Witness Milenko Jevdjevic claimed that after the fall of Srebrenica the accused Mladic met with the Drina Corps officers in Bratunac on 11 July 1995, not on 12 July 1995. Jevdjevic corroborated his argument with the fact that fish was served for dinner: according to him, that could only mean that it was 11 July 1995, the last day of the apostles’ fast. Confronted with other evidence, the witness finally admitted that fish could have been served the next day, on St. Peter’s day. Yet Jevdjevic seemed unaware that his admission changed the substance of his evidence, corroborating the prosecution case, that Mladic and his officers were in Bratunac when the first transports with captured Muslims started arriving in the town. In the days that followed, the detainees were executed

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

At the beginning of the fourth and last day of evidence of Lieutenant Colonel Milenko Jevdjevic, the focus continued to be on the intercepted conversation between the then Drina Corps commander Radislav Krstic and the chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade, Dragan Obrenovic on 2 August 1995. A person with the same last name as the witness, Jevdjevic, joined the conversation at some point. At the beginning of the conversation,Krstic tells Obrenovic to continue hunting down the Muslim men who were hiding in the woods. 'Dont leave anyone alive, Krstic says. Obrenovic then asked for Jevdjevic and talked to him about herding the cattle left in the Srebrenica area after the Muslim population had left the town.

I was never involved in herding the cattle, my job was to set up the communications system, the witness, who was a signals battalion commander in the Drina Corps, explained. Furthermore, as the witness noted,Obrenovic could be heard saying a word that sounded likeVitoje, and that was not Jevdjevic'snickname. Asked if he recognized the other two participants in the conversation, the witness replied that he couldnt tell because the voice modulationwas high. The prosecutor stressed that Obrenovic was not hindered by the modulation; in his statement to the investigators in The Hague Obrenovic confirmed that the conversation was authentic. Obrenovic said that he recognized his own voice and the voice of General Krstic.

Today, the examination again focused on the same issue as in the previous three days of Jevdjevics testimony: whether General Mladic met the Drina Corps commanders in Bratunac on 11 or on 12 July 1995. The prosecutor alleges that the event took place in the evening of 12 July 1995. The witness on the other hand was categorical that he attended the meeting in Bratunac the previous evening. Jevdjevic, the prosecutor suggested, is lyingbecause he wants to prove that he, Mladic and other VRS officers were not in Srebrenica when the crucial events took place. In other words, the prosecutor explained, Jevdjevic wants to avoid questions about what happened to the captured Muslims who were detained on 12 July 1995 at several locations in Bratunac.

As he was questioned by the defense counsel Ivetic in the re-examination, the witness said that Zvonko Bajagic, a local Serb who wasvery religioushad brought carp to the meeting and carp was served for dinner. That, Jevdjevic argued, meant that it was 11 July 1995, the last day of the Saint Peters fast. Had the meeting been held the next day, on the Saint Peters day, grilled lamb or pork would be served as was the custom. Fish would not have been on the menu, Jevdjevic stressed.

However, prosecutor McCloskey presented a video recording showing the St. Peters feast in Bajagics house in 1995. The highest ranking military and religious officials headed by General Zivanovic and bishop Kacavenda were in attendance. The footage showed a table with fish dishes. The prosecution contends that this is fish, the prosecutor noted. It looks like fish, although I can't be sure, but it looks like it, the witness responded. The fact that fish was served for lunch on 12 July 1995 means, according to the prosecution,that fish may well have been served for dinner, as it would not be against Orthodox custom.

The witness eventually admitted that fish could be on the menu St.Peters day only if it fell on a Wednesday or Friday, because the Orthodox Church requires its followers to fast on those days of the week, regardless of any other circumstances. The presiding judge first noted that 12 July 1995 was a Wednesday and asked the witness if he was aware that he had just changed his evidence. Jevdjevic had initially been quite adamant that it was 11 July 1995, the last day of the fast, then allowed that fish may have been served on 12 July 1995, too, thus contradicting his previous assertion that only lamb or pork could be served on Saint Peters day, never fish. I am not aware that I changed my evidence, the witness responded.

Mladics defense continues tomorrow.