This looks like rather flimsy evidence to me, but it's an interesting thought that might put some things in perspective that otherwise don't make much sense.
"This video will mark a turning point in the minds of our public and make it easier for the government to fulfil its commitments toward the (Hague war crimes) tribunal," said Minister for Human Rights Rasim Ljajić, a Muslim.
His words are code here for the arrest of General Ratko Mladic, former commander of the Bosnian Serb army. He is indicted for genocide in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II, the July 1995 massacre at Srebrenica of 8,000 Muslim males.
The most obvious of these concerns the timing of the publication and the arrests. Human rights lawyer Kandić is thought to have dropped the tape off on 23 May. A week later it was shown at The Hague, but with a good number of the faces shown on it identified by first and last names, or in some cases by first names or nicknames only. Was that work done while the tape was in the prosecution's possession? Didn't the prosecution have the obligation to alert the defense to its existence right away? More importantly, how did they manage to put names on faces? It is here that things start getting interesting: just hours after the video airs on Serbian TV, the authorities announce that several of the paramilitaries shown on the tape had been arrested, including one of the executioners. (The numbers are hazy, but most reports put them at seven or eight.)
If, as the defense witness claims during whose testimony at The Hague the tape was shown, the Scorpions were not operating in Bosnia under interior ministry command, how come the government seems to have pretty complete files on these guys, including their current whereabouts? This happened ten years ago, so a good number of them would be retired by now; how does the government have their address? I think there's a fair bit of explaining to be done.
Moreover, there seems to have been some sort of complicity -- perhaps tacit rather than overt -- between Kandić, the prosecution, and the Serbian authorities. Otherwise, action could simply not have been taken so swiftly. I imagine that something like this might have happened: Kandić gets the tape and passes it on to the prosecution. She sits on it while the prosecution, perhaps with her help, is trying to identify the folks on the tape. (Incidentally, nobody seems to have worried too much about identifying the vitcims; Reuters quotes a woman who says she recognizes her son among those executed.) Once they're getting there, she passes it on to the government, perhaps already with names attached. The government is notified by the prosecution that this will be shown at some point during the trial, and the authorities are preparing to make these arrests.
The prosecution and Kandić don't care about the political constellation; their overriding interest is, rightly, to see Mladić in the dock. The Serbian government feels it has to do something to maintain the momentum of the last few months, when droves of indictees "surrendered" to the ICTY, some more and some less voluntarily. Perfect congruence of interests?
[Update, 4 June: a Reuters report (no link available) shed new light on this today. It said, "The video was obtained last December from an unnamed and now protected source by Hague prosecutors and Natasa Kandic, a Serbian human rights activist. They spent months authenticating it and investigating the men it showed. It was shown to Serbian war crimes prosecutors a week ago and its broadcast to a national audience was coordinated with the government of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica."]
But what I don't get is the broader context. The victims seem too young to have been of any intelligence value. The question then is, were they shipped all the way from Srebrenica to Trnovo or Jahorina (again, the details of where the killings took place are hazy) just to be killled? If they were just to be killed, why not kill them right there, in Srebrenica, as happened to thousands of others? Why were these guys special? Why bother to get special police from Serbia to kill them?
Even thought he footage seems clear enough, this tape is hiding a secret -- whatever it may be.