WHAT WITNESS DIDN’T SEE IN KONJEVIC POLJE
Former police officer Mirko Peric denies that he took part in the events that preceded the execution of prisoners at the river Jadar on 13 July 1995. Peric claims that he didn’t see the man identified as the perpetrator at the check point in Konjevic Polje, the warehouse from which the prisoners were taken out for executions. He also didn't see Ratko Mladic and Momir Nikolic
With the evidence of Mirko Peric, former reserve police officer in the Republika Srpska MUP, Ratko Mladic’s defense tried to contest the testimony of a protected prosecution witness, RM 314. The protected witness was a survivor of the execution at the river Jadar on 13 July 1995. Mladic’s defense also tried to dispute the claims Momir Nikolic made when he pleaded guilty to his crimes at the Tribunal. Nikolic was the security officer in the Bratunac Brigade. In July 1995, Peric was stationed at a check point in Konjevic Polje.
Before the ‘disagreements arose’, as Peric put it, he had worked as a waiter in the Fontana Hotel in Bratunac. Inter-ethnic relations were ‘excellent’, Peric explained, up until the ‘carve-up of the state we all shared’ when ‘factions formed and the fuss began’. At the beginning of the war, when Peric was mobilized, he had to ‘walk around the town and [make sure] that public peace and order were not disturbed'.
Peric was stationed at a check point in Konjevic Polje for‘a day, two or three, give or take’, on about 10 July 1995. After the VRS entered Srebrenica, Peric was told to ‘watch out’ for the ‘influx of a large number of Muslims from over the hill’. Soon afterwards, Resid Sinanovic appeared at the check point waving a white undershirt as a flag. Sinanovic used to be the police chief in Bratunac. Peric took Sinanovic to the communications center building. As he ‘learned from his colleagues’, Sinanovic was handed over to Momir Nikolic. Sinanovic was one of six Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica captured by the RS police who were handed over to the Bratunac Brigade security service to be interrogated. All the Muslims disappeared without a trace.
Peric claimed that he saw Nikolic only once in Konjevic Polje, in a white armored personnel carrier heading to Bratunac. Also, the witness claimed that he had never seen Nikolic in Mladic’s company. Nikolic alleged in his evidence that Mladic made a hand gesture showing him at the check point in Konjevic Polje that the prisoners would be executed.
According to the indictment, 15 prisoners were executed in the incident at the River Jadar on 13 July 1995. The incident was discussed in closed session. In the cross-examination, prosecutor McCloskey quoted Peric’s evidence from Karadzic’s trial, when Peric confirmed that a survivor of the River Jadar execution described him as a police officer from Bratunac who used to be a waiter in the Fontana Hotel before the war. Peric denied the witness’s claim that on 13 July 1995 Peric took him to a warehouse in Konjevic Polje where he was interrogated and beaten. The survivor and 15 Bosniak prisoners were then put on a bus and taken to the execution site on the river Jadar bank. The protected witness recounted that another police officer – Nenad Deronjic – was responsible for the execution. Peric noted that he hadn’t seen Deronjic that day or indeed the warehouse. He concluded that the protected witness ‘probably is not telling the truth’.
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