At the end of her evidence at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, the woman from Sarajevo who had been brutally beaten and raped by Veselin Vlahovic Batko, a/k/a the Monster of Grbavica in June 1992, said she would ‘wait patiently for justice’. Nedjeljko Prstojevic, testifying for the prosecution as an unwilling witness, was finally convinced that his wartime conversations intercepted by the BH side had been correctly transcribed. According to Prstojevic, the minor remarks he had ‘don’t affect the meaning substantially’

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

Radovan Karadzic cross-examined witness KDZ 354. The witness described how she and her mother were taken out of the flat in Grbavica in the night of 11 June 1992. The witness was taken to an abandoned flat in Vrace where she was brutally beaten and raped by Veselin Vlahovic Batko, called the Monster of Grbavica.

After his brutal abuse of the daughter and mother which lasted the whole night, Vlahovic asked the witness if she ‘had something to pay the ransom for their heads’. After promising to give him everything she had, Vlahovic returned the witness and her mother to their apartment and took the money and gold her mother had kept hidden in a pillow. Vlahovic then left, threatening he would kill them both ‘if they talked’. The witness remembered that she saw a large heap of money and gold on a table in the flat in Vrace where her mother and she were abused.

Karadzic tried to paint Vlahovic as a bandit who had his ‘hidey holes’ in Vrace and other parts of Grbavica and ‘his Chetniks’ and was not a regular soldier in the VRS. The witness described Vlahovic as a regular VRS soldier in her written statement. Karadzic brought up the indictment issued against Vlahovic by the BH State Court and his public statements ‘in which he confessed his crimes and showed no remorse’.

Karadzic at one point labeled Vlahovic’s ‘absence of remorse’ ‘horrible’. In addition, he noted that in her statement the witness said that during the fatal night Vlahovic would at times ‘hold his head in his hands’; according to Karadzic, this implied that Vlahovic acted like a madman. As Karadzic insisted, Vlahovic’s lawyer told him that after his client’s arrest he ‘exhibited some symptoms’. The witness explained that Vlahovic in fact complained he had a headache but his actions were deliberate.

At the end, the witness thanked the Tribunal for offering her the opportunity to testify at Karadzic’s trial on her own behalf, and on behalf of her mother and all ‘those living and dead’ who shared a similar fate. ‘I will wait patiently for justice’, she said. ‘Sometimes, it seems that justice is done’, the witness said at the end of her evidence.

Nedjeljko Prstojevic, former president of the Ilidza Crisis Staff, who is testifying for the prosecution as an unwilling witness, returned to the witness stand. Continuing his evidence Prstojevic once again said he did not trust the accuracy of the transcripts of the wartime conversations that were intercepted by the BH side. According to Prstojevic, parts of the transcripts were mistranslated or incomplete. Prstojevic wanted to listen to the transcripts in the courtroom in order to be able to highlight some controversial details.

Prosecutor Alan Tieger finally decided to grant the witness’s request and played the intercepted conversation from 1992. In the intercept, Prstojevic talks about the ‘cleansing’ of Kotorac, advising the other person not to send prisoners to Butmir because that village will soon be ‘cleansed’, as will Sokolovic kolonija and Hrasnica. ‘There’s Bascarsija, please, send all the women to Bascarsija on foot, and send the men to prison’, Prstojevic says on the tape. ‘Yes, this is my conversation with an unknown person’, Prstojevic confirmed in the courtroom, but added that there are ‘some words are missing’ from the transcript but they ‘do not affect the meaning substantially’. According to Prstojevic, at one point he said ‘good evening’ twice, and not once as it was recorded in the transcript of the conversation.

Another intercepted conversation from June 1992 was played in court next. Prstojevic is heard asking if the ‘Turks’ telephone lines in Kasindol had been cut and suggesting that the Muslim families from Kasindol be expelled to Bascarsija, a part of Sarajevo under the control of the BH Army.

The trial continues next week.

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroom
Nedjeljko Prstojevic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial