In a bid to show that he left Srebrenica immediately after the Bosnian Serb troops took it, Mladic’s defense witness Milenko Jevdjevic claimed that on 11 July 1995 he left the Drina Corps forward command post to attend a meeting of commanders with General Mladic in Bratunac, and the next day he established a communications center for the attack on Zepa. The prosecution didn’t contest this timeline, but argued that the events took place one day later

Milenko Jevdjevic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialMilenko Jevdjevic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

In the final part of his examination-in-chief at Ratko Mladic’s trial, Milenko Jevdjevic described his role in Operation Krivaja 95, which was launched by the VRS to capture Srebrenica in June 1995. During the attack, the former commander of a Drina Corps signals battalion was in Pribicevac at the Drina Corps forward command post, where he set up a communications center. When the Serb army entered Srebrenica, he followed the troops.

The witness claimed that in the evening of 11 July 1995 he dismantled the communications center, left Pribicevac and went to Bratunac via Srebrenica and Potocari. As the witness recounted, a meeting was held in the Bratunac Brigade barracks around 10pm. General Mladic chaired the meeting, which was attended by the Drina corps commander, General Zivanovic, and General Krstic, the Drina Corps chief of staff, and the commanders of all the brigades that were part of the Corps. The witness was at the meeting as the commander of a signals battalion. According to Jevdjevic, the officers analyzed the situation after the arrival of the Bosnian Serb army in Srebrenica. Mladic ‘expressed his idea’ for all the Corps units to launch Operation Stupcanica 95, whose goal was to capture Zepa.

The witness claimed that Mladic had ordered him to leave Bratunac that same night, to establish a communications center in the new Drina Corps forward command post in Krivaca and to wait for the officers that would lead the attack on Zepa. The witness explained that he set up the communications center in the early afternoon of 12 July 1995.

The prosecutor didn’t contest the timeline presented by Jevdjevic but claimed that all those events happened one day later. The meeting in Bratunac was held in the evening of 12 July 1995, and the forward command post in Krivaca was established on 13 July 1995. In a bid to convince the judges that he went to Zepa immediately after the capture of Srebrenica and that he was not present when the men were arrested in Srebrenica and separated from the women and children in Potocari, the witness stuck to his version of events. He would not budge even when he was confronted with evidence confirming the prosecutor’s allegations.

Prosecutor Hasan showed the war diary which states that the meeting was held in the evening of 12 July 1995 and that Mladic arrived about 10pm. Jevdjevic replied that he was ‘absolutely sure’ that everything happened the evening before and that Trivic was wrong. Jevdjevic was then shown an order issued by the Drina Corps command to set up the Krivaca forward command post on 13 July 1995. The witness responded that he had established the communications center the day before the Corps officers arrived at Krivaca.

In his report, special police commander Ljubomir Borovcanin stated that full control over Potocari was not established until 12 July 1995 at 1pm. That would mean that the truck with the witness and the signalmen couldn’t have passed that way the previous evening. Jevdjevic explained that he had received intelligence that the road to Bratunac was clear. The witness refused to budge in the face of a report by a UN member who stated that no Bosnian Serb military vehicles passed through the UN check point in Zuti Most in Potocari in the evening of 11 July 1995. The Tribunal’s judgment in the Srebrenica Seven case dismissed Jevdjevic’s evidence. The judges in that case concluded that the meeting in Bratunac was held on 12 July 1995.

Since he happened to be in the midst of the military attack on Srebrenica, the prosecutor asked the witness if the chain of command from the accused Mladic down to the Drina Corps command and the units subordinated to them remained ‘intact’ during the entire operation. Jevdjevic said that ‘everything functioned normally’. The witness will continue his evidence on Monday.