The defense suggested that General Ratko Mladic helped the UN troops to keep the peace, that he insisted on disarming and arresting the paramilitaries who committed crimes, that he was against the use of modified air bombs and that he could not exercise direct command in combat operations. Theunens said that Mladic’s intentions were ‘ostensibly’ good, but an analysis of the documents indicated that the opposite was the case, Theunens explained

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

Prosecution military and intelligence expert Reynaud Theunens claimed in the examination-in-chief that in early 1992, Ratko Mladic, who was the commander of the JNA Knin Corps at the time, tried to undermine the Vance Plan for Krajina. Mladic handed out the JNA weapons to the local police and Territorial Defense units, Theunens said. The defense argued that Mladic did it in an effort to help the UN to keep the peace.

In a document from January 1992, Mladic wrote that the deployment of the UN peace keepers in Krajina in line with the Vance Plan secured the end of conflict in Croatia and guaranteed to the Serb people that the ‘Ustasha genocide’ wouldn’t happen again. Theunens remarked that conclusions couldn’t be based on a single example. A number of documents from February to April 1992 show, that despite Mladic’s ‘ostensibly good intentions’ weapons and personnel continued to be shunted to the RSK units. This contributed to the undermining of the Vance Plan.

In his report, Theunens said that Mladic was ‘involved in the crimes in Croatia and Bosnia committed by the volunteers and the paramilitaries’ by doing nothing to prevent the crimes. In a bid to contest the claim, the defense counsel showed a document from July 1992, in which Mladic called for the disarming, arrest and prosecution of the paramilitaries who had committed crimes. Theunens replied that the orders should have been carried out as the next step, but that wasn’t always the case.

A part of Theunens’s report was dedicated to the ‘open conflict’ between Mladic and Karadzic in 1995. According to the defense counsel, Karadzic as the supreme commander tried to ‘bypass’ Mladic by issuing direct orders to the VRS units. Theunens responded that the statement was ‘too strong’; he did confirm that on one occasion Mladic suspected that General Dragomir Milosevic, the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commander, was acting on someone else’s orders when he intended to attack Sarajevo with modified air bombs. When the defense counsel suggested that the decisions of the political leadership influenced Mladic’s ability to exercise command, Theunens replied that he didn’t see a single document in which Mladic complained about not being able to exercise command and control in the Republika Srpska Army.

The defense counsel tried to contest Theunens’s conclusion that Mladic commanded combat operations directly. There was no indication that Mladic had issued any orders to the Drina Corps during the Srebrenica operation, the defense counsel argued. Theunens agreed that he hadn’t seen any such documents. However, Theunens said that there was a report drafted by a special police commander which indicated that Mladic personally commanded the operations in the Srebrenica area.

Theunens might complete his expert testimony Thursday.