Prosecution military expert Reynaud Theunens disagreed with the defense of the former special police commander and its attempt to prove that not all Croatian special units were under his ‘discipline and command’ authority in the time of the Operation Storm and after it

Mladen Markac in the courtroom of the TribunalMladen Markac in the courtroom of the Tribunal

One of the conclusions Reynaud Theunens made in his expert report on the structure and operation of the Croatian armed forces is that before, during and after Operation Storm all special police units were under the command of the accused general Mladen Markac. In his cross-examination today, defense counsel Goran Mikulicic said he did not accept that conclusion. In his opinion, some Croatian special police units were deployed in county police administrations; as such ‘they were subordinated only to the county police administration chiefs in terms of discipline and chain of command’.

In 1995 Mladen Markac was the commander of the Croatian special police and assistant interior minister. Together with generals Ante Gotovina and Ivan Cermak, Markac is charged with crimes committed during and after Operation Storm in August 1995.

The defense counsel implied that chiefs of police administrations had the power to propose to the interior minister regarding the appointments of commanders of special police units operating within their administration. As he put it, this ‘indicates there was subordination’. In his reply, the witness was clear that ‘this is not necessarily’ the conclusion to be drawn, adding that Markac had to be informed about those appointments even if they were arranged between the interior minister and the police administration chiefs.

The documents shown by the defense counsel as he continued his examination indicated that before Operation Storm about 2,300 regular and almost 2,500 reserve police were deployed in county police administrations. A part of this force, the defense counsel alleged, participated in Operation Storm in early August 1005 while others remained in their counties to do their regular duties.

After a brief re-examination by the prosecution tomorrow, Theunens will complete his evidence. The witness’s testimony began on 19 November 2009 and lasted 14 court days.