WERE BOSNIAN SERBS FORCED TO SPLIT FROM BH INTERIOR MINISTRY OR WAS IT ALL PART OF A PLAN
As he testified in Ratko Mladic's defense, police general Milenko Karisik claimed that the Muslim side turned the BH Interior Ministry into 'an instrument for the intimidation of Serbs'. As a result, the ministry was split in two. The prosecutor showed him evidence that the division had been planned well ahead of the events by the Bosnian Serb leadership
Former high-ranking officer in the Bosnian Serb police corroborated Ratko Mladic's defense case that the 'Muslim side' was to blame for the war in BH. He accused the pre-war police minister in BH, Alija Delimustafic, and the Democratic Action Party of pursuing their party policies through the Interior Ministry, disregarding the agreements reached with the Serb side.This is why the ministry eventually split into two separate entities.
Karisik claims that on the eve of the war, the SDA had for all intents and purposes taken over the Interior Ministry, appointing its personnel to key posts and calling up a large number of Muslim reserve policemen, mostly from Sandzak. The BH police had thus, according to the witness, become 'an instrument for the intimidation of Serbs'. In the spring of 1992, things came to a head, and an agreement was purportedly reached to divide the police force into Serb and Muslim-Croat components.
At that point, the witness was promoted to the post of the Bosnian Serb special police; until that time, he was the deputy commander of the special unit in the BH Interior Ministry. He held that post until 1995, when he was appointed chief of the Public Security Department. Prosecutor Melissa Pack put it to the witness in the cross-examination that the Serb MUP broke away in a unilateral move, without any previous arrangements with the other side. She showed documents which indicate that the Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic had announced that the police force would be split. The decision was then implemented by the interior minister Momcilo Mandic on 31 March 1992. She also showed a letter written by Alija Delimustafic on the same date, in which he opposes the division and urges the police staff to remain united, regardless of their ethnicity. Karisik for the most part refused to comment on the documents, stating that he had never seen those political decisions before.
In his statement to the defense, the witness tried to present the Bosnian Serb special police as a professional unit which strove to impose law and order in Republika Srpska and to deal with the paramilitary formations. As part of that effort, in 1992 the special police under his command and the 65th Protection Regiment of the Bosnian Serb army arrested the members of the Yellow Wasps, a paramilitary unit that was about 170 strong and was active in the Zvornik area. The Yellow Wasps had refused to be subordinated to the regular army command.
When the defense counsel asked the witness to identify the victims of the Yellow Wasps' abuse and robberies, he said that Serbs 'suffered most of the torture', while Muslims 'suffered less'. When the presiding judge joined the debate, the witness explained that the Yellow Wasps targeted all the residents of Zvornik, and since Muslims were in the minority at the time, there was a proportionately smaller number of Muslim victims.
In his statement to the defense, the witness denied that in July 1995 he had had any knowledge of forcible eviction of Muslim civilians and mass murders of male prisoners from Srebrenica. His cross-examination on this topic will continue tomorrow.Ratko Mladic was cautioned several times for loud comments and mischievous conduct in court. At one point, he received the final warning for attempting to communicate with the witness, as the Trial Chamber expressly prohibited that a long time ago.
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