The witness, an official of the Serbian Democratic Party from Kotor Varos is testifying under a subpoena at the trial of the former Bosnian Serb police leaders. He has confirmed that a special police unit from Banja Luka participated in the takeover of power in his municipality. According the unwilling prosecution witness, all ethnic groups in BH wanted power and it was just ‘a matter of time who will be the first to do it’

Nedeljko Đekanović, svjedok na suđenju Mići Stanišiću i Stojanu ŽupljaninuNedeljko Đekanović, svjedok na suđenju Mići Stanišiću i Stojanu Župljaninu

Nedjeljko Djekanovic, former president of the SDS municipal board in Kotor Varos, is the first witness at the trial of the former Bosnian Serb police officials, Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin, to testify under a subpoena issued by the Trial Chamber.

Prosecutor Joanna Korner examined Djekanovic about the structure and functioning of the SDS, asking him about the implementation of the political platform advocating the unification of all the Serbs into one state. Since Djekanovic was appointed the chairman of the municipal crisis staff when it was established, the prosecutor showed him an SDS document entitled Instructions for the organization and activities of the organs of the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in extraordinary circumstances, passed in December 1991. The instructions contain plans for the establishment of local crisis staffs that assumed the powers of municipal assemblies. Djekanovic contends that all ethnic political parties established their own crisis staffs and Serbs were no exception.

The unwilling witness denied the prosecution’s argument that Serbs in Kotor Varos started preparing for war in early 1992. According to the witness, they were in fact preparing to protect the Serb ethnic community; ‘we had no intentions of killing or transferring anybody’, the witness said. When prosecutor Korner concluded that what the efforts the witness called ‘preparations for self-defense’ were in fact preparations for an armed conflict, the witness replied that ‘members of each ethnic community wore weapons and wanted to fight each other’.

In his replies to questions about the takeover of power in the municipality, Djekanovic remained adamant that each ethnic group, not only Serbs, wanted power and it ‘was just a matter of time who would be the first to do it’. Serbs were the fastest, Djekanovic said. On 11 June 1992 with the support of the special police unit sent from the Security Services Center from Banja Luka, Serbs managed to take over power in Kotor Varos. The prosecution contends that the unit was established by Stojan Zupljanin, as the chief of the Security Services Center in Banja Luka.

The defense of Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin will cross-examine the unwilling prosecution witness tomorrow.