Former president of the Prijedor municipality and crisis staff Milomir Stakic has refused to testify at the trial of former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic. Stakic is currently serving a 40-year sentence in a prison in France. Karadzic wants Fikret Abdic to testify in his defense and has asked Croatia to hand over intercepted conversations of Bosnian leaders

Milomir Stakic in the courtroomMilomir Stakic in the courtroom

In March, Judge O-Gon Kwon’s Trial Chamber issued an order to France to allow Radovan Karadzic’s defense to interview former president of the municipality and crisis staff in Prijedor Milomir Stakic. Stakic was sentenced to 40 years for crimes committed during the war in that municipality. Karadzic wanted to call Stakic as a defense witness.

The French authorities, as stated in their reply, say that Stakic has refused to testify at Karadzic’s trial. A letter sent to the Tribunal through the French embassy in The Hague indicates that a representative of the French judiciary will interview Stakic if the defense insists it is necessary. If the judicial authorities in charge agree, Karadzic’s legal adviser may attend the interview. He may use the good offices of the Tribunal to forward to a French judge the questions the defense would like to ask Stakic.

Stakic was convicted by the Tribunal of persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, extermination, murder and deportation of non-Serb population in Prijedor from early April to late September 1992. After the sentencing, Stakic was transferred to a prison in France to serve his sentence.

The latest motion submitted to the Trial Chamber indicates that Karadzic intends to call Fikret Abdic as a witness. This is why he has asked the Republic of Croatia to send the transcript of Abdic’s evidence at the trial in Karlovac in 2003, and the intercepted conversations of Bosnian leaders Alija Izetbegovic, Ejup Ganic, Hasan Cengic, Bakir Izetbegovic and Omer Behmen from 1991 to 1995. In his request, Karadzic explains that the conversations contained evidence that would corroborate the defense’s claim that ‘Muslims committed crimes and tried to blame the Serbs in order to bring about an international military intervention which would favor them’.