FRANC KOS: VUJADIN POPOVIC ORDERED THE MASSACRE
BIRN — At the trial for genocide in Srebrenica, indictee Franc Kos says that an officer, whose name, as he found out later on, was Vujadin Popovic, said that the prisoners, who were brought to Branjevo military farm, should be shot, because they were war criminals.
Testifying in his defence before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kos said that he had never hidden the fact that he participated in the shooting of Bosniaks on Branjevo military farm in July 1995. However, he said that he did not participate in the extermination of the Bosniak population, but he just acted on orders.
“When a bus brought prisoners to Branjevo, an officer, whose name, as I found out later on, was Vujadin Popovic, said that those men should be shot, because they were war criminals,” Kos said.
Indictee Kos said that he was told that he should participate in the shooting of prisoners, who were held in the Cultural Centre in Pilica, as well, but, after that he said that he could not do it any more.
Popovic, former Chief for Security with the Drina Corps of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, was sentenced, under a first instance verdict pronounced by The Hague Tribunal in June 2010, to life imprisonment for genocide committed in Srebrenica.
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Kos, Stanko Kojic, Vlastimir Golijan and Zoran Goronja with genocide in Srebrenica and participating in the murder of more than 800 men and boys on Branjevo military farm in July 1995.
The indictment alleges that Kos was Commander of the First Unit with the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad of the VRS Main Headquarters, while Kojic, Golijan and Goronja were members of that Squad. It further alleges that they jointly shot prisoners, some of whom were tied and blindfolded.
When asked by Defence attorney Dusko Tomic what would have happened had the soldiers refused to carry out the order and shoot people on Branjevo, indictee Kos said that nothing would probably have happened to them at that location, but something could have happened later on.
Kos told the Court that members of the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad of VRS participated in an attack on Srebrenica too. “When we came to a mount near Srebrenica, we found out where we would be going,” Kos said, adding that indictee Kojic and protected witness Z1 participated in that operation.
At this hearing the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina presented parts of witnesses’ statements given before The Hague Tribunal.
State Prosecutor Dubravko Campara read parts of statements given by former members of the Dutch Battalion based in Srebrenica related to the happenings in Srebrenica from July 9 to 13, 1995.
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina presented a part of statements given by Momir Nikolic, former Assistant Commander for Security with the VRS Bratunac Brigade, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting guilt for participating in the crime in Srebrenica, and Dragan Obrenovic, former Deputy Commander of the First Zvornik Brigade of VRS, who was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment.
The next hearing is due to be held on November 11 this year, when the examination of indictee Kos will continue.