News 11 Oct 12

Mladic Made Sarajevo Shake, Witness Says

The infrastructure of the city of Sarajevo was deliberately targeted by Bosnian Serb forces, claims a former UN military officer.

Marija Ristic
John Wilson, former UN military official

The trial of the former Bosnian Serb commander, Ratko Mladic, continued on Thursday with the cross-examination of John Wilson, a former UN military officer in Bosnia in 1992.

Wilson recalled that the heaviest shelling of the city of Sarajevo occurred on May 29 in 1992, an event which made him feel that Mladic’s threats to ”make Sarajevo shake” were really coming true.

“It was probably the biggest shelling I have ever experienced. It started at 8 pm and lasted until morning…Thousands and thousands of shells were dropped. The city itself was the target,” Wilson said.

On Wednesday, Wilson testified about Mladic’s decision to shell the city, after international troops failed to allow the Yugoslav People’s Army to withdraw from its barracks.

When the defence asked him to what extent Mladic was acting unilaterally, Wilson said that his only source on this was Mladic, who once told him that he was subordinate to the political leadership of Bosnian Serbs and the then president of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadzic.

The witness also said that UN vehicles were shelled a number of times. However, the UN was understaffed during this period, and because they were unable to run their own, independent investigations, they were reliant on the Bosniak and Bosnian Serb authorities for information about this and any other attacks.  

Towards the end of Thursday’s hearing, the presiding judge Alphons Ori, ordered Mladic’ s removal from the courtroom for speaking loudly, something which he had continued to do despite being warned by the judge on several occasions  that his behaviour was inappropriate.

Mladic, who was arrested in May of last year, has pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war during the Bosnian conflict between 1992 and 1995.

He is charged with genocide in Srebrenica in 1995 and seven other Bosnian municipalities in 1992.

Mladic is also charged with the expulsion of Bosniaks and Croats from municipalities under the control of the Bosnian Serbs, terrorizing Sarajevo citizens with a campaign of shelling and sniping and taking international soldiers as hostages in 1995.

The trial will resume on October 12 with the cross-examination of Wilson by the defence.

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