The prosecution military and intelligence analyst Reynaud Theunens says Ratko Mladic was an ‘active’ commander who ‘de facto led combat operations’. Mladic was ‘very well informed’ about the activities of his units. As the commander of the Main Staff, Mladic implemented the policy formulated in the Bosnian Serb strategic goals. This is the ninth, and probably the last time that Theunens is testifying before the Tribunal. The defense may open its case on 13 May 2014

Reynaud Theunens, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialReynaud Theunens, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

The prosecution’s case is drawing to a close with the evidence of military and intelligence expert Reynaud Theunens. The prosecution case began on 9 July 2012. This is Theunens’s ninth and probably the last appearance as a prosecution witness. Theunens worked for the OTP until 2009 and has been the chief of the Joint Mission Analysis Centre (JMAC) in the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL) in Lebanon.

In September 2012, Theunens wrote an expert report for Mladic’s trial in which he analyzed Mladic’s role as the deputy commander of the JNA 2nd Military District and the VRS Commander. Having examined a series of documents, Theunens concluded that Ratko Mladic was an ‘active’ commander who ‘intervened’ whenever he thought the chain of command was not observed or that he was not kept sufficiently informed about the events. Mladic ‘moved outside the headquarters’, personally visited command posts and ‘de facto led combat operations’, Theunens concluded.

Theunens’s report covers the period from the beginning of 1992 to the end of 1995. Although he didn’t have many documents from the first period, until 12 May 1992 when the VRS was formed, Theunens was nevertheless able to conclude that Mladic was kept ‘very well’ informed in a ‘systematic’ manner about the activities of the units and commands at all times.

Theunens said that the Bosnian Serb strategic goals articulated at the Assembly session on 12 May 1992 represented the ‘key political guidelines governing the VRS operations until the end of the conflict’. The strategic goals called for the separation of the Serb people from the other ethnic communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and defined the geographical territory of the envisaged Serb state, with borders on the rivers Neretva and Una, with the Posavina corridor, a part of the divided Sarajevo and access to the sea. The Drina river was no longer to be a border. Theunens’s evidence will continue on Thursday and most likely into next week.

Before Theunens took the stand, Mladic’s defense completed the cross-examination of the prosecution political expert Patrick Treanor. The defense counsel argued that until the VRS was officially established, Mladic ‘didn’t have any powers over the Territorial Defense forces’, which were under the ‘command’ of Bogdan Subotic and under the ‘control’ of Radovan Karadzic. Also, the defense counsel claimed that paramilitary units outside the VRS control were active in mid-1992 in Krajina and Banja Luka.

Presiding judge Orie stated that the Trial Chamber was ready to agree to the defense’s request for six months to prepare the defense case. The Trial Chamber was willing in principle to allow Mladic’s defense to open its case on 13 May 2014. The exact date of the beginning of the defense case will be announced later.