As he continued his cross-examination of Momcilo Mandic, Radovan Karadzic said that the Serbian Volunteer Guard members on the footage shown by the prosecution looked ‘quite disciplined and well-equipped’ to him, saying that between 1991 and 1995, no criminal reports were filed against Arkan. The ICTY indictment against Arkan shows that in fact, in 1995, Arkan’s Tigers committed serious crimes in Sanski Most

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

In the course of Momcilo Mandic’s examination-in-chief, the prosecution showed footage of the review of troops of the Serbian Volunteer Guard, led by Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan on 23 October 1995 in Banja Luka to honor Radovan Karadzic. On that occasion, Arkan saluted Karadzic as his ‘supreme commander’, and Karadzic in turn expressed his ‘deep gratitude’ to the Tigers’ commander for what he had done for the Serb people in BH.

Karadzic said today that the Serbian Volunteer Guard troops look ‘quite disciplined and well-equipped’ on the footage shown by the prosecution, and put it to the witness that no criminal reports had been filed against Arkan between 1991 and 1995. As Mandic replied, Arkan was never criminally prosecuted in Serbia, and ‘as for other states’, he did not know what the situation was.

An indictment made public by the Tribunal in January 2001 charges Arkan with the crimes his paramilitary unit committed in the second half of September of 1995 in Sanski Most, on the eve of the review of the unit in Banja Luka. The crimes Arkan was charged with included two mass murders of about 80 civilians, two incidents in which large groups of people were detained in the boiler room of a hotel in Sanski Most and one rape.

In an effort to justify the ‘intervention’ of Arkan’s men in the Bosnian Krajina in September 1995, Karadzic claimed that at the time, Serbs faced ‘three to five million Croats and Muslims in BH, five million Croats in Croatia and the whole NATO alliance’. The defense of Republika Srpska after the fall of Glamoc, Mrkonjic Grad, Sanski Most, Kljuc and other places in the second half of 1995 was, according to Karadzic, a matter of ‘extreme necessity and the last stand of the Serb people’.

As Mandic said, he had no knowledge of combat operations in BH from the end of 1992 onwards, or of Arkan’s movements during the war. The Serb police, he said, did its job ‘professionally and in line with the law’, and its work was obstructed by Biljana Plavsic who opposed the arrest of paramilitary formations she had invited into BH. There were corrupt police officers in the Serb police, he added, just as there are anywhere in the world, but the police did not commit crimes ‘in an organized manner’. ‘They either fought under the command of the army or they guarded law and order,’ Mandic said.

Karadzic was trying to show that while Mandic served as justice minister, the Bosnian Serb government 'did all it could’ to prevent crimes in the parts of BH under VRS control. Karadzic brought up Mandic’s proposal from July 1992, that the civilian judicial bodies should, because they were better organized, assume the jurisdiction of military courts and prosecutors. Mandic today said that it was ‘a big mistake’ his proposal was not accepted, because now they ‘could show to the court criminal sanctions’. Karadzic claims that sentences totaling ‘hundreds of years in prison’ were imposed for crimes against Muslims and Croats, while the Muslim side never convicted anyone for crimes against Serbs.

Karadzic has less than four hours left out of the 20 he had been granted for Mandic's cross-examination, which will continue tomorrow.