At the trial of the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, a British officer testified that the Army of Republika Srpska randomly shelled Sarajevo in the autumn and winter of 1992.
Lieutenant Colonel, Richard Mole, who was a UN senior military observer in Sarajevo between September and late December 1992, said that “not a day passed without the city being shelled” and that the “random shelling” from the positions of the Army of Republika Srpska made “Sarajevo a dangerous place for living.”
According to estimates from UN military observers, around fifteen civilians were killed each day in Sarajevo from an artillery and sniper fire, specified Mole.
A day in which around 100 grenades fell on Sarajevo the observers described as “peaceful”, since there were days when “600 missiles” were fired at the city.
Mole said that he often protested against this to the commander of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska, Stanislav Galic, who replied to him that he would attack Sarajevo in response to the attacks from the Bosnian Army in other battlefields in Bosnia.
“I concluded that the policy of the Sarajevo siege carried out by the Serbs was actually to apply pressure on the city in order to achieve their goals in other places,” said the witness.
Mladic, former commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, is charged with terrorizing Sarajevo citizens with a campaign of shelling and sniping, the expulsion of Bosniaks and Croats from municipalities across Bosnia and Herzegovina, the genocide in Srebrenica, and taking international soldiers as hostages.
While cross-examined by Mladic’s lawyer Dragan Ivetic, Lieutenant Colonel Mole confirmed that the Bosnian Army had heavy artillery in Sarajevo, “but in a very limited scope” and that its activities were considerably lesser than the activities of the Army of Republika Srpska’s artillery.
Mole added that outside of the front lines, where there were no UN observers, the Bosnian Army had “considerable number of artillery weapons” which opened fire on Serb positions.
The witness confirmed that in Sarajevo itself there were legitimate military targets, but emphasised that the Army of Republika Srpska did not attack them with a concentrated fire, which would be military response, but with indiscriminate shelling spread all over the city.
The cross-examination of Mole will resume on Friday, November 2, but Mladic would not attend the hearing, having waived his right to attend the trial due to scheduled medical examinations.
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.