The former war-time associates in the Bosnian Serb Presidency claim that they didn’t intend to vanquish their ‘neighbors’. They merely wanted to establish a ‘Serb constituent unit’ as part of BH which would follow the EU model: the border on the Drina river would be ‘permeable’, not ‘erased’

Momcilo Krajisnik, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialMomcilo Krajisnik, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

The cross-examination of the former Bosnian Serb Assembly speaker Momcilo Krajisnik was completed yesterday. Today he was re-examined by Radovan Karadzic. The witness and the accused once again tried to convince the Trial Chamber about their efforts to achieve peace and their opposition to the war and crimes. Their intent, Krajisnik and Karadzic argued, was not to vanquish their ‘neighbors’ but only to establish a Serb ‘constituent unit’ in the BH territory.

According to Karadzic and Krajisnik, the unit would have been part of a common state with Muslims and Croats. It was never their intent to ethnically cleanse the territory. Also, they never wanted to erase the border with Serbia on the Drina River but only to make it ‘permeable’ just like the borders in the European Union today.

In his re-examination, Karadzic revisited the topic of the involvement of the Bosnian Serb political leadership in military issues. In the cross-examination, the prosecutor showed an intercepted conversation from June 1995 in which Momcilo Krajisnik asks Milorad Motika, manager of the Pretis factory, to deliver some artillery ammunition needed for ‘retaliation’ after a BH Army attack on the Serb positions. In the conversation Krajisnik and Motika agreed that the artillery should retaliate by firing ‘directly on the town’. Krajisnik today said that he advocated attacks on the enemy army and that ‘retaliation’ was ‘poorly chosen word’.

In a bid to prove that the Pale leadership was extremist, the prosecutor yesterday showed an excerpt from Ratko Mladic’s diary written in May 1995. Mladic recounts how Slobodan Milosevic spoke insultingly about Krajisnik and Karadzic because of their decision to seize Orasje, a municipality with a Croatian majority. Milosevic said Krajisnik was ‘normal but stupid’ and Karadzic ‘abnormal’. The witness replied that he doubted Milosevic had said that. In Krajisnik’s view, ‘Mladic embellished it a bit’.

Momcilo Krajisnik completed his third testimony before the Tribunal after five working days. Krajisnik testified for the first time in 2006 in his own defense. After the testimony, Krajisnik returned from the witness stand to the dock. After his second testimony in the defense of Vujadin Popovic, the Drina Corps security officer, Krajisnik was taken back to the detention unit in The Hague. Krajisnik is now going home: he had served two thirds of his 20-year sentence and was granted early release. Krajisnik was convicted of the gravest crimes against non-Serb civilians in BH. Thanks to the decision of Theodor Meron, the Tribunal’s President, Krajisnik spent only four years in a real prison, in the UK. The time Krajisnik had spent in the Detention unit in The Hague was credited to his sentence.