A former senior UN observer told the Hague Tribunal that civilians were killed by grenades and sniper fire from positions held by Ratko Mladic’s Bosnian Serb Army.
Norwegian major Thorbjorn Overgard said that “there were victims almost every day” in the Hrasnica neighbourhood of Sarajevo from October 1994 to May 1995 while he was acting as a UN observer in the besieged city during the Bosnian conflict.
According to Overgard’s estimate, “between 30 and 40 civilians”, including two small children, were killed in incidents he investigated on just one day, November 17, 1994.
Overgard said that the investigations in which he participated showed that the attacks were launched from 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.
Overgard said that he personally witnessed the Bosnian Serb Army firing modified air-bombs at civilian buildings in Hrasnica. He said that one such bomb killed a woman and wounded other civilians on April 7, 1995.
When responding to questions from Mladic’s defence attorney, Overgard confirmed that he saw a person in military trousers and boots lying motionlessly in the house which was destroyed in the explosion.
Mladic’s trial has been temporarily suspended until April 7 at the request of the defendant.
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.