Goran Hadzic’s defense has suggested that members of Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan’s Serbian Volunteer Guard were under the command and control of the JNA. According to the defense, they were part of the Novi Sad Corps headed by Andrija Biorcevic. In General Vasiljevic’s view, Biorcevic was a ‘drunken fool’, who tried to present Arkan’s men as a legal JNA unit at any cost, although this was not the case at all

Aleksandar Vasiljevic, witness at the Goran Hadzic trialAleksandar Vasiljevic, witness at the Goran Hadzic trial

As the cross-examination of the former chief of the JNA Security Administration General Aleksandar Vasiljevic continued, Goran Hadzic’s defense counsel tried to prove that Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan was under the command and control of the JNA. Hadzic, as the former prime minister of the Serb Autonomous Region of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, is charged with the crimes Arkan’s men had committed in Eastern Slavonia.

According to the defense counsel, several documents he showed in court indicate that Arkan was subordinated to the JNA. According to the first document, the chief of the Security Administration Marko Negovanovic, Vasiljevic’s immediate superior, ordered the appointment of Arkan as the commander of the special unit. Vasiljevic claimed the document was a forgery because it wasn’t properly formatted, bore no stamp and was not dated. The witness was just as critical of the other document, in which the Chief of the General Staff orders ‘Colonel Raznatovic’ to break through the Bijeljina-Visegrad line.

The defense went on to present two documents which purportedly show that Arkan’s Guard and other volunteer units were part of the 12th Novi Sad Corps of the former JNA, under the command of Andrija Biorcevic. Vasiljevic claimed that Biorcevic was trying to present Arkan’s men as a ‘regular’ JNA unit. According to Vasiljevic, Biorcevic was a ‘drunken fool’ who was an embarrassment to himself and the JNA. If Arkan had really been part of the JNA, the members of his units would end up being charged for the crimes they had committed; as it was, those crimes were only reported, Vasiljevic explained. As he emphasized, Arkan ‘had his base in Erdut, where he conducted his training and carried out the executions’.

Vasiljevic also contradicted General Zivota Panic, the commander of the 1st Military District, when he said that the volunteer units, including Arkan’s and Seselj’s men, were ‘trained for combat in Belgrade and fought side by side with our personnel’. According to the witness, the fact that the units fought side by side with the JNA when they were under the JNA command is not a problem. The problem was that the JNA couldn’t expel them when it became necessary to do so.

General Vasiljevic continues his evidence tomorrow.