Radovan Karadzic’s expert witness Stevo Pasalic contested the prosecution’s demographic findings. According to Pasalic, they are overly ‘simplified’. They paint a ‘distorted picture of the past’ and are based on ‘erroneous statistical data’ about the movements of the population in BH

Stevo Pasalic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicStevo Pasalic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

The defense’s demographic expert Stevo Pasalic contested the findings of Ewa Tabeau, who analyzed in her expert report the ethnicity of the persons who were displaced, killed and missing in 20 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina covered by the indictment against Radovan Karadzic. According to Karadzic’s witness, Dr Tabeau’s conclusions were ‘simplified’. They paint a ‘distorted picture of the past’ and are based on ‘erroneous statistics’.

According to Karadzic’s expert, one of the flaws in Dr Tabeau’s report was her failure to analyze the migration of the population before and after the war. Karadzic’s expert claimed that BH entered the process of a demographic transition about 10 years before the war and this process would have run its course even had there been no war. The war ‘just sped up’ the process of ‘ethnic and territorial homogenization’, which resulted from a ‘natural inclination’ on the part of the people in BH to live in the territory where their ethnic community was in a majority.

According to the witness, the ethnic and territorial homogenization continued after the war. He used the fact that the number of people who moved into Republika Srpska increased, as did the number of people who left the Federation and the Brcko District to corroborate his claim. This led Pasalic to conclude that ‘all those who wanted to do so’ were able to return to Republika Srpska. This is not true of the Federation: Serbs are not returning to their erstwhile homes there because the conditions for economically sustainable life have not been met.

Both Karadzic and Pasalic accused Ewa Tabeau of ‘mixing apples and oranges’ because she compared data sets that were not equally valid: the 1991 census and the electoral rolls from 1997 and 1998. According to Pasalic, Dr Tabeau’s sources were not in line with the statistic standards. The only exception was the 1991 census. Although he used the census data as he wrote his expert report, the witness found them ‘suspect’ because the census report was printed in Croatia.

In the cross-examination, Pasalic denied that the migration of the Muslim and Croat population in BH was a consequence of ethnic cleansing. The prosecutor showed the witness a decision of the Crisis Staff in Sanski Most municipality categorizing prisoners into politicians, extremists and the undesirables. The witness claimed he saw the document for the first time and didn’t want to comment it. At the prosecutor’s insistence, he said that such things were done at a local level. Contrary to that, the witness was more than willing to agree with Karadzic’s argument that the people were moved from the combat zones for their own safety.

The prosecutor noted that in 2006, the High Commissioner ordered Pasalic’s removal from the list of candidates for the post of the education minister because of the pro-Serb contents he had introduced into the textbooks in Republika Srpska. The witness rejected the claim, saying that at the time he wasn’t a member of the SNSD and had no contacts with Milorad Dodik. The witness claimed he was not appointed minister for other reasons, but he did proudly confirm that President Dodik personally awarded him the Njegos Medal last year for services rendered in the sphere of education.