In the opinion of the former chief of security in the East Bosnia Corps Milenko Todorovic, General Tolimir ‘partly’ operated outside of his purview when he ordered the Corps command in charge of the Batkovic prison camp to prepare the accommodation for about 1,000 to 1,200 prisoners from Srebrenica

Milenko Todorovic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialMilenko Todorovic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

In his examination-in-chief at the trial of Ratko Mladic, Colonel Milenko Todorovic claimed that in July 1995 he received an order from General Zdravko Tolimir from the VRS Main Staff. Tolimir purportedly told Todorovic to relay a task to the Corps command to prepare the accommodation for about 1,000 to 1,200 prisoners in the Batkovic prison camp near Bijeljina. The prisoners would be exchanged for the VRS soldiers captured by the BH Army in Lisaca.

In a subsequent telephone conversation, Tolimir told Todorovic that the prisoners from Srebrenica wouldn’t be arriving. In the cross-examination, Mladic’s defense counsel called into question the ‘appropriateness’ of Tolimir’s order. According to Mladic’s defense counsel, the order was not in line with the chain of command.

In the re-examination, the prosecutor presented to the witness two documents from the Main Staff, which, in the prosecutor’s view, showed that Tolimir, who was Mladic’s assistant for security and intelligence, was legally authorized to issue orders to the East Bosnia Corps command. Todorovic explained that Tolimir ‘partly did and in part didn’t’ operate within his purview. As Todorovic considered Tolimir’s request as an ‘instruction’, he didn’t see anything controversial in its implementation. If that request had been couched as an order, it would have been ‘outside of Tolimir’s ’purview’. However, as he found it ‘difficult’ to answer in a simple way, the witness concluded that ‘basically nothing was contrary to law’.

The next witness at Mladic’s trial will testify in closed session under the pseudonym RM 038. Barry Hogan, OTP investigator, returns to the witness stand next. In September 2013, Hogan testified about the VRS sniper and artillery actions in Sarajevo.