Karadzic’s defense witness Aleksandar Tesic denied any knowledge of the events that were known to ‘the housewives’ in Bratunac and on the other bank of the Drina river, as the prosecutor put it to him: that many captured Muslims were killed in Bratunac on 13 July 1995. Even though he knew about the killings at the town football stadium and in the primary school in 1992, Tesic didn’t assume that a ‘new wave of killings’ was about to be unleashed. If he had known it, he would have ‘been worried’ for sure, Tesic said

Aleksandar Tesic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicAleksandar Tesic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

In his statement to Radovan Karadzic’s defense, former secretary of the Secretariat of National Defense Aleksandar Tesic spoke about the events in Bratunac municipality in May 1992. In his cross-examination prosecutor Nichols focused mostly on the killings in the Bratunac area in July 1995 after the fall of Srebrenica.

Tesic spoke of a ‘humanitarian disaster’ he saw in Potocari on 12 July 1995 and the bodies piled up in front of the Kravica warehouse on 14 July 1995. In Bratunac, on 13 July 1995, Tesic saw only the buses full of people in front of the municipal building. He thought they were about to be transported from Potocari to the territory under the BH Army control. When the prosecutor put it to him they were prisoners, Tesic said he believed at the time that they were the same people he saw in Potocari the day before. ‘So, from your office window you saw thousands of men in the buses who had been transferred to Bratunac of their own free will, hundreds of them got out to stretch their legs, have a drink and eat something in the Fontana Hotel’, the prosecutor asked. Noting that the prosecutor’s question was ‘slightly cynical’, the witness replied, ‘I only know there were no soldiers in Bratunac’. There was a military police officer in each bus and ‘if they had wanted, they could have overpowered him’, the witness said. Instead, the witness concluded, they ‘sat quietly in their seats’.

The witness ‘can’t remember’ if he heard fire from automatic weapons near the municipal building, from the direction of the hangar, the Vuk Karadzic school and the stadium. He said there may have been some shooting, but it wasn’t strange at all, as ‘people in our parts liked to shoot for no reason’. The prosecutor asked the witness why he didn’t ask himself if ‘a new wave of killings’ was about to begin, given the experience of the people from Bratunac with the killings in the school and the stadium three years earlier The witness said he ‘didn’t believe there was any killing’. Otherwise, he ‘would certainly have been worried’, the witness said.

The prosecutor then showed a report from the London daily The Independent. In July 1995, a reporter spoke to the women in Bratunac who crossed the Drina River to go shopping in Ljubovija. The women told the journalist that ‘Muslims were killed in the stadium in Bratunac’ and that ‘it was terrible’. ‘You see, the housewives knew about it, but I will not say I knew about it when I didn’t’, Tesic responded.

The witness described in detail what he saw on 14 July 1995 as he passed by the Kravica farm warehouse on a bus full of the recruits from Bratunac. As he said, he saw ‘a lot of corpses’, about 200 to 300 bodies piled up by the warehouse wall. At first, he thought these were ‘piles of logs’. As the witness got nearer, he realized those were dead bodies. Asked why he did not get off the bus and ‘asked what was going on’, Tesic replied that he had to ‘hand over the recruits at an exact time’. Moreover, Tesic was ‘afraid to get out and stand in front of the armed men’; there were so many bodies around him and he was responsible ‘for the young men…’.