Vasvija Vidovic, attorney from Sarajevo, warned Radovan Karadzic that Naser Oric’s testimony could be ‘very harmful’ and ‘seriously damage’ his defense. The Trial Chamber issued safe conduct orders for Karadzic’s defense witnesses Edin Garaplija and Aleksandar Vasiljevic

Naser Oric i Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomNaser Oric i Radovan Karadzic in the courtroom

The attorney representing the former commander of the Srebrenica armed forces Naser Oric replied to Karadzic’s letter of 14 January 2013. In his letter Karadzic urged her client to voluntarily appear as a defense witness in The Hague. If not, Karadzic indicated, he would ask the Trial Chamber to issue a subpoena compelling him to give evidence.

In a brief reply, Vasvija Vidovic, a lawyer from Sarajevo, stressed that it was not clear why Karadzic had asked Oric to appear in The Hague on 7 February 2013, without knowing what her client would say about the topics that Karadzic was interested in.

Vidovic warned Karadzic to bear in mind that Oric’s testimony might be ‘very harmful’ and could ‘seriously damage’ his defense. If Oric appeared before the court, the Tribunal’s rules will not allow Karadzic to seek to "impeach" Oric, Karadzic "will not be allowed to cross-examine him and to put leading question’, Vidovic recalled. Karadzic would have to accept everything Oric said before the judges even if his evidence were ‘highly prejudicial’ for Karadzic’s defense. Vidovic therefore urged Karadzic to further substantiate his request. As soon as she received the additional clarifications, she would consult her client and inform the Tribunal of his position, Vidovic said.

The Trial Chamber granted Karadzic’s motions in which he had sought safe conduct orders for witnesses Edin Garaplija and Aleksandar Vasiljevic. The accused intends to call the witnesses in February 2013. Garaplija has been banned from the Schengen states while Vasiljevic has been indicted for war crimes in Croatia, and has asked for a guarantee that he wouldn’t be arrested if he came to The Hague to testify.

According to Karadzic’s advance notice, Garaplija is expected to testify about the murder of a French UNPROFOR soldier, the detonation of an explosive device in Sefer Halilovic’s house and the attempts to blame those crimes on the Serb side. Vasiljevic will testify about the preparations for the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time when he was head of the counter-intelligence directorate in the Federal Secretariat of National Defense.