DEN HAAG | 03.05.2016.

IT DOES NOT MATTER IF VICTIMS WERE ARMED OR NOT, AS LONG AS THERE WAS FIGHTING

Based on a document produced by the VRS 1st Krajina Corps, defense demography expert Dr. Svetlana Radovanovic concluded that there was fighting with the 'extremist' groups in the Prijedor area at the relevant times. When the prosecutor stressed that the document does not state the ‘extremist’ groups were armed, the defense’s demography expert argued that her goal was not to establish ‘whether someone was armed or not but whether there was fighting going on’

Dr. Svetlana Radovanovic, the defense’s demography expert, completed her testimony at the trial of Ratko Mladic today. Through her evidence, the defense wanted to contest the findings of the prosecution's demographer, Dr. Ewa Tabeau, on the Tomasica mass grave. As the cross-examination continued today, the prosecutor focused on Dr. Radovanovic’s claim that in her report Dr. Tabeau ‘deliberately neglected’ the evidence showing that there was fighting going on in the Prijedor area at the time when the mass grave was made.


Prosecutor Jason File noted that only one of the nine documents Dr. Radovanovic cited in her report actually pertains to July 1992, the time when, the prosecution alleges, most of the Prijedor residents whose remains were exhumed from the Tomasica mass grave had actually gone missing. The document, a combat report of the VRS 1stKrajina Corps of 27 July 1992, specified that the ‘efforts to identify extremist groups are underway’ and that the Corps didn’t suffer any losses.


The fact that the document does not mention any resistance on the part of the 'extremists' contradicts Dr. Radovanovic’s allegation about fighting in the area, the prosecutor argued. The witness, however, remained firm that there had been fighting going on, which would imply that not all Tomasica victims had been executed in executions. The prosecutor put it to the witness that nothing in the document proved that the ‘extremists’ had been armed. The expert witness replied that her goal was not to establish ‘if someone was armed but to prove if there was any fighting in the area’.


Prosecutor File noted that Dr. Radovanovic had had access to the list of 378 Tomasica victims and the list of BH Army casualties. Asked whether she had verified if there were any matches between the two lists, the expert replied that her task was to prove that Dr. Tabeau’s analysis had not been done professionally. In the Popovic et alcase Dr. Radovanovic compared lists of the exhumed victims from the Srebrenica mass graves and BH Army casualties that were much longer than the Tomasica one. Today the defense expert explained that in Popovic at al case she had been asked by the defense to do so, and Mladic’s lawyers had not required the same.


It is still unclear when Ratko Mladic’s trial will continue. The evidence of two remaining defense witnesses, Andrei Demurenko and Jasmin Odobasic, has not yet been confirmed.