Details of Prosecutorial Misconduct Emerge in Karadzic Trial; Judges Don't Care
www.slobodan-milosevic.org - November 9, 2010
Written by: Andy Wilcoxson
Hearing date: July 6, 2010
The prosecutor completed his cross-examination of Chamber witness Momcilo Mandic on July 6th. Mandic was the assistant minister of interior for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1991 until April 1992. After the outbreak of the conflict, Mr. Mandic, for a short period, served as a deputy to Mr. Mico Stanisic for the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, before becoming the minister of justice for Republika Srpska on 12 May 1992. From December 1992 to 1994, Mr. Mandic served as the director of the Bureau of Republika Srpska in Belgrade.
If Biljana Plavsic were the one on trial the Prosecution would have a good witness. According to Mandic, Ms. Plavsic “did a job that she wasn't really good at doing, and then, in a sort of exhibitionist way, sought to acquire popularity among the people" by having photographs taken of herself with paramilitary leaders.
In order to confirm the witness’s testimony the prosecutor played a video (exhibit P1108) of Plavsic hugging and kissing Zeljko Raznatovic “Arkan” in March of 1992.
The witness said “Biljana Plavsic was in charge of the inviting of such paramilitary units and of contacts with them. She was the bridge between the Bosnian Serbs, who were waging war in Bosnia, and these people, who came from other states.”
The prosecutor also exhibited the transcript (exhibit P1105) of the Bosnian-Serb Assembly session where Plavsic said: “After the statement by the president of the republic, i.e., his call to volunteers in all Serbian lands and all other Orthodox countries, I sent letters to all addresses. My intention was to pay anybody who is willing to fight for the Serbian cause and gather them around, so letters went out. You talk about paramilitary and non-paramilitary formations. You will have to excuse me. That has nothing to do with me. I was looking for the people who are willing to fight for the Serbian cause, who are willing to fight in the territory of Republika Srpska. The letters were sent to the Soviet Union, to Seselj, Arkan and Jovanovic. Do as you like. Accuse me now if you want. I want to make it clear, because this is the second time, Minister, it's not hearsay, I did do it, and you can judge me if you want."
The prosecutor then asked the witness, “Were you aware of whether other Bosnian Serb leaders thought highly of Arkan and wanted to have him come to Republika Srpska or, indeed, wanted to have their pictures taken with him?”
The witness said, “I'm not aware of anything like that.”
The prosecutor then played a video of Karadzic greeting one of Arkans units, but the video was not admitted into evidence because it was filmed in late 1995 long after the witness had left Bosnia.
When Karadzic began his cross-examination of the witness by apologizing. He said, “I would like to express my compassion to you because of all the suffering you underwent on account of me, as did my family and friends, and many other persons who I don't even know, but they did suffer on my account. So please accept my apology because of what others did to you.”
The witness accepted the apology saying, “I accept that with pleasure.”
The witness said that he had been kept in solitary confinement by the post-Milosevic government in Belgrade. He told Karadzic that “No one was allowed to visit me, except for investigators from The Hague Tribunal, who came to the district prison in Bacvanska Street. They took me to separate rooms and they asked me about your health, your place of residence, who was financing you, and everything else.”
Mandic was kidnapped by the Tribunal’s investigators. He said, “As a citizen of the state of Montenegro, I was kidnapped without any proceedings whatsoever, extradition proceedings, nothing. I was kidnapped from my apartment and taken across the border. I was met by Mr. Rattel at the border. He is one of the associates of The Hague OTP. Then I was at the Central Prison. Then I was taken to the detention unit of the BH Court. In the evening, as confirmed by the president of that Court, I was taken out by investigators, or, rather, operatives of the OTP from The Hague. Andan, Dragan, was with them then, the then chief of the Serb police. Again, they asked me about you, your health, your residence, everything else. And they said to me then that if I co-operate, that I would be back home very soon; if not, they would find some kind of indictment to issue against me. They would convict me, they would issue an indictment for war crimes.”
Mandic said, “They kept all their promises. Privredna Banka is a bank that I own, and there was this case in that connection. Allegedly, that bank gave credit to some entities that were financing you.” He said, “I was indicted -- actually, I think that I'm the only man who was officially indicted for aiding and abetting suspects and accused persons by The Hague.”
He told Karadzic, “These are the people who detained me, turned me into a controversial businessman, whatever else, all of that because the suspicion was that I was helping you hide and that I was taking care of you and your health.”
Eventually the witness said, “I was freed of all charges because Toby Robinson gave false testimony. She appeared as an expert witness. I was charged because of these credits. Once I had served two-thirds of my sentence, it was established that that was nonexistent, that all of this had been stage managed. However, you know, Mr. President, that in Bosnia-Herzegovina US citizens have immunity and they cannot be prosecuted, not even for perjury. Ms. Robinson actually took some money from my bank as well, and she went to Dallas, Texas.”
The witness added that “The then high representative of the European Union for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Schwarz-Schilling extended Toby Robinson's term as provisional manager of my bank for an indefinite period of time.” Even though, “Sreten Jovic, who was then chief of police at the level of BH, and Sinisa Karan, brought documentation concerning all the mis-doings of that witness.”
Karadzic asked the witness, “In the Krajisnik case, did you have similar pressure exerted against you, and did you testify under such pressure; yes or no?”
The witness explained that “At the time, I was a suspect, I was a war crimes suspect. And, of course, Mr. Tieger's associates, Milford, I think the person's name was, and there were two of them, they kept notifying me of that, that I am a suspect, that I will probably be indicted, that I should watch what I'm saying. However, Mr. Tieger did his job, he was professional, he was fair, but he had these associates who were very aggressive and who kept putting it to me that I would probably be accused here. That was in 2004, after I had left solitary confinement in Belgrade.”
Eventually the judge grew tired of listening to what the Prosecutors had done to Mandic. Judge Morrison warned Karadzic that “Mr. Mandic may have issues that he wishes to air, but your time is limited and these are not matters that go to the indictment against you.”
While it may not go to the issues in the indictment, it does go to the legitimacy of the trial itself. There certainly can’t be any talk of justice or a fair trial when the prosecution is maliciously tormenting and abusing the witnesses like this.
The Aspirations of Radovan Karadzic and the SDS
Karadzic asked the witness, “Do you remember that I was exposed to critique and pressure by party members, who said that the party had won power at the elections, but I didn't give party members power?”
The witness responded, “Yes. I was also criticized for appointing Muslims and some of my Serbs, as they said in the police, favoring them over various nominees by various national parties.” He said, “I was never a member of the SDS, and I was elected as police minister for the Serbian people.” Adding “I saw you for the first time in my life, I believe, in early 1991, when Vito Zepinic brought me to the party offices to nominate me for this position.”
Karadzic asked the witness, “Do you agree that the Serbian Democratic Party did not take over any of the ‘power ministries’, as they called them, the Ministry of the Interior and the Defense Ministry?”
The witness agreed saying, “Of course. The Defense Ministry was taken by the Croats, as coalition parties, and the minister was Jerko Doko. The minister of police went to the majority party, the Muslim party. Alija Delimustafic was the minister of police. And the Finance Ministry was headed by Pejic and others, who had taken over from the previous regime, who were experts and who continued in their jobs.”
The witness testified that “the Serbs wanted to stay within the old Yugoslavia, and Muslims did so for a while as well, and the first president of this rump Yugoslavia, without Slovenia, was to be a Muslim.”
Karadzic asked Mandic, “Do you recall, Witness, that Mr. Izetbegovic, all the way up to end January 1991, was in favor in preserving Yugoslavia, such as it was?”
The witness replied, “I know that because I provided security at those famous meetings between all the presidents of all Yugoslav republics.” And he agreed with Karadzic’s assertion that “in the end of January, the SDA announced the adoption of the Declaration on Sovereignty, which was a step towards the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
Karadzic also played an intercepted telephone conversation (exhibit D363) between himself and Momcilo Krajisnik dated July 13, 1991.
In that conversation the two men agree that “We have the right only to live together, and we will press for that, and we won't let anyone break up Bosnia at the expense of the Serbian people.”
Karadzic then asked the witness, “Were you aware that we were working for a united, undivided Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state with the rule of law?” And the witness answered, “Yes.”
Serbs Cheated by Croats in Bosnian State Security Administration
Karadzic asked the witness, “Do you recall that during Socialist times, and also under the law and under the inter-party agreement, it was agreed that senior posts be allocated in such a way that if post number 1 in a certain field goes to one party, then the post number 2 goes to the second majority party?”
The witness agreed saying, “Well, I tried to explain that to Mr. Tieger. If, let's say, the Serbs were in the majority in a certain place, the chief of police would be a Serb. And if the second majority community was Croat, then a Croat would be man number 2, that is, police commander in that place.”
The witness agreed with Karadzic’s assertion that “this method, first post to one community, the second to another community, was established to achieve democracy in the control system.” And he agreed that “Serbs were cheated out of the post of deputy under-secretary for state security by virtue of an unlawful modification of the staffing system” and “in the State Security Branch, this mechanism of democratic control was breached by canceling this post that was to have gone to the Serbs.”
The witness agreed that the “State Security in Bosnia and Herzegovina belonged to the HDZ, the representatives of the Croatian people” and that “The Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, were in favor of secession, and they were on the side of Croatia in the war against Krajina.”
The Muslims co-opted Bosnia’s pre-war Police Force
Karadzic put his case to the court saying, “These intercepts, before the war, can only be used as evidence for the unfairness of the SDA that is unlawfully tapping all the conversations of Serbs, and not Muslims and Croats.” He pointed out that the Defense ”could not get a single intercept of Alija Izetbegovic or any other party leader or state official from the Muslim side.”
He said if the unlawfully intercepted telephone conversations of Bosnian-Serb leaders “are taken as evidence, they can only be taken as evidence proving that the Serb side was under unlawful pressure there.”
Karadzic asked the witness if he agreed that “This unlawful wire-tapping was not done by the MUP, but by the SDA?”
The witness agreed that “It was never the state, it was never the prosecutor, who ordered that someone should be wire-tapped.” He said, “It was done by the service to which I also belonged, but there were people who took all these tapes, et cetera, to just one place, to the Party of Democratic Action (SDA).” Adding that “the leader of this entire team and the manager of this entire action was Munir Alibegovic.”
Karadzic then showed the witness a document (exhibit D360) showing that before the war Hasan Cengic had been sending Muslim policemen to Croatia for training.
Reacting to the document the witness said the training “was without the knowledge of the Ministry of the Interior, and it was without the knowledge of any state organ in the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.” But he said, “We had information from the field that in a clandestine fashion, members of the Muslim nationality were being sent to training courses in Croatia without the knowledge of the official Ministry of the Interior.”
Mandic explained that “At that moment, we were not clear on what was happening. We -- the non-Muslim personnel in the Ministry of the Interior, we were not clear on whether they were being sent to the front in Croatia under the veil of training, or was it the intention for them to be trained there and then to return to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was only towards the end of 1991 and early 1992 that we found out what the objective of that training had been and of assigning young Muslims to not only Croatia and Zagreb but also to other Islamic countries for such training.”
The witness explained that the man responsible for this clandestine training operation was the then general-secretary of the Party of Democratic Action, Mr. Hasan Cengic. He said that Cengic “first completed the madrasa and then the Theological Faculty either in Algeria or in Iran.” And that “He was a member of the Young Muslims, and he was tried and convicted, together with Mr. Izetbegovic, in the 1980s” for spreading Islamic fundamentalism in Yugoslavia.
The witness testified that before the war the SDA bribed certain police officials. He testified that “Vito Zepinic was the ranking Serb in the (interior) ministry. He was the personnel officer” He said, “the SDA had corrupted Mr. Vito Zepinic, He was given a car, Mazda 626, it was found in Kasindol, near Lukavica, at the beginning of the war. Also in the Street Leninova, number 8, they bought him a house, and he also got some money.”
The witness explained that, “The objective was for him to help the arming of the Muslim people, and that the weapons that came through Croatia by airplane from the Arab countries, enter Bosnia-Herzegovina unhindered. Inter alia, there were personnel problems. And also there were other honest people there whom they were trying to keep silent. For a while, I think that he had dazzled you, in a way, Mr. President, by some of these stories he made up about people who had actually carried out their work honestly through Rajko Dukic. He made an effort to stay there for as long as possible and to do the things that the SDA had paid him to do.”
Karadzic concluded the line of questioning by asking the witness, “If the Party of Democratic Action is preparing a secret police, a secret armed force, who would be their assumed adversary?” And the witness answered, “The Serbs.”
A complete transcript of this hearing is available at:
http://ictytranscripts.dyndns.org/trials/karadzic/100706ED.htm and http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/trans/en/100706ED.htm
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