PASSING THE BUCK
Srbislav Davidovic testified at the trial of Radovan Karadzic. Davidovic said that the problem of Muslim captives from Srebrenica was an exercise in passing the buck. Davidovic recounted how he told the SDS president in Bratunac, Miroslav Deronjic, to get in touch with the ‘president’ or someone from the party leadership and learn from them what to do with the busloads of Muslim captives in Bratunac. Deronjic’s close friend from Bratunac Milinko Katanic was called by the prosecution next
During the VRS Srebrenica operation in July 1995, Srbislav Davidovic was president of the Executive Board in Bratunac municipality. At the trial of the seven Bosnian Serb military and police officers for crimes in Srebrenica, Davidovic testified under the pseudonym and with image distortion. The transcript of his testimony at this trial was admitted into evidence today at the trial of former RS president Radovan Karadzic. Before he took the stand, Davidovic said he didn’t want protective measures any more. Davidovic’s request was granted and he appeared today in court under his own name and without image distortion.
At the beginning of a brief examination-in chief, the prosecutor read out the summary of the witness’s previous testimony in which the witness described his meeting with Colonel Ljubisa Beara, security officer in the VRS Main Staff, on 14 July 1995 in the SDS headquarters in Bratunac. Davidovic said that Beara and two officers from the VRS Drina Corps wanted to know where they could get construction machinery. Davidovic told them there were a loader in the brickyard and a ‘smaller digger in the municipal service’. As the witness had learned mere hours before the meeting about the mass execution of Muslim captives in the afternoon of 13 July 1995 in Kravica, he assumed that the machinery was to be used to bury the victims.
As he was cross-examined by Karadzic, the witness said he was ‘shocked and flabbergasted’ when he learned in the morning of 14 July 1995 about the massacre of hundreds of Muslims in the Kravica farm warehouse. He heard about it from the two chiefs of the Kravica cooperative, Jovan and Dragan Nikolic, who told him that the bodies were still in Kravica and they themselves had been bullied by the soldiers who had committed the crime. Karadzic asked the witness how the victims were buried. The army took care of the burial, Davidovic said, and it could give this task to the Civil Defense if necessary.
As the witness said, in the evening of 12 July 1995 in Bratunac he saw six buses full of captured Muslims. Davidovic learned that another 25 buses were at a nearby football field. Miroslav Deronjic told him the director of the bauxite mine, ‘Rajko Dukic, set us up’, because he sent the Muslim captives to Bratunac instead of keeping them in Milici. In essence, Dukic was passing the buck, the witness explained. The witness advised Deronjic to talk to the ‘president’ or someone in the party leadership about what to do with so many Muslims in Bratunac. The witness added that in Bratunac only Deronjic had access to ‘the leadership’. Judge Kwon then asked the witness ‘who was on top’. ‘President Karadzic,’ Davidovic replied. The earlier Srebrenica trials have shown that Deronjic managed to transfer the prisoners from Bratunac to the Zvornik area. There the prisoners were detained for a time at various locations and were executed soon afterwards.
The witness was ‘shocked and appalled’ by the murder of the Muslims who were detained in the Vuk Karadzic school in Bratunac, where dead bodies were left strewn about in every classroom. He was likewise appalled when he learned about the captives who were killed en route to Batkovic; he had been told about it by ‘relevant persons’.
At Mladic’s request, Davidovic was at the meeting with the Srebrenica refugees’ representatives in the morning of 12 July 1995 in the Hotel Fontana in Bratunac. Davidovic said he left the meeting convinced that the people of Srebrenica wanted to leave the enclave and that it was ‘agreed’ with Mladic. After that an order was issued to secure the buses which would transport the refugees to Kladanj.
In the re-examination, prosecutor Kim West showed the witness a document which indicates that the preparations for the transportation of the people commenced much earlier. A memo from the Bijeljina police station to the Interior Ministry on Pale in the morning of 12 July 1995 states that a meeting with the refugees’ representatives would begin at 10 o’clock in Bratunac. At the meeting, an ‘agreement to evacuate the civilian population’ would be reached and 100 trailer trucks had already been requisitioned for this purpose. After he read the document, the witness said ‘I didn’t know anything about that and no one told me about it’. Davidovic also said that the document ‘presumes that an agreement will be reached’.
After Srbislav Davidovic completed his evidence, the prosecution called Milinko Katanic, the former official in the Bratunac municipality and Miroslav Deronjic’s close friend. Deronjic was the SDS president in Bratunac. He was appointed ‘civil affairs commissioner’ for Srebrenica by Radovan Karadzic on 11 July 1995. According to the summary of the witness’s written statement, Karadzic repeatedly talked to Deronjic over the phone during the Srebrenica operation. The witness was convinced that Deronjic told the then Republika Srpska president about the mass murder of Muslims in Kravica on 13 July 1995. Katanic’s evidence will continue tomorrow.
- Case : Karadzic
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- 2012-02-10 HOW DERONJIC SAVED THE HONOR OF BRATUNAC
- 2012-02-13 MOMIR NIKOLIC: HOW ‘EVIL’ IN SREBRENICA WAS PREPARED
- 2012-02-14 THE ONLY QUESTION WAS WHERE TO EXECUTE THE PRISONERS