Prosecution Historian Can’t Back-Up Testimony - August 13, 2010

Written by: Andy Wilcoxson

Hearing date:
June 3, 2010


American historian Robert Donia again took the witness stand in the Radovan Karadzic trial on June 3, 2010. Donia is testifying as a historical expert for the Prosecution.




During his testimony for the prosecution Donia said that “Throughout the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, ethnicity really was not a consideration” in the placement of municipal boundaries. He said, “from the late 1980s, perhaps even earlier, the Serb nationalist thinkers, in Sarajevo in particular, developed a critique of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Communist era that included the critique of the municipal structure, and their contention was, and I would point to a number of early speeches by Dr. Karadzic in which he expressed this view, their contention was that the municipalities had been drawn to the disadvantage of the Serb people.”


However, under cross-examination, Donia admitted, “I don’t know the precise communities of municipalities that existed prior to 1990.  I know that not all municipalities belonged to a community of municipalities, and I furthermore don’t know where their seats were.”


Karadzic scolded the witness saying, “Well, you would have to know that.  It’s the subject of your expert report.” He said, “You had to know these things that I’m asking you about in order to draw such a conclusion, namely, that the Serbs were making demands about municipality boundaries which were not justified.”


Donia testified that “The [Bosninan-Serb] proposal to redraw municipal boundaries was a part of the pre-election campaign.”


Karadzic asked, “And why then did it become important that we wanted to redesign the community of municipalities?”


Donia answered, “Well, it became important because you adopted it as a tool to weaken, cripple, and eventually disable the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  You used it as a state-building tool for the rudiments of a new Bosnian Serb polity with the intent of superseding Bosnia-Herzegovina as it existed in 1991.”


So Karadzic asked, “Do you mean to say that we intended to create a Serb state in Bosnia in July 1990, when we formed the party and set out the party programme?”


Donia answered, “No, I don’t mean to say that.”


Indeed, the Bosnian-Serbs had no reason to establish a Serbian state in Bosnia when the SDS was founded because Bosnia was part of Yugoslavia and their interests were safeguarded by the federal Yugoslavian government in Belgrade. Therefore, the Bosnian-Serb motivation for wanting the municipal boundaries re-drawn couldn’t have been for the purpose of disabling the Bosnian government and establishing a Serb state as suggested by Donia.


Izetbegovic’s Position on Yugoslavia Changes


Donia testified that “The SDA, the Muslim party, in its first platform expressed support for Bosnia-Herzegovina as a unified republic within Yugoslavia and that it should be within Yugoslavia.”


Karadzic asked the witness, “Do you agree that the reconstitution of the Assembly in his speech, Mr. Izetbegovic, in mid-January [1991], still remained in favor of the preservation of Yugoslavia?”


Donia answered “Yes.”


Karadzic asked, “Do you agree that it was a surprise to one and all when, on the 31st of January, Mr. Izetbegovic launched the initiative to adopt the declaration on sovereignty for Bosnia-Herzegovina?”


Donia answered, “I don’t think it was a surprise to one and all.  I would certainly agree that he was the instrumental person in launching that initiative and that the leadership of the SDA and most of the HDZ backed that initiative.”


Indeed, Donia testified that prior to the SDA/ HDZ drive for Bosnia’s secession from Yugoslavia, the parties cooperated with Karadzic and the SDS to defeat the Communists and exclude them from power.


Karadzic Didn’t Seek Power for Himself or His Party


Karadzic asked Donia, “I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t wish to be the party president and that I offered the position to everybody else.  Is that right?” And Donia said, “That’s correct.”


Karadzic asked him, “Do you remember that immediately following the elections I proposed that in order to ease political tensions that an expert government rather than a party government be formed?  A government of experts.”


Donia answered, “Yes.” Karadzic followed-up saying, “And as, you know, this was not accepted.” And Donia responded, “That’s correct.”


Karadzic put it to the witness that the ministers appointed by SDS were experts in their fields, not members of the party. He said, “It is my case that the Serbian Democratic Party won power but did not seize it but handed it over to the experts.” He asked the witness, “If I tell you that they all were eminent experts in their professions and were not members of the SDS, this is something that you will not challenge.  I mean, you have no information to the contrary.”

Donia replied, “I have no information about it.”

Donia’s Agenda


Donia clearly blames Karadzic for the effects of the Bosnian war. At one point in his testimony he said, “Dr. Karadzic, the things that you did in the early 1990s set the economic development of Bosnia back 50 years.  You destroyed the economy. You destroyed the infrastructure that it was dependent upon.”


Donia’s obvious vendetta against Karadzic led him to say things and make criticisms during his testimony that were absolutely absurd.


During his speech at the founding assembly of the SDS, Radovan Karadzic said, “We can cannot and shall not co-operate with parties which have even the slightest trace of anti-Serbianism, anti-Yugoslavism, anti-Semitism, and anti-democracy in their programme or dealings.”


Donia criticized the speech. He said, “As I read it, it looked to me like it opened the door for you to say you would not co-operate with just about anybody that you chose not to co-operate with.  It was a wide-open designation, and you reserved the right to label any group that you found to be so with one of those labels.”


Karadzic tried to point out to Donia that these kinds of groups existed, but Donia wouldn’t agree. He asked, “Do you recall, do you agree that the Croatian Party of Rights had set up the Ustasha movement which was at the helm of the independent State of Croatia?”


Incredibly, Donia the so-called expert historian answered “No.”  Everyone who knows anything about the Ustasha knows that it was the military wing of the Croatian party of Rights and that the Ustasha movement was led by the party secretary Ante Pavelic, and that the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) that they ruled was a Nazi puppet state.


Karadzic pressed him a little bit more and asked, “Do you agree that the basis for the Croatian Party of Rights is Ante Starcevic’s ideology?”


Donia replied, “In part, yes.” So it is clear that he was aware of which party Karadzic was talking about.


In his 1868 Starcevic (who’s picture appears on Croatian currency to this day), wrote “[The Serbs] are slave stock, a beast more loathsome than any other. Let’s take three levels of perfection in a man: the level of an animal, the level of reason, the level of intelligence and spirituality. The Slavic Serbs have not completely reached even the lowest level; they cannot raise themselves from it. These are the brown slaves of Europe, Asia and Africa. By nature, all Slavic Serbs are for slavery, for every evil, for everything that is bad, the same way as all pigs are for mud.” Starcevic concluded “Serbs are breeding stock ripe for the axe.”


Starcevic was no fan of the Jews either; he believed they were a people “without any morality”. He wrote, “To let the Jews to participate in public life is dangerous”. But in his opinion they still weren’t as bad as the Serbs. He believed, “The Jews are less harmful than the Slavoserbs.”


Karadzic asked Donia, “Do you agree that the new, just like the old, Croatian Party of Rights was markedly anti-Serbian, anti-Yugoslavian, and anti-Semitic?”


Incredibly, Donia’s answer was “No.” One really has to wonder what someone would have to do in order for Donia to think they were anti-Serb, anti-Yugoslav, or anti-Semitic.


The president of the Croatian Party of Rights throughout the 1990s was a man named Dobroslav Paraga who told reporters in 1992 that “Ante Pavelic is a much-maligned man. He is a true Croat patriot and we carry on his work.”


Praga was convicted by the District court in Zagreb, Croatia in 1981 because of his collaboration with Stjepan Bilandzic and representatives of other Ustasha terrorist organizations abroad.


Stjepan Bilandzic was a notorious Ustasha who was incarcerated in West Germany. In 1978 Croatian terrorists seized the West German consulate building in Chicago, Illinois and took six staff members hostage in order to have him released from prison.


The Croatian Party of Rights is an organization that commemorates the 10th of April because that is the anniversary of the day the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was established in 1941.  


If Donia can’t even agree that the Croatian Party of Rights were anti-Serbian, anti-Yugoslavian, and anti-Semitic, then God only knows who would be. Donia’s vendetta against Radovan Karadzic was obviously causing him to testify in a disingenuous fashion.


A complete transcript of his hearing is available at:

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