WHO VIOLATED CEASEFIRES IN SARAJEVO?
Continuing his cross-examination of General Adrianus Van Baal, Radovan Karadzic tried to prove that the VRS – unlike the BH Army – wanted peace and strove to implement ceasefire agreements. The next witness, Sarajevo police officer Dragan Miokovic, says he never doubted that the Serb side was responsible for sniper and artillery incidents
In his cross-examination of the former UNPROFOR chief of staff, Dutch general Adrianus Van Baal, the accused Radovan Karadzic tried to prove that the Serb side wanted peace on the Sarajevo theatre in 1994.
As Karadzic put it, in February 1994 Serbs started implementing the agreement on the exclusion zone for heavy artillery. According to Karadzic, this was a ‘decisive step towards establishing peace on the frontlines in Sarajevo’. But, as Karadzic noted, the BH Army ‘violated ceasefires’ and fortified its positions along the frontlines.
As the witness said, he didn’t know if the information from Karadzic’s documents reflected the facts. When Karadzic showed a ‘secret report’ of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps to the effect that the opposite side violated the ceasefire, the witness replied that neither he nor Karadzic ‘could confirm the truth’ of those allegations.
General Baal explained that UNPROFOR didn’t know what was going on in the areas under the VRS control because the Serb side restricted their freedom of movement: it was therefore unclear whether the SRK reports were true. The witness added that the peace-keepers received protests about ‘the other side’ violating ceasefires.
Karadzic claimed that the Serb side had the right to demand the return of the heavy artillery into the exclusion zone because it had to ‘defend’ itself against the BH Army attacks. Despite their ‘right to self-defense’, the Serb side was punished when NATO air strikes were launched on 5 August 1994, Karadzic insisted, while the ‘Muslim side’ went unpunished despite the fact that it had also used heavy artillery inside the exclusion zone.
UNPROFOR was able to establish that the VRS had removed the heavy artillery without permission and brought it back to the exclusion zone, the witness said. This was a violation of the agreement. On the other side, as the witness explained, there was no evidence that the BH Army had done the same.
After General Baal completed his evidence, the prosecution called Dragan Miokovic. During the war, Miokovic was a crime investigator in the Sarajevo police and was involved in the investigation of about 150 sniper and artillery incidents. Miokovic’s written statement, based on his previous evidence at the trials of Dragomir Milosevic and Momcilo Perisic, was admitted into evidence. In those two trials, Miokovic testified with protective measures.
In response to the prosecutor in his examination-in chief, the witness said that neither he nor other members of the investigation team ‘ever’ doubted that the deadly fire had come ‘from anywhere else but from the VRS-controlled territory’. The witness added that when he talked to various people – including those from the Sarajevo underworld – he was never told that the BH Army would open fire at the civilians on its own side.
Karadzic will continue his cross-examination of Dragan Miokovic tomorrow.