During the cross-examination of Dutch officer Evert Albert Rave, Mladic’s defense counsel put it to him that UNPROFOR failed to demilitarize the Srebrenica enclave and disarm the BH Army’s 28th Division. The BH Army troops were able to ‘deceive’ UNPROFOR: they would hide the weapons whenever the ‘blue helmets’ appeared

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

For a while now, General Ratko Mladic complied with the Trial Chamber’s order to refrain from reacting as the witnesses testified. Today, he often stood up and spoke loudly to his defense counsels. Witness Evert Albert Rave, former security officer in the UN Dutch Battalion, complained during one of the breaks to the witness unit that Mladic made gestures at him. The Trial Chamber will now watch the video recording of the hearing to verify the complaint and decide what measures to take.

As the cross-examination continued, Mladic’s defense counsel put it to the witness that the Muslims in the Srebrenica enclave retained their weapons despite the UN forces’ mandate to demilitarize the area. ‘Civilians on both sides carried arms’, Rave replied. The ‘blue helmets’ did their best to demilitarize the enclave but they weren’t able to disarm completely either the people or the 28th Division, Rave explained.

The defense counsel showed the witness an interview from August 1995, under the headline ‘Faulty Weapons Were Handed In’. In the interview the 28th Division commander Naser Oric claimed that they had surrendered ‘useless weapons and heavy artillery that was impossible to conceal’; the BH Army retained 4,000 rifles and at least 20 cannons. The witness replied he didn’t know how many weapons the BH Army had in the enclave; UNPROFOR confiscated the weapons when they saw them. Oric also claimed that his troops hid the weapons from UNPROFOR; the defense counsel concluded that the ‘blue helmets’ were ‘deceived’.The witness agreed that it was not difficult to hide weapons in such a large zone.

According to a 28th Division document showed by the defense, in late June 1995 several commando actions were launched from the Srebrenica area; about 60 VRS soldiers were killed in those attacks. The witness replied that he didn’t have access to the information that went through the BH Army chain of command. However, the witness noted that they heard the rumors about those actions. They couldn’t verify them because they couldn’t get out of the enclave and didn’t have the necessary equipment, Rave said.

After Rave completed the evidence, the prosecution called Leendert van Duijn. He is a police commissioner in the Dutch national police, and in 1995, he was a lieutenant in the UN Dutch Battalion deployed in Srebrenica.

Ratko Mladic in the courtroom
Evert Albert Rave, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial