At the trial of Radovan Karadzic, an ex UN military observer claims that in 1992 the Sarajevo authorities “killed their own people for the sake of media“ in order to trigger international military intervention against Serbs.
Testifying at the Hague Tribunal as a defence witness for the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, Colonel Richard Gray from New Zealand, an ex UN military observer, claimed that attacks on its own civilians was a part of a “full scale strategy” by the predominantly Bosniak government and its army.
Gray stated that the Bosnian army fired mortars from locations near civilian buildings and the UN protection forces, UNPROFOR, headquarters in order to provoke Bosnian Serb forces to open fire.
The witness said that the predominantly Bosniak forces “had a custom” of shelling the area in front of the Bosnian Presidency during visits by international diplomats and peace mediators.
“A grenade would usually explode while a foreign official spoke to Alija Izetbegovic in the Presidency building,” Gray said.
Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska and the supreme commander of its army, is charged with terrorizing civilians in Sarajevo by artillery and sniper attacks.
He is also charged with the genocide in Srebrenica, the persecution of Bosniak and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and taking UN peacekeepers as hostages.
Gray said that the Bosnian army was most probably responsible for a mortar attack which killed a girl and wounded several teenagers as UNPROFOR soldiers were giving handing out candies in front their headquarters on July 13, 1992.
The witness added that the UNPROFOR Command was targeted by snipers from the surrounding buildings.
According to Gray, due to all these activities aimed at provoking a response fire from Serb positions on civilian buildings and UNPROFOR and the murders of “blue helmets” from Ukraine and France, the UN’s Command severely protested to the Presidency.
During the cross-examination the prosecutor suggested to the witness that UN military observers were not able to determine who opened fire first and who responded to fire.
“We were not 100 per cent sure, but we could determine it with 85 per cent certainty,” Gray responded.
He confirmed that the response of the Bosnian Serb army to fire from Sarajevo was non-proportional, saying that they would fire “30, 40 or 50” grenades in response to six grenades fired from Sarajevo.
Karadzic’s trial is due to continue on Monday, November 11.
To the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, was a true sensation, and one to be exploited day after day.
In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.