The prosecution has asked for permission to add the name of Almir Begic to the witness list. A prosthetic leg recorded at a video tape belonged to Begic’s late father Camil Begic. Radovan Karadzic used the video tape to prove that the Markale town market massacre in February 1994 was ‘staged’ and that the prosthetic leg was ‘planted’ there

Video capture of the Video capture of the "Markale" market before and after bomardment

The prosecution in the case of Radovan Karadzic filed a request to amend its witness list to include Almir Begic, from Sarajevo, whose father Camil was killed in the shelling of the Markale town market on 5 February 1994.

The witness’s father had lost his right leg in an accident in 1961 and when the Markale incident happened he had a prosthetic leg. The prosthetic leg was recorded on a video tape shown by Radovan Karadzic in his opening statement and during the cross-examination of David Harland, head of the civil affairs in the UN mission in Bosnia Herzegovina.

By showing the video, Karadzic tried to prove that the first Markale incident in February 1994 was ‘staged’. According to Karadzic, the incident was a ‘a war trick, a display of cunning in war which led to the punishment of the Serbs as a warring party’. In Karadzic’s view, the incident was an example of the Bosniak side ‘shelling of its own population’. Commenting on the video during Harland’s evidence, Karadzic described the situation at the Markale market before and after the explosion. ‘Here is the leg before the explosion that should be put there’, Karadzic said. ‘Here’s the leg again, after the purported explosion, but in fact it’s a prosthetic leg that we have just seen’.

The witness first saw the video in 1994. Risto Djogo, a Pale TV editor, used the prosthetic leg as a support ‘mocking’ the victims of the Markale massacre and claiming those were ‘shop mannequins’. Almir Begic immediately reported to the police that the prosthetic leg he had seen on the video recording belonged to his father. The witness saw the video again on 1 March 2010, when the accused showed it in his opening statement.

In his statement to the OTP on 15 April 2010, the witness said that on 5 February 1994 his father went with a friend to Skenderija and from there to the Markale market. At the time, the witness was in the roofed-over part of the market. Around 1 pm, the witness heard a ‘strong explosion’ and half an hour later a neighbor told him that his father Camil had been hurt and taken to hospital. When the witness got there, his father was already dead. A day or two after the incident, Almir Begic went to the market again to retrieve his father’s prosthetic leg and some other possessions recovered after the explosion. The witness said in his statement that the prosthetic leg was still in his possession.

According to the prosecution, the information the witness can share will help the Trial Chamber to evaluate the authenticity of the video recording shown by the accused and to refute Karadzic’s claims that the Markale incident was ‘staged’. If the Trial Chamber grants its permission, Almir Begic will testify in July. The judges will then hear the evidence of the other witnesses about the Markale massacre.