PEOPLE FROM SREBRENICA ‘KILLED EACH OTHER’
Slavoljub Mladjenovic, former police commander in Bratunac, gave evidence in Ratko Mladic’s defense. Through Mladjenovic’s testimony, Mladic’s defense tried to corroborate its case that the men from Srebrenica killed each other in their breakthrough towards Tuzla in July 1995
Ratko Mladic's trial continued with the evidence of Slavoljub Mladjenovic, former police commander in Bratunac. At the time of the VRS Srebrenica operation in the summer of 1995, Mladjenovic commanded the special police unit in charge of securing the town. Mladjenovic and his unit were also there to stop the looting and to assist in the effort to set up a police station.
Mladjenovic and his men entered Srebrenica in the afternoon of 12 July 1995. The town was not razed to the ground, the witness explained, but it was ‘really dirty’ and empty. There were no troops and no civilians, apart from some elderly people. The elderly people asked Mladjenovic and his unit to take them to the UN base in Potocari, which they did. According to the witness, his unit remained in Srebrenica about seven or eight days and then returned to Bratunac.
In early 1996, the witness was tasked with providing security to the UN special envoy,Elisabeth Rehn. She visited Bokcin Potok, a site located on the route the Srebrenica men had taken in the summer of 1995 in their bid to break through towards Tuzla. After the war, human remains were found at the site. As the witness recounted, the scene they found was horrible: there were many dismembered decomposing bodies on the ground. Animals had carried off body parts, the witness recalled.
Through Mladjenovic’s testimony, the defense tried to corroborate its case that the troops belonging to the BH Army’s 28th Division had killed each other in Bokcin Potok. In Mladjenovic's version of the events,a group of men from Srebrenica took a break at the site. When another group from Srebrenica group approached the area, the soldiers thought they had run into an ambush and they opened fire at the men who were resting there. The witness did admit that he didn’t have any personal knowledge to support this scenario.
At the prosecutor’s request, Judge Orie read out Rule 90E to the witness. The rule grants witnesses the right not to answer any potentially incriminating questions, unless the judges compel them to do so. Prosecutor Matthew Gillet then confronted Mladjenovic with the statement made by Mladjenovic's former neighbor from Krasanpolje. According to the man, Mladjenovic took part in expelling Bosniaks and burning their houses in May 1992. On 10 May 1992, some Serb soldiers and Mladjenovic surrounded the village and took Bosniaks to the bus station. The Bosniaks were then taken to the football stadium in Bratunac.
Mladjenovic remained adamant that the Bosniaks had left Krasanpolje voluntarily; this is what he told Mladic's defense when the lawyers took his statement. The witness also claimed that Bosniak houses had not been set on fire during the day, but later in the night, after the villagers had been taken to Bratunac.
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