When former police officer testifying under the pseudonym KDZ 020 called a document Karadzic quoted from ‘a pamphlet published by the Serb-Chetnik municipality of Vogosca’, Karadzic called him ‘a dangerous Muslim extremist’. Did Serbs leave their homes in the village of Svrake by night ‘out of fear’ or because of Radovan Karadzic’s ‘inflammatory speeches’ and ‘poetic’ rhetoric?

Eset Muracevic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialEset Muracevic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Concluding his cross-examination, Radovan Karadzic called the protected witness KDZ 020 ‘a dangerous Muslim extremist’. The former police officer from Sarajevo replied, ‘I am and always will be a Muslim’. The witness said that in light of his current situation, Karadzic is not best positioned to label other people extremists. ‘Your hatred for Muslims is your problem’, the witness remarked.

This was preceded by a series of Karadzic’s suggestions that on 18 April 1992 ‘the Muslim part of the police’ attacked the Pretis defense industry, prompting Serbs to take over power in the Vogosca municipality. In Karadzic’s view, the municipality bulletin he showed the witness corroborated this. The former police officer replied that he refused to recognize ‘a pamphlet published by the Serb-Chetnik municipality of Vogosca’ where, in his opinion ‘everything was a lie’.

Karadzic went on to show ‘an archive document of the VRS or the Serbian MUP’ where the witness’s name in mentioned in relation to the murder of several Serbs. The witness repeated that he ‘didn’t take part in the attack’ adding that he was ‘glad’ his name was in that archive. ‘It means that it is worth something’, the witness said.

When the Sarajevo police officer completed his evidence, the trial proceeded with the testimony of Eset Muracevic, former secretary of the local community of Svrake in the Vogosca municipality. From May to December 1992, Muracevic was detained in several detention facilities including Bunker, Naka’s garage and Planjo’s house. According to the summary read out by the prosecutor, the prisoners were physically and sexually abused, and received death threats. Prisoners were taken to do forced labor on the front lines and used as human shields. Many of them were injured or killed.

In the cross-examination, Karadzic quoted from Muracevic’s statement, where he said that in his village, in 1991 and early 1992, Serbs would feed their cattle during the day and left the village at night to sleep in nearby Serb villages. In the meantime, ‘our people looked after their houses to prevent looting’, the witness said in his statement. According to Karadzic, Serbs left their homes out of fear. Muracevic however noted that Karadzic ‘was in the habit’ of saying he would not allow Serbs to sell their property to Muslims and that ‘all Muslim foundations will be blown up’. Karadzic’s words in this vein made local Serbs sleep in Serb villages at night, the witness said.

As Karadzic noted, the witness quoted things said in discussions with Alija Izetbegovic and at secret party meetings, which has led Karadzic to conclude that somebody ‘prepped the witness for his testimony’. Muracevic replied that Karadzic’s policy resulted in the deportation of 13,127 people, 11,000 of whom were Bosniaks, in Vogosca alone. Muracevic also said that Karadzic’s ‘inflammatory speeches’ and ‘poetic’ rhetoric affected the local Serbs and made them leave at night the village where they had lived side by side with Muslims. Karadzic will continue his cross-examination of Eset Muracevic tomorrow.