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Karadzic’s Plans for “Srebrenica” Operation

17. July 2013.00:00
The Defence of Ratko Mladic suggests at his trial before the Hague Tribunal that, during the offensive on Srebrenica in July 1995 Republika Srpska, RS President Radovan Karadzic “had direct contacts” with Radislav Krstic, Commander of the Drina Corps with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, who commanded the attack.

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During the cross-examination witness Ljubomir Obradovic, the then officer with the Main Headquarters of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, said that he “heard” Karadzic “on TV”, saying that he had “planned and ordered the ‘Srebrenica’ operation to General Krstic”.

Mladic, the then Commander of VRS, is charged with genocide against about 7,000 Muslims from Srebrenica in the days that followed the occupation of the United Nations, UN protected enclave by VRS on July 11, 1995.

Karadzic, who was President of RS and Supreme Commander of RS armed forces, is charged with Srebrenica genocide too.

The Hague Tribunal sentenced Krstic, under a second instance verdict, to 35 years in prison for assisting in and supporting the commission of Srebrenica genocide.

When asked by judge Christoph Flugge whether he knew about direct contacts between Mladic and Krstic during the Srebrenica operation, Obradovic answered negatively. During his examination yesterday Former Lieutenant Colonel Obradovic specified that he was absent from the Main Headquarters of VRS until July 17, 1995 due to an injury.

Defence attorney Branko Lukic asked the witness whether members of the 10th Reconnaissance Squad with the Main Headquarters of VRS, who were “subordinate” to the Drina Corps of VRS during the offensive of Srebrenica, reported to General Mladic or General Krstic.

“The Unit was under the command of General Krstic, Commander of the Drina Corps, to which it was subordinated,” the witness said.
Members of that Squad participated in the shooting of more than 1,000 Srebrenica Muslims on Branjevo farm, near Zvornik on July 16, 1995, which one of them, namely Drazen Erdemovic, admitted before the Hague Tribunal in 1996.

Obradovic confirmed that, “in professional terms”, the Squad was subordinate to intelligence officers of the VRS Main Headquarters Zdravko Tolimir and Petar Salapura.

The Hague Tribunal rendered a first instance verdict against Tolimir, sentencing him to life imprisonment for genocide in Srebrenica, while Erdemovic was sentenced to five years in prison.

Defence attorney Lukic suggested that the occupation of the enclave was not mentioned as a goal in the Directive, which Mladic issued to subordinatetroops prior to the attack on Srebrenica. Obradovic confirmed that.

Also, he accepted a suggestion by Mladic’s Defence attorney that Srebrenica was not demilitarised despite an agreement between the conflicting parties and UNPROFOR, according to which it was declared “a UN protected zone” in 1993.

According to the witness’ testimony, prior to the fall of the enclave, the surrounding Serb villages had been under attacks by Muslims forces “of the size of a division, which conducted constant attacks.”

At the end of his testimony Obradovic asked the judges to allow him to say hello to Mladic.

Presiding Judge Alphons Orie did not allow that. After that Mladic commented loudly: “Thank you, comrade general. I congratulate you.”

Mladic is charged with persecuting Muslims and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising civilians in Sarajevo by long-lasting shelling and sniping, and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.

The trial is due to continue on July 18.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian