Bojan Subotic, Mladic's defense witness, claims that on 13 July 1995 he and several soldiers managed to survive three ambushes mounted by thousands of Muslim fighters. As Subotic claimed, he was able to capture a couple of hundred Muslims. In between two ambushes, the witness saw over 500 dead Muslims in the woods near Nova Kasaba. The Muslims had killed each other, Subotic explained, when one group of Muslims had tried to prevent others from surrendering

Bojan Subotic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialBojan Subotic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

The evidence of Bojan Subotic, former military police officer in the VRS 65th Motorized detachmentdidn't help much Ljubisa Beara, chief of security in the Main Staff. The Appeals Chamber has recently confirmed Beara's life sentence for his involvement in the Srebrenica genocide. However, that didn't deter Mladic's defense to present the same argument before the Trial Chamber in a bid to contest the prosecution's allegations about mass executions of the Srebrenica Muslims and the involvement of the Bosnian Serb Army in the crime.

In the statement to the defense and in his testimony today, the witness described the events that took place in the course of a single day in July 1995 in Nova Kasaba and its environs. Subotic didn't mention the exact date but it was most probably 13 July 1995, because he mentioned Mladic address to the prisoners in the football stadium in Nova Kasaba.

That morning, Subotic recounted, a Serb woman from the neighborhood arrived in his HQ. The woman said that her house was 'full of Turks', which meant Muslims. This prompted the witness and another soldier to go and check the situation. They were ambushed by about 1,000 Muslim soldiers who had about 30 to 40 machine guns. The witness and his fellow soldier returned fire and fled. After that, the witness and several soldiers went in a combat vehicle to Konjevic Polje. There was gunfire coming from that direction. When they crossed the bridge in Nova Kasaba the witness and his companions were once again ambushed. One of the witness's soldiers was wounded and the vehicle was damaged. After that the witness ordered his soldiers to fire tear gas canisters at the attackers although he didn't know who they were, andthus succeeded in repelling the attack and driving the enemy into the woods.

The shooting stopped but before the witness and his soldiers could pull themselves together, a group of about 15 Muslims came from 'behind our backs'. They said they wanted to surrender. As they told the witness, Muslim commanders, headed by Zulfo Tursunovic, were killing all those Muslims who wanted to surrender. The witness and the captured Muslims headed into the woods and there they saw what the witness described as a 'chilling scene'. In a meadow, there were more than 500 dead people. As far as the witness could tell, the victims had beenkilled when 'those who did not want to surrender' threw hand grenades at them. Some victims were hanged, the witness noted, but there were also several injured persons. The witness and his soldiers took the wounded with them.

They were told that about 200 Muslims had surrendered to Serb soldiers at a location where they had parked their combat vehicle. As Subotic recounted, he and his escort were ambushed on their way back. That was their third ambush that day. About 200 BH Army soldiers attacked the witness and his escort and disarmed them. This is when things took a strange turn: the witness told the attackers who had captured him and his fellow soldiers to surrender. Much to their surprise, the Muslims agreed. 'To this day I can't understand how that happened', Subotic said.

Hundreds of Muslims were taken to the football stadium in Nova Kasaba, where there were already a number of other detainees. General Mladic addressed the prisoners, Subotic recounted. Mladic said that the prisoners would be provided with 'accommodation, food and will then be exchanged'. The prisoners purportedly responded to Mladic's statement with

applause. The witness categorically denied that the Serb soldiers killed any captured Muslims in the football stadium that day; they certainly did not kill anyone while the accused general was there. People were taken to Bratunac in buses, the witness recounted, adding that he had escorted the convoy to the Vuk Karadzic primary school in Bratunac, where the civilian police took over the prisoners. As alleged by the prosecution, the prisoners were then transported to the Zvornik area where they were executed.

Bojan Subotic will most probably be cross-examined on Monday because several defense witnesses are expected to give evidence via video link before the end of the week.