TARGETS OF MODIFIED AIR BOMBS
Modified air bombs were inaccurate but very destructive and could miss the target by up to two kilometers, says the former operations officer in the VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. The witness contends that modified air bombs were consequently never used in the city. The prosecution contested the claim with a document of the VRS Main Staff in which Karadzic is told that an air bomb was dropped on the center of Hrasnica
At the trial of Radovan Karadzic, the accused has been calling witnesses who contest the allegations of artillery and sniper terror campaign in Sarajevo. The allegations pertain to one of the four joint criminal enterprises the former Bosnian Serb political leader is charged with.
In his written statement, Stevan Veljovic, former operations officer in the 1st Romanija Brigade, claimed that the VRS in Sarajevo never launched any attacks; it merely defended itself. Karadzic read out the summary of the witness's statement, which was almost identical to the summaries of all previous defense witnesses who testified about Sarajevo. The witness stated that he and his subordinates 'never shelled civilian facilities' but 'only military targets' and that they did it in 'self-defense'. The witness also claimed that they 'never intended to terrorize civilians and open fire on public transport vehicles', and they 'never received either oral or written orders for such actions'. According to the statements of Karadzic's witnesses, the Serb side always respected ceasefires while the Muslim side constantly violated them.
Stevan Veljovic claimed in his statement that on 28 August 1995 none of the mortars on the positions held by his brigade had been sighted on the Markale market in Sarajevo. A shell killed 45 people in the incident on that day. The witness also said that the brigade had sniper rifles but 'there were no trained snipers and the weapons were used as ordinary rifles'.
Though he claimed there were no modified air bombs in his unit, in the cross-examination Veljovic confirmed he was quite familiar with the weapon. He described them as inaccurate but highly destructive. As he explained, they could veer off target by up to two kilometers. That is the reason why such bombs were never used in urban areas, Veljovic claimed. The prosecutor confronted the witness with a report of the VRS Main Staff in which President Karadzic was informed that a 250 kg air bomb had been dropped on the center of Hrasnica on 7 April 1995. Veljovic denied that this had happened invoking an UNPROFOR report which stated that Sarajevo was quiet that day. As the prosecutor and the presiding judge insisted, Veljovic finally concluded he didn’t know if an air bomb had been dropped on Hrasnica. 'I might have been on holiday at that time’, Veljovic finally said.
Veljovic denied that Bascarsija was shelled at all. According to Veljovic, Dragomir Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic all issued orders to the artillery not to shell Bascarsija because of its cultural and historical importance. The prosecutor reminded the witness that at Milosevic’s trial he was shown a transcript in which Mladic demands that Bascarsija be shelled. The witness claims that despite the order there was no shelling. Sometimes 'people get euphoric and they issue orders in that state, but the staff toned down the orders and as the result no shell was fired on Bascarsija', the witness explained.
In 2007, Veljovic testified in the defense of General Dragomir Milosevic, who was subsequently convicted of the artillery and sniper terror campaign in Sarajevo and was sentenced to 29 years in prison.
- Case : Karadzic
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- 2012-10-18 DENYING SNIPER AND ARTILLERY TERROR IN SARAJEVO
- 2012-10-24 PAPOULIAS WILL NOT TESTIFY AT KARADZIC TRIAL
- 2012-10-30 DENYING THE FIRST MARKALE SHELLING
- 2012-10-31 CONTESTING THE RESULTS OF THE FIRST MARKALE MASSACRE INVESIGATION