News 29 Jun 10

Karadzic Granted Additional Time for Protected Witness

After promising that he will make the rest of his cross-examination interesting even for the trial chamber, wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was given an additional two hours with protected witness 185.

Nidzara Ahmetasevic

The trial chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, originally limited Karadzic’s time for the cross-examination of a former member of the French Battalion with UNPROFOR in Sarajevo to five hours, but since he was not able to finish, they gave him additional time.

Previously the trial chamber criticised Karadzic for wasting his time with witnesses by asking irrelevant questions and giving open statements in the courtroom. Consequently, they decided to limit his time for cross-examination on a case to case basis.

The testimony of KDZ 185 is being conducted mainly in closed sessions. When the session is open, the witness’s voice and face are obscured.

For the second day in row, Karadzic’s line of questioning aimed at attempting to prove that Bosnian government forces attacked the civilian population in Sarajevo in order to achieve certain political or military goals.  

As an example of one such incident, Karadzic described the massacre of June 1, 1993 in the Sarajevo neighbourhood of Dobrinja.

According to the indictment against Karadzic, on that day two shells were fired on a crowd of approximately 200 people who were watching and participating in a football game in a parking lot in Dobrinja. More than 10 people were killed and approximately 100 were wounded.

The prosecution claims that the origin of the shells was Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) “held territory approximately to the east-south-east”.

Karadzic claims that those who were wounded or killed on that day were soldiers.

He asked KDZ 185 to confirm his claims that the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABIH, used to “from time to time” bomb “their own citizens and units”.

“Yes, indeed I can say that we did notice in a couple of cases suspicious sniper fire inside of the city, and maybe even from some other ammunition, the fire we suspected where it came from,” the witness answered.

Karadzic claimed that this kind of fire was used mostly during peace negotiations if they needed to be stopped or interrupted for any reason.

According to Karadzic, on the day when the massacre at Dobrinja was committed, the late Alija Izetbegovic, then President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was in New York where negotiations were being held.

“Serbs were ready for negotiations since we did not have any kind of interest in continuing with the war, we did not have any more ambition for more territory,” Karadzic said in the courtroom, but the witness could not comment on the claim.

Previously witness KDZ 185 said that Sarajevo was under constant fire from VRS positions.

The trial chamber announced the possibility that in the future hearings could be held from the morning until late afternoon but Karadzic objected, saying that his “biorhythm” is more effective in the afternoon.

Currently, hearings are held four times a week, with one week in the morning and the following week in the afternoon.

The cross-examination of witness KDZ 185 will continue on June 30.

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