Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Execution Survivor Testifies in "Srebrenica Seven" Trial

(TU No 466, 1-Sep-06)
Mevludin Oric is believed to be one of only 12 men to have escaped the July 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, carried out by Bosnian Serb forces soon after they overran the enclave.

He said he had stayed alive only because he hid under a pile of dead bodies for hours before fleeing the execution site.

Seven Bosnian Serb military and police officers are accused of responsibility for the Srebrenica massacre. Ljubisa Beara, Vujadin Popovic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic and Drago Nikolic face genocide and war crimes charges, while Radivoj Miletic and Milan Gvero are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Srebrenica-born Oric is not new to the court - three years ago he testified at the trial of Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic, commanders of the Bratunac and Zvornik brigades in the Bosnian Serb army, VRS, who were also charged with participating in the massacre.

In January 2005, the tribunal handed down its second genocide sentence relating to Srebrenica, sentencing Blagojevic to 18 years in prison for complicity in the crime, and Jokic to nine years for aiding and abetting the crime of extermination, murder and persecution.

During this trial, Oric told the court that after the fall of Srebrenica, he walked with tens of thousands of others through forest to reach Tuzla - a journey now known as the “road of death”.

This week, Oric repeated his earlier testimony and recounted how he was taken prisoner by Serb forces, escorted to a warehouse in Kravica, then to the Vuk Karadzic elementary school, and finally a school in the village of Gornji Grbavci, where 2,500 men and boys were crowded into the gym.

Oric survived the ensuing massacre in a local field, shielded from a hail of bullets by the corpse of his nephew. After the Bosnian Serbs left, he set out on an 11-day trek to Tuzla, with another survivor.

The Srebrenica trial continues next week.

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