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29 October 2013
News

President without Control

Radoša Milutinović BIRN BiH Haag

Following a two-month break in Radovan Karadzic’s trial, Defence witness John (Jovan) Zametica says that the indictee was “a weak president”, who neither had control over the Army, police, government nor municipalities.

“You were a weak president, whose powers did not reach far. Other factors were more powerful, like the Army, which often failed to comply with you. I believed that you did not even have control over police, members of the Assembly, your own wife and daughter. You had very little control over that chaos called the RS,” the witness said.

Zametica, a former Karadzic advisor, said that his father was a Muslim and that his original name was Omer, so Karadzic’s daughter Sonja and wife Ljiljana, as well as some members of the Army, did not like him because of that, but Karadzic did not have such prejudices.

Karadzic is charged with genocide in Srebrenica, persecution of Muslims and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, which reached the scale of genocide in seven municipalities, terror against the local population in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.

According to the witness, the indictee did not have his men in the RS Government either. He said that “masters of life and death” had the authority in municipalities, adding that they “not only did not get orders” from the RS President, but they “acted against him”.

Zametica said that, although Karadzic was the supreme Commander of the RS armed forces, Karadzic did not deal with “operational and tactical commanding” of the Army, which “often undertook actions on its own”.

“You told me that the sniping by VRS was foolish, that it did not bring any military benefits and that you were against it. You said the same thing for the uncontrolled shelling… that it was irrational,” Zametica said.

He said that Karadzic and his associated in Pale did not have any pieces of information about the mass murder of captives from Srebrenica in July 1995.

Karadzic included, as evidence, two letters, which he sent to Zametica in 2001, while he was on the run. In those letters he repeated his allegation that the French intelligence service organised the shooting committed by the 10th Reconnaissance Squad of the Main Headquarters of VRS.

Karadzic said in the courtroom that, after the end of the war the French Intelligence Service took members of that Squad to Congo in order to participate in battles.

At the beginning of cross-examination Prosecutor Caroline Edgerton asked Zametica if he considered, just like another Karadzic’s wartime advisor Gordan Milinic, that Srebrenica was “a myth” and “big farce”.

Zametica answered negatively, adding that he did not know who ordered and committed the crime in Srebrenica.

By presenting a series of documents and orders, Prosecutor Edgerton wanted to prove that Karadzic had operational command over the Army, when UN members were taken hostage and during the offensive against Srebrenica in the spring and summer of 1995, but Zametica refused to accept that.

The cross-examination of Zametica is due to continue on October 30.

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