Dragan Maletic, former commander of a company that held the positions between the Vrbanja Bridge and the Bratstva i jedinstva Bridge in Sarajevo, gave evidence as Radovan Karadzic’s defense witness. Maletic claimed that the Serb snipers didn’t operate from the Metalka building and the skyscraper in Lenjinova Street in Grbavica. After Maletic completed his evidence, Karadzic called Blasko Rasevic, commander of a platoon in Mrkovici

Dragan Maletic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicDragan Maletic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

Dragan Maletic, former commander of a company in one of the battalions in the 1st Sarajevo Motorized Brigade, gave evidence at the trial of Radovan Karadzic today. Maletic’s company held the positions along the Miljacka river between the Vrbanja Bridge and the Bratstva i jedinstva Bridge. In his statement, the witness said that the Serb forces in that area fired only on the enemy front line and never on civilians deeper inside the BH Army-controlled territory.

In the cross-examination prosecutor Carolyn Edgerton confronted the witness with the photos taken in August 1996 from the higher ‘floors of the skyscraper in Lenjinova Street and the Metalka building. The prosecution alleges that sniper nests were located in those buildings in the area of responsibility of the witness’s company.Snipers opened fire on civilians in Sarajevo from these nests, the prosecution alleges.

The prosecutor put it to the witness that the photos obviously proved there was a clear view of the Holiday Inn hotel and the tram tracks in front of it from the higher ‘floors in the Metalka building’. Trams running along that track were often targeted by snipers. Karadzic objected to the photos, arguing they were taken with a ‘zoom lens’ that made the objects appear closer. According to Karadzic, the ‘zoom lens’ was ‘deceptive’. For a while, Maletic refused to answer directly. Finally, he conceded that the area around the Holiday Inn hotel could clearly be seen from the skyscraper. As the defense objected, the photos were not admitted into evidence for the time being.

Maletic admitted there was a sniper unit in his battalion, but he claimed he couldn’t remember a single name from a list the prosecutor showed him despite the fact that he attended the command briefings as a company commander and later, as the deputy commander for intelligence and security. As the witness was re-examined by Karadzic, he said the Serb troops were dug in by the skyscraper and he didn’t know if fire was opened on the city from the skyscraper.

Blasko Rasevic was the next witness. Rasevic, a platoon commander in Mrkovici, also claimed that fire was not opened from his unit’s positions at Spicasta Stijena on the Sedrenik neighborhood in Sarajevo. On the contrary, Rasevic’s unit ‘often sustained’ the attacks of the BH Army whose objective was to break through the Serb lines and cut off the Vogosca-Hresa road. Karadzic asked the witness if he could see the civilians in Sedrenik from his positions. The witness confirmed it, noting that Serb soldiers even warned civilians not to cut and gather hay in broad daylight ‘lest it should occur to someone’ to shoot at them or lest a ‘stray’ shell should fall among them.

In the cross-examination, the prosecution confronted the witness with documents showing that the Serb army opened fire on civilians in Sedrenik from its positions at Spicasta Stijena. The witness nevertheless claimed that as far as he knew it ‘never ever’ happened.

After Blasko Rasevic completed his evidence, Karadzic called Zdravko Cvora, former president of the Crisis Staff and the Executive Board in Pale.