The mystery of the disappearance of original footage Zoran Petrovic made in Srebrenica showing prisoners on the balcony of the so-called white house in Potocari and a pile of dead bodies in front of the warehouse in Kravica was discussed today. The Kravica footage was taken at the time when hundreds of captured Bosniaks were being massacred in the warehouse

The footage made in front of the Kravica wearhouse shows about twenty bodies piled up The footage made in front of the Kravica wearhouse shows about twenty bodies piled up

If the OTP ever decided to stage a documentary film festival about the war in BH from 1992 to 1995, Zoran Petrovic’s film made on 13 and 14 July 1995 in the Srebrenica area would be a contender for the prize. His main competitors would be Penny Marshal, ITN journalist with a story from Omarska and Trnopolje camps in the Prijedor region from early August 1992 and the film about the Scorpions unit from July 1995 in the Trnovo region, produced by the Medic brothers.

The Srebrenica film has some serious flaws, discussed today during the testimony of Zoran Petrovic at the trial of Bosnian Serb military and police officers charged with crimes in Srebrenica and Zepa. There are two versions: the first, edited version, which is 28 minutes long, and the unedited one, with more than two hours of raw footage. The problem with the edited tape, broadcasted in a Studio B program on 17 July 1995, is that it contains takes missing from the ‘raw’ material. They are gone: in their stead, there are ‘black holes’ or bland footage showing a tank shell, a French troops’ dry ration or Radovan Karadzic in the Pale TV studio.

When Zoran Petrovic was asked to explain the reason for the ‘black holes’ in the original footage filmed in Srebrenica, he said that this had been ‘a very much used tape’ with ‘several recorded layers’. This was because there ‘was not enough money for new tapes’ at the time. He can’t remember why parts of the original tape were erased but claims this was not done on purpose. Furthermore, he says, there was nothing special in those segments that would warrant the efforts to ‘hide’ them.

The prosecution was able to find two segments in the shorter cut shown in the Studio B program that it considered ‘special’. Those segments are not in the original tape with the rough cut.

The first ‘lost take’ shows prisoners on the balcony of the so-called white house in Potocari. The men were temporarily detained there and were later transferred to other locations and executed. Commenting on that footage in the Studio B program, Zoran Petrovic said those were men who had tried to ‘smuggle themselves out’ with their families but were identified as war criminals.

The second ‘lost take’ was filmed in front of the Kravica warehouse, at the time when several hundred Bosniaks detained there were being massacred. There is a heap of some twenty bodies in front of the door and gunfire bursts can be heard close to Pirocanac’s camera. When the witness was asked about the source of the sound, he replied that ‘based on the sound, I’d say the gunfire came from the hills around the area’. This is where ‘Muslims shot not only on Serbs but other Muslims too,’ he went on to say.

Zoran Petrovic Pirocanac presented himself to the court as ‘an expert for geopolitical issues’ and the head of the Geopolitical Studies Centre of the Institute for Political Science in Belgrade. When the prosecutor asked him if he knew what was happening to the Srebrenica men at the time he was filming his material, the witness replied, ‘I heard they were killed, but I never read an official version to that effect’.

The witness will be cross-examined tomorrow by Ljubomir Borovcanin’s defence. Borovcanin was the commander of the joint forces of the Republika Srpska police in the Srebrenica operation. He escorted Zoran Petrovic during his visit to the enclave on 13 and 14 July 1995.