According to a report drafted in November 1995 by prosecution witness Kari Anttila, out of 22,000 houses the UN patrols visited in Sector South in Krajina, 8,000 houses were destroyed totally and 9,000 houses sustained some damage. The most common cause of damage or destruction was fire: a total of 13,000 houses were burned down

Kari Anttila, witness in the Gotovina, Cermak and Markac trialKari Anttila, witness in the Gotovina, Cermak and Markac trial

At the trial of Croatian generals Gotovina, Cermak and Markac the prosecution called Kari Anttila from Norway to the witness stand. From 14 August to 10 December 1995, Anttila was a member of the UN military observer team in Sector South in Krajina. One of his tasks was to set up a computer data base of the population remaining in Sector South and the houses destroyed in the course of Operation Storm and in its aftermath.

Based on the information sent daily to the UN headquarters in Knin by the military observers, Human Rights Action Team patrols and the UN Civilian Police, in September, October and November 1995 Anttila drafted summary reports on what those teams had found in the field. According to the final report from 4 November 1995, the UN patrols visited a total of some 22,000 houses in towns, villages and hamlets in Sector South. Eight thousand were completely destroyed, and nine thousand sustained some damage. The most common cause of destruction or damage was fire: the UN patrols registered 13,000 houses that had been burned down.

According to the UN reports, sixty nine houses in Knin itself were totally destroyed and 591 were partially damaged. The witness estimated that 40 percent of them were destroyed or damaged in the shelling on 4 and 5 August 1995.

On 17 August 1995, together with his colleague from Norway, Tor Munkelien, who gave evidence two weeks ago, Anttila took part in the analysis of the craters left by six projectiles fired from a multiple rocket launcher. He also took part in the preliminary assessment of the damage caused by the shelling of Knin. According to this estimate, the shelling of Knin was focused on military targets; the civilian buildings that were hit were located in the vicinity of military targets. In other parts of the town where there were no military targets only three to five civilian facilities were hit.

Same as Munkelien two weeks ago, today Anttila described this estimate as perfunctory and hasty; its conclusion was wrong. On 17 August they did not have access to some parts of town because the rubble had not been cleared away yet. Further checks showed that other civilian buildings had been hit.

Anttila’s cross-examination by Greg Kehoe, Gotovina’s defense counsel, was reminiscent of the way he cross-examined Munkelien two weeks ago. He challenged Anttila’s expertise for crater analysis and recognition of artillery weapons, because the witness is a construction engineer by profession. Kehoe tried to prove that the unexploded round found at the scene was not launched from an M-63 launcher used by the Croatian Army but from an M-77 launcher used by the Serbian forces in Krajina. Kehoe noted that in Knin there were considerably more military targets than the witness thought during the first days of his tour of duty in Krajina. At the time the witness thought the so-called Northern barracks was the only military target.

The cross-examination of Kari Anttila continues tomorrow.