Retired military security officer Mladen Karan contends that ‘Arkan’s men’ in Eastern Slavonia were under the command of the Territorial Defense and that their commander Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan was ‘close’ with the commanders of the JNA Novi Sad Corps. This corroborates Franko Simatovic’s defense case that the Serbian State Security Service had no ties at all with that unit
Former member of the Serbian MUP and commander of the border crossing in Bajina Basta Risto Seovac completed his evidence today in closed session. Franko Simatovic’s defense continued its case with the testimony of retired JNA colonel Mladen Karan. During the wars in the former Yugoslavia, Karan held highest-ranking posts in the JNA military security service, the federal Defense Ministry and the Serbian Army of Krajina.
Franko Simatovic and his former chief in the Serbian State Security Service Jovica Stanisic are charged with the crimes committed by the police and paramilitary units against non-Serbs in the wars in Croatia and BH. The prosecution alleges that one such unit was Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan’s Serbian Volunteer Guard. The defense has been trying hard to contest this allegation in the course of its case.
In early September 1991, the witness was appointed assistant commander for counter-intelligence in the Guards Motorized Brigade, which spearheaded the attack on Vukovar. The witness claims he knew that Arkan ran a training camp for his volunteers in Erdut at the time and that Arkan’s men were under the command of the Territorial Defense of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, whose commander was Radovan Stojicic Badzo.
Karan also claimed that Raznatovic was ‘close’ with Mladen Bratic, commander of the JNA Novi Sad Corps. After Bratic was killed, Arkan became close with the newly-appointed commander Andrija Biorcevic. Numerous witnesses called by Simatovic’s defense had already repeated similar claims in an attempt to deny any links between ‘Arkan’s men’ and the Serbian State Security Service.
The witness remained the assistant commander of the Guards Brigade until the summer of 1992 when he was transferred to the federal Defense Ministry. In October 1993, Karan and other JNA officers born in Croatia joined the Serbian Army of Krajina. Karan was appointed chief of security in the 21st Kordun Corps. Karan got that far in his evidence today and will resume his story tomorrow.
Mladen Karan’s evidence is expected to take nine working hours. Simatovic’s defense filed a motion to suspend its case for a time to allow the defense to prepare for the evidence of the next witnesses. Until the Trial Chamber rules on the motion, the trial will proceed as planned.