Protected witness RM 382 testified about how ‘Tomasica was set up and the burial of the victims in that mass grave’. Only the judges and the parties know what exactly the witness said because he testified almost entirely in closed session

Exhumation from mass grave Tomasica near PrijedorExhumation from mass grave Tomasica near Prijedor

The prosecution continued calling its evidence on the Tomasica mass grave near Prijedor. The second day of the prosecution’s case was almost identical to the first, with the hearing proceeding in closed session. The prosecution asked the judges to grant protective measures to the witness while Ratko Mladic’s defense opposed it.

As it did yesterday, the Trial Chamber again granted the prosecution's motion and the witness testified with protective measures: under the pseudonym RM 382 and with image and voice distortion. And just as he did yesterday, the prosecutor read out the summary of the witness’s statement to the investigators, noting that this is done 'in the interests of the public'. The summary today was a couple of words shorter than the one we heard yesterday. ‘RM 382 will testify about the setting up of Tomasica and the burial of the victims’ bodies in that mass grave’, the prosecutor said. That was all that could be heard today ‘in the interests of the public’.

The rest of the examination-in-chief and the cross-examination of the insider witness, who obviously knew why Tomasica was chosen as a location for the mass grave, went on in closed session. The remains of about 400 victims of crimes committed in 1992 in the Prijedor area were exhumed from the mass grave. At one point, the court went into open session by mistake, just as Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic was cross-examining the witness. The mistake, however, was quickly corrected and the hearing continued in closed session.

During a brief part of the hearing open to the public, presiding judge Orie announced the Trial Chamber’s decision denying the defense motion for additional time for the preparations of the cross-examination of the prosecution experts. The details of the decision will be disclosed later, the presiding judge noted.

The prosecution will continue calling its evidence on the Tomasica mass grave tomorrow with the testimony of Ian Hanson, deputy director of forensic sciences, archeology and anthropology in the International Commission of Missing Persons. Hanson will present the ICMP’s report on the exhumations of bodies in the Tomasica mine.