Mile Petrovic, Karadzic’s defense witness and former deputy commander of the Bratunac Brigade military police platoon, claims that in July 1995 he didn’t kill six detained Muslims to avenge his dead brother

Mile Petrovic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialMile Petrovic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Mile Petrovic, deputy commander of the Bratunac Brigade military police platoon at the time of the VRS Srebrenica operation, testified at the trial of former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic. Karadzic called Petrovic to contest the credibility of Momir Nikolic, former security chief in the Bratunac Brigade. Nikolic pleaded guilty to the Srebrenica crimes and appeared as a witness in the prosecution’s case. In his evidence Nikolic said that on 13 July 1995 Mile Petrovic killed six captured inhabitants of Srebrenica. Today Karadzic tendered into evidence the written statement Petrovic gave in 2003 to the defense team of Vidoje Blagojevic, the Bratunac Brigade commander.

In his admission of guilt and in his evidence at several trials before the Tribunal, Momir Nikolic said that on 13 July 1995 he took a ride with Petrovic and his commander Mirko Jankovic from Bratunac to Konjevic Polje in a UN vehicle. Six Muslims surrendered to them en route and they drove the prisoners to Konjevic Polje. Nikolic claimed that he had ordered Jankovic and Petrovic to take those men to a group of about 250 detained Muslims. When they parted, Nikolic heard bursts of gunfire. Petrovic later told Nikolic that he had killed the prisoners to ‘avenge’ his brother, who had been killed in a BH Army attack on the village of Bjelovac.

Petrovic denied all those allegations, claiming that Nikolic had made it up. ‘If I slapped a Serb or Muslim, you can shoot me right now’, Petrovic said in the cross-examination by prosecutor Melissa Pack. The prosecutor confronted Petrovic with the list of nine victims, exhumed about 100 meters from the crossing in Konjevic Polje. After she read out the names of seven of the eight persons who have been identified, the prosecutor called Petrovic to use the opportunity and help the victims’ families. Petrovic could tell the truth about how the six Muslims that surrendered to them on 13 July 1995 lost their lives, the prosecutor urged him.

Petrovic ‘cannot’ help the families of the victims because, as he insisted, he didn’t kill anyone. Besides, only two Muslims surrendered to them on the road to Konjevic Polje on 13 July 1995, he said. They handed them over to the Serb troops, Petrovic explained. Also, the witness argued that it was not true he had urged the Muslims to surrender over megaphone as Nikolic had claimed. According to Petrovic, Nikolic made the whole story up after Petrovic refused Nikolic’s demand to testify that Blagojevic had issued orders to Nikolic.

In 2003, Nikolic pleaded guilty to the crime of persecution in Srebrenica and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Nikolic is serving his sentence in Finland.