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Last Prosecution Witness Testifies against Mladic

12. December 2013.00:00
The Prosecution of the International Court at The Hague completes the examination of its witnesses at the trial of Ratko Mladic, former Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS.

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The Prosecution’s presentation of evidence will be formally completed once the Trial Chamber has rendered a decision concerning the admission of a series of written pieces of evidence, as per a request by the prosecutors.

Presiding judge Alphons Orie scheduled a session at which Mladic’s Defence will present its request for acquittal of charges at the end of the first half of the trial for the last week in February.

In the meantime no hearings, except for administrative discussions, will be held in the case against Mladic.

At the end of his several-day testimony the last, 164th Prosecution witness, military expert Reynaud Theunens said that, in the summer of 1995, members of the “Scorpios” Unit acted within the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps of the VRS.

While saying that, Theunens called on a combat report by that Corps from September 1995, which said that the “Scorpios” were “our forces”, or in fact “a unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia” subordinate to the VRS.

The “Scorpios” shot six Muslims from Srebrenica, the youngest of whom was 17 years old, in the vicinity of Trnovo in late July 1995.

General Mladic, former Commander of VRS, is charged with genocide against 7,000 Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica, as well as persecution of Croats and Muslims throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terror against civilians in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.

Theunens said that, according to the documents he had analysed, “to say the least”, the VRS Main Headquarters “tolerated the presence” of Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan’s paramilitary formation in the western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the autumn of 1995.

As a proof for his allegations, the military expert quoted an agreement between the then Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of RS Tomo Kovac and Mladic’s Deputy general Manojlo Milovanovic.
Under the mentioned documents, Raznatovic’s paramilitary forces were given a concrete task to arrest Serb deserters, Theunens said, adding that it was not clear under whose command the formation was at that moment.

The Hague Tribunal accused Raznatovic of crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but he was killed in 2000.

At the end of the hearing today Mladic’s Defence attorney Branko Lukic, who had previously requested the Tribunal to let the Defence have six months for preparing its evidence presentation, told the judges that he accepted the five-month timeframe approved by the judges.

Judge Orie previously announced that Mladic’s Defence should begin presenting evidence in mid-May next year. 

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian