UNPROFOR footage at Medak trial

ZAGREB -- Video footage of UNPROFOR entering the Medak Pocket was shown at the trial of Rahim Ademi and Mirko Norac.

The Croatian generals are on trial for war crimes carried out against civilians during the Medak Pocket operation. Croatian forces entered the region several days before UNPROFOR’s arrival.

On a number of videos, one can see villages razed to the ground, with UN soldiers picking up dead bodies and placing them in body bags. Footage of the identification of 50 bodies returned to the Serbs by Croatian forces in Korenica was also shown yesterday.

The video, filmed by the Reuters news agency, shows Croatian and UN officials meeting at the demarcation point after Croatian forces were obliged to leave the region under the terms of an agreement concluded between the two forces.

A Canadian battalion commander said in an interview that the Croatian forces had delayed their exit from the region, which was why UN forces had entered the territory several hours later than planned.

“We were fired on by the Croatian forces on several occasions. There were several incidents and we returned fire several times, but no one was killed,” UN officer Mark Rullo said in the video.

He said that Croatian forces had been issued a second ultimatum the next day in Ribnik that they should leave or risk being fired upon by UN forces.

Another UN officer, who did not give his name, said that the Serb homes in the occupied villages had been destroyed just before the arrival of the peacekeeping forces.

“They wanted to make sure that there was nothing left here when we arrived,” he added.

The trial will continue on February 20, when the former Canadian battalion commander is due to appear before the trial chamber. After him, another six UNPROFOR officers are expected to testify starting on March 17.

Generals Ademi and Norac are accused of command responsibility for the destruction of Serb villages and the executions of civilians and prisoners of war in villages in the Medak Pocket during the Croatian military’s September 1993 operation.