SERB VICTIMS OR VICTIMS OF SERBS
The list of victims from Sarajevo that the defense witness brought with him contains names of soldiers killed in combat as well as Serb civilians killed by Serb shells, snipers or Mladic’s soldiers, the prosecution argues. Defense witness Simo Tusevljak says that further checks would be needed in order to establish the truth
On the second day of Simo Tusevljak’s cross-examination prosecutor Edgerton continued to go over the list with 3,300 Serb victims from Sarajevo compiled by the Republika Srpska MUP with a fine-toothed comb. As she remarked, the prosecution agrees with the defense that a ‘large number of Serbs’ died in Sarajevo, but the list was not reliable. It was indicated that the parties were trying to reach an agreement on the number of Serbs killed in Sarajevo that would be acceptable to both, and 'the agreement was within reach'.
As regards the victim list which was admitted into evidence during Tusevljak’s testimony, the prosecution objected to the attempt to describe the Serbs listed therein as victims of the BH Army’s war crimes, particularly in cases when they obviously died in some other way. For example, some victims were killed as soldiers while others were killed by friendly fire, opened by their fellow fighters under the command of the accused.
The prosecutor went on to note that some Serb civilians listed among the victims died in the incidents mentioned in the indictment against Ratko Mladic. A Serb woman was killed on 4 February 1994 in the shelling of Dobrinja. Five of her compatriots were killed the next day in the first Markale massacre. The prosecution tendered into evidence a number of documents such as the death certificates and crime scene reports. The witness, on the other hand, clung to the minutest discrepancies; one such discrepancy concerns the name of a victim’s father, reported variously as Djordjo and Corco. Without ‘further checks’ the witness felt he was unable to say anything more specific.
The list of 3,300 dead Sarajevo Serbs contains the name of Ratka Bilcar. According to the Republika Srpska MUP reports, Bilcar was killed in April 1993 at a check point when she tried to leave the city. The prosecutor obtained an official note of the Bosnian Agency for Investigation and Documentation which contradicts this information. The note is a record of an interview with Dusan Bilcar, Ratka’s brother. According to the document, Ratka Bilcar was killed by a sniper who fired from the Serb positions. Tusevljak said that in his view the note was not filed properly and the interview may have been conducted under duress.
Today a document drafted by the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps military prosecution office was admitted into evidence. According to the document, Novo Forcula, whose name is also on Tusevljak’s list, was killed by a VRS soldier. The witness didn’t deny it. Zelimir Knezevic is also listed as a Serb victim from Sarajevo. The prosecutor produced evidence showing that a Serb soldier by the name of Veselin Vlahovic Batko had taken Knezevic away in a green Opel car in mid-June 1992. Vlahovic's nickname was ‘Monster from Grbavica’. Tusevljak told the prosecutor that his victim list did not identify the perpetrators. In late 1992, the police were about to mount a ‘serious action’ to arrest Vlahovic but he fled, Tusevljak explained. ‘If he had remained in Grbavica, we would have arrested him without giving it a second thought’, said the witness.
Radmila and Tanja Bjelica are also on the victim list. According to the VRS records, Radmila and Tanja Bjelica were communications officers in the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. In a bid to justify their inclusion among the war crimes victims, Tusevljak said the two women had been killed during a ceasefire.
Former chief of the crime police in the Romanija-Birac public security center thus completed his evidence after four days. Mladjen Kenjic is expected to begin his testimony tomorrow. During the war Kenjic was Mladic's driver.
- Case : Mladic
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