News 02 Feb 16

Hague Prosecutors Dispute Mladic Expert’s Srebrenica Testimony

At the trial of Ratko Mladic, prosecutors tried to undermine claims by an expert witness who testified that thousands of Bosniaks were killed in fighting while escaping from Srebrenica, not in massacres.

Justice Report
BIRN
Belgrade
Ratko Mladic. Photo: ICTY.

Mladic’s expert witness Dusan Pavlovic on Tuesday repeated his claim that “at least 4,000 to 5,000” Bosnian Army soldiers and civilians were killed when trying to break through Bosnian Serb lines and escape Srebrenica in July 1995, despite prosecution claims that his testimony was based on incorrect data.

During cross-examination, the prosecutor pointed to what he called factual inaccuracies in Pavlovic’s report, claiming that he did not accurately cite eyewitness statements about the disappearance or murder of Bosniak men who were trying to break through Serb lines and make it to safety in Tuzla after Srebrenica fell.

Pavlovic said thousands of Bosniaks were killed “during combat activities when trying to break through” Serb lines.
But the prosecutor cited statements by witnesses who said the Bosniaks were actually captured by Bosnian Serb forces and “died as victims of mass executions”.

Pavlovic said that he knew about these statements when preparing his report, but assumed they were false.

When the prosecutor said his assumption was wrong, Pavlovic responded that he “cannot say that it is 100 per cent wrong”.

“If the court’s investigative actions have been completed and if it has been determined they died in that way, I am not denying it at all,” Pavlovic said.

Former Bosnian Serb military commander Mladic is on trial for the genocide of Srebrenica Bosniaks. He is also on trial for the persecutions of non-Serbs across the country, terrorising the population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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Background

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.

War in Bosnia

Key dates and events in the Bosnia war.

Ratko Mladic: The Force Behind the Srebrenica Killings

The Bosnian Serb commander’s role in the genocide committed in Srebrenica is described in detail in many indictments and verdicts pronounced before local and international judicial institutions.

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