Former head of military observers in Sarajevo John Wilson said that after the heavy shelling of Sarajevo on 28 May 1992 he listened to an intercepted conversation in which General Ratko Mladic ordered his troops to attack. The JNA officers inside the city distanced themselves from the attack, claiming that Mladic was 'out of control'. The accused again could not restrain himself and was once again removed from court for obstructing the trial

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

The examination-in chief of Australian general John Wilson, former head of the UN military observers in BH, continued today at the trial of Ratko Mladic. Wilson described 'one of the two hardest nights' he experienced during his he stay in Sarajevo, from mid-May to late June 1992. The shelling began on 28 May 1992 at 5pm and lasted until the early morning on the next day. According to the witness, between 5,000 and 10,000 shells were fired on the city; most of them landed on downtown Sarajevo.

The day after the attack, General Wilson was invited to a meeting with the representatives of the BH authorities and JNA officers; the latter were waiting for an agreement to evacuate their units from the city. Minister Jerko Doko played to the people at the meeting a recording of a radio message intercepted on 28 May 1992. In the intercept, Ratko Mladic ordered his troops to attack Pofalici and Velesici because 'there is not much Serb population there', the Dobrovoljacka, Humska and Djure Djakovic Street and the BH Presidency building. 'But use artillery reconnaissance so that they can’t sleep, we’ll roll out their minds', Mladic ordered his subordinate officer.

Asked how the attendees reacted after the intercept was played, General Wilson said that they were 'confused, astounded and surprised'. Even the JNA representatives wanted to distance themselves from the attack. General Boskovic and Colonel Cado apologized, saying Mladic was 'out of control' and that he ignored the JNA orders to stop the shelling.

A day after the order was broadcast on Radio Sarajevo, Mladic denied in an intercepted conversation that it was his voice. Talking to a man called Popara, Mladic said, 'they make a mockery and fool their people' by hiring 'pantomime actors or good imitators who can imitate voices successfully, mine, yours, everybody's'. Asked if anyone at the meeting of 29 May 1992 thought it was not Mladic's voice in the recording, General Wilson replied that six JNA officers and several BH Presidency officials present at the meeting 'didn't have the slightest doubt that it was General Mladic's voice'.

In a bid to prove that the accused had absolute control over the VRS forces holding Sarajevo under siege, the prosecutor showed a conversation intercepted on 25 May 1992 in which Mladic announces there would be 'retaliation and shock’' if the JNA barracks are not evacuated on time. 'I have blocked Sarajevo from all four sides. There is no way out. It’s caught in a mousetrap', Mladic added. The witness said that those words reflected what in fact had been 'the reality in the field' at the time.

In the second part of the hearing, Mladic's counsel Nenad Petrusic started cross-examining the witness. Just before the end of the last session, the accused was removed from the courtroom. The Trial Chamber decided to throw him out after Mladic was repeatedly warned not to speak loudly to his defense counsels and to comply with the Trial Chamber’s decision compelling him to communicate with his lawyers 'silently', using written notes. The decision was made because Mladic would use his verbal communication with the defense to influence the witnesses. Mladic will be allowed to return to the courtroom after John Wilson completes his testimony.