The first protected prosecution witness to take the stand in the trial of wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic clashed in the courtroom with the indictee, refusing to answer some of the questions and openly accusing Karadzic for his loss.
Witness KDZ064 lived near Srebrenica and in July 1995 was part of the column of men and boys that left the city in order to reach Tuzla.
He was captured by Bosnian Serb soldiers on July 13 and detained in Bratunac near Zvornik, taken to the school in Orahovci where he survived a mass execution by hiding under dead bodies, after which he managed to run to the woods and escape to free territory.
Radovan Karadzic faces 11 charges before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, for crimes committed in Bosnia during the war, including the genocide in Srebrenica committed by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. More than 8,000 people were killed and thousands expelled.
Karadzic’ intention appeared to be to prove that KDZ064 was not a victim of war.
“This witness is not a victim. This witness was a Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina soldier,” Karadzic said.
“Who is not a victim?” the witness protested loudly in response, but was stopped by the presiding judge, who warned Karadzic that he is not permitted to comment on protective measures given to any of the witnesses.
The presiding judge had to intervene several times during the cross-examination. He calmed down the witness, who at times became very emotional, and occasionally raised his voice when addressing Karadzic.
He also interjected in reponse to the type of questions the accused asked when they were not related to the case or concerned facts not known to the witness.
Karadzic tried to ask the witness to look at a map of Bosnia made during negotiations during the war, but the witness refused to look.
“Do not show maps to me! Do not ask me where my place is! My place is Bosnia…. I have only one map and that is of Bosnia with internationally recognised borders where all people can live, Muslims, Croats and Serbs… You made maps. I do not need them…,” the witness replied.
Cross-examination of this witness will continue on April 22.
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