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8 March 2007
News

Mandic: Football Jargon in the Courtroom

BIRN BiH
After four days of hours of questioning, the testimony of war crimes indictee Momcilo Mandic is complete.
Momcilo Mandic has again denied all statements in the indictment, which holds him responsible for the formation and operation of detention camps on the territory controlled in 1992 by Srpska Republika BiH authorities in Sarajevo and Foca.

Mandic, the former justice minister in the Srpska Republika BiH government, also denies that he was ever a member of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) or that that was the reason why he was appointed to his high position.

The Prosecution has submitted physical evidence according to which Mandic is responsible for the formation and operation of detention camps in Butmir, in Vogosca municipality near Sarajevo and in Foca.

Mandic also repeated his claims that some Prosecution witnesses were not telling the truth when they claimed to have seen the indictee in wartime detention camps.

Judge Almiro Rodrigues asked Mandic whether that means that he believes that the statements in the indictment are also forged and that the Prosecution has made them up, jointly with the witnesses.

"No, but I believe that this is a politicised process against me. Not by the Court or the Prosecution, but that there were orders to have this process," Mandic said.

Mandic said that after he left Srpska Republika BiH and the position of justice minister in 1992, he moved to Belgrade where he was offered a position of minister without office in the government headed by Radovan Karadzic.

"Someone had to be in that position because a payment procedure was fully established between Belgrade and Srpska Republika," Mandic said and then confirmed the statement of Judge Rodrigues that there was a "real relationship" between Belgrade and Srpska Republika in 1992.

Although the Prosecution submitted evidence according to which Mandic was member of the executive board of SDS, he denied that and said that it was done without his knowledge.

Judge Rodrigues:  "You were not formally with SDS but you were in your heart?"

Mandic:  "My heart was with my people!"

Judge Rodrigues:  "If SDS was also with its people, you were, therefore, with SDS?"

Mandic:  "I have no comment."

Judge Rodrigues:  "But let's say that I do.  Let's say that I support a football club, even though I'm formally not their member. Was that the relationship you had with SDS?"

Mandic:  "I was a good footballer of SDS!"

Mandic said that in 1994 he was awarded the Nemanjic medal by the Republika Srpska government, headed by Karadzic who was president of SDS at the time.

The Defence will continue presenting evidence on March 20, when two witnesses, who will testify under protective measures, will appear.
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