News / Europe

Karadzic War Crimes Trial Hears First Witness

This frame grab from the ICTY courtroom television shows Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic talking during his trial for genocide, in the Hague, 13 Apr 2010
This frame grab from the ICTY courtroom television shows Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic talking during his trial for genocide, in the Hague, 13 Apr 2010

The war crimes trial of Radovan Karadzic resumed Tuesday in The Hague with the former president of the Bosnian Serbs questioning the prosecution's first witness-a Bosnian Muslim who was a prisoner in a Serb-run detention camp in the early war years. Karadzic is defending himself against genocide charges and nine other counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Yugoslav War crimes tribunal.

Six months after the Karadzic trial began, prosecutors were finally able to call their first witness.

Ahmet Zulic did not look at Karadzic as he took his place in the witness stand. The former miner is a Bosnian Muslim from the Sanski Most area of northwest Bosnia. Zulic  testified how at the start of the war in April 1992, anti-Muslim rhetoric increased, the movement of non-Serbs was restricted, and Muslims and Croats were told to hand over their weapons after the Serb takeover of the area.

But that was just the start. Zulic testified that shortly after, his father-in-law was burned to death in his bed following an attack on his village that killed 300 others. He recalled seeing about 20 men forced to dig their own graves before being shot or having their throats slit. And he described, through an interpreter, the beatings he received while he was a prisoner in a Serb detention camp - meted out by almost anyone. "Anyone who came first: guards, kids coming home from school. People coming back from café. If the children came by, they would train karate and we had to do pushups and some would kick in one part of our body until we were unconscious," he said.

Zulic's testimony was emotional, and he is still disabled from the beatings that he says broke his ribs, vertebrae, arms and fingers. Although he did not accuse Karadzic of those crimes, prosecutors hold him responsible for orchestrating what they say was a plan to create an ethnically pure Serbian state in Bosnia.

Karadzic denies all the charges. He boycotted the start of his trial saying he needed more time to prepare. In his opening statement last month, he insisted Serbs were just defending themselves against Muslims who wanted to create their own Islamic state.

But in court Tuesday, he took on the role of defense lawyer, cross-examining Zulic. He began by pointing out how Zulic has given testimony in a number of court cases in The Hague, including the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. He spoke through an interpreter. "You've given a number of statements under different circumstances. I can't say you're the favorite witness but it is clear the office of the prosecution holds you dear as a witness," he said.

Prosecutors objected immediately to Karadzic's opening words, as did presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon.  Throughout his cross examination, Karadzic focused on political issues such as the arming of Muslims and didn't address the witnesses' testimony. Judges warned Karadzic to stay on course.

Karadzic has asked the court for 155 hours to cross examine the prosecutions first 12 witnesses. Prosecutors themselves say they'll need only 25 hours. Judges called Karadzic's request irresponsible and unrealistic and said they may limit his time. With two more days of testimony this week, that time may come sooner rather than later.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid