Origin of Video Footage of Execution of Six Bosniaks from Srebrenica

In view of the news published on the B92 web page on 12 December 2007, which stated that Jovan Mirilo “provided the Humanitarian Law Center non-governmental organization with the video tape” showing the execution of six Bosniaks from Srebrenica committed in July 1995, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) reiterates that it obtained the tape from Dušan Kosanović, a member of the Scorpions unit, in November 2004. Dušan Kosanović testified about this before the Belgrade District Court War Crimes Chamber on 11 April 2006.

In November 2004, Dušan Kosanović, together with Jovan Mirilo, contacted HLC because of problems Kosanović had had with a group of people with whom he had entrusted the safekeeping of the recording of the execution of Six Bosniaks. Namely, these people wanted to sell the video recording in spite of the fact that Kosanović had decided that it was better for him to appear as a protected witness before the Hague Tribunal (in order to leave Serbia). He believed that Nataša Kandić could help him in this endeavour. Upon her advice, Kosanović retrieved the video tape. He gave the original to her and copies to ICTY investigators. HLC did not investigate Dušan Kosanović and Jovan Mirilo’s involvement in the selling of this tape. Soon after Kosanović turned the tape over to Nataša Kandić in November 2004, another member of the Scorpions unit (Buca Crnobrnja) offered the same video recording.

Jovan Mirilo contacted the HLC for the first time in May 2003, during the trial of Saša Cvjetan. Saša Cvjetan, a member of the Scorpions unit, was then being tried before the Belgrade District Court for the murder of 14 children and women in Kosovo. Jovan Mirilo contacted the HLC office on behalf of Goran Stoparić, also a member of the Scorpions unit, who wanted to speak to Nataša Kandić about this crime.  Stoparić testified openly and honestly on 10 December 2003 before the Belgrade District Court, describing in detail the murder of women and children. At that time, he revealed to Nataša Kandić that the Scorpions unit was involved in the execution of Muslims from Srebrenica and that a video recording of this act existed. Stoparić obtained the status of ICTY witness. He left the country in February 2004. At the same time, ICTY investigators spoke to Jovan Mirilo about his knowledge of war crimes, but they did not trust him. A year later, Dušan Kosanović also left Serbia with the help of the Hague Tribunal.  After the HLC released the video recording of the execution on 1 June 2005, Jovan Mirilo informed the HLC that certain Scorpions members threatened him and he asked the HLC to help him obtain an Austrian visa. HLC was unable to assist in this, but it did, however, file a request to the Serbian Ministry of Interior demanding protection for Jovan Mirilo. In the meantime, Jovan Mirilo left Serbia with his family and received a prestigious Austrian award for human rights.

Mirilo’s asylum request submitted in Austria represents the consequence of his fear that something bad might happen to him in Serbia. Presently, there is a lot of animosity in Serbia directed against anyone who mentions war crimes. Mirilo has spoken of war crimes and, therefore, his fear is justified.