During the testimony of Adil Medic, judges of the Hague Tribunal removed Ratko Mladic from the courtroom, after he was seen waving sheets of paper and trying to pass them to his lawyer.
It could be seen from the gallery that one of the papers read: “1943-1991-1992?” Having established that Mladic was waving papers with text written in block letters, which could be seen by judges, lawyers and audience, the presiding judge of the Trial Chamber, Alphons Orie, assessed at the middle of the session that this was “inappropriate”.
“The Trial Chamber decided to undertake a measure of establishing order and remove defendant Mladic from the courtroom until the end of witness’ testimony,” Orie said, after which Mladic was led out.
Meanwhile Medic, who was an activist of the Merhamet humanitarian organisation during the 1992-5 war in Bosnia, in his testimony recalled the “inhuman” conditions in which Bosniaks and Croats were held at the Bosnian Serb camp at Manjaca in 1992.
Medic, who was allowed by the Army of Republika Srpska to visit the camp 25 times, confirmed that prisoners were regularly beaten, some to death.
Mladic, the former commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, is charged with genocide in Srebrenica and in seven other Bosnian municipalities, with the expulsion of Bosniaks and Croats across Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorizing Sarajevo citizens with a campaign of shelling and sniping and taking international soldiers as hostages.
Among others crimes, he is also charged with crimes committed in the Manjaca camp and other prison facilities.
Medic testified that a well-known history professor from Kljuc, Omer Filipovic, was beaten to death at Manjaca in 1992. A month earlier, the witness said, Filipovic had told Medic, in front of several Bosnin Serb officers, that prisoners “do not have water, are regularly beaten, do not have clothes and beds.”
“My feeling at the time was that Filipovic would not survive and in my report the next day I wrote he would not shut up until they killed him,” Medic said, calling Filipovic a “born leader”.
The day after Filipovic’s murder, Medic said he was told by an Army of Republika Srpska colonel that “of the 2,000 prisoners at Manjaca, not even 200 of them had anything to do with the conflicts.”
The witness said the purpose of the camp at Manjaca was to carry out an “official policy” of the Serb authorities of ensuring that “not more than 5 per cent of Muslims remain.
“They had to cleanse the territory of Bosniaks and Croats, by killing some, imprisoning others, expelling the rest,” Medic said.
In the cross examination, Mladic’s lawyer, Branko Lukic, said that Filipovic was not arrested because he was a history professor, but because, as commander of the Territorial Defence in Kljuc, in late May 1992 he had killed unarmed soldiers of the Yugoslav People’s Army.
Medic said that he could not deny or confirm that assertion, because he only knew what Filipovic was before the war.
Responding to the defence’s suggestion, Medic confirmed that Merhamet was allowed to bring humanitarian aid to prisoners at Manjaca 49 times.
The trial will resume on Monday, September 3, and judge Orie emphasised that he expected to see Mladic in the courtroom.
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.