The trial of the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, has continued with a testimony of a former UN protection forces, UNPROFOR, officer who was based in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war.
The former UNPROFOR deputy commander for Sarajevo, David Fraser, said that the Bosnian Serb army had used “excessive and random” artillery fire and had deliberately targeted civilians in Sarajevo in 1994 and 1995.
“Sarajevo was hit with numerous missiles, they were firing not only at the army command but also randomly across the city,” said the witness, while describing one of his Sarajevo days between April 1994 and May 1995.
General Fraser, a Canadian, concluded that the Bosnian Serb army used disproportionate and indiscriminate fire on the basis of UNPROFOR’s investigations into attacks on the city.
Mladic, the former commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, is charged with terrorizing civilians in Sarajevo with artillery and sniper attacks between 1992 and 1995. He is also charged with genocide in Srebrenica and another seven municipalities, the expulsion of non Serbs across Bosnia and taking UN peacekeepers as hostages.
Fraser said that the fire from the positions of the Army of Republika Srpska was partially “provoked” by the Bosnian army inside the city, but that the response was disproportionate.
“For each grenade fired by the Bosnian army, the Army of Republika Srpska would respond with ten missiles,” he said.
According to Fraser, Bosnian Serb forces firing modified airplane bombs at densely populated areas “did not have military merit”, because these bombs were not precise.
Fraser said that he had witnessed Mladic threatening to restrict UNPROFOR’s movements and the prevent humanitarian convoys entering Sarajevo following the NATO airstrikes on the Bosnian Serb army in the autumn of 1994.
Following Mladic’s orders, which was shown in the courtroom, subsequently his troops did exactly that, the witness confirmed.
Fraser said that Mladic threatened the then commander of UNPROFOR in Sarajevo, Francis Briquemont, that he would “attack UNPROFOR itself”.
The witness said that Mladic had the undeniable command and control over the Army of Republika Srpska units.
Fraser will be cross-examined by Mladic’s lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, on Thursday, December 6.
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.