THE HAGUE | 19.10.2015.

COMMON GOAL - UNITED SERB STATE?

As he testified in Ratko Mladic's defense, former head of the Bosnian Serb secret service Dragan Kijac refused to agree with the prosecutor that common goal of the leaderships in Serbia, Republika Srpska and the Republic of Serb Krajina was to establish a united state. The prosecutor showed him several exhibits including a video recording in which the accused says the goal of the fight is 'for all Serbs to be able to live in a single state'

After a week-long break, Ratko Mladic's defense case continued with the evidence of Dragan Kijac, who headed the State Security Department in the Republika Srpska interior ministry during the war. In 2013, Kijac testified in Radovan Karadzic's defense, which had to apply for a safe passage guarantee for him, to allow him to travel and not face the risk of arrest en route from Belgrade to The Hague and during his stay in the Netherlands on any indictments that may be issued against him in BH for war crimes. The public was not told whether the same guarantees had been sought and granted this time.

In a brief examination-in-chief, he spoke about two groups codenamed Tajfun and Milos, which functioned as intelligence units of the Bosnian police. The former provided reports to President Karadzic, while the later sent reports to the Serbian State Security Service. When the groups started acting independently, they were disbanded. To the very end of the cross-examination the witness remained adamant that a number of prosecution exhibits admitted as Bosnian Serb intelligence reports were not authentic.

As he was questioned by defense counsel Lukic about the collaboration between Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska during the war, Kijac said there had been ups and downs in the political sphere, but that the services 'did their job professionally'. In the cross-examination, prosecutor Traldi told the witness that the military, police and politicians worked hand in hand throughout the war; the goal of their efforts was to unite parts of BH (Republika Srpska) and Croatia (Republic of Serb Krajina) with Serbia.

He first showed a photograph taken in 1995 in Bijeljina, according to the witness, depicting a meeting of the police officials and politicians of all three entities. Stojan Zupljanin, a police official from Republika Srpska, sits on a couch side by side with Momcilo Krajisnik, the RS assembly speaker, the heads of the Serbian secret service Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic and the president of the Republic of Serb Krajina Milan Martic. Kijac stands behind them. Asked if all those people shared the same goal during the war, the witness said it was hard for him to say it.

The prosecutor presented several pieces of evidence in support of the argument that the leaders in the three entities shared a common goal - the unification of the Serb state. The first is a letter sent by Jovica Stanisic to the Serbian interior ministry on 5 July 1994, in which he states that 'the decisive stage of the struggle to realize the common goals of all Serbs lands' is about to begin. The second is a New Year's message from Milan Martic to Radovan Karadzic, in which Martic says that in the previous year, 1994, there had been 'efforts to achieve the unification of the Serb state'. As the cross-examination continued, the prosecution showed a video tape in which Ratko Mladic talks to Karadzic and Koljevic and says that the goal was 'for all Serbs to be able to live in a single state.' The recording was admitted into evidence. Kijac never denied that the Serbian top leaders made such statements during the war, but said he could not tell 'what they really thought'.

As the hearing drew to a close, the discussion focused on Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan. Asked if Arkan was indeed a notorious criminal, the witness said he would prefer to call him 'a person of interest to the security services'. The prosecutor then showed him a video recorded by a French TV crew in which Arkan says 'we will not take any prisoners any more': he and his men will 'kill all the Fascist soldiers we catch'. The prosecution alleges that Arkan was invited to come to Bijeljina and Zvornik by Biljana Plavsic; the witness denies this, saying that on arrival in BH he was in touch with Fikret Abdic and other people in the Presidency of the Republic. The prosecutor showed an entry from Mladic's war diary for 22 September 1995, where the accused notes that at a meeting attended by Kijac, General Manojlo Milovanovic said that 300 Arkan's men had been attached to the Republika Srpska interior ministry. The witness claims this was not within his remit. He did not know that Radovan Karadzic had decorated Zeljko Raznatovic on 30 May 1996.

Tomorrow the defense will call another witness. Kijac's cross-examination will continue the day after tomorrow.