The prosecution has filed a proposal to reduce the indictment charging Ratko Mladic with ethnic cleansing in BH municipalities, terror campaign in Sarajevo, genocide in Srebrenica and taking UN staff hostage. The prosecution has dropped almost half of the incidents listed in the existing indictment but argues that the remaining crimes reflect the criminal conduct attributed to the former VRS commander

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

On the deadline set by the Trial Chamber, the prosecution filed its proposal to reduce the indictment charging the accused former commander of the VRS Main staff Ratko Mladic with double genocide and other crimes in BH. According to the proposal, the indictment will be significantly reduced but the scope and substance of the accusations against Mladic will remain the same.

According to the prosecution’s proposal, Mladic will still stand trial for genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war. As alleged in the indictment, the crimes were committed as part of the persecution aimed at a forcible and permanent elimination of Bosnian Muslims and Croats from large parts of the BH territory. Mladic is also charged with the terror campaign against civilians in Sarajevo, taking UN staff hostage in May and June 1995 and genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.

As the prosecution contends, the crimes that remain in the indictment ‘reasonably and appropriately’ reflect the criminal conduct of the accused and ‘establish the basis for the conviction’ on all 11 counts. The prosecution has opted for those crimes as they are representative of the atrocities committed in ‘different regions of BH’ and of the scope of harm and injury suffered by victims. The crimes include large scale murders, forcible transfer, persecution, unlawful detention, inhumane treatment, torture, sexual violence, theft or destruction of private property and of religious and cultural heritage.

According to the table attached to the proposal, the prosecution will call evidence about 66 incidents in 15 municipalities: Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Foca, Ilidza, Kalinovik, Kljuc, Kotor Varos, Novi Grad, Pale, Prijedor, Rogatica, Sanski Most, Sokolac, Trnovo and Vlasenica. The prosecution has decided not to call any evidence on the crimes in eight municipalities but reserves the right to do so in order to prove the criminal intent of the accused. According to the proposal, the new indictment will drop the municipalities of Bosanska Krupa, Bosanski Novi, Bratunac, Brcko, Hadzici, Novo Sarajevo, Vogosca and Zvornik.

As for the siege of Sarajevo, the prosecution has decided to call evidence about ten sniper and ten artillery incidents, which best reflect the elements of unlawful attack on Sarajevo and the involvement of the accused. In the Srebrenica part of the indictment, the prosecution will drop only two incidents, in which eight people lost their lives. Any further reduction of that part of the indictment would be ‘inappropriate’, the prosecution believes. Finally, the prosecution maintains that there is no need to reduce the part of the indictment relating to hostage-taking: this was a single incident and it will not take long to prove it.

General Mladic’s defense should file their response to the prosecution’s proposal by 25 November 2011.