On the sixth day of his cross-examination of the US historian, Karadzic argued that the SDS took only ‘defensive and protective measures’ to defend the Serb population. The witness begged to differ, describing the SDS moves as ‘aggressive’. The accused took offense, saying Donia’s words sounded ‘more like an accusation and defamation than a reply’

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

Radovan Karadzic continued his cross-examination of prosecution expert Robert Donia today, bringing up the document known as Variants A and B. As the prosecution alleges, the document was issued by the SDS Main Board on 19 December 1991. Variant A contains instructions to the Serb people on how to get organized to take power in municipalities with a Serb majority, while Variant B instructed them how to proceed where Serbs were in the minority.

Karadzic contends that the instructions were issued to the SDS regional and municipal staffs as a ‘defensive and protective measure’; the SDS’s hand was forced by the actions of the SDA: the establishment of the Patriot League on 31 March 1991, followed by the Council for the Protection of Muslims on 10 July 1991 and later on, the establishment of the Crisis Staff of the BH Presidency headed by Ejup Ganic.

Donia didn’t agree with Karadzic’s claims. According to him, the SDS moves were ‘aggressive’. The Variants A and B of the instructions were a ‘crucial part of the SDS’s comprehensive plan’ to take over power in municipalities inhabited by Serbs. Donia noted that the SDS Main Board clearly broadcast its intentions to take over power and establish control over municipal property and resources.

When Karadzic said those were ‘Serb resources’, Donia replied, ‘You defined Serb resources and Serb land in a way which justified the takeover of the territory and seizing power in the municipalities’. As Donia explained, this was implemented in the period from the date the instructions were issued to the summer of 1992, starting with an ultimatum and ‘under armed threat’. ‘This looks more like an accusation or defamation than a reply’, Karadzic retorted angrily.

Karadzic claims that the Serbs’ hand was forced, but that it never went beyond political moves, while the ‘other side’, the SDA, was preparing for war. The accused corroborated this claim with Sefer Halilovic’s request for promotion to the rank of general from April 1994. In his request, Halilovic stressed his efforts in the defense of the country, saying that he had established military staffs in 98 municipalities from September 1991.

Donia agreed that the Patriotic League might have presented a threat to the Serb population in BH. However, the witness said, until the beginning of 1992 it could not be considered as a military force of any significance. Donia rejected Karadzic’s claim about the SDS’s ‘hand being forced’, saying that the SDS turned into a ‘paramilitary’ formation that was by May 1991 supplying its members with weapons. Karadzic tried to justify the distribution of weapons by invoking the doctrine of ‘all-people’s defense and social self-protection’, as it was called.

The Trial Chamber ordered Karadzic today to complete the cross-examination of the US historian by the end of the second session tomorrow.