Defense expert Dragic Gojkovic claims that the mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina were destroyed by ‘groups of vandals’ and irresponsible individuals in combat or after the army withdrew. Gojkovic wasn’t able to explain into which category fit the mosques destroyed in places under the VRS control, such as the Srebrenica mosque, which was destroyed on 19 July 1995

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

Demobilized VRS colonel Dragic Gojkovic, formerly a member of the engineer corps, was asked by Ratko Mladic's defense to write an expert report on the destruction of the Bosniak and Croat religious and historical monuments during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Having analyzed the data about 94 destroyed mosques presented in the report written by the prosecution expert Andras Riedlmayer, Gojkovic concluded that 10 mosques were destroyed in the fighting and 84 after the army withdrew. The buildings were destroyed ‘haphazardly’ by ‘groups of vandals’ and irresponsible individuals.

Although Gojkovic claimed that Riedlmayer’s report was 'deficient', the defense expert agreed that he had drawn all his conclusions on the basis of photographs, statements and other information presented in Riedlmayer’s report. Gojkovic said that he and the colleagues who helped him draft the report examined only the destruction of the Ferhadija mosque and the Franciscan Monastery in Petricevac near Banja Luka. This prompted the prosecutor to suggest that Gojkovic basically ‘copied’ Riedlmayer’s expert report and deleted from it all the elements that didn’t suit him. Gojkovic begged to differ.

Prosecutor Traldi referred to the part of Gojkovic's report on the destruction of the mosque in Srebrenica. The excerpt is a copy of Riedlmayer’s report, with one exception: Gojkovic's caption under a photo showing the intact mosque in Srebrenica. The defense expert stated that the photo had been taken before the war. Riedlmayer stated in his report that the same photo was taken on 14 July 1995. Riedlmayer claimed that the mosque was still undamaged on that date. According to the prosecutor, the mosque was destroyed on 19 July 1995 while the VRS was still in Srebrenica. Obviously, that mosque didn’t fit into any of the categories of the mosques Gojkovic lists in his report.

Gojkovic agreed that he made a mistake in that case but added that despite that his report was 98 per cent accurate. The prosecutor highlighted several other examples of mosques that were not destroyed in combat or after the troops pulled out. All those examples – including the mosque in Novoseoci in the Sokolac municipality destroyed in September 1992 and the Sanica mosque in the Kljuc municipality – showed that Gojkovic simply ‘invented’ the data and incorporated them into his report, the prosecutor argued. Also, according to the prosecutor, Gojkovic made up the conclusion that all those buildings were destroyed ‘outside of any control’ and that their destruction was not ordered through the chain of command headed by the accused Mladic.

Dragic Gojkovic will complete his testimony tomorrow morning. The defense will then call Bosiljka Mladic, the accused’s wife.