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Karadzic Seeks Subpoena to Secure Witness

Accused argues that wartime general could show they never discussed killings at Srebrenica.
By Rachel Irwin
  • Radovan Karadzic in the ICTY courtroom. (Photo: ICTY)
    Radovan Karadzic in the ICTY courtroom. (Photo: ICTY)

Wartime Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic has asked judges at the Hague tribunal to subpoena a former general in the Bosnian Serb army who has refused to testify in his upcoming defence case.

General Radoslav Krstic stood trial at the Hague tribunal in 2000, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in the Srebrenica massacre. Karadzic faces a charge of genocide for the July 1995 killing of more than 7,000 Bosniak.

According to a written motion filed on October 3, Krstic’s lawyer informed Karadzic on September 28 that his client would not consent to be interviewed or to testify as a witness for the defence. The following day, Krstic sent a letter to the defendant saying the same thing, but when Karadzic sent him a reply, he refused to accept it, the motion states.

Karadzic argues that Krstic has “relevant information” for his defence case.

“General Krstic is expected to testify that he never informed Dr Karadzic that prisoners from Srebrenica would be, were being, or had been executed,” Karadzic states in the motion.

The accused said this testimony would be of relevance to the genocide charge in the indictment, specifically to the allegation of “genocidal intent”.

Karadzic states that prior to the Bosnian Serb military operation to capture Srebrenica, he and Krstic had a meeting in which the discussion was confined to “the planned separation of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves”. This, Karadzic contends, also relates to the allegation of genocidal intent and his “overall responsibility for the Srebrenica events”.

“General Krstic’s testimony is necessary to establish that the contact [between the two] had nothing whatsoever to do with crimes, and that General Krstic and Dr Karadzic never discussed or contemplated the commission of any crimes in Srebrenica,” the accused states.

The defence case will begin on October 16, and the accused has asked judges to subpoena Krstic to testify on January 15, 2013.

Karadzic, who was president of Bosnia's Republika Srpska from 1992 to 1996, is accused of planning and overseeing the Srebrenica massacre, as well as the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left nearly 12,000 people dead.

The indictment alleges that he was responsible for crimes of genocide, persecution, extermination, murder and forcible transfer which "contributed to achieving the objective of the permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory".

Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in July 2008 after 13 years on the run.

Rachel Irwin is IWPR’s Senior Reporter in The Hague.