news 11 Dec 12

Protected UNPROFOR Witness Testifies at Mladic's Trial

At the trial of the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, a senior UNPROFOR officer testified that the Army of Republika Srpska used artillery and sniper attacks against the civilian population.

A senior UN protection forces, UNPROFOR, officer, who served in Sarajevo in 1993 and 1994, testified under the code name RM-163, with a concealed face and electronically altered voice.

A large part of his testimony and the cross-examination took place behind closed doors in order to protect his identity.

During the part of the proceedings which were open to the public, the witness said that the siege of Sarajevo was a “means of pressure” by the Bosnian Serb army and political leadership for the “Muslim leadership to accept division of the city.”

According to the witness, the attacks on Sarajevo were “retaliation for the attacks by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in other parts of the country.”

RM-163 said that the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, which carried out the siege, was under “strict command” of General Mladic, and the army was disciplined and had a strict hierarchy.

Mladic is charged with terrorizing civilians in Sarajevo through campaign of artillery and sniper attacks, the expulsion of non Serbs across Bosnia and Herzegovina and taking UN peacekeepers as hostages.

RM-163 had regular contacts with the Bosnian Serb army commanders and he also took part in negotiations with General Mladic on the zone of exclusion of heavy artillery around Sarajevo, after the first explosion at the Markale market, on February 5, 1994, in which 66 citizens were killed and around 140 wounded.

Asked by Mladic’s lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, whether he knew that the weaponry for the Bosnian army was being manufactured in Sarajevo, the witness said he knew about the facilities in which weapons and ammunition were manufactured “both for Muslims and Serbs”.

The trial will resume on December 12.

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