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Karadzic: Challenging Zecevic’s Conclusions

23. February 2011.00:00
As his trial continues, Radovan Karadzic challenges court expert Berko Zecevic's ability to determine the direction from which projectiles were fired and his conclusions about the use of modified air bombs.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Ballistics expert Berko Zecevic drafted a report on the explosion at Markale market place in Sarajevo on February 5, 1994, when 66 people were killed and more than 140 wounded. The indictment alleges that the projectile was fired from positions held by the Republika Srpska Army, but Karadzic denies the allegation.

“I had worked in the military industry for 17 years. I considered it possible to determine the direction from which the projectile had come,” Zecevic said, responding to Karadzic’s question about why he thought he could make a better analysis than police and UNPROFOR.

When asked by Karadzic if the crime scene had already been “cleaned and changed significantly” when he arrived on the day after the explosion, Zecevic answered affirmatively.

Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska, is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995. He is charged with spreading terror among the civilian population in Sarajevo through a shelling and sniping campaign.

During the cross-examination, the indictee asked Zecevic if he was an expert in determining the direction and distance from which projectiles were fired and how many expert analyses of that kind he had conducted prior to the Markale incident.

“Prior to the incident, I had dealt with a thousand rockets and warheads fired on a training ground. There is no need to examine such things in a time of peace,” said Zecevic, who worked in the Pretis factory before the war. He is now head of the Defence Technologies Department at the Mechanical Engineering Faculty in Sarajevo.

In addition to his report on Markale, Zecevic drafted a report on the use of modified air bombs with aerosol charges, which the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, allegedly used in Sarajevo in 1994 and 1995. Karadzic examined him about the subject in detail in relation to two specific incidents.

Zecevic’s conclusion is that the modified air bomb with aerosol charge that was fired on the Sarajevo Television building made two ricochets and exploded on the TV studio’s wall. Karadzic tried to refute the conclusion, claiming that, as described by the court expert, the projectile moved like “a dry leaf”.

“In your report you said that two men who were three metres away from the explosion point and you survived by hiding behind a pole. However, yesterday you said that poles cannot protect people from aerosol charges,” Karadzic said. The court expert responded by saying that he simply conveyed what eyewitnesses had told him upon his arrival at the crime scene.

Zecevic also said that he witnessed some other cases in Sarajevo, which seemed “unrealistic” to him as a scientist. Zecevic mentioned the case of a 12-year old girl who survived a grenade explosion, which, he said, fell seven metres away from her.

The trial is due to continue on Thursday, February 24.


This post is also available in: Bosnian