WITNESS: THERE WAS NO CLEAN-UP
In the final part of the cross-examination of OTP investigator Dusan Janc, the accused Radovan Karadzic tried to prove that in the operation to clean-up the terrain, the mass graves in Srebrenica were filled up with the bodies of the soldiers from the BH Army’s 28th Division, who had been killed in combat, fighting the VRS. The witness contends that there was no operation to clean-up the terrain
Former OTP investigator Dusan Janc said at the trial of Radovan Karadzic that a total of 702 so-called surface remains were found along the route where the column of the Srebrenica men moved as they tried to reach the liberated territory. Most of the remains were recovered in the area of Pobudje. In the Baljkovica area, a bit further north, 60 bodies were found on the surface.
As Karadzic argued, many more Muslim fighters were killed in that area than could be surmised on the basis of the number of remains recovered there. According to Karadzic, in the Baljkovica area ‘hundreds’ of the 28th Division soldiers died in the four days of fighting the VRS Zvornik Brigade. Karadzic argued that their bodies were gathered in the operation to clean-up the terrain and then buried in mass graves.
In his answer to Karadzic, Janc said that no mass graves containing ‘hundreds’ of Muslims soldiers killed in combat were discovered in the Baljkovica area. As the witness explained, several smaller graves that could be linked with the fighting were found in the area. Those graves were not included in the witness’s reports on mass graves that contained the remains of the executed men. Such graves may exist, the witness said, but have not been located yet: there are many names on the missing persons’ lists, the witness replied.
The witness ruled out the possibility that a clean-up operation had been carried out. The process would have taken several days, the witness said, and the aerial photos showed that the graves were dug up and covered with soil within a very short period of time. Janc stuck to his claim even when Karadzic showed him an order issued by Colonel Acamovic on 20 July 1995 to his troops to clean up the terrain. Clean-up operations required the participation of quite a few people; if any such operations had been undertaken, the OTP investigators would surely by now have received information about them.
Karadzic also noted that some of the bodies found in a mass grave were later determined to be the remains of the people who died in 1992 or 1993. As the witness explained, this happened in the Biljeceva 1 mass grave, where the remains of about 90 people who had nothing to do with the Srebrenica events were found, side by side with the 47 people from Srebrenica. This was the only known grave where the bodies of missing persons from Srebrenica were mixed with the bodies of people who had gone missing in other parts of BH, the witness said.
Karadzic used the gravesite in Glogova in a bid to corroborate his argument that the bodies of the 28th Division soldiers killed in combat were ‘added’ to the mass graves to fill them to capacity. The bodies of persons executed in Kravica were exhumed from the Glogova grave. The witness agreed that the victims of the executions in the Vuk Karadzic school in Bratunac and those executed by the road in Konjevic Polje were found in the Glogova grave and the secondary graves where the bodies were reburied. The witness insisted, however, that most of the victims were executed in Kravica.
After Dusan Janc completed his evidence, the trial of Radovan Karadzic continued in closed session with the testimony of a new witness.
- Case : Karadzic
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