Radovan Karadzic has filed a motion asking the Trial Chamber to issue a guarantee to the former Trebinje mayor Bozidar Vucurevic that he wouldn’t be arrested on the indictment that has been issued against him in Croatia for the shelling of Dubrovnik, but would be allowed to travel to The Hague and back to give evidence as a defense witness

Bozidar VucurevicBozidar Vucurevic

As his defense case continues, the accused, who used to be a fugitive from justice, now counts on another fugitive to assist him: the wartime president of the Trebinje municipality, Bozidar Vucurevic. Karadzic has asked Judge Kwon’s Trial Chamber to grant his witness safe conduct, the Tribunal’s guarantee that during his trip to The Hague and back and his stay in Holland Vucurevic ‘will not be arrested, detained, prosecuted or subjected to any other restriction’.

In 2008, Vucurevic was indicted in Croatia for his involvement in the shelling of Dubrovnik. Three years later, the Serbian police arrested Vucurevic at a border crossing between Serbia and BH. Vucurevic was released soon afterwards pending a decision on the extradition request filed by Croatia. He was allowed to cross the border into BH and has been in hiding since.

Karadzic contends that the evidence of the former mayor of Trebinje, one of the founders of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and a long-term member of its Main Board, would help him prove the defense case. Primarily, Karadzic claims Vucurevic could help him contest the allegations in the indictment about the ethnic cleansing of part of BH that were claimed by Serbs. The accused also expects Vucurevic to say that the SDS ‘never advocated a policy designed to expel Muslims and Croats’ and that during the war ‘no steps were taken’ in that direction in Trebinje.

In order for Karadzic to get his wish and examine Vucurevic as a witness, the Trial Chamber will have to grant the motion and the witness himself will have to agree to emerge from his underground existence and respond to the invitation. The Tribunal’s rules allow the Trial Chamber to grant ‘safe conduct’ to witnesses whose evidence is relevant for the case. If the plan of the accused works out, the former Trebinje mayor will testify on 25 March 2013.

Radovan Karadzic’s trial for genocide and other crimes in BH continues tomorrow with the evidence of a new defense witness.