In a bid to challenge allegations he was responsible for the shelling of the Markale town market and for the hostage crisis, Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic has sought to interview Greek president Papoulias and French Sgt.-Chef Dubant. Karadzic contends that Papoulias’s evidence would be relevant because of the ‘religious and historical ties between Serbia and Greece’ and Dubant's because of his involvement in the investigation after the Markale shelling

Radovan Karadžić u sudnici TribunalaRadovan Karadžić u sudnici Tribunala

On 25 January 2012, former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic asked the French embassy in The Hague to send a list of questions to Mr. Dubant, a French officer. The questions are related to Dubant’s investigation after a shell hit the Markale town Market. He was part of a six-man UN team. The results of the investigation were published on 15 February 1994.

The legal officer in the embassy told Karadzic that Paris would respond to his request only if invited to do so by the Trial Chamber. The accused therefore asked the Trial Chamber to assist him in his correspondence with France, as it had done previously.

Karadzic appended to his list of questions a number of documents related to the investigation after the shelling of the Markale town market, including the UNPROFOR report. The report established that a highly explosive 120 mm mortar bomb exploded 10 to 15 minutes after 12 pm on 5 February 1994 in the Markale town market, which was ‘exceptionally crowded". The mortar bomb detonated upon impact with the ground. It had been fired ‘in the conventional manner" from a heavy mortar tube. UNPROFOR determined the ‘possible distance of origin of fire, which is between 300 and 5,551 meters from the point of detonation". Eventually, the UNPROFOR team concluded that ‘either side’ could have fired the shell.

The accused yesterday asked the Trial Chamber to assist him by issuing a subpoena to the Greek president Karolos Papoulias, compelling him to submit to an interview with Karadzic’s legal advisor Peter Robinson. From 1993 to 1996, Papoulias served as the Greek interior minister. In the first half of 1994, during the Greek presidency of the EU, Karadzic contends, Papoulias played an important role in the peace negotiations in the Balkans.

At a meeting on 15 February 1994, Karadzic allegedly told Papoulias that ‘the Bosnian Serbs aren’t responsible for the Markale shelling’ and that Serbs were ‘ready to place some of their heavy artillery under the UN control’. Papoulias then ‘publicly urged caution in blaming the Serbs for the shelling’ and spoke against the proposal for NATO air strikes, Karadzic explained. Karadzic and Papoulias also met on 30 July 1994 when they discussed the Contact Group peace plan. At a meeting on 5 June 1995, the accused explained to the Greek minister that ‘the Serbs were entitled to detain the UN personnel as prisoners of war after the offensive air strikes which turned the UN and NATO into combatants in the war’.

Because of the ‘religious and historical ties between Greece and Serbs’ Papoulias is, according to Karadzic, ‘one of the few international interlocutors’ he could speak with ‘confidentially and candidly’. Therefore, Papoulias' information as to what Karadzic told him in private is ‘of greater weight" than information about Karadzic's public statements, the accused argues.

The Greek president has already indicated twice that he "does not intend to satisfy" Karadzic’s request. His refusal prompted the accused to ask the Trial Chamber for assistance.