Radovan Karadzic continued his cross-examination of the prosecution military expert Ewan Brown, trying to prove that non-Serbs from the Bosnian Krajina were not expelled, but were ‘evacuated’ for their own safety. A survivor of the massacre in Orahovac is scheduled to begin his evidence tomorrow; the prosecution case at Karadzic’s trial will thus enter its final stage, when the prosecution will call evidence about Srebrenica

Ewan Brown, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialEwan Brown, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

The trial of former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic continued with the testimony of a witness testifying under the pseudonym KDZ 456. His evidence proceeded entirely in closed session. As the hearing drew to a close today, Karadzic continued his cross-examination of the prosecution military expert Ewan Brown. Brown wrote an analysis of the military situation in the Bosnian Krajina in 1992. Karadzic tried to contest the conclusion in the expert report that the 1st Krajina Corps took part in organizing the mass exodus of the non-Serbs from the Bosnian Krajina between April and August 1992.

Karadzic put it to Brown that the authorities were under an obligation to ‘evacuate the civilian population’ for their own safety. Karadzic argued that some of the residents of Bosanski Novi were taken to the town stadium for ‘safety reasons’ because of the fighting that went on around the town. Soon afterwards, Karadzic claimed, they were offered transportation to Doboj and Banja Luka but they refused the offer, returning to ‘their homes’. Some days later they accepted another offer made by the Serb authorities to transport them to third countries via Croatia; this was purportedly done at their own request. Karadzic insisted that a prosecution witness confirmed those claims in his evidence recently.

It remained unclear whether Karadzic really forgot or decided not to name the witness who allegedly confirmed his claims that the residents of Bosanski Novi were taken to the stadium for ‘safety reasons’ and that they purportedly left to go to third countries of their own free will. It is interesting to note that a man who had been detained at the Mlakve stadium has recently testified at Karadzic’s trial. Contradicting Karadzic claims, Witness KDZ 11 stated he had lost 11 kilos in the 46 days of his detention at the stadium because food was scarce, and that before their release, the prisoners were forced to sign over their property.

When Karadzic put it to him that the Serb authorities offered to transport the people to Doboj or Banja Luka, Brown said he found it ‘peculiar’ that the Serb authorities would offer the people to transport them but to their homes; the only reason he could see was ‘a strong desire to see back of them’. The accused then put to the military expert that until the end of 1994 there were enemy guerilla groups causing incidents to which the army had to respond. The witness replied it was ‘entirely possible’. ‘But you can’t link it to a mass exodus of people from these municipalities under the pretext that it was done for their own protection’, the witness said.

Karadzic will complete his cross-examination of Ewan Brown tomorrow. The prosecution will then call Witness KDZ 039, a survivor of the massacre in Orahovac. With this evidence, the prosecution will move to the final part of its case at the Karadzic trial, in which it will call evidence about the responsibility of the former Republika Srpska president for the genocide in Srebrenica.