Yugoslavia tribunal hears first witnesses in Karadzic Trial

21 April 2010 by Linawati Sidarto

After months of delay, the genocide trial against former President Radovan Karadžić in the Hague last week started hearing the first testimonies by witnesses about atrocities committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. 

Two witnesses, out of the 410 the prosecution hopes to hear, gave accounts of torture, murder and destruction they had suffered and witnessed under pro-Serbian troops and supporters.

The solemn and sometimes emotional witnesses contrasted greatly with Karadžić, who calmly listened to them from across the room. However Karadžić, carrying out his own defence, became combative during cross examinations.

“Cross carved on my chest”

Ahmet Zulić, held in detention facilities in Bosnia for six months in 1992, mostly cast his glance downward throughout the hearings. He made an exception during a cross examination when Karadžić accused him of lying about torture done by a Serb captor. Zulić, who is Muslim, pulled open his shirt and pointed to his chest: “ You can see the cross carved on my chest.”

In his testimony, Zulić said he witnessed how Serbs forced some 20 Muslim men dig their own graves before they were shot or had their throats slashed.

Sulejman Crncalo, the second witness, wept as he recounted how his wife was killed in the shelling of Sarajevo’s Markale market in August 1995.

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