Former vice-president of the SDS Executive Board Radomir Neskovic says that Radovan Karadzic was ‘the undisputed authority’ in the party. According to Neskovic, Karadzic and Momcilo Krajisnik were the supreme power in the Serb movement in BH

Radomir Neskovic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialRadomir Neskovic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Radovan Karadzic was ‘the undisputed authority’ in the SDS; Karadzic and Momcilo Krajisnik were the supreme power in the Serb movement in BH, Radovan Neskovic said at the trial of the former Republika Srpska president for genocide and other crimes in the war in BH. In 1992, the witness was the president of the Crisis Staff in the Novo Sarajevo municipality, which comprised Grbavica.

Neskovic’s written statement based on his interviews with the OTP investigators and his evidence at the Momcilo Krajisnik trial was admitted into evidence during Neskovic’s examination in chief. In 2005, Neskovic testified at Krajisnik’s trial about the organization and functioning of the SDS at the beginning of the war in BH. In his statement, the witness said that Karadzic most often ‘personally selected the staff’ for key positions and ‘expected obedience’ from them.

The witness went on to note that Karadzic was well-informed about what was going on at the local SDS boards, which were the basic units of the party. Neskovic illustrated this claim by an example: Karadzic often knew what had happened in Novo Sarajevo even before Neskovic told him about it.

Neskovic described the SDS as a democratic party in which everybody could say what they thought. In December 1991, the atmosphere was so ‘charged with emotion’ that it was unwise to voice negative opinions of the substantial decisions made by the Serb leaders. That ‘might make one appear a traitor’, which would in turn lead to a loss of reputation, influence and position, Neskovic explained.

According to the witness, at the meeting of the expanded SDS leadership in the Holiday Inn hotel in Sarajevo on 19 December 1991, Karadzic personally brought the document known as Variant A and B and distributed it to the attendees. The prosecution uses the document, which contains instructions for the takeover of power in municipalities inhabited by Serbs, to corroborate its allegations that the SDS had been gearing up for the war in BH.

In his replies to Karadzic, the witness said that Variant A and B was not discussed at the meeting in the Holiday Inn hotel. The document was not signed, Neskovic added. As far as Neskovic was concerned, Variant A, which called for the takeover of power in municipalities with a Serb majority was not clear, unlike Variant B which referred to municipalities where Serbs were in the minority. As Neskovic said, Jovan Cizmovic never came to visit Novo Sarajevo municipality; the prosecution alleges that Cizmovic was tasked by Karadzic to monitor the takeover of power on the ground.

Karadzic tried to prove through this witness that the SDS Executive Board didn’t have the power to control all of its delegates, that all delegates in the RS Assembly weren’t members of the SDS and that the RS government at one point banned the SDS. The witness agreed with Karadzic’s claims. In June 1992, the RS Government exceeded its authority when it banned the party in whose name it ruled. At the same time, it allowed the creation of other parties whose centers of power were in Belgrade, like Milosevic’s Socialist Party or Seselj’s Radical Party, Neskovic claimed.

Karadzic continues his cross-examination of Radomir Neskovic tomorrow morning.