Mladic In Srebrenica

Ratko Mladic is accused of the attempted genocide of the Muslim community of Srebrenica, and the murder of more than 7,000 men and boys following the capture of the United Nations “safe area” in July 1995. This chronology focuses on his movements and actions in Srebrenica in the crucial period between July 11 and July 15. Click on the links below for documents and witness testimony, collected from previous Srebrenica trials, using the key at the top to evaluate the reliability of the evidence. For a more complete analysis of the evidence, see the Mladic in The Hague blog, hosted by Foreign Policy magazine.

July 11

General Ratko Mladic enters Srebrenica following capture by Bosnian Serbs.  Filmed by a Serb camera crew, he boasts that “time has come to take revenge on the Turks in this region.”

Mladic meets Dutchbat commander Thom Karremans in Hotel Fontana at Bratunac, angrily accuses him of “arming Muslims.” Karremans asks for food and medicine for refugees. Mladic says Muslims must hand over their weapons or face death. Mladic asks Karremans whether buses for refugees can be arranged through UN.

Mladic calls meeting  at Bratunac Brigade HQ. Celebrates capture of Srebrenica and outlines plans to launch attack against  safe area of Zepa.

Second Hotel Fontana meeting. Mladic meets Karremans and Muslim delegation. Karremans says UN can provide 30 buses. Mladic says that Muslims have a choice: “to survive or disappear”.  Dutch witness quotes him as saying he can provide transport for refugees.

July 12 

Mladic meets with senior commanders, plans mopping-up operations against Muslim refugees from Srebrenica attempting to reach government-controlled territory.

A Bosnian Serb intelligence officer, Captain Momir Nikolic meets with Drina Corps security chief Vujadin Popovic in front of Hotel Fontana. Testifies later that he is informed that “able-bodied Bosnian Muislim men will all have to be killed.” (Popovic denies conversation.) Video shows Nikolic standing next to Popovic and other Serb officers just prior to third Hotel Fontana meeting. 

Bosnian Serb ministry of defense requisitions buses to transport Muslims based on verbal order from Mladic, delivered overnight to Gen. Petar Skrbic.

Third Hotel Fontana Meting.  Mladic meets with Dutchbat officers and Bosnian Muslim representatives.  For first time, he informs participants that all men between ages of 17 and 70 will be separated and screened for war crimes.  Says his troops will supervise evacuation of refugees from Potocari, and provide buses, but asks UN to provide four or five tanker trucks of fuel. Agrees that Dutchbat can escort the convoys.

In an intercepted phone conversation, Mladic is overheard talking with unidentified aide, who says buses have left 10 minutes earlier.  Says “we will evacuate them all, those who want to go and those who don’t want to”. Buses arrive in Potocari shortly afterwards.

13:30*** (est.)
Mladic watches as bodyguards hand out candy to Muslim refugee children.

16:00** (est.)
Mladic arrives at Dutch position at Potocari compound. Dutchbat Lieut. Eelco Koster asks Mladic several times to talk to Karremans. Mladic refuses, saying “I am in charge here and nobody tells me what to do.”

17:00 (est.)
Mladic directs people to buses to leave Srebrenica, as his troops separate men from women and children. Mladic says goodbye to refugees, tells them they will be safe and everything will be fine. Men taken to nearby “White House.” 

Hurem Suljic says that he saw Mladic in “unidentified house” near Potocari.  Mladic promises to exchange Muslim men for 180 Serbs in Tuzla.  Adds that he later saw Mladic standing near buses as they were loaded with male prisoners. Buses drive toward Bratunac.

Mladic meets other generals at Bratunac brigade headquarters.  Overheard procuring vehicles and fuel to transport Muslim population away from Potocari.  Agrees to address troops attacking Zepa the following day.

July 13

Mladic holds morning meeting with senior commanders. Orders Bosnian police (MUP) to eliminate threat from 8,000 Muslim soldiers blocked in woods around Konjevic Polje.

Mladic gives morale-boosting speech to troops at Vijogor prior to attack on Zepa. Announces that Gen. Radovan Krstic is now in command of Drina Corps.

13:00** (est.)
Mladic arrives at Sandici meadow, accompanied by police commander Ljubomir Boravcanin. A Bosnian prisoner, Hakija Husejnovic, says Mladic promises him a new pair of shoes. Escorted by Bratunac military police platoon. After his departure, Sandici prisoners marched to Kravica warehouse.   

13:15** (est.)
Mladic at crossroads at Konjevic Polje. Addresses POWs again.  Momir Nikolic asks him what will happen to the prisoners. Mladic draws hand across his chest, a gesture Nikolic understands as meaning they will be killed. Nikolic claims that order to execute prisoners being transferred from Bratunac to Zvornik came personally from Mladic.

13:30** (est.)
Mladic addresses prisoners in Nova Kasaba soccer field, according to Smail Hodzic.  Alights from olive-green APC.  Promises that no harm will come to prisoners, says that they will be transferred to Bratunac.

17:00** (est.)
At ceremony in front of Drina Corps building in Vlasenica, Mladic announces appointment of Krstic as new commander of Drina Corps.

17:00- 17:15
Mass execution begins of more than 1000 prisoners in Kravica warehouse, triggered by prisoner grabbing a pistol from a Serbian guard

18:00* (est.)
Mladic visits Bratunac warehouse, according to Hurem Suljic. (Third claimed sighting). Promises to exchange 296 Pows, says they will go to Kalesija to be exchanged. Suljic says he sees Mladic for a fourth time as the men are being put on buses that will take them from Bratunac.

Intecepted phone conversation at 18:22 suggests that Mladic is with Radovan Krstic at this time, probably in Drina Corps HQ in Vlasenica.

Mladic issues order on protecting military secrets.  Orders closure of roads except for military vehicles and ban on journalists.  Popovic trial chamber interprets order as “clear evidence of a premeditated, calculated effort to put measures in place to ensure the planned killings could be carried out covertly without any unwanted interference.”

July 14

00:00- 00:30 (est.)
Meetings in Bratunac office of SDS politician Miroslav Deronjic. Nikolic overhears Deronjic arguing with Mladic aide Col Ljubisa Beara about captured Muslim prisoners in Bratunac. Beara relays Mladic order for their execution. Deronjic wants prisoners to be taken away from Bratunac before being executed.   Beara later tells Nikolic that prisoners will be moved to Zvornik area, and executed there. Dragomir Vasic, head of  Zvornik security centre, describes a similar order from Mladic, transmitted through Beara.

Mladic in Laze, coordinating attack on Muslim-controlled enclave of Laze, 50 miles by helicopter from where he reported in afternoon.  

17:00* (est.)
Mladic visits Grbavci school gym to inspect prisoners transferred from Bratunac, according to two witnesses.  Hurem Suljic says he announces that prisoners will be transferred to Kladusa and Bijelina. (Fifth Suljic sighting)

20:00* (est.)
Orahovac execution site. According to Hurem Suljic, Mladic gets out of red car, witnesses a round of executions, and leaves around 20:15. (Sixth Suljic sighting).

Mladic meets European envoy Carl Bildt in Dobanovci, near Belgrade.

July 15

13:30- 19:30***
Mladic meets with General Rupert Smith in Belgrade.  Smith later writes report describing agreements with Mladic.