In his cross-examination of Dr Mirsad Mujadzic from Prijedor, Radovan Karadzic claimed that ‘his client’ cannot be held responsible for the crimes in the Sana river valley because, as he explained, ‘people have been killing each other there ever since the emergence of the two religions’. Judge Morrison advised Karadzic to set aside ‘the schizophrenic client-lawyer relationship’

Mirsad Mujadzic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialMirsad Mujadzic, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic, on trial for genocide and other crimes in BH, continued his cross-examination of Dr Mirsad Mujadzic. He used this opportunity to expound on his theory about who “wanted” the war and who was responsible for the suffering of the non-Serbs in Prijedor and other towns in the Sana river valley. He claims he has an explanation that clearly shows that had nothing to do with him.

Karadzic blames the conflict in Prijedor and neighboring towns on those ‘who organized resistance’ – the Democratic Action Party (SDA). According to him, the party armed the Muslims, who fired the first shots and thus caused the conflict and the ensuing bloodbath in order to expel the Serbs from the area. His arguments should counter the claims made by the witness that the Serb forces, led by Radmilo Zeljaja, were ‘given a special mission’ in May 1992 to cleanse Prijedor and other towns in the Sana river valley of Bosniaks.

Karadzic claimed that Zeljaja was a JNA major in late May 1992, when the villages of Hambarine and Kozarac were attacked; at the time, the JNA was still a ‘multinational’ army. The witness replied that by that time the JNA had already become a de facto Serb army, noting that less than a month later Zeljaja was formally appointed commander of the Bosnian Serb forces in that area. After seizing Kozarac, Zeljaja changed the name of the village into Radmilovo, after his own given name, the witness added.

Alluding to the fact that he is defending himself at the trial, Karadzic said, ‘my client cannot be held responsible for the fact that people were killing each other there’, since, as he explained, ‘people have been killing each other’ in the Sana river valley ‘ever since two religions emerged there’. While he did not deny Karadzic the right to present his case, English judge Morrison did advise Karadzic to drop the ‘schizophrenic client-lawyer relationship’.

After Mirsad Mujadzic completed his evidence, the prosecution called a Bosnian Serb testifying under the pseudonym KDZ-163. In 1992, he held a post in the Manjaca camp near Banja Luka. He confirmed in his examination-in-chief that 4,403 prisoners passed through the camp during the war. The transcript of the witness’s testimony at the trial of the former Bosnian Serb officials Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin was admitted into evidence.

At that trial, the witness confirmed that some of the detainees, most of whom were Bosniaks, were younger than 18 and older than 65 years. As he said, he was flabbergasted when he saw that the detainees transported to Manjaca from Sanski Most on 7 July 1992 were ‘packed like sardines’ in the trucks. According to the prosecution documents, 24 people died because of the inhumane conditions during transport that day.

A number of documents were admitted into evidence through this witness, including a report from Manjaca, dated 8 August 1992, about Vojo Kupresanin’s visit to the camp; he went there ‘on the orders’ of Radovan Karadzic. Kupresanin’s demand, dated 1 October 1992, to pardon a number of Bosniaks detained in Manjaca was issued ‘quite late’, the witness said. According to a document from the International Committee of the Red Cross, in late November 1992, a total of 2,939 people were still detained in Manjaca.

At the beginning of the cross-examination, Karadzic stated that at the Stanisic and Zupljanin trial, the witness said there were ‘only two violent and three natural deaths’ in Manjaca, and that the four men responsible for the ‘violent deaths’ were tried in 2007. The witness confirmed this.

Karadzic will continue cross-examining Witness KDZ-163 tomorrow morning.