THE HAGUE | 22.03.2012.


In the cross-examination of Dr. Thomas Parsons, Radovan Karadzic claimed he had ‘new information’ on the number of missing persons from Srebrenica. Karadzic claimed that hundreds of persons on the International Commission on Missing Persons list were in fact alive. They were declared dead after their ‘amputated parts’ were transferred somehow from the operating theatres to the DNA labs, Karadzic explained

Former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic continued his cross-examination of Dr. Thomas Parsons, director of forensic sciences in the International Commission on Missing Persons. Karadzic insisted on the purportedly new information obtained by the ‘Bosnian side’ about the number of missing persons from Srebrenica. The witness asked Karadzic to explain what he meant by the ‘Bosnian side’. Karadzic corrected himself, saying that he meant the ‘Muslim side’ which, as he put it, ‘has stolen’ the adjective ‘Bosnian’.

Karadzic explained that the ‘new information’ on the number of missing persons from Srebrenica was based on the statements made by ‘prominent representatives of the Muslim side’, Mirsad Tokaca and Amor Masovic. Tokaca is the director of the Research and Documentation Center from Sarajevo and Masovic is the head of the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons. According to them, 500 persons who are still alive are listed among the Srebrenica victims and 70 persons were killed at a different time in other locations.

Dr. Parsons noted that the International Commission on Missing Persons ‘doesn’t operate in a world where the Muslim or any other side is taken into account’. ‘We are trying to identify persons who had gone missing during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia regardless of their religion or ethnicity’, the witness said. Parsons added that he didn’t know which list contained the names of these 500 persons, but he was sure that they weren’t on the International Commission on Missing Persons’ list of persons identified using DNA.

As Karadzic went on to say, the ‘Muslim side’ has recently said hundreds of persons on the list of identified victims were declared dead when the ‘amputated parts’, removed in operating theatres, ended up in the DNA labs. Dr. Parsons replied that he wasn’t aware of such accusations. In Parsons’ opinion, ‘there is little chance that they are true’.

After Dr. Parsons completed his testimony, the prosecution called Teufika Ibrahimefendic, psychotherapist from the organization Viva zene from Tuzla. Ibrahimefendic has already appeared as a witness at several trials in The Hague. She spoke about the traumas and suffering of the survivors from Srebrenica. At Karadzic’s trial, the transcripts of Ibrahimefendic’s evidence at the trial of Radoslav Krstic in 2000 were admitted into evidence.

The witness spoke about the consequences of the traumas suffered by the surviving members of the Srebrenica victims’ families. As she said, the survivors evinced a range of feelings: fear, helplessness and anger as they asked themselves, ‘why me?’, or the feeling of guilt because they had failed to do something to save the victims. Survivors also felt betrayed, deceived and showed changes in their behavior patterns, resulting in seclusion or even complete isolation. In addition to physical symptoms such as insomnia and eating disorders, the survivors also had problems concentrating and making decisions; this disrupted their everyday life.

In the cross-examination, Karadzic resorted to his psychiatric expertise in an bid to discredit the witness, putting it to her that her evidence at the trial of Radislav Krstic was ‘theoretical’ and ‘colored by emotions’.