Wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Thursday he had no control over paramilitary groups which committed crimes in Bosnia’s bloody1992-1995 war.
Karadzic cross-examined a protected prosecution witness, listed as KDZZ-555, who claimed paramilitary groups, especially the ‘Tigers’ headed by renowned underground figure Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, expelled all Muslims from eastern town of Zvornik in the spring of 1992.
The witness said paramilitaries even beat up local Serb officials and members of Karadzic’s Democratic Party of Serbia before they were arrested by special police in July 1992 to which Karadzic agreed.
Karadzic said Arkan was wecolmed in Zvornik “as a hero” after fighting in the northeastern city of Bijeljina where “Muslims took him in their homes and blessed him because he resolved the crisis there in 24 hours”.
“Yes, he did come as a hero,” the witness replied, but didn’t elaborate. Before he was murdrered in a gangland-style killing in January 2000, Arkan was indicted by the UN tribunal for atrocities committed in Zvornik and in the eastern town of Bijeljina.
Karadzic and his wartime military commander Ratko Mladic have been charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by forces under their command.