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14 February 2014
News

Karadzic to Appear as Witness on March 4

Radosa Milutinovic BIRN BiH The Hague
Former Republika Srpska President Radovan Karadzic is due to begin testifying in his defence on March 4, as decided by the Trial Chamber of the Hague Tribunal.
Karadzic will present the judges with the last Defence witnesses before the end of next week. He requested the Tribunal to order a break in the trial until March 11 in order to enable him to prepare for his testimony. However, the Chamber presided by O-gon Kwon said that Karadzic would be able to prepare his testimony in one week and ordered him to begin testifying on March 4.

The judges rejected Karadzic’s request to testify in the form of a narration without questions being asked to him. Instead, Karadzic will be examined by his legal counsellor Peter Robinson. His testimony is due to last 16 working hours.

The indictment charges Karadzic with genocide in Srebrenica, the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, which reached the scale of genocide in seven municipalities, terror against civilians in Sarajevo by long-lasting shelling and sniping and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.

Jovan Sarac, wartime President of the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, in Pale and member of the municipal Crisis Committee, testified in Karadzic’s defence at this hearing. He said that the first conflicts in the Sarajevo area in April 1992 were caused by the murder of a Serb wedding guest Nikola Gardovic and attacks by “Muslim extremists” on Serbs in the city surroundings.

“The authorities in Pale tried to have all local residents, irrespective of their ethnicity, stay in the municipality, guaranteeing their security. However, many Muslims said that they wanted to leave,” Sarac said.

According to the witness’ testimony, the local authorities provided Bosniak civilians, “who decided to leave”, with a police escort “to the division line in Sarajevo”.

In July 1992 municipal authorities obliged police to guard the property of Bosniaks, who had left Pale. The property was “returned to their possession after the conflict”. Unlike Bosniaks, Croat residents stayed in Pale throughout the war, Sarac said.

While being cross-examined by Prosecutor Carolin Edgerton, Sarac said that, in the summer of 1992 “some paramilitary formation, whose members wore red berets”, deported about 400 Bosniaks from Bratunac to Pale, “with the aim of compromising the Republika Srpska leadership”.

“We insisted on having those people released to liberty. The leadership and Karadzic gave us full support…Those people were transferred to Muslim territories,” Sarac said.

The trial of Karadzic is due to continue on Monday, February 17.
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