THE HAGUE | 23.02.2004.

BOSNIA AS A "CONNECTION"

Seventh witness at the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik, an expert of the Hague Tribunal, Pat Treanor analyses the genesis of the Serbian Democratic Party policy in BH from its inception in the summer of 1991 until the end of 1992

Hundreds of official documents, publications and records, as well as diaries, letters, newspaper articles, intercepted telephone conversations of "high-ranking SDS persons" and video tapes of their speeches have been admitted into evidence as prosecution exhibits at the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik. They form part of a report entitled Bosnian Serb Leadership 1990-1992, made by Patrick Treanor, leader of the legal research team in the Office of the Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal.

It is his task to present before the Trial Chamber the genesis of the policy of the SDS leadership from the time when the party was founded and its coalition with the SDA and HDZ until its takeover of power in "municipalities with Serb majority and minority" and the ethnic cleansing of the areas in BH labeled "Serb areas". During the period covered by his analysis, the accused Momcilo Krajisnik was one of the leading figures in the Serbian Democratic Party.

As Treanor explains, one of the leitmotifs of the SDS policy after its establishment in July 1990 was "All Serbs in a single State", but the strategy they applied to implement it changed radically over time. Founded as a party which would "use political means to defend the interests of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina", in the first year of its existence, the SDS was already supplying arms to the Bosnian Serbs in secret, with the assistance of the highest-ranking leaders in Serbia and the JNA. The prosecution was able to illustrate this point with a recording of a telephone conversation between Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic, on 8 July 1991.

In the "intercept", Milosevic demands that Karadzic provide replacements for the units of the JNA Fifth Corps by recruiting Bosnian Serbs – this was due to the operations in northern Croatia, where conflicts had already broken out. Karadzic in turn requests weapons for the Serbian population in Sipovo and Mrkonjic Grad. ""It's a minor thing, no problem," Milosevic said.

The "minor thing" prompted Karadzic to say in a speech given in this period that "Serbs will only remain in a State where there is Serbia. Any other solution would mean civil war, and Serbs are not helpless now, but very powerful and will know how to respond to such a challenge."

At the time when Croatia and Slovenia indicated their intention to secede, Karadzic said at a rally, "The worse the chances for Yugoslavia, the better the chances for Greater Serbia," explaining that in that case "Babic's Krajina" – proclaimed in Serb-controlled parts of Croatia – would "connect to Serbia through Bosnian Krajina".

"We will keep Bosnia and Herzegovina whole, and make it possible for the SAO Krajina to connect through Bosnian Krajina, in other words, through BH," he repeated in an interview in late June 1991.

Patrick Treanor is the seventh prosecution witness to appear at the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik, former high-ranking SDS official, charged with participation in a "joint criminal enterprise", whose aim, according to the indictment, was to remove forcibly and permanently the non-Serb population from large areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina.