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31 October 2013
News

Karadzic Did not Know about Shooting of Srebrenica Residents

Radosa Milutinovic BIRN BiH Haag

Testifying at the trial of Radovan Karadzic before The Hague Tribunal, Tomislav Kovac says that the indictee did not know anything about a mass murder of Muslim captives from Srebrenica.

Kovac, former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska, RS, said that he had a series of meetings with Karadzic in the period from July 9 to 20, 1995 before and after the occupation of Srebrenica. Those meetings were mainly dedicated to an offensive by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Sarajevo battlefield.
 
He said that he had not heard Karadzic say that Muslims from Srebrenica should be shot or that executions had taken place.
 
“I am convinced that Karadzic had no idea that the captives would be shot,” Kovac said in his written statement, which was included in the case file.
 
Karadzic, former President of RS and supreme Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, is charged with genocide in Srebrenica in 1995 and persecution of women, children and the elderly.
 
At that time Zvornik police informed Kovac that VRS colonel Ljubisa Beara had requested police to help in dealing with a large number of captives and that the official letter expressed a suspicion that Beara’s intention was to kill the captives.
 
Kovac said that he did not approve Beara’s request for help and that Karadzic did not know about Beara’s intentions.
 
In 2010 The Hague Tribunal pronounced a first instance verdict, sentencing Beara to life imprisonment for genocide in Srebrenica. Beara has appealed the verdict.
 
Kovac said that the crime in Srebrenica was “the worst thing that could happen to the Serbian people”, adding that its perpetrators were “the biggest enemies of Serbs”.
 
The Prosecution is due to continue examining this witness tomorrow.
 
At the beginning of the hearing the Prosecution completed the cross-examination of Milenko Zivanovic, who led the offensive on Srebrenica in July 1995 in his capacity as Commander of the Drina Corps of VRS.
 
Speaking about Karadzic’s Directive number 7, which said that “unbearable conditions of complete uncertainty without hope for survival and life of the local population” should be created in Srebrenica, Zivanovic said that “it speaks about defeating Muslim forces, not the Muslim people”. 
 
The witness said that the mentioned Directive had never been applied. 

Karadzic is also charged with the persecution of Muslims and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, genocide in seven municipalities, terror against civilians in Sarajevo and taking UN members hostage.

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