THE HAGUE | 02.09.2012.
Next Week at the Tribunal


The prosecution continues calling evidence next week at the trial of former VRS commander Ratko Mladic. There will be a status conference in the case against former RS president Radovan Karadzic

Last week, Ratko Mladic was the only accused in the Tribunal’s courtrooms. This Monday, Radovan Karadzic, Mladic’s former supreme commander, will appear before the Tribunal albeit for a short time. Karadzic is also charged with genocide and other crimes committed in the war in BH.

At the status conference in the case against the former Republika Srpska president, the parties will discuss the presentation of the defense case, scheduled to begin on 16 October 2012. Karadzic plans to call 600 witnesses and needs 300 hours to examine them in chief. The accused has asked for additional 300 hours to contest the 3,200 adjudicated facts from other cases that the Trial Chamber has taken judicial notice of in his case. Karadzic delivered his opening statement at the beginning of the trial and now plans to start his case with a four-hour introductory statement without making the solemn declaration.

At the trial of Ratko Mladic, the prosecution has announced that five witnesses will give evidence next week. Safet Taci, who was detained in the Keraterm and Trnopolje prison camps in the Prijedor area, is scheduled to testify first. Taci will speak about the conditions in the prison camps, the treatment of prisoners and the massacre in the Keraterm prison camp in the night of 24 July 1992: about 150 prisoners were killed in Room No. 3.

Rajif Begic, the second witness, survived the massacre on the bridge in Vrhpolje in Sanski Most municipality. Begic has already given evidence at the trials of Radoslav Brdjanin and Momcilo Krajisnik. In late May 1992, the villages of Vrhpolje and Hrustovo were shelled. A week later, a group of VRS soldiers set the houses on fire, separated men from women and took a group of 20 men to the bridge in Vrhpolje. The witness was in the group. Four men were killed on the way to the bridge. Others were forced to take off their clothes and jump from the bridge as the soldiers fired on them.

The prosecution’s third witness for next week, Sefik Hurko, was detained in Rasadnik in Rogatica and in the Veljko Vlahovic school. Hurko will testify about the conditions in the detention facilities and how prisoners were beaten and killed. The judges will hear from Hurko details about sexual abuse of prisoners, who were forced to have sexual intercourse with each other.

Ivo Atlija, a Bosnian Croat from the village of Brisevo, will testify about the attack of the Serb forces on his village and other villages in the area, about the SDS propaganda and the takeover of power in Prijedor municipality. Atlija will also testify about the murder of 68 civilians in the attack on Brisevo in late May 1992. Another protected prosecution witness will testify next week, under the pseudonym RM 032.

Last Friday, just before the end of the last session, Mladic was removed from the courtroom for disrupting the trial. On Monday, Mladic will be back in the dock: whether he remains in there until the end of the week will depend on his behavior. The judges have made it clear they would not tolerate any improper behavior of the accused during the trial.