After Judge Moloto conveyed to Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic the Trial Chamber’s view that Ratko Mladic should ‘behave’ if he wished to remain in the courtroom and follow his own trial, Lukic ‘apologized to everyone’ on behalf of his client, albeit in closed session. Irish colonel Colm Doyle completed his evidence later today

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

The Trial Chamber reprimanded Ratko Mladic for his unacceptable comments and insults in the courtroom, leveled at witness Aernout Van Linden. As the trial continued, Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic strove to justify his client’s behavior saying he was unwell, tired and even hungry.

After three strokes, Mladic ‘is easily riled’, defense counsel Lukic said. As the trial is on in the morning, Mladic never has time to prepare his own breakfast and when he takes blood pressure medication ‘on an empty stomach’, it is ineffective. Mladic is also frustrated as in his view the prosecution ‘is hiding away documents and disclosing them with delay’. Witnesses, in Mladic’s opinion, ‘don’t tell the truth about him’ and that is why he tends to ‘overreact’.

The judges were not happy with the explanation: they didn’t see why this should make Mladic ‘insult people’. The Trial Chamber also found it unacceptable that the defense team did nothing to check Mladic’s behavior and advise him not to insult people. The defense had to have heard the insults because the prosecution was able to hear them from the opposite side of the courtroom.

‘Tell him if he wants to remain in the courtroom and follow his own trial, he has to behave’, Judge Bakone Moloto told Lukic and other members of the defense team. Lukic then ‘apologized to everyone’ on Mladic’s behalf, but in so-called private session. When the trial continued in open session, Judge Moloto indicated that the Trial Chamber would ask that the part of the hearing when Mladic apologized be made public ‘in the interest of justice and the accused himself’.

In the cross-examination of Irish colonel Colm Doyle, Mladic’s defense counsel Dragan Ivetic tried to prove that the shelling of the RTV building in Sarajevo was justified by military necessity. As far as the Serb side knew, Muslim paramilitaries were stationed in the building and opened fire on Serb positions. According to the defense, the international community blamed Serbs without even checking if there were any troops inside the building.

Doyle in principle agreed that generally speaking facts should be checked before blaming one of the sides. ‘However, I had received advance notice from the Serb side that the building would be shelled’, the witness said. As Doyle said, this prompted him to ask Karadzic for help but Karadzic assured Doyle there would be no attack. In the re-examination, the witness said he had gone to the RTV Sarajevo building on several occasions and saw only civilians there. From the nearby PTT building, where Doyle’s office was located, Doyle never saw any fire opened on the Serb-held positions.

Ratko Mladic’s trial continues on Monday, 27 August 2012 with the evidence of witness RM-147.