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Mladic’s Conversations about Zepa Intercepted

28. June 2013.00:00
As the trial of Ratko Mladic continues, protected witness RM-316 says that in July 1995 he intercepted the indictee’s conversation, in which he said that he intended to evacuate the entire population of Zepa.

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Protected witness RM-316, former member of the State Security Service of Bosnia and Herzegovina, testified about listening, recording and transcribing of intercepted conversations, in which he took part as well. He confirmed that his section recorded four conversations in which Mladic participated in mid-July 1995.

Mladic’s voice could not be heard during two conversations recorded on July 16, 1995. When asked why he was sure that Mladic was the interlocutor, witness RM-316 said: “I assumed that somebody said: ‘You have General Mladic on the line. This was not recorded, but the operator wrote it down.’”

The witness confirmed that he personally recorded a conversation led after the fall of Zepa, on July 22, 1995, in which Mladic said: “They have capitulated. We shall evacuate all of them, including those who want to and those who don’t want to go.”

When asked how he identified Mladic, he said that it was “not a problem”, because Mladic’s voice was well-known to him.

The indictment charges Mladic, former Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, with genocide against about 7,000 Bosniaks in the days that followed the occupation of Srebrenica by VRS on July 11, 1995. Mladic is also charged with persecuting Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorizing civilians in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.

At the beginning of cross-examination Mladic’s Defence attorney Branko Lukiv suggested that the State Security Service of Bosnia and Herzegovina could not have intercepted Mladic’s conversation in the afternoon on July 16, 1995, because he was in Belgrade at the time.

The witness said that, according to the minutes, a conversation between a duty officer at the Main Headquarters of VRS and “Mladic himself, who could have been anywhere”, was recorded. “He was not in his office,” the witness said.

Witness RM-316 accepted the Defence attorney’s suggestion that Mladic’s voice could not be heard during the recording. “He could not be heard. The duty officer conducted a conversation with Mladic, whose voice could not be heard,” the witness explained.

Mladic’s Defence attorney is due to continue cross-examining the witness on Tuesday, July 2.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian