News 12 Dec 12

Mladic’s Trial Hears About Sarajevo Airport Tunnel

The trial of the former Bosnian Serb army commander, Ratko Maldic, has continued with a testimony of a senior UN protection forces, UNPROFOR, officer.

Justice Report
BIRN
The Hague

Testifying under the code name RM-163, the witness said that he had heard rumours that the Bosnain army brought weapons and ammunition through the tunnel under the Sarajevo airport in 1993 and 1994.

 “There were rumours about it, but I haven’t seen it,“ said the witness when asked by Mladic’s lawyer, Dragan Ivetic
Asked whether UNPROFOR regarded such use of the tunnel as violation of the agreement, the witness replied: “There was no UN resolution about the tunnel. Both sides used what they got. Such is war.”

RM-163 confirmed that he met “Brigadier Fikret“, who was rumoured to have controlled the tunnel and who listened only to orders from the wartime Bosniak leader Alija Izetbegovic.

Ivetic claimed that the Army of Republika Srpska, according to the agreement on the zone of exclusion of heavy artillery around Sarajevo reached in February 1994, had the right to reclaim its weapons from the UN checkpoints in case of being attacked and UNPROFOR being unable to prevent that attack.

“I do not agree with your interpretation... I know that Bosnian Serbs proposed that, but UNPROFOR never accepted it,“ replied RM-163.

Mladic is charged with terrorising civilians in Sarajevo through campaign of artillery and sniper, with genocide in Srebrenica and another seven Bosnian municipalities, the expulsion of non Serbs across Bosnia and Herzegovina and taking the UN peacekeepers as hostages.

The cross-examination, just like the testimony by the protected witness which began on December 12, was mostly closed for the public in order to protect his identity.

In his testimony, RM-163 said that the Army of Republika Srpska exposed civilians of Sarajevo to artillery and sniper attacks.
Mladic’s trial is due to resume on Thursday, December 13.

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Background

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.

War in Bosnia

Key dates and events in the Bosnia war.

Ratko Mladic: The Force Behind the Srebrenica Killings

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.

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