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4 November 2013
News

“Dangerous Men from Military Security” Responsible for Srebrenica

Radosa MIlutinovic BIRN BiH Den Haag
Testifying in defence of Radovan Karadzic, former Minister of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska Tomislav Kovac blames “dangerous people from the Military Security Service”, led by Chief Ljubisa Beara, for the massacre in Srebrenica.
Kovac said that Karadzic knew nothing about the shooting of Bosniaks in Srebrenica, considering the fact that the Military Security Service should have informed the Supreme Commander about it, but it did not do it, because the perpetrators were its members.

Kovac said that Beara, Chief of the Security Sector of the Main Headquarters of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, “has had a criminal mind-set since the murder at Dubrovnik battlefield in 1991”.

In 2010 The Hague Tribunal pronounced Beara guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, sentencing him to life imprisonment under a first instance verdict. Beara filed an appeal against the verdict.

Kovac said that Beara “skillfully manipulated” VRS Commander Ratko Mladic, who is also on trial before the Tribunal, in Srebrenica by “issuing orders in the name of Mladic and saying publicly that Mladic had ordered him to undertake the executions”.

Kovac said that, during “an unofficial collection of information” about Srebrenica in September 1995, he did not come across any direct orders sent from Mladic to Beara. He added that, “since the death of his daughter Ana in 1993 Mladic had been in a state that looked schizophrenic at moments and that he was in a state of reduced sanity”. He said that Beara knew that and used it for manipulating Mladic.

When asked by presiding judge O-Gon Kwon why he failed to inform Karadzic about the findings of his unofficial investigation, Kovac suggested that he intended to do it at the end of the war, because it could have caused a conflict with the military service and “civil war” in the fall of 1995.

The indictment charges Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska and supreme Commander of its armed forces, with genocide against about 7,000 Bosniaks from Srebrenica in the days that followed the occupation of the enclave by VRS on July 11, 1995. Besides that, he is on trial for persecuting Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising citizens of Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.

Mile Dmicic, who was Chief of Karadzic’s Cabinet for “civil affairs” in July 1995, testified at this hearing in defence of the indictee. Dmicic said that, during his meetings with Karadzic on July 10 and 17, 1995 they did not discuss crimes in Srebrenica, because they did not have information about them.

According to Dmicic’s testimony, Karadzic “never said anything that would indicate that he knew” about the shooting of captives. Also, he said that neither he nor members of his Cabinet had ever seen any reports about crimes.

“Karadzic would have never been in favour of shooting, under any circumstances,” Dmicic said. He told the Tribunal that he had not seen any of the numerous protest letters, which international officials submitted to Karadzic at that time.

When asked if he knew what happened in Srebrenica, the witness said: “I have not got information about that. I did not have it at that time particularly. Even today I do not have information about that.” Dmicic confirmed that he “agreed to a large extent” that the crime in Srebrenica was “a big setup” and “cheat”.

Former Minister of Information of Republika Srpska Miroslav Toholj, who testified as the third Defence witness at this hearing, said that the Republika Srpska Government was “surprised by the liberation of Srebrenica”.

Toholj, who happened to be in Baticane at that time, said that, “although the military operations in the enclave surroundings had still not been completed, everybody in Vatican spoke about crimes”. Toholj said that this proved that “the media campaign had obviously been planned in advance”.

On the basis of conversations they had at that time, Toholj “got an impression that Karadzic knew nothing” about the events in Srebrenica.

The trial is due to continue on Tuesday, November 5.
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