General Ratko Mladic’s defense counsel suggests that ‘a stray bullet’ may have hit a tram on 8 October 1994. According to Mladic’s defense, the witness, who took part in the investigation, was not able to establish the origin of fire and relied on the driver’s statement

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

At the end of the examination-in-chief of protected witness testifying under the pseudonym RM 110, the prosecution played a video made after the shelling of Markale, the Sarajevo town market, on 28 August 1995. According to the indictment against the former commander of the VRS Main Staff Ratko Mladic, 43 persons were killed and more than 75 were wounded in the shelling.

A seven-minute video recording shows citizens frenziedly removing the dead and evacuating the injured from the street strewn with bodies and blood. The UNPROFOR staff are seen performing a forensic analysis of the site of explosion. In 1994 and 1995, the witness worked in the Sarajevo security service and participated in the investigations of a number of artillery and sniper incidents listed in the annex to the indictment against Mladic. As the witness said in his statement, the investigation concluded that the shell that caused the second Markale massacre had been fired from positions under the Bosnian Serb control.

Apparently, the investigation of the Markale incident was discussed in the part of the cross-examination that went on in closed session. In the part of examination open to public, Mladic’s defense counsel tried to prove that the witness wasn’t able to establish the origin of fire in the attack on a tram on 8 October 1994. A woman was injured in the incident. The witness confirmed that he ‘was not trained’ for such tasks. The witness also noted that the official record about the incident contains the driver’s statement that a burst of gunfire was opened on the tram from the Metalka building in Grbavica under the control of the Serb forces.

The defense counsel put it to the witness that the tram may have been hit by a ‘stray bullet’. According to the defense, an UNPROFOR patrol near the spot where the tram was hit may have been targeted from the Metalka building. The witness replied that ‘UNPROFOR couldn’t have been exposed to direct fire because there was no line of sight to them when they stood, only when they moved’. The witness also said that at that time, UNPROFOR ‘didn’t return fire; they didn’t do anything at all’.

The defense counsel asked a number of questions about the explosion of a modified air-bomb and several shells in May 1995 in Svrakino Selo, an estate in Sarajevo. The explosion destroyed several buildings and seriously wounded two persons. Fifteen people sustained minor injuries. As the witness said, the shells were fired from the south-west. Hrasnica and Mt. Igman are located towards that direction. The witness didn’t know who held those positions. Asked if the police and RTV buildings nearby were legitimate military targets, the witness replied he was ‘not a military expert’. The witness said he didn’t know anything about that. The defense counsel also noted that the official record of the investigation states that the shells that hit Svrakino Selo had been ‘manufactured in Nazi Germany’. The witness responded he didn’t know if the JNA or the VRS had such shells.

General Mladic’s trial continues tomorrow with the evidence of a protected witness who will testify under the pseudonym RM 511, probably in closed session.