MLADIC ABSENT DURING PART OF TRIAL
Ratko Mladic missed the final part of the evidence of British general Michael Rose because he was due to meet the Serbian justice minister in the Detention Unit. Later in the day, the accused returned to the dock and followed the testimony of protected witness RM 46, who had been detained in the Foca Correctional and Penal Facility
Ratko Mladic missed the first part of the hearing because he was due to meet the Serbian justice minister Nikola Selakovic in the UN Detention Unit in Scheveningen. Mladic’s request for the postponement of the hearing to accommodate the meeting was denied yesterday. Friday morning, Mladic’s lawyers submitted his written waiver of the right to attend the trial to the Trial Chamber.
After the cross-examination of British general Michael Rose, Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic said he was satisfied with Rose’s testimony. This may be because General Rose said that the USA and NATO ‘decided to breach their own resolutions and arm and train’ the BH Army in late 1994. The British general also said that the UNPROFOR soldiers under his command directed NATO pilots during the air strikes against Serb positions around Gorazde in April 1994.
Defense counsel Lukic tried to prove that the entire international community was against the Serbs, putting it to the witness that in the peace negotiations Serbs were always offered less territory. Bosniaks were offered more territory than they had under their control, Lukic argued. Rose replied that Serbs were ‘probably’ offered less territory. The British general didn’t want to debate in detail about the actual size of the territory the warring sides were offered, but at one point he said that in 1994 Serbs held under their control about 70 per cent of the BH territory.
After General Rose completed his evidence, Mladic returned to the courtroom to attend the testimony of another witness. The witness, a medical doctor from Foca, testified under the pseudonym RM 46 and with image and voice distortion as protective measures. After his arrest on 11 April 1992, the witness was first detained in the military hangar in Livade. Some days later, the witness was transferred to the Foca Correctional and Penal Facility and in July 1993 ended up in the Kula prison. After a year, the witness was released and exchanged.
The witness’s written statement was admitted into evidence. According to the summary of the statement, detainees in the Foca Correctional and Penal Facility (KP Dom) were mostly civilians. Many of them were elderly and physically and mentally ill. Prisoners were subjected to physical abuse and many of them were taken out of their cells never to be seen alive again. The witness said that the Serb forces took out detainees to retaliate for the losses they suffered in the battlefield.
In the examination-in-chief, the witness said that 45 detainees in the Foca KP Dom were taken out on 17 September 1992 and killed. Mladic’s defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic asked the witness in the cross-examination why he believed those persons had been killed. The bodies of all those men were found in mass graves after the war, the witness replied. Stojanovic tried to prove that the VRS, which was under Mladic’s command, had nothing to do with the prison facility. However, according to the witness, soldiers often came to the Foca KP Dom, especially at the beginning. Soldiers entered the cells and took prisoners to a room called ‘the torture chamber.’
Former warden of the KP Dom Milorad Krnojelac was sentenced in The Hague to 15 years in prison for crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war. After serving more than a half of the Tribunal’s sentence in a prison in Italy, Krnojelac was released because his health deteriorated.