Muhamed Kapetanovic was nine years old when he was seriously wounded in the shelling of Alipasino Polje. Kapetanovic said that children had been playing in the snow because it had been a quiet day. A BH Army unit had its HQ in a nearby building, but no fire was opened from it that day, the witness claimed

Muhamed Kapetanovic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialMuhamed Kapetanovic, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

Muhamed Kapetanovic was nine years old when he was wounded on 22 January 1994 in a shell explosion in the Sarajevo neighborhood of Alipasino Polje. The statement that the witness gave to the Tribunal's investigators in 2000 was admitted into evidence today at the trial of former commander of the VRS Main Staff Ratko Mladic.

The indictment alleges that on 22 January 1994, three shells were fired from the territory under the VRS control, hitting Alipasino Polje. The first shell hit the park behind residential buildings in the streets that were called Cetinjska and Klare Cetkin at the time. They have been renamed Geteova and Bosanska Streets. Two shells fell in front of the buildings where the children were sledding. Six children were killed and five were injured.

When the first shell hit, the boys ran towards the buildings, Kapetanovic recounted, but then another shell fell behind them. Kapetanovic was hit in the left leg and arm and the left side of the face; he fell on the sidewalk. Kapetanovic saw 11-year old Daniel Juranic, who was 'decapitated' by a shell fragment. He also saw Elvir and Admir Ahmethodzic who were wounded. The witness tried to stand up but couldn't. Kapetanovic's father drove him to the hospital in Dobrinja; he was then transferred to the Kosevo Hospital. A month later Kapetanovic was evacuated to Italy. In the course of the next two years, the witness underwent surgery seven times. Admir Ahmethodzic had his left leg amputated.

The reports on the sledding massacre were shown in court. In one of the reports broadcast by the Sarajevo TV later that night, Muhamed Kapetanovic is seen after he received first aid. Lying in a hospital bed with his face bandaged up because of the jaw injury, Kapetanovic spoke about the moment in which a shell fell between him and Daniel Juranic, injuring him and killing Daniel. The footage also showed the bodies of dead children and the witness's father speaking about the moment when he saw the wounded and dead children from a window on his building.

In a brief cross-examination, Mladic's defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic expressed his sympathy for the witness’s ordeal. He tried to establish if at the time the witness had known what kind of shell had been fired and the origin of fire. Kapetanovic knew nothing. On a map, Kapetanovic marked where he was when he heard the first shell and when he was hit. Kapetanovic also marked on the map the building near the scene, which, as he had 'heard', was used by the Kulin ban unit. In the re-examination, the witness confirmed to the prosecutor that on that day he didn't hear any infantry or artillery fire coming from that building. The children were out sledding because it was a quiet day, the witness explained. According to the adjudicated facts that the Trial Chamber has taken formal notice of, there were no military activities and the BH Army soldiers weren't seen in the neighborhood; there were only children playing in the snow. It was established that the building of the Kulin Ban unit command was not the target of the attack.

Before Kapetanovic’s testimony, prosecution expert Dorothea Hanson completed her evidence. Today, she spoke about the role and function of the crisis staffs and their relationship with the army. Former UN military observer in Sarajevo Richard Mole began his testimony at the end of the hearing today.