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Intercepting Bosnian Serb Army’s Links

26. January 2015.00:00
Defence witness Nedo Blagojevic told Ratko Mladic's trial in the Hague that Bosnian Army was not able to fully intercept radio relay links of the Bosnian Serb Army in east Bosnia.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Blagojevic, former chief of communications in the Drina Corps of Bosnian Serb Army, said that Bosnian Army in best case could intercept one party from the Bosnian Serb Army who were talking trough the relay link, because that kind of connection means different frequencies for each party.

He added that connections between Bosnian Serb Army’s Headquarters, command and different units of the Drina Corps were established trough the relay in former Yugoslavia.

“Hubs and devices of Yugoslav Army were mediators for connection with HQ and Drina Corps of the Bosnian Serb Army,” Blagojevic said.

Blagojevic said that it was not possible to intercept communication of Bosnian Serb Army’s members in Zvornik and higher commands because of the terrain and formation on the front and communication went trough Yugoslav Army’s relays in Serbia.

Former Bosnian Serb military chief Mladic is on trial for genocide in several municipalities in 1992. He is also accused of genocide in Srebrenica in 1995, the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats across the country, as well as terrorising the population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

During the cross examination by prosecutor Peter McCloskey, Blagojevic, however, confirmed that all the connections, which were redirected from the relay in Serbia towards Zvornik and other places in east Bosnia, could have been intercepted, but that would be “difficult”, because the enemy had to enter “beam” of the signal from relay.

After the prosecutor presented documents where Mladic and chief of security of Drina corps Vujadin Popovic warned in the summer of 1995 that Bosnian Army successfully intercepts radio and radio relay links of Bosnian Serb Army, Blagojevic said that “he has no reason to disagree” with them.

The Hague tribunal sentenced Popovic to life in prison for genocide in Srebrenica. Final verdict in his case is scheduled for January 30.

Prosecutor McCloskey presented the witness with several transcripts of the conversation intercepted by Bosnian Army, in which both parties from Bosnian Serb Army are quoted. Blagojevic, however, repeated that it was possible to intercept only one party.

Asked by the preceding judge Alphons Orie whether it was possible to intercept both parties, in case the party that listens knew both frequencies they used, witness confirmed it was possible.

“Both side must have been intercepted separately, and then to assemble the whole conversation,” Blagojevic explained.

During the presentation of evidence, prosecution showed many conversations of Bosnian Serb Army’s officers, including Mladic, which were intercepted by Bosnian Army. Defence challenged the authenticity of those conversations.

Blagojevic confirmed that he was present as a duty officer of Drina Corps, when Mladic appointed former lieutenant colonel Radoslav Krstic to command the unit. According to the indictment, first mass killings of Muslim prisoners from Srebrenica were committed that day and lasted until July 18.

Krstic was convicted to 35 years by the Hague tribunal in 2004 for aiding and abbeting genocide in Srebrenica.

Mladic’s trial continues on Tueasday, January 27.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian