Nebojsa Ristic, Radovan Karadzic’s personal escort during and after the war, said that representatives of civilian and military authorities – including Miroslav Deronjic – visited the office of the Republika Srpska president in Pale. Deronjic, president of the crisis staff in Bratunac, said before the Tribunal that Karadzic ordered the killings after Srebrenica was overrun. Karadzic is now trying to distance himself from Deronjic, saying that he was ‘courteous’ to him as he was to everybody else. Milorad Davidovic, former inspector in the Federal Yugoslav SUP, began his evidence after Ristic

Nebojsa Ristic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialNebojsa Ristic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Nebojsa Ristic, former personal escort of the accused, is testifying at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, who is charged with genocide and other crimes in the war in BH. From April 1992, the witness was part of the security detail guarding Karadzic and his family. In mid-1994, Ristic became Karadzic’s personal escort. Ristic remained on that duty after the war, until 2000, while Karadzic was on the run. ‘I was an employee of the RS MUP and that was my job’, the witness explained.

In the examination-in chief, Ristic said that Karadzic and his family lived in the Sipad villa from April 1992. In mid-1994, the Karadzic family moved to a house in Krivace, a part of Pale. At the beginning of the war, Karadzic’s office was located in the Kikinda building and in late 1992 it was moved to the Mali Dom facility, a part of the Panorama hotel compound. In 1994, Karadzic’s office moved to the Famos building. The witness identified the facilities on photos and marked their precise locations on maps.

The witness said that all the facilities were equipped with telephones, radio stations and power generators, which kicked in when power went out. Ristic said that various officials visited Karadzic often. Army representatives were among them, because the RS president ‘was the supreme commander of the armed forces’. Miroslav Deronjic, who was the president of the crisis staff in Bratunac, visited often. The witness described Deronjic’s relation with Karadzic as ‘cordial and friendly’.

The witness confirmed that he accompanied Karadzic on his visit to Srebrenica on 4 August 1995. They traveled to Srebrenica in a convoy from Pale via Sokolac, Han Pijesak, Vlasenica, Milic and Bratunac. The only thing that the witness remembered from that journey was that the town ‘was not destroyed’. The Orthodox Church in Srebrenica was devastated and cattle were kept in it. Karadzic attended a religious ceremony to consecrate the cross on the mountain above Srebrenica. Ristic didn’t remember ‘any mosque’ or VRS soldiers in the town. He didn’t hear anything about any crimes in the warehouse in Kravica, which they passed by twice that day; he was unaware that about 1,000 men were executed there.

In the cross-examination, Karadzic claimed that he received for the most part private visits from ‘Nogo, Djogo, Brana Crncevic, Momo Kapor and other poets and artists’. Ratko Mladic, Milan Gvero and other military personnel visited him ‘occasionally’ because Pale was situated between Lukavica and Han Pijesak. According to Karadzic, his encounters with them were ‘a courtesy’ and his relationship with the military from August 1994 to the end of the war was ‘cold and troubled’.

As for Deronjic, Karadzic said that he received him ‘courteously’, treating him the same as he treated everybody else. This was an effort on Karadzic’s part to distance himself from his former civilian commissioner for Srebrenica. Deronjic pleaded guilty before the Tribunal for the crime in Glogova, and he stated that after Srebrenica fell, Karadzic told him ‘you should kill them, you should kill everyone you can’.

Karadzic argued that in early April 1992, Ristic was part of the security detail in the SDS premises in the Holiday Inn hotel in Sarajevo. Karadzic used the opportunity to recount his version of the events that marked the beginning of the war in BH. On 4 and 5 April 1992, citizens organized a protest in front of the BH Assembly against the policies pursued by the national parties. Karadzic called the citizens ‘a mob’ that ‘broke into’ the hotel and almost ‘lynched’ the witness and other members of the SDS security who were ‘just having a coffee’. The witness claims they didn’t shoot from the hotel and didn’t have snipers.

After Ristic completed his evidence, Milorad Davidovic was called to the witness stand. Davidovic is a former inspector in the Federal Yugoslav SUP. During the war, Davidovic held various posts in Republika Srpska. He personally participated in the movement of arms from Serbia to BH with the help of the JNA. In the spring of 1992, Davidovic and a group of police officers were ordered to help form the RS MUP and set up training courses for the special operations unit. Davidovic met with Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic a number of times and was able to see that there was a policy of forcible elimination of non-Serbs and crimes in the areas of Sarajevo, Bijeljina, Brcko and Zvornik. Davidovic continues his evidence on Tuesday, 28 June 2011.