General Bogdan Subotic claims that Karadzic was tricked into signing Directive 7 in Mladic’s Main Staff. The document ordered the troops to launch attacks on civilians in Srebrenica and Zepa in 1995. Karadzic had already been tricked into decorating the chief of the Prijedor police Simo Drljaca at the recommendation of the military and police officials after the Koricanske Stijene massacre

Bogdan Subotic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicBogdan Subotic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

Radovan Karadzic’s defense witnesses are trying to prove that in March 1995 Karadzic was tricked when he was given Directive 7 to sign. A few months later, attacks were launched on the protected zones of Srebrenica and Zepa in line with the directive. The document bearing the supreme commander’s signature directed the troops to create conditions of ‘total insecurity with no hope of further survival of life for the inhabitants’ of the enclave.

On the second day of his evidence in Radovan Karadzic’s defense, his former advisor and defense minister in the Bosnian Serb government Bogdan Subotic agreed with prosecutor Tieger’s suggestion that it was ‘obviously an unlawful order’. The witness however doubted that Karadzic had even read the directive before signing it. Subotic was sure that Karadzic ‘would never knowingly sign’ something like that. The witness couldn’t rule out the possibility that the relevant page was later added to the document. Karadzic thus signed one document while Mladic and his officers later produced another document altogether: the new document also bore Karadzic’s signature.

General Subotic also contended that the news about the executions of the people from Srebrenica never reached the president’s office. This prompted the prosecutor to show a series of reports from the foreign press in July 1995. The reports refer to allegations about the executions of thousands of captured Muslim men and boys. The witness was asked if the foreign press really knew more than the supreme commander who had issued the directive to launch the Srebrenica operation. ‘I claim that it was all lies’, the witness replied self-assuredly, adding that he would have believed the reports in the foreign media only if those reporters had visited the area with their Serb colleagues and written their reports in Serbian and English. However, the witness did say he believed that the letters sent by the high-ranking UN officials in which they demanded urgent investigation of the massacres did get through to Karadzic.

As the cross-examination continued, the witness described his role in the investigation of the murder of some 200 people from Prijedor in August 1992 on Mount Vlasic, in an area known as Koricanske Stijene. As Subotic recounted, Karadzic sent him there to establish what had happened. At a meeting with the military and police officials in Banja Luka, Subotic learned that three police officers were involved in the massacre. Subotic didn’t know how the investigation continued from that point on. The prosecutor put it to the witness that it was no ‘big mystery’. It was ‘crystal clear’ that a large police contingent escorted a convoy of prisoners. The police officers took part in the massacre but the killers were able to walk around free because no one was actively looking for them, the prosecutor suggested. Finally, the prosecutor put it to the witness that Karadzic promoted and decorated the chief of the Prijedor police Simo Drljaca instead of arresting him. Subotic explained that the police heads and military commanders made recommendations for decorations and citations. Those people could trick ‘presidents and kings’.

In May 1993 Subotic traveled through Bosnian Krajina as the chief military inspector to investigate the allegations of about 5,000 bodies buried in the Tomasica mine. When he got there, Simo Drljaca reassured him, saying that the tally of bodies buried there did not reach 5,000; only the bodies of about 500 Muslims who had been killed fighting the Serb police and the Territorial Defense in the spring of 1993 were buried there. Subotic couldn’t understand why they were not buried in a cemetery but assumed that it was impossible to do so.