'BORDERS DRAWN IN BLOOD'
Izet Redzic from Vlasenica testified at the Radovan Karadzic trial about the division of the municipality into Serb and Muslim parts, with threats that the 'borders will be drawn in blood'. He also spoke about the arrests and murders of Vlasenica Muslims that followed. Former guard in the prison located in the technical school in Karakaj and Pilica, Dragan Vidovic, also completed his evidence today
Izet Redzic, former president of Vlasenica municipality testified at the trial of the former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic. As he said, the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) played the key role in the effort to arm the Serbs in the area; the JNA and the police provided support. The transcript of the witness's testimony at the Momcilo Krajisnik trial in 2004 was admitted into evidence.
According to the summary of the witness’s evidence in Krajisnik case, in mid-1991 a Serb paramilitary unit was set up in the village of Milici near Vlasenica. The SDS leaders, including Karadzic, regularly visited the unit. In late April 1992, the JNA Novi Sad Corps deployed its troops and tanks in order to 'liberate the town from someone', as the witness explained.
In the brief examination-in-chief, the witness confirmed that from the summer of 1991 until the time when the conflict broke out, he took part in the negotiations about the division of Vlasenica into Muslim and Serb parts. He finally agreed to it because the Serb negotiators threatened that unless he did, the 'borders will be drawn in blood'. He left town on 18 April to go to Tuzla. On that day, many civilians from Vlasenica were taken to the Susica camp. Many of them were killed there. The survivors from Vlasenica told him about the mass murder in the village of Zaklopaca, where the Serb forces executed 83 civilians on 16 May 1992. There were five or six children among the victims.
In the cross-examination, Karadzic tried to prove that he had not been visiting 'paramilitary'', but 'volunteer' units. He brought up an intercepted conversation from December with a man by the name of Zvonko Bajagic from Vlasenica. The witness insisted those were 'paramilitaries' mobilized by the SDS, who received regular visits from the accused. The witness learned about that from the 'drunkards, rascals and rakes' since Karadzic 'liked bars a lot'. On those regular visits, Karadzic almost always stayed in Zvonko Bajagic's restaurant, the witness added.
The accused put it to the witness that he had taken part in the effort to 'remove the Muslims from the JNA' because he took ten buses and picked up drafted Muslims in Zaluzani near Banja Luka. Those Muslims were supposed to be sent to fight on the frontlines in Croatia. The witness didn’t deny it, but explained that in his view it was no crime, because at that time the JNA was no longer an army of the people, but of the 'Serbs'. He did not want the Muslims to go to Croatia to 'kill Catholics'.
After Izet Redzic completed his evidence, the prosecution called Dragan Vidovic. During the war, Vidovic was a guard in the technical school in Karakaj near Zvornik, where 500 to 600 Muslims were detained at one time. In a brief testimony, Vidovic confirmed that the prisoners were taken to the Culture Hall in Pilica by bus, where they were supposed to be exchanged, as he was told. After the prisoners were taken away, he went home. He could not remember if he ever heard the shooting near the school in Karakaj where the Muslim detainees were held.
As he was cross-examined by the accused, Vidovic confirmed that the man leading a local Serb unit called Pivarski 'ruled' in Zvornik and that he ordered Vidovic to beat the prisoners in Karakaj. Vidovic complied. Everyone in Zvornik 'rejoiced when the members of the Pivarski unit were arrested together with the Yellow Wasps' the witness recounted.
Radovan Karadzic's trial continues tomorrow with a testimony of a new witness.