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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Soldier describes Srebrenica murders
Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic denies Srebrenica genocide
A soldier who took part in the Srebrenica massacre has given dramatic evidence to the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Drazen Erdemovic described how Muslim men and boys were taken in busloads to a farm, systematically lined up and shot - first with machine-guns, then with a single pistol shot to the head.

Many were blindfolded and had their hands tied, the court heard.

He personally killed 100 people, he said.

They first started mistreating people they recognised, then they started killing them all over the field
Drazen Erdemovic,
former soldier
His evidence came as Mr Milosevic's trial restarted after a three-week summer break, entering a key phase in which prosecutors will attempt to prove that the former president is guilty of genocide in Bosnia, even though he was not officially in charge of forces there.

Mr Erdemovic, his face hidden and his voice disguised, told the court that up to 50 soldiers from his unit trained in Serbia and brought back weapons, explosives and uniforms.

The Srebrenica massacre was the worst of the war, and the worst anywhere in Europe since World War II.

Woman grieving at Srebrenica burial service
Thousands of women lost husbands, sons and brothers
An estimated 7,500 Muslims were killed after Serb forces overran what was supposed to be a UN safe area.

Mr Erdemovic, 31, said his battalion killed up to 1,200 people in July 1995 at the farm in eastern Bosnia.

Under threat of death if he didn't comply, he took part in the massacre, he said.

"I personally couldn't understand why it was going on. I couldn't believe it," Mr Erdemovic said. "They first started mistreating people they recognised, then they started killing them all over the field."

I assume that it is quite clear that I and Serbia did not have anything to do with these events
Slobodan Milosevic
Mr Erdemovic, a Bosnian Croat, has already served a five-year prison term for his part in the massacre.

Mr Milosevic, who is defending himself on 66 charges including genocide, strongly denied involvement.

"I assume that it is quite clear that I and Serbia did not have anything to do with these events," he told presiding judge Richard May.

He also claimed Mr Erdemovic had been under criminal investigation in Belgrade before The Hague's involvement.

Mr Milosevic has suffered repeated bouts of ill health, but correspondents reported on Monday that he looked in good health as the hearing resumed.


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