Transcript

The Trial of Ratko Mladić

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The Hague, Netherlands

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

A UN tribunal will imminently deliver its long-awaited verdict in the war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb military commander, Ratko Mladic, known as the Butcher of Bosnia. Mladic…

NARRATOR:

November 22nd, 2017, and the verdict at the trial of the Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic is about to be delivered.

MALE NEWSREADER:

Mladic is accused of ordering the deaths of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in the town of Srebrenica…

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

Some of the victims were as young as 12; others older than 60.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC, Defense attorney:

(Subtitles) They’re bringing him in now.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Any last minute thoughts? Are we ready to roll? We’ve got this, yeah.

FEMALE:

Okay everybody, we’re going to court.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE, Presiding judge:

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is now in session.

We are sitting today to deliver the Chamber’s judgment in this case.

The accused, Ratko Mladic, stood trial for 11 counts of crimes allegedly committed in his capacity as the commander of the main staff of the Army of the Bosnian Serb Republic, between the 12th of May, 1992, and 30th November, 1995.

The indictment charged two counts of genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity, namely: prosecution, murder, extermination, deportation and the inhumane act of forcible transfer.

GENERAL RATKO MLADIC, Bosnian Serb general:

(Subtitles) I am General Mladic. There are able-bodied people among you who shot at me before. I forgive you all, and I’m giving you your life, as a present. Don’t come before me at the front line. Next time there won’t be any forgiveness.

NARRATOR:

Throughout the 1990s, a series of brutal wars raged across the former Yugoslavia. Some 4,000,000 people were displaced; an estimated 130,000 were killed. With mounting evidence of war crimes, the United Nations established a court to bring alleged perpetrators to justice.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, US Ambassador to the United Nations:

This will be no victor’s tribunal, the only victor that will prevail in this endeavor is the truth.

NARRATOR:

One-hundred-sixty-one suspects were eventually indicted. More than half would be found guilty; some would be acquitted; others would die before being prosecuted.

With the capture of Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, two of the most senior political figures accused of war crimes, General Ratko Mladic became the court’s most wanted.

Among his alleged crimes, Mladic was accused of masterminding the genocide of 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, considered the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

Mladic had gone into hiding when the war ended and was on the run for 16 years.

BORIS TADIC, President of Serbia:

On behalf of the Republic of Serbia, I announce that today we arrested Ratko Mladic.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

Police in Serbia have arrested Europe’s most wanted war crime suspect.

NARRATOR:

Mladic was extradited to The Hague to face justice. It would be the last trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

The chamber will now give its verdict.

 

THE FIRST WITNESS

July 2012. / Day No. 3 of trial

CAMILLE BIBLES, Prosecutor:

For tomorrow, I’ll be standing here, where the podium is. Mr. Peron will be sat next to me, and then Arthur will be sitting at the end.

ELVEDIN PASIC, Witness:

So, when I walk in tomorrow, everyone is going to be here, pretty much?

CAMILLE BIBLES:

Everybody will be here.

ELVEDIN PASIC:

You and the defense?

CAMILLE BIBLES:

The defense will be here, and Mladic will already be in the courtroom.

ELVEDIN PASIC:

Okay.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

And he does have the two security guys…

ELVEDIN PASIC:

Okay.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

…on each side of him. The big thing to remember, when you come in, is a deep breath.

ELVEDIN PASIC:

Yes.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

(Laughs)

ELVEDIN PASIC:

I’m a little bit nervous. (Laughs)

CAMILLE BIBLES:

(Laughs)

ELVEDIN PASIC:

It brings the memories back.

DERMOT GROOME, Lead prosecutor:

The first witness that’s testifying is an extraordinary young man, who was 14 at the time, Elvedin Pasic. And it’s a crime that occurred in 1992, and it mirrors the crime committed in Srebrenica in 1995. And we’ve decided to call him first, because it really demonstrates the way Mladic approached war and his willingness to commit terrible crimes.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

That’s the public gallery, behind you there.

DERMOT GROOME:

He will just tell, in his own words, what happened to him and his family.

ELVEDIN PASIC:

And my wife is going to be somewhere in a back room?

CAMILLE BIBLES:

Yes, yes.

ELVEDIN PASIC:

Okay.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

Yeah, she’ll be back, way behind you.

ELVEDIN PASIC:

Okay.

DERMOT GROOME:

What’s your impression of his recollection?

CAMILLE BIBLES:

Rock solid.

DERMOT GROOME:

Really?

CAMILLE BIBLES:

Yes, yes. My impression is he, when he goes back in time, he remembers it exactly as he experienced it.

DERMOT GROOME:

He says he’s nervous, but he, he looks okay. He looks…

CAMILLE BIBLES:

Ready?

DERMOT GROOME:

…just some appropriate level of nervousness that you’d expect. And I’m sure that’ll be gone after the first few minutes in court.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

I agree. I think as soon as he, you know, sits down and starts talking, I think he’ll be fine.

NARRATOR:

Ratko Mladic is facing 11 charges, including two counts of genocide, considered the most serious crime under international law.

DERMOT GROOME:

Peter, will we go?

NARRATOR:

The prosecution must prove his intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the non-Serb population in Bosnia. The defense insists he’s innocent and never participated in or ordered any crimes.

FEMALE:

This is case IP0992P, the Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Thank you, Madam Registrar. Mr. Groome, is the prosecution ready to make its opening statement?

DERMOT GROOME:

It is, Your Honor.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Then you may proceed.

DERMOT GROOME:

Your Honors, four days ago marked two decades since Ratko Mladic became the commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska, the VRS. On that day, Mladic began his full participation in a criminal endeavor of ethnically cleansing much of Bosnia.

The world watched in disbelief that in neighborhoods and villages within Europe, civilians who were targeted for no other reason than they were of ethnicity other than Serb; their land, their lives, their dignity attacked in a coordinated and carefully planned manner.

The next time I address you about the evidence in this case will be at the end of the trial. At that time, when I come before you again, I will ask that you give the people of Bosnia what they have waited so long for, the truth about what Ratko Mladic did to that beautiful and complex land, the truth about what Ratko Mladic did to Bosnia’s people.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Is the prosecution ready to call its first witness?

DERMOT GROOME:

Your Honor, the prosecution is ready to call its first witness, Mr. Elvedin Pasic.

ELVEDIN PASIC:

I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Thank you, Mr. Pasic. Please be seated. You’ll now first be examined by Ms. Bibles, who’s counsel for the prosecution.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honors. Good afternoon, Mr. Pasic. Could you tell us the size and ethnicity of your village?

ELVEDIN PASIC:

My village, Hrvacani, was 100 percent Muslim and approximately a hundred houses.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

I’m drawing your attention to May of 1992. Was there a religious occasion celebrated in your village?

ELVEDIN PASIC:

Yes, we were celebrating our holiday, Bajram. The first day, we went to the mosque, I was excited, as being a little boy. On our second day, we were attacked. The bombs and the shells start landing in our village.

We were instructed to form three lines and to lay down in this puddle of mud and water. I was laying down next… my dad was on my left-hand side and my uncle was on my right-hand side. And as I was laying down, they ordered us, so all the women and children, to get up. And at first, I didn’t want to get up, because I was afraid to separate from my dad. He told me to get up. I told him, “No, I don’t want to go without you.” He says, “Get up.” I said, “No.” And my uncle insisted. He says, “Get up, you will survive.” (Crying).

Since I’m reliving and going back to this, I had a dream about my dad last night. For the first time, I was able to see his face. I’m glad cause most of the dreams, the nightmares that I have from the personal experience, I was always trying to reach him. But I saw his face last night. (Crying) I miss my dad. Let me find my dad, please. I would like to find my dad.

NARRATOR:

For more than 35 years, Bosnia and the rest of Yugoslavia was ruled by Josip Broz Tito. His policy of “brotherhood and unity” suppressed ethnic tensions between Serbs, Muslims and Croats. Following his death in 1980, the country began to fall apart.

MALE NEWSREADER 1:

Yugoslavia: a country at war with itself. Ever since Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence, a nation of six republics is being dismantled by, apparently, unchecked force. Now it’s feared that the buffer Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina could become the next theater of conflict.

MALE NEWSREADER 2:

Violence has broken out in the Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina after its population voted at the weekend for independence from the rest of Yugoslavia.

Forty-three percent of the Republic’s population are Muslim, 31 percent are Serbs, and 17 percent are Croats. The Muslims and Croats support independence; the Serbs are fiercely opposed to it.

MALE NEWSREADER 3:

Last night, the Serbs claimed a breakaway republic inside Bosnia, and today their leader Radovan Karadzic said they’d have to make their Serbian state, whatever the cost may be. There is chaos and anarchy, no functioning central authority and the United Nations headquartered here is apparently powerless to intervene. What remains of the Bosnian government has declared a state of war.

MALE NEWSREADER 4:

He’s the scourge of Sarajevo, the Chief Warrior of the Serbs. He’s called Ratko Mladic. He’s a man who has no doubts, only a total assurance that he’s right, the world’s wrong and that his people have been slandered.

RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) We have established the Republika Srpska. It has been washed in the blood of Serbian children. And we say to the whole world and future generations that this sacred land is Serbian.

Mladic defense office

Belgrade, Serbia

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) Welcome. Today we’re meeting to see where we are and how to proceed.

I’ve finished interviews with around a hundred witnesses. The schedule was brutal, and I didn’t have time to get statements. Where are we with Srebrenica?

MALE:

(Subtitles) I’ve spoken to a few witnesses, military policemen who were there.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) Folks, we’re going to halt for a bit. The general is calling. Good day, General!

GENERAL MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Comrade Branko, how are you?

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) How are you, General?

GENERAL MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Well, as people want me to be.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) We are all gathered here at the meeting. Darko’s here with us too.

GENERAL MLADIC:

(Subtitles) These youngsters should have children, if they’re being smart.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) Yes, General.

BRANKO LUKIC:

Well, General Mladic is my eighth client in front of the Tribunal. And it’s obvious this is the most important case in my career.

My memories from the war were, of course, horrible. I had parents on Doboj. It was a Serb held territory but bombed and shelled every day. My parents were protected by General Mladic and his soldiers. And he would tell me always, “Your parents live in Doboj, thanks to me.”

NARRATOR:

While in hiding, General Mladic suffered a heart attack and two strokes. His lawyers say they will not allow him to testify due to his “diminished physical and mental state.”

Mladic, himself, considers the Tribunal to be illegitimate and biased against Serbs.

Victims’ meeting with chief prosecutor

FEMALE:

(Subtitles) We have to congratulate you on the start of the trial because Mladic is the worst criminal of them all and his trial has started on schedule. As victims, we can’t get on with our lives until justice is done. And it’s so important that these war criminals face trial while they’re still alive.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ, Chief prosecutor:

We, of course, would have preferred having another trial starting already, many, many years before. And you are for sure right, when he, when he arrived in The Hague last year, his health situation was far from perfect.

It’s very, very difficult to measure the extreme importance of the arrest of Mladic. We were looking for him for 16 years. When he arrived, it was a few days after his last stroke. He arrived as very sick man. Today, I think his situation is much, much better, but we will see what happens.

We have a lot of staff working extremely hard to make sure that this case can advance as fast as possible.

DERMOT GROOME:

Hey, good afternoon. I wanted just to have a, a quick meeting today, just to, kind of, touch base on the preparation. Things are starting to pick up speed now. I just want to make sure we’re organized.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ:

The two senior trial attorneys are very experienced. They’re working at this Tribunal for many, many years. Dermot is somehow the coordinator, more the organizer, and Peter McCloskey, we call him sometimes “Mr. Srebrenica,” because he has done a number of Srebrenica cases.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

The sound is very important on this one, which sounds perfect.

MALE:

I’m up pretty much at maximum.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

That’s where we want to be.

MALE:

Okay.

NARRATOR:

Peter McCloskey is in charge of prosecuting the Srebrenica genocide. He and his team will try to prove that General Mladic ordered the murder of over 7,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995.

McCloskey’s already won convictions against several Bosnian Serb officers for genocide in Srebrenica, but he believes Mladic was in command of the operation.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

I’ve prosecuted some of his generals and some of his commanders but nothing like having the man himself. Mladic is the guy that’s really hands on in the face of the Muslims and ordering the murders directly.

RATKO MLADIC (on computer screen): You heard the stories about me for a very long time. Now you are looking at me. I’m General Mladic. There are able-bodied people among you. You are all safe.

ZORAN LESIC, Prosecution audio visual unit:

And I put this with Nermin: he’s first calling, “Come down, come down.” And then he’s calling Nermin.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Oh, okay.

ZORAN LESIC:

So, I put that segment in,…

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Yeah, put it where it should be.

ZORAN LESIC:

…where he’s calling Nermin. Yeah, there it is logical.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Yeah.

RAMO OSMANOVIC, GENOCIDE VICTIM:

(Subtitles) Nermin! Come over here. I’m here, it’s fine, with the Serbs.

Tell them all, they should come, all who…

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Zoran is helping me with the clip of a Muslim man, is it Ramo?

ZORAN LESIC:

Ramo.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Ramo Osmanovic, he’s calling…the Serbs are making him call to bring other Muslims out of the woods, and he’s calling his son Nermin.

RAMO OSMANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Tell him with whom. With Ramo!

SERBIAN:

(Subtitles) F*** Ramo! Say: “With the Serbs!”

RAMO OSMANOVIC:

(Subtitles) With the Serbs!

SERBIAN:

(Subtitles) Did you hear this, man?

PETER McCLOSKEY:

(On the phone) Can you check Nermin and his father, where they were found.

ZORAN LESIC:

Can you imagine how hard it is to call your son and then they kill your son. They promise you that they will save them, because if they surrender, they will be all safe. So, he’s calling son, son came and…

SERBIAN:

(Subtitles) That’s right, say it: “with the Serbs.”

PETER McCLOSKEY:

I was just asking the investigator to give me the details of which mass grave they were found in so that I can tell the court that.

(Subtitle) All of you, c’mon!

PETER McCLOSKEY:

If I watch too much of it, I… you know, it’s….It still gets…it gets to you.

I got here in the fall of 1996, and I was meeting survivors at the refugee camps and getting to know them and hearing their stories. At the same time, on the same missions, I was with the investigator, and we would travel into the Republika Srpska with a Humvee escort, borrowed shovels from the, the local police and start digging in this disturbed soil to see what was under this disturbed soil, because we suspected they were mass graves. And sure enough, every time we found one of these places, we found body remains, which were, of course, the… we understood, the loved ones of the people we’d interviewed the day before.

I’ve been so close to this work for so long, and so close to the victims, it becomes rather difficult to deal with the carnage. There’s a certain darkness that comes over me when this thing starts, especially when the victims are here.

Village of Dobrak, near Srebrenica

SALIHA OSMANOVIC, Witness:

(Subtitles) I lived here with my husband, Ramo, our oldest son, Nermin, and younger, Edin.

(Subtitles) This is the Drina, flowing downstream from Serbia. You see those houses there? That’s Serbia, the border. Shooting came from there, I didn’t even know what it was. We fled through the woods, up that way. We were in Srebrenica until we were forced out. At that point, we separated. My husband went through the woods with our son, Nermin. We said, “Let’s survive. It’s all that matters.”

(Subtitles) This is my older son, Nermin. This is my younger son, Edin. The photo albums were left behind, everything burned. Their teacher gave me these, thanks be to her.

(Subtitles) They were so alike. My Edin was killed on the 6th of July, by a mortar. I couldn’t eat. Nermin, my older son, would tell me “Mom, eat. I know you lost your son, but I lost my brother and my friend.”

(Subtitles) This is my husband. I had a life with him.

GENERAL RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) That’s their mosque over there. They built it during the war.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

So, by the afternoon of 11 July, Mladic and his forces entered Srebrenica town. They found it almost completely vacant.

GENERAL RATKO MLADIC:

Congratulations, well done. Are our men still ahead?

MALE:

(Subtitles) They are.

GENERAL RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Good. They are sweeping the town, it’s taken.

(Subtitles) Here we are, on July 11, 1995, in Serb Srebrenica. On the eve of yet another great Serb holiday, we give this town to the Serb people, as a gift. Finally, the time has come to take revenge on the Turks (Muslims) in the region.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

After this ominous remark about revenge, Mladic’s troops captured and systematically murdered thousands of Srebrenica men and boys.

MALE NEWSREADER:

A human tragedy is unfolding in the eastern enclave of Srebrenica. Bosnian Serb infantry have effectively outmaneuvered the UN and taken control of the town. Resistance was reported to be minimal.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

The town was supposed to be a safe haven, protected by the moral and military force of the world community, in the shape of the UN.

FEMALE REPORTER:

There are hundreds and hundreds of people, around probably 20,000 or more, surrounding the Dutch Battalion compound, and everybody is fleeing the city.

MALE NEWSREADER:

After overrunning Srebrenica town, the Serbs surrounded the UN base, nearby at Potocari, where up to 40,000 refugees have gathered.

MALE NEWSREADER:

The Bosnian Serb Commander in Chief, General Ratko Mladic justified the attack, stating it was to rout Muslim terrorists and to demilitarize the enclave, an operation, he added, that the UN had failed to complete.

MALE NEWSREADER:

A senior UN official here today said that there was nothing the UN can do at the moment, short of going to war with the Bosnian Serbs, and that is very much not on the agenda.

GENERAL RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Come on, man, don’t film too much.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

This case involves two horrendous crimes: the forced movement of the Muslim population, together with the mass murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys, all amounting to the elimination of the Muslim population from Srebrenica in genocide.

Mladic was present in Potocari on 12 and 13 July, while the VRS began the process of putting the women and children on buses to Muslim controlled territory and separating and holding the Muslim men and boys for execution.

 

A SREBRENICA MOTHER

May 2013. / DAY No. 153 of trial

GLENNA McGREGOR, Prosecutor:

It’s not very, not very fancy here. It’s messy.

The part where I am asking you questions, I think it’s going to seem, actually, very short, surprisingly. And I think that you’ve probably been told this already, but Mladic will also be in the courtroom, sitting up behind his lawyers.

We hope that he stays quiet and listens, because he should hear what you have to say.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

The reason we’re calling Saliha Osmanovic is because she decided, on the 11th of July, that she had to leave with her family from Srebrenica, otherwise she would be, she would be killed by the Serbs. And this is, this is the ethnic cleansing. This is the “forcible transfer” count. And so, that’s the first thing we bring out with her.

GLENNA McGREGOR:

Her situation was, all of a sudden, it is not safe for us to be here in our home, anymore.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Okay, well there’s, there’s fleeing the fighting which is normal, and we’d all do that…

GLENNA McGREGOR:

Right. Yeah.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

…when the shells started. Was there anything indicated, in her mind, anything else besides just fleeing shells falling?

GLENNA McGREGOR:

Well, it’s not just shells falling, it’s a sense of being…what she communicated, at least, was, “I, as a Muslim, am not going to be safe here,” and not just “I might get caught in some random, random crossfire.” She actually said, “Yeah, it was safer if you wanted to get your throat slit.”

PETER McCLOSKEY:

How are you doing?

INTERPRETER:

(Speaks Bosnian)

PETER McCLOSKEY:

(Speaks Bosnian). I can do that, too. Okay, I’ll see you in there in a minute.

INTERPRETER:

(Translates)

SALIHA OSMANOVIC:

(Speaks Bosnian)

INTERPRETER:

(Subtitles) Good luck!

PETER McCLOSKEY:

(Subtitles) Good luck!

RAMO:

(Subtitles) I’m here! It’s fine! With the Serbs!

GLENNA McGREGOR:

Mrs. Osmanovic, do you recognize the man that’s featured in that video?

SALIHA OSMANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Of course I do. This was my man.

GLENNA McGREGOR:

You state that you went to Potocari on 11 July. Did you go to Potocari from the town of Srebrenica?

SALIHA OSMANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Yes, I did. Mladic said, “Leave your possessions and go!” I was right next to him.

GLENNA McGREGOR:

Up until the moment that you boarded the bus in Potocari, do you feel like you could have stayed in Srebrenica if you wanted to?

SALIHA OSMANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Stay where? How could we? We were in hell. There was hell when the Serb army came in.

MIODRAG STOJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) First, we want the witness to tell us truthfully what the situation was in Potocari. Who told them to start leaving? Who expelled them? Then, the humanitarian situation, where is General Mladic in all of this? Did they hear what he was saying? The facts are the facts. They speak for themselves.

DAN IVETIC, Defense attorney:

What is being described as deportation by the prosecution, in relation to Srebrenica, was a humanitarian evacuation that was agreed to by all sides. My goal, with this witness, is to see if I can link up certain parts of her written testimony to video footage that we have of the actual events that she seems to be describing. We hope to show our client, General Mladic, acting in a very humane light, providing food and water to the civilians that were located there.

I’d like to move now to your statement, where you talk about an encounter with General Mladic, and when he said that first the women and children could go, and you all moved towards the buses and trucks. I would like to take a look at a video to see if this accurately depicts the incident you’re talking about.

GENERAL RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Anyone who wants to leave will be transported, be they old or young. Don’t be afraid and don’t rush. Let the women and children go first. Please don’t panic. Be careful not to lose any children. Don’t be afraid. Nobody will harm you.

DAN IVETIC:

The demeanor of General Mladic, is it similar to or different from the demeanor of General Mladic during the encounter that you remember with him?

SALIHA OSMANOVIC:

(Subtitles) I don’t know. He seems to be nicer on the video when he says the children should go on ahead.

DAN IVETIC:

Madam, you mentioned that there was water and chocolates being handed out. Was there also bread being handed out by the VRS soldiers?

SALIHA OSMANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Yes, certainly. They must have fed them and then killed them! It was a show for the camera. They should have just let everyone go. It was hell. But I saw Mladic, believe me. I know that. I’m not a fool! I lost two sons, I lost my husband. I don’t need these stories any more.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Mrs., Mrs., Mrs Osmanovic, the Chamber understands that being taken back to the events must be emotional for you. We appreciate that you came. You may now follow the usher.

SALIHA OSMANOVIC:

(Subtitles) It was so hard reliving it.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

I don’t see how you did. You were just wonderful. Thank you.

TRANSLATOR:

(Speaks Bosnian)

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Thank you.

BRANKO LUKIC:

Danny really shook her, although she, she was a victim. And when you have a victim in front of you, you have to deal with the victim very, very nicely, very softly. But still he was capable of shaking her. We have the instruction from the general to say sorry to a victim, and I never do that. It’s not my job. Or he instructs me that, no. My job is to cross examine. I’m a lawyer, I cross examine. If you want to apologize, write a letter.

 

THE MISSING

November 2013. / DAY No. 246 of trial

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

Hundreds of bodies, believed to have been killed by Serb forces, have been found in a mass grave in Bosnia, in the Prijedor area.

MALE NEWSREADER:

They knew this grave existed for years, but Bosnian Serb witnesses kept silent about its location until…

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

The ghosts of the missing still haunt the villages here, and the graveyards still wait for the dead. This discovery could bring an end to that waiting and bring evidence of war crimes that can no longer be hidden.

NARRATOR:

It’s late 2013, and a mass grave has been discovered on the site of the Tomasica

Iron Mine, in Prijedor, northwest Bosnia. In addition to Srebrenica, Mladic is accused of genocide in Prijedor and five other municipalities. Prosecutors believe that the Tomasica mass grave could provide important new evidence to support this second genocide charge.

DERMOT GROOME:

So, once you’ve stripped off that top layer of earth, did you, at that stage, know that there were likely to be bodies there?

ELDAR JAHIC, State investigator:

We could see the changes in the…

DERMOT GROOME:

In the, in the earth?

ELDAR JAHIC:

We need to strip the ground, so to get to this yellow…

DERMOT GROOME:

And this is the actual…

ELDAR JAHIC:

Grey clay, yes.

DERMOT GROOME:

Okay.

ELDAR JAHIC:

Then, because air couldn’t get through that clay, bodies are well preserved.

DERMOT GROOME:

And do the pathologists think that because of that soft tissue that they can make findings about cause of death and…

ELDAR JAHIC:

Exactly.

DERMOT GROOME:

Oh, good, okay. And a lot of this was organized by, by the army itself?

ELDAR JAHIC:

Army and the police.

DERMOT GROOME:

And the police, yeah.

EDLAR JAHIC:

And the local police.

DERMOT GROOME:

I must say one thing, in just looking around here, it’s just so massive. And to think that all of this was dug up and bodies were put in here, and people were bought here and executed here, and then there’s tons and tons of earth that was then put on top of it. It’s beyond anything that I’ve ever dealt with.

MALE NEWSREADER:

Prijedor was the first place to be ethnically cleansed with vicious Serb atrocities.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

We’re very upset to see outright murder, burning people to death in their own homes, dragging them out in the street and shooting them at point blank range.

MALE NEWSREADER:

Omarska Concentration Camp: ethnic cleansing at its most graphic. Thousands of Muslims and scenes chillingly reminiscent of the Holocaust.

JOHN CLARK, Forensic pathologist:

And you can see the different states.

DERMOT GROOME:

Yeah.

JOHN CLARK:

Also, over there, that’ll be solid.

DERMOT GROOME:

Yeah. What kinds of injuries are you finding, the ones that you kind of determine an injury?

JOHN CLARK:

It’s mainly high velocity gunshot injuries.

DERMOT GROOME:

To the back of the head or…

JOHN CLARK:

Yes, there’s quite a lot, there’s quite a lot of targeted ones.

DERMOT GROOME:

Oh, yeah.

JOHN CLARK:

There’s a skull over there which, as you see, bits of it are being reconstructed, and all this shattering is typical of high velocity injury. Once it’s all put together, there’s still quite a lot of good evidence you can…we can see from it.

DERMOT GROOME:

And you can see the tragedy of it, you know, when you look around. I mean, it’s clear that these are not soldiers. These are women, there are even some children over there. And this is just an outrage that these people were, were killed in the way they were killed and dumped in a, in the site that they were dumped.

In terms of the case, it’s so important, because in terms of proving that they were murdered by people that are accountable to Mladic, we need to have that evidence.

DERMOT GROOME:

The prosecution will seek to tender this newly acquired Tomasica evidence.

NARRATOR:

The court must now decide whether to allow prosecutors to use the new evidence from the mass grave.

DERMOT GROOME:

…being revealed in Tomasica will be relevant to the Chamber’s consideration of Count 1 in the indictment: genocide.

NARRATOR:

It could take the judges several months to reach a decision.

DERMOT GROOME:

To establish genocide in Prijedor, I have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mladic had genocidal intent, in other words, that it was his intent to physically destroy, in whole or in part, the Muslim population in Prijedor. That’s a pretty high burden. It’s a pretty difficult thing to do. But we have some features of, of Tomasica that give me hope that we just may succeed.

Our early investigations are indicating now that the VRS was directly involved, that they requisitioned the mining equipment, the diggers, the bulldozers, the dump trucks, to dig this massive hole and to bury these bodies, you know, 24 to 30 feet below the dirt. So, it’s that kind of direct involvement, with respect to the things that happened, that were done by people under his control, that once and for all establishes, beyond reasonable doubt, that what happened in Prijedor constituted genocide and nothing less.

NARRATOR:

For both the Prijedor and Srebrenica genocide charges, the prosecution must prove that Mladic was in command and control of the troops that carried out the killings.

In the case of Srebrenica, they have video evidence that Mladic himself led talks with the town’s Muslim inhabitants in the days leading up to the bloodshed.

Hotel Fontana

Near Srebrenica

July 1995

GENERAL RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) In order to make a decision as a man and commander, I need to have a decision from your people, whether you want to survive, stay, or disappear.

(Subtitles) First, you need to lay down your weapons, and I guarantee that all who lay down their weapons will live. Have I made myself clear?

(Subtitles) Nesib, the future of your people is in your hands.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

So, do you find as a, as a military person, General Mladic’s presence at this meeting, do you find that to be an exercise of command?

RICHARD BUTLER, Military analyst:

Yes, sir. He’s the Commander of the Army of the Republika Srpska. Everything that he does or everything that he does not do as the commander is an exercise of command.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

He’s not pulling the trigger; we don’t have him standing at any execution site, but we have to show that he is in command of the troops that are doing it, and he’s fully aware of what is going on and in fact, ordered it and began the whole process, which the evidence is very clear on.

DERMOT GROOME:

General Dannatt, from a purely military prospective, is General Mladic responsible for the conduct of his subordinates in Srebrenica?

GENERAL RICHARD DANNATT, Military expert:

Well, it’s clear to me that he exercised a large measure of personal control as to what was going on. He was known to be a big character, and therefore, what he said and what he ordered, people were likely to do.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

This crime was carried out in a military fashion with military troops and military transport, under orders. So, we have what we call the “insider” witnesses and members of Mladic’s main staff that testify about how the military hierarchy works. One of the foremost of those is General Milovanovic who was Mladic’s deputy commander.

DERMOT GROOME:

In Mladic’s absence, when you’re serving in the capacity of Deputy Commander, did you have the authority to issue an order to anyone in the VRS?

MANOJLO MILOVANOVIC, Former Deputy Commander, VRS:

(Subtitles) Yes, but I had to inform General Mladic of everything that I undertook and ordered during his absence.

DERMOT GROOME:

Was there any period of time which, in your view, the command and control structure did not function as intended?

MANOJLO MILOVANOVIC:

(Subtitles) That military hierarchy, that system of issuing and receiving orders, was never changed.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.

MOMIR NIKOLIC, Former VRS Captain:

(Subtitles) Good morning, everyone.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Momir Nikolic is a very rare witness. He’s a guy who’s pled guilty to very serious crimes in Srebrenica, and he’s been sentenced to 20 years in prison. He has absolute inside information, orders from his superiors to, to find places to execute people, and directly implicating Mladic.

MOMIR NIKOLIC:

(Subtitles) I can say that all of us officers referred to General Mladic as “chief” or “the boss.”

MALE PROSECUTOR:

Mr. Nikolic, I would like to ask you how you feel about having participated in these events.

MOMIR NIKOLIC:

(Subtitles) I would like to apologize to all the families who survived this horrendous crime. I’m very sorry that, in carrying out my orders, I took part in the crime.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

I’ve been in trial for, not just this year and last year, but all the previous years. It feels like I’ve been in trial for 12 years straight. The one thing that I feel is exhaustion.

This week, in court, I have recalled a particularly gruesome account of a Serbian commander that said, “Today we liquidated a young man who was in the woods without any food.” And then that’s when I visualize this hungry kid, without a weapon, getting captured, telling his story and then being horribly killed. Then it stopped me from asking any more questions for a second. It was like, it was getting to me. And that’s, you know that’s not supposed to happen.

I’ve got to be involved, yet I’ve got to stay at enough distance that I can get the job done and not get stalled in the middle of it.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) The prosecution lawyer will start to grill you. And he’ll be quite brash. “You’re not telling the truth” he’ll say.

MLADJEN KENJIC, Witness:

Uhmm.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) “You’ve come here to defend General Mladic because you adore him.” “How is your relationship with General Mladic?” You’ll say, “Excellent,” and you’d give your life for him.

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) That’s right.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Then he’ll say, “That’s why you’ve come, not to tell the truth.”

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Laughs)

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) And you’ll say, “No. I’m under oath in front of God.”

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) Am I allowed to answer him? Can I tell him he’s the one telling lies here, not me?

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) No, don’t do that. That’s a bit too far.

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Laughs)

(Subtitles) OK, I won’t do that.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) What you’re not sure about, please don’t guess. You were his driver for four years during the war and 10 years in total.

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) Ten years, yes.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) You know things that few others would know. That’s the first thing I want to emphasize. The second is that you confirm it was three nights that you spent in Belgrade.

NARRATOR:

The defense does not dispute that killings took place in the Srebrenica area. But they say that Mladic did not order them and was not technically in command of his troops at the time.

BRANKO LUKIC:

Mr. Kenjic was called to confirm the alibi that explains that movements of General Mladic from 14th of July until 17th of July, 1995, while Srebrenica killings happened. And through this witness we want to, among other things, prove and explain that General Mladic has nothing to do with those killings.

Mr. Kenjic drove Mr. Mladic from Srebrenica to Belgrade on the 14th. We have meetings that he had with internationals, we have his visit to his daughter’s grave on the 15th. We have 16th, wedding, visit to Military Medical Academy, and we have his return to the 17th.

Mr. Mladic did not have any means of communication. He was outside the area, and by Serbian military law at that time, he was not in command. I’m 100 percent sure that there is nothing that can touch that alibi.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Witness Mladjen Kenjic says that on July 14, 1995, he was given the assignment to drive General Mladic to Belgrade. He states, in detail, what his specific duties were during those days, exactly where he drove General Mladic, starting with meetings in the presidential headquarters and finally, after three nights spent in Belgrade, he states the way and time they returned to Crna Rijeka HQ. Can you confirm today, before this court, that everything in this statement is truthful?

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) Yes.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Thank you, Mr. Stajanovic. Mr. Kenjic you’ll now be cross examined by Mr. McCloskey.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Good morning, Mr. Kenjic.

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) Good morning.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

As you sit here now, do you remember on that day, the afternoon of 14 July, which route you actually took?

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) Vlasenica, Milici, Zvornik, Karakaj, Sabac, Belgrade.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Were you aware at the time, large numbers of Muslim soldiers and civilians were fleeing the Srebrenica enclave, and had crossed that road and were still in those woods all around that area where you’re driving?

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) No, I didn’t know that.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

As you drove past the Nova Kasaba area, did you see any large pits being dug near the side of the road?

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) No.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

At the time that you were in Konjac, Polje with General Mladic, did you hear any information that there were hundreds and hundreds of dead and dying Muslims at the Kravica warehouse at that time?

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) No.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

So, did you have any information about the other prisoners, roughly 800 or a thousand at the nearby Petkovici school, the nearby Rotavic school, the Pilica cultural center and the Kula school? Did you hear about any of those thousands of prisoners that were in those schools at the time you were driving by that area?

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) No.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Nothing further, Mr. President.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Thank you.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

The evidence suggests that Mladic is up to his chin in blood. Two hours after leaving the people near Kravica, a thousand people are murdered. And within two to three days of leaving the people along the rest of the road at Nova Kasaba, they’re all murdered. So, he, by his forces, by forces under his command, in a very organized and systematic way that could have only been done when…from orders issued from the top. It wasn’t anyone else’s troops that did this.

MLADJEN KENJIC:

(Subtitles) The other side considers him to be a war criminal. We consider him our savior. We say that God sent him to unite and defend the Serb nation.

In my neighborhood, there were Muslims living opposite. We didn’t move a step closer to them from 1992 until 1995. Yet they attacked our neighborhood. And they call me the aggressor. That really hurts me.

MALE NEWSREADER:

War has torn this country apart. Towns, neighborhoods, even families are divided by hatred.

MALE NEWSREADER:

To be on the wrong side of the ethnic frontline in Bosnia is a terrifying experience whoever you are. These people are Serbs, fleeing, they say, for their lives. They said they wanted to escape to friendly territory because Serbs in a village near them had been massacred by Muslim troops.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

Today, hundreds of Serbs attended a funeral for 39 of their men and women in a village seized by the Muslims earlier this year, and recaptured by the Serbs…

GENERAL MLADIC:

(Subtitles) I lost a lot of friends in this war. Each one is my brother-in-arms.

(Subtitles) My heart bleeds for all the victims, from the children to the very old. But they died for a just cause.

Kalinovik, Bosnia

Mladic’s Birthplace

FEMALE:

(Subtitles) I’m honored to welcome you to the homeland of the respected commander of the army of the Republika Srpska, General Ratko Mladic.

AUDIENCE:

(Clapping)

DARKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) I’d like to thank you for coming in such wonderful numbers again this year. I pass on greetings from our commander; he is with us in spirit today. When my father was eight years old, he looked after the sheep on the mountains. One day, he was alone with only a stick for protection, when a wolf appeared. The wolf grabbed a lamb by its hind legs, but the general took the lamb by its front legs and beat the wolf’s head with his stick until the wolf ran away.

AUDIENCE:

(Clapping)

DARKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Years later another more dangerous wolf appeared and took our freedom and together with you he created the stick that became the army of the Republika Srpska and with it beat the wolf.

AUDIENCE:

(Clapping)

MALE:

(Subtitles) We have kept him in our hearts and will pass on his celebrated name to our descendants. And that’s how it will be for the next 500 years. We are gathered today with our scythes and our hearts!

(Subtitles) Cheers!

MALE:

(Subtitles) Good health!

BOSA MLADIC, Wife of Ratko Mladic:

(Subtitles) Ratko is the black sheep, he didn’t like to drink. (Laughs)

BOSA MLADIC:

(Subtitles) He did drink a bit, but he never got drunk.

DARKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Grandpa Pero tested Dad, when Mom brought him home, to see how he reaped the hay.

BOSA MLADIC:

(Subtitles) And when my father saw how Ratko reaps, he was ecstatic!

MALE:

(Subtitles) Ratko was such a reaper!

BOSA MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Yes, oh! Not just a reaper, everything!

MALE:

(Subtitles) Bosa?

BOSA MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Yes?

MALE:

(Subtitles) He passed the reaping test and was given the bride!

TOGETHER:

(Laughter).

DARKO MLADIC:

For me he’s a hero, probably because he’s my dad. Even for small things in life, he was so dedicated that you should do something right and never lie. He despised lies. He always told me, “You should tell me the truth and nevertheless, how difficult the truth is, because if you lie to me, I will not know how to help you.”

Maybe we had different temperament. I’m more calm than he is. He is a very good person, but he can explode, he can burst. But the values I openly declare are his values.

I’m sorry for every victim, but I cannot accept his guilt. I cannot accept what I don’t believe is true. If I believe it, then I would accept it. But I can’t accept because the other side has a need for me to do it.

NARRATOR:

Back in The Hague, prosecutors are continuing to build their case, as they await the judges’ decision on whether to allow the evidence from the Tomasica mass grave.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

The big news, obviously, in the last month, we’ve gotten all the expert reports in. Doctor Clark has found 96 percent of these bodies had gunshot injuries, and 80, I think its 84 percent, the cause of death was actually due to a gunshot wound to the head or to the trunk of the body, which is higher than any mass grave he’s seen. So, it’s a very compelling report for us in terms of showing what the cause of death was and showing the violent nature of the deaths here.

FEMALE:

We came back with very interesting documentation.

DERMOT GROOME:

It’s always kind of an uncertain task, when you set out to investigate in the middle of your case. So, it’s very satisfying that this evidence is coming back to demand justice from Mladic. You know he, he participated in burying them. He thought that they would never be found, and here we are.

The industrial nature of Tomasica really adds a new dimension of proof to our case with respect to genocide.

NARRATOR:

During a break in the excavation at the Tomasica mass grave, the president of the Tribunal comes to pay his respects.

THEODOR MERON, Tribunal President:

Thank you all for being here with me today on this somber day. It is very difficult for me to speak at this place where everyone stands face to face with the horror that men can do to other men.

It is my very strong hope that the work of the Tribunal will offer some measure of consolation to those who have survived and to the families of those who did not survive.

More broadly, I hope the work of international courts will promote reconciliation and healing in the region. But may I add one personal word, this place has a very, very special resonance for me, personally, because it looks a little bit like the place in a quarry not far from a city where I spent my war years, in a city called Czestochowa, in Poland, where my mother was killed. And so this means more to me than the order of international law.

SLATCOV MUJACIC:

My name is Slatcov Mujacic. I was in the Camp Omarska, and actually it’s due to me and some other people that Mr. Meron is here. We actually met him on the 28th of October in The Hague, and during this weekend I invited him to visit Tomasica, and said, “‘You should smell genocide.”

If Mr. Meron and his colleagues could call it with the name it deserves, “genocide,” then I hope that somehow, for victims, it will be what we expect. And we really need justice to be done. Let’s just see the facts.

Sarajevo

THEODOR MERON:

Magda, we start at 9:30 or 10?

MALE:

Nine-thirty.

MAGDA:

Nine-thirty is your speech.

MALE:

Well, we’ve put you in the second row.

THEODOR MERON:

That’s fine.

MALE:

Because…

THEODOR MERON:

That’s fine.

MALE:

Yeah, so, on display, I’m afraid.

THEODOR MERON:

Yes, but very connected on the side.

MALE:

Yes, it’s on the side with easy access so you can go and…

THEODOR MERON:

Like an exit strategy.

MALE:

No. (Laughs) We don’t want an exit strategy, Judge.

NARRATOR:

The President is in Sarajevo to give the keynote speech at a conference to mark the Tribunal’s 20th anniversary. However, the Tribunal has recently acquitted several high-ranking figures, and this has angered many victims’ groups.

THEODOR MERON:

Some people naturally, some of the victims, would not always be happy about each and every one of our judgments. I’m very sad if are our judgements, from time to time and people are unhappy. But if our agenda would be to please people, we would not be a court of law would we?

FEMALE:

(Subtitles) I appreciate the people working at the Tribunal. I have nothing personal against them, but against the rules of this court.

FEMALE 2:

(Subtitles) The recent acquittals have made the situation pretty clear to us victims.

SLATCOV MUJACIC:

(Subtitles) We set up an initiative for the memorial center in Omarska eight years ago. It is still not there. We have a situation that there is a monument to Serbian soldiers where Serbian soldiers raped 12-year-old girls. That is shameful. I am ashamed of being from Prijedor.

FEMALE 3:

(Subtitles) I wish to say to the President of the Court, he went to see Tomasica two days ago; there are more Tomasica’s in Bosnia, especially from ‘92.

FEMALE 4:

Let me ask you, President Meron, do you empathize at all with the families of the victims?

THEODOR MERON:

We thank you for your questions. I am surprised that I have the question, how did I feel about feelings of victims in Tomasica. You want to know what I have felt? I felt total empathy. I felt the grief that you have felt.

I realize that we have not satisfied the victims; perhaps it is a mission impossible. Perhaps no international criminal tribunal can satisfy all the victims from all the different communities. But please, look at the picture as a whole. Let not two or three acquittals about which you’re unhappy, take away from the whole vision of incredible achievements which have been made.

Our job is not yet done, and I’m sure that one day, even the greatest critics of the Tribunal, will join with me in seeing the positive.

 

A BLOW FOR THE DEFENSE

October 2014. / DAY No. 324 of trial

DAN IVETIC:

(Subtitles) So the court’s approved the prosecution’s submission on Tomasica. It’s impossible for us to find our own evidence in such a short time. Basically, we have to go fishing, blind. We don’t know where to look and who to ask. We’ll have to knock on doors, and the deadline is so tight.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) I’m very frustrated by this. It happened at the most challenging moment for us. We already have so much to do. I think its mission impossible.

BRANKO LUKIC:

It’s a real joke to be asked from us, to be prepared. It’s not possible, simply not possible. And it’s…I don’t think it’s good example for any kind of justice, let alone international justice. We probably need at least as many lawyers as the prosecution has. We need as many investigators. We have only a couple of them, and the prosecution has the whole system.

It is real fight in the between David and Goliath.

Banja Luka, near Prijedor

NARRATOR:

The defense will now try to argue that Mladic’s troops were not even present at

Tomasica. But they need witnesses to make their case.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) Good day, Gruja, Branko Lukic.

RADOVAN GRUJICIC, Potential witness:

(Subtitles) Radovan Grujicic.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) Thank you for receiving us.

RADOVAN GRUJICIC:

(Subtitles) This is the custom in these parts. Go on, it’s homemade.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) Let me tell you the reason for our visit. The prosecution wants to introduce genocide into Prijedor. We have to show there was no genocide. We need to bring people who will testify to explain the role of the army. They’re trying to say it was all under one command, perfectly organized, planned from the top and put into action through captains like you. We must explain what the real situation was, what the truth is.

RADOVAN GRUJICIC:

(Subtitles) We didn’t go up to the mine at all. Not a single soldier from my unit was ever there.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) They never ordered your troops to bury bodies or secure the mine?

RADOVAN GRUJICIC:

(Subtitles) No.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) To Tomasica?

RADOVAN GRUJICIC:

(Subtitles) No, I never, never, never.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) Neither to transport bodies, nor to bury?

RADOVAN GRUJICIC:

(Subtitles) My troops never did that under my command.

BRANKO LUKIC:

Cheers.

(Subtitles) Would you testify for us?

RADOVAN GRUJICIC:

(Subtitles) I tell you, I’ve had enough. My nerves are shot.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) I know, but I need honest people to defend the honest general.

RADOVAN GRUJICIC:

(Subtitles) I tell you, if he needs blood, I’ll give him blood. But this? Thank you, but no.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) You have a think, and then…

RADOVAN GRUJICIC:

(Subtitles) I’ve got nothing to think about. I kindly ask you not to involve me in this.

BRANKO LUKIC:

That’s exactly what I was afraid of before, before we came here, that we might have many good talks but no witnesses.

My humble opinion is that at this moment, Bosnia does not need shows for public as Tomasica, ’cause it’s just a show, and it’s just prolongation of Bosnian agony. We should bury our dead and we should move forward. And having wounds reopened all the time cannot help reconciliation.

These are killing fields.

INTERVIEWER:

In World War II?

BRANKO LUKIC:

Yes. Yes.

To understand Bosnia, its conflicts from ’90s, you have to know what happened during the World War, the second. If you do not understand Jasenovac, where we are, here, now, we cannot understand the conflict in Bosnia.

NARRATOR:

During World War II, Yugoslavia was occupied by the Nazis, and Serbs were put in concentration camps.

The Nazis were supported by Croatian fascists, and some Muslims sympathetic to the fascist cause. Now, years later, the defense is trying to argue that the historic persecution of the Serbs should be considered in the case against Mladic.

BRANKO LUKIC:

Every single family lost its member due to that genocide committed against Serbian people.

An eye for an eye is not allowed as a defense in front of this Tribunal. But there was revenge, and you could not control everybody who was armed during the war. So, it was not something that you could blame General Mladic and to blame Serbian leadership that it was organized.

Tomasica can be an excellent example, actually, of revenge. It can be excellent example of continuation, this Bosnian bloody story. It happens to be in this area, and it’s happened before, and I’m afraid that it could happen in the future. I hope not.

Let there be no doubt that Serbs in Bosnia Herzegovina had to defend themselves for their very survival. The Bosnian Muslims and Croats had threatened the survival already as part of the Nazi forces that terrorized and killed Serbs in Jasenovac and other death camps.

Thus, General Mladic cannot be held responsible for the acts of persons not following his orders, but engaging in uncontrollable acts of private revenge by locals.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

The defense says that the atrocities against the Serbs led the Serb populous to be full of hatred and want to exact revenge on the Muslim population. From our prospective, it’s a rather absurd defense because of the clear organization and the logistics that went into a huge mass grave.

They were Mladic’s armed forces, very well organized. So, this kind of evidence attracts sympathy to the Serbian cause and perhaps to General Mladic, but in the end, it doesn’t amount to any kind of a defense.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

Welcome everybody to the 80th week of the Mladic trial. (Laughs) Officially on the record, we’re on the 333rd day. In terms of events in the trial, where’s Ed? There he is. Ed filed the Tomasica motion last week right on schedule. Thank you very much for doing that.

DERMOT GROOME:

Hello Rebecca, how are you?

REBECCA, Tribunal staffer:

I’m good.

DERMOT GROOME:

So, I’m here to turn in my plates.

REBECCA:

Yes.

DERMOT GROOME:

And then the…

REBECCA:

The papers?

DERMOT GROOME:

And the papers.

REBECCA:

Let’s see if you have everything. Just…Yeah, that’s the one. Then if you can, is to fill out the check-out form.

DERMOT GROOME:

Okay.

NARRATOR:

After two-and-a-half years on the Mladic trial, Dermot Groome has to leave the Tribunal for family reasons.

DERMOT GROOME:

It’s difficult to…certainly to leave at this stage in the case. I’ve invested an awful lot in the case, and to see the Tomasica filing without my name on it, it definitely hit me in a way that I didn’t expect.

It’s a bit melancholy, but I guess that’s part of, of leaving a position that you’ve loved and have had for a very long time.

CAMILLE BIBLES:

And perhaps the most significant addition since we’ve had the last key meeting, is that Alan Tieger is here, and I know Alan has a couple of words that will impact the team.

ALAN TIEGER, Lead prosecutor:

It’s of course my pleasure to be on board. I simply look forward to working with each one of you. I hope to meet with all of you…

It’s an extraordinary responsibility and professional privilege to lead this team for this case at this point in the Tribunal’s existence. My parents were both survivors, whose, virtually, entire families were murdered during the Holocaust. And no, no survivor truly escapes that. So, I could see the, the visible effects of those crimes every day; this feeling of anger and helplessness and impotence that you grow up with. And I certainly felt that when I met and worked with those victims in Prijedor.

ELVIRA KARAGIC, Daughter of genocide victim:

(Subtitles) This is what is left of the house I was born and raised in. Once, there was a beautiful garden here. It has all been destroyed.

NARRATOR:

Elvira Karagic’s father went missing in July 1992. She is waiting to find out if his remains have been discovered in the Tomasica mass grave.

ELVIRA KARAGIC:

(Subtitles) The last time I saw my father was here, on July 19. He was sitting there with my mom. They came out to have their coffee.

(Subtitles) He told us, “I did nothing wrong. I have no reason to hide. I’m not guilty of anything. I did nothing.”

(Subtitles) Just within my close family, 32 people were killed on July 20, 1992. To this day, no one in charge is willing to admit genocide. No one will admit that this took place in Prijedor.

ARTHUR TRALDI, Prosecutor:

Mladic is charged with seven different massacres that took place in about a six day period, in Prijedor municipality, in late July 1992.

More than a thousand people in Prijedor went missing during the course of about those six days. Nobody’s ever been convicted of genocide here for what happened in 1992, in Prijedor or anywhere else.

This is the last trial hearing, so it is the last opportunity. And I think all of us feel some sense of historical obligation to make sure that it’s recorded here what happened, and General Mladic’s responsibility for it.

Mladic had firm command and control over the VRS and subordinated Bosnian Serb forces throughout the ethnic cleansing campaign in Prijedor municipality, through killing more than 1,500 Muslims and detaining thousands more in brutal and inhumane conditions.

What you see on this next slide is those villages which are most relevant to the cleansing campaign in Prijedor. As you see, many of the communities I’ve just been talking to you about, by 1993, genuinely, literally, chillingly no longer existed.

ELVIRA KARAGIC:

(Subtitles) Hello. Sima, is that you? Ah, it’s you, Auntie! How are you? Yes, yes. It’s confirmed. It’s all there, the body is complete. Yes. Tomorrow, quarter to one, I’m going for Dad. Yes. I can sign the identification for both Dad and for Uncle.

(Subtitles) We’ve been looking for my father and uncle for 22 years. And now, we’ve finally found them.

 

THE TOMASICA EVIDENCE

June 2015. / DAY No. 425 of trial

ALAN TIEGER:

Mr. Hanson, were you called upon to assist in the exhumation at the Tomasica site in 2013?

IAN HANSON, Forensic archaeologist:

Yes, I was.

ALAN TIEGER:

And did it reveal the presence of graves? And if so, how many?

IAN HANSON:

Yes, three separate graves.

ALAN TIEGER:

Were you able to determine how much time may have transpired between the deposits of bodies?

IAN HANSON:

Exact timings, no. However, the bodies were very well preserved, and this is consistent with a burial quite soon after death.

FEMALE:

Sir, what did you observe as the most frequent cause of death?

JOHN CLARK:

I found that the vast majority of the people in this gravesite had been shot. A surprisingly high number of shots were to the head. A very common finding was a bullet wound, bullet injury to the back of the head.

FEMALE:

What can you tell us about the clothes found on the bodies exhumed from Tomasica?

JOHN CLARK:

The clothing was just ordinary clothing. Some people had suit jackets; some people had work jackets or dungarees; but it was mostly sort of casual clothes.

MALE:

(Subtitles) This is the body.

ELVIRA KARAGIC:

(Subtitles) I don’t understand. Why such a large hole here?

MALE:

(Subtitles) These are all bullets.

ELVIRA KARAGIC:

(Subtitles) I understand, but why is this one so big?

MALE:

(Subtitles) This is torn here, can you see? We look at the bullet entry and exit. The exit leaves a bigger hole.

ELVIRA KARAGIC:

(Subtitles) There.

MALE:

(Subtitles) Here, too. In the majority, from the front.

ELVIRA KARAGIC:

(Subtitles) They shot them from the front. (Crying).

MALE:

(Subtitles) From the front.

MALE:

Is that Hamzo?

ELVIRA KARAGIC:

(Subtitles) Unh-huh. His son, Samir; Ifet, Ismet’s son.

MALE:

(Subtitles) That’s Nedzad.

ELVIRA KARAGIC:

(Subtitles) Dad.

ALAN TIEGER:

When, in a community like Prijedor, more than 1,500 people are murdered in a short time, thousands and thousands more starved, degraded, abused, humiliated, tormented, when most of their homes are destroyed, when their mosques are reduced to rubble, and when they are scattered to an impoverished exile, the intent to destroy that community and prevent it from reconstituting itself is unmistakable. And the word for those crimes with that intent is “genocide.”

AN EYEWITNESS

November 2015. / DAY No. 486 of trial

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) So, our first witness for Tomasica is arriving.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) I was with him yesterday, and we had a good conversation. He is a man who was in a very high position at the time. What can he give us that’s significant? To minimize the influence of the army in Tomasica.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitle) Yes.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) As far as he knows, the army had nothing to do with this. He’s guessing the operation was organized by the police.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) The local police force?

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Yes.

BRANKO LUKIC:

(Subtitles) I thought we’d have at least five Tomasica witnesses. I really don’t know what happened. I guess we just have to work with what we have.

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Mr. Marjanovic, do you have any reason, any information or any indirect knowledge that the army of the Republika Srpska was involved in any way in the burials at Tomasica?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC, Former director, Tomasica Mine:

(Subtitles) I do not. None, whatsoever.

FEMALE TRANSLATOR:

“You had occasion to meet with General Mladic in Prijedor.” Answer, “No, I never met the general. Never saw him at any meeting that I attended, nor did I hear from anyone else that he had been in Prijedor.”

MIODRAG STAJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) As far as the direct examination, I think we obtained all that was expected. First, that in 1992, when ugly things were happening at Tomasica, the army was not at the mine at all. Also, that the army was not part of the mine security. So, everything the prosecution tried to prove about the army’s role in Tomasica is not true, according to this witness.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Mr. Marjanovic, you’ll now be cross examined by Mr. Traldi. Mr. Traldi is counsel for the prosecution.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

Thanks, Mr. President. Good morning, sir.

Can we have 65 to 31041?

Do you recognize the people in this photograph?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) I do.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

Who’s the man on the far right, looking away from the camera?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) I think it’s me, yes.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

And the person immediately to your right hand, with the mustache, who’s that?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Slobodan Balaban.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

The man next to him, in the tie?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Smajil Zahirovic.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

And the man next to him, on the far left?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Ibro Paunovic.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

All four of you worked at RCR Libya before the war, right?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Yes.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

You and Mr. Balaban were Serbs, while Mr. Paunovic and Mr. Zahirovic were Muslims?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) Zahirovic was definitely a Muslim. I was good friends with Paunovic, but I don’t know if he was a Muslim. He may have been from Goran.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

But Mr. Paunovic and Mr. Zahirovic, have you ever seen either of them after the war?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) No, except for Balaban.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

Did he know what was happening in Prijedor? Yeah, of course. It’s very hard to start with 50,000 Muslims in your municipality, wind up with six a couple of months later, 6,000, and then virtually none by the end of the war and miss that. Its, it’s too large a change in the composition of the people that you interact with every day. And he would have been in downtown, Prijedor, where he lived, when one of the neighborhoods there, Stari grad, was destroyed by the VRS. He would have been in downtown Prijedor, where he lived, when the Room 3 massacre at Keraterm occurred. Of course he knew crimes were being committed, yeah. Nobody could have missed that.

Whether he knew about this grave specifically, if he didn’t it would have required a willful attempt to avoid knowing what was being done on his property, and the crimes General Mladic and his forces committed.

Now when you said, sir, the less you knew the more you wouldn’t worry, you say that because you wouldn’t want to know what the military and police were doing with mobilized equipment on RCR Libya company property, because you knew they were committing crimes. Right?

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) How can you say that I knew? You can’t say that to me.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

I have no further questions for this witness.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Thank you, Mr. Traldi.

OSTOJA MARJANOVIC:

(Subtitles) How could I, as the director of the mine, not know about what went on at Tomasica? It’s logical that I ought to know. But, if we go back to that time in ‘92, when life was worth all of 50 marks, I deliberately avoided knowing about certain things, so as not to suffer repercussions. They threatened me with death. The chief of police threatened to hang me when I opposed him.

(Subtitles) I did everything I could to save my family. My colleagues, engineers from the mine, were killed in Omarska, innocent people. This causes me pain.

Burial Ceremony for Tomasica victims

PETER McCLOSKEY:

The evidence of genocide presented in this courtroom for the last four-and-a-half years was clear, comprehensive and unassailable. We have Mladic in the dock answering for his crimes.

BRANKO LUKIC:

History will judge if justice was done and seen to be done. The defense does not deny that unfortunate crimes occurred, but those in no way can be connected to General Ratko Mladic.

DAN IVETIC:

There is no credible evidence linking General Mladic’s presence to any of the alleged killing or execution sites. We should all agree that he sits here innocent, before us right now.

ALAN TIEGER:

The time has come for General Mladic to be held accountable for those crimes against each of his victims and the communities he destroyed. It would be an affront to justice to impose any sentence other than the most severe available under law.

GENERAL RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) I don’t recognize any tribunal apart from that of my own people. And I don’t need any defense. I don’t care how long I live. I only care about what I’ve done for my people in my lifetime. I’m a man who belongs to his people, like my ancestors. We will survive.

NARRATOR:

The prosecution and the defense finished presenting their evidence in December 2016. The Court had sat for 530 trial days and heard from nearly 600 witnesses over four-and-a-half years.

The Judges took 11 months to reach a verdict.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

We’re returning now to the trial of…

FEMALE NEWSREADER 2:

We’re back live now, in The Hague. The United Nations War Crimes Tribunal…

FEMALE NEWSREADER 3:

An international war crimes court in The Hague is delivering its verdict…

MALE NEWSREADER:

You’re watching continuous coverage of the verdicts in the trial of Ratko …

MALE REPORTER:

Just to remind you that General Ratko Mladic had asked for a bathroom break, effectively, about 35 minutes ago.

MALE REPORTER 2:

We’re still trying to assess exactly what is going on here. We assume this is just a temporary pause.

MALE:

The Bosnia TV reported that apparently he had some medical issues. So, we are doing the medical checks.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ:

If he has a medical thing now, it’s not a coincidence, is it?

DARKO MLADIC:

He turned red in his face, you know? Usually, when he turns red in his face, this is the sign that his blood pressure is high, and for him this is a life-threatening situation.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ:

Okay, the medical officer wanted to speak to the cardiologist, but now it seems like we’re going to be resuming.

DAN IVETIC:

Mr. Mladic’s blood pressure was read three times during the break. The first reading, I believe, is 175 over 96. The second reading, done by a nurse, was 180 over 80. According to both the American Heart Association and the United Kingdom Cardiovascular Association, that is called hypertensive crisis. Under those circumstances, the defense asks that your honors either halt these proceedings, or we waive reading of the summary and pronounce your judgment, so that we can lessen the risk of further harm to Mr. Mladic’s health.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Mr. Ivetic, the doctor’s advice we got is that the situation is not such that medical reasons would prevent us from continuing. Mr. Mladic wants to consult with Counsel, I take it. If he does that in such a way that no one can hear your voice and sit down, please.

RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Everything you’ve said is nothing but lies!

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Mr. Mladic, sit.

RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) Everything you’ve said is nothing but lies!

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Mr Mladic, if you…

RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) You make wars around the world.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

Curtains down. Mr. Mladic will be removed from the courtroom.

RATKO MLADIC:

(Subtitles) You’re liars, NATO motherf******.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ:

Okay, it goes on.

NARRATOR:

With Mladic watching the proceedings from a holding cell, the judges prepare to give their verdict on the 11 counts against him.

They begin with Count 1, genocide in Prijedor and the other municipalities, and Count 2, genocide in Srebrenica.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

The Chamber finds Ratko Mladic not guilty of Count 1, genocide; guilty, as a member of various joint criminal enterprises, of the following counts: Count 2, Srebrenica genocide; Count 3, persecution, a crime against humanity; Count 4, extermination…

MALE REPORTER:

The verdict in the case of Ratko Mladic, the former general of the Bosnian Serb forces has just been handed down. He was found guilty of 10 of the 11 charges against him. On one charge of genocide, he was found not guilty.

NARRATOR:

While the court ruled that Mladic was not guilty of genocide in Prijedor and the other municipalities, it did find him guilty of ethnic cleansing there, and determined that his troops had been present at Tomasica.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE:

The crimes committed rank among the most heinous known to humankind and include genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. For having committed these crimes the chamber sentences Mr. Ratko Mladic to life imprisonment.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ:

Well, guys, let’s be happy for a moment. I think that’s a great result and a great team effort.

PETER McCLOSKEY:

The word “life” keeps resonating in my head. And had there been anything but that, I would have been very…

SERGE BRAMMERTZ:

But I, you know…

PETER McCLOSKEY:

…angry (Laughs).

ALAN TIEGER:

After an amazing long road, to hear that word…

PETER McCLOSKEY:

Life sentence.

ALAN TIEGER:

Yeah, that tells the whole story. Now I’m ready to quibble about the….

(Laughing)

ALAN TIEGER:

About Count 1.

ARTHUR TRALDI:

The way I understood it was, it was just a substantiality away from a genocide finding. They didn’t find that it met all the legal elements for genocide, but that they recognized the effect of the ethnic cleansing campaign in Prijedor.

SERGE BRAMMERTZ:

Guys, many, many thanks. We are the winning team.

DAN IVETIC:

The defense team considers this judgment to be erroneous, and there will be an appeal. And we believe that the appeal will correct the errors of the trial chamber.

DARKO MLADIC:

We saw each other for five to 10 minutes after the verdict. My father, he said this is all a lie. So, we refuse this sentence. This is great injustice done to Serbian people in the first place, and my father was a symbol of this fight for the freedom of the Serbian people.

BRANKO LUKIC:

To this day, not a single Serbian victim was protected. Nobody was ever accused of it, and you are asking Serbs whether they accept this tribunal as impartial. No, they don’t. They will never do so.

MALE NEWSREADER:

Over the last couple of hours, we heard a detailed reassessment of the evidence that had been heard inside this court behind me. Evidence which, at times, magnified the brutality of some of General Ratko’s Mladic’s crimes.

WOMAN:

He’ll live a long life, but he’ll suffer every night.

MALE:

He showed again what a coward he is.

MALE 2:

It’s not a message of peace and coexistence and reconciliation. When my son and grandson learn about General Mladic, I want them to be proud.

FEMALE NEWSREADER:

Mladic’s crimes have now been recorded in history. During his trial, the court heard from four-and-a-half-thousand people who bore witness to the killings he ordered. It took a quarter of a century for their voices to be heard, for their dead to receive some justice.

FEMALE REPORTER:

So how do you think…how do you feel with the verdict?

MALE:

I am very happy now.

FEMALE REPORTER:

Is it over?

MALE:

Not really, but I’m happy.

FEMALE REPORTER:

Is it justice?

MALE:

Yes.

 

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia closed in December 2017 after the Ratko Mladic verdict.

Over its 24-year existence, it prosecuted 116 alleged war criminals.

It was the biggest war crimes tribunal since Nuremberg.

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