According to the evidence of Dragan Kapetina, in July 1995 Radovan Karadzic asked ‘what idiots ordered the attack on Srebrenica’. Karadzic was ‘pulling his hair’ and kicking furniture, the witness recounted. The prosecutor showed documents indicating that in actual fact, none else but the president of Republika Srpska had ordered the attack

Dragan Kapetina, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicDragan Kapetina, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

With the evidence of former chief inspector in the BH Defense Ministry Dragan Kapetina, the accused Radovan Karadzic tried to prove that the instructions the Serbian Democratic Party Main Board issued to the local boards in December 1991 (known as Variant A and B) were in line with the Constitution and laws. The document elaborated the plan for the takeover of the municipalities claimed by the Bosnian Serbs. The prosecution’s case is that the documents ushered in the crimes and ethnic cleansing of large parts of BH.

Kapetina said that all ‘the socio-political organizations’ such as the local communes, municipalities and republics in the former Yugoslavia had an obligation to design their emergency defense plans. When a multi-party system was introduced, political parties could draft such a plan, and this is what the SDS did when it issued Variant A and B documents. In fact, it had to produce this document, the witness explained, or face fines.

In the cross-examination, prosecutor Edgerton argued that the controversial document envisaged the creation of ‘parallel’ Serb municipalities and police bodies. Prosecutor Edgerton asked which constitutional and legal provisions could be the basis for that. Kapetina first said that it was not an order: such measures and tasks were put on ‘the menu’ as possible solutions if the situation got worse. The witness then added that it was a response to ‘the illegal and unconstitutional’ outvoting of Serb deputies in the BH parliament.

When the war began, the witness moved to the Bosnian Serb Defense Ministry and he rose through the ranks to the post of secretary. He was still in that post in July 1995, when the attack on Srebrenica and Zepa began. In his statement to the defense, the witness said that the president called him to his office on Pale between 5 and 10 July 1995 and complained that he could not communicate with the VRS Main Staff and the defense minister. As Karadzic told the witness, he didn’t know what was going on in Srebrenica. When the witness told him that he himself didn’t know much, Karadzic started ‘pulling out at his hair, kicking furniture and throwing chairs’. ‘Who needs this, who ordered the attack on the enclaves, who are those idiots’, Karadzic said according to the witness.

In the cross-examination, the witness admitted that Karadzic didn’t in fact pull his hair: he merely smoothed it with his hand; he didn’t kick furniture either, but happened to trip over it as he walked up and down in agitation. The prosecutor showed several documents drafted from 6 to 9 July 1995 which show that the accused received the information from the Main Staff that the army had entered Srebrenica, with Karadzic’s previous approval. Karadzic would have been quite ill-advised to call those who had ordered the attack ‘idiots’. Kapetina replied that he might have met the president on 4 or 5 July 1995 before the reports were sent, but the prosecutor noted that the attack on Srebrenica did not begin before the morning of 6 July 1995, and it consequently couldn’t have been discussed earlier.

Finally, the prosecutor put it to the witness that there had been no pulling of hair, kicking of furniture or indeed no meeting between Kapetina and Karadzic. There is no evidence about it in the President’s secretaries’ logs where every meeting Karadzic had was registered. The witness replied that it was an ‘ad hoc’ meeting and was therefore not registered in the logbook. As the hearing drew to a close, Karadzic called his namesake, Radovan M. Karadzic, a professor from Capljina, to testify.