During the cross-examination of Svetlana Radovanovic, prosecutors try to show that the defense expert challenges not only the report filed by the prosecution expert, but the number of people who disappeared and died in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995.

Svetlana Radovanovic, witness at the Vidoje Blagojevic trialSvetlana Radovanovic, witness at the Vidoje Blagojevic trial

“I do not challenge the crimes or the victims. It was my task to check the methodology used by your expert in his report," said demographer Svetlana Radovanovic during cross-examination. She is an expert witness called by lawyers for Vidoje Blagojevic, former Bratunac Brigade commander, accused of complicity in the Srebrenica genocide. She made similar claims several times as she was cross-examined by the prosecutor, who attempted to present her expert opinion as challenging the number of people who went missing or died in Srebrenica.

In Norwegian demographer Helge Brunborg’s report, commissioned by prosecutors, it says that at least 7,475 people disappeared in Srebrenica in July 1995. In the view of the defense expert, however, the report is "superficial and scientifically unacceptable"; she notes examples where the names of the same people are listed twice in the lists of missing persons.

In cross-examination, the prosecutor asked the witness to present her estimate of the number of people gone missing in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. The defense expert refused to do that, stating that it was her task to evaluate the validity of the prosecution’s expert report on the basis of its methodology and data sources, not to make estimates of the number of victims.

“Your expert says, 'I have checked some of the names, and one does not get the impression that they are on the list.’ We cannot rely on impressions but on very accurate data," Professor Radovanovic said. She agreed with the prosecution submission that "the most important thing is to determine the exact number" of those who went missing or died in Srebrenica, but rejected his suggestion that in the process of her research for the defense she "could have reached her own estimate of the number of missing and dead."

“I did not have at my disposal all the necessary data sources," the defense expert explained and stressed that the sources used by Dr. Brunborg in making his report "were not sufficient" to determine the exact number.

Finally, the prosecutor presented the most recent report by the RS Commission about Srebrenica, where it states that according to the data gathered so far, 7,779 persons went missing, although that number is "probably not final." When asked if that figure tended to "corroborate Dr. Brunborg's expert report," the witness said she was not familiar with the RS Commission report and could therefore not state whether it corroborated or did not corroborate the conclusions reached by the prosecution expert.

Vidoje Blagojevic's defense case continues tomorrow, most likely with the testimony of Colonel Ton Karremans, commander of the UN Dutch Battalion in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995.