Demobilized VRS colonel Dragic Gojkovic, formerly of the engineer corps, testified as Ratko Mladic’s defense case continued. With Gojkovic’s evidence Mladic’s defense hopes to contest the allegations on the destructions of religious and historical monuments and other symbols of Bosniaks' and Croats' existence in BH

Dragic Gojkovic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialDragic Gojkovic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

Following the Tribunal’s summer recess the trial of Ratko Mladic, former VRS Main Staff commander, continued. Mladic is charged with genocide and other crimes committed by the troops under his command in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Continuing with its case, Ratko Mladic’s defense is trying to contest the allegations on the destruction of religious and historical monuments as well as other symbols of Bosniaks' and Croats' existence in BH. The prosecution corroborated its allegations with the findings of Andras Riedlmayer, prosecution expert for Ottoman heritage in the Balkans.

Mladic’s defense countered Riedlmayer’s expert findings with those of their own expert on the destruction of cultural heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dragic Gojkovic. The expert is a demobilized VRS engineer, a colonel, from Pec in Kosovo who wrote an expert report on the role and tasks of the VRS engineer corps from 1992 to 1995. He was helped by four military engineers from Republika Srpska. Gojkovic concluded that the engineer corps units under Mladic’s command were not involved in destroying the buildings in the areas where there was no fighting.

Gojkovic's argument was that the VRS units knew very well how to destroy buildings while the mosques, such as the Ferhadija mosque in Banja Luka, and churches Riedlmayer listed in his report were destroyed ‘in a criminal way’, ‘without any system or pattern and haphazardly’. This goes for the 94 mosques listed in Riedlmayer’s report, the witness said. Gojkovic also said that until the end of 1993 the VRS had problems with discipline in its ranks, but in 1994 and 1995 the situation improved ‘drastically’.

Gojkovic criticized Riedlmayer's report for failing to establish what materials were used to build the buildings included into his expert analysis. According to Gojkovic, this analysis is ‘necessary to establish the technology of their destruction’. As he was questioned by Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic, Gojkovic said that this did not apply to buildings made of stone because that could be confirmed easily by looking at the enclosed photos. When Judge Moloto asked the witness if the date when a building was built could be used to determine if it was made of stone or reinforced concrete, Gojkovic confirmed it was possible to do that.

Dragic Gojkovic will continue his evidence tomorrow morning.