Borislav Bogunovic, insider witness of the prosecution at the trial of Goran Hadzic first claimed that the government of the Serb Autonomous Republic of Eastern Slavonia reached decisions ‘by consensus’ and that prime minister Goran Hadzic's opinion was ‘sought for every issue’, only to change tack midway through his testimony, claiming Hadzic’s government was ‘virtual’ and that ‘its opinion was never sought’, least of all by the JNA, the Territorial Defense commander Radovan Stojicic Badza and the Tigers’ leader Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan

Borislav Bogunovic, witness at he Goran Hadzic trialBorislav Bogunovic, witness at he Goran Hadzic trial

The prosecution rested its case at the trial of Goran Hadzic in October 2013, but today it was allowed to call one last witness, Borislav Bogunovic. He is an insider witness, and wasunavailable during the trial because he is serving a 20-year prison sentence in Serbia. As he explained, the sentence, which is reserved for the gravest crimes, has nothing to dowith the war in Croatia.

Bogunovic held various positions during the time relevant for the indictment against Goran Hadzic, between June 1991 and the end of 1993. Hadzic was the former prime minister of the Serb Autonomous Region of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem and later became the president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Bogunovic was the president of the Crisis Staff and the Territorial Defense in Negoslavci near Vukovar, in early 1991. In August 1991, Bogunovic was promoted to the post of the interior minister. In 1992, Bogunovic was appointed deputy prime minister. Bogunovic's final position was the deputy speaker of the RSK Assembly.

The statement Bogunovic gave to the OTP investigators in 2012 was admitted into evidence. The prosecutor had no additional questions for the witness. In the cross-examination, Bogunovic often appeared to be testifying in Goran Hadzic's defense, rather than for the prosecution as an insider witness who had knowledge about Goran Hadzics responsibility for the crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war in Eastern Slavonia.

The defense tried to use Bogunovics evidence to shift the blame for the crimes in Eastern Slavonia on Radovan Stojicic Badza, former commander of the Territorial Defense, and Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, commander of the Tigers unit. Stojicic was transferred to that area by the Serbian MUP. In Bogunovics words, Stojicic was a man difficult to work with. When `Stojicic was transferred to Eastern Slavonia he lost some of the importance he used to have in Belgrade. Stojicic did not have the authority to issue ordersbecause the government of Eastern Slavonia reached decisionsby consensus. That didnt suitStojicic.

Bogunovic dismissed the defenses suggestion that Badza assumed the command and control over the police stations in Dalj and Borovo Selo. Everyone was accountable to Goran Hadzic, Bogunovic said first. Without him we couldnt make any important moves, Bogunovic explained. But then, as the hearing continued, Bogunovic changed tack, claiming that Stojicic and Zeljko Raznatovic werent subordinated to the JNA. No one could issue instructions or orders to them, Bogunovic explained. Arkan did his own thing, he carried out actions as he saw fit and wasn't accountable to anyone, Bogunovic claimed.

Finally, Bogunovic described Hadzics government as virtual: the cabinet didnt make any decisions at alland couldnt implement anything. The army didnt accept the civilian government, and we couldn't do anything without their knowledge, Bogunovic explained, adding that Badza and Arkan managed to 'elbow out' the government so that it no longer had any say in anything.

Bogunovic's evidence will continue tomorrow.