WITNESS WENT FROM SREBRENICA TO KRAVICA TO ZEPA AND SURVIVED
Protected witness from Srebrenica describes how in July 1995 he survived the fall of two UN-protected enclaves and the execution in the warehouse at the Kravica co-op
Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic and Milorad Trbic in the courtroom
Protected prosecution witness 111 is one of BH Army soldiers that tried to get from Jaglici near Srebrenica to Tuzla through the woods on 11 July 1995 after Mladic’s forces entered the enclave.
He never made it to Tuzla. He did reach Kladanj, but not before 1996. He first fell into the Serb hands, was taken to Kravica and survived the execution there, fled through the woods to Zepa and was finally detained in Rogatica after the second enclave formally protected by the UN fell in late July 1995.
Witness 111 is testifying at the trial of seven Bosnian Serb military and police officers. He described what happened to him after he surrendered to Mladic's forces on a meadow in Sandici. He was transferred to a warehouse in Kravica. There were about a thousand prisoners there on 14 July 1995. The Serb soldiers “were good at first”, giving the prisoners water and cigarettes, the witness said, but suddenly they "got very angry" and soon after the shooting started.
Fire was first opened from heavy weapons positioned around the warehouse, but the Serb soldiers also started to shoot at the Muslim prisoners. The witness said two of them – one had long black hair and wore sunglasses and the other had a blue UN helmet – were the first to open fire from their automatic rifles. Other Serb soldiers joined in with machine guns and then started throwing hand grenades into the crowded warehouse.
The witness was crawling among the dead bodies on the blood-soaked floor and managed to get to the container in a corner of the warehouse. He climbed up and jumped out of the window. The Serb guard saw him and shot him. The bullet hit the witness, but he didn't move, playing dead. The soldier asked him, “do you want another one”, meaning another bullet, but the witness remained silent. The soldier then left thinking the witness was dead.
Next morning, the witness crawled to a nearby creek. He was wounded and covered in blood. He crossed to the other side and went on through the woods until he reached Zepa, which was "was still under the control of BH Army". There he was given medical treatment and was put up in a house in a nearby village with the rest of the wounded.
Some time around 20 July he saw Zdravko Tolimir, VRS general, in the UNPROFOR base in the center of Zepa. Tolimir wanted Avdo Palic, BH Army colonel, to order the soldiers in his brigade to hand over their weapons promising they would be evacuated from Zepa by helicopter. The witness says he told Palic to go into the woods to avoid the arrest, but Palic said he "will not leave until the last civilian leaves Zepa".
On 26 July 1995 the witness managed to get into the last bus evacuating Muslims from Zepa. The bus stopped in Luka, a village near Kladanj, and the witness was transferred to another bus with some other men. They were taken to the prison in Rogatica. He was released on 19 January 1996.
The defense counsel of the seven accused contested the evidence of this witness mainly by pointing to the inconsistencies in a number of his statements. The witness gave statements not only to the Jean Rene Ruez, who led the OTP team investigating the case, but also to the intelligence service and the authorities in BH. The witness agreed that some of his claims should be corrected. The corrections do not change his evidence today as they mostly concern "errors in typing and translation".
- Case : Popovic et al. - "Srebrenica"
- 2007-02-06 WHAT HAPPENED TO AVDO PALIC?
- 2007-02-05 GOING AWAY "AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE"
- 2007-02-02 INVESTIGATOR AND THE ACCUSED HAD AN EIGHT-HOUR LUNCH
- 2007-02-09 PROVING INTERCEPTED CONVERSATIONS WERE AUTHENTIC
- 2007-02-14 THE BATTLE FOR THE INTERCEPTS
- 2007-02-20 FORENSIC REPORTS FROM SREBRENICA