DRINA RIVER AS GREATER SERBIA’S LUNGS
During the evidence of protected witness KDZ 379, the prosecution showed an interview in which Miroslav Stanic bragged about his contribution to the ‘liberation’ of Foca. Stanic recalled the words from the founding assembly of the SDS in 1990: ‘the Drina river will never be a border but a windpipe connecting the two lungs’. Another man from Foca testifying under the pseudonym KDZ 239 and with protective measures began his evidence today
The trial of Radovan Karadzic continued with the evidence of a protected witness from Foca who testified under the pseudonym KDZ 379. The witness is a former JNA serviceman. In April 1992, he was guarding a JNA military depot in Pilipovici near Foca. The transcript of the testimony witness gave in 2000 at the trial of Milorad Krnojelac, former commander of the Penitentiary and Correctional Facility (KPD) in Foca was admitted into evidence.
According to the witness, in early April 1992 a number of Muslims from Foca sought salvation in the military depot in Pilipovici, which was under JNA guard. In late April 1992, a White Eagles unit lead by a man called Vesimir Dido attacked the military depot. The witness was arrested and transferred to the Velecevo prison for women. Velibor Ostojic met the witness there and asked him ‘I’m surprised to see you’ve joined the Balijas and Ustashas’. The witness saw other members of the Serbian Crisis Staff there: Miroslav Stanic, Vojislav Maksimovic, Radovan Mandic and Petko Cancar.
Prosecutor Fergal Gaynor showed an interview Miroslav Stanic gave to the Serbian TV in 1995. Stanic was introduced as a member of the SDS Main Board, president of the SDS municipal board and the first war commander in Foca. Stanic used the opportunity to brag about his role in the ‘liberation’ of Foca, noting that it was accomplished in a matter of six days. As the witness explained, the ‘liberation’ in fact boiled down to the expulsion, arrest, detention and murder of the Muslims.
In the interview, Stanic spoke about the inaugural session of the SDS in 1990, where it was said that the ‘Drina river will never be a boundary, but a windpipe connecting the two lungs’. The witness explained that the lungs were Serbia on the one side and the Serbian Republic on the other side of the Drina river. Karadzic complained about the word used in the English interpretation: according to him, the interpreters used the wrong word for ‘boundary’, interpreting it as ‘border’.
The prosecution also showed a recording of a speech Stanic gave at a rally organized by the BH SDS in Foca after the ICTY indicted Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. As Stanic spoke, people were shown with banners saying ‘No one will try Serbs’ and ‘We won’t hand over our people’.
In the cross-examination Karadzic insisted on the ‘bloody history’ of Foca in World War II. As he explained, the defense contends that the war in BH was in fact a continuation of World War II. Karadzic’s claim that Muslims in Foca were well-armed surprised the witness. ‘If they were so well-armed, how come that they ran away and that the whole of Foca fell in just six days’, the witness asked Karadzic.
Another man from Foca started his evidence under the pseudonym KDZ 239 and image and voice distortion as protective measures. The witness had also already testified at the trial of Milorad Krnojelac. He mainly spoke about the conditions of detention in the KPD. Before his detention in the KPD, the witness was detained for some time in the hangars of the Serb Territorial Defense in a place called Livade.
As the witness said, all the prisoners were civilians arrested at work, in their homes, out in the streets or in the woods where they had sought temporary shelter. According to the witness, the reason for their arrest was one and the same: ‘because we were Muslims and in some cases, because we were members of a different political party’. The witness stressed that most of the prisoners were not into politics at all.
Karadzic, who began the cross-examination of this witness at the end of the hearing today, will complete it tomorrow.