WHAT KARADZIC’S WITNESSES DIDN’T SEE
Radovan Karadzic examined Momcilo Ceklic, his 101st witness. Ceklic testified about the events in Ilidza municipality. Radovan Karadzic also called Branimir and Aleksandar Tesic to the witness stand. The witnesses - brothers ‘with the same father and mother’ - spent the war in the Bratunac police and the Secretariat for National Defense. In their statements, Branimir and Aleksandar Tesic stated what that they didn’t see in Bratunac in July 1995, after the fall of Srebrenica
With the evidence of Momcilo Ceklic, former secretary and member of the Crisis Staff in Ilidza municipality, Radovan Karadzic began examining the next set of the ‘hundreds of witnesses’ he intends to call. Karadzic has so far used a bit more than 100 hours, a third of the time the Trial Chamber allotted to Karadzic for his defense case, in which he will try to refute the allegations in the indictment charging him with genocide and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In his statement to the defense, Ceklic said that the Crisis Staff was set up on the instructions of the government of the Serb Republic of BH. The purpose of the Crisis Staff was not to eliminate the other ethnic groups in an ‘inhumane way’. Ceklic also claimed that the SDS policy did not seek to permanently remove the Bosnian Muslims and Croats. The party members didn’t ‘advocate genocide, persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts’, the witness said.
In his answers to the prosecutor, the witness confirmed that the assembly of the Serb municipality of Ilidza was established in line with the SDS instructions, known as Variant A and B. The witness claimed that the instructions were ‘unfortunately not implemented fully’. Ceklic also claimed that Karadzic was a ‘democrat’ who made decisions with the party’s Main Board, not on his own. Serbs prepared ‘for the defense, not for the war’ and the Serb police didn’t take any repressive measures against the Muslim detainees to force them to leave Ilidza, the witness explained. According to Ceklic, the people were not expelled: they ‘left of their own free will’, ‘in fear for their safety’ and ‘as was the usual practice’, they went to the territory with a Muslim majority.
After Ceklic completed his evidence, Karadzic called Branimir Tesic and Aleksandar Tesic, who described themselves as brothers ‘with the same father and mother’. During the war, Branimir Tesic was deputy police commander in Bratunac and Aleksandar Tesic was the secretary in the municipal Secretariat for National Defense. In their statements to the defense, the Tesic brothers described the events in the Bratunac area in 1992. Both witnesses denied that, at the time, they knew about the killings in that area in July 1995. The prosecutor nevertheless focused on the events of July 1995 in his cross-examination.
Tesic denied that the civilian police were guarding the buses with the detainees that had been brought to Bratunac and put in the Vuk Karadzic school. Since the police were out in the field, the military police secured the buses, Tesic claimed. The witness also said that he heard about the killings in the Vuk Karadzic school and in the warehouse in Kravica at a later stage, when the ‘facilities’ where the prisoners were kept ‘were emptied’.
The prosecutor insisted that only the war crimes against Serbs were investigated, but according to Tesic, this information ‘was not available’ to him because he ‘had no jurisdiction over the criminal investigation department and the Public Security Station’.
In the statement to the defense, Aleksandar Tesic said that on 13 and 14 July 1995 he saw several buses in Bratunac. The Muslims were put on the buses but Tesic didn’t see any soldiers abuse or kill anyone. Tesic heard about the killings in the Vuk Karadzic primary school some days later.
In the cross-examination, Aleksandar Tesic confirmed that on 12 July 1995 he went to Potocari, wherehe saw more than 20,000 persons. Most of them were women and children. As he described the scene, Tesic said that he saw ‘suffering and a humanitarian disaster’. The cross-examination continues tomorrow.
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