Former police inspector Dragomir Andan testified at the trial of Ratko Mladic about the role of the VRS Main Staff in the operations against the paramilitary formations in Brcko, Bijeljina and Zvornik in June and July 1992. By that time, most of the non-Serbs had already been expelled from the three municipalities, the prosecution alleges

Dragomir Andan, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialDragomir Andan, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

After protected witness GRM 311 completed his evidence, the defense of former commander of the VRS Main Staff Ratko Mladic called his next witness, Dragomir Andan. Through the testimony of the former police inspector, the defense wants to shows that the VRS took part in the effort to arrest and prosecute paramilitaries, and that it observed the laws of war in their counter-offensive operations. Also, the defense wanted to show that General Mladic ordered and oversaw the exchanges of prisoners, called for investigations when prisoners were abused and that he never issued an order that ran counter to the Geneva Conventions.

In the examination-in-chief, Andan said he met Mladic several times during the war. Mladic and Andan first met in July 1992 in the VRS Main Staff in Han Pijesak. Andan, Mico Davidovic and VRS officers were making plans for a joint military and police operation against the paramilitary unit called the Yellow Wasps, which was active in Zvornik. Mladic then shook hands with them and saluted them, saying welcome to the honest peoples club. Mladic said they couldnt stabilize the frontline before they dealt with the paramilitaries whose only goal was looting and expellingthe non-Serbs. Mladic also noted that Serbs are not alone in this war, that the entire world is watchingthem, that they have to protect Croats and Muslimsand make every effort to observe the Geneva Conventions.

At the beginning of the cross-examination, Andan confirmed that Serbs put up road blocks in Sarajevo in March 1992. Momcilo Mandic, who was the deputy police minister in the Republic, was actively involved in that. On 31 March 1992, Mandic issued the order establishing the Serb police force. For two months, Andan refused to join the Serb MUP, but finally agreed to do it after he received several threats. Later in the cross-examination Andan spoke about his role in the operations against paramilitary formations in Brcko; Bijeljina and Zvornik. These three BH municipalities were comparatively rich, and this is why the paramilitaries targeted them.

Andan recounted how he went to Brcko in early June 1992 and stayed there for two or three weeks. During that period the witness was able to set up the police station and to stabilize the security situation. Afterwards, things escalated againwhen members of Captain Dragans Red Berets unit and Arkans men started causing trouble. Prosecutor Camille Bibles asked the witness if he heard about Goran Jelisic Adolf killing dozens of Muslims in front of the police building. Andan replied that he had heard about it, but at a later stage. In Andans words, he also became aware of the Luka prison camp at a later time. As far as the witness knew, the prison camp was under the VRS control. The Batkovic prison camp in Bijeljina was also under the military control, Andan said. On one occasion, Andan intervened on behalf of his friend Ante Vidovic, and obtained his release from the Batkovic prison camp. Vidovic was arrested and detained just because he was a Croat.

As the hearing drew to a close, Andan was asked about the operation launched by the Serb troops against the paramilitary formation known as Yellow Wasps in Zvornik. The prosecution suggested that the operation, just like those in Brcko and Zvornik, was carried out only after most of the non-Serbs had been expelled from those municipalities and after the paramilitaries started robbing and abusing the Serbs. According to Andan, the main reason for the operation was because the Serb forces on the frontlines were restlessbecause of what the paramilitaries were doing. In late July, when the operation started in the Zvornik area, there were still some Muslims left there. However, the witness agreed that many Muslims had by then already left.

The cross-examination of Dragan Andan continues on Tuesday, 10 June 2014.