In his cross-examination of Sulejman Crncalo, the accused contended that the Serb authorities were ‘very responsible and considerate’ towards Muslims who left Pale of their own free will. The accused asked Crncalo if there were some ‘racial differences’ between the two of them. The witness replied that there were no obvious differences. ‘As for what is inside of us – that’s for us to know’, he added

Sulejman Crncalo, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialSulejman Crncalo, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Radovan Karadzic denied the allegations of Sulejman Crncalo that in the spring and summer of 1992 the Serb authorities pressured Muslims into leaving Pale. In the second part of his cross-examination, Karadzic implied that the Pale authorities had actually been ‘very responsible and considerate’ towards Muslims. Karadzic suggested that the municipal authorities ‘encouraged’ the Muslims to remain in Pale. In June and July 1992, they asked the authorities in Pale to let them change their place of residence, and the authorities complied’.

‘We didn’t ask to leave, we asked to be guaranteed a secure residence’, the witness said, noting that Nikola Koljevic personally told them that ‘Serbs do not want to live with them anymore’. The municipal authorities and the police kept telling them that they could not guarantee their safety, the witness added. They could see that for themselves as they encountered Serb soldiers on a daily basis. According to the witness, they were armed with machine guns, they strutted around with knives at their belts and bandoleers over naked torsos. ‘Whoever says that we left of our own free will is not normal’, the witness emphasized, adding that the departure of Muslims from Pale could best be described as ‘a deportation and expulsion’.

Karadzic then put it to the witness that he fabricated his claims about hearing Karadzic tell the families of Serb soldiers killed in Zepa that to attack Muslim houses was the best way to defend Serb houses, in June 1992. In support of his argument, Karadzic noted that the witness never mentioned it either in his initial 1995 statement or in his evidence at the Momcilo Krajisnik trial. Karadzic read out a part from his speech at the Assembly meeting in July 1992, when he said that ‘Republika Srpska was not too small to fit everybody in’.

The witness didn’t agree with Karadzic’s allegations, suggesting to the accused that he should go through the wartime footage that the Tribunal had: it shows clearly that he gave such statements not only in Pale but in other places. In the re-examination, prosecutor Fergal Gaynor brought up parts of the witness’s evidence in the Krajisnik case, where Crncalo twice said he saw Karadzic in front of the Culture Hall in Pale where he addressed Serb families from Zepa. Crncalo didn’t go into details about Karadzic’s speech because no one asked him to, as he explained today.

Karadzic asked Crncalo if there were any ‘racial’ differences between the two of them. Apart from Karadzic being a Montenegrin and Crncalo a Bosnian there were ‘no obvious’ differences, the witness said, adding, ‘As for what is inside of us – that’s for us to know’. Crncalo explained that Muslims and Serbs treated their neighbors from other ethnic communities better that their ‘own kind’, but then ‘everything changed when you, your party and other parties gained power and this is why we are here today’, the witness said.

The trial of the former Republika Srpska president on charges of genocide and other crimes in the war in BH continues on Wednesday with the evidence of a protected witness from Srebrenica.