General Manojlo Milovanovic said at the trial of Ratko Mladic that the order of the Republika Srpska Supreme Command in Directive 7 – to create unbearable living conditions in Srebrenica and Zepa – was illegal. However, Milovanovic blamed it on Karadzic alone

Manojlo Milovanovic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialManojlo Milovanovic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

In his evidence at the trial of Ratko Mladic, General Manojlo Milovanovic said that the order of the Republika Srpska Supreme Command in the notorious Directive 7 was in his view ‘illegal’. ‘By planned and well-thought-out combat operations, create an unbearable situation of total insecurity, with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica and Zepa’, the directive instructed the troops.

Today, prosecutor Dermot Groome continued questioning Milovanovic. Under the Geneva conventions, the population of Srebrenica and Zepa couldn’t be a legitimate military target, the witness said. Therefore, in Milovanovic’s view, Directive 7 signed by the Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic on 8 March 1995 was illegal.

Yet, as regards Directive 7/1 issued by Mladic some days after he received Karadzic’s directive, Milovanovic claimed that it was completely legal because it didn’t contain the controversial sentence about the creation of unbearable living conditions in the enclaves. According to Milovanovic, Mladic was aware of the illegality of that section and left it out ‘on purpose’.

The fact that the Drina Corps command forwarded the order about the creation of unbearable conditions to his subordinated units was a result of the ‘mistake on the part of Karadzic’s administration’, Milovanovic claimed. Karadzic’s directive was sent directly to the corps by mistake before Mladic had a chance to send his document. Milovanovic added that he didn’t have any particular knowledge about the whole situation and that his conclusions were based on his interpretation of what had happened.

Prosecutor Groome asked the witness about the shelling of Sarajevo and the use of modified air bombs. Milovanovic confirmed that Momcilo Perisic, chief of the VJ General Staff, tried to get him to discuss aerosol bombs in January 1994. Perisic told Milovanovic that he had spoken about it with Mladic. ‘Plavi, I am not interested in what you guys from Herzegovina are thinking up. If anyone has to tell me something, it had to be Mladic’, Milovanovic retorted brusquely.

Milovanovic explained that at the time he didn’t know anything about aerosol bombs. The only thing he did hear was that they were used to ‘change the weather’. Nevertheless, Milovanovic confirmed that he knew Colonel Ivan Djokic, VJ expert on anti-aircraft rockets. The prosecution alleges that Djokic helped the VRS to develop modified air bombs, which were called the ‘contraption’ at that stage.

Milovanovic said that he saw just a model of the ‘contraption’. In Milovanovic’s words, he knew that the weapon couldn’t be used on ‘pinpoint’ targets but was better suited for targeting larger areas. Milovanovic repeated that the use of modified air bombs was supervised at the level of the VRS Main Staff by artillery chief Rajko Balac. Tomorrow Mladic’s defense counsels will cross-examine the former chief of the VRS Main Staff.