As General John Wilson testified today, Goran Hadzic ‘when he wanted, could ensure’ the implementation of various measures in the territory under his control. In his conversations with the international representatives, Hadzic denied the crimes, denied any knowledge of any crimes, claimed that Croats’ provocations were to blame, or simply blamed his loose-cannon subordinates

John Wilson, witness at the Goran Hadzic trialJohn Wilson, witness at the Goran Hadzic trial

After the testimony of a protected witness which was taken in closed session, the trial of the former president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina Goran Hadzic continued with the evidence of retired Australian general John Wilson. Wilson came to the former Yugoslavia in January 1992. From March 1992, Wilson was the head of the military observers in the UN peace-keeping force.

In his testimony at the Hadzic trial, Wilson said that he had attended a number of meetings and talks at the highest level the with political and military representatives of the warring sides. Slobodan Milosevic denied any responsibility for the crimes committed in Croatia, telling the peace-keepers to speak to the local authorities. Milosevic claimed that the ‘elements that got out of hand, gangsters who committed crimes for personal reasons’ or responded to ‘Croat provocations’ were to blame for those crimes.

Wilson and other international representatives discussed the crimes against the non-Serbs in the Serb-controlled areas with the key Serb political leaders in Croatia, including Goran Hadzic, who was the president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina at the time. On various occasions Hadzic provided different answers to the allegations about the crimes, but his rhetoric was nevertheless similar to that of Milosevic and other Serb political leaders, the witness recounted. Hadzic would deny that the crimes had happened or that he knew anything about them, using the Croat provocations as an excuse or blaming loose-cannon subordinates.

As the witness said, Hadzic claimed that Serbs and Croats couldn’t live together. Hadzic never admitted that a campaign of ethnic cleansing and intimidation had ever been implemented in the territory under his control. Hadzic and his organization allowed such activities, the witness said, stressing that when the former RSK president ‘wanted, he could ensure the implementation of various measures in the area under his control’

Wilson also noted that Hadzic was Milosevic’s man in Krajina. Unlike his predecessor Milan Babic, President Hadzic supported the Vance plan and the deployment of UN peace-keepers in Sector East, Wilson said.

General Wilson continues his evidence tomorrow.