Radovan Karadzic completed his cross-examination of US historian Robert Donia. In the end, Radovan Karadzic asked that the witness’s report on the establishment of Republika and the positions of its leadership be rejected as ‘unprofessional, biased, and political’. It was ‘not an expert report at all’, Karadzic claimed

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

In the final part of his cross-examination, Radovan Karadzic said that in his view, prosecution expert Robert Donia was ‘unprofessional’ and ‘biased’. The three reports Donia drafted for the prosecution are in Karadzic’s view not ‘expert reports at all’. The US historian wrote three expert reports for the prosecution: on the origin of Republika Srpska, on the minutes of the Bosnian Serb Assembly sessions and on the Bosnian Serb leadership and siege of Sarajevo.

The accused and the witness exchanged harsh words several times, mostly after Karadzic in vain tried to get answers he wanted to hear. Donia didn’t agree with Karadzic’c claim that the Serb delegates ‘continued to participate in the work of the joint bodies in BH even after 24 and 25 January 1992’. Although some members of the SDS stayed in the joint bodies in BH after that date, they ‘didn’t continue to cooperate’ with the representatives of other political parties in the BH Presidency, government and assembly, the witness noted.

Donia also rejected Karadzic’s interpretation of his speech before the Bosnian Serb Assembly on 27 March 1992. Karadzic claimed that at the time Serbs had been hoping there would be no war and that a recommendation was made ‘only then’ to establish crisis staffs and strengthen the Territorial Defense. In Donia’s opinion, Karadzic’s speech could be seen as ‘the pulling of a trigger’ to implement the Variant A and B, the plans for the takeover of power in the municipalities with a Serb majority and minority, respectively.

Donia added that at the time of the Serb assembly session, the SDS and HDZ ‘got closer to establishing an alliance’. The two parties were not in conflict anymore over the territorial division of BH. According to the witness, the final partition of BH was agreed by Karadzic and Boban at a meeting in Graz in May 1992.

In his cross-examination, Karadzic suggested that there was no harm in saying that Muslims were the same as Serbs. ‘Serbs are proud of Serbs of Muslim faith’, Karadzic said, adding that they were ‘popular and well received among the Serb population’. Karadzic corroborated this by saying that a poll taken in Serbia resulted in Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic scoring high, as did Mesa Selimovic and Emir Kusturica.

Karadzic didn’t agree with the witness’s opinion that at one point in history, hajduks – local brigands – were ‘bandits’. As Karadzic put it, he was proud of hajduks: to him, they were up there with Davy Crocket, Robin Hood and the French resistance. Karadzic spent a significant amount of time trying to explain the terms papak – geek, and raja – the local crowd or posse – and defending the quality of war reporting in the Belgrade newspaper Politika. Donia had been doubted their objectivity.

Despite this choice of issues and more than 20 hours of cross-examination in the past seven working days, Karadzic contends that he has not been granted enough time to cross-examine the prosecution witness properly and that many important issues have not been dealt with. Unless the Trial Chamber rejects the expert report in its entirety, Karadzic reserves the right to recall the witness.