Retired VRS general Grujo Boric testified at the trial of Ratko Mladic about the formation and activities of the 2nd Krajina Corps. In his evidence Boric also spoke about his relationship with the former VRS Main Staff commander

Grujo Boric, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialGrujo Boric, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

Grujo Boric met Ratko Mladic for the first time in April 1991 in Petrovac, where the 2nd Krajina Corps was to be headquartered. At the time Mladic was still a colonel in the JNA. Boric's next encounter with Mladic took place a year later, when Mladic visited the witness in Drvar. On that occasion, Mladic told Boric that the Corps had been established and that they were planning to appoint him commander. Later, during the war Mladic met the witness on his visits to the front lines and at regular monthly briefings.

Boric noted in his evidence that he 'never' received any unlawful orders from General Mladic. Boric also insisted that he had no specific knowledge of the crimes in the villages of Biljani and Velagici, listed in the indictment against Mladic. The only thing he knew was that fire was opened near Kljuc at a convoy of JNA soldiers pulling out of BH towards Belgrade. Some soldiers were killed and others were injured. He heard that there was some fighting after that, in retaliation, Boric noted.

According to the witness, the army was not authorized to maintain law and order in the depth of the territory they held, away from the frontlines. Only the municipal authorities and the police were in charge of law and order, the witness added. When he was asked a question by presiding judge Orie, Boric said that the military police would intervene only when soldiers were involved in crimes.

In the beginning of the cross-examination, prosecutor Arthur Traldi highlighted the military goals of the Bosnian Serb army. The prosecutor quoted from General Milan Gvero's order issued on 19 May 1991, in which the general notes that ethnic Serbs live in about 65 per cent of the BH territory. Ethnic Serbs made up about 35 per cent of the overall population in BH and as such they 'have to fight to establish borders with Croats and Muslims and fight for their state', the general explained in the order.

The prosecutor confronted the witness with Mladic's order from July 1992 which states that 'all active-duty military staff of Croat and Muslim ethnicity must be sent on leave immediately. Upon their return they should be sent to the personnel department in Belgrade'. In Boric's opinion, there is nothing out of the ordinary in Mladic's order. There definitely were no Muslims, Croats and Slovenes in the JNA at the time any more'.Boric confirmed that he, all the other officers in the 2nd Krajina Corps and the soldiers received their salaries from the JNA.

The prosecutor will continue Grujo Boric's cross-examination tomorrow.