British colonel Pyers Tucker said at the trial of Radovan Karadzic that the Western media ‘focused on the atrocities and ethnic cleansing’ in Podrinje. The picture of Bosnia in the media would probably have been different if the forces under the command of the accused ‘hadn’t perpetrated those terrible things’. The witness also contested Karadzic’s claims that in Srebrenica in 1993 the people had ‘enough food, cows, hens and even a goat’

Pyers Tucker, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialPyers Tucker, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

Radovan Karadzic continued his cross-examination of British colonel Pyers Tucker. Today, he targeted the global media whose ‘bias and partiality’, he claimed, ‘encouraged the Muslims to hope there would be a military intervention’. This is why the Muslims ‘weren’t interested in peace, unlike the Serb side’, Karadzic explained. Tucker contradicted him, saying there was a reason why the global media ‘focused on the Bosnian Serbs’ atrocities and ethnic cleansing’. The picture of Bosnia in the media ‘might have been more balanced if the forces under your command hadn’t perpetrated those terrible things’, Tucker said.

General Morillon’s former aide de camp said that when he visited Srebrenica from 12 to 20 March 1993, he personally saw the consequences of the restrictions imposed on humanitarian relief supplies to the refugees in the enclave. ‘I saw starving people, children with swollen bellies because of the lack of food and drugs, I saw people with empty eyes, so exhausted because of the lack of vitamins and medication that they could hardly stand’, the witness said.

The witness also dismissed Karadzic’s claims that the enclaves had enough ‘home-grown’ food, cows, sheep, hens and even a goat that the accused saw in a video recording. The British colonel said that about 40,000 people were living in the Srebrenica enclave at that time.Of that number, only about 7,000 to 8,000 lived in their own houses and may have been able to fall back on their food supplies. The rest of the people were refugees who had fled from the Serb forces with bundles of their personal possessions and enough food to last them a few days. ‘They literally ate tree bark and biscuits made of some yellow flour they made using the flowers growing in the hills around Srebrenica’. The witness noted that the goat Karadzic spoke about surely didn’t last long.

Karadzic also contended there was an organized Bosnian Muslim military force in Srebrenica in 1993. The soldiers attacked Serb positions in a bid to link up parts of liberated territory. The witness disagreed, saying that the Bosnian Muslim troops in Srebrenica he saw in March 1993 could hardly be called a military force. ‘To argue that Naser Oric had a division of 10,000 to 15,000 men is absolutely ridiculous’, the witness remarked.

In the re-examination, prosecutor Carolyn Edgerton brought up an order issued by the VRS Drina Corps commander on 24 November 1992, in which he orders the Zvornik Brigade to launch an attack against the enemy to ‘exhaust them, break them down and force them to surrender, and to force the local population to flee the territory of Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde’. Colonel Tucker noted that the ‘whole world witnessed those attacks’.

Radovan Karadzic’s trial continued in closed session with the evidence of a protected witness testifying under the pseudonym KDZ 523.