Former liaison officer in the VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps Milenko Indjic contends that the Muslims ‘organized’ the massacre in Srebrenica by provoking the Serbs. According to Indjic, Serbs responded to the provocation and killed thousands of men of military age

Milenko Indjic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicMilenko Indjic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

Prosecutor Caroline Edgerton tried to undermine the credibility of Karazdic’s witness Milenko Indjic, former liaison officer in the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. She referred to Indjic’s statement from 19 July 1995 in which he said he didn’t know anything about the thousands of Muslim men who had gone missing in Srebrenica.

The prosecutor showed a series of minutes taken at meetings held between 13 July and 22 August 1995 with UNPROFOR commanders. Indjic was present at those meetings, as were Ratko Mladic and several VRS officers who had been sentenced in the meantime for the genocide in Srebrenica, such as Radislav Krstic and Vujadin Popovic. Indjic insisted that the crimes in Srebrenica were not discussed at those meetings. According to Indjic, he didn’t have any ‘official’ information because Srebrenica ‘was not within my remit’. Indjic said that Mladic and he had ‘hundreds’ of conversations and he couldn’t remember all the details. When a judge asked him if he had any unofficial information, the witness said that he ‘might have heard something in the media’ but Srebrenica did not crop up as a topic in his conversations with other officers.

In the examination-in-chief, the witness claimed that the Serb side honored the ceasefires and the disarmament agreements. Indjic also said that the anti-sniping agreement was not implemented because the Muslim side sabotaged it. The witness was then confronted with the VRS and UN documents stating that Indjic personally obstructed the negotiations. Indjic replied that in the examination-in-chief he had just ‘expressed my opinion’.

Indjic also stuck to his claim that he didn’t know if the Serb side ever tried to evade the obligation to withdraw heavy artillery around Sarajevo in February 1994 by employing various ‘tricks’. The witness maintained that the Serbs didn’t resort to ‘ruses of war’ by surrendering only faulty artillery as a VRS document claimed. The document in which Manojlo Milovanovic clarified that the withdrawal of the weapons was just a ‘maneuver’ was just an attempt to calm the Serb fighters’ concerns and make it clear to them that it was not surrender, the witness explained. The prosecutor also showed Indjic the instructions to camouflage anti-aircraft guns around the airport issued by the VRS six months later. Indjic didn’t deny that ‘someone may have tried to hide the weapons’ but it ‘was not my job to investigate the cover-up’. Indjic’s task was to ensure that the weapons were grouped.

In the cross-examination, Indjic played down his role and his knowledge of the events. This prompted the prosecutor to list all the posts Indjic had during the war. Indjic assisted, advised and translated for General Mladic and other officers in the Main Staff; he was a member of a number of commissions and working groups; he participated in the negotiations on the total exclusion zone and anti-sniping agreements, on the withdrawal from the Igman and Bjelasnica mountains, on the restoration of public utilities in Sarajevo. Indjic was also authorized to negotiate and sign the prisoner exchange agreement in Zepa. Indjic thanked the prosecutor for reminding him of all those functions he was ‘proud of’. ‘I have forgotten all those positive things I have done for the Serb nation’, he said. The only thing Lieutenant Colonel Indjic regretted was not having an opportunity to take part in the effort to provide security (i.e., hide) for Ratko Mladic after the war.

Presiding judge Kwon wanted Indjic to explain what he meant when he told the prosecutor that ‘Muslims organized’ the massacre in Srebrenica. Indjic said he had heard on ‘the Muslim TV’ that in 1993 Izetbegovic told a delegation from Srebrenica that Americans had told him they needed ‘3,000 dead’ in order to justify a military intervention in Bosnia. Muslims provoked the Serb forces by launching constant attacks from the enclave, Indjic argued. The Serb troops responded to the provocation and killed thousands of able-bodied men. The judge asked the witness once again if it was his evidence that ‘Muslims organized the killing of Muslims’. The witness confirmed it, and then got even more specific: ‘the Serb troops were the direct perpetrators of the crimes’.

After Colonel Dragan Obrenovic and Major Momir Nikolic, who pleaded guilty before the Tribunal and were duly convicted of their involvement in the Srebrenica crimes, Lieutenant Colonel Milenko Indjic is the third senior officer of the Republika Srpska Army to confirm in court in The Hague that the Serb forces were ‘the direct perpetrators of the crimes’ in Srebrenica. This doesn’t benefit Radovan Karadzic’s defense: as the president of Republika Srpska, Karadzic was the commander-in-chief of all the Serb forces.