GENERAL MILOSEVIC IN RADOVAN KARADZIC’S DEFENSE
The former commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija, serving a 29 years sentence for artillery and sniper terror campaign in Sarajevo, began his evidence at the trial of Radovan Karadzic. A Sarajevo-Romanija Corps officer and a local official from the Ilidza municipality in Sarajevo gave their evidence before the former SRK commander
In his examination-in-chief, former official of the municipal Crisis Staff in Ilidza Slavko Mijanovic claimed that Muslim civilians left Ilidza in 1992 ‘voluntarily’ and that it was ‘not an organized effort’. As the cross-examination continued, the witness was confronted with the evidence that suggested the Serb authorities played an active role in the Muslims’ evacuation. Prosecutor Gustafson showed documents from the Serb police and intercepted conversations involving municipality president Nedjeljko Prstojevic. The documents stated that the men from the villages near Ilidza had been arrested and detained while the women and children had been expelled.
The witness replied that he ‘almost never went’ to the villages from which civilians were expelled during the war and didn’t know anything about it. The witness was then showed documents indicating that he in fact signed the decisions allowing Serbs to move into the abandoned Muslim houses. Mijanovic explained that these were just ‘temporary decisions’ and were fully in line with the appropriate legal procedure.
The next witness was Lieutenant Colonel Milenko Indjic, former liaison officer in the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps staff. The summary of Indjic’s statement was read out in the courtroom. It was similar to the statements of other soldiers of the Corps that had already testified for the accused. Their allegations can be summed up as follows: the Bosnian Serb army only defended itself against the BH Army’s 1st Corps, the goal of the Serb army was not to terrorize civilians and they only responded in extreme necessity to attacks launched from the city.
In response to the accused’s questions, Lieutenant Colonel Indjic added that the BH Army snipers shot at UNPROFOR soldiers and ‘their own folk’. Serbs were blamed for those killings, as they had already been branded ‘bad guys’. According to the witness, it was the reason why the Serb side did everything to implement a comprehensive ceasefire throughout BH, but the Bosnian authorities rejected it. The witness claimed that the Corps allowed all convoys that had been authorized by the VRS Main Staff to pass. The Serbs also did all they could to repair the water, electricity and gas supply infrastructure for Sarajevo. The problems with the utilities in the city suited the ‘Muslim side’ because it helped it to ‘create an impression it was a victim in the media’, the witness explained. Milenko Indjic will be cross-examined on Thursday.
As the hearing drew to a close, Karadzic called General Dragomir Milosevic, who commanded the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps from 1994 to 1995. Milosevic is currently in a prison in Estonia, serving his 29-year sentence for his role in the artillery and sniper terror campaign in Sarajevo.
At the beginning of his evidence, Milosevic lashed out at his defense team, headed by Branislav Tapuskovic, that represented him before the Tribunal. Milosevic accused Tapuskovic of not listening to his advice because he was ‘a smart aleck’. As a result, the defense didn’t call evidence on the context in which the events in Sarajevo happened. In General Milosevic’s view, it was a fight of ‘two unequal sides’ – the ‘extremely strong’ BH Army 1st Corps and the ‘weak’ Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. Milosevic said that during the trial he attempted to communicate with the prosecution: not to admit his guilt but to ‘clarify’ the facts relevant for the indictment. His defense lawyer prevented him from doing it, Milosevic claimed.
General Milosevic will continue his testimony tomorrow.
- Case : Karadzic
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