Yet again, Karadzic tried to make Colm Doyle change his mind about who had started the war in BH. Karadzic said that ‘Muslim leadership’ responded to his ‘peace platforms’ with directives for ‘a total war’. The witness begged to differ

Colm Doyle, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialColm Doyle, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

According to former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic, Slovenia and Croatia were recognized as independent states ‘too soon’. As for BH, Karadzic said its recognition was a ‘grave mistake on the part of the international community’. The witness refused to state his view, saying, ‘it’s outside of the scope of my work and beyond my salary grade’. The witness added that the opinions on the matter differed and that Europe changed its policy ‘depending on who had the presidency of the European Community’.

In October 1991, Irish colonel Colm Doyle became the head of the European Community Monitoring Mission in Sarajevo. After that, Doyle was appointed special envoy of Lord Carrington, chairman of the Conference for the former Yugoslavia. Doyle was evacuated from Sarajevo on 12 May 1992, when he learned that his life was in danger.

Continuing his cross-examination, Karadzic tried to get the witness to confirm that in April 1992 Serbs had no organized army, while Muslims and Croats had the Green Berets and the HOS, respectively. According to Karadzic, Serb forces were part of the Territorial Defense, subordinated to the JNA regular army, which made them ‘regular’, too.

The witness replied that by then, the non-Serb population had already been expelled from Ilidza. Karadzic said there ‘is no evidence’ for such claims; according to him, the people ‘left on their own because of the war’. Doyle said that a representative of Serb authorities from Ilidza – whose name Doyle couldn’t remember – personally told him that people were taken away against their will.

Karadzic again tried to make the witness change his mind about who had started the war in BH, saying that in April 1992 the ‘Muslim leadership’ responded to Karadzic’s ‘peace platforms’ with directives for ‘a total war’, attacking and killing JNA soldiers on the streets of Sarajevo. ‘What else do you need to conclude who wanted war and who wanted peace’, the accused asked.

‘I disagree with you’, the witness replied, saying that at the time a large-scale ethnic cleansing operation was underway in the area of Bijeljina and Zvornik. According to Doyle, this wasn’t indicative of ‘the Serbs’ tolerance toward other ethnic communities’. To Karadzic’s claim about the purported conclusions reached by UNPROFOR that the Bosnian side was responsible for 90 percent of cease-fire violations, Doyle responded that he wasn’t a member of the UN peace keeping forces, adding that he found this claim strange, given that UNPROFOR’s Sarajevo headquarters was also under the siege of the Serb forces.

When Karadzic asked the witness if he made a distinction between the terms ‘siege’ and ‘encirclement’, the witness replied the difference was negligible. In any case, ‘you deprived them of their freedom to go on with their everyday lives’, the witness stated.