Former aide de camp of the UNPROFOR commander in BH Pyers Tucker contends that the purpose of artillery and sniper attacks on Sarajevo was to ‘instill fear into the people and encourage them to leave the areas’ under attack. In Eastern Bosnia and other parts of BH, a pattern of ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs could be observed, Tucker said

Pyers Tucker, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialPyers Tucker, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

After a protected prosecution witness testifying under the pseudonym RM 081 completed his evidence at the trial of Ratko Mladic, the trial continued with the testimony of British colonel Pyers Tucker. From October 1992 to March 1993, Tucker served as aide de camp to Philippe Morillon, former UNPROFOR commander in BH. Tucker has already testified at four trials in The Hague. Today Tucker’s statement to the OTP investigators from May 2010 was admitted into evidence.

Prosecutor Kweku Vanderpuye read out a brief summary of the statement today in court. In the statement, Tucker says that his evidence will deal with the siege of Sarajevo and the ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Eastern Bosnia implemented by the Bosnian Serb army. The witness described in his statement the artillery and sniper attacks on Sarajevo as ‘acts of punishment and terrorism’.

Asked to clarify this claim, the witness said that the ‘punishment shelling’ involved attacks on the parts of the city from which fire had been opened on the Bosnian Serb positions. It was retaliation without any military purpose, Tucker said, because when such areas were shelled there were no military targets there. On the other hand, ‘terrorist attacks’ on Sarajevo were individual, random artillery attacks whose objective was to harm civilians. Colonel Tucker contends that the purpose of artillery and sniping attacks was to ‘instill fear into the people and to encourage them to leave the area’ under attack. Also, the Bosnian Serb civilian and military leadership controlled the water, electricity and gas supply and the shipments of other goods to the city. Most of the time, ‘the tap was closed’, the witness recalled.

Visiting different parts of BH, such as the Banja Luka region, Mrkonjic Grad and Eastern Bosnia, Tucker saw that everywhere, the houses of the people who had fled were torched. This ‘created a consistent picture of ethnic cleansing’, Tucker noted. In March 1993 Tucker accompanied General Morillon on a trip to Cerska, Konjevic Polje and Srebrenica, the enclaves in Eastern Podrinje areas. Based on his own experience from that trip and numerous reports from the UN observers, Tucker concluded that the attacks of the Bosnian Serb military forces followed an established pattern. First, the Bosnian Serb army would shell a village for several days. The village was then overrun by the ground forces. Muslim civilians knew that when the first shells fell they should flee the area. Later, as he prepared for the testimony he saw numerous VRS documents showing that the attacks on the enclaves in Eastern Bosnia had been planned by the Bosnian Serb military leadership, Tucker said.

Mladic’s defense counsel Dragan Ivetic frequently interrupted the examination-in chief of the witness by objecting to the use of documents that had not been disclosed to the defence. Ivetic also objected because the prosecution asked the witness questions that only military experts could answer, as the defense contended. As the hearing drew to a close, Ivetic began cross-examining the witness.