Prosecution opens case against Bosnian wartime commander Mladić

United Nations prosecutors will open their case against Bosnian Serb wartime commander Ratko Mladić on Monday, with their first witness testifying in his war crimes trial.

Bosnian Muslim Elvedin Pasic will tell the court in The Hague how he survived the execution of 150 men by Bosnian Serb troops in November 1992 in the northern village of Grabovica. He was 14 at the time.

Mladić has been indicted on 11 counts, including genocide, in connection with the crimes committed during the three-year ethnic conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina which began in 1992.

In Bosnia Sunday, thousands of people marked the 1995 Srebrenica genocide with a march through mountains that Muslims crossed while fleeing Serb forces who overran the U.N.-protected enclave.

Serbian troops summarily killed about 8,000 Muslim men from Srebrenica in July 1995. Mass graves were discovered in the area after the war.

For Sabahudin Isic, who survived the massacre, the Sunday march brought back painful memories.

“This is very hard for me. I cannot even put in words what I am feeling right now, what I feel in my chest. Especially when the march passes the place where I was held captive and where hundreds of people were left behind, dead and butchered.”

U.S. actress Angelina Jolie, who made her directorial debut in Bosnia, arrived in the capital, Sarajevo, on Saturday to attend a film festival. Jolie, whose movie, In the Land of Blood and Honey, depicts suffering of women in the Bosnian war, also met with young Bosnian movie makers in Sarajevo.


(Photo: Vincent van Zeijst)