The Hague Tribunal has turned down a request by Bosnian Serb ex-leader Radovan Karadzic to order wartime Bosnian Army commander Naser Oric to testify in his defence.
Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia determined that Karadzic had not used all the possibilities he had to secure the voluntary cooperation of Oric, the former Bosnian Army commander in Srebrenica.
The judges based their conclusion on the fact that Oric has refused, via his attorney, to speak to Karadzic’s legal team about crimes committed against Serbs in Srebrenica and its surroundings while the authorities in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska entity were still conducting an investigation against him concerning those crimes.
Oric’s testimony is important for the defence of Karadzic, who is charged with genocide in Srebrenica and other crimes, because of the central role he played in military operations in Srebrenica from 1992 to 1995 while he was the Commander of the 28th Division of the Bosnian Army.
According to the defence, Oric can testify that the Bosnian Army "never demilitarised Srebrenica in line with an agreement with the UN and that, after Srebrenica had been declared a UN’s protected zone, his units possessed and brought heavy and infantry arms, hiding them from [United Nations peacekeeping force] UNPROFOR".
The defence says that Oric might also testify about attacks on Serb villages from Srebrenica.
Karadzic is charged with the genocide in Srebrenica, persecution of Bosniaks and Croats across Bosnia and Herzegovina and taking UN peacekeepers as hostages during the war between 1992 and 1995.
Oric was convicted of war crimes but the verdict was later overturned at the Hague in 2008.