Mile Petrovic, former police officer from Bratunac, contested the ‘absolute untruths’ presented by Momir Nikolic before the Tribunal. Momir Nikolic claimed that on 13 July 1995 Petrovic had killed six Srebrenica men to avenge his brother and that they had met Ratko Mladic in Konjevic Polje, who had made a hand gesture indicating that all the prisoners would be executed

Mile Petrovic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialMile Petrovic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

Mile Petrovic was a deputy commander of a military police platoon in Bratunac in July 1995. Today he testified at Ratko Mladic’s trial. In his testimony Petrovic contested the credibility of Momir Nikolic, former security chief in the VRS Bratunac Brigade, who had pleaded guilty at the Tribunal for the crimes committed in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995 and was later sentenced to 20 years.

In his plea agreement and in his evidence before the Tribunal, Nikolic claimed that on 13 July 1995 he, Petrovic and his commander Mirko Jankovic took a ride from Bratunac to Konjevic Polje in a stolen UN armored personnel carrier. Six Muslims surrendered to them en route; when they arrived in Konjevic Polje, Petrovic killed the captives, telling Nikolic that he executed them to ‘avenge’ his brother, who had been killed in a BH Army attack.

Petrovic insisted that Nikolic ‘absolutely didn’t tell the truth’. In his statement to Mladic’s defense Petrovic confirmed that he had been in a UN APC with Nikolic and Jankovic, but he denied that six Muslims had surrendered to them en route to Konjevic Polje. According to Petrovic, they had just two prisoners in their vehicle: they took the pair to Konjevic Polje. On arrival, Petrovic first interrogated them and then handed them over to a Serb soldier.

According to Petrovic, one of Nikolic’s ‘numerous untruths’ was his claim that on 13 July 1995 he met Mladic at a crossroads in Konjevic Polje. Mladic stood there and addressed the prisoners from Srebrenica, promising them they would be transferred to Kladanj, to the territory under the BH control. Nikolic claimed that as he and Mladic walked towards the car, he asked Mladic what would happen to those men. As Nikolic recounted, Mladic smiled, and made a sharp hand gesture, moving his palm from left to right, indicating that the prisoner would be killed.

The witness contested the testimony of two UN soldiers, quoted by prosecutor Melissa Pack. The two peace-keepers said in their statements that Petrovic and Jankovic had put them into a UN APC. Petrovic and Jankovic gave them flak jackets and weapons and ordered them to stand up in the hatch. Petrovic and Jankovic drove the APC with the UN soldiers through the woods where Muslims from Srebrenica were hiding.

The prosecutor put it to the witness that Serbs thus wanted to create the impression that those who surrendered would be under UN protection. Petrovic disabused her of the notion, telling her that he merely carried out Nikolic’s order to ‘take the UN soldiers wherever they wanted to go’. According to Petrovic, he and Jankovic drove two UN soldiers towards Bratunac. After about two kilometers, ‘at their [UN soldiers’] request’, they brought them back to Konjevic Polje. Petrovic was adamant that he could not hear the Serbs urging the Muslims to surrender using loudhailers because of the noise that the APC’s engine made.

The presiding judge asked the witness to list the rest of the ‘numerous untruths’ presented by Momir Nikolic, but the witness was unable to recall any of them.