"War in Bosnia started with murder of Serb wedding guest"
Bosnian politician Fahrudin Radoncic appeared as a witness on Monday before the Municipal Court in Pristina, in the trial of Naser Kelmendi.Source: Vecernje novosti
Kelmendi is a Kosovo Albanian accused of participation in organized crime, drug and weapons trafficking, and of possible involvement in the murder of Ramiz Delalic aka Celo, a Bosniak underworld figure killed in 2007.
Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti is reporting that, addressing the court, Radoncic, who heads the Alliance for a Better Future party (SBB), said there was "a version" circulating publicly that Delalic "asked the SDA (party) to be paid one million marks, because it was at their request that he had killed a guest at a Serb wedding party in Sarajevo (in March 1992)."
"That is how the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina started," Radoncic, whose party is a coalition partner the SDA, said.
Radoncic however, ruled out the involvement of Kelmendi in the killing of Delalic, instead testifying that he was killed by "Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) state mafia on the orders of Alija Izetbegovic, so as not to reveal a dozen political killings he had committed according to his own statement made in an interview with Radio Free Europe two days before his death."
Radoncic added that, in the months after Delalic was killed, there was "a lot of speculation among the public that he was liquidated by the secret service so that he would no longer blackmail and demand money."
This testimony has caused strong reactions from the members and supporters of the SDA, and especially from Bakir Izetbegovic, the son of Alija Izetbegovic who is now at the helm of the party. He said that "the court believes only the facts it determines in a professional manner."
"As for the assertion that the Bosniak mafia was behind the murder of Delalic, only uninformed citizens can believe it, certainly not the court," said Izetbegovic.
He believes that "some mafia" must have had a reason to remove Delalic, "but it will be known which one and why when the court in Pristina announces its ruling in a few months."
"It's not fair and it's not human to take an interview with a dead Ramiz Delalic and on the basis of this interview accuse a dead Alija Izetbegovic," said Bakir Izetbegovic, adding, whoever, that he expects the SDA-SBB Bosniak coalition to survive.
Ramiz Delalic aka Celo shot and killed Nikola Gardovic, a guest at a Serb wedding, in front of the a Serbian Orthodox Church in Bascarsija, central Sarajevo, on March 1, 1992, Vecernje Novosti said in its report. Delalic also shot and wounded the priest Radenko Mikovic. On the same day, a referendum was held in what was then the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina - a federal entity of Yugoslavia (SFRJ), when Bosniaks and Croats decided that this republic should leave Yugoslavia.
The bloody wedding in Bascarsija was the trigger for the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, writes the paper, adding that this was also what Radonicic told the court in Pristina on Monday, and described at the same time Delalic as "one of the best-known people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, one of the icons of the war, regardless of how anyone may wish to understand that."
The tragedy of the Gardovic family, meanwhile, became a symbol of the suffering of Serbs in Sarajevo. Vecernje Novosti writes that shortly after this horrible crime Grdovic's wife and children, aware that they cannot stay in Sarajevo, left the city. Later, most of their compatriots would be forced to do the same. Many Serbs who remained "did not survive Kazani, and other places of their suffering during the war, " the paper said.