At the trial of Goran Hadzic, a protected prosecution witness described the events following the murder of 28 Croats and Hungarians in the police station in Dalj on 4 October 1991. The witness said that the question ‘why Dalj has been covered in blood’ and by whom was asked at a gathering of several hundreds of the Territorial Defense troops. Arkan showed up and said, ‘I did it and there’s nothing any of you can do about it’

Goran Hadzic in the courtroomGoran Hadzic in the courtroom

The trial of former Krajina Serb political leader Goran Hadzic continued today with the evidence about an incident that happened in the night of 4 October 1991 in Dalj, in which 28 non-Serb detainees were killed in the police station. A protected prosecution witness testified under the pseudonym GH 093 with image and voice distortion as protective measures. Initially, he was not due to testify as a protected witness, but he asked for protective measures on his arrival in The Hague. As the prosecution stated, the witness fears that the persons he spoke about in his statement to the OTP investigators in The Hague might hurt him and his family.

The summary of the statement was not read out and the jigsaw puzzle about the incident had to be put together from parts of the evidence open to public. The witness is a Serb from Dalj and based on his testimony it appears that at the time of the murder of 28 men he had ties with local members of the Territorial Defense and the police. The indictment and the prosecution’s pre-trial brief state that in late September or early October 1991 a group of Croats and Hungarians were first detained in the Cultural Center and were then transferred to the police station in Dalj. In the evening of 4 October 1991, the commander of the Serb Volunteer Guard Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, the security officer in the Dalj Territorial Defense Milorad Starcevic and 20 of Arkan’s men came to the police station in Dalj. The detainees were brutally beaten and 28 of them were killed. Their bodies were later thrown into the river Danube. At the time, Goran Hazdic was the prime minister of the so-called Serb Autonomous Region of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem.

Describing the ensuing events, the witness said that some days after the incident 500 or 600 of the Territorial Defense troops gathered in the market square, angered by the murder of their fellow citizens. As the witness claims, someone asked ‘why Dalj has been covered in blood, not by the people from Dalj but an outsider’. Arkan showed up in the square soon, wearing a rain jacket and carrying a hand-held rocket launcher on his shoulder. ‘I did it, and there’s nothing any of you can do about it’, Arkan said. The witness recounted that the people just ‘got quiet’ and nobody dared say anything to him. In his statement to the OTP investigators, the witness said that Goran Hadzic visited the police station in Dalj with Arkan a few days before the murder.

That was all that could be heard today in the examination-in-chief of Witness GH 093. The witness was cross-examined by defense counsel Gosnell almost entirely in closed session.

There was even greater secrecy surrounding the evidence of the next witness. Not even the witness’s pseudonym under which is he is registered in the case file was shared with the public. The witness testified without image and voice distortion but with his identity protected. The statement he gave to the investigators was admitted into evidence but the summary once again wasn’t read out. Prosecutor Birsay asked a few questions which indicated that the witness’s testimony was linked with the incident of 4 October 1991, that the previous witness had also been talking about. Nothing more could be inferred. This autistic approach seems to be a rule rather than an exception, and from the public’s point of view, Hadzic’s trial is slowly becoming pointless.