After the Trial Chamber granted a one-month adjournment of the trial, General Ratko Mladic has requested the judges to reconsider the decision and to postpone the prosecution’s case for six months. The prosecution has submitted an amended list with the names of 14 witnesses to be examined in the first stage of its case, from 25 June to 20 July 2012

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

The defense of the former VRS Main Staff commander Ratko Mladic has asked for the trial to be adjourned for six months, to allow it to go through the evidence the prosecution has disclosed with delay. The defense has already submitted a number of similar motions. The Trial Chamber has denied most of them and partially granted one of them.

In its latest motion, the defense has asked the Trial Chamber to reconsider its decision of 24 May 2012 postponing the start of the prosecution case from 29 May to 25 June 2012. The decision was ‘made in haste’, the defense argues, and was based on “clear errors’. The judges failed to take into consideration ‘new relevant information and arguments’ presented by the defense. According to the defense, the judges’ decision was motivated by their determination to start the trial as soon as possible. It may even serve as evidence of their ‘bias’. The defense has concluded that the Trial Chamber made the decision “based on mis-understanding by the Chamber of the technical capabilities of computer technology”.

Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic claims he has yet to receive all the information necessary for the cross-examination of the first witnesses, scheduled to give evidence from 25 June to 20 July 2012. The prosecution plans to examine just 14 of the 24 witnesses in had initially planned to call in the first segment of its case. The witnesses will testify about the massacres in the municipalities of Kotor Varos and Sanski Most, the start of the shelling campaign and one sniper incident in Sarajevo in May 1992, and the crimes in Srebrenica in July 1995. The Trial Chamber will also hear evidence about the structure of the VRS and the way in which Mladic exercised his authority.

The first witness on the prosecution list is Elvedin Pasic. In November 1992, Pasic survived the execution of about 150 persons in the village of Grabovica in Kotor Varos municipality. The following witnesses will all deal with the events in Srebrenica: the judges will hear a survivor of the execution at the Branjevo farm, a UN military observer Joseph Kingori, a Dutch Battalion soldier Eelco Koster, a medical doctor who will testify under protective measures, and former security officer in the VRS Bratunac Brigade, Momir Nikolic. Nikolic pleaded guilty to the crimes in Srebrenica.

In the week of 9 July 2012, the prosecution will call Rajif Begic, a survivor of the massacre in the village of Vrhpolje in the municipality of Sanski Most. He will be followed by the prosecution military expert, General Sir Richard Dannat, former commander of the British armed forces, and David Harland, former civil affairs chief in the UN mission. In the last working week before the summer recess, the court will hear testimony of two persons who were injured in one of the first shelling incidents in Sarajevo, a VRS insider who will testify about the instructions issued to the snipers in Sarajevo, former firefighter in the international fire brigade John Jordan and the Sky News war correspondent Aernout van Lynden.