A Sarajevo doctor told at Ratko Mladic’s Hague trial that the Bosnian Serb army repeatedly attacked his hospital with the intention of destroying it.
Doctor Bakir Nakas told the Hague Tribunal that Sarajevo’s state hospital, where he worked during the 1992-95 war, was hit during the conflict by some 200 projectiles fired by Bosnian Serb forces.
Nakas, who was appointed director of the former Yugoslav Army hospital after the war broke out in May 1992, said that “the shelling caused significant damage to the hospital building”, despite the fact that a Red Cross flag was hoisted on its south side, facing Bosnian Serb positions.
Former Bosnian Serb military chief Mladic is on trial for terrorising civilians in Sarajevo through a shelling and sniper-fire campaign, committing genocide in Srebrenica and seven other municipalities, expelling Bosniaks and Croats and taking international peacekeepers hostage during the conflict.
Nakas said that the worst period was between May 13 and 16, 1992, when the hospital was hit by about 40 grenades.
He said that by watching what was going on and looking at the grenade fragments found by hospital staff inside the building, he concluded that the artillery and sniper fire came from areas controlled by Bosnian Serbs.
Many patients were treated “under the most unfavourable conditions”, he said - without electricity, water and other basic necessities.
Other witnesses called by the prosecution at Mladic’s trial this week also testified about artillery and sniper attacks by Bosnian Serbs on Sarajevo civilians.
Sarajevo police investigator Ekrem Suljevic said that the Bosnian Serb army used to fill 200-litre barrels with explosives and put them on wheels before “rolling them down towards an inhabited area” from one of the hills around Sarajevo.
A former war crimes investigator for the Sarajevo police, Edin Suljic, said meanwhile that an investigation had determined that a mortar shell which killed and wounded more than 200 people in the city’s Markale open-air market in February 1994 was fired from positions held by the Bosnian Serb army.
Mladic’s trial will resume next week.
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.
Key dates and events in the Bosnia war.
The Bosnian Serb commander’s role in the genocide committed in Srebrenica is described in detail in many indictments and verdicts pronounced before local and international judicial institutions.