In his statement to the OTP investigators, former chief of the Republika Srpska Communications Center in Pale said that the communications system functioned well during the war. According to the witness, Karadzic could communicate with whomever he wanted. In the cross-examination, the witness modified his claim slightly, confirming Karadzic’s suggestion that the communications system was ‘variegated’, especially in 1992

Ranko Vukovic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialRanko Vukovic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Ranko Vukovic is testifying at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, charged with genocide and other crimes in BH. Through the testimony of the former chief of the RS Communications Center on Pale the prosecution wants to prove that Karadzic – as the Republika Srpska president and the VRS supreme commander – knew or was in a position to know what was going on in the territory under the VRS control, including the crimes alleged in the indictment against him.

In the examination-in chief the witness’s written statement based on his previous statements to the prosecution and his evidence at the trial of former RS police officials Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin was admitted into evidence. According to the summary read out in the courtroom, the primary task of the Communications Center in Pale was to relay oral and written messages from the Presidency, Assembly and the Government to the lower levels of government.

In his statement, the witness confirmed that the RS Communications Center was connected with a ‘secure’ telephone line with the office of the RS president in Pale, and with radio relay and postal and telephone equipment with the Communications Center of the VRS Main Staff in Crna Rijeka near Han Pijesak. According to the witness, the communications system functioned well during the entire war and Karadzic was able to communicate with whomever he wanted. The Communications Center also supported the RS MUP Communications Center which Karadzic also used.

In the cross-examination, Karadzic insisted on the ‘variegated flow of information’ in the territory controlled by the Bosnian Serb army, especially in the period from the beginning of the war to the end of 1992. Vukovic agreed with Karadzic. According to him, the communications in that period were precarious and the whole system in RS was not stabilized until 1993.

The witness also confirmed Karadzic’s claim that the SDA was responsible for the outbreak of the war in BH, not the SDS as the prosecution alleges. Karadzic asked the witness if he recalled that the BH Presidency declared ‘war on us’ in June 1992. The war against the Serbs was declared much earlier, the witness replied, on 29 April 1992, when the commander of the Territorial Defense Hasan Efendic made his proclamation. ‘Everything that happened after it, the suffering of the people, the Dobrovoljacka Street, the Vase Miskina Street, the first and the second Markale incidents’ was a consequence of that ‘monstrous order’, as the witness called it.

The prosecution will call its next witness tomorrow.