MUSLIMS AND SERBS: ‘BROTHERS BY BLOOD, ENEMIES BY FAITH’
In his evidence at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, Miladin Nedic said, ‘Muslims are brothers to the Serbs by blood and sworn enemies by faith’. Nedic is the former member of the SDS Main Board
According to the prosecution, at the 17th Session of the RS Assembly held from 24 to 26 July 1993, Miladin Nedic held a speech that proved Serbs had been planning the genocide against Muslims in BH. This prompted Radovan Karadzic to call Nedic to The Hague to deny the allegation. The witness did so, claiming in his written statement to the defense that his speech at the Assembly was nothing but ‘a message of peace’ and ‘a call for a peaceful resolution’ of the war in BH.
Prosecutor Katrina Gustafson noted that at the 17th Assembly session Nedic said that ‘Muslims have been planted on us as a people whose executioners we are to be’. In the cross-examination Nedic explained that he wanted to say that some European powers wanted to use Serbs to get rid of Muslims because they didn’t want to have an Islamic state in the heart of Europe.
The prosecutor put it to Nedic that the goal of the Bosnian Serb leadership was to create a Serb state in which there would be a very small percentage of Muslims and Croats. According to the prosecution, Karadzic himself suggested this in his address to the deputies when he said that a ‘state dominated by non-Serbs cannot extend to include any territory with a Serb population’.Karadzic also said that ‘there shouldn’t be too many non-Serbs in the Serb state’. Nedic confirmed that this had been the Serbs’ goal but it was to be achieved by negotiations and not through war and violence.
In fact, Nedic was an advocate of the methods he now repudiated, the prosecutor suggested. According to her, Nedic insisted at the meetings with Karadzic and other Serb leaders that there should not be any negotiations with Muslims. Nedic replied that he never said or thought anything of the sort, prompting the prosecutor to remind him of another of his speeches, where he said that Muslims were ‘an Islamic religious group of a Turkish orientation and of a south Slavic origin’. Consequently, Nedic insisted in his speech, they ‘are not a nation but a religious sect that doesn’t deserve a place at the negotiating table’.
Nedic replied that his position was that Serbs shouldn’t negotiate with Muslims as a nation but as a religious group. ‘To this day, I believe that Muslims in Bosnia are the Serbs’ brothers by blood and at the same time their sworn enemies by faith’. Muslims wanted a sovereign Bosnia in which he would have been ‘subjected to Sharia law’. ‘I lived 500 years under the Sharia law and I know what it is like’, Nedic said. In his opinion, Radovan Karadzic deserved a Nobel Prize for peace and humanitarianism.
‘I never advocated the extermination of the Muslim people. I only criticize Muslims as a religious group or a nation, whatever you want to call them, for forcing me to shoot at them too. And this is the hardest thing to bear’, Nedic said at the end of his testimony, and burst into tears.
- Case : Karadzic
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