THE HAGUE | 01.12.2010.

VIDEO OF A CRIME AS ‘SOUVENIR’

At the trial of General Zdravko Tolimir, the cameraman of the notorious Scorpions unit gave evidence today. In July 1995, the witness recorded the execution of six boys and youths in Trnovo. The commander of the Scorpions ordered him to record it; copies of the videos were later given to all the participants as ‘souvenirs’. General Tolimir is charged with genocide and other crimes in Srebrenica and Zepa

Testifying with image protection but under his full name, former member of the notorious Scorpions unit Slobodan Stojkovic confirmed today that he had taped the execution of six Bosniak boys and youths in Trnovo in July 1995. The video of the execution was first shown at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on 1 June 2005.

Stojkovic was a member of the unit from 1992 and was in charge of logistics. In July 1995, the unit was sent to Trnovo to help defend the line held by the Bosnian Serb forces. Apart from taking care of supplies and preparing food in Trnovo, the witness was given task to record various event ‘in his free time’ with a video camera. The witness got the video camera from Dusan Kosanovic, who preceded him as a ‘cameraman’ in the unit.

As the witness said, the unit commander Slobodan Medic Boca ordered him to record the execution of six prisoners. In the recording, replayed again in the courtroom, Stojkovic identified members of the unit who took part in the execution. The witness claimed he ‘didn’t believe’ the captured youths were from Srebrenica and that they would be executed. He assumed they would be exchanged.

The prosecutor brought up records and statements made by the accused members of the Scorpions at the trial before the Special War Crimes Court in Belgrade in 2007. The documents state that VRS officers were also seen at the crime scene. Stojkovic denied this, claiming that only the Scorpions were there in the abandoned weekend houses near Trnovo where prisoners were executed.

Stojkovic claimed he didn’t know if the Scorpions were under the VRS control in the Trnovo area, adding that he didn’t know if the unit commander, Slobodan Medic, met on Mount Jahorina with somebody from the Republika Srpska military leadership. The unit stopped there en route to Trnovo to get food and ammunition.

The accused general didn’t have any questions for this witness. Tolimir said that the defense was happy with what a Belgrade court found about Stojkovic’s video in its judgment, which was admitted into evidence.

The judges finally asked the witness to clarify what happened with his video tape after the unit returned to the headquarters in Djeletovci. As Stojkovic explained, on the orders of the commander he gave the tape to Dusan Kosanovic. Later Stojkovic heard that the tape was copied and copies were given as ‘souvenirs’ to the Scorpions members who took part in the execution. The witness learned that one copy even ended up in a local video rental shop in Sid where it could be rented.