Former SDS official Trifko Komad challenged the authenticity of the intercepts in which Karadzic swears and threatens the disobedient party members. As Komad argued, he knew the accused as ‘a superior intellectual and a moral man’ who didn’t use ‘obscenities’. When the witness was shown a video recording of Karadzic swearing before cameras, Komad claimed it was meant as a ‘joke’. Milovan Bjelica, current mayor of Sokolac, began his evidence later today

Trifko Komad, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicTrifko Komad, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

Former official of the Serbian Democratic Party Trifko Komad tried in his statement to Radovan Karadzic’s defense team to convince the judges that the party complied with the highest democratic standards. The accused was the party president but not its absolute ruler, Komad claimed. The witness in particular emphasized Karadzic’s purported inability to shape the actions of the municipal party boards and crisis staffs. Thus, Komad offered Karadzic an amnesty for the crimes committed during the war in the Serb-controlled territories in BH.

In the cross-examination, prosecutor Tieger showed several intercepted conversations which indicate that Karadzic as an absolute ruler threatened the disobedient party officials with expulsion from the party, calling them ‘fools’ and ‘idiots’ and unleashing a stream of obscenities at them. In a bid to help his former boss, Komad said he couldn’t believe that the accused used such ‘obscenities’. He was unable to see how the intercepts could have anything in common with a person he knew as ‘a superior intellectual and a moral man’.

Proving that an intellectual of Karadzic’s caliber could indeed be vulgar, the prosecutor played a video recording from 1991 showing Karadzic say, ‘you can’t fuck Yugoslavia without Bosnia losing its cherry’. The witness agreed that the words weren’t appropriate for a public appearance. As he said, Karadzic ‘said it more as a joke, he didn’t really mean it’. In the re-examination, the accused asked the witness to recall which journalist ‘provoked me to make the indecent joke’. Komad replied that it was Smiljko Sagolj, a man of ‘Croatian background notorious for causing incidents’.

Finally, as proof that the party was run as a tight ship, the prosecutor showed a transcript of Karadzic’s speech to the SDS municipality presidents from November 1991. In the speech Karadzic asked them to appoint men loyal to the party to key posts in the socially owned companies and the media and to get ready to take over the public enterprises. The witness at first replied that he was not at the meeting and that he had never heard of it before. This prompted the prosecutor to highlight the section in the transcript where Karadzic says, ‘Trifko, can I get some water, have the kid fetch me some’, in the middle of his speech. The witness said he was not the only Trifko in the world, but allowed the possibility that he had indeed been asked to bring water to Karadzic.

In the same speech the accused told the BH president Alija Izetbegovic that he ‘will not allow the demographic picture to change naturally or artificially’ in the areas with a Serb majority. Karadzic also said that ‘any foundations’ laid by the Muslims in those areas ‘will be blown up’. Again, the witness was able to find justification for what his president had said: Karadzic was probably angry because of the violence directed at the Serbs.

After Trifko Komad completed his evidence, the defense called the current president of Sokolac municipality, Milovan Cicko Bjelica. Bjelica claimed that during the war the SDS did everything to maintain law and order in the municipality. An agreement was reached to move the Muslims from Sokolac to Olovo, and to transfer the Serbs from Olovo to Sokolac, the witness recounted. In a bid to portray the process as little less than idyllic, the defense played a recording showing Muslims from Sokolac saying tearful goodbyes to their Serb neighbors. In the footage, the Muslims said that nobody had ever threatened them. However, the recording was made after the Dayton agreement was signed, which stipulated that this particular Muslim village was to become part of the Serb entity.

The indictment against Karadzic alleges that ‘law and order’ in Sokolac was very much under threat because of the existence of the two detention facilities in local primary schools that Bjelica denied any knowledge of. The witness admitted that he had heard about two mass murders in the municipality alleged in the indictment but denied that the municipal authorities were responsible for those incidents. The Sokolac mayor will continue his testimony tomorrow.

Trifko Komad, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic
Milovan Bjelica, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic