Former BH State Security Service employee Nedjo Vlaski claims that the Bosnian Serbs were ‘humiliated and outvoted’ by Muslim and Croat politicians. As a consequence, they established their separate institutions in Bosnia. On the other hand, the prosecutor noted that the Bosnian Serb leadership had devised a plan to conquer and ethnically cleanse large parts of the BH territory, no matter what happened

Nedjo Vlaski, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialNedjo Vlaski, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

In his statement to Ratko Mladics defense, former employee of the BH State Security Service Nedjo Vlaski described the events that, in his view, led to the war. Vlaski accused the Bosnian Muslim and Croat politicians for starting the war: they humiliated and outvotedSerbs in government institutions. As a consequence, the Serb leadership was forced to establish its own institutions and to secede from the rest of BH.

According to Vlaski, before the war the BH State Security monitored the activities of the Young Muslims organization; it was the Service's task to monitor all forms of nationalism. Alija Izetbegovic, who would later become the BH president, was a member of the organization. The witness explained that members of the Young Muslims were religious extremists, who received long prison sentences in a Yugoslav court.

When he got out of the prison, Izetbegovic became a Muslim political leader, Vlaski recounted. Izetbegovic established control over almost all segments of the police force, and in Sarajevo there was a symbiosisof non-Serb politicians and criminals. That, in Vlaskis opinion, resulted in armed attacks on Serbs in the city. The first to be killed was Nikola Gradovic, a Serb who was a guest at a wedding. Police officer Pera Petrovic was the next victim. Thus the hunt on Serbsbegan, Vlaski said, adding that the Serb leadership organized various bodies to defend Serbs.

In the cross-examination, prosecutor Weber presented evidence that, as he alleged, showed that even before the war the Bosnian Serb leadership had devised a plan to set up their own authorities, to capture the BH territory they claimed their own, and to ethnically cleanse it. The prosecutor showed several intercepted conversations from September 1991. In the conversations Radovan Karadzic said that the Serbs would organize their own government bodies and become theopposition. After that the prosecutor showed minutes from a meeting of the Serb police staff in February 1992. Those present included Momcilo Mandic, Mico Stanisic, Stojan Zupljanin and the witness. Steps necessary to establish the Bosnian Serb MUP were discussed at the meeting.

Finally, the prosecutor presented a video recorded 30 March 1992, showing a review of the newly established police force of the Serb republic in BH. The footage also contains the speech delivered by Mico Stanisic, the first Bosnian Serb police minister. Stanisic said that the Serbian MUP had already been established and that it would operate in line with the Serb constitution and the law on internal affairs. This legislation was adopted a month before. Vlaski didnt deny that the new bodies were formed, but explained that it was a necessary step because the Serbs had to defend themselves against the attacks by the two other ethnic groups.

Before the war began, Vlaski accidentally shot himself with a pistol. He spent the first few months of the conflict in his native Trnovo recovering from the wound. The prosecutor noted that in Trnovo Vlaski worked in the local authorities. At the meetings, the local authorities planned attacks on Muslim villages, the prosecutor alleged. According to a State Security Service report, at a meeting in late May 1992, the local leaders made the plan for the attack on several villages; the goal was to kill and expel the Muslim population and thus create an ethnically clean Serb territory. The witness replied that it was impossible to do such a thing. Only 30 per cent of the population in the Trnovo region were ethnic Serbs. As a minority, Serbs preferred a peaceful solution to launching an attack on the 70 per cent Muslim majority, Vlaski explained.

Before and during the war the witness was Radovan Karadzic's bodyguard. In the second half of 1992, the witness lived in Belgrade. In that period, as he explained, Karadzic regularly met with Jovica Stanisic, chief of the Serbian State Security Service, but Vlaski didnt know where or when they met. Nedjo Vlaski will complete his evidence tomorrow.