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Defence Denies Mladic Had Genocidal Ambitions

19. March 2014.00:00
Ratko Mladic's defence says the former Bosnian Serb Army commander 'did not give any orders for any crimes' during the war in Bosnia.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

On the third day of presenting a request for Mladic’s acquittal of all charges of genocide in Srebrenica and other municipalities, as well as all other counts in the indictment, lawyer Dejan Ivetic told the Hague court on Wednesday that the prosecution had failed to prove any counts of the indictment.

Prosecutors say they have established Mladic’s guilt for all the counts of indictment. Mladic is charged with genocide over the slaughter of 7,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica after the Bosnian Serb Army seized the enclave on July 11, 1995.

He is also charged with the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, which reached the scale of genocide in seven municipalities, of terrorising civilians in Sarajevo and of taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

The defence countered that it has not been proven that Mladic had “genocidal intent” towards Bosniaks from Srebrenica as an ethnic group.

Ivetic also noted that Mladic had in some sense opposed Bosnian Serb war aims, referring to Mladic’s words at the Republika Srpska assembly, when he said that he did “not want the war with the Muslims and Croats as peoples,” but only their extremist leaders.

Ivetic said that Mladic did not have command or control over the paramilitaries and police units that committed crimes in Bosnia, suggesting that they were under the command of former Bosnian Serb president, Radovan Karadzic, who is also on trial in the Hague.

Prosecutor Dermot Groome said, however, that the evidence showed that the police and paramilitaries had committed crimes against non-Serbs “in partnership with the Bosnian Serb Army.

“The participants in the joint criminal enterprise continued to use the paramilitaries and they knew for years that they had committed crimes,” Groome said.

Tensions between Mladic and Karadzic, according to the prosecutors, despite occasional disagreements, “never threatened the aim of the joint criminal enterprise”.

Commenting on defence claims that Mladic had never ordered the crimes, presiding judge Alphons Orie asked Ivetic about an intercepted conversation in which Bosnian Serb Army commander ordered an artillery attack on the Sarajevo suburb of Pofalici in the spring of 1992, because there was “not much of a Serbian population” there.

After challenging the authenticity of the recording, Ivetic, on consulting the accused, said that Mladic was concerned that the remaining Serbs in Pofalici might become the target of “revenge” attacks by local Bosniaks following the bombardment.

Judge Orie said the trial chamber would soon make a decision on Mladic’s request for acquittal. If the request is rejected, Mladic’s defence team should start presenting their case on May 13.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian