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Mladic Plans to Invite 336 Witnesses

12. May 2014.00:00
The Defence of Ratko Mladic announces that it will present the judges with 336 witnesses during its evidence presentation process, which is due to begin on May 19. Mladic is charged with genocide and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

As decided at a status conference held before The Hague Tribunal, the Tribunal approved 207.5 working hours for Mladic’s Defence to examine those witnesses, because The Hague Prosecution had spent exactly the same number of hours for the presentation of its evidence.

Defence attorney Branko Lukic said that 122 witnesses, who had previously testified at Radovan Karadzic’s trial, would testify in Mladic’s defence. 

Mladic, former Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, is charged with genocide in Srebrenica, persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, which reached the scale of genocide in seven municipalities, terrorising the local population in Sarajevo and taking UN’s “blue helmets” hostage. 

Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska and supreme Commander of its armed forces, is charged with those same crimes. 

Mladic’s attorney Lukic said that, on Monday, May 19 the Defence would not present its introductory statement, but it would present the judges with its first witness. According to Lukic, the Defence would include written statements by most of the witnesses in the case file, so their examination in the courtroom would not last for more than 30 minutes. As he said, the witnesses would then be cross-examined by prosecutors.

Attorney Lukic suggested that the Defence intended to invite eight witnesses, who had already testified as Prosecution witnesses at Mladic’s trial, to appear in court again. However, judge Alphons Orie instructed the Defence attorney that, in addition to providing an explanation, he had to request an approval by the Trial Chamber to invite those witnesses.

On April 15 the Tribunal rejected Mladic’s request to acquit him of the charges at mid-trial. According to the decision, the Prosecution had presented sufficient evidence against Mladic for all 11 counts. It was further said that the Defence would have an opportunity to respond to them during the continuation of the trial.

The trial of Mladic before The Hague Tribunal began on May 16, 2012. During their evidence presentation process, which was completed in late February this year, the prosecutors presented 164 witnesses and included as many written testimonies in the case file.

Serbian authorities arrested Mladic in Lazarevo, near Zrenjanin on May 26, 2011. He was extradited to the Tribunal on May 31. During his initial appearance before the Tribunal Mladic refused to enter his plea, so, acting according to the Tribunal’s rules, the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. 

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian