The Trial of Ratko Mladić

Victims call him the Butcher of Bosnia. Defenders say he protected the Serbs. With exclusive access to the prosecution and defense teams, the film chronicles the trial of Ratko Mladić accused of genocide and war crimes. FRONTLINE offers an epic story of justice, accountability and a country at odds over its bloody past.

AIRED: March 19, 2019 | 1:54:52

>> NARRATOR: Tonight on "Frontline"...

The man accused of the worst crimes in Europe

since World War II.

>> This is really what I came here for.

This is the general we've been waiting to arrest

all these years.

>> NARRATOR: General Ratko Mladic,

one of the most notorious figures from wars

in the former Yugoslavia, finally goes on trial...

>> The man accused of being the Butcher of Bosnia

shows no remorse for the victims...

>> NARRATOR: ...filmed over five years

with exclusive access to the prosecution and defense.

>> All the evidence says that our client is not guilty.

And that's my firm belief.

>> NARRATOR: And the witnesses who came to testify.

>> I told my dad, "No, I don't want to go without you."

My uncle says, "Get up. You will survive."

>> When more than 1,500 people are murdered in a short time.

And thousands more starved, degraded, tormented.

The word for those crimes is genocide.

>> NARRATOR: Tonight...

"The Trial of Ratko Mladic."

(gunfire, explosions)

>> A U.N. tribunal will imminently deliver

its long-awaited verdict in the war crimes trial

of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic,

known as the Butcher of Bosnia.

>> NARRATOR: November 22, 2017,

and the verdict at the trial of the Bosnian Serb General

Ratko Mladic is about to be delivered.

>> Mladic is accused of ordering the deaths of thousands

of Bosnian Muslims in the town of Srebrenica.

>> Some of the victims were as young as 12.

Others older than 60.

>> Any last minute thoughts? Are we ready to roll?

>> We've got this.

>> Okay, everybody, we're going to court.

>> The International Criminal Tribunal

for the former Yugoslavia is now in session.

>> We are sitting today to deliver

the chamber's judgment in this case.

The accused, Ratko Mladic, stood trial for 11 counts

of crimes allegedly committed in his capacity as the commander

of the main staff of the Army of the Bosnian Serb Republic

between the 12th of May 1992 and 30th of November 1995.

The indictment charged two counts of genocide

and five counts of crimes against humanity.

Namely prosecution, murder, extermination, deportation,

and the inhumane act of forcible transfer.

(explosion, rapid gunfire)

>> NARRATOR: Throughout the 1990s,

a series of brutal wars raged across the former Yugoslavia.

(screaming, explosions)

(car honking, people shouting)

Some four million people were displaced.

An estimated 130,000 were killed.


With mounting evidence of war crimes,

the United Nations established a court to bring

alleged perpetrators to justice.

>> This will be no victor's tribunal--

the only victor that will prevail in this endeavor

is the truth.

>> NARRATOR: 161 suspects were eventually indicted.

More than half would be found guilty.

Some would be acquitted.

Others would die before being prosecuted.

(man speaking foreign language)

With the capture of Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic,

two of the most senior political figures accused of war crimes,

General Ratko Mladic became the court's most wanted.

Among his alleged crimes, Mladic was accused of masterminding

the genocide of 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica,

considered the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

(woman weeping)

Mladic had gone into hiding when the war ended

and was on the run for 16 years.

>> On behalf of the Republic of Serbia,

I announce that today we arrested Ratko Mladic.

>> Police in Serbia have arrested

Europe's most wanted war crime suspect.

>> NARRATOR: Mladic was extradited to The Hague

to face justice.

It would be the last trial at

the International Criminal Tribunal

for the former Yugoslavia.

>> The chamber will now give its verdict.

(footsteps echoing)

>> For tomorrow I'll be standing here where the podium is.

Mr. Peron will be sat next to me, and then Arthur will be

sitting at the end.

>> So, when I walk in tomorrow, everyone is going to be here,

pretty much? >> Everybody will be here.

>> Even the defense...

>> The defense will be here, and Mladic will already be

in the courtroom. >> Okay.

>> And he does have the two security guys

on each side of him.

The big thing to remember when you come in is a deep breath.

>> Yes. Yes.

I'm a little bit nervous. (laughter)

It brings the memories back.

>> The first witness that's testifying

is an extraordinary young man who was 14 at the time,

Elvedin Pasic, and it's a crime that occurred in 1992,

and it mirrors the crime committed in Srebrenica in 1995.

And we've decided to call him first

because it really demonstrates the way Mladic approached war

and his willingness to commit terrible crimes.

>> That's the public gallery behind you there.

>> He will just tell in his own words what happened to him

and his family.

>> And my wife is going to be somewhere in the back room?

>> Yes, yes. >> Okay.

>> Yeah, she'll be back, right behind you.

>> Okay.

>> What's your impression of his recollection?

>> Rock solid. Yes, yes.

My impression is he... when he goes back in time

he remembers it exactly as he experienced it.

>> He says he's nervous but he... he looks okay.

He looks just appropriate level of nervousness

that you'd expect and I'm sure that'll be gone

after the first few minutes in court.

>> I agree. I think as soon as he, um...

you know, sits down and starts talking, I think he'll be fine.

>> NARRATOR: Ratko Mladic is facing 11 charges,

including two counts of genocide,

considered the most serious crime under international law.

>> Peter, will we go?

>> NARRATOR: The prosecution must prove his intent

to destroy in whole or in part

the non-Serb population in Bosnia.

The defense insists he's innocent

and never participated in or ordered any crimes.

>> This is case IP0992P, the Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.

>> Thank you, Madam Registrar.

Mr. Groome, is the prosecution ready

to make its opening statement?

>> It is, Your Honor.

>> Then you may proceed.

>> Your Honors, four days ago

marked two decades since Ratko Mladic

became the Commander of the Main Staff of the Army

of Republic of Srpska, the VRS.

On that day Mladic began his full participation

in a criminal endeavor of ethnically cleansing

much of Bosnia.

The world watched in disbelief that in neighborhoods

and villages within Europe,

civilians were targeted for no other reason

than they were of ethnicity other than Serb,

their land, their lives, their dignity attacked

in a coordinated and carefully planned manner.

The next time I address you about the evidence in this case

will be at the end of the trial.

At that time, when I come before you again, I will ask

that you give the people of Bosnia

what they have waited so long for--

the truth about what Ratko Mladic did

to that beautiful and complex land.

The truth about what Ratko Mladic did to Bosnia's people.

>> Is the prosecution ready to call its first witness?

>> Your Honor, the prosecution is ready to call

its first witness, Mr. Elvedin Pasic.

>> I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth,

the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

>> Thank you, Mr. Pasic. Please be seated.

You will now first be examined by Ms. Bibles,

who's counsel for the prosecution.

>> Thank you Mr. President, Your Honors.

Good afternoon, Mr. Pasic.

Could you tell us the size and ethnicity of your village?

>> My village, Hrvacani, was 100% Muslim

and approximately a hundred houses.

>> I'm drawing your attention to May of 1992.

Was there a religious occasion celebrated in your village?

>> Yes, we were celebrating our holiday, Bayram.

The first day we went to the mosque, I was excited,

as being a little boy.

On our second day we were attacked.


The bombs and, uh, the shells started landing in our village.


(mortar whistling, exploding)

We were instructed to form three lines and to lay down

in this puddle of mud and water.

Um... I was laying day down next to...

my dad was on my left-hand side,

and my uncle was on my right-hand side--

and as I was laying down they ordered us to--

all the women and children-- to get up.

And at first I didn't want to get up

because I was afraid to separate from my dad.

And he told me to get up.

I told him, "No, I don't want to go without you."

(whispering): He says, "Get up."

I said, "No."

And my uncle insisted.

He says, "Get up, you will survive."

(catching breath)

Since I'm reliving and going back to this,

I had a dream about my dad last night.

For the first time I was able to see his face.

I'm glad because most of the dreams,

the nightmares that I have from the personal experience,

I was always trying to reach him.

But I saw his face last night.

I miss my dad.

Let me find my dad, please.

I would like to find my dad.

(birds chirping)

>> NARRATOR: For more than 35 years,

Bosnia and the rest of Yugoslavia was ruled

by Josip Broz Tito.

His policy of brotherhood and unity suppressed ethnic tensions

between Serbs, Muslims, and Croats.

Following his death in 1980, the country began to fall apart.

(jet engine roaring)

(loud explosion)

>> Yugoslavia, a country at war with itself.

Ever since Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence,

a nation of six republics is being dismantled

by apparently unchecked force.

Now it's feared that the buffer Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina

could become the next theater of conflict.


>> Violence has broken out in the Republic

of Bosnia Herzegovina after its population voted

at the weekend for independence from the rest of Yugoslavia.

43% of the republic's population are Muslim.

31% are Serbs and 17% are Croats.

The Muslims and Croats support independence,

the Serbs are fiercely opposed to it.

>> Last night the Serbs proclaimed a breakaway republic

inside Bosnia, and today their leader Radovan Karadzic

said they'd have to make their Serbian state

whatever the cost may be.


There is chaos and anarchy, no functioning central authority,

and the United Nations headquartered here

is apparently powerless to intervene.


What remains of the Bosnian government

has declared a state of war.


>> Enter General Mladic.

>> He's the scourge of Sarajevo, the chief warrior of the Serbs.

He's called Ratko Mladic.

He's a man who has no doubts,

only a total assurance that he's right, the world's wrong,

and that his people have been slandered.



>> MAN:

>> Good afternoon, Branko Lukic.






>> Well, General Mladic is my eighth client

in front of the Tribunal,

and its obvious this is the most important case

in my career.

My memories from the war were of course horrible.

I had parents in Doboj.

It was Serb-held territory,

but bombed and shelled every day.

My parents were protected by General Mladic and his soldiers.

And he would tell me always,

"Your parents live in Doboj thanks to me."

>> NARRATOR: While in hiding,

General Mladic suffered a heart attack and two strokes.

His lawyers say they will not allow him to testify

due to his "diminished physical and mental state."

Mladic himself considers the Tribunal to be illegitimate

and biased against Serbs.


>> We of course would have preferred having another trial

starting already, many, many years before

and you are for sure right.

When he... when he arrived in The Hague last year,

his health situation was far from perfect.

It's very, very difficult to measure the extreme importance

of the arrest of Mladic.

We were looking for him for 16 years.

When he arrived, it was a few days after his last stroke.

He arrived as very sick man.

Today I think his situation is much, much better

but we will see what happens.

We have a lot of staff working extremely hard to make sure

that this case can advance as fast as possible.

>> Okay, good afternoon.

I wanted just to have a quick meeting today

just to kind of touch base on the preparation.

Things are starting to pick up speed now.

I just want to make sure we're organized.

>> The two senior trial attorneys are very experienced.

They're working at this Tribunal for many, many years.

Dermot is somehow the coordinator,

more the organizer, and Peter McCloskey,

we call him sometimes Mr. Srebrenica

because he has done a number of Srebrenica cases.

>> The sound is very important on this one.

It sounds perfect.

>> I'm up pretty much at maximum.

>> That's where we want to be. >> Okay.

>> NARRATOR: Peter McCloskey is in charge of prosecuting

the Srebrenica genocide.

He and his team will try to prove that General Mladic

ordered the murder of over 7,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995.

McCloskey's already won convictions against

several Bosnian Serb officers for genocide in Srebrenica,

but he believes the Mladic was in command of the operation.

I've prosecuted some of his generals

and some of his commanders, but nothing like

having the man himself.

Mladic is the guy that's really hands on

in the face of the Muslims and ordering the murders directly.


>> And I put this with the murder, his first calling,

"Calm down, calm down," and then he's calling them...

>> Okay. >> So, I put that segment in,

where he's calling... >> Where it should be.

>> Yeah, where it is logically.

(man shouting)

>> Zoran is helping me with the clip of a Muslim man--

is it Ramo? >> Ramo.

>> Ramo Osmanovic.

He's calling... the Serbs are making him call

to bring other Muslims out of the woods

and he's calling his son Nermin.

>> Can you check Nermin and his father, where they were found?

>> Can you imagine how hard it is to call your son

and then they kill your son?

They promise you that they will save them because if they

surrender they will be all safe.

So he's calling son, son came and...

>> I was just asking the investigator to give me

the details of which mass grave they were found in

so that I can tell the court that.

>> If I watch too much of it, I... you know, it's...

it still get... it gets to you.

(keyboard keys clacking)

I got here in the fall of 1996, and I was meeting survivors

at the refugee camps and getting to know them

and hearing their stories.

At the same time, on the same missions

I was with the investigator and we would travel

into the Republic of Srpska with a Humvee Escort,

borrowed shovels from the local police

and start digging in this disturbed soil

to see what was under this disturbed soil,

because we suspected they were mass graves.

And sure enough, every time we found one of these places,

we found body remains which were of course the...

we understood the loved ones of the people we'd interviewed

the day before.

I've been so close to this work for so long,

and so close to the victims,

it becomes rather difficult to deal with the carnage.

There's a certain darkness that comes over me

when this thing starts,

especially when the victims are here.

(birds chirping)

(woman exhaling)

(water flowing from hose)


(birds chirping)


>> So by the afternoon of 11 July,

Mladic and his forces entered Srebrenica town.

They found it almost completely vacant.


>> After this ominous remark about revenge,

Mladic's troops captured and systematically murdered

thousands of Srebrenica men and boys.

>> A human tragedy is unfolding

in the eastern enclave of Srebrenica.

Bosnian Serb infantry have effectively outmaneuvered

the UN and taken control of the town.

Resistance was reported to be minimal.

>> The town was supposed a be a safe haven

protected by the moral and military force

of the world community in the shape of the UN.

>> There are hundreds of hundreds of people,

around probably 20,000 or more,

surrounding the Dutch battalion compound

and everybody is fleeing the city.

(crowd clamoring)

>> After overrunning Srebrenica town,

the Serbs surrounded the UN base nearby

at Potocari where up to 40,000 refugees have gathered.

>> The Bosnian Serb Commander in Chief, General Ratko Mladic,

justified the attack, stating it was to rout Muslim terrorists

and to demilitarize the enclave,

an operation, he added, that the UN had failed to complete.

>> A senior UN official here today said

that there was nothing the UN can do at the moment

short of going to war with the Bosnian Serbs,

and that is very much not on the agenda.

(indistinct chatter, wailing)

(crowd clamoring, baby crying)

>> MAN:

>> This case involves two horrendous crimes--

the forced movement of the Muslim population

together with the mass murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men

and boys all amounting to the elimination

of the Muslim population from Srebrenica and genocide.

Mladic was present in Potocari on 12 and 13 July,

while the VRS began the process of putting

the women and children on buses to Muslim controlled territory

and separating and holding the Muslim men and boys

for execution.

(car door opens)

>> It's not very... it's not very fancy here.

It's messy.

The part where I am asking you questions,

I think it's going to seem actually very short,


And I think that you've probably been told this already,

but Mladic will also be in the courtroom

sitting up behind his lawyers.

We hope that he stays quiet and listens

because he should hear what you have to say.

>> The reason we called Saliha Osmanovic

is because she decided on the 11th of July

that she had to leave with her family

from Srebrenica, otherwise she would be...

she would be killed by the Serbs, and this is...

this is the ethnic cleansing,

this is the forcible transfer count.

And so that's the first thing we bring out with her.

>> Her situation was, all of a sudden,

it is not safe for us to be here in our home anymore.

>> Okay, well there's... there's fleeing the fighting,

which is normal, and we'd all do that when the shells started.

>> Right, yes.

>> Was there anything indicated

in her mind, anything else besides just fleeing,

shells falling?

>> Well, and it's not just shells falling,

it's a sense of being... what she communicated at least was,

"I as a Muslim am not going to be safe here."

Not just "I might get caught in some random...

random crossfire."

She actually said, "Yeah, it was safe if you wanted to get

your throat slit."

>> How are you doing? >> Not too bad.

>> (speaks local language)

>> (speaks local language)

I can do that too.

Okay, I'll see you in there in a minute.

(Ramo shouting on video)

>> (sighs): Mrs. Osmanovic, do you recognize the man

that's featured in that video?

>> You state that you went to Potocari on 11 July.

Did you go to Potocari from the town of Srebrenica?

>> Up until the moment that you boarded the bus in Potocari,

do you feel like you could have stayed in Srebrenica

if you wanted to?


>> What is being described as deportation by the prosecution

in relation to Srebrenica was a humanitarian evacuation

that was agreed to by all sides.

My goal with this witness is to see if I can link up

certain parts of her written testimony to video footage

that we have of the actual events

that she seems to be describing.

We hope to show our client General Mladic acting

in a very humane light, providing food and water

to the civilians that were located there.

I'd like to move now to your statement

where you talk about an encounter with General Mladic,

and when he said that first the women and children could go,

and you all moved towards the buses and trucks.

I would like to take a look at a video

to see if this accurately depicts the incident

you're talking about.


>> The demeanor of General Mladic,

is it similar to or different from the demeanor

of General Mladic during the encounter

that you remember with him?

>> Madam, you mentioned that there was water and chocolates

being handed out.

Was there also bread being handed out by the VRS soldiers?

>> Mrs. Osmanovic, the Chamber understands

that being taken back to the events must be

emotional for you.

We appreciate that you came.

You may now follow the usher.


>> I don't see how you did... you were just wonderful.

(translator speaking)

Thank you.

>> Danny really shook her.

Although she was a victim, and when you have a victim

in front of you, you have to deal with the victim

very, very nicely, very softly.

But still he was capable of shaking her.

We have the instruction from the General to say sorry

to a victim, and I never do that.

It's not my job.

Or he instructs me that, no.

My job is to cross-examine.

I'm a lawyer, I cross-examine.

If you want to apologize, write a letter.

>> Hundreds of bodies believed to have been killed

by Serb forces have been found in a mass grave in Bosnia

in the Prijedor area.

>> They knew this grave existed for years,

but Bosnian Serb witnesses kept silent about its location.

>> The ghosts of the missing still haunt the villages here

and the graveyards still wait for the dead.

This discovery could bring an end to that waiting

and bring evidence of war crimes that can no longer be hidden.

>> NARRATOR: It's late 2013, and a mass grave has been discovered

on the site of the Tomasica Iron Mine

in Prijedor, Northwest Bosnia.

In addition to Srebrenica, Mladic is accused of genocide

in Prijedor and five other municipalities.

Prosecutors believe that the Tomasica mass grave

could provide important new evidence

to support this second genocide charge.

>> Once you stripped off the top layer of earth,

did you, at that stage know that there were likely

to be bodies there?

>> We could see the changes in the...

>> In the earth?

>> We need to strip the ground so to get to this yellow...

>> And this is the actual...

>> Grey clay, yes.

>> Okay.

>> Then because air couldn't get through that clay,

bodies are well preserved.

>> And do the pathologists think that because of that soft tissue

that they can make findings about cause of death and...

>> Exactly.

>> Oh, good, okay.

And a lot of this was organized by the army itself?

>> Army and the police. >> And the police, yeah.

>> And the local police.

>> I must say one thing-- just looking around here,

it's just so massive.

And to think that all of this was dug up

and bodies were put in here, and people were bought here

and executed here, and then there's tons and tons of earth

that was then put on top of it,

it's beyond anything that I've ever dealt with.

>> Prijedor was the first place to be ethnically cleansed

with vicious Serb atrocities.

>> We're very upset to see outright murder,

burning people to death in their own homes,

dragging them out in the street and shooting them

at point blank range.

>> Omarska concentration camp,

ethnic cleansing at its most graphic.

Thousands of Muslims in scenes chillingly reminiscent

of the Holocaust.

(machinery humming)

>> And you can see the different states.

>> Yeah.

>> Also over there, that'll be solid.

>> Yeah.

>> What kinds of injuries are you finding,

the ones that you can determine an injury?

>> It's mainly high velocity gunshot.

>> To the back of the head, or...

>> Yeah, there's quite a lot of targeted ones.

>> Oh, yeah?

>> There's a skull over there which, as you see,

is being reconstructed and all this shattering

is typical of high velocity injury.

Once it's all put together,

there's still quite a lot of good evidence you can...

we can see from it.

>> And you can see the tragedy of it, you know,

when you look around.

I mean it's clear that these are not soldiers,

these are women, there are even some children over there,

and this is just an outrage that these people were...

were killed in the way they were killed and dumped in a...

at the site that they were dumped.

In terms of the case, it's so important

because in terms of proving that they were murdered by people

that are accountable to Mladic, we need to have that evidence.

The prosecution will seek to tender

this newly acquired Tomasica evidence.

>> NARRATOR: The court must now decide whether to allow

prosecutors to use the new evidence from the mass grave.

>> ...revealed in Tomasica will be relevant

to the chambers' consideration of count one

in the indictment of genocide.

>> NARRATOR: It could take the judges several months

to reach a decision.

>> To establish genocide in Prijedor,

I have to prove beyond reasonable doubt

that Mladic had genocidal intent.

In other words, that it was his intent to physically destroy

in whole or in part the Muslim population in Prijedor.

That's a pretty high burden.

It's a pretty difficult thing to do.

But we have some features of Tomasica that give me hope

that we just may succeed.

Our early investigations are indicating now

that the VRS was directly involved,

that they requisitioned the mining equipment, the diggers,

the bulldozers, the dump trucks to dig this massive hole

and to bury these bodies, you know, 24 to 30 feet

below the dirt.

So it's that kind of direct involvement

with respect to the things that happened,

that were done by people under his control,

that once and for all establishes beyond

reasonable doubt that what happened in Prijedor

constituted genocide and nothing less.

>> NARRATOR: For both the Prijedor and Srebrenica genocide

charges, the prosecution must prove

that Mladic was in command and control of the troops

that carried out the killings.

In the case of Srebrenica, they have video evidence

that Mladic himself led talks

with the town's Muslim inhabitants

in the days leading up to the bloodshed.

>> So do you find, as a military person,

General Mladic's presence at this meeting...

do you find that to be an exercise of command?

>> Yes sir, he's the Commander of the Army

of the Republic of Srpska.

Everything that he does or everything that he does not do

as the commander is an exercise of command.

>> He's not pulling the trigger.

We don't have him standing at any execution site.

But we have to show that he is in command of the troops

that are doing it, and he's fully aware

of what is going on and in fact ordered it

and began the whole process,

which the evidence is very clear on.

>> General Dannatt, from a purely military perspective,

is General Mladic responsible for the conduct

of his subordinates in Srebrenica?

>> Well, it's clear to me that he exercised a large measure

of personal control as to what was going on.

He was known to be a big character,

and therefore what he said and what he ordered,

people were likely to do.

>> This crime was carried out in a military fashion

with military troops and military transport under orders.

So we have what we call the insider witnesses,

members of Mladic's main staff that testify

about how the military hierarchy works.

One of the foremost of those is General Milovanovic,

who was Mladic's deputy commander.

>> In Mladic's absence, when you're serving in the capacity

of deputy commander, did you have the authority to issue

an order to anyone in the VRS?


>> Was there any period of time which in your view

the commanding control structure did not function as intended?

>> Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.

>> Momir Nikolic is a very rare witness.

He's a guy that has pled guilty to very serious crimes

in Srebrenica, been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

He has absolute inside information,

orders from his superiors to find places to execute people

and directly implicating Mladic.


>> Mr. Nikolic, I would like to ask you how you feel

about having participated in these events.

>> I've been in trial for not just this year and last year,

but all the previous years.

It feels like I've been in trial for 12 years straight.

The one thing that I feel is exhaustion.

This week in court I have recalled a particularly gruesome

account of a Serbian commander that said,

"Today we liquidated a young man who was in the woods

without any food" and then that's when I visualize

this hungry kid without a weapon getting captured,

telling his story, and then being horribly killed.

Then it stopped me

from asking any more questions for a second.

It was like... it was getting to me,

and that's, you know that's not supposed to happen.

I've gotta be involved, yet I've gotta stay at enough distance

that I can get the job done and not get stalled

in the middle of it.






>> NARRATOR: The defense does not dispute that killings

took place in the Srebrenica area.

But they say that Mladic did not order them

and was not technically in command

of his troops at the time.

>> Mr. Kenjic was called to confirm the alibi

that explains that movements of General Mladic from 14th of July

until 17th of July 1995

while Srebrenica killings happened,

and through this witness we want to, among other things,

prove and explain that General Mladic has nothing to do

with those killings.

Mr. Kenjic drove Mr. Mladic from Srebrenica to Belgrade

on the 14th.

We have meetings that he had with internationals,

we have his visit to his daughter's grave on the 15th.

We have 16th wedding, visit to military medical academy,

and we have his return to the 17th.

Mr. Mladic did not have any means of communication.

He was outside the area and by Serbian military law

at that time, he was not in command.

I'm 100 percent sure that there is nothing

that can touch that alibi.



>> Thank you, Mr. Stojanovic.

Mr. Kenjic, you will now be cross-examined by Mr. McCloskey.

>> Good morning, Mr. Kenjic.

>> As you sit here now, do you remember on that day,

the afternoon of 14 July, which route you actually took?


>> Were you aware at the time large numbers of Muslim soldiers

and civilians were fleeing the Srebrenica enclave

and it crossed that road and were still in those woods

all around that area where you're driving?


>> As you drove past the Nova Kasaba area,

did you see any large pits being dug near the side of the road?


>> At the time that you were in Konjevic Polje

with General Mladic, did you hear any information

that there were hundreds and hundreds of dead

and dying Muslims at the Kravica warehouse at that time?


>> So, did you have any information

about the other prisoners, roughly 800 to a thousand

at the nearby Petkovic School, the nearby Rocevic School,

the Pilitca Cultural Center and the Kula School?

Did you hear about any of those thousands of prisoners

that were in those schools at the time

you're driving by that area?


>> Nothing further, Mr. President.

>> Thank you.

>> (sighs)

The evidence suggests that Mladic is up to his chin

in blood.

Two hours after leaving the people near Kravica,

a thousand people are murdered and within two to three days

of leaving the people along the rest of the road at Nova Kasaba,

they're all murdered.

So, he... by his forces, by forces under his command

in a very organized and systematic way

that could have only been done when...

from orders issued from the top.

It wasn't anyone else's troops that did this.



>> War has torn this country apart.

Towns, neighborhoods, even families are divided by hatred.

>> To be on the wrong side of the ethnic frontline in Bosnia

is a terrifying experience, whoever you are.

These people are Serbs fleeing, they say, for their lives.

They said they wanted to escape to friendly territory

because Serbs in a village near them had been massacred

by Muslim troops.

>> Today, hundreds of Serbs attended a funeral

for 39 of their men and women in a village

seized by the Muslims earlier this year,

and recaptured by the Serbs last week...


(indistinct chatter)





(traditional music playing)

>> MAN:


(crowd cheering, singing)

>> MAN:




>> MAN:


>> MAN:


>> For me he's a hero probably because he's my dad.

Even for small things in life, he was so dedicated

that you should do something right, and never lie.

He despised lies.

He always told me, "You should tell me the truth

and nevertheless how difficult the truth is

because if you lie to me, I will not know how to help you."

Maybe we had different temperament.

I'm more calm than he is.

He is a very good person, but he can explode, he can burst.

But the values I openly declare are his values.

I'm sorry for every victim but I cannot accept his guilt.

I cannot accept what I don't believe is true.

If I believe it, then I would accept it.

But I can't accept because the other side has a need for me

to do it.

>> NARRATOR: Back in The Hague, prosecutors are continuing

to build their case, as they await the judges' decision

on whether to allow the evidence from the Tomasica mass grave.

>> The big news obviously in the last month,

we've gotten all the expert reports in.

Doctor Clarke has found 96 percent of these bodies

had gunshot injuries, and 80...

I think it's 84 percent, the cause of death

was actually due to a gunshot wound to the head

or to the trunk of the body, which is higher

than any mass grave he's seen.

So it's a very compelling report for us in terms of showing

what the cause of death was, and showing the violent nature

of the deaths here.

>> We came back with very interesting documentation...

>> It's always kind of an uncertain task

when you set out to investigate in the middle of your case.

So it's very satisfying that this evidence is coming back

to demand justice from Mladic,

you know he, he participated in burying them,

he thought they would never be found and here we are.

The industrial nature of Tomasica really adds

a new dimension of proof to our case with respect to genocide.

>> NARRATOR: During a break in the excavation

of the Tomasica mass grave, the president of the tribunal

comes to pay his respects.

>> Thank you all for being here with me today

on this somber day.

It is very difficult for me to speak at this place

where everyone stands face to face with the horror

that man can do to other men.

It is my very strong hope that the work of the tribunal

will offer some measure of consolation

to those who have survived,

and to the families of those who did not survive.

More broadly, I hope the work of international courts

will promote reconciliation and healing in the region.

But may I add one personal word--

this place has a very, very special resonance for me

personally because it looks a little bit like the place

in a quarry not far from a city where I spent my war years,

in a city called Czestochowa in Poland,

where my mother was killed.

(interpreter speaking local language)

And so this means more to me

than the order of international law.

>> My name is Satko Mujacic, I was in the former camp Omarska,

and actually it's due to me and some other people

that Mr. Meron is here.

We actually met him on the 28 October in The Hague

and during this meeting I invited him to visit Tomasica.

I even said, "You should smell genocide."

If Mr. Meron and his colleagues would call it with the name

it deserves, genocide, then I hope that somehow for victims

it will be what we expect.

We really need justice to be done.

Let's just see the facts.

>> Magda, we start at 9:30 or 10:00?

>> 9:30.

>> 9:30 is your speech.

>> Well, we've put you in the second row.

>> That's fine. >> Because...

>> That's fine.

>> Yeah, so on display I'm afraid.

>> Yes, but I would like on the side.

>> Yes, it's on the side with easy access so you can go and...

>> Exit strategy. >> No.

We don't want an exit strategy.

>> NARRATOR: The president is in Sarajevo

to give the keynote speech at a conference to mark

the Tribunal's 20th anniversary.

However, the Tribunal has recently acquitted

several high-ranking figures,

and this has angered many victims groups.

>> Some people, naturally, some of the victims,

would not always be happy about each and every one

of our judgments.

I'm very sad if there are judgments, from time to time,

when people are unhappy.


But if our agenda would be to please people,

we would not be a court of law, would we?

(crowd chattering, person coughing)




>> We thank you for your questions.

I am surprised that I have the question,

how did I feel about feelings of victims in Tomasica?

You want to know what I have felt?

I felt total empathy.

I felt the grief that you have felt.

I realize that we have not satisfied the victims.

Perhaps it is a mission impossible.

Perhaps no international criminal tribunal can satisfy

all the victims from all the different communities.

But, please, look at the picture as a whole.

Let not two or three acquittals, about which you aren't happy,

take you away from the whole vision

of incredible achievements which have been made.

Our job is not yet done and I'm sure that one day,

even the greatest critics of the Tribunal

will join with me in seeing the positive.

>> It's a real joke to ask from us, to be prepared.

It's not possible.

Simply not possible.

And it's... I don't think it's good example

for any kind of justice, let alone international justice.

We probably need at least as many lawyers

as the prosecution has.

We need as many investigators.

We have only a couple of them

and the prosecution has the whole system.

It is a real fight in between David and Goliath.

>> NARRATOR: The defense will now try to

argue that Mladic's troops were not even present at Tomasica.

But they need witnesses to make their case.






>> Cheers.

>> Cheers.



>> That's exactly what I was afraid of before...

before we came here, that we might have many good talks

but not witnesses.

My humble opinion is that at this moment Bosnia does not need

shows for public as Tomasica because it's just a show

and it's just prolongation of Bosnian agony.

We should bury our dead and we should move forward,

and having wounds reopened all the time

cannot help reconciliation.

These are killing fields.

>> In-in World War II?

>> Yes, yes.

(birds chirping)

To understand Bosnia, its conflicts from '90s,

you have to know what happened during the World War,

the second.

If you do not understand Jasenovac,

where we are here now,

you cannot understand the conflict in Bosnia.

>> NARRATOR: During World War II, Yugoslavia was occupied

by the Nazis, and Serbs were put in concentration camps.

The Nazis were supported by Croatian fascists

and some Muslims sympathetic to the fascist cause.

Now, years later, the defense is trying to argue

that the historic persecution of the Serbs

should be considered in the case against Mladic.

>> Every single family lost its member due to that genocide

committed against Serbian people.

An eye for an eye is not allowed as a defense

in front of this tribunal.

But there was revenge, and you could not control

everybody who was armed during the war.

So it was not something that you could blame General Mladic

and to blame Serbian leadership that it was organized.

Tomasica can be excellent example, actually, of revenge.

It can be excellent example of continuation,

this Bosnian bloody story.

It happens certainly in this area, and it happened before,

and I'm afraid that it could happen in the future.

I hope not.

Let there be no doubt that Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina

had to defend themselves for their very survival.

The Bosnian Muslims and Croats had threatened

the survival already as part of the Nazi forces

that terrorized and killed Serbs in Jasenovac

and other death camps.

Thus, General Mladic cannot be held responsible

for the acts of persons not following his orders,

but engaged in uncontrollable acts of private revenge

by locals...

>> The defense says that the atrocities against the Serbs

led the Serb populace to be full of hatred

and want to exact revenge on the Muslim population.

From our perspective, it's a rather absurd defense

because of the clear organization

and the logistics that went into a huge mass grave.

They were Mladic's armed forces, very well organized.

So, this kind of evidence attracts sympathy

to the Serbian cause and perhaps to General Mladic,

but in the end, it doesn't amount to any kind of a defense.

>> Welcome, everybody, to the 80th week of the Mladic trial.

Officially, on the record, we are on the 333rd day.

In terms of events in the trial... where's Ed?

There he is.

Ed filed the Tomasica motion

last week right on schedule,

thank you very much for doing that.

>> Hello, Rebecca, how are you? >> I'm good.

>> So, I'm here to turn in my plates.

>> Yes. >> And then the...

>> The papers? >> And the papers.

>> Let's see if you have everything.

Just... yeah, that's the one.

Then, if you can, it's to fill out the checkout form.

>> Okay.

>> NARRATOR: After two-and-a-half years

on the Mladic trial, Dermot Groome has to leave the Tribunal

for family reasons.

>> It's difficult to... certainly to leave at this stage

in the case.

I've invested an awful lot in the case,

and to see the Tomasica filing without my name on it,

it definitely hit me in a way that I didn't expect.

It's a bit melancholy, but I guess that's part of,

of leaving a position that you've loved

and have had for a very long time.

>> And perhaps the most significant addition

since we've had the last team meeting is that

Alan Tieger is here, and I know Alan has a couple of words

that will impact the team.

>> It's of course my pleasure to be on board.

I simply look forward to working with each one of you.

I hope to meet with all...

It's an extraordinary responsibility

and professional privilege to lead this team

for this case at this point in the Tribunal's existence.

My parents were both survivors whose virtually entire families

were murdered during the Holocaust.

And no... no survivor truly escapes that.

So, I could see the,

the visible effects of those crimes every day.

This feeling of anger and helplessness and impotence

that you grow up with, and I certainly felt that

when I met and worked with those victims in Prijedor.

(man chanting prayer in distance)


>> NARRATOR: Elvira Karagic's father went missing

in July 1992.

She is waiting to find out if his remains

have been discovered in the Tomasica mass grave.


>> Mladic is charged with seven different massacres

that took place in about a six-day period

in Prijedor municipality in late July 1992.

More than a thousand people in Prijedor went missing

during the course of about those six days.

Nobody's ever been convicted of genocide here

for what happened in 1992.

In Prijedor or anywhere else.

This is the last trial hearing, so it is the last opportunity.

And I think all of us feel some sense of historical obligation

to make sure that it's recorded here what happened,

and General Mladic's responsibility for it.

Mladic had firm command and control over the VRS

and subordinated Bosnian Serb forces

throughout the ethnic cleansing campaign

in Prijedor municipality,

through killing more than 1,500 Muslims

and detaining thousands more in brutal and inhumane conditions.

What you see on this next slide is those villages

which are most relevant to the cleansing campaign in Prijedor.

As you see, many of the communities

I've just been talking to you about, by 1993,

genuinely, literally, chillingly no longer existed.


(phone beeps)


>> Mr. Hanson, were you called upon to assist in the exhumation

at the Tomasica site in 2013?

>> Yes, I was.

>> And did it reveal the presence of graves,

and if so, how many?

>> Yes, three separate graves.

>> Were you able to determine how much time

may have transpired between the deposits of bodies?

>> Exact timings, no.

However, the bodies were very well preserved,

and this is consistent with a burial quite soon after death.

>> Sir, what did you observe

as the most frequent cause of death?

>> I found that the vast majority of the people

in this gravesite had been shot;

a surprisingly high number of shots were to the head.

A very common finding was a bullet wound,

bullet injury to the back of the head.

>> What can you tell us about the clothes found

on the bodies exhumed from Tomasica?

>> The clothing was just ordinary clothing.

Some people had suit jackets, some people had work jackets

or dungarees, but it was mostly sort of casual clothes.

>> MAN:

(Karagic sighs)


>> MAN:


>> MAN:


>> MAN:


>> MAN:


>> MAN:


>> When, in a community like Prijedor,

more than 1,500 people are murdered in a short time,

thousands and thousands more starved, degraded, abused,

humiliated, tormented.

When most of their homes are destroyed,

when their mosques are reduced to rubble,

and when they are scattered to an impoverished exile,

the intent to destroy that community

and prevent it from reconstituting itself

is unmistakable.

And the word for those crimes with that intent is genocide.

(machine beeping)



>> You had occasion to meet with General Mladic in Prijedor.

Answer: No, I never met the general.

Never saw him at any meeting that I attended,

nor did I hear from anyone else that he had been in Prijedor.


>> Mr. Marjanovic, you'll now be cross-examined by Mr. Traldi.

Mr. Traldi is counsel for the prosecution.

>> Thanks, Mr. President.

Good morning, sir.

Can we have 65 terr 31041?

Do you recognize the people in this photograph?


>> Who's the man on the far right looking away

from the camera?


>> And person immediately to your right hand,

with the mustache, who's that?


>> The man next to him, in the tie?


>> And the man next to him, on the far left?


>> All four of you worked at RCR Libya before the war right?

>> You and Mr. Balaban were Serbs while Mr. Paunovic

and Mr. Zahirovic were Muslims?

>> Now, Mr. Paunovic and Mr. Zahirovic, have you ever seen

either of them after the war?

>> Did he know what was happening in Prijedor?

Yeah, of course.

It's very hard to start with 50,000 Muslims

in your municipality,

wind up with six a couple of months later-- 6,000--

and then virtually none by the end of the war, and miss that.

It's, it's too large a change in the composition of the people

that you interact with every day.

And he would have been in downtown Prijedor,

where he lived, when one of the neighborhoods there,

Stari Grad, was destroyed by the VRS.

He would have been in downtown Prijedor, where he lived,

when the Room Three massacre at Keraterm occurred.

Of course, he knew crimes were being committed.

Yeah, nobody could have missed that.

Whether he knew about this grave specifically...

If he didn't, it would have required a willful attempt

to avoid knowing what was being done on his property

and the crimes General Mladic and his forces committed.

Now, when you said, sir, the less you knew,

the more you wouldn't worry...

You say that because you didn't want to know

what the military and police were doing

with mobilized equipment on RCR Libya company property,

because you knew they were committing crimes.


>> I have no further questions for this witness.

>> Thank you, Mr. Traldi.

(cars passing)


>> The evidence of genocide presented in this courtroom

for the last four-and-a-half years was clear,

comprehensive, and unassailable.

We have Mladic in the dock answering for his crimes.

>> History will judge if justice was done and seen to be done.

The defense does not deny that unfortunate crimes occurred,

but those in no way can be connected

to General Ratko Mladic.

>> There is no credible evidence

linking General Mladic's presence to any

of the alleged killing or execution sites.

We should all agree that he sits here innocent

before us right now.

>> The time has come for General Mladic to be held accountable

for those crimes against each of his victims

and the communities he destroyed.

It would be an affront to justice to impose any sentence

other than the most severe available under law.


>> NARRATOR: The prosecution and the defense finished presenting

their evidence in December 2016.

The court had sat for 530 trial days and heard from

nearly 600 witnesses over four-and-a-half years.

The judges took 11 months to reach a verdict.

>> We're returning now to the trial...

>> We're back live now in The Hague,

the United Nations War Crimes...

>> An international war crimes court in The Hague

is delivering its verdict...

>> You're watching continuous coverage

of the verdict in the trial of Ratko Mladic...

>> Just to remind you that General Ratko Mladic had asked

for a bathroom break, effectively,

about 35 minutes ago.

>> We're still trying to assess exactly what is going on here.

We assume this is just a temporary pause...

>> The N1, the Bosnian, Bosnian TV reported

that apparently he had some medical issues.

So, they are doing the medical check-up.

>> If he has a medical thing now, it's not a coincidence,

is it?

>> He turned red in his face, you know?

Usually when he turn red in his face,

this is the sign that his blood pressure is high,

and for him, this is a life-threatening situation.

>> Okay, the medical officer wanted to speak

to the cardiologist, but now it seems like

we're going to be resuming.

>> Mr. Mladic's blood pressure was read three times

during the break.

The first reading, I believe, is 175 over 96.

The second reading done by a nurse was 180 over 80.

According to both the American Heart Association

and the United Kingdom Cardiovascular Association,

that is called hypertensive crisis.

Under those circumstances, the defense asks

that Your Honors either halt these proceedings

or we waive reading of the summary

and pronounce your judgment so that we can lessen the risk

of further harm to Mr. Mladic's health.

>> Mr. Ivetic, the doctor's advice we got

is that the situation is not such

that medical reasons would prevent us from continuing.

Mr. Mladic wants to consult with counsel, I take it.

If he does it in such a way that no one can hear your voice,

and sit down, please.


>> Mr. Mladic, sit...

Mr. Mladic, sit...

Mr. Mladic, if you...

>> Curtains down.

Mr. Mladic will be removed from the courtroom.

>> Okay, it goes on.

>> NARRATOR: With Mladic watching the proceedings

from a holding cell, the judges prepare to give their verdict

on the 11 counts against him.

They begin with count one, genocide in Prijedor

and the other municipalities,

and count two, genocide in Srebrenica.

>> The chamber finds Ratko Mladic not guilty of count one,


Guilty as a member of various joint criminal enterprises

of the following counts: count two, Srebrenica genocide;

count three, persecution, a crime against humanity.

Count four, extermination...

>> And the judgment, the verdict in the case of Ratko Mladic,

the former general of the Bosnian Serb forces,

has just been handed down.

He was found guilty of ten of the 11 charges against him.

On one charge of genocide, he was found not guilty.

>> NARRATOR: While the court ruled that Mladic was not guilty

of genocide in Prijedor and the other municipalities,

it did find him guilty of ethnic cleansing there,

and determined that his troops had been present at Tomasica.

>> The crimes committed rank among the most heinous

known to humankind,

and include genocide and extermination

as a crime against humanity.

For having committed these crimes,

the chamber sentences Mr. Ratko Mladic to life imprisonment.


(people talking softly)


>> Well done.

>> Well, guys let's be happy for a moment.

I think that's a great result and a great team effort.

>> The word "life" keeps resonating in my head,

and had there been anything but that,

I would have been very, you know, very angry.

>> But I, you know...

>> After an amazing long road to hear that word, "life"...

>> Life sentence, life.

>> Yeah, that tells the whole story.

Now I'm ready to quibble about the...

(all laughing)

About count one.

The way I understood it, it was just substantiality away

from a genocide finding.

They didn't find that it met all the legal elements for genocide,

but they recognized the effect of the ethnic cleansing

campaign in Prijedor.

>> Guys, many, many thanks.

We are the winning team.

>> The defense team considers this judgment to be erroneous

and there will be an appeal, and we believe that the appeal

will correct the errors of the trial chamber.

>> We saw each other five to ten minutes after the verdict.

My father, he said this is all a lie.

So, we refuse this sentence.

This is great injustice done to Serbian people

in the first place, and my father was a symbol

of this fight for the freedom of Serbian people.

>> To this day, not a single Serbian victim was protected,

nobody was ever accused of it, and you are asking Serbs

whether they accept this Tribunal as impartial.

No, they don't.

They will never do so.

>> Over the last couple of hours,

we heard a detailed reassessment of the evidence

that had been heard inside this court behind me,

evidence which at times magnified the brutality

of some of General Ratko Mladic's crimes.

>> Mladic's crimes have now been recorded in history.

During his trial, the court heard from 4,500 people

who bore witness to the killings he ordered.

It took a quarter of a century for their voices to be heard,

for their dead to receive some justice.

>> So, what do you think?

How do you feel...

>> I am very happy now.

>> Is it over?

>> Not really.

I'm happy.

>> Is it justice?

>> Yes.

>> Go to, for more reporting on Ratko Mladic

and the war in Bosnia.

>> This case involves two horrendous crimes,

all amounting to the elimination of the Muslim population

from Srebrenica and genocide.

>> Then visit our watch page where you can see more

than 200 "Frontline" documentaries.

Connect to the "Frontline" community

on Facebook and Twitter.

Then sign up for our newsletter at

>> I put my life on the line.

My country won't let my husband live here.

>> It's difficult to live without my family.

>> You can't cross.

I don't want to take that chance.

How many hoops do you have to jump through

for your family to be together?

>> You have done everything.

>> I refuse to say that cause he's not here.

>> I love you, Elizabeth. >> I love you, Marcos.

>> A special presentation from "Frontline",

Independent Lens, and Voces.

>> For more on this and other "Frontline" programs,

visit our website at

To order "Frontline's" "The Trial of Ratko Mladic"

on DVD visit shopPBS, or call 1-800-PLAY-PBS.

This program is also available on Amazon Prime Video.


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