Defence witnesses at Karadzic’s war crimes trial in The Hague said the Bosnian Serb leader did not want to launch attacks that would kill thousands.
Testifying for the defence, US professor Ronald Hatchett said that during his visit to Karadzic’s stronghold town of Pale in 1994, he was “astonished” by the defendant’s determination to stop the war and save lives.
“I am not going to start a big military attack on a city full with people, which would kill thousands of people on both sides, knowing that a peace solution would not allow us to keep the city under our control,” Karadzic said, according to Hatchett’s testimony.
Karadzic continued his defence this week by calling half a dozen witnesses to the Hague Tribunal.
Protected witness KW-554, former intelligence officer at the UN protection forces, UNPROFOR command centre in Zagreb, said that there was “a prevalent belief that Muslims were responsible for some of the most notorious incidents” in which civilians were killed in Sarajevo.
“There was a belief that Muslim forces were shelling their own people in order to blame Serbs and provoke an international intervention to their advantage,” said the Canadian officer.
He specified that, according to the information available to him, Bosniaks were responsible for “at least one” of two explosions at Sarajevo’s Markale market in 1994 and 1995 that killed dozens of civilians.
Karadzic also called Sarajevo citizens Janko Ivanovic and Ilija Miscevic, who said that they saw that Bosniak forces open fire from mobile mortars from urban areas on Serb positions around the besieged city.
Karadzic is charged with committing genocide in Srebrenica, terrorising civilians in Sarajevo through a long-term shelling and sniping campaign, persecuting Bosniaks and Croats, and taking UN members hostage.
To the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, was a true sensation, and one to be exploited day after day.
In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.