According to the notes kept by witness Anthony Banbury, in the summer of 1995 UNPROFOR was considering air strikes not only against Serb positions but of the BH Army positions. Unwilling prosecution witness Nedjeljko Prstojevic returned to the witness stand. The prosecutor brought up a transcript of an intercepted conversation that took place on 25 June 1992 in which Prstojevic says, ‘All Muslims must be destroyed’

Anthony Banbury, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialAnthony Banbury, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

In the final part of his cross-examination of Anthony Banbury, the accused Radovan Karadzic tried to prove that in May 1995 UNPROFOR was a ‘warring side’. As Karadzic put it, the actions of the Serb troops were justified when they captured the UN staff.

In 1994 and 1995 Banbury first served as political advisor to Victor Andreev, UN civil affairs chief in Sarajevo, and then to Yasushi Akashi, UN secretary-general’s special envoy to the former Yugoslavia. Banbury accompanied the two men to a number of meetings with the political and military leaders of the warring factions. The detailed notes Banbury kept were admitted into evidence during his examination-in chief.

At one of those meetings Yasushi Akashi, UN secretary-general’s special envoy, relayed the ‘distress’ of the US secretary of state Madeline Albright about the information that UNPROFOR was considering air strikes against both the VRS and the BH Army; the ratio of targets was to be 3:1. Akashi also said that the targeting of the BH Army positions was abandoned because the international community ‘didn’t want to treat both sides as equally responsible’.

After Banbury’s cross-examination was concluded, Nedjeljko Prstojevic, war president of the Crisis Staff in Ilidza municipality in Sarajevo, returned to face the third round of the examination by the prosecution. Prstojevic started his evidence on 3 March 2011 but was interrupted several times because the court had to hear the evidence of other prosecution witnesses.

Prosecutor Tieger quoted from an intercepted conversation that took place on 14 June 1992 in which Prstojevic called Muslims from the Sarajevo neighborhood of Kasindol ‘Turks’. Prstojevic also suggested that ‘people from the outside’ should be called in to make the Muslim families ‘move out’ to Bascarsija. When the prosecutor asked Prstojevic who the ‘people from the outside’ actually were, Prstojevic explained he was referring to the Serbian MUP and the military police. The prosecutor then reminded Prstojevic that at the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik he explained that the ‘people from the outside’ were Arkan’s men, Brne’s group and Bokan’s group. The witness then objected, saying his words were being twisted and ‘misused’. The prosecutor then played a video recording of Prstojevic’s conversation with the OTP investigators in which Prstojevic said he meant Arkan’s men, Brne’s group and Bokan’s group.

The prosecutor brought up an intercepted conversation of 25 June 1992 in which Prstojevic says, ‘Muslims must all be destroyed’ and ‘I don’t want to see a single Muslim of military age alive’. In another conversation on 10 July 1995 Prstojevic asks Rade Ristic if ‘Turks wailed’. When Ristic confirmed that they did, Prstojevic said, ‘when they’re gone they won’t be able to wail anymore’. Prstojevic tried to explain that the intercepted conversations took place when the fighting was really intense, during the BH Army offensives, adding that he and Ristic ‘both made jokes’. The prosecutor didn’t show much interest in Prstojevic’s explanations, especially after the witness confirmed that the voice in the recordings was his. The intercepted conversations were subsequently admitted into evidence.

The prosecutor then brought up a conversation on 16 June 1995 in which Prstojevic says that they had ‘beat the Turks in Nedzarici’ and that from time to time, they would ‘send them a sow or two’. When the witness denied that ‘sows’ were in fact modified air bombs, the prosecutor reminded him of his earlier interview with the OTP investigators, in which Prstojevic explained in detail what ‘sows’ were, adding that modified air bombs were notoriously inaccurate and known “as the bombs that can fall anywhere”. The prosecutor quoted from another intercepted conversation in which Prstojevic took part on 29 June 1995. In the conversation, Prstojevic was told that General Mladic had congratulated his gunners that morning for managing to hit the Sarajevo TV building with a modified air bomb.

The prosecutor also played a video recording of the speech Karadzic made on his visit to Ilidza on 8 January 1995. The Republika Srpska president said that in line with the strategic goals of the Serb nation it was decided to ‘transform’ Sarajevo ‘into two cities’.

A lot of time was devoted to a linguistic discussion about what the witness actually said at the 17th session of the Serb Assembly: that Muslims should be ‘chased away’, ‘expelled’ or ‘pushed back’. In addition to the three words used in the witness’s earlier statements and evidence, another term – encourage - was introduced today, and it caused additional confusion.

Karadzic has the same amount of time as the prosecution – a bit over nine hours – to cross-examine Nedjeljko Prstojevic.

Anthony Banbury, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial
Nedjeljko Prstojevic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial