Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Villager tells of desperate flight from Bosnia massacre

The trial of the so-called "Butcher of Bosnia", Ratko Mladic, re-opened in The Hague yesterday with harrowing testimony from the first prosecution witness, a man who as a teenager was forced to flee his village as it came under heavy fire.

Elvedin Pasic (34) told of his escape from Hrvacani, breaking down in tears several times.

He spoke of being separated from the other men in his family, who were later massacred, and of fleeing through a field while holding the daughter of a pregnant neighbour in his arms, while under fire.

"We were lucky not to get hit," he said. "The girl had bullet holes in her clothes."

Mr Mladic, who was the top general in the Bosnian Serb army, is facing 11 charges, including genocide, and faces life imprisonment if convicted.

At one point yesterday, the judge called a break as the witness was too upset to continue speaking.

Mr Pasic later described returning to his home village after the assault. "The house was burned completely, the fridge, the televisions, the walls -- what was left of the walls was stripped," he said.

Even his dog had been shot where it was chained up. Mr Pasic spoke in English, and did not look at Mr Mladic.

The defendant listened to a translation of the testimony through headphones, and retained an impassive expression.

Mr Mladic's trial in The Hague started in May but was postponed after one day when prosecution lawyers were forced to admit they had not provided the defence team with access to thousands of documents that would be used against Mr Mladic.

He is accused of ordering the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica.

Yesterday, hundreds of people lined streets in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo ahead of a memorial service for the thousands killed at Srebrenica in 1995.

The trial continues.

(© Independent News Service)

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