Radovan Karadzic continued his cross-examination of prosecution military expert Reynaud Theunens. As Karadzic said, the plan for the transformation of municipalities put forth by the Serb side called for Brcko to be transformed into something akin to Brussels. Karadzic also tried to prove that the Bosnian Serbs’ strategic goals were misinterpreted, just like the relationship between Serbs and Croats during the war. As Karadzic put it, Serbs and Croats cooperated: ‘we gave them electricity, they gave us oil’

Reynaud Theunens, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialReynaud Theunens, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Continuing the cross-examination of the prosecution military expert Reynaud Theunens, Radovan Karadzic tried to contest Theunens’s conclusion that there was a ‘pattern’ for the takeover of power in municipalities Serbs considered their own. According to the witness, the pattern called for political preparations in line with Karadzic’s recommendations and the instructions from the SDS, followed by the establishment of crisis staffs, call-up and arming of Serbs.

Karadzic contends that there was no ‘Serb pattern’ for the takeover of power. It was in fact, a ‘Muslim attempt’ to capture the territories where Serbs lived and a ‘Serb attempt’ to defend themselves against those attacks. Karadzic highlighted the negotiations on the transformation of municipalities conducted on the eve of the war, arguing that Serbs agreed to it ‘because they decided not to remain in Yugoslavia if BH could be decentralized’. According to the transformation plan, Brcko was to look like Brussels, Karadzic said.

According to the witness, the takeover of power in Brcko in effect represented implementation of the first of the Bosnian Serbs’ six strategic goals: the separation of the Serb people from the other two BH ethnic communities. As the witness noted, the Serbs held three quarters of Brcko and that didn’t fit into Karadzic’s theory about the transformation of the town into three ethnically separate but equal municipalities: Srpska Varos, Ravne and Rahic.

Karadzic tried to prove that the Bosnian Serbs’ strategic goals stemmed from various peace agreements, staring with the Lisbon agreement and ending with the Dayton accords. In Karadzic’s view, those were ‘political’ goals, not objectives to be achieved by war. The witness recalled that Karadzic spoke about the strategic goals at the 16th session of the Serb Assembly, saying said that the Serb nation should secede ‘from those who are our enemies and who have used each opportunity, particularly in this century, to attack us and who will continue with the practice if we remain in the same state’. Karadzic made no mention of any peace plans at all.

Karadzic tried particularly hard to note the purported misinterpretation of the third strategic goal, the removal of the border on the Drina river. According to Karadzic, the point was not the Drina river as the ‘border between the Serb states,’ as the witness wrote in his expert report: it was the ‘border between different worlds: Orthodox, Catholic and Islamic’ that in his view shouldn’t exist.

Karadzic then played an interview he gave during the war in which he refuted his own claims. A Serb television journalist asked him, ‘when will we have a soft border between Serbia and Republika Srpska’, and Karadzic replied, ‘I will never allow the border bisecting the Serb territories to be a real border, with restrictions,’ adding that it was one of Bosnian Serbs’ strategic goals.

Karadzic tried to refute the witness’s claims that the VRS ‘fired a few shells on Dubrovnik at the beginning of the tourist season’. ‘We have always gotten along well with Croats. Our army would not have survived without them because in 1994 Yugoslavia imposed sanctions on us’, Karadzic said. ‘We gave them electricity, they gave us oil’, Karadzic explained, elaborating the relationship between Serbs and Croats. As he said, he and Mate Boban had already ‘pacified a good part of the front line’, in May 1992, in Graz.

Karadzic will continue cross-examining the prosecution expert tomorrow.