The former head of the European Community’s monitoring mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina said in cross-examination that peace agreements signed at the beginning of the war in Bosnia were largely meaningless.
Answering the questions of wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for a third day, Colm Doyle said that peace negotiators in 1992 were aware that agreements that were reached would not be implemented.
â€œPeace agreements were signed with monotone regularity,â€ Doyle, the head of the European Community’s monitoring mission in Sarajevo between October 1991 and March 1992, said in the courtroom.
The prosecution witness began his testimony last Friday at the trial of Karadzic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, and should finish tomorrow.
He said that on 11 and 12 May he and the other members of the monitoring team were evacuated from Sarajevo, where they were based, out of fear for their lives as tensions escalated.
Karadzic repeated claims that Serbs did not plan an armed conflict in Bosnia, but that they were provoked by the actions of Bosnian Croats and Muslims. He also claimed that, unlike â€œthe other sideâ€, Serbs in Bosnia did not have paramilitary units in 1992, but rather that those who did have arms were part of the reserve Yugoslav Peopleâ€™s Army, JNA, units and police.
However, Doyle repeated that the Bosnian Serbs were the most heavily armed side in Bosnia during the first year of the war.
Karadzic read parts of Doyleâ€™s diaries from May 2, 1992 where he mentioned the detention of the president of Bosnia and Herzegovina Alija Izetbegovic by JNA, claiming that there was no intention to kill him.
â€œI can assure you that Serbs never wanted to kill Izetbegovic….We do not cherish a tradition of terrorism, and we are against any killings,â€ Karadzic said in the courtroom.
â€œI cannot accept that claim, at least not based on what I witnessed… I was the person who was shot at while driving in an official car, in my uniform, and that is a fact,â€ Doyle answered.
Alija Izetbegovic was detained by the JNA on his return from peace negotiations in Lisbon. He was released in exchange for the safe passage of the remaining JNA soldiers from Sarajevo.
While asking questions about 2 May in Sarajevo, the day that is considered to be the official beginning of the war, Karadzic stated that the â€œBosnian Muslim armyâ€ blocked the JNA barracks in the city, preventing the movement of people. Dolye explained that he was aware of that.
â€œThe reason for the blocking was that the Bosnian Muslims did not have arms and they did want to have it. At the same time, they wanted to prevent the JNA from arming Bosnian Serbs. That is my assumption,â€ Doyle said.
â€œThey signed a peace agreement on 12 April and on 23 April they gave the order to start the war… and on 2 May they killed some JNA soldiers on the streets of Sarajevo, and on 3 May they stopped the JNA column in Dobrovoljacka street. Isn’t it obvious they wanted the war?â€ Karadzic stated.
â€œI do not agree with your judgment. At the time when all this was happening, we already had information about ethnic cleansing in Bijeljina and Zvornik,â€ Doyle replied, saying that this was proof that the Bosnian Serbs were also not for peace.
Ethnic cleansing in northern Bosnian cities Bijeljina and Zvornik began in March 1992, when armed units from Serbia crossed the border and started killing civilians and expelling them from their homes.
The cross-examination of Doyle will continue tomorrow. The next witness is Robert Donia, an American historian and expert on the Balkans.