SCAVENGERS FROM SREBRENICA
Sead Bekric, testifying as Naser Oric's defense witness, described how he "desperately searched for food" with the civilians in Srebrenica in 1992 and 1993
“They called us scavengers", Sead Bekric recalled, as he testified as Naser Oric's defense witness, describing the situation he was in when he was expelled from the village of Voljavica in the Bratunac municipality in September 1992. He was thirteen years old at the time.
Bekric describes how he roamed the area in search of food for almost a year, in a group "of starving and desperate refugees" from the villages in Srebrenica and Bratunac. "We followed the actions carried out by forces offering resistance to the aggressor," Bekric described the units. As he said, those units were the result of spontaneous gathering of people around the local leaders, Hakija Meholjic, Akif Ustic and Zulfo Tursunovic. They "tried to defend or recapture their villages," and the ‘scavengers’ followed in their wake, Bekric said.
“We would break into the abandoned houses before, during and after the armed combat," the witness described, specifying that "there were scavengers everywhere." When the judges asked him if it was not too dangerous, Bekric replied that people had been desperate and they had faced the choice of "either risking their lives in search for food or starve to death."
As he searched for food and shelter, the witness passed through the villages of Jezestica, Sase, Bjelovac, Pobrdje and Mocevica. He was in the village of Kravica on the Orthodox Christmas in 1993, during the attack which was commanded by Naser Oric, as the prosecutor alleges, and in which Oric himself participated.
The village was looted and burned, the prosecutor claims. According to Bekric's testimony, the houses in Kravica "caught fire after they were hit by shells fired from Serb positions". As the witness described, the Serbs used a variety of tricks: they would hide in houses and then suddenly open fire from them.
Bekric saw bodies of "two elderly people next to a machine gun" in a house in Kravica. He found 25 kilos of flour, a pair of camouflage trousers he managed to sell later and a bottle of brandy.
Sead Bekric confirmed the defense argument that in the second half of 1992 and in the beginning of 1993 there had been no communications between the villages in this area. The witness claims that communications equipment he would find, such as radios and talkie-walkies, "didn't have batteries." According to him, the entire area was constantly shelled from the VRS artillery positions in the Srebrenica area, and from across the Drina river, from Serbia. As Bekric described, some locations were targeted by small aircraft used to spray crops that also flew in from Serbia.
Sead Bekric testified in English, because he has been living in Florida since September 1993. He was transferred to the US after he was hit by a shell at the football field in Srebrenica and lost his eyesight. Bekric will be cross examined by the prosecutors tomorrow.
- Case : Oric
- 2005-07-04 NASER ORIC'S CASE BEGINS
- 2005-06-08 ORIC ACQUITTED OF CHARGES OF PLUNDER BUT NOT MURDER AND DESTRUCTION
- 2005-06-03 "EVIDENCE AGAINST ORIC SUFFICIENT"
- 2005-07-21 RESTRICTIONS ON ORIC'S DEFENCE LIFTED
- 2005-08-24 NO ONE COULD STOP THE ‘TORBARI’
- 2005-08-25 FIGHTERS UNDER PRESSURE FROM CIVILIANS