Isak Gashi, former member of the Yugoslav rowing team, testifies at the trial of Radovan Karadzic. Gashi talked about his detention in the Luka prison camp in 1992. He was shown a video clip in which a Serb spoke about their erstwhile neighbors. Gashi responded by telling the court what he thought about ‘a state for Serbs only’

Isak Gasi, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialIsak Gasi, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

The trial of Radovan Karadzic continued with the evidence of Isak Gashi, former member of the Yugoslav rowing team and a member of the Executive Board of the Democratic Action Party in Brcko. From 10 May to 7 June 1992, Gashi was detained in a various prison facilities in Brcko. Gashi already testified about his ordeal at a number of trials before the Tribunal. Today, the transcript of Gashi’s evidence at the trial of former Bosnian Serb Assembly speaker Momcilo Krajisnik was admitted into evidence.

The prosecutor read out the summary of his evidence: on 10 May 1992, Gashi was detained in the Elektro Brcko building. On 27 May 1992, two police officers moved Gashi to the SUP building and then to the Luka prison camp. According to Gashi, there were about 200 prisoners there, ‘poor devils like myself’. Gashi was brought to the prison camp just after Goran Jelisic a/k/a Adolf and Ranko Cesic killed a large number of prisoners in the first half of May 1992. The witness saw Cesic take out four men from the hangar in the Luka prison camp. Cesic then shot them in the back. He also saw Jelisic ‘half-drunk, brandishing a gun’ and threatening to ‘kill another 98 Balijas’. Both Cesic and Jelisic pleaded guilty to the crimes in the Luka prison camp before the Tribunal. Jelisic was sentenced to 40 years while Cesic got 18 years in prison.

In a brief examination-in chief, the prosecutor showed Gashi several documents. The witness recognized the names of the people who interrogated him and his father in the police station and the prison camp. Gashi also recognized the name of Konstantin Simonovic, who told Gashi that he was the commander of the Luka remand prison. Simonovic wore a police uniform and asked the witness twice to give him the names of ‘Muslim extremists’. Simonovic promised he would give Gashi ‘a pill against diarrhea for every name’; Gashi suffered from diarrhea in the prison camp.

The prosecutor showed two video recordings, in which local police chief Zarko Cosic says ‘before the war there were constant provocations, it was impossible to live in the town and we had to expel Muslims’ and, ‘Serbs in Republika Srpska suffered the most, were the biggest victims and gave everything they had to create a Serb state’. As Gashi said, before the war he was on good terms with Cosic and couldn’t figure out why Cosic claimed that he ‘had problems with Muslims’. ‘I didn’t have the impression that he could speak harshly about the people with whom he had spent his entire life. I don’t know how a man can say that. Personally, I cannot believe...To create a state for Serbs only, it seems to me, I don’t know, madness. I don’t know what other term to use’.

Radovan Karadzic will cross-examine Gashi tomorrow. In the first part of today’s hearing, Karadzic completed his cross-examination of Christian Nielsen, who wrote the expert report on the division of the BH police and the functioning of the Serb MUP.

Karadzic argued that the Trnopolje prison camp was ‘established by prisoners themselves’ because they were afraid to go home where they ‘had no police protection’. Nielsen dismissed the claim of the accused, noting that the ‘description didn’t fit the data I found in the Serb police documents’.