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Karadzic Ordered  Srebrenica's Killings, says Former Bosnian Serb Politician - 2003-10-28

A former Bosnian Serb politician says former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic ordered the killing of thousands of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. He testified in The Hague at the sentencing hearing of another Bosnian Serb army officer who has admitted his role in Europe's worst massacres since World War II.

Miroslav Deronjic is a confessed war criminal who plead guilty to persecuting non-Serbs in an eastern Bosnian village in 1992. He testified Tuesday at the hearing of another self-confessed war criminal, Momir Nikolic.

Nikolic became the first Bosnian Serb army officer to accept responsibility for what he admitted were planned executions at Srebrenica. His role included separating men and boys from women, knowing he was sending more than 7,500 of them to their deaths.

Deronjic testified about a conversation he had with then-Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic a few days before the massacres began in July 1995. Prosecutor Peter McCloskey asked Deronjic about it.

"Did President Karadzic actually say, Miroslav, they should be killed, referring to any potential Muslim prisoners?" he asked.

"Yes, and this is something I've told prosecution about. I mentioned this sentence to the prosecution, I'm not sure about every word, but kill, I remember this word being used. He said all those who are down there should be killed. Kill all those you manage to kill," replied Mr. Deronjic.

This is the first time someone in court has given a first-hand account of Radovan Karadzic's alleged role in the Srebrenica massacres. The name of Mr. Karadzic's military commander, General Ratko Mladic, is the one that usually comes up in court testimony regarding responsibility for the massacres. Both men have been indicted for genocide, but they are still at large.

In a separate case at The Hague War Crimes Tribunal Tuesday, a Bosnian Serb was sentenced to eight years in prison for beating to death and torturing prisoners at a Serb-run detention center in 1992.

Predrag Banovic, a waiter turned guard at Keraterm prison camp, plead guilty earlier this year to one count of persecuting non-Serbs during a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in northwest Bosnia.

In handing down their sentence, the judges noted that Banovic abused his position of power, mistreating and humiliating prisoners in total disregard of human life and dignity.