Former UN general testifies at Karadzic trial

The prosecution in the Hague has called a new witness, a former UN general in Bosnia, to the stand at the trial of Radovan Karadzic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY.

Hussein Ali Abdel-Razek, a former general in Egyptian army, was head of the Sarajevo sector of UN forces (UNPROFOR) from August 1992 to February 1993. During his time in Sarajevo, he met several times with the Bosnian Serb political and military leadership, including Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

Karadzic was the wartime president of Republika Srpska and supreme commander of the Bosnian Serb Amry, VRS. Mladic was the chief commander of the VRS during the war. Both are accused of crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995, including genocide.

Mladic is still on the run.

Abdel Razek previously testified at the trial of Stanislav Galic, the commander of the Sarajevo Romanija Corp of VRS, who was sentenced in November 2006 to life imprisonment. The testimony Abdel Razek gave at the Galic trial was partially read in the courtroom and submitted as evidence on Monday.

The witness testified that Karadzic was the decision maker during the war, and that, at the meeting he attended, he got the feeling that the Bosnian Serb political and military goals were the same.

“I can confirm that with certainty,” Abdel Rezak said.

According to the witness, the city of Sarajevo was often exposed to heavy bombardment and shelling, as well as to sniper fire. He and other UNPROFOR officials tried to negotiate with Bosnian Serbs about the situation, including by sending them letters of concern.

“In most cases, they claimed no responsibility for the attacks. They used to repeat that the only thing they do is answer fire from Bosnian forces,” Abdul Rezak claimed.

His testimony will continue today.

Before Abdel Rezak began his testimony on Monday, Karadzic finished his cross-examination of witness Milan Mandilovic, a doctor from Sarajevo whose testimony began on Friday, July 17.

Mladinovic categorically rejected Karadzic’s claims that Serb doctors from the hospital where he worked left the city because they were victims of maltreatment by Bosnian government forces.

“We were united. It was a multinational hospital where all of us were antifascists,” Mladinovic said. Karadzic asked who he considered to be a fascist in the Bosnian war.

“We were fighting against a horrible aggressor who kept us under siege for 44 months,” the witness replied.

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