THE HAGUE | 20.04.2004.

MILITARY AND POLICE DID NOT OPERATE IN A VACUUM

The scale of operations conducted in the spring and summer of 1992 in northeastern Bosnia "demanded coordination and control between the military, police and the political authorities," stated the prosecution during closing arguments at the trial of Radoslav Brdjanin, accused of genocide and other crimes against Bosniaks and Croats.

Murders, beatings and the detention of non-Serbs in the so-called Autonomous Region of Krajina (ARK), claims the prosecutor, "were not random acts because they were carried out in all thirteen municipalities" featured in the evidence presented at the trial of Radoslav Brdjanin, former president of the ARK Crisis Staff.

During the second day of her closing arguments, prosecutor Joanna Korner claimed that the "scale of the operation [carried out in the spring and summer of 1992 in northeastern Bosnia] was such that it demanded the coordination and control between the military, police and the political authorities." According to the prosecution, "the Bosnian Serb military and the police did not operate in a vacuum but in concert with the political organs." The prosecution consequently charges Brdjanin, the then-president of the regional government, with genocide and other crimes against Bosniaks and Croats. Brdjanin's "warmongering speeches" deserved a special mention: as a form of propaganda, they served to "persuade the ordinary Serbs that their Bosniak and Croat neighbors presented a threat to them."

Korner quoted a series of documents issued at the regional and municipal levels which, in her submission, prove that Brdjanin's regional crisis staff, headquartered in Banja Luka, issued instructions for actions in the field and received back reports. Dismissing defense claims that municipal staffs, such as the one in Prijedor, acted "spontaneously and independently" of the regional authorities in Banja Luka, prosecutor Korner stated that the pattern of crimes (from the firing of non-Serbs to murders and detention to forcible transfer) was repeated in all municipalities, indicating the "methodical and systematic nature of the crimes."