On 12 and 13 July 1995 in Potocari, the RS special police separated men from their families and detained them. The military police only secured the prisoners, claimed a former member of the VRS Bratunac Brigade military police in his evidence at the trial of Ratko Mladic

Mile Janjic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialMile Janjic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

Former member of the VRS Bratunac Brigade military police Mile Janjic has already testified three times before the Tribunal about the events in the Srebrenica area after 11 July 1995. Parts of Janjic’s testimony, the first Janjic gave as a defense witness of his former commander Vidoje Blagojevic in 2004 and the other two at the trials of the Srebrenica Seven in 2007 and Zdravko Tolimir in 2010, were admitted into evidence at the trial of Ratko Mladic.

On the orders of the Bratunac Brigade security chief Momir Nikolic, on 12 and 13 July 1995 Janjic and a group of military police were sent to Potocari to assist Colonel Radoslav Jankovic, an intelligence officer in the VRS Main Staff. Janjic’s task was to count the refugees who were removed on trucks and buses from Potocari to the territory under the BH Army control.

Janjic described the course of the evacuation: the RS special police stood along the path as the refugees walked towards buses. The special police separated the able bodied men from the rest and took them to the yard of a nearby white house. Women and children were allowed to go to the buses. On the second day, the process went on faster, as the refugees were put on trucks and buses. In Potocari, Janjic saw General Mladic and Drina Corps commander Radislav Krstic. As Janjic noted, he didn’t notice any abuse of the refugees. Water and food brought to Potocari on Mladic’s explicit orders were distributed only among the refugees, Janjic claimed. Although he and his colleagues were hungry and thirsty, they didn’t get anything.

The next day, Janjic was sent to Rocevic. In front of a local school Janjic saw a group of 10 or 15 soldiers from Bratunac. The soldiers told Janjic that the Muslim prisoners were held there and should be ‘moved towards Teocak’. Janjic claimed that he didn’t see the detainees. Janjic was convinced that those detainees were going to be exchanged, just as the other men who had been separated from the rest of the people in Potocari. Only when he was confronted with the evidence of the executions did he realize what actually happened to them, the witness claimed.

According to the prosecution’s evidence, about 500 Muslims detained in the school in Rocevic were taken to the Drina river bank and executed. The men who had been separated from the rest of the population in Potocari were first taken to Bratunac. There they spent the night in the buses in front of the Vuk Karadzic school or in the school. Janjic was tasked with ‘securing’ those prisoners, together with other Bratunac Brigade military police officers. As the witness noted, he didn’t see any abuse. However, the witness did say that he heard people shout a number of times, ‘hey, men from Glogovac, where are you, they will kill us all…’. The shouts were followed by gunfire and then everything was quiet, the witness recounted.

Presiding judge Orie asked the witness to clarify what ‘securing’ prisoners entailed and how it was implemented. Orie wanted to know if the detainees needed protection to remain safe or if the guards were there to ensure that the detainees couldn’t go anywhere. In contradiction to the tale about the incident in the school he had recounted earlier, the witness replied that securing the prisoners meant ‘protecting them from harm, keeping them safe from anyone who might be a threat to them’.