Dusan Pavlovic testified at the trial of Ratko Mladic today. He had been asked by the defense to write an expert report on the losses of the BH Army during the breakthrough from Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. Through Pavlovic’s evidence, the defense tried to prove that the thousands of victims from Srebrenica, exhumed from the mass graves, had in fact been killed in combat

Dusan Pavlovic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialDusan Pavlovic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

From April 2009 to October 2014, Dusan Pavlovic headed the Exhumation and Identification Department in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Institute for Missing Persons. At the request of Mladic’s defense, Pavlovic wrote a report on the losses the BH Army’s 28th Division had suffered during the breakthrough from Srebrenica in the summer of 1995.

Having examined the statements of the people who had been in the 10-km long column, Pavlovic concluded that during the breakthrough, the 28th Division was under constant artillery and infantry fire, suffering considerable losses. Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic corroborated Pavlovic’s conclusion with the statements of the survivors from the column. On 7 August 1995, Nedzad Ademovic told the State Security Service in Tuzla that the column set off in the morning of 11 July 1995 from Jaglici and encountered an ambush only four hours later, in Buljim. Ademovic recounted ‘that every bullet hit its target’. According to the defense expert, that points to the conclusion that it was a site where one ‘should go looking for those who were killed’.

Lukic quoted another survivor, Enver Avdic, who recounted that in the Buljim area the column had come under artillery fire. Avdic estimates that 1,000 soldiers and civilians were killed there. The next day the people in the column arrived in the Kamenica area. There they tried to re-form the column in order to cut the Konjevic Polje-Nova Kasaba road, but in the night of 12 July 1995 the column was ambushed once again near Kamenica. The column suffered ‘massive losses’ and the people in the column even ‘started killing each other’.

In his statement, Avdic notes that he saw about people 1,000 die in Kamenica. Kadrija Muratovic mentions the same figure in his statement, adding that the Serb troops used chemical weapons in Kamenica. The defense counsel also noted that two other survivors, Hasan Alic and Sado Ramic, mentioned the exact same figure in their statements. Behadij Krdzic and another person whose name the defense counsel didn’t disclose spoke about as many as 2,000 victims. Finally, according to another witness' statement to the OTP investigators, the number of victims killed near Kamenica was as high as ‘2,000 or 3,000’.

Judge Orie wanted to hear if in his expert report the witness considered whether there were any crime victims among the dead. Pavlovic replied that he didn’t specifically take the matter into consideration. His analysis, Pavlovic explained, was aimed primarily at the losses of the BH Army’s 28th Division.

Dusan Pavlovic will continue his evidence on Wednesday. Tomorrow the Trial Chamber will examine a protected witness.