KARADZIC'S WITNESS BLAMES MILITARY FOR CRIMES IN FOCA PRISON
Mitar Rasevic, former guards commander in the Penal and Correctional Facility (KP Dom) in Foca testified in Karadzic's defense, insisting he had been "a consummate professional" all his life. He claimed he had never seen any evidence of violence or blood on the detainees' bodies and the walls in the KP Dom. He didn't notice the disappearance of over 200 detainees, and blamed the military for all the bad things that happened to the prisoners
Mitar Rasevic, wartime guards commander in the Penal and Correctional Facility (KP Dom) in Foca, testified at Radovan Karadzic's trial. The Tribunal referred his case to the BH courts in 2006, and he was sentenced to seven years in prison for the crimes against the civilian detainees. Karadzic nevertheless considers him a credible witness and called him in a bid to prove that both the Tribunal and the BH Court failed to establish correctly the events in the KP Dom in Foca in 1992 and 1993.
In his statement to the defense, Rasevic said that during the war the KP Dom was under the military jurisdiction. The soldiers would come from time to time with lists and take prisoners away. He merely read out the names on the lists. He claimed he was unaware of the beatings the detainees suffered during the interrogations. He was adamant he had "never" seen any evidence of violence or blood on the detainees' bodies or on the KP Dom walls. He did not notice the disappearance of over 200 detainees. He is unaware that any of the prisoners were killed in the KP Dom. He recalls only deaths of natural causes and some suicides.
Prosecutor Uertz Retzlaff countered his claims by quotes from the BH Court judgment which found that "flagrant and grave" breaches of the non-Serb prisoners' fundamental rights were committed in the Foca KP Dom. The same judgment commuted the initial sentence to eight and a half years, to seven years because of his "sincere remorse". Asked if he still felt remorse, Rasevic said he had been "a consummate professional" all his life; he feels "a sincere regret" over the treatment of the prisoners, but he only learned about their suffering at a much later stage.
Rasevic was adamant that the military decided the prisoners' fate. The prosecutor argued that the orders that pertained to the prisoners came from a very high level. One of the orders to release a few prisoners refers to a decision issued by Mladic's Main Staff. Karadzic, who was the supreme commander of the armed forces, was Mladic's immediate superior in the chain of command.
Prosecutor Uertz Retzlaff provided some examples that contradict the witness's claims in the statement he gave to the defense, showing that Rasevic had witnessed several incidents in which prisoners in the Foca KP Dom were severely beaten and injured. Rasevic confirmed it, boasting at one point that he had saved one of the "poor wretches" who had been beaten and stabbed by 12 military policemen. The MPs thought their victim was close to a Muslim leader in the region.
As the hearing drew to a close, Radovan Karadzic called Gojko Klickovic, who has been a member of the SDS since its establishment. He was the president of the Serb municipality of Bosanska Krupa during the war. After the war, he was appointed the prime minister of Republika Srpska. His evidence will continue Wednesday morning.
- Case : Karadzic
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