News 17 Oct 12

Karadzic Says Markale Could Have Been Hit by Bosnian Army

On the second day of presentation of his defence, Karadzic suggests that a mortar shell which killed and wounded scores at a Sarajevo market in 1995, could have been fired by the Bosnian army.

Justice Report
BIRN
The Hague

The trial of the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, continued on Wednesday with the testimony of Paul Conway, an Irish officer who was a UN military observer in Bosnia in 1995, about the 1995 Markale market massacre.

Karadzic faces 10 charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the Bosnian war, including the Srebrenica genocide and the siege of Sarajevo.

The indictment alleges that a mortar shell that killed 43 and wounded 75 citizens at the Markale market on August 28, 1995, was fired from Bosnian Serb positions around the city. 

Conway testified that in December 1995 he found a Bosnian Army location, about three kilometres south of Markale, where four well-fortified mortars were turned towards the city.  He said that it seemed that they had been there for a long time.  

Karadzic asked the witness whether the UN protection forces, UNPROFOR, could have discovered the Bosnian army position sooner, but Conway answered negatively.

“It was not possible for us to go there, because check-points were set on both sides of the road leading there. We had never been allowed to visit the place until then,” the witness replied.

Summarizing Conwey’s written statement, which was included as evidence, Karadzic said that the witness confirmed that the position of the Bosnian army mortars was “in line with the direction from which the grenade allegedly was fired” at Markale, according to the UNPROFOR’s findings.

Conwey said that at the time of the explosion at Markale he was at a UN’s checkpoint on the south slopes above Sarajevo. 

He said that at around 11 a.m. he had heard few muffled explosions and he soon saw smoke above the Markale market.

He then ascertained that the city area “was hit”, given that he had not been able to tell whether the projectile was fired from the city or at the city.  

During the cross-examination the prosecutor, Kimberley West, said that Conway had not mentioned before that the Bosnian army’s mortar position south of Sarajevo was “in the direction from which the grenade allegedly was fired” at Markale.

Conwey responded that he was not accusing anyone.

The witness marked on a map the two possible directions from which the grenade that hit Markale could have come, according to the UNPROFOR’s findings.

The Bosnian army mortars, which the Irish officer mentioned during his testimony, were outside those lines.

The prosecutor suggested that the witness would not have heard “muffled”, but much louder detonations had the Bosnian Army 120mm mortars opened fire on Markale, as alleged by Karadzic.

Conway confirmed that fire opened from such weapons was not “muffled”.  

The trial is due to continue on Thursday, October 18, with a testimony by Blagoje Kovacevic, a general of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who used to be a colonel in the Bosnian Serb army.

 

 

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Background

Karadzic: War Criminal or Poet?

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.  

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

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.

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