news 31 Oct 12

Mladic's Trial: Witness Recalls Sarajevo Shelling

At the trial of the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, a prosecution witness talked about children who were killed and wounded during the shelling of Sarajevo in 1994.

Justice Report
BIRN
The Hague

Muhamed Kapetanovic, who was ten years old at the time, recalled playing with his friends, Danijel Jurenic, 11, and brothers Admir and Elvir Ahmethodzic, in the Sarajevo neighbourhood of Alipasino Polje on January 22, 1994 when a granade fell near them.

“At some stage we heard an explosion and began running away. A grenade then exploded behind us. Danijel Jurenic got killed, while I, Elvir and Admir were severely wounded. Danijel was right behind me. When I turned around, I noticed that a shrapnel piece cut his head off,” Kapetanovic said.

According to the indictment on January 22, 1994, three mortar shells exploded in Cetinjska and Klare Cetkin Streets in Alipasino Polje neighbourhood killing six and wounding five people, including children.

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 international soldiers as hostages.

The prosecution showed images of dead children bodies in a morgue and bloody snow and sledges at the crime scene.

Kapetanovic said that his friend, AdmirAhmethodzic, who was 12 years old at the time, had to have his leg amputated, while his 14-year old brother Elvir suffered severe injuries to his left leg.  

During the cross-examination the defence suggested that the grenades did not really target children, but the nearby Bosnian army headquarters.

Mladic’s trial is due to continue on November 1, with the testimony of Richard Mol, a former UN military observer in Sarajevo.

 

 

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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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