BIRN — Testifying at the trial of Ratko Mladic before the International Tribunal at The Hague, protected witness RM-081 describes crimes against Bosniak civilians from Rogatica committed by Serb forces in a school building in that town in the summer of 1992.
In his written statement, which the Hague Prosecution included as evidence, witness RM-081 said that Serb soldiers sexually abused him and his minor children – a daughter aged seven and a half and 13-year old son, in a detention camp.
As he said, the witness “did not have the courage” to ask his wife whether she was raped too after having been taken out of the detention camp by members of Serb forces.
Witness RM-081 identified members of Serb forces, who took women out in order to rape them, from a list which the Hague Prosecution presented to him in the courtroom. The witness said that Rajko Kusic, Commander of the Rogatica Brigade with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, was Commander of the detention camp in the Veljko Vlahovic school building.
According to the witness, the Brigade conducted the heavy shelling of Rogatica in the spring of 1992, although no Bosniak forces were situated in the town and despite the fact that most of the town’s population consisted of women, children and unarmed men from the surrounding areas, who sought shelter in the town.
After the town had been occupied by Serb forces on May 21, 1992, RM-081 and about 1,000 other local residents were detained in the School Centre, where they were held in “inhumane” conditions without sufficient food and water. Witness RM-081 said that detainees were subjected to beating and sexual abuse, while some of them were even killed.
RM-081 said that Kusic came to the detention camp in late June 1992 and objected due to the fact that the Bosniaks “were not co-operative enough, causing him problems with the cleansing of Rogatica”.
Mladic, former Commander of the VRS Main Headquarters, is charged with genocide in Srebrenica and genocide in seven other Bosnian municipalities, persecution of Bosniaks and Croats in municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terror against civilians in Sarajevo by a long-lasting shelling and sniping and taking members of UNPROFOR hostage in the period from 1992 to 1995.
The cross-examination of witness RM-081 will be continued on Monday.