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Krajisnik Defence Witness Justifies Expulsions

(TU No 436, 20-Jan-06)
Radomir Pašic, former president of the Bosnian town Bosanski Novi, testified that between May and July 1992, Muslim villages in Bosnia’s Japra valley were attacked by what he described as “paramilitary forces that could not be controlled”.

Civilians were killed, houses were burned down, and property was looted by Serb forces. About 750 Muslim men were held for several days at the Bosanski Novi stadium “for their own safety”, the witness explained.

“It was our intention to help those people leave in a peaceful, dignified and civilised manner,” said Pasic.

This “help” apparently involved putting the Muslims into cattle trucks and transporting them to Doboj, an area of Bosnia under Muslim control. Another convoy to remove Muslims from the Japra region was organised by UNHCR.

Although he was supposedly president of the local crisis staff, Pasic said he “couldn't remember” if he was present at a meeting of crisis staff presidents in the town of Sanski Most in June 1992. At this meeting, it was agreed that the Muslims and Croats should vacate the municipalities claimed by Bosnian Serbs as Serb territory.

Krajisnik is charged with two counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and one of violations of the laws or customs of war for his alleged role in a campaign to expel the non-Serb population from Bosnia in 1991 and 1992.

The indictment against him lists dozens of facilities where Bosnian Muslim and Croat detainees were allegedly tortured, beaten and often killed.

The accused’s own testimony, which was planned to begin on January 23, may have to be rescheduled now that the defence has announced its intention to call more witnesses.

Presiding Judge Alphons Orie warned Krajisnik’s lawyers that the April 28 deadline for the presentation of the defence case is rapidly approaching, and added that the tribunal would not grant extra time.

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