Cautioned by the Presiding Judge that "he did not have to answer any questions that might be self-incriminating," the wartime mayor of Banja Luka, Predrag Radic, begins his testimony at the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik

The wartime mayor of Banja Luka, Predrag Radic, was cautioned at the beginning of his testimony at Momcilo Krajisnik’s trial that he did not have to answer any questions that might be self-incriminating. The Chamber has the power to force him to answer such questions, but in that case, anything he says cannot be used against him during any future proceedings.

This is the second time that judges have cautioned Radic. OTP investigators have conducted a number of "preliminary interviews" with him over the past few years; he was a suspect in the ethnic cleansing of Northwestern Bosnia. Prosecutors allege that during his term in office, about 50,000 Croats and Muslims left Banja Luka.

Last November, Radic testified as a defense witness at the trial of Radoslav Brdjanin, former president of the Crisis Staff of the so-called Autonomous Region of Krajina. Brdjanin has since been sentenced to 32 years in prison. This afternoon, Radic appeared in court as a unwilling prosecution witness at the trial of former Bosnian Serb political leader Momcilo Krajisnik. He is charged with genocide and other war crimes committed, the prosecution alleges, from mid-1991 until the end of 1992 in 37 BH municipalities – Radic's Banja Luka included.

At the beginning of the trial, the prosecutor showed several video clips from a rally held in Banja Luka on the eve of the Serb plebiscite in BH in November 1991. Radic opened the rally, saying, according to a TV reporter’s interpretation, that Serbs in BH "had been slaughtered twice" and they "had forgiven, but not forgotten." If they "try to do it a third time," Radic continued, Serbs would not "forgive or forget." Today in court, Radic was unable to "recall the exact words" he used 13 years ago, but he said it “was not a threat but a warning to those who had slaughtered them twice not to do it a third time."

Radovan Karadzic, Velibor Ostojic and Momcilo Krajisnik can also be seen in the clips at the same rally. Krajisnik spoke about "the dark forces that have joined forces to bring down our homeland." Radic testified that the intention behind the rally and the plebiscite was to "respond to the attempts of the Muslims to cause BH to leave the then-Yugoslavia."

Since Radic denied that any repressive measures were used against managers who did not participate in the Serb plebiscite, the prosecutor presented him with an article published in Oslobodjenje in which Brdjanin calls on such managers "to report themselves and to hand in their resignations" because in a few days, when the electoral rolls were collated, the names of those who had not taken part in the plebiscite would be known and they would all be removed from office.

Radic confirmed that "this was Brdjanin's view," but he maintained this "did not in fact happen." The prosecutor also showed a transcript of an intercepted telephone conversation between Radic, Karadzic, Brdjanin and Vukic in which Brdjanin was criticized for "having spoken too soon" regarding the statement about removing managers. As Karadzic noted, "instead of working and keeping quiet, he [Brdjanin] does not work at all but speaks."

Predrag Radic's testimony will last at least two days.