Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic this week asked judges to subpoena the current president of Greece so he can be interviewed by the accused’s defence team.
In the written request filed on January 26, Karadzic asserts that he met Karolos Papoulias, Greece’s president since 2005 and its foreign minister during most of the Bosnian war, ten days after a mortar attack on Sarajevo’s Markale market on February 5, 1994. The attack killed more than 60 people and injured over 100.
During his trial, Karadzic has repeatedly claimed that this attack was staged by the Bosnian government itself, and that bodies found at the scene were “dummies and old corpses”. He is challenging previous tribunal findings that the mortar shell was fired from Bosnian Serb-controlled territory.
In the request, Karadzic argues that he met with Papoulias on February 15, 1994, he informed him that “the Bosnian Serbs had not been responsible for the shell that landed on Markale market”.
In the same meeting, Karadzic said that he told the then Greek foreign minister that “the Serbs were ready to place some of their heavy weapons under UN control”.
The accused goes on to outline several other discussions he had with Papoulias during the course of the war, among other things concerning UN personnel who were taken hostage in 1995, and Karadzic’s desire for a “peace process”.
“There is ample reason to believe that President Papoulias has information which is relevant and necessary to Dr. Karadzic’s defence against charges that he was responsible for the Markale-1 shelling, that he was part of joint criminal enterprise against Muslims in 1994 and 1995, and that he was responsible for ‘hostage taking’ of UN personnel in May 1995,” the request states.
“Markale-1” refers to the February 1994 attack; a second mortar bombardment hit the same location in August 2005.
In previous communications between the Karadzic defence team and the government of Greece, President Papoulias has indicated that “he has no intention to satisfy the request of Dr. Karadzic” for an interview. The accused argues that a subpoena is therefore necessary.
Karadzic was arrested in July 2008 after 13 years on the run. Witness testimony in his trial, which is still ongoing, began in April 2010. The accused is representing himself in the courtroom.
Rachel Irwin is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.
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