In his examination-in chief yesterday, the witness identified vojvoda Cele as the perpetrator of the crimes against Zvornik Muslims. Today, Vojislav Seselj denied he had anything to do with Cele at the time of the attack on Zvornik in the spring of 1992, although he did admit that before and after that, Cele had been a volunteer and a member of parliament on the SRS ticket

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

Vojislav Seselj is not denying that the crimes against Bosnian Muslims were committed in Zvornik and that the protected witness testifying under the pseudonym VS-1013 was severely beaten in the spring of 1992 a number of times. What Seselj is denying is the claim that the Serbian Radical Party volunteers took part in it. According to him, the so-called Seselj's men participated in the attack against Zvornik but when the fighting was over, he insisted, they returned to Serbia. In his cross-examination, Seselj attempted to challenge the claim of the protected witness that six 'Seselj's men', with Miroslav Vukovic Cele as the ringleader, committed grave crimes in several prison facilities in the Zvornik municipality.

Seselj didn't deny his connections with Cele before the Zvornik events and after them. According to him, Cele fought as an SRS volunteer in Eastern Slavonia in 1991 and in 1992 he was elected on the SRS ticket into the Serbian Assembly. In May 1993, Seselj personally promoted him to the rank of vojvoda. However, in Seselj's words, Cele participated in the attack against Zvornik as a volunteer of the Association of Serbs from BH, not as a SRS volunteer. The witness said he was not aware of Cele's entire war career, but that he knew he saw him in the Standard factory questioning Muslim prisoners, and at the Ekonomija farm where he beat an elderly captive to death.

In a statement that was sent to the accused today by fax, Vukovic confirmed Seselj's argument, adding that he was 'misrepresented by the witness' when he said he had been a big-bellied man with a beard and long black hair. 'As I am not a painter I tried to describe him as I remembered him. He looked like that to me', the witness replied. According to Seselj, the witness misidentified the man because he didn't mention Cele's noticeable limp.

Other five persons the witness identified as SRS volunteers – Major Toro, Zoks, Pufta, Sasa and Sava – didn't have anything to do with the unit recruited by his party, Seselj said. Dragan Slavkovic Toro and Ivan Korac Zoks are on trial before the War Crimes Chamber in Belgrade for crimes in Zvornik, where they have claimed they had nothing to do with Seselj's units. When the accused showed their statements to the witness, he replied he never saw documents with their wartime assignments. However, he stressed that all the other Serbian soldiers and guards referred to the five of them as 'Seselj's men'.

The fact that the witness did not mention 'Seselj's men' in his 1993 statement, but did so in the statement to the OTP in 1996 was interpreted by the accused as an indication that the witness had been pressured by somebody into 'expanding' his evidence. It was easy to conclude, Seselj said, that the 'somebody' was AID, Bosnian intelligence service, although he admitted he did not have proof to support that allegation. The witness responded that he didn’t know what AID was, clarifying that he gave a more detailed statement to the OTP and that in his first statement he talked about 'Chetniks', rather than ‘Seselj’s men’.

The trial of Vojislav Seselj continues tomorrow with the evidence of another prosecution witness.