THE HAGUE | 27.08.2012.

MLADIC WANTED TO ‘ROLL OUT THE MINDS’ OF THE PEOPLE IN SARAJEVO

During the evidence of a protected witness, who worked in the Sarajevo hospital at the start of the war and was injured there, the prosecution played the infamous recording of an intercepted radio communication between Mladic and Colonel Vukasinovic. In the intercept, Mladic orders Colonel Vukasinovic to shell parts of the city in order to ‘roll out the minds’ of Sarajevo citizens, ‘so that they can’t sleep’. After he was reprimanded last week for insulting a witness in court, today Ratko Mladic followed the trial in silence, communicating with the defense only by passing them written notes

Ratko Mladic’s voice was familiar to ‘every child in Sarajevo because he would direct artillery fire so often’, Witness RM 115 said at the trial of the former commander of the VRS Main Staff for genocide and other crimes in BH.

The woman worked in the Military Hospital in Sarajevo; at the beginning of the war the hospital was renamed Sarajevo State Hospital. She was seriously injured in the night of 28 May when a shell hit a room where she was, on the hospital second floor. The witness was in a coma for a while and needed more than six months of treatment following the injury. Immediately before she was injured, the witness heard on the radio a recording of an intercepted conversation between General Mladic and Colonel Mirko Vukasinovic. The prosecution tendered the intercept into evidence during the witness’s evidence. Mladic ordered artillery officer Vukasinovic to ‘fire at’ the suburbs of Velesici and Pofalici because, as Mladic put it, ‘there are not many Serb people living there’. Mladic orders his men to fire Dobrovoljacka Street, the area around Humska and Djure Djakovica Street and to ‘fire one more salvo at the Presidency building’. Finally, Mladic ordered Vukasinovic not to let the Sarajevo citizens sleep and to ‘roll out their minds’.

After he was repeatedly reprimanded last week for insulting the witness, Ratko Mladic today followed the hearing in silence, communicating with his defense counsels only by passing them written notes.

Before the cross-examination, defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic conveyed to the witness a ‘sincere apology on behalf of the Mladic’s defense team for everything you have been through, for your injury and permanent consequences you suffer’. Stojanovic added that he as the defense layer had to ask the witness several questions.

In the cross –examination, Mladic’s defense lawyer Stojanovic tried to establish the points of compass and locations of various buildings and parts of Sarajevo. This prompted presiding judge Orie to warn the defense counsel to stop ‘bothering the witness, because geography obviously isn’t her strong suit’. The defense counsel then put to the witness the defense’s case that the ‘terrain around the hospital was under the control of the BH Army which was targeting Serb positions with artillery, snipers and machine guns’. This prompted the witness to say once again she knew nothing about it because she was in the basement whenever she wasn’t working.

The defense lawyer also showed transcripts of two other intercepted conversations involving the accused. Although the defense challenges the authenticity of the recordings and transcripts of the intercepts, Stojanovic decided to use one of them, in which Mladic says the Bosnian side uses ‘imitators and pantomime performers who are able to mimic voices’ of the VRS soldiers, including Mladic himself. Presumably, the defense is ready to accept at least that intercept as authentic.

After Witness RM 155 completed her evidence, the court moved into closed session for the testimony of a protected witness, an insider, who is testifying under the pseudonym RM 147. From documents made public earlier, it could be concluded that the witness was a former VRS soldier who will speak about the orders issued to Serb snipers around Sarajevo.