Ratko Mladic’s defense intends to open its case with the evidence of nine witnesses who have previously testified in Radovan Karadzic’s defense – despite the fact that the former military commander and the war-time president of the Bosnian Serbs have often tried to shift the blame on each other for the crimes they are tried for

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

Ratko Mladic's defense case will start on 13 May 2014 with the opening statement. At the beginning of his case, Mladic will focus on contesting the prosecutions evidence on the responsibility of the Bosnian Serb military commander for the sniper and artillery terror campaign against the Sarajevo citizens. That is one of four joint criminal enterprise Mladic stands accused of.

Interestingly, Mladic chose to open his defense case with the evidence of nine witnesses who have, all but one, testified in Radovan Karadzics defense. This despite the fact that the two accused have, in the course of their trials, blamed each other and denied that they had any sort of a relationship during the war in BH:

The defense disclosed the statements of nine witnesses. Seven of them Predrag Trapara, Dragan Maletic, Milorad Dzida, Slavko Gengo, Nikola Mijatovic, Mile Sladoje and Dusan Skrba are former officers in the VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. In their statements to the defense all the witnesses denied the responsibility of their units for the crimes against the citizens of Sarajevo. Their explanations have been heard many times before the Tribunal. The witnesses maintain that the BH Army held dominant positions in the city and used them to open sniper and artillery fire on the civilians. The Serb side was just defending itselfand occasionally responded to the provocations from the city.

Branko Radan and Zdravko Cvoro, the remaining two witnesses, are former officials from Sarajevo municipalities of Novo Sarajevo and Pale. According to the defense brief, Radan and Cvoro will deny the responsibility of Serb military and police forces for the crimes that had led to the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Croats in those municipalities.

In their evidence in Karadzics defense, Mladics future witnesses denied strongly the responsibility of the Serb side for the major incidents in Sarajevo: the two mortar attacks on the Markale Town Market, the shelling of a bread queue in Vase Miskina Street, the shelling of people queuing for water in Dobrinja and the shelling that killed children in Alipasino Polje. Both Karadzic and Mladic are charged with those crimes. The witnesses blamed the BH Army for the attacks, claiming that they had all been stagedto blame the Serbs.

In addition to the terror campaign against the Sarajevo citizens, Mladic is on trial for genocide and other crimes committed in 1992 in the BH municipalities the Serbs claimed as their own, for the Srebrenica genocide in 1995 and for taking UN staff hostage. Last week Judge Orie's Trial Chamber rejected the motion to acquit Mladic on some of the counts in the indictment. The former Bosnian Serb army commander will have to answer the accusation in all 11 counts.