‘MEASURE FOR MEASURE’
Continuing his cross-examination of Momcilo Mandic, Radovan Karadzic tried to show that the Serb side respected the law and wanted to preserve peace. Contrary to that, Karadzic argued, the SDA was involved in ‘illegal activities against Serbs and Yugoslavia’. Bosnian Serbs ‘responded to the violations of their constitutional rights’ by establishing their own parallel institutions. In Mandic’s words, it was ‘measure for measure’
Momcilo Mandic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial
Radovan Karadzic agrees with the prosecution’s claim that there was a joint criminal enterprise, but not ‘on the part of Serbs’, as the prosecution alleges, but on the Muslim side. The Muslims wanted ‘Serbs to disappear’ from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Karadzic explained. ‘How else could I prove it if not through a man who was not a member of the SDS but was a professional, a judge, a police officer and was in the thick of things’, Karadzic said, in reference to the unwilling prosecution witness Momcilo Mandic.
Explaining the ‘challenges and threats to the Serbs’ survival in BH’, Karadzic tried to show that the Serb side observed laws and wanted to preserve peace, unlike the SDA, which was involved in ‘illegal activities’ against Serbs and Yugoslavia. While Karadzic was busy in August 1991 working on ‘a historical Serb-Muslim agreement’ with Adil Zulfikarpasic, ‘Muslims were already illegally arming themselves and setting up their military organization’.
Young Serbs were drafted in the JNA, Karadzic put it to Mandic, while Muslim youths placed themselves at the disposal of the municipal presidents who served at the same time as the Territorial Defense commanders. Karadzic went on to point that the order of the BH Presidency to activate the reserve police paved the way to the emergence of a Muslim army from the BH MUP. Mandic confirmed this, saying that as far as knew, the Muslim leaders ‘prohibited’ Muslims from responding to the JNA call up. Instead Muslims were called to report and make themselves available to the police ‘contrary to the law and order’, Mandic explained.
According to Mandic, the tensions in the BH MUP in 1991 culminated with the arrival of Mirsad Srebrenkovic, a ‘Muslim cleric from Zagreb’. Srebrenkovic was appointed assistant to the BH interior minister for personnel in place of Mandic's ‘friend’ Hilmo Selimovic. According to Mandic, Srebrenkovic introduced religious practices in the MUP and employed ‘hundreds, even thousands of Muslims’ illegally. There was no legal foundation for it, Mandic argued.
Mandic said Avdo Hebib played the main role in the effort to arm the reserve police. Hebib served as assistant minister for a while and was later appointed advisor to the minster. This purportedly prompted Mandic to report Hebib to all the relevant authorities in January 1992, alleging that Hebib’s actions ‘fomented ethnic hatred and mistrust and threatened peace’.
Karadzic claimed that the founding of the Bosnian Serb Assembly and the Council of Ministers was a ‘response to the violations of the Serbs’ constitutional right’ after the Declaration on Independence of BH was passed without the approval of the Serb representatives. Karadzic also said that ‘14 months after the establishment of the first democratic government in BH, Bosnian Serbs had not yet been appointed to the posts they were entitled to pursuant to the agreed division of power in a large number of BH municipalities’. Mandic agreed with all those claims.
Mandic provided an example of a municipality where the Serbs didn’t get the post they were entitled to: Stari Grad in Sarajevo. To retaliate, Malko Koroman, the police commander in Pale, prevented Muslims from getting appointments they were entitled to in this municipality, despite Mandic’s purported pleas not to do it. Mandic today described it as ‘measure for measure’.
Because of those problems that ‘paralyzed life’, Mandic summoned all ethnic Serbs in the police to a meeting in the Bosna Hotel in Banja Luka on 11 February 1992. The Serb ‘collegium within the BH MUP’ was established at the meeting. Mandic claims that Alija Delimustafic was also invited, but didn’t come because he was ‘busy’.
Momcilo Mandic’s cross-examination continues tomorrow.
- Case : Karadzic
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