News 06 Nov 12

Mladic’s Trial: Witness Recalls Second Markale Explosion

At the trial of the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, the Hague Tribunal heard a testimony about the second attack on Sarajevo’s Markale market in August 1995.

Justice Report
BIRN
The Hague

Ismet Svraka testified about the second explosion at the Sarajevo Markale market on August 28, 1995, which killed 43 and wounded 75 people.  The indictment specifies that a mortar shell, which exploded in front of the market, was fired from the Bosnian Serb army positions.

Svraka, who was seriously wounded by shrapnel, testified that on that day he was standing with two of his friends at the entrance to the market when a grenade fell not far from them. There were no members or positions of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the vicinity, he said.

“I suddenly heard an explosion, and I fell. I did not feel my legs. I felt for my head, my head was there, I could breathe, I was alive. I could not see anything, but I heard everything, ‘Grab this one, grab that one’ and the moans,” said the witness.

He said that soon afterwards he was transferred in a car to the Kosevo hospital, where his left leg was amputated, as well as two toes on his right foot.  A piece of shrapnel is still embedded in his head to this day.

Two of Svraka’s friends who were with him at the time of the explosion – Ramo Herceglija and Ibrahim Hajvaz – died on the spot.

The prosecution showed photographs of numerous victims took immediately after the explosion at Markale and the witness identified himself.

Expressing a “sincere regret for everything he went through as a victim”, Mladic’s lawyer, Miodrag Stojanovic , asked Svraka in a brief cross-examination where the grenade came from.

“Where it came from, and who fired it, I don’t know,” Svraka replied.

Mladic 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 UN peacekeepers as hostages.

A protected witness also testified during Monday’s hearing.  The most part of the examination of the witness, RM-084, was conducted behind closed doors.

The prosecution read out the witness’ statement summary in which he described the “training of the members of the Serb Democratic Party, removal of non-Serbs from the Army of Republika Srpska, failure to punish soldiers for committing crimes, links between the army and various paramilitary groups and various combat operations.”

Mladic’s trial will resume on Tuesday, November 6. 

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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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