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‘Criminals’ Committed Massacre at Koricanske Stijene

27. January 2014.00:00
Testifying in defence of Radovan Karadzic, former investigative judge from Banja Luka - Jefto Jankovic suggests that the massacre committed at Koricanske Stijene on Mount Vlasic in 1992 was ordered by foreign intelligence services “in order to present Serbs as animals”.

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Jankovic said that the crime was committed by “our criminals… in association with foreign intelligence services”, which used that for “political purposes” against Republika Srpska.

The witness said that he “began a crime scene inspection” at Koricanske Stijene on August 22, 1992, but he “did not complete it”, adding that he neither knew who the perpetrators were nor had an authority to order their arrest.

“It was a shame for Serbs. We did not need that… All reasonable people condemned it,” Jankovic said.

According to the charges against Karadzic, on August 21, 1992 policemen from Prijedor killed about 200 captured Bosniaks at Koricanske Stijene. Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska, is on trial for genocide in Srebrenica and seven other municipalities, including Prijedor, terror against citizens in Sarajevo and taking UNPROFOR members hostage.

Witness Jankovic said that he suspected that the murder perpetrators were “disguised” as policemen and that the crime was committed in order to subject Republika Srpska to “various types of pressures”.

“Somebody needed it in order to present Serbs as criminals…The leadership certainly did not need it,” Jankovic said, adding that the mass murder on Mount Vlasic was “not justified” by any person on the Serbian side.

Jankovic said that he conducted the only investigative actions which were possible under those conditions. “Those were not normal circumstances. I could do nothing but seeing the corpses in the abyss with my own eyes…We could just take photographs of that. Access was impossible,” he said.

The witness said that he saw an official letter by which Karadzic ordered Mico Stanisic, the then Minister of Internal Affairs of Republika Srpska, to find and punish the perpetrators of the crime at Koricanske Stijene. The Hague Tribunal sentenced Stanisic, under a first instance verdict, to 22 years in prison.

Jankovic said that, while performing his job during the war, he treated all crime perpetrators, irrespective of their ethnicity, in the same manner. When reminded by the prosecutors that he told them, in 2001, that he was under pressure not to criminally prosecute Serbs, Jankovic denied that, adding that Karadzic and his Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, did not put pressure on him.

Wartime Commander of the Republika Srpska Army Ratko Mladic is due to testify at Karadzic’s trial tomorrow, Tuesday, January 28. Although the Trial Chamber obliged him to testify, it is still not certain whether Mladic, who is charged with the same crimes as Karadzic, will appear in the courtroom or not.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian