After the evidence of a protected witness testifying as KDZ 971, a survivor of the massacre in the Kravica farm warehouse on 13 July 1995, the prosecution rested its case. The prosecution has called some 200 witnesses in the course of its case

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

The prosecution rested its case today at the trial of Radovan Karadzic after a protected witness, KDZ 071, completed his testimony. On 13 July 1995, the witness survived the execution of Bosniak prisoners at the Kravica farm. The transcript of the witness’s evidence at the trial of Popovic et al. in 2007 was admitted into evidence. The witness then described in detail the attempt of the column of Srebrenica inhabitants to break through the woods to the free territory, their capture by the Serb army, their transfer to Kravica and then the massacre. The indictment alleges that over 1,000 persons were killed in the massacre.

The witness was arrested on 13 July 1995 in the hills along the road from Konjevic Polje to Bratunac. About 2,000 prisoners were gathered in a field where Ratko Mladic spoke to them. Mladic said, ‘Naser has deserted you and fled to Tuzla’; ‘it’s not a good idea to fight with Serbs’ and ‘the cattle cannot leave the corral until an opening is created’.Mladic also told the prisoners that their families had already been taken to Tuzla and promised them they would join them soon. Mladic also remarked that it was very hot in the meadow, adding ‘we will soon find cooler accommodation for you’.

In the afternoon of 13 July 1995, the witness and other prisoners were taken to the warehouse in Kravica. They were ordered to sit down on the floor. When the last prisoner was brought in, he had nowhere to sit. A Serb soldier first kicked him and then shot him to death. Other soldiers then opened fire on the prisoners; the shooting didn’t stop until dark. The witness crawled into a corner of the warehouse and remained there, lying in a pool of blood under the dead bodies for the night and the next day. A tank truck arrived before dark on 14 July 1995 and the witness heard someone order, ‘wash the asphalt and cover the dead with hay’. That night, the witness and another survivor crept out of the warehouse and fled into a corn field nearby.

In the cross-examination, Karadzic argued that the column of the people from Srebrenica who were trying to break through the woods to the free territory came into ‘combat contact’ with the VRS troops. The witness confirmed that the rear of the column, where he was, found itself ‘in the lurch’. The rear was cut off from the rest of the column and had no one to command them. The witness said he didn’t count those who died in the ambushes set by the Serb forces. Nobody bothered about the injured and the dead because everybody ‘had their own life to take care of’, the witness explained. When Karadzic insisted that the witness should tell him how many dead he had seen, the witness asked Karadzic if he would have counted them if he had been in his place.

As Karadzic also noted, the witness said in his 1995 statement that the warehouse in Kravica was empty when he arrived. In his later statements and his testimony in court, the witness claimed there were prisoners there. In all of his statements, the witness answered, he said one and the same thing: the warehouse was full of men, crammed in from one door to the other at the time when he was brought in. ‘Sir, you are responsible for this, you and Mladic captured Srebrenica; you should have let the people leave’.

After Witness KDZ 071 completed his evidence, the prosecution rested its case. Some 200 witnesses have testified in the trial over the past two years. Now, there will be a Rule 98 bis hearing. Karadzic will ask the judges to acquit him on the counts in the indictment the prosecution has failed to prove, in his view. The defense case is set to start on 16 October 2012.