Two protected witnesses, former members of the BH Army Audio Surveillance Service, were examined as the trial of former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic continued. Karadzic argues that he and other participants in the intercepted conversations were prone to ‘boasting and exaggerations’

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

The trial of former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic continued today with the evidence of two witnesses who had both served in the BH Army Audio Surveillance Service. The witnesses intercepted, recorded and transcribed the conversations of various Republika Srpska political and military leaders. Both witnesses gave evidence under a pseudonym and with image distortion to protect their identities. Through their testimony, the prosecution wants to corroborate the authenticity of transcripts and recordings of intercepted conversations that it intends to tender into evidence.

Witness KDZ 245 served in the surveillance unit in the so-called ‘southern facility’ where the communications in the Srebrenica region were intercepted. The witness’s written statement based on his previous evidence at the trials of Krstic, Popovic and Tolimir was admitted into evidence. In his statement, the witness confirmed the authenticity of intercepted conversations and described the procedure: how they were intercepted, recorded and transcribed.

In the cross-examination, Karadzic tried to find out if the conversations were intercepted and recorded in line with court orders and if their purpose was to be used in court proceedings. Karadzic put it to the witness that the people who took part in the conversations used sayings, allusions, jokes and various figures of speech and were prone to ‘bragging and exaggerating’. Karadzic also noted that it was usual practice for the warring sides to ‘plant’ false intelligence, as they knew they were under audio surveillance.

The witness replied that he did his job in accordance with the orders of the superior command in the BH Army. As far as the witness knew, the only goal of recording the intercepted conversations was to ‘defend the country’. All conversations were transcribed ‘verbatim’ and were then forwarded to the superior command without any additional comments.

The next witness, KDZ 126, was a commander of the Audio Surveillance Unit in the BH Army and was also involved in intercepting VRS radio relay communications. The witness’s consolidated statement based on his interviews with the OTP investigators in 1999 and the transcript of his evidence at the trial of seven former VRS military and police officials in 2006 were admitted into evidence.

In the cross-examination of the witness, Karadzic brought up an intercept of 13 July 1995 in which he spoke with his civilian commissioner to Srebrenica, Miroslav Deronjic, through an intermediary. The details of the intercepted conversation that took place two days after the capture of Srebrenica were not discussed today.

The trial of Radovan Karadzic for genocide and other crimes in BH continues with the evidence of a new witness on Tuesday, 20 March 2012.