Hurem Suljic was cutting grass in a meadow outside his home in Ornice, about 12 miles west of Srebrenica, when he heard the news. "Something is wrong in Srebrenica," a neighbor called. The 55-year-old Muslim farmer, lame in one leg, hobbled to his front door and rounded up his family. Suljic headed on horseback to the U.N. camp near Srebrenica. His wife, children and grandchildren followed on foot.

The road to the U.N. base was clogged with people by the time he arrived. He wouldn't get near the compound until the next morning. Then, while waiting in line to enter the base that Wednesday, July 12, he felt the hand of a gun-toting Serb soldier on his shoulder. "They took us away; other men too," Suljic said. "I said, Why are you separating me from my family?' They said, You're a man. Let's send the women and children out first.' "

"At first I thought it made sense," the short, wiry man said. Within hours, he realized there was little that was rational about anything else that day.

Suljic's account of his experiences in the aftermath of the fall of Srebrenica, a U.N.-designated "safe area" in eastern Bosnia, could not be confirmed independently. But it is consistent with interviews conducted with several survivors by investigators from the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch.

Suljic was taken to a nearby house and ordered to sit on the floor, and he watched as dozens of other men were brought in. Then, he said, the yard of the house was filled. About 7 p.m., a red-faced, stocky man came to the door, accompanied by guards. It was Ratko Mladic, commander of the Bosnian Serb force. "Hello, neighbors," Mladic said. "Do you know who I am? If you don't know, I am Ratko Mladic. You have a chance to see me now." He continued: "Do you see now what Alija Izetbegovic {Bosnia's Muslim president} did to you?"

Suljic called out: "I don't care for Alija Izetbegovic. Why did you separate me from my family?"

Mladic said he needed 180 men for a prisoner exchange. "Don't be afraid," Mladic told Suljic and the others. "Nothing will happen to you. Not a single hair will be missing from your head. We just need you for the exchange."

More men were sent into the house and yard. By nightfall, the men were ordered to leave the house and fill two buses. Mladic was standing by the side of one bus, Suljic remembered. The two buses were jammed, and then a Serb guard, carrying an automatic weapon, got on and stood next to the driver.

Suljic said the buses left Srebrenica and headed north to Bratunac. They passed a school and pulled up to a warehouse that had a dirt floor. Busloads of men kept coming. The men were ordered to sit on the floor. It was so crowded that men had to sit on top of each other. Soldiers ordered them to squeeze in, firing automatic pistols over their heads to hurry them. Beaten to Death

About midnight, a macabre interrogation began. Guards came to the door and shone their flashlights on individual men, shouting: "You! Stand!" The men were passed overhead by those still seated. When each man reached the front, he was ordered to turn left. Then, Suljic said, he could hear the sound of beating. He said it sounded like a bat was smacking the men. Screams were heard. Guards could be heard discussing the torture matter-of-factly: "He's finished. Drag him over there."

Suljic estimated that 50 people were beaten this way. Forty didn't return. Of the 10 who did return to the room, bloody and moaning, five died during the night as they lay on top of the seated men.

By daylight of July 13, Suljic said, men who were stronger and better looking were ordered to leave the building in groups of 10. Suljic said he did not see any of them return. Then those who remained were ordered to turn over all of their documents, a process that took until about 4 p.m.

They were also allowed to use a toilet outside the warehouse but were ordered to turn and look to the right immediately upon leaving the building or face trouble. Suljic went to the toilet but peeked at the forbidden area. He saw bloodstained pavement to the left of the entrance and then one old man facing Serb guards. One guard hit the man in the back of the head with a steel bar. Another guard heaved an ax in the man's back. The old man fell. His body writhed. The soldier held the ax deep into his back, said Suljic.

About 7 p.m. that day, Mladic came to the warehouse entrance. He announced that negotiations were finished and the men would be exchanged. He ordered one of the prisoners to count the people. The prisoner counted 296 men.

An hour later, Suljic heard engines. The prisoners were ordered out. Six buses waited. Suljic looked over to where the bloody pavement had been. It was wet and clean.

The men boarded the buses. Mladic was standing near the buses, giving orders, Suljic said. For 90 minutes, the buses waited as darkness fell.

When the buses started down the road from Bratunac, they continued toward the Drina River and then turned left. They went past Zvornik. From a bus window, Suljic saw the chimney of a factory in Karakaj, a small town north of Zvornik on the border between Bosnia and Serbia. Then the buses turned left and he saw a school and a long building, and the buses turned into a compound with a concrete playing field.

Again the men were ordered out of the buses and told to wait in the long building, a sports hall.

The hall began filling with new men during the night. Younger people entered, Suljic said. By morning the hall was filled with about 2,500 men, Suljic estimated.

Mladic returned at midday on July 14. Prisoners yelled to him for water and food. "What can I do when your government doesn't take care of you?" Suljic remembered Mladic as saying. "I have to do it?" Before the men would be transported, Mladic said, they could drink water outside the hall. Lined Up And Shot

Suljic said he crawled over people to get to the front of the hall for water. Like all the others, he was blindfolded with a piece of cloth before he received his drink. He pushed the blindfold onto his forehead. He drank and then climbed onto a military truck that already had about 25 men in its open bed.

The truck left the schoolyard, climbed and rounded a curve. Suljic saw bodies lying along both sides of the road. The truck stopped close to the bodies. The men were ordered out and lined up in four rows. As the truck drove away, automatic gunfire rang out.

Suljic heard the burst of fire and felt the men behind him collapse onto him. He fell. After the shots, some men continued to scream. Guards came over individually and shot them. Suljic remained quiet. "I was afraid that somebody would be alive who was on my back and if he moved, we'd get shot. But nobody moved," he said.

Suljic turned his head at one point to see who was there. Mladic, he said, was standing nearby. "I knew him by now," he said. "After the people were killed, he got in his car."

Suljic said heavy earthmoving equipment began chugging down the rows of bodies. As guards watched over another section of the operation, he said, he crawled out from under the bodies and hid under a bush.

He waited for some time until he heard a guard say, "There is no more. It's all finished." The guard left about 9:30 p.m., he said. The moonlight was bright and Suljic began to move.

"Is anyone else alive here?" he called out softly. "If there is, let's go." A voice responded: "I'm alive."

"Are you wounded?" he asked back.

"No," the voice said.

"Then what the hell are you waiting for?" Suljic said.

"I don't know where to go," said Mevludini Oric, 25, a Muslim soldier who had been separated from the march.

Together the two men scrambled into the nearby forest. The next day, they found another survivor, Smail Hodzic. They walked all day, looking for the Karakaj factory chimney. For two days they crossed the countryside, from burned-out village to burned-out village, once coming too close to the Serbs and nearly getting caught, another time losing contact with each other. By July 17, all three men made it to the Bosnian government-held territory, Suljic said. He asked to be taken to his brother's house in Banovici, a town 12 miles south of Tuzla, where he found his wife and family. CAPTION: Hurem Suljic and his wife, Raze, were reunited after he narrowly escaped a massacre of Muslims by Serbs. CAPTION: Ratko Mladic, commander of Bosnian Serb forces, left, drank a toast with Dutch U.N. commander Ton Karremans, center, on July 12 in Potocari, north of Srebrenica. Srebrenica had just fallen to the Serbs, and thousands of Muslim men had fled, only to be killed by Serb militiamen.