“The world watched in disbelief that in neighbourhoods and villageswithin Europe a genocide appeared to be in progress,” prosecutorDermot Groome said at the UN court in The Hague. Twenty years after the war that left 100,000 dead, Bosnia remainsdivided into two ministates one for Serbs, the other shared byBosnian Muslims and Croats linked by a central government. Mladic fled into hiding after the war and spent 15 years as afugitive before international pressure on Serbia led to his arrestlast year. Now he is held in a one-man cell in a specialinternational wing of a Dutch jail and receives food and medicalcare that would likely be the envy of many in Bosnia. But the fact that he is jailed and on trial is another victory forinternational justice and hailed by observers as evidence that warcrimes tribunals more often than not get their indicted suspects,even if they have to wait years.
In a demonstration of Bosnia’s continuing ethnic divide, people whogathered in the Serb stronghold of Pale to watch the trial ontelevision applauded as they saw the ex-general enter thecourtroom. “Mladic is our hero, it’s sad that we see him there,” said MilanIvanovic, a 20-year-old law student. Prosecutor Groome told the three-judge panel Wednesday that Mladicwas hand-picked by Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic because ofhis skills as a military commander but also “because Karadzicbelieved he was willing to commit the crimes needed to achieve thestrategic goals of the Bosnian Serb leadership.” Groome signalled that prosecutors would use Mladic’s own wordsagainst him in the trial, drawing on a stash of wartime diariesMladic kept, radio intercepts and appearances he made on televisionduring the war. No pleas entered In one such TV appearance, Mladic showed a news team around theSerb artillery dug into hills overlooking Sarajevo and denied anyinvolvement in war crimes foreshadowing his defence now that hisactions were intended only to protect Serbs. “I did not take part in any crimes.
I have only defended mypeople,” Mladic said. He has refused to enter pleas to the 11charges against him in The Hague but denies wrongdoing. However in another video he is heard boasting, “whenever I come bySarajevo, I kill someone in passing … I go kick the hell out ofthe Turks” a denigrating reference to Bosnian Muslims. “(Mladic) held Sarajevo in the palm of his hand,” Groome said,playing an intercepted radio communication of Mladic ordering theshelling of part of the city and a video of civilians scurryingacross devastated streets to avoid sniper fire during Sarajevo’ssiege. Gold Glitter Powder
Groome said all the attacks were part of an “overarching” planhatched by Karadzic and former Yugoslav President SlobodanMilosevic to ethnically cleanse large parts of Bosnia of non-Serbsand carve out a “Greater Serbia” from the ruins of the formerYugoslavia. Karadzic is also on trial at the tribunal following his 2008arrest. Milosevic was put on trial here, too, for fomenting warsacross the Balkans, but he died of a heart attack in 2006 beforejudges could deliver their verdict. Few witnesses to testify in person Prosecutors say they will use evidence against Mladic from morethan 400 witnesses, though very few of them will testify in court.Much of their evidence already has been heard in other cases andwill be admitted as written statements. China Clear Plastic Jars
The first witness is to start testifying May 29, but PresidingJudge Alphons Orie of the Netherlands hinted that he may postponethe case because prosecutors have not disclosed all evidence toMladic’s defence. Bosnia’s president hailed the trial’s opening as a historic day inthe still-bitterly divided country’s recovery from its war wounds. “First of all we are expecting from this trial the truth,” saidBakir Izetbegovic . “The truth and then justice for the victims,for the families of the victims. It is the worst period of ourhistory.” Mladic gave a thumbs-up and clapped toward the court’s publicgallery as the trial got under way. Gold Glitter Powder Manufacturer
He occasionally wrote notes andshowed no emotion as prosecutors outlined his alleged crimes. One woman in the public gallery called him a “vulture.” After a break in proceedings, Orie rebuked Mladic and the publicabout “inappropriate interactions” and said he might shield Mladicbehind a screen if the outbursts continued. Munira Subasic, who lost 22 relatives in the Srebrenica massacre,claimed that Mladic made a throat-slitting gesture toward her aftershe had held up both her hands, wrists crossed to indicate Mladicwas in captivity. Mladic’s lawyer Branko Lukic did not confirm herversion of events, but claimed that somebody in the audience raisedtheir middle finger at Mladic.
“He is very easily provoked and we had that gallery full of peoplevery ready to provoke,” Lukic said. In Srebrenica, widows and mothers of the massacre victims gatheredto watch the trial together and reacted with outrage to Mladic’sapparent lack of emotion. “This is so painful for us. It really hurts. We did not lose somechicken.
We lost our sons,” said Suhreta Malic, whose children andover 30 other family members were killed in the massacre. Crying, she sat in front of the TV with photos of her dead childrenin her hands.