In his book Carl Bildt has claimed that ‘probably as many as 4,000 persons or even more were killed when the column of people from Srebrenica was trying to break through the encirclement of the Serb forces. Mladic’s defense expert confirmed that the allegation was ‘referential’. The claim prompted Judge Orie to quote a sentence from the same book stating that ‘in the five days of the massacre Mladic organized an execution of more than 3,000 persons’

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

At the trial of Ratko Mladic, Dusan Pavlovic continued his evidence today. Pavlovic was the head of the BH Missing Persons Institute Department of Location and Identification and is now working with the Republika Srpska Center for War Crimes Investigation and Search for Missing Persons as an expert for exhumations. At the request of Ratko Mladic’s defense Pavlovic has drafted a report on the losses suffered by the BH Army’s 28th Division during the breakthrough from Srebrenica in the summer of 1995.

Judge Orie in turn quoted from Bildt’s book. ‘In the five days of massacre Mladic organized a methodical execution of more than 3,000 persons left behind as prisoners of war’, Bildt wrote. Given that the witness found Bildt a ‘well-informed person indeed’, the judge wanted Pavlovic to tell him if those allegations were ‘referential’ too. Pavlovic grew evasive, saying only that he focused on analyzing of the losses of the BH Army during the breakthrough and didn’t dwell on the allegations related to the executions of Bosniaks. Nevertheless, Pavlovic did confirm that Bildt was ‘well-informed’ about the events in Srebrenica.

In his expert report Pavlovic notes that the ICMP findings and the statements of the Srebrenica column survivors given to the state investigators in Tuzla indicate that a ‘clean-up operation’ may have been carried out on the orders of the VRS Drina Corps: the bodies of persons killed in combat were gathered and buried in a mass grave. Pavlovic explained that four categories of remains corroborate his theory.

The first category comprised those people whose remains were recovered at two locations, lying on surface along the route the column took and in a mass grave. The second category comprised cases where survivors saw someone get killed during the breakthrough, and their remains were exhumed from mass graves later. The third category consisted of those killed by shells as established later after the exhumation. The last category comprised ‘complete bodies’ from secondary graves that according to Pavlovic did not come from primary graves, because their bodies would have been broken up in the course of the exhumation, transport and re-burial.

The Trial Chamber accepted the witness’ complaint that he wasn't feeling well. The cross-examination of the defense expert has thus been postponed until early February 2016 when Mladic’s trial will continue after the Tribunal’s winter recess.