THE HAGUE | 21.04.2004.

PROSECUTION SEEKS BRDJANIN CONVICTION ON ALL COUNTS OF THE INDICTMENT

Quoting a number of Brdjanin's statements that the prosecutor says indicates his genocidal intent, the prosecution finished its closing arguments at his trial for crimes in northwestern Bosnia. The defense begins its closing arguments claiming that neither Brdjanin nor the Crisis Staff of which he was president had any authority in the Autonomous Region of Krajina.

Calling upon the Trial Chamber to find Radoslav Brdjanin, former president of the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region of Krajina, guilty on all counts of the indictment, the prosecution today concluded three days of closing arguments. Brdjanin is on trial for crimes committed in northwestern Bosnia. Although the parties may recommend an appropriate punishment, they are not obliged to do so, and the prosecution did not say anything on that account today.

Prosecutor Joanna Korner quoted a number of Brdjanin's statements made on the eve of, during, and after the campaign against the non-Serb population in Bosnian Krajina. In her view, the statements indicate the genocidal intent of the accused. According to video tapes and documents admitted into evidence, Brdjanin had announced that "2-3 percent [of the non-Serb population] will be allowed" to stay in Krajina, and he told those "offering co-existence" that it is "an obligation of the Serbs to wipe their feet on the infidels and heathens in the next hundred years." Furthermore, Brdjanin congratulated the authorities in Prijedor – the municipality in Krajina where the worst crimes were committed – "on a job well done."

In Korner’s view, when such attitudes are expressed by a person holding high office, they "incite to crimes" and confirm that the accused had "genocidal intent." As president of the regional crisis staff, the prosecutor concluded, he not only had the authority to incite, but he also had quite specific authority to carry out the plan to "cleanse" Krajina.

Brdjanin's defense began its closing arguments today. It contends that Brdjanin cannot be considered responsible for crimes in Krajina because neither he personally nor the Crisis Staff of which he was president had any authority in the region. The political "struggle was waged in the higher echelons (SDS) and big fish in small ponds (municipal leaders)" and in such a situation, the municipalities, the military and the assembly realized that the Crisis Staff "does not have any real power," this according to Brdjanin's lawyer David Cunningham.

Defense closing arguments are set to continue Thursday.