A CLASH BETWEEN TWO ARMIES OR A MASSACRE OF CIVILIANS?
Naser Oric's defense is trying to prove there was fierce fighting between Serb and Muslim forces on 7 January 1993 in Kravica and the Serb villages around it in the Srebrenica area that resulted in casualties; it is challenging the prosecution's argument that forces under the accused’s command attacked undefended villages and massacred civilians.
Naser Oric in the courtroom
Just as Kosovo Albanians testifying at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic "did not see the KLA," and just as Djelo Jusic and other inhabitants of Dubrovnik who testified at the trial of General Pavle Strugar "did not see any Croatian Army personnel on the streets of Dubrovnik," the prosecution witnesses heard so far at Naser Oric’s trial claim they "did not see" VRS soldiers in Kravica, Jezerstice and other Serb villages in the Srebrenica area.
According to what prosecution witnesses are saying, there were self-organized "village guards" armed mostly with hunting pieces. The defense, though, claims those guards were integrated into the VRS, that its members were on the Bratunac Brigade payroll, and that they had artillery pieces in addition to their "hunting pieces."
The defense is using documents disclosed by the prosecution to prove it: the so-called Bratunac collection of personnel files and payrolls, military orders, and other documents seized during a search of Bratunac Brigade headquarters.
Among the documents is a list of 34 fighters from the Kravica area who were killed on 7 January 1993. During cross-examination, the defense showed the list to witness Miladin Simic, asking him to identify names from his village of Jezestice and to state who among them was a fighter and who a civilian. Since the witness hesitated before answering, Judge Agius intervened and read out the list name by name, asking the witness: “Soldier or civilian?" The witness mostly answered by saying, "Fighter – killed." For three names, he said, "Exempt – died at home." For one of them, he said he had been exempt from military service but had weapons.
By conducting the cross-examination in this vein and presenting documents obtained from the prosecution, Naser Oric's defense is trying to prove that there was fierce fighting between Serb and Muslim forces on 7 January 1993 in Kravica and the Serb villages around it in the Srebrenica area that resulted in casualties. It is challenging the prosecution's argument that forces under the accused’s command attacked undefended villages, massacring civilians.