Jezik / Language:
5 June 2013

Who Saw Mladic’s Gesture, and Who Did not See it

Radosa Milutinovic BIRN BiH Hague

While cross-examining witness Momir Nikolic, the Defence of Ratko Mladic suggests that Nikolic lied, when he said that two days after the fall of Srebrenica, the indictee made an abrupt hand gesture, foreboding that Muslim captives would be killed.

Mladic’s Defence attorney Nenad Petrusic presented the witness with statements given by Mladen Blagojevic and Borivoje Jankovic, military policemen of the Bratunac Brigade, who escorted General Mladic on July 13, 1995, indicating that they did not see Nikolic or Muslim captives in Konjevic Polje and that Mladic did not get out of the SUV at all.

Nikolic denied their statement as absolutely untrue, repeating that what he had said before was true.

When asked to name the military policemen whom he saw when he met Mladic, the witness said that he did “not focus on Mladic’s security staff”, but on reporting to him.

Defence attorney Petrusic reminded Nikolic that he did not mention Mladic’s gesture in his guilt admission agreement signed in 2003. The witness confirmed his allegation.

When the Defence attorney said that he also failed to mention the gesture in his subsequent interviews with the Prosecution, Nikolic said: “I do not know. If it was not written down, then I did not mention it.”  

The witness said that he did not know when he mentioned it for the first time.

Prosecutor Julian Nicholls then mentioned Nikolic’s statement from 2003 in which he described Mladic’s gesture. After that presiding Judge Alphnons Orie reprimanded Mladic’s Defence attorney due to “the inaccurate presentation of the witness’ statement”.  

Petrusic confirmed having made a mistake, adding that he did not have any bad intentions.

Prosecutor Nicholls said that military policeman Blagojevic, whose statement was called upon by the Defence, was sentenced before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to seven years in prison for crimes against humanity.

After having admitted guilt, before The Hague Tribunal in 2003, for persecution of Muslims from Srebrenica, Nikolic, former Security Officer of the Bratunac Brigade with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Mladic, Commander of VRS, is on trial for genocide against about 7,000 Srebrenica Muslims in the days that followed the occupation of Srebrenica by VRS on July 11, 1995.

Once the examination of Nikolic had been completed, Prosecution’s investigator Erin Gallagher continued her testimony.

The trial of Mladic, who is charged with persecuting Muslims and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising civilians in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage, is due to continue on June 6. 

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