he was charged with murders of around one thousand people in that area.

Defendant Milidragovic said that the death tolls mentioned in the charges for crimes in the Srebrenica surroundings were not logical.

“The Bosniak side must prove the death of eight plus thousands. How can they do that? By charging me and my men with [the death of] a thousand and 300 people and charging the other guys with another thousand, so it adds up. What has been said about Srebrenica is nothing but a lie,” defendant Milidragovic said.

Mitrovic, former member of the Second Squad with the Sekovici Special Police, was sentenced in 2009 to 20 years in prison for having participated in the shooting of around 1,000 Bosniaks in the Kravica Agricultural Cooperative in the municipality of Bratunac.

Nedeljko Milidragovic, Aleksa Golijanin, Milivoje Batinica, Aleksandar Dacevic, Bora Miletic, Jovan Petrovic and Vidosav Vasic have been accused before the Higher Court in Belgrade of having organized and participated in the shooting of more than 1,300 Bosniak civilians in the agricultural warehouse in the village of Kravica, near Srebrenica, in July 1995.

The killings in the Kravica warehouse were one of the massacres committed by Serb forces after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995, which resulted in the death of around 8,000 Bosniak men and boys. More than 1,300 civilians massacred in Kravica have been identified to date.

The Bosnian State Prosecution previously filed indictments against Milidragovic and Golijanin, charging them with genocide, but they could not be arrested because they lived in Serbia. After Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had signed a protocol on cooperation in war crime cases in 2013, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina forwarded the evidence to Belgrade, so instead of genocide, they were accused of war crimes.

Second defense witness Mendeljev Djuric said that he had never been in Kravica, adding that he first heard about the crime during the court proceeding in which he too was sentenced. He said he had known some of the defendants from before.

“I know Nedeljko Milidragovic. I know him very well. I know that I met Golijanin in the training center, but I know nothing about that man,” Djuric said, explaining that he had worked in the training center with Milidragovic and both of them were deployed to Potocari in July 1995. 

He said he arrived in Potocari on July 12 and he was tasked with securing the transportation of civilians from Potocari together with Dutch soldiers. He said he didn’t see the separation or murders during the transportation of civilians.

The witness said that, after they had taken all civilians out of Potocari by buses and trucks over the course of two days, he went to Bijeljina for one day and didn’t stop in Kravica.

Djuric and Dusko Jevic were sentenced to 20 years for participating in the murder of captured Bosniak men in Kravica and forcible relocation of the civilian population from the Srebrenica area.

Jevic was found guilty in his capacity as former commander of the Jahorina Training Center with the Special Brigade of the Republika Srpska Police and Djuric as commander of a company with that Center.

Both witnesses are serving their prison term in the Penal and Correctional Facility in Vojkovici.

Azra Husarić Omerović

This post is also available in: Bosnian