On the eight day of his testimony as Slobodan Milosevic’s defence witness, the leader of the Serbian radicals Vojislav Seselj spoke about his “small-scale participation in the war” and described how he fired a heavy machine gun at “trenches of the Muslim army” in Sarajevo from Grbavica

Vojislav Seselj testifying in defense of Slobodan MilosevicVojislav Seselj testifying in defense of Slobodan Milosevic

When Mirsad Kucanin, police inspector from Sarajevo, testified in November 2003 that Vojislav Seselj had shot and killed a Serb by the name of Vasiljevic from a heavy machine gun, Slobodan Milosevic asked him, “Is this a joke?”

Vojislav Seselj confirmed today that Kucanin was not joking. When Milosevic quoted the claim made by the police inspector from Sarajevo (who had investigated more than a hundred incidents in which people were wounded or killed by firearms), Seselj replied that he “remembered this incident well.”

He described that he was at the front line, in a building in the Sarajevo suburb of Grbavica, from where he saw “Muslims, under the protection of the so-called peace observers, digging trenches in an attempt to bypass the Serb lines.” Seeing this, Seselj fired several bursts from a Browning machine gun at the “Muslims in the trenches, down below the UN observation point.” As he described it, he hit “the top of the trench, while the trenches were still being dig.”

Seselj says he doesn’t know if he hit anyone on that occasion. If a Muslim soldier had been hit then he, as he says, is “happy, because his small-scale participation in the war yielded some results.” If, however, a “civilian, a Serb, forced to dig trenches” was killed, then he, Seselj, bears no responsibility for his death. The responsibility lies with “those who took him there to dig trenches, in violation of international humanitarian law.”

Today, Milossevich quoted the testimony of several other prosecution witnesses who spoke about the presence of Seselj’s men, Arkan’s men and the White Eagles in Zvornik, Bijeljina, Doboj, Sarajevo and other locations where crimes described in the Bosnia and Herzegovina indictment were committed. The witness mostly denied the claims made by those witnesses about the participation of Seselj’s men in the crimes. As for Arkan, Mauzer and other paramilitary leaders, he says they “had nothing to do with Milosevic or other representatives of the government in Serbia”. On the other hand, he claims, “Arkan and Mauzer had close ties with Djindjic.”

Vojislav Seselj’s testomony will continue.