The defence of Ratko Mladic, during cross-examination of the witness, Ibro Osmanovic, pointed out that in the summer of 1992, the Susica camp near Vlasenica was ran by the Bosnian Serb police and not the army.
Osmanovic, who during his testimony at the Hague Tribunal had said that the Bosniaks imprisoned in the Susica camp were abused and beaten to death, confirmed that the warden and the chief of security in the camp were members of the special police brigade of Republika Srpska.
“The chief of security, Dragan Nikolic, known as Yankee, often said that the warden is the undisputed authority... They were coming to Susica as they pleased, both in regular army and camouflage uniforms, to take prisoners to a forced labour. They were also wearing blue uniforms, but none of them was from the regular police, none of them were people who were policemen before the war,” said Osmanovic.
In 2003, the Hague Tribunal sentenced Dragan Nikolic to 20 years in prison for the crimes committed in Susica.
Mladic, former commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, is charged with the expulsion of Bosniak and Croat civilians across Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, according to the indictment, in seven Bosnian municipalities, including Vlasenica, reached a level of genocide.
He is also charged with genocide in Srebrenica, terrorizing Sarajevo citizens, and taking international soldiers as hostages between 1992 and 1995.
Miodrag Stojanovic, Mladic’s lawyer, contested the witness’ claim that a Bijeljina restaurant owner Ejub Smajic was killed in the Batkovic camp near Bijeljina, but Osmanovic stuck to his original statement.
Stojanovic presented the witness with the indictment filed in Bosnia and Herzegovina against perpetrators of the crime in Batkovic, which specifies that Smajic was “severely wounded”, Osmanovic replied that Smajic was killed in the camp.
After Mladic’s lawyer showed him the statement which Smajic himself gave to the investigating bodies, Osmanovic allowed a possibility that he was not talking about the same man, but still stood by his original claim.
Stojanovic dedicated a better part of his cross-examination to the events in Vlasenica before the Serb authorities arrested Osmanovic, and the presiding judge Alphons Orie warned him to return his attention to the witness’ statement.
On Thursday, Osmanovic testified that after the Serb forces had taken control of the town of Vlasenica in 1992, his younger sister, two brothers and 33 distant relatives were killed.
The trial will resume on Monday, September 24.
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.
Key dates and events in the Bosnia war.
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.