In his evidence, Milorad Davidovic sheds light on Karadzic’s knowledge about the presence of paramilitary units in Republika Srpska, their funding and involvement in the expulsions of non-Serbs from Bijeljina, Zvornik and Brcko. The witness labeled the claims that Muslims voluntarily moved out as ‘sheer nonsense’. According to Davidovic, it was a matter of ‘saving their lives’ from a ‘hell’ orchestrated by the SDS

Milorad Davidovic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialMilorad Davidovic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Milorad Davidovic, former inspector in the Federal Yugoslav SUP continued his evidence today. According to Davidovic, Radovan Karadzic invited volunteers ‘and everybody else who wanted to fight on the Serb side’ to Republika Srpska. ‘It was common knowledge, nothing was kept secret’, the witness said, adding that Mico Stanisic, the first RS interior minister, confirmed it to him several times.

In his examination-in chief Davidovic said that a group of Arkan’s men suddenly showed up in the barracks in Lukavica, during one of the meetings he had with Karadzic and Mladic. Unlike Mladic, who appeared to be ‘angry’ because of their arrival, Karadzic said, ‘Let them be, we invited them, they should help liberate Sarajevo. Let them do what they can, whatever they take, they can keep it for free’.

Prosecutor Uertz-Retzlaff showed a video recording from Bijeljina. The witness was able to identify Karadzic, Ljubisa Savic Mauzer, Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan and Vojkan Djurkovic Puskar. In a video clip, Arkan says he was invited to come by the Bijeljina Crisis Staff to ‘help the Serb people’. The witness explained that there was no need for that; in fact, the arrival of paramilitary units like Arkan’s group only caused problems.

The prosecution showed payrolls that prove that the crisis staffs funded various paramilitary units such as the Yellow Wasps led by Vojin Vuckovic, Captain Dragan’s troops and other volunteers units. The witness noted that, unlike others, Mirko Blagojevic ‘protected’ Muslims in Bijeljina, and made public the murder of the Sarajlic and Sejmenovic families. According to Davidovic, the families were ordered to be killed by the Crisis Staff to ‘intimidate the Muslims’ into moving out of the Bijeljina area.

According to the witness, at the beginning of the war the crisis staffs established labor camps for Muslims ‘modeled on the Americans’ internment facilities for the Japanese in the Second World War’ set up to prevent the Muslims from working for the enemy. ‘Later, those camps turned into something completely different’, Davidovic said.

In an interview in June 1992, Ljubisa Mauzer said that peace reigned in Bijeljina. The witness said it was a ‘lie’. Davidovic spoke about a local journalist, Pero Simic, a/k/a Little Goebbels, who excelled at ‘spreading lies and disinformation’ peppered with songs like ‘Get ready, Chetniks’ and ‘We’ll kill and we’ll slaughter those who won’t side with us’. As the witness explained, the fact that the town was peaceful meant that the non-Serbs ‘quietly and obediently did what they were asked to’.

What really went on, as the witness said, was a mass expulsion of Muslims. The lists of ‘undesirable citizens’ were submitted to Vojkan Djurkovic. After the regular police withdrew, Djurkovic’s forces went from house to house and told people to be ready to leave in ten minutes. They then searched the people meticulously; they even did ‘gynecological examinations on old grannies’, looking for money, gold and other valuables. Then they transported the people on trucks to the demarcation line. ‘This happened on a daily basis from April and May 1992 to the end of the war’, the witness said.

Davidovic labeled the claims that Muslims had moved out voluntarily ‘sheer nonsense’. ‘They did it to save their lives’, Davidovic explained, saying that people turned over everything they had, money and property, to ‘leave that hell’. According to Davidovic, this didn’t happen only in Bijeljina, Zvornik and Brcko, but throughout Republika Srpska. The Crisis staffs used the same protocol to implement the SDS ‘instruction’ for the removal of non-Serbs, Davidovic said.

The witness said that about 100 trucks drove behind the column of volunteers, army and police under Mauzer’s command that left Bijeljina in early May 1992 to ‘liberate’ Brcko. Anything of any value was later loaded onto those trucks. The witness described the so-called ‘labor camp’ in Luka. One night the witness found about 20 people in the camp; there were children among them. After Davidovic set them free, he told them to run and ‘find their way around as best they could’.

At the beginning of the cross-examination, Karadzic tried to discredit the witness noting that he was prosecuted four times in Bijeljina for ‘embezzlement and fraud’. The witness was cleared of all charges in all four cases. Karadzic nevertheless insisted that the criminal reports be tendered into evidence, claiming that they ‘shed light on the witness’s conduct’.

The cross-examination continues tomorrow.