Milenko Jevdjevic, wartime commander of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Drina Corps signals battalion, told Belgrade Higher Court on Friday that the corps’ commander Milenko Zivanovic did not command the Krivaja 95 operation to take Srebrenica.
Testifying as a defence witness, Jevdjevic blamed defendant Zivanovic’s successor, Radislav Krstic, who has already been convicted of the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica.
Jevdjevic told the court that he noticed that Zivanovic and Krstic, who at the time was chief of staff of the Drina Corps, had a bad relationship.
At the beginning of July 1995, when preparations for the operation started, Jevdjevic went to a forward command post, where the Krivaja 95 offensive was run operationally.
“During the time I spent at the IKM [forward command post], I concluded that the function of command was not in his [Zivanovic’s] hands and that he was sidelined while that operation lasted,” Jevdjevic said.
Jevdjevic claimed that when he was going to the command post, he met Zivanovic, who told him, referring to the Krivaja 95 operation: “All of you will end up in The Hague.”
Dragan Golijanin, who was a clerk at the Drina Corps’ office for recruitment and personnel, also told the court on Friday that from the end of June 1995, “no one was consulting him [Zivanovic] about anything”.
The prosecution alleges that Zivanovic commanded the Krivaja 95 offensive to seize Srebrenica, which ended with the killings of more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys and the expulsion of some 40,000 women, children and elderly people.
He is on trial for ordering and participating in the forcible relocation of the Bosniak civilian population from Srebrenica. He has also been charged by prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zivanovic has denied being responsible for any crime, claiming that he was notified on June 15, 1995, that he would be no longer be the Drina Corps’ commander but officially handed over duty on July 13, and that in the interim he was actually “a retired commander”.
He said he left the area on the night between July 11 and 12 and went to his brother’s house in Vlasenica.
His successor as commander of the Drina Corps, Radislav Krstic, was sentenced in 2004 to 35 years in prison. Krstic was the first person convicted of genocide by the Hague court.
Zivanovic testified as a witness at the Hague Tribunal’s trial of Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic in 2013, and insisted there was never a plan to expel Bosniaks from Srebrenica or kill them.
Source : BalkanInsight