Mladic Witness Contests Mass Grave Exhumation Report

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Testifying on behalf of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, an expert witness questioned whether bodies exhumed from a mass grave at the Tomasica mine near Prijedor were executed by Serb forces.

Demographics expert Svetlana Radovanovic Radovanovic told the UN war crimes court in The Hague on Tuesday that a report by the prosecution’s demographics expert should have said that some of the people whose bodies were exhumed from the Tomasica mine could have died in combat rather than being executed.

Radovanovic said that when determining that all the victims died violent deaths, the prosecution’s demographic expert Ewa Tabeau should have mentioned the possibility that some were killed in battles on the basis of the dates of their deaths, as there was fighting on those days.

“In this way it is insinuated that all the deaths were caused by execution or ethnic cleansing… The fact is that not all the deaths happened under those circumstances, because there was data about fighting as well,” Radovanovic told the court.

She also said that the Hague prosecution’s pathology expert John Clark did not exclude the possibility that some of the Tomasica victims got killed in battles.

She argued that Tabeau inappropriately concluded at the end of her report that the Tomasica victims were killed in brutal circumstances during an ethnic cleansing campaign without mentioning it again in the rest of the document.

According to the International Commission for Missing Persons, about 600 bodies were exhumed from the Tomasica mass grave and a secondary grave at Jakarina Kosa. They are alleged to have been killed by Bosnian Serb forces under Mladic’s command.

Mladic is on trial for genocide in seven Bosnian municipalities, including Prijedor, in 1992, as well as Srebrenica in 1995, terrorising the civilian population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Radovanovic will continue testifying on Thursday.

 

News Courtesy: Bolcan Insight

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