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Mladic trial calls first witness

July 9, 2012 at 5:42 PM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, July 9 (UPI) -- The first witness in the war crimes trial of former Bosnian army Gen. Ratko Mladic testified Monday about how he avoided being killed in a mass execution.

At the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Elvedin Pasic, now 34, emotionally described his family's escape from their hometown of Hvracani under heavy fire, and later surviving a 1992 mass killing of about 150 people in the Bosnian village of Grabovica, the BBC reported Monday.

He said when he returned home several months later, the stench of burned and rotting bodies was unbearable. He said he was spared from the mass killing by being separated from the other men in his family.

He also told the court of his teenage years.

"Before the war we had a great time," he said. "We were playing basketball and football. Muslim, Croats and Serbs, we were all having a great time, respecting each other."

Mladic, 70, is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which date back to the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. He was on the run for 16 years before his arrest, and is among the last key figures wanted for crimes in the war, the BBC said.

Topics: Ratko Mladic
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