WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BILJANI MASSACRE?
Prosecutor Arthur Traldi puts it to Grujo Boric that he has given ‘false’ testimony at Ratko Mladic’s trial to hide his own responsibility for the Biljani massacre, which was committed by soldiers under his command in July 1995 ‘That’s your opinion’, Boric, former commander of the 2nd Krajina Corps, told the prosecutor
Retired VRS general Grujo Boric claims he didn’t know anything about the massacre of more than 140 Muslim civilians in the village of Biljani on 10 July 1992. According to him, the 17th Kljuc Brigade, whose troops committed the crime, became part of his Corps only in July 1992. It ‘took time’ to place it under the Corps command, Boric added.
Prosecutor Arthur Traldi confronted Boric with an order issued on 2 June 1992, detailing the establishment of the 2nd Krajina Corps. The 17th Kljuc Brigade is referred to as part of the Corps. According to the prosecution documents, in June 1992 – a month before the Biljani massacre – Boric issued orders to and received combat reports from the Kljuc Brigade command.
‘You are now giving false testimony about the chain of command at the time of the incident in Biljani to hide your own responsibility for the murders committed by soldiers under your command’, the prosecutor put it to the witness. ‘No, that is your opinion’, Boric replied. At the time, he didn’t even hear any rumors about the incident, the witness claimed. When Judge Orie asked him if he knew about the massacre in Biljani now, he said ‘I don’t know about it now either’.
Boric also claimed that he had ‘never even heard’ about the abuse and killings in the Kamenica prison camp in Drvar. The prison camp was also under the control of the 2nd Krajina Corps. The prosecutor asked the witness if he knew that after the war the bodies of some of the Kamenica prisoners were exhumed from mass graves in the area of responsibility of his Corps. Boric said he didn’t know. ‘They may have been exchanged’, he added.
In the examination-in-chief Boric claimed that he never received any unlawful orders from Mladic. This prompted the prosecutor to refer to Directive 4, which contains a list of objectives, which include forcing the enemy to ‘leave together with the Muslim population the area of Birac, Zepa and Gorazde’. Boric reluctantly admitted that the order ‘isn’t lawful’.
Boric nevertheless remained adamant that he never received any unlawful orders from Mladic. He refused to budge even when he was confronted with Mladic’s order to use UN members as ‘human shields’ against NATO air strikes. The reason why the order was issued, Boric explained, made the order ‘less unlawful’.
Ratko Mladic’s trial continues next Tuesday.