American historian Robert Donia dismissed the claims made by the defense of former Bosnian Serb interior minister Mico Stanisic that his expert reports lack ‘a broader perspective’ of the events in Bosnia. Donia argues that his goal was to ‘provide a broader historical context’ for the specific persons and events in the indictments

Robert Donia, svjedok na suđenju Mići Stanišiću i Stojanu ŽupljaninuRobert Donia, svjedok na suđenju Mići Stanišiću i Stojanu Župljaninu

Mico Stanisic’s defense today started its cross-examination of American historian Robert Donia. The first prosecution witness spoke yesterday about the Bosnian Serbs’ political preparations for the creation of an ethnically cleansed state in parts of BH territory. Stanisic served as a Bosnian Serb interior minister and is charged together with Stojan Zupljanin, former chief of the Security Services Center in Banja Luka, with persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, extermination, murder, torture, deportation, cruel treatment and inhuman acts against Croats and Muslims from April to December 1992.

Mico Stanisic’s defense contested Robert Donia expertise, arguing that ‘an objective historical analysis’ required a time distance of ‘at least thirty years’. The witness disagreed, rejecting also the defense’s claim that his expert reports lacked ‘a broader perspective’ because they were drafted at the behest of the prosecution for specific court cases. Donia explained that in fact the prosecution had asked him to put specific events and persons from the indictments into a broader historical context.

In his report Origins of Republika Srpska, Professor Donia investigated the regionalization process implemented by Bosnian Serbs. This process resulted in the establishment of ethnically cleansed autonomous regions. The defense showed the witness an SDA document from September 1991 ordering the formation of the Stari grad municipality in Banja Luka, with a Muslim majority. According to the defense, this shows that the Muslims, and not only Serbs, founded their municipalities throughout Bosnia. The witness countered that the document ‘doesn’t establish any similarity’ with organized regionalization implemented by Serbs. In the witness’s words, that was nothing but a failed attempt to establish a municipality. On the other hand, the project of Serb autonomous regions was successfully implemented throughout Bosnia, the witness said.

Because of earlier obligations of the witness, the cross-examination will continue in late October 2009.