Now that the Trial Chamber has the expert report of Slovenian handwriting expert Dorijan Kerzan, there are no more obstacles to the admission of Ratko Mladic’s diaries into evidence. The trial of Vojislav Seselj may now continue

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

Slovenian handwriting expert Dorijan Kerzan concluded in his expert report that the diaries seized in early 2010 in Ratko Mladic’s apartment were authentic: they were indeed written by his hand. The prosecution has sought to admit parts of Mladic’s diaries into evidence at the trial of Serbian Radical leader Vojislav Seselj. However, before reaching their decision, the judges asked the Registry to obtain the opinion of an independent expert on their authenticity.

In his report, Kerzan notes that the Registrar asked him to read Mladic’s notebooks and compare the handwriting with other documents written by the former commander of the VRS Main Staff during the war. Kerzan was asked to indicate possible alterations, additions or deletions of parts of diaries and, if possible, to determine the time when the text was written.

After months of analysis, detailed in the report, Kerzan concluded that the findings ‘strongly support the proposition’ that both the controversial diaries and the documents known to have been written by Mladic were written by the same hand. Kerzan notes that the handwritings he compared ‘contain numerous important similarities’ and that there ‘are no major differences’ between them. In other words, Kerzan contends that Mladic is indeed the author of the diaries the prosecutor has sought to admit into evidence. The Slovenian handwriting expert also concluded that he didn’t note any significant alterations, additions and deletions in the material he analyzed.

Kerzan contends it is not possible to establish the time frame in which the diaries were written on the basis of the handwriting, because the handwriting of adult persons rarely changes except if there is a serious illness or injury.

The Trial Chamber is expected to reach its decision on the prosecutor’s motion to tender into evidence Mladic’s diaries soon. This will eliminate one of the final obstacles for the trial of Vojislav Seselj on the indictment for crimes in Croatia, Vojvodina and BH to continue after months of suspension. We will know more after an administrative hearing slated for Tuesday, 18 January 2011.