Prosecution’s expert witness Robert Donia gave evidence at the trial of Radovan Karadzic today. He spoke about the strategic goals of Bosnian Serbs, the SDS’s ‘lost battle’ to prevent BH independence and the effort to rewrite the borders of municipalities. In the first part of his cross-examination, Karadzic lectured the court on history, complaining that Bosniaks ‘usurped’ Bosniandom, that Croats ‘stole the language’ and Americans failed to deliver on their promise to give Serbs access to sea

Robert Donia, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialRobert Donia, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

According to American historian Robert Donia, the main goal of the Bosnian Serbs was formulated in the first of the six strategic goals articulated at the 16th session of the assembly of the then Serbian Republic of BH on 12 May 1992. The first strategic goal was the separation of the ethnic communities and the creation of ethnically clean Serb state in the BH territory.

Although the first strategic goal failed to specify if the separation was territorial, physical, institutional or human, according to the witness, all four forms of separation were specified in the remaining goals: the establishment of a corridor from Semberija to Krajina to link the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Serbia, the elimination of the border on the Drina River as a border between Serb territories, the division of Sarajevo into Serb and Muslim parts and finally access of the Serb state to the sea.

After the BH Assembly session of 14 and 15 October 1992, when the declaration of independence was adopted and the decision was made to launch negotiations with the European Community, the SDS redirected its energy to plans to establish its own state, Donia said. According to him, the SDS ‘lost the battle’ and could no longer hope to retain its right to veto the vote of independence. The prosecutor showed the famous recording of Karadzic’s speech to the BH Assembly delegates, when Karadzic told them that they had chosen the ‘highway of hell and destruction that Slovenia and Croatia have also taken’. That highway will ‘take BH to hell and the Muslim nation possibly to its disappearance’, Karadzic said.

According to the witness, the SDS leadership then formed its own Assembly which then proceeded with a referendum at which the people voted to remain part of Yugoslavia. The SDS leadership then went on with the preparations for the establishment of a Serb state that was declared on 8 January 1992. The intention was to declare independence in April 1992. The first hints of the Bosnian Serbs’ intention to use violence could be noted in the intercepted conversations of the Serb leaders in September 1991, Donia said.

Prosecutor Carolyn Edgerton corroborated the witness’s claims with an audio recording of a telephone conversation intercepted on 9 September 1991. Karadzic and the Pale police chief Malko Koroman talked after the arrest of Milan Martic. ‘If he is not set free, they will have all the Romanija region against Sarajevo tonight’, Koroman threatened. ‘Not only you, but the entire Krajina’, Karadzic added.

Donia then used Sarajevo as an example of how the SDS implemented the ‘municipality strategy’: the policy of rewriting the borders of some municipalities with a Serb majority. After the 3rd session of the Bosnian Serb assembly on 11 December 1991, the SDS issued instructions on the establishment of crisis staffs and appointment of local leaders to military functions. According to the witness, this was a watershed in the functioning of the Serb Assembly: instead of a public body it became a ‘party organ’.

The prosecutor completed the examination-in chief with a statement made by General Mladic at the 50th session of the RS Assembly in April 1995; Mladic said that the ‘tasks of the army in the war proceeded from the six strategic goals of the Bosnian Serbs’.

In the first part of his cross-examination, Karadzic presented his version of the history of the former Yugoslavia, complaining among other things that the Americans still ‘owe’ him access to the sea, that the Muslims ‘usurped’ ‘Bosniandom’ by deciding to call themselves ‘Bosniaks’ and that Croats ‘stole’ the Serbian language.

Karadzic will continue his cross-examination of the American historian tomorrow.