Tomislav Delic testified today in Mladic’s defense. According to him, Danilusko Kajtez, one of those who killed Croats in the village of Skrljevita, was a ‘sick man’. Kajtez did not commit those crimes on anyone's orders, Delic explained. The prosecutor called evidence showing that Kajtez served in the Bosnian Serb Army and that he committed the killings on Delic’s orders

Tomislav Delic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialTomislav Delic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

Former member of the 6th Sana Brigade Tomislav Delic gave evidence in Ratko Mladic’s defense via video link. Delic claimed that ‘people who came from somewhere else’ and ‘rogue individuals’ committed all the crimes. In his statement, Delic insisted that no one from his battalion was involved in the crimes. Delic said that he saw looting of abandoned Muslim houses in the Mahala neighborhood. According to Delic, ‘criminals from Banja Luka’ were responsible for that. The perpetrators wore uniforms of the Serb Defense Forces (SOS) from Sanski Most.

In the indictment against Mladic, Sanski Most is listed among the municipalities where the persecution in 1992 reached the scale of genocide. Five mass murders of non-Serb civilians are mentioned among the crimes. The witness claimed that he participated in the ‘disarming’ of the villages of Vrhpolje and Hrustovo, but he knew little about dozens of people who had been killed in those locations. As the witness noted, after he 'gave some thought to the matter', he concluded that the crimes were committed to avenge the killings of Serbs in World War II.

Most of the cross-examination focused on the murder of seven Croat civilians in the village of Skrljevita near Sanski Most. The incident is listed in the indictment. The prosecution had already called Grgo Stojic, the only survivor, as its witness to testify about the crime. Stojic identified four perpetrators, including Danilusko Kajtez, former member of the SOS unit. Kajtez was also the witness’s next door neighbor in the village of Kruhari.

Today, Delic was very critical of Kajtez, saying that Kajtez was a ‘sick man’ and that he was a member of the Serb Defense Forces on paper. The unit initially operated independently, and later became part of the 6th Sana Brigade. The witness’s name is listed among the unit members but the witness insisted that someone ‘had put my name on the list as a formality’.

The prosecutor showed a letter Danilusko Kajtez sent from the detention unit in Banja Luka to Vlado Vrkes, an SDS official from Sanski Most, and ‘other gentlemen’. Kajtez was in custody pending trial for the crime in Skrljevita. In the letter, Kajtez urged Vrkes to advocate his release because his ‘colleagues who have been killing the Balijas and Ustashas’ had been set free too. If not, Kajtez threatened he would disclose on whose orders he had committed the crimes. Kajtez also said that he would tell the world that he had killed people in the village of Skrljevita ‘on Tomo Delic’s and Vlado Vrkes’s orders’.

In response, Delic said ‘it doesn’t work out that way’; he meant that the allegations in the letter were not true. 'Your Honor, he would have used your name in a bid to get out of prison if he had known you’, the witness said to the presiding judge. The prosecutor stressed that after writing the threatening letter, Kajtez was released from custody in March 1995. As the prosecutor noted, Kajtez was never prosecuted for the Skrljevita crime. Many years later the State Court in Sarajevo sentenced Kajtez to 12 years for the crime against prisoners who had suffocated in a truck en route from Sanski Most to Manjaca.

In the second part of today’s hearing Bojan Subotic completed his evidence. The former military police officer from the VRS 65th Protection Regiment began his evidence on Monday. In the cross-examination, Subotic denied that his unit had played a part in the Srebrenica genocide. Subotic claimed that on 13 July 1995 he and other military police officers were escorting a convoy of prisoners from Nova Kasaba to Bratunac. In Bratunac, the prisoners were handed over to the civilian police, the witness noted. En route they didn’t notice anything out of ordinary, the witness explained, least of all the aftermath of the execution of about 1,000 men in the Kravica warehouse. According to Subotic, they were focused on escorting the convoy and didn’t pay much attention to the buildings they passed by.

Ratko Mladic’s trial continues tomorrow.

Tomislav Delic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial
Bojan Subotic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial