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Mladic’s Lawyer Slams ‘Cynical’ Hague Tribunal

25. August 2014.00:00
Mladic’s lawyer said that judges at the UN-backed war crimes court were trying to undermine the former Bosnian Serb military chief’s defence by labelling his witnesses irrelevant and repetitive.

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Defence lawyer Branko Lukic on Monday condemned the Hague Tribunal judges for “limiting Mladic’s right to defence” and “changing the rules in the middle of the trial to the defence’s detriment”.

He was responding to the judges’ remarks before the trial’s summer break in July that Mladic’s witnesses’ statements were often irrelevant, giving generalised and repetitive testimony with limited value as evidence.

Lukic said that because the indictment labelled “all Bosnian Serbs older than 16” as participants in a joint criminal enterprise during the 1992-95 war, no Serb witnesses could be considered irrelevant.

Mladic is on trial for genocide in Srebrenica, as well as for terrorising the population of Sarajevo, the persecution of Muslims and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, which reached the scale of genocide in seven municipalities, and for taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Goran Sehovac, who was a military policeman with the Ilidza Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army in 1992, when he was 18 years old, testified on Monday as the trial resumed after its summer break that his unit never received an order to terrorise civilians in Sarajevo.

“We neither got an order to terrorise civilians, nor it was our intention to do it… Our only goal was to defend the Serbian municipality of Ilidza,” Sehovac said, adding that shots were fired on military enemies only.

He said that he had never heard that Bosnian Serb Army snipers opened fire at civilians in the city, but alleged that Muslim snipers shot at local people in Serb neighbourhoods.

The witness also denied the allegation that the Bosnian Serb Army blocked the passage of humanitarian convoys to Sarajevo. However he said that in 1993, he personally participated in the discovery of a large quantity of “NATO ammunition” in an UN peacekeeping convoy coming from Butmir airport.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian