The prosecution at trial of the former Bosnian army chief, Ratko Mladic, resumed presenting their evidence with the testimony of an international fire-fighter.
The former US marine, John Jordan, led a group of international volunteer fire-fighters in Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995 which worked on both sides of the front.
He testified that civilians in the city were exposed to artillery and sniper attacks from positions of the Bosnian Serb army above the city on a daily basis.
“I saw civilians being shot at every day,” said Jordan, emphasising that civilians also made up vast majority of victims which his firemen were finding in the burning buildings.
Jordan said that the members of his crew witnessed on November 18, 1994, a sniper killing the seven-year old Nermin Divovic and wounding his mother Dzenana Sokolovic in downtown Sarajevo.
“My men told me that the boy with his mother approached our truck and asked for a candy, which children often did... Both of them were shot within seconds,” said the witness.
While cross-examined by Mladic’s lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, Jordan confirmed that he and his firemen were armed and that they opened fire if they were attacked during their interventions.
“We opted for such protection because in the first year of the war every fifth Sarajevo firemen got killed,” explained the witness.
Jordan, however, dismissed Ivetic’s suggestion that the sniper who killed Nermin Divovic could have targeted armed firemen.
“I am one hundred per cent certain that the sniper who shot at the child could not have seen us because no one could have targeted us and shoot the child,” said the witness.
Jordan also said that he frequently found weapons in the civilian buildings in the parts of the city under the control of the Bosnian army and that the portable mortars launchers were also active within the city.
He said he saw such a mortar launcher in 1994 firing from the yard of the main Sarajevo’s hospital.
When questioned, the witness accepted the possibility of shells from those launchers falling on the city, due to a lack of precision.
At the end of the cross-examination, Mladic requested through his lawyer to ask the witness two questions himself, but the presiding judge, Alphons Orie, did not allow it. The judges told Mladic he can ask all his questions through his lawyers.
Mladic, who was arrested in May last year, has pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war during the Bosnian conflict between 1992 and 1995.
The trial will continue on August 29.
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.