Several VRS generals have refused to obey Radovan Karadzic’s requests and give evidence in his defense. Ratko Mladic is the latest to rebuff Karadzic, who promptly addressed the Trial Chamber asking it to issue a subpoena to the former Main Staff commander to compel him to testify in Karadzic’s defense

Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic in the courtroom

Former VRS generals have for the most part been rather unwilling to obey Radovan Karadzic’s requests to testify in his defense. Ratko Mladic, former VRS Main Staff commander is the latest addition to their number. Radislav Krstic, Milenko Zivanovic, Zdravko Tolimir and Ljubisa Beara have all rebuffed Karadzic. It was Karadzic who appointed Mladic to the top army post in May 1992. After the latest rejection, the former Republika Srpska president filed a motion asking the Trial Chamber to issue a subpoena to Mladic to compel him to testify on 29 July 2013 in his defense.

In his motion, Karadzic argues that he has done everything he could to obtain Mladic’s voluntary testimony. On 16 April 2013 Mladic’s lawyers submitted Mladic’s final refusal. Mladic is exercising his right to remain silent at his trial before the Tribunal; the charges against him are almost identical as those against Karadzic. The defense also noted Mladic was in poor physical and mental health. ‘[Mladic] is barely able to attend his own trial; at times, he has been unable to do so’, Mladic’s lawyers noted in the letter.

Karadzic hopes Mladic will confirm that there was no joint criminal enterprise and that Mladic never informed him in writing or orally that the Muslim captives were or would be executed in Srebrenica. Also, Karadzic expects Mladic to confirm that he ‘regularly tried to convince’ him that the shelling and sniping in Sarajevo were not random and disproportionate, that the UN protests were unfounded and that Serbs didn’t shell Markale in 1994 and 1995.

Karadzic argues that Mladic would be able to confirm that at their meetings and in their conversations they didn’t plan and arrange the expulsion of Muslims and Croats. Mladic could corroborate that the decision to take UN members hostage in May 1995 was reached as a result of their belief that the UN had become a warring faction, Karadzic said. This made the UN soldiers prisoners of war, not hostages. Finally, Karadzic expects Mladic to clarify ‘what exactly he thought and meant’ in some of the entries in his war diaries. Mladic’s diaries were admitted into evidence in the case against the former Republika Srpska president, who is charged with genocide and other crimes in BH.