Mladic boasted of having mined Peruca dam, says witness

During the trial of Borislav Djukic, a retired general of the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), charged with the war crime of destroying the dam on Peruca Lake in the Dalmatian hinterland during Croatia's 1991-1995 war of independence, a witness told the Split County Court on Friday that General Ratko Mladic had boasted of having himself placed mines to destroy the dam.

The witness, Josko Draganja, who had participated on behalf of Croatia in talks with the JNA and Serb rebels on the exchange of POWs, told the court that during the negotiations near Sinj in September 1991 Mladic had boasted of having placed the mines and threatened to order their detonation, risking a large-scale disaster and floods, if any of his soldiers of their families were hurt.

The pertaining talks on the exchange of POWs had been held near the town of Hrvace in the hinterland of Sinj and were recorded by the Croatian broadcaster HTV, according to the witness.

Draganja described Mladic as arrogant and haughty.

Mladic is currently standing trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for war crimes his troops committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is charged with the genocide of thousands of Muslim men and boys in the Srebrenica area of eastern Bosnia in July 1995, persecutions of Bosnian Muslim and Croat populations throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina during the country's 1992-1995 war, the years-long siege of Sarajevo, and the taking of UN peacekeeping personnel as hostages.

While giving his testimony at the court, the witness Draganja said that during the negotiations and the exchange of POWs he knew nothing about the indictee Djukic.

Draganja said today that he could not recognise Djukic as too much time had passed since the period relevant for the indictment.

Serbian general Djukic was arrested in Montenegro in July 2015. During the 1991-95 war in Croatia, Djukic was the commander of a brigade of the JNA's 9th Knin Corps. The indictment for the destruction of the Peruca dam, aside from Djukic, covers Mladic, who had been the commander of the 9th Knin Corps, as well as the commander of the Croatian Serb rebel army, Mile Novakovic, and the commander of rebel Serb border police forces, Milan Korica.

Thirty tonnes of explosives were detonated, causing damage estimated at 90 million kuna.

Djukic is indicted of involvement in the demolition of the dam at the order of Maldic and Novakovic.

Last update: Fri, 23/09/2016 - 14:54

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