Srebrenica Massacre Witness Recalls Surviving Execution

The genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb fighter Aleksandar Cvetkovic heard how a young Bosniak survived because the body of a dead prisoner shielded him from gunfire.

The protected witness’s statement was read out to the Sarajevo court on Tuesday by the prosecution in the trial of Cvetkovic, a former member of the 10th Commando Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army accused of participating in the killings of at least 900 people from Srebrenica at Branjevo farm in July 1995.

The witness codenamed C-5 said that he was 23 at the time when he fled Srebrenica along with several hundred other men who were captured by Serb forces on July 12, 1995.

The captured men were taken to Nova Kasaba, where, according to C-5, Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic visited them and told them they were going to be freed as part of a prisoner exchange.

C-5 said that one of the prisoners was then killed, but his murder caused no reaction from Mladic, who is currently on trial at the Hague Tribunal for genocide and other crimes.

The witness said that the prisoners were then transferred in buses from Nova Kasaba to Bratunac, where they spent the night. During the night, some of them were killed.

They were then taken to Pilica on July 14, and held in the gym of the local school, where some more of them were killed and some suffocated due to ‘overcrowding in the hall’.

On the morning of July 16, C-5 and several hundred other prisoners were taken in the buses to Branjevo farm.

According to the indictment, prisoners were systematically executed in groups of ten.

C-5 said that when the shooting started, he threw himself on the ground and the body of a dead man fell on him, allowing him to avoid being killed.

After the mass execution, C-5 managed to get away, but gave himself up to the military police in Karakaj and was taken to Batkovici, where he was released in December 1995.

The defence said that if the witness had been in court, it would ask him if he saw the defendant Cvetkovic at any point.

The trial continues on May 20.

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