Court hears first testimony of Naser Oric’s specific crimes. A witness from the Serb village of Jezestica testifies about two attacks on the village, the burning of houses and the killing of civilians. The defense tries to prove the attacks were not on unarmed civilians.

Naser Oric in the courtroomNaser Oric in the courtroom

Bosniak forces attacked the village of Jezestica near Bratunac twice. In both attacks, they burned houses and killed those villagers who had not fled before the onslaught. So testified Jezestica native Dragan Djuric at the trial of Naser Oric, former BH Army commander in the Bratunac and Srebrenica area. He is charged with having led the attacks.

Djuric testified with his face distorted as a protective measure. He stated that eight villagers were killed in the first attack, on 8 August 1992. His house was among those burned down. "After that, we lived in fear," the witness testified. The second attack on Jezestica was carried out on Orthodox Christmas, 7 January 1993. Eighteen villagers were killed on that occasion. "We were probably attacked by the same Muslims from surrounding villages… but that time, there was a lot of snow and they wore white uniforms," the witness recalled. Djuric fled with the other villagers in the direction of the village of Kravica. From a distance, he could see smoke from the village. "Those that remained were either killed or burned down," Djuric said. He was not present when the houses were set on fire.

He said while he was fleeing, he was wounded in the neck. He ended up in the hospital in Zvornik and was then moved to Serbia. He added that he went back in October1993, when he was drafted into the Republika Srpska Army.

In a detailed cross-examination, Oric's defense counsel John Jones tried to put events into a different context. Regarding the attack in August 1992, Djuric testified that the VRS had arrived in the village after the attack, while the defense claims – quoting VRS military documents – that the inhabitants of Jezestica, including the witness, were already part of the Bratunac Brigade and that the village offered resistance. The witness did not categorically deny that he had already been drafted in 1992, but refused to confirm it directly. This led Presiding Judge Agius to ask him at one point, "Why are you ashamed to admit that you were a VRS soldier when others are proud of that?" The question remained unanswered.

Jones also noted that Bosniaks in that area were starving in the winter of 1992-93, that they tried to get food, and that "thousands of civilians were moving with the 'men in white'” who attacked the village in January 1993. The witness, however, stated he had not seen that.