In the final part of Momcilo Mandic's examination-in-chief, the prosecutor noted that other Bosnian Serb leaders, not only Biljana Plavsic, liked to be photographed with ‘Arkan’s men’ and various other paramilitary formations. Radovan Karadzic was one of them, the prosecutor claimed. At the beginning of the cross-examination, Karadzic addressed the witness as ‘Mr. Minister’, and Mandic replied by addressing Karadzic ‘Mr. President’

Momcilo Mandic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialMomcilo Mandic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

In the first part of his examination-in chief, Momcilo Mandic claimed that Biljana Plavsic had the sole responsibility for the arrival of paramilitary units in Republika Srpska. Plavsic was one of those ‘vain professor-like types’ who liked to be photographed with ‘bad guys’. As the witness put it, those men first killed and looted the non-Serbs and then, when there was nothing left to loot, they turned to the property of Serbs.

Today the prosecutor corroborated those claims with the minutes taken at the 22nd session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly held in 1992 in Zvornik. Radovan Karadzic was in attendance too. At the session, Biljana Plavsic said that she ‘sent letters everywhere’ inviting ‘all who want to fight for Serbdom’ to come to Republika Srpska – from volunteers from Russia to ‘Seselj’s men’ and Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan’s guards in Serbia. Plavsic’s words were greeted with applause.

Mandic said that he didn’t know if other Bosnian Serb leaders wanted Arkan to come to Republika Srpska. This prompted the prosecutor to show the footage of the review of the Serb Volunteer Guard on 23 October 1995 in ‘Karadzic’s honor’. After Arkan saluted Karadzic as the ‘supreme commander’, Karadzic responded, expressing his ‘deepest gratitude’ for all Arkan had done for the Serb people in BH.

Mandic said he saw the recording for the first time. As far as Mandic knew, Plavsic ‘was in charge’ of inviting paramilitary units from other countries. Karadzic opposed the admission of the footage into evidence. The material was recorded in 1995, Karadzic said, while Mandic’s evidence on paramilitary formations and inviting Arkan dated back to 1992.

At the beginning of his cross-examination, Karadzic and Mandic exchanged warm greetings. Karadzic addressed Mandic as ‘Mr. Minister’ and Mandic replied addressing Karadzic as ‘Mr. President’. Karadzic apologized to his former justice minister ‘for the pain’ he suffered because he was accused of helping Karadzic hide from justice. Mandic ‘gladly accepted’ the apology.

In the first part of his cross-examination, Karadzic claimed Mandic had testified ‘under duress’ in the Momcilo Krajisnik case. At the time, Mandic himself was a war crimes suspect, Karadzic said. The witness confirmed this. The transcript of Mandic’s evidence at the Krajisnik trial was admitted into evidence in the Karadzic case. When Judge Morrison asked Mandic if his testimony at the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik was ‘not true’, Mandic denied it.

Karadzic also claimed that Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin had better lawyers who were also ‘better prepared’ for the cross-examination from Krajisnik’s, and Mandic’s replies were ‘more fluent and accurate’. This is why Karadzic requested that the transcript of that evidence – or at least the most relevant parts – be admitted into evidence

Karadzic claimed that Serbs had been ‘tricked’ because the Muslims had abolished the post of deputy undersecretary for state security in the BH MUP, a position that was to go to the Serb. Mandic confirmed this. However, Mandic disagreed with Karadzic’s claim that this could have caused concern among Serbs. In Mandic’s view, the abolition of the post could have worried only the SDS as ‘the ordinary people didn’t know about it’.

Karadzic continues his cross-examination of Momcilo Mandic tomorrow.