News 17 Jul 15

Sarajevo Was Not Besieged, Mladic Witness Says

Testifying in defence of Ratko Mladic, a former member of his Serbian Democratic Party Zdravko Salipur said Sarajevo was a divided city in the war but was not under siege.

Justice Report

“Sarajevo was indeed divided, that is the correct term… it was divided from the start,” defence witness Salipur, who worked in the Novo Sarajevo Serb municipality, said at Mladic's trial.

During the cross examination, presented with certain documents, Salipur admitted that the Bosnian Serb leadership “wanted the division of the city”.

After being played an intercepted discussion between the former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic and an official from the Novo Sarajevo municipality in which the “reorganization of the city” was discussed, based on where Muslims live, Salipur said it was a “childish conversation” because both men “knew nothing about Sarajevo”.

The former Bosnian Serb army commander, Ratko Mladic, is charged with terrorizing the people of Sarajevo with a shelling and sniping campaign. He is also charged with genocide, persecution of non-Serbs and with taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Karadzic is on trial in a separate case for the same crimes.

The witness denied that non-Serbs were expelled from the district of Grbavica in Sarajevo, which was under control of Bosnian Serb forces.

When the prosecution read out a UN report from September 1992, which stated that 300 Muslims were expelled from Grbavica, the witness said he knew nothing of these events.

“I never heard about this and it did not happen in Grbavica while I was there,” Salipur said, adding that Bosnian Army snipers and artillery killed hundreds of Serb civilians in Grbavica.

Because of the artillery and snipers, Grbavica was “hell on earth”, Salipur said.

Following Salipur's testimony, as the 170th defence witness, Mladic’s trial was suspended until August 10 for the summer recess.

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