Richard Butler, military analyst with the Prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has testified as a Prosecution witness before the Bosnian State Court at the trial of 11 Serbian war criminals charged with genocide.
The witness said the Serbian aggressor’s special police forces, which were situated in the vicinity of eastern Bosnian village of Kravica on July 13, 1995, were under the command of the genocidal paramilitary formayions of the Serbians living in Bosnia “VRS”.
He also said the reviewed documents indicate that indictee Serbian war criminal Milos Stupar was commander of the Serbian aggressor’s special police second squad up to August 24, 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.
The indictment alleges that in July 1995 Serbian war criminal Milos Stupar was commander of the Serbian aggressor’s special police second squad, to which nine other indicted Serbian war criminals belonged. Serbian war criminal Milovan Matic was a member of the “VRS”. They are all charged with the genocide and participation in the mass murder of more than 1,000 Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica in Kravica village on July 13, 1995.
Butler was cross-examined by the eleven Defence teams, because, in December 2006 the Trial Chamber admitted, as Prosecution evidence, his two reports commissioned by the ICTY and its Prosecution.
The first report refers to the Serbian aggressor’s military operations conducted in Srebrenica, while the second one concerns the responsibilities in the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia “VRS”. Both reports were made in late 2002. As indicated by the witness, he reviewed “tens of thousands” of VRS wartime documents while he was preparing the reports.
Butler said that the VRS attacked the protected zone in response to attacks conducted by the 28th Infantry Division of the Bosnian Army, which had about 12,000 soldiers and which conducted its activities from Srebrenica.
“The VRS forces commenced with their earlier planned operations described in Directive No. 7, which was entitled “Operation Krivaja 95.” The Directive was prepared by the General Staffs and it was signed by President Karadzic,” Butler said.
The ICTY has ordered the arrest of Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic, former “president” of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia “RS”, who is also charged with genocide.
The witness said that originally, the main goal of this operation was to narrow the UN protected zone, so that it encircled the town of Srebrenica alone, and to interrupt communication with Zepa. The witness also said the police units were engaged in those operations only after July 10, “when the VRS forces realised that it was possible to conquer that region.”
According to the information available to the military analyst, the Special Police Units, including the Second Squad from Sekovici, arrived in Bratunac on July 11. The two following days they were on duty by the road leading from Konjevic Polje to Kravica and they were under the VRS command.
The witness said that they arrested hundreds, or even thousands, of Bosnian civilians.In his report Butler did not mention whether the Serbian aggressor’s police had any jurisdiction over those prisoners.
“The Interior Ministry Units could not hold the prisoners of war for a long time but they had to hand them over to the Units which had the capacities for holding those prisoners,” Butler said.
Answering questions made by one Trial Chamber member, the witness added that it was indicative that there were no documents on any type of care provided to those prisoners, although there were such documents covering local Srebrenica residents and the wounded.
“No documents indicate whether they took care of the prisoners in a lawful manner,” the witness stressed.
During examination, a few Defence attorneys said the fact that Butler testified as a witness and not as a court expert was “odd”, because he was not an eyewitness of the genocide in Srebrenica.
In the course of this week Butler testified at two trials – for genocide and other war crimes committed by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the eastern Bosnian towns of Bratunac and Srebrenica. The mentioned trials are being conducted before the Bosnian State Court in the case of Serbian war criminals Zdravko Bozic and Milorad Trbic. He was treated as a court expert at both trials.
The trial of eleven Serbian war criminals is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on March 26.