One of the two survivors of the execution at the Petkovci dam on 14 July 1995 testified at the Tribunal, describing how he was captured and temporarily held in the school in Petkovci and then taken to an execution site at the dam nearby. This is the sixth time the witness is testifying in The Hague about his ordeal

Execution site at Petkovci damExecution site at Petkovci dam

Only two of about 1,000 Bosniaks captured after the fall of Srebrenica survived the execution at the Petkovci Dam on 14 July 1995. This massacre is one of the charges in the indictment against Mladic. One of the survivors appeared for the sixth time before the Tribunal to testify at the trial of the former VRS Main Staff commander. Mladic is on trial for genocide and other crimes in the war in Bosnia.

The witness gave evidence with the image and voice distortion and under the pseudonym RM 253 to protect his identity. The witness confirmed the accuracy of his previous statements, which were then admitted into evidence in this case. The prosecutor read out the summary of the witness’s statement. In it, the witness described his ordeal from 11 July 1995 when Srebrenica fell and when he joined the column of soldiers and civilians moving towards Tuzla through the woods to 15 July 1995, when he managed to cross into the territory under the control of the BH Army.

None of the relatives and friends who left Srebrenica together with the witness survived, the witness told the prosecutor as he was asked some additional questions. He told the court that he had lost 20 family members after the fall of Srebrenica.

In the cross-examination, Ratko Mladic’s defense tried to show that Witness RM 254 was unreliable. Mladic’s defense highlighted discrepancies between the various statements the witness has given since 1995. As defense counsel Dragan Ivetic said, it was only in his statement to the Tribunal’s OTP that the witness stated that when Mladic spoke to the detainees in the football stadium in Nova Kasaba on 13 July 1995, Mladic said that the detainees ‘have sent the women to UNPROFOR to seek protection’ while they killed the Serb soldiers. The witness insisted he had mentioned Mladic’s words in every statement he had made.

The witness was nevertheless not sure if Mladic had told the detainees in Nova Kasaba that before they joined their families they would be ‘taken to Bratunac and Kravica on trucks’, where they would ‘spend the night and be fed’; this is what the witness had said in his statement to the OTP. As far as the witness was able to remember, Mladic said that the detainees would be transferred on trucks from Nova Kasaba but could not confirm that Mladic had mentioned Bratunac and Kravica.

Witness RM 253 will complete his testimony tomorrow.