Mladic’s loud claims that the witness was ‘making things up’ and ‘lying’ resulted in the judges ordering the accused to be removed from the courtroom. The protected witness, who is a survivor of the execution of the Muslim detainees on the Branjevo Farm on 16 July 1995, continued and ended his evidence without the accused

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

Ratko Mladic missed two days of his trial for health reasons. Today, he was back in court but not for long. Less than half an hour into the evidence of the protected witness RM 346, the Trial Chamber ordered Mladic to be removed from the courtroom in punishment for unacceptable comments about the witness’s testimony.

The witness first confirmed the evidence he had given previously at the trials of Radoslav Krstic and Radovan Karadzic. After the fall of Srebrenica on 11 July 1995, he tried to break through to Tuzla in a column of soldiers and civilians. The witness was captured and detained at several locations. Finally, on 16 July 1995 the witness was taken to be executed: he miraculously survived. After 25 minutes of the trial, Mladic was allowed by the Trial Chamber to leave the courtroom briefly. When he returned, Mladic made loud comments about the witness’s testimony saying that he was ‘making things up’ and ‘lying’. This prompted the presiding judge to order that the accused be removed from court. Irritated by the order, Mladic made vulgar and offensive comments about the witness and the presiding judge. RM 346 then continued his evidence in the absence of the accused.

After he was held captive at the football stadium and the primary school in Nova Kasaba the witness was taken to Bratunac and the primary school in Pilica near Zvornik. From there the witness was taken to the Branjevo military farm, where, as the indictment alleges, more than 1,000 Muslims captured after the fall of Srebrenica were executed on 16 July 1995. The witness was wounded but managed to flee from the execution site the next day, only to be recaptured and taken to the Batkovic prison camp. The witness was released on 26 December 1995.

In the cross-examination, Mladic’s defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic focused mostly on the witness’s claim that Mladic was at the football stadium in Nova Kasaba when a detainee was brutally beaten up and killed. In a bid to challenge his evidence, the defense counsel brought up the witness’s statements to the BH authorities in 1996. The defense counsel put it to the witness that the timeline for Mladic’s purported presence at the football stadium in these statements didn’t correspond to the witness’s description of events in his testimony in court. The witness nevertheless remained adamant that the prisoner was killed while Mladic was there.

At the end of the witness’s testimony, the Trial Chamber didn’t allow him to comment on the incident with the accused. The hearing continued with the testimony of the former head of the OTP’s Srebrenica investigation team, Jean Rene Ruez.He will continue testifying tomorrow.