Karadzic: Muslim Authorities ‘Played the Victim’

19. August 2010.00:00
A former military observer with the United Nations’ forces in Sarajevo told the trial of Radovan Karadzic that Muslim authorities placed weapons in front of civil buildings in the city.

Answering Karadzic’s cross-examination questions, Richard Mole, the former UN senior military observer in Sarajevo, said “the Muslim authorities” sometimes “played a victim with an aim of provoking a military intervention” in the city.

“The Bosnian Presidency forces misused civilian buildings, like the Kosevo Hospital, placing weapons in front of them in order for Serbs to be accused. (…) I know we noticed this and we were not happy with placing vehicles within the hospital complex,” Mole said.

The witness repeated his previous statement, saying the international media took an anti-Serb approach in their reports in 1992.

“From our point of view, their stands certainly made the fulfillment of our mission more difficult. I am sure you are aware about the details, because, as far as the Serbian side is concerned, it seemed that its intentions were misinterpreted in media reports to some extent,” Mole said.

Karadzic, the former President of Republika Srpska and supreme commander of its armed forces, is on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, for genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war committed from 1992 to 1995.

The indictment alleges that Karadzic participated in a sniper and shelling campaign in Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995 with an aim of spreading terror among the civilian population in the city.

Richard Higgs, a mine-thrower expert with the British Army, began his testimony at this hearing. On the basis of UNPROFOR’s reports, he prepared findings about the shelling committed in Sarajevo during the siege, including the shelling of Markale market place in 1994 and 1995.

The indictment charges Karadzic with the shelling of Markale in February 1994 when a mine-thrower projectile was “fired from a location in the north-northeast direction” controlled by the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, killing 66 and wounding more than 140 people. He is also accused of the shelling that took place in August 1995 when 43 people were killed and 75 wounded.

Higgs determined that the projectile that hit Markale in February 1994 was fired from “the north-northeast” direction.

After watching a video recording taken in Mula Mustafe Baseskije street, located in the vicinity of Markale market place right after the explosion of the second projectile on August 28, 1995, Higgs said that “it can be determined that the projectile was fired from a mine-thrower placed on a hill near Sarajevo on Serbian territory”.

Answering Karadzic’s questions, Higgs said that he “had to rely upon the UNPROFOR reports and trust they were correct” as he was not in Sarajevo when the projectiles hit the city.

The cross examination of Higgs will continue on August 19. D.Dz.