Hague prosecutors to use Mladic secret recordings

Audio tapes found in General Ratko Mladic’s Belgrade home reportedly contain secret recordings made by him of conversations with other officals, in a development that may affect ongoing trials at the Hague Tribunal.

News agency BETA reported on Thursday, quoting unnamed sources, that Mladic, the war time Army of Republika Srpska commander, used to secretly record some of his meetings and phone conversations, including those with late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and war time president of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadzic, currently on trial in The Hague.

However, Ljiljana Pitesa from the office of the prosecution in The Hague, told Balkan Insight the content of the audio and video recordings had not been publicly disclosed.

Rasim Ljajic, the president of the National Council for Co-operation with the tribunal, told Serbian state broadcaster RTS the recordings will be used “in the trials against Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Perisic, Jovica Stanisic, Zdravko Tolimir, Stojan Zupljanin, Mica Stanisic … and if the Prosecutor’s Office evaluates so, the material will also be used against other indictees before the Hague tribunal”.

At the same time, Dusan Ignjatovic, director of a government office for co-operation with The Hague in Serbia, confirmed to Tanjug news agency that recordings were seized during the February search of Mladic’s family house, but he could not give more details about the contents.

The prosecution requested last May to submit additional evidence in a number of trials, including that of Karadzic.

The evidence reportedly includes notebooks and other materials, including “approximately 120 audio/video recordings, a computer memory stick, medical records, mobile phone SIM cards and miscellaneous papers”.

Materials were found during serches in December last year and February and March this year in the Mladic home by local police and given to the prosecution last May.

After going through the notebooks, the trial chamber in the Karadzic case on July 22 allowed the prosecution to add 15 notebooks.

The decision read: “At the same time, the chamber notes … there has been other material found by Serbia and handed over to it [the prosecution] at the same time as the notebooks, which it is currently analysing,” adding the chamber “encourages the prosecution” to make a motion submitting that the materials be considered.

Karadžić on August 11 requested the Hague tribunal to postpone his trial for three weeks in order for his counseling team to have enough time to go through “Mladić’s recordings.”

According to the motion, they received “approximately 133 hours” of materials from the prosecution. Those materials consist of 93 audio castes, 10 video, two CDs and eight DVDs.

The prosecution will next week call as a witness Tomasz Blaszcky, who works for the prosecution as an investigator, to testify about the authenticity of the notebooks and other materials.

Mladic, the war time commander of Army of Republika Srpska, VRS, is indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He remains on the run and prosecutors believe he is hiding in Serbia.

Karadzic, who was president of Republika Srpska and supreme commander of the army during the war, was arrested in summer 2008. His trial will continue on August 17th.

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