CONTESTING PROSECUTION EXPERT’S CREDIBILITY
Ratko Mladic’s defense contends that Andras Riedlmayer, expert on the cultural heritage in the Balkans, is pro-Muslim and biased against Serbs. According to Mladic’s defense, Riedlmayer ‘advocated the Muslims’ interests’ before the International Court of Justice. Riedlmayer replied that he didn’t believe in ethnic divisions but in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a civil state. The defense claimed that the skull in the ruins of the mosque wasn’t that of a pig but of a ‘horned animal’
Ratko Mladic’s defense counsels continued the cross-examination of Andras Riedlmayer, the director of the Documentation Center of Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. Putting it to the witness that he was ‘biased against Serbs’ and that he was involved in the ‘propaganda war’ against Serbs during the BH war, the defense contested Riedlmayer’s credibility. The prosecution had asked Riedlmayer to produce a report on the destruction of Muslim and Catholic religious monuments in 12 BH municipalities listed in the indictment against Ratko Mladic.
Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic described Riedlmayer’s testimony as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s witness in the case against Serbia before the International Court of Justice in 2006 as ‘advocating the Muslim interests’. The witness replied that he had testified as an expert on the Islamic heritage of the Balkans and not as a representative on any of the sides. The witness rejected the defense counsel’s claim that he was ‘anti-Serb’ and ‘pro-Muslim’, saying such claims were tendentious. Riedlmayer denied any preferences for any of the ethnic groups, saying ‘I favor Bosnia and Herzegovina as a civil state and I don’t believe in ethnic divisions’.
In the better part of the cross-examination, the defense counsel asked Riedlmayer the same questions as Vojislav Seselj had when Riedlmayer had testified at his trial in 2008. Most of the questions focused on the witness’s opinions expressed in his private correspondence and on his blog in 1993. In a letter to a friend, Riedlmayer described the ideology of the Serbian Radical Party as neo-fascist. Riedlmayer’s friend then posted the letter on his blog. Today Riedlmayer confirmed that in early 1990s he described the ideology of the extremist nationalism represented by the Serbian Radical Party as analogous to the ideologies from the World War II.
The defense claimed that Ratko Mladic never called for the destruction of Catholic churches or mosques. To respond to this allegation, in the re-examination the prosecutor played a recording of Mladic’s speech in the RS Assembly. The accused then told the deputies that they ‘couldn’t allow that mosques with two minarets’ remain in the area around Tesanj.
Finally, addressing Riedlmayer’s testimony about a pig’s skull that had been found in the interior of the ruined Mosque of Mehmed Pasha Kukavica in Foca, the defense counsel argued that the photo showed the skull of a unicorn animal. The defense counsel compared the skull with the photos showing skulls of various animals on the Internet. In the examination-in-chief, Riedlmayer had said that the pig’s skull was left in the ruins of the religious building intentionally because the Muslims consider pig to be an impure animal. Riedlmayer remained adamant that there was no horn on the skull: as he said, horns grow from an animal’s forehead, not from the cheeks as it appeared in the photo.
After Andras Riedlmayer completed his evidence, the prosecution called Jeremy Bowen, BBC war correspondent in Sarajevo.
- Case : Mladic
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- 2013-10-01 CONTESTING SARAJEVO INCIDENTS
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- 2013-10-18 ‘AN OCEAN OF TRAUMA, DESPERATION, SOLITUDE AND FEAR’
- 2013-10-21 MLADIC’S CURSING IN COURT
- 2013-10-22 PROSECUTION BEGINS CALLING EVIDENCE ON UN HOSTAGES