At the trial of Radovan Karadzic, the prosecution called witness Ekrem Suljevic. An order issued by the VRS, tendered into evidence by the prosecution through this witness, states that ‘the highest-yield target with as many human casualties as possible’ should be selected for modified air bombs known as ‘sows’

Ekrem Suljevic, witness at Radovan Karadzic's trialEkrem Suljevic, witness at Radovan Karadzic's trial

At the trial of Radovan Karadzic, the prosecutor used witness Ekrem Suljevic to tender into evidence 45 documents drafted by the VRS. During the war Suljevic was a member of the Republic MUP Counter-Terrorist Unit.

For the most part, the documents refer to the purchase of ammunition and construction and use of modified air bombs in the VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. The prosecution wants to corroborate the 15 incidents of shelling of civilian targets in Sarajevo listed in the indictment.

According to the documents, the VRS Main Staff purchased air bombs from the VJ. The bombs were then ‘finalized’ in the Pretis Factory in Vogosca where rockets were fitted onto them. The bombs and specially constructed launchers were then issued to the SRK units to ‘strengthen the front lines in the inner and outer rings around Sarajevo’.

In a document from April 1995, the SRK command ordered the Ilidza Brigade to select the ‘highest-yield target with as many human casualties as possible’ for the modified air bombs in the neighborhoods of Sokolovic Kolonija and Hrasnica. “I am left speechless”, Suljevic commented.

As Suljevic explained, modified air bombs were “imprecise” and this increased the risk of civilian casualties. As Suljevic noted, a report of the chief of the SRK artillery was proof of this, because he decided not to shell the tunnel entrance in Donji Kotorac because firing an air bomb at the target would jeopardize the UN members and the Serb forces. A UN check point was located about 200 meters from the entrance to the tunnel, while the VRS positions were some 500 meters away.

At the beginning of his cross-examination, Karadzic first ascertained that the people called the modified air bombs, ‘sows’. He then defined what a sow was. ‘Do you agree that a sow is a female pig’, Karadzic asked the witness. ‘Do you agree that they were called sows because they were big and made a lot of mess, just like pigs, wherever they fell’, Karadzic pressed the issue. ‘As far as I know air bombs are made to cause destruction’, the witness replied.

In an effort to contest the witness’s expertise, Karadzic asked him how long the rockets burned, how fast the air bombs fell and about expected and abnormal rates of dispersion of projectiles …

Zorica Subotic from Belgrade, Karadzic’s defense expert, has been following the cross-examination of Ekrem Suljevic, set to continue in the second half of August 2010 after the Tribunal’s summer recess.