Radovan Karadzic continued his cross-examination of Ekrem Suljevic. During the war, Suljevic investigated serious shelling incidents with civilian casualties in Sarajevo. Karadzic argued that all major shelling incidents had been ‘staged’, that the investigations had been ‘sloppy’ and done for ‘propaganda purposes to blame the Serbs’. At one point, Karadzic asked the witness, ‘Is Sarajevo still there where it once was’

Ekrem Suljevic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialEkrem Suljevic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

‘Is Sarajevo still where it once was?’ Radovan Karadzic asked prosecution witness Ekrem Suljevic as he continued his cross-examination about serious shelling incidents with civilian casualties during the 44-month siege by the Bosnian Serb Army. ‘Sarajevo is always where it was’, Suljevic replied, and Karadzic then (erroneously) explained to the judges it was merely a line from ‘one of our folk songs’.

Karadzic contends that ‘all major shelling incidents’ with civilian casualties in Sarajevo were ‘staged’, repeating that the investigations proving that shells had been fired from Serb positions were ‘sloppy’ and made ‘for propaganda purposes to blame the Serbs’. This was the case, Karadzic claimed this time, with the shelling of the Dositejeva Street, the flea market, Mis Irbine... Children who played in the yards and doorways were often victims of the shellings. In Karadzic’s view, the results of investigations have no evidentiary value in the criminal proceedings before the Tribunal.

Karadzic asked the witness why in his examination-in chief he claimed he was ‘surprised’ by General Dragomir Milosevic’s order to his soldiers to choose ‘the highest-yield targets which will cause maximum casualties and damage’ in Hrasnica. Karadzic argued that civilian targets were not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the document. ‘Military targets are not mentioned either’, the witness replied. Noting that he didn’t understand how Karadzic defined military targets, the witness said that ‘all those who were in Hrasnica and Sarajevo during the war were targets and victims of the shelling from the hills’.

According to the witness, Karadzic’s claims that the BH Army fired the deadly shells on Sarajevo civilians were ‘absurd’. ‘Do you want to say that all those bombs that didn’t hurt anyone were fired by your army while our forces fired those that caused casualties?’ the witness asked the accused. Suljevic insisted the investigations were not done for the Tribunal or for propaganda purposes to blame the Serbs – as Karadzic contends, but to ‘establish what happened at crime scenes’.

After Suljevic completed his evidence, protected prosecution witness KDZ 088 took the stand, in closed session. Karadzic apparently considers this witness’s testimony quite important because he has asked for no less than 16 hours for his cross-examination. Before the hearing went into closed session, Karadzic’s advisor Robinson asked for his testimony to be postponed, noting that at one point the OTP treated the witness as a suspect. This might imply that the witness was an ‘insider’ from the wartime Bosnian Serb political or military leadership.