Milan Trivic commanded the VRS 2nd Romanija Brigade, which took part in Operation Krivaja 95 in July 1995. He described how after the fall of Srebrenica General Mladic ordered the capture of Zepa in order to “capitalize on the confusion in the international community”

The objective of Operation Krivaja 95 was to “separate” and “disarm” the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves and create the conditions for “a normal and safe life for everyone in the area”, said Mirko Trivic, prosecution witness at the trial of the seven Bosnian Serb military and police officers.

At the time, Trivic was the commander of the VRS 2nd Romanija Brigade. He entered Srebrenica on 11 July 1995, just before Ratko Mladic and his entourage. The footage of Mirko Trivic’s cordial encounter with Mladic and generals Zivanovic and Krstic was shown again in court.

Late next evening, at a briefing in the Bratunac Brigade command, Mladic announced that the operation would continue to “capitalize on the combat success of the VRS units so far” and the “confusion of the international community”. Trivic claims he and the Zvornik Brigade commander Vinko Pandurevic opposed in vain the idea that the “operation should continue without any rest and rotation for the troops”. Mladic ordered Krstic, the new Drina Corps commander who replaced Zivanovic, to prepare the plan for the attack on Zepa the next day. Instead of granting leave to the troops, he agreed to personally address Trivic’s troops before they head of to Zepa.

On his way to Bratunac, Trivic passed through Potocari where he saw large groups of people of “all ages and sexes”. They were “secured by the MUP and Republika Srpska military police”. No mention was made at the meeting with Mladic about “men being separated from their families” in Potocari or about how to treat the prisoners if the troops of the BH Army 28th Brigade were either captured or if they surrendered in large numbers, Trivic said. The BH Army troops were trying to break through to Tuzla and Kladanj.

Trivic either “doesn’t remember” or “doesn’t know” anything about the prisoners in Potocari or along the Konjevic Polje-Bratunac route. The only thing he does know is that at the end of the meeting in Bratunac General Mladic “ordered some buses and fuel”. The people in Potocari were not prisoners, he thought, because “they had gathered themselves” around the DutchBat base. He saw them board the buses and trucks the next day, 13 July 1995, just as he was heading out to his new combat position for the attack on Zepa.

En route to his new position, Trivic passed through Nova Kasaba where he saw “a large group of people sitting in a football stadium”. He could not estimate their number, merely stating that the pitch was about 120 meters long and 100 wide and was full of people.

Trivic will be cross-examined by the defence counsel of the seven accused Bosnian Serb military and police officers.