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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora