AWARDS HANDED TO WRONG PEOPLE
Former police inspector Dragomir Andan described his role in the showdown with the Serb paramilitary units in Brcko, Bijeljina and Zvornik. The prosecutor noted that his successful handling of the paramilitaries resulted in Andan’s dismissal. At the same time, the accused Karadzic handed medals to the very men the witness had had to deal with, the prosecutor noted. Andan complained that Milan Lukic had issued death threats against him from the Detention Unit in The Hague
When the situation in Brcko, Bijeljina and Zvornik got out of hand because of the presence of the paramilitaries, the authorities in Pale decided in late May 1992 to dispatch several experienced police officers to establish order in those municipalities with the support of the special police. The operation was headed by Milorad Davidovic, who testified as a prosecution witness in the case against Radovan Karadzic, and Dragomir Andan, who appeared today as Karadzic’s defense witness. The transcript of Andan’s testimony in the defense of former Bosnian Serb police officials Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin was admitted into evidence.
Davidovic and Andan were supposed to deal with the Red Berets in Brcko, with the volunteers led by Ljubisa Savic Mauzer and Zeljko Raznatnovic Arkan in Bijeljina, and the Yellow Wasps in Zvornik. The problem was that the units ‘looted and violated human rights’, first those of Muslims and Croats, and then, once they had nothing else to take, the units turned to Serbs and started looting them, Andan explained.
Prosecutor Uertz-Retzlaff put it to Andan in the cross-examination that the showdown with the paramilitary units began only when they started targeting the Serbs and when some officials from Pale were attacked. The prosecutor recalled that the operation in Zvornik was launched just a couple of days after the Yellow Wasps stopped the information minister Velibor Ostojic in Karakaj. Ostojic was abused and forced to eat grass. Also, the prosecutor noted the police operation focused on looting, while more serious crimes such as murder, abuse and rape were not dealt with. Andan replied that looting was the biggest problem. He claimed that other crimes were also investigated, albeit rarely.
Asked why practically none of the persons who had been arrested faced trial, the witness said that he was a ‘just a regular cop’: his job was to arrest the perpetrators and hand them over to the prosecution. He had nothing to do with what happened to them after that, Andan said.
Karadzic’s defense contends that in the spring 1992, when the gravest crimes against the non-Serbs in BH were committed, the police and the local authorities, and indeed the Pale leadership, didn’t wield any power in the municipalities such as Brcko, Bijeljina and Zvornik. In the examination-in chief, Andan confirmed this argument, but then agreed with the prosecutor that the paramilitaries had close ties with the local structures. For example, Mauzer, who was the commander of the Territorial Defense, was part of the authorities in Bijeljina. The Yellow Wasps in Zvornik were ‘in collusion’ with the commanders of the local territorial defense and the police.
Despite the successful handling of the paramilitary units problem, (or perhaps, as the prosecution claims, because of that), in late August 1992 Andan was dismissed from the police. He transferred to the military intelligence directorate. As the prosecutor noted, instead of getting a promotion, the witness got the sack. At the same time, Karadzic gave medals and awards to the same person Andan had had to deal with, like Mauzer and Arkan. Andan replied that he had been dismissed because of his personal conflict with the deputy interior minister Tomislav Kovac.
Apparently, some paramilitaries still bear Andan a grudge, because he still receives threats, as he said today. At the end of his testimony, Andan complained that Milan Lukic, who has been convicted by the Tribunal, was calling him on his home number from the UN Detention Unit, threatening him and his family. Yesterday, when Andan visited the Detention Unit to meet with Karadzic, Lukic threatened to kill his closest relatives. Andan urged the Trial Chamber to ban Lukic from calling him on the phone in the future. Presiding judge Kwon told Andan that his request would be considered with ‘great concern’.
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