The Trial Chamber believes that conditions haven’t yet been met for it to issue a subpoena to the former commander of the defense of Srebrenica compelling him to come to The Hague and testify in Radovan Karadzic’s defense. A similar motion for a subpoena for Ranko Mijic, former crime police chief in Prijedor, has also been denied

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

Judge Kwon’s Trial Chamber has found that Radovan Karadzic hasn’t taken all the necessary steps to obtain Naser Oric’s voluntary appearance as a defense witness. This means that one of the elementary conditions for a subpoena compelling Oric to appear in The Hague hasn’t been met, and Karadzic’s motion was denied.

In November 2012, the accused filed a motion seeking a subpoena. The accused argued that the testimony of the former commander of the defense of Srebrenica could be helpful in proving the defense’s allegation that the order to attack the enclave was legitimate from the military point of view because there were well-armed BH Army units stationed inside the enclave. The defense informed the Trial Chamber that Oric refused to be contacted by the defense because, in his view, some of his answers could incriminate him in the ongoing investigation against him in Republika Srpska.

In its decision, the Trial Chamber first notes that the defense contacted the potential witness only once with a ‘general request’ for an interview with the legal advisor of the accused; the defense wanted to see whether it would be worth to call Oric to The Hague at all. The Trial Chamber was not convinced that Oric had indeed refused to testify about many of the topics of interest for the defense, as the motion specified the testimony, scheduled for 5 February 2013, would relate to the period from 1993 to 1995. Oric is under investigation by the authorities in Bijeljina for the events from 1992 to 1995.

The judges reminded Karadzic that subpoenas ‘will not be issued lightly’ and without ‘a serious assessment of the importance of the proposed evidence’. The assessment should show whether the information a witness may provide could 'materially' assist the Chamber, whether it is necessary for a witness to appear, and whether the same evidence is obtainable through other means, such as other witnesses.

In light of this warning, the defense’s motion to issue subpoena to Ranko Mijic was also denied today. Mijic, former crime police chief in Prijedor, was supposed to testify about the events in the Omarska prison camp, where he was ‘the highest ranking police officer’ from May to August 1992.

In Mijic’s case, the Trial Chamber concluded that the defense had made ‘reasonable efforts’ to obtain Mijic’s voluntary cooperation, but he had refused it twice. The judges believe that Mijic’s testimony could help the Trial Chamber but also found that Mijic is not the only person with the information about the events in Omarska and the police’s involvement in them. The Trial Chamber recalled that ten other police officers from the Prijedor crime police were in Omarska during the relevant period. The judges therefore advised Karadzic to try and obtain their statements.

The trial of the former Republika Srpska president continues with the evidence of Colonel Milosav Gagovic. In May 1992, Gagovic served as the deputy commander in the JNA 4th Corps in Sarajevo.