In his evidence at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, Dutch sniper expert Patrick Van der Weijden said that targeting civilians by snipers was prohibited. Those who violated the rule should face trial before a military court

Patrick Van der Weijden, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trialPatrick Van der Weijden, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial

The trial of Radovan Karadzic proceeded with a testimony of prosecution expert witness, Dutch captain Patrick Van der Weijden, who wrote an expert report on sniper incidents in Sarajevo. It was tendered into evidence by the prosecution today. In his report, the Dutch expert noted that civilians must not be targeted by snipers. When the prosecutor asked about measures against those who violated this rule, the witness said tersely – trial before a military court.

The witness’s expert report on sniper incidents in Sarajevo had already been admitted into evidence at the trials of former VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commander, Dragomir Milosevic, and former chief of the VJ General Staff Momcilo Perisic. Van der Weijden already testified as a prosecution expert for sniper activity at the trial of the six former Herceg Bosna leaders.

In the examination-in chief, the prosecutor brought up an incident in the Sedrenik neighborhood in Sarajevo in which Tarik Zunic was wounded on his way home from school on 6 March 1995. Zunic was 14 years old at the time. The incident is mentioned in a report the international military observers drafted on that same date. The military observers concluded that the boy was wounded by a shot fired from Spicasta stijena, which was under the Bosnian Serb control.

In the first part of the cross-examination, Karadzic probed an incident in which three-year old Anisa Pita was injured on 13 December 1992 at Sirokaca. According to Karadzic, the girl was injured by either a stray bullet or by a shot fired from the BH Army’s positions at a Muslim cemetery, located between the Serb positions and the place where the girl was shot. The bullet could have been fired only from the Baba outcrop, controlled by the Bosnian Serb army, the Dutch expert replied.

The witness dismissed Karadzic’s claims that he did his analysis to ‘either justify the investigations in Sarajevo or the allegations that Serbs were the ones opening fire’. ‘The goal of my analysis was not to justify or deny anything’, the witness replied, confirming that he did receive from the prosecution the information about locations from which fire may have come, but he was able to asses, based on his experience, whether it was possible to hit a target from those positions.

As the hearing today drew to a close, Karadzic asked the witness about an incident on 8 October 1994, when fire was opened from Serb positions at Grbavica on a tram passing by the former military barracks.

Karadzic – who was given four hours to examine the witness – will continue his cross-examination of the Dutch captain tomorrow.