Images of Locations in Ratko Mladic’s Indictment


Ten years and ten days

after he was arrested, former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic will hear his final war crimes verdict at the UN court in The Hague on June 8.

He is on trial for committing genocide in 1995 in Srebrenica and in 1992 in Prijedor, Foca, Kotor Varos, Sanski Most and Vlasenica. He is also accused of persecuting Bosniaks and Croats across the country, terrorising the population of besieged Sarajevo, and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

At the end of the first-instance trial in 2017, Mladic was sentenced to life in prison. He was found guilty of all the counts in the indictment except the 1992 genocide. Both sides appealed against the verdict.

A total of 19 prisoner detention sites, across 11 Bosnian municipalities, are listed in Mladic’s indictment, as well as 20 artillery and sniper attacks on civilians, and nine locations where thousands of Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica were killed in 1995.


“We left the house together. On July 11 we parted ways – they went through the woods, while I went to Potocari… I have never seen them again… My husband told me that I should go with the other local residents: ‘Saliha, you should go with the others, no matter what happens.’ Those were the last words he said.”

Saliha Osmanovic, Hague Tribunal witness


“Mladic spoke to the Muslim captives. He told them not to worry, adding that everything would be fine and that they would be transferred to their desired destinations… When he headed towards his car, I followed him and asked him what would really happen to those people. Not even then did I believe that they would go wherever they wanted. General Mladic laughed.”

Former Bosnian Serb officer Momir Nikolic


“We were taken to a warehouse in Kravica. When I entered, the place was already full… The last person who came in had nowhere to sit down. A soldier cursed his mother and hit him on the backside. He opened fire at him and then they began firing all around the warehouse.”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-256

“First they fired in bursts – I fell, and a man fell on my head. He was dead. I felt his blood. I then heard the soldiers say they would shoot everyone in the head, so no one would survive. A second soldier swore he would not shoot at their heads because the brains would splatter, so he would shoot them in the back. He shot me in the back and the bullet passed between my left hand and my body, through my jacket. I lay still. They asked loudly: ‘Is anyone alive, so we can help them?’ Some called out. The soldiers killed them.”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-346


“We were ordered to establish a squad which would be used to execute captives… I refused to do it.”

Srecko Acimovic, Hague Tribunal witness

“We went out and they untied us, ordered us to lie down and started shooting at us… It was dark, no one could see anything anymore.”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-313


“A captive was seriously wounded. He asked them to kill him. He did not even cry… A Serb soldier said: ‘Easy, easy.’”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-297


“Four soldiers and a female driver got on the bus with us. Those soldiers beat us up in the warehouse… Some time later we were ordered to get out of the bus. They lined us up next to a metal barrier on the side of the road. A soldier then said: ‘Not there.’ We were told to go to the river. They lined us up again. A 14-year-old boy was among us. The four soldiers followed us and shot at us.”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-314


“When I came out into the corridor, they ordered us to put our personal documents down. They had confiscated our money already. They tied my hands behind my back, so I couldn’t even move my fingers… After a short drive, it was dark, and the truck stopped near the dam where I saw bodies… We went out and the shooting started.”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-253


“They were beaten up and killed, particularly prominent residents of Prijedor, and tortured and deprived of food, while the women were abused.”

Nusret Sivac, Hague Tribunal witness


“In Omarska it was all death, death and only death, and then suddenly [Serb Democratic Party official Vojo] Kupresanin showed up and started talking high politics… I kept silent, thinking this was another thing I had to endure before I died. Kupresanin talked on the phone with Karadzic, who told him to buy me a suit, feed me and bring me to Banja Luka.”

Mevludin Sejmenovic, Hague Tribunal witness


“The purpose of the Trnopolje detention camp was to carry out the ethnic cleansing of Prijedor municipality. Serbs deported people from one village after another. First they took women and children to Trnopolje. After that they organised convoys and deported them. In the beginning, they transported them in cattle wagons and, later on, by truck. As far as able-bodied men are concerned, they either killed them right away or detained them at other detention camps, like Omarska and Keraterm, before deporting them.”

Idriz Merdzanic, Hague Tribunal witness


“You could hear pleas for air from the room, they were beating on the doors for them to be opened… They probably broke down the door in order to get some air… When they broke out, Serb soldiers opened fire at them, making a cursory effort to warn them: ‘Don’t run, we will shoot.’”

Safet Tači

A former intelligence and security officer with the Bosnian Serb Army said that 24 Bosniaks suffocated in trucks which were transporting hundreds of captives from Sanski Most to the Manjaca detention camp in July 1992: “We only accepted people into the detention camp who were alive. If someone was dead, we returned them to those who had originally brought them to us.”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-051


“Bosniaks imprisoned at Susica [detention camp] were abused and beaten to death.”


“The chief of security, Dragan Nikolic, who was known as Yankee, often said that the warden is the undisputed authority… People in regular army and camouflage uniforms came into Susica when they wanted to, in order to take prisoners away to do forced labour. They were also wearing blue uniforms, but none of them was from the regular police.”

Ibro Osmanovic, Hague Tribunal witness

“At the secondary school in Rogatica, detainees were kept in inhumane conditions. They beat us up, sexually abused and killed us.”


RM-081 said his two young children were among those who were abused, and that he “did not have the courage” to ask his wife if she had been abused too.

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-081


“After taking control over the town, the Serbs announced that they would clear the town of 4,000 extremists and ‘Green Berets’ [Bosniak forces]. As far as I knew, there were no extremists or military organisations in Rogatica. Had they existed, I would have seen them.”

“When they forced us to leave the basement, I was struck by the fact that the surrounding houses were on fire, and people were lying on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs.”

Elvir Pasic, Hague Tribunal witness


“I asked him when he would bring the girls back, but he said that they were not coming back. I asked him what would happen to us. Zaga said: ‘We will kill you… just like I killed 20 people at the Gunpowder Depot the other night.’”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-032

barutni magacin

“They told us we were going to the prison in Foca for a prisoner exchange. The younger ones’ hands were tied up with wire. They tied my hands too and hit me on the head. Twenty-four of us were put on a truck and taken to a meadow… They lined us up and opened fire from automatic rifles from all sides. I was hit in the left leg, so I fell down like the others and played dead.”

Fejzija Hadzic, Hague Tribunal witness


“Two military policemen took us to a house, and I heard someone say: ‘Oh mama, what is this?’ I felt a gun barrel at my back and heard the policeman behind me say: ‘Go on, curse your Balija [pejorative for Bosnian Muslim] mother… I saw four bodies in front of me in the grass. We started running, and they opened fire. Besim, in front of me, fell down with two huge holes in his back. My legs gave out on me and I fell down beside him.”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-010


“Let me tell you how he ‘saved’ me and ‘protected’ me – 20 of them raped me each night. I was supposed to say that he guarded me and protected me… That was their goal…to have me say that he rescued me… From who? He killed my mother, he killed my brother…”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-70

“I used to get along well with Serbs. We worked together and socialised with each other… There was no reason for keeping me in prison for so long. I didn’t have weapons, I didn’t kill anybody, and I didn’t set any houses on fire.”

Hague Tribunal protected witness RM-063

KPD Foca

“The Batkovic camp was made up of two hangars and two tents. Sometimes we could see the bodies of dead people, covered over, right by one of the tents… One morning when we saw a new victim, I heard other prisoners say it was Ejub Smajic from Bijeljina, who was a well-known restaurant owner. At the same spot lay Zulfo Hadziomerovic and all those dead people who were taken from Batkovic camp.”

Ibro Osmanovic, Hague Tribunal witness


“It seems that the Serbs saw civilians not only as a legitimate target, but as their principal enemy… There is no doubt that Serb forces deliberately targeted the cemetery to kill civilians. I was absolutely indignant and thought it was contemptuous. The killing of civilians was bad enough in itself, but the shelling of the funeral was grotesque.”

Jeremy Bowen, BBC journalist and Hague Tribunal witness

“Five to seven metres behind me, I heard a sudden explosion and I fell down. I couldn’t feel my legs. I felt for my head, my head was there; I could breathe, I was alive. I couldn’t see anything, but I heard everything… and the moans.”

Ismet Svraka, Hague Tribunal witness


“Ratko Mladic is not a hero, he is a war criminal. He used his military power to deliberately target the civilian population and to destroy the lives of civilian communities as well. He was sentenced properly after a fair trial.”

Prosecutor Laurel Baig

Follow our live blog of Ratko Mladic’s final verdict on June 8.

Project by Denis Dzidic
Photographers: Kemal Softic and Nidal Saljic
Design: Admir Hodzic
Archive & war photographs: EPA, armin graca