News 01 Jul 10

Witness: Effort to Stop Nationalists 'Wishful Thinking'

The prosecution at the ICTY presented witness Momcilo Mandic with a number of recordings of intercepted conversations from 1991 in an attempt to show that Radovan Karadzic interfered in the placement of employees in the police forces.

Nidzara Ahmetasevic

In most of the recordings Mandic recognised the voices of the people who were talking, including himself and Karadzic. The trial chamber agreed to consider the recordings as evidence despite the fact that the defence objected, arguing that the conversations were recorded illegally.

The intercepted recordings were also presented in some of the previous trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY. They were made by the secret police in Sarajevo in 1991.

While it could be heard from the recordings that Karadzic asked about certain people and positions, Mandic denied that Karadzic interfered, but noted that he did ask for certain people to be placed at certain positions inside the Bosnian Ministry of Interior.

Mandic claims that the reason for this was to make sure there was equal representation of Serbs in the police.

Mandic confirmed that he talked with Karadzic often at the beginning of the war. In one of the intercepted conversations one can hear Karadzic telling Mandic that they should talk daily.

In 1991, Mandic was elected deputy minister of interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Serb Democratic Party, SDS, (though he was not a member of the party). The interior minister at that time was Alija Delimustafic.

Mandic said that during one meeting, Delimistafic said police should make sure that all nationalist leaders were arrested, “including Radovan Karadzic, Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban”.

From 1991 until 1997, when he officially pulled out of public life under pressure from the international community in Bosnia, Radovan Karadzic was president of the SDS. For most of that period, he was also the president of Republika Srpska, RS.

Alija Izetbegovic was the president of the predominantly Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) Party of Democratic Action, SDA, until his death in 2003, and the president of Bosnia during the war. Mate Boban was the wartime leader of the Bosnian Croats.

“We could not do that, for sure. Especially in the case of Izetbegovic who was legally elected president of the country. But we felt huge pressure from all of them in the Ministry. So, it was more like wishful thinking,” Mandic explained.

On March 31, 1992 Mandic signed and distributed a directive about the formation of the Serb Ministry of Interior inside of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mandic said that it was a decision made by the Assembly of Serb People that had been constituted three days earlier.

According to the indictment against Radovan Karadzic, from March 1992 until at least July 1996, Karadzic was “the highest civilian and military authority” in RS. According to the prosecution, Mandic was a member of the joint criminal enterprise, with Karadzic and other Bosnian Serb leaders, with the intention to permanently remove non-Serbs from part of Bosnia.

Mandic's testimony, which started on June 30, will continue on Monday, July 5.

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