The only Bosniak who survived the execution on the Jadar river bank on 13 July 1995 testified today. The 16 Bosniaks were captured and brought before the firing squad two days after Mladic’s forces overran Srebrenica. The witness, testifying for the fourth time before the Tribunal with image protection and under the pseudonym RM 314, described at the trial of Ratko Mladic what he had gone through that day

Location at river Jadar where Bosnian Serbs killed 16 Bosniaks on the 13th of July 1995Location at river Jadar where Bosnian Serbs killed 16 Bosniaks on the 13th of July 1995

According to the indictment against Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb troops brought 16 Bosniaks to the Jadar river bank on 13 July 1995 to execute them. The Bosniaks were captured after the fall of Srebrenica. The only survivor testified for the prosecution today at the trial of the former VRS Main Staff commander to describe for the fourth time at the Tribunal what he had gone through two days after Mladic’s forces overran the enclave.

The witness testified with image protection and under the pseudonym RM 314. He confirmed that the summary of his previous testimonies, read out in court by the prosecutor, was true. On 11 July 1995, the witness joined a column of soldiers and civilians that was trying to reach the territory under the BH Army control through the woods. Two days later, the Bosnian Serb police officers captured the witness near Konjevic Polje. He was detained and moved from one building to another several times. In the last building which he described as a warehouse, the VRS soldiers in camouflage uniforms beat him. The soldiers then put the witness and 15 other prisoners onto a bus and drove them to the Jadar river. The soldiers lined the prisoners up on the river bank and fired at them. The witness was hit in the hip; he jumped into the river. The water took him downstream to a place were he was able to get out of the river and reach to the territory controlled by the BH Army. The witness still feels the consequences of the ‘entry-and-exit wound in the loin area’.

In the cross-examination, Mladic’s defense counsel Dragan Ivetic brought up the medical documentation from the garrison infirmary in Tuzla. The witness was admitted there in July 1995. The admission and discharge papers state that the wound was caused by a shell explosion, not by a bullet as the witness claimed. Since the documents were written in Latin the presiding judge asked the witness if anyone explained the diagnosis to him. The witness said that nobody did, confirming that the wound he had sustained was definitely a gunshot wound.

As the defense noted, the witness testified that when he gave a statement to the ‘BH Army security officers’ in Tuzla on 31 July 1995, he was ‘under duress’. The witness confirmed that a man by the name of Smajo Elezovic wanted him to state that he ‘had been taken out to be executed in Karakaj’. The witness quarreled with Elezovic about it, but was nevertheless forced to put it in his statement. The witness also said he was among the first of the survivors of the massacre in Srebrenica to arrive in the BH Army-controlled territory. Everyone wanted him to give them a statement. Not all of them conveyed his tale correctly, the witness noted.

The trial continued with the evidence of a protected witness who testifies under the pseudonym RM 297. The witness is one of the three survivors of the execution in Orahovac near Zvornik. The prosecution alleges that around 1,000 Bosniaks captured after the fall of Srebrenica were executed there on 14 July 1995.