In his evidence at the trial of Ratko Mladic, former UNPROFOR member spoke about the sniper and artillery terror campaign waged by the VRS against the Sarajevo civilians. During the two years of his service in the city, the witness got the impression that Ratko Mladic had full control over the VRS. According to the witness, the VRS had very little leeway to operate outside of Mladic’s supervision

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

A former UNPROFOR member testified at the trial of Ratko Mladic, former commander of the VRS Main Staff, who is charged with genocide and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The witness testified under the pseudonym RM 163 and was granted additional protective measures: image and voice distortion. It seems that the witness is a French member of the UN peace keeping mission. As a rule, all French UNPROFOR members testify before the Tribunal in The Hague with strict measures of protection.

According to the summary of the statement read out by the prosecutor in court, the witness was stationed in Sarajevo in 1993 and 1994. During that period, he noticed that the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps (SRK) conducted a sniper and artillery terror campaign against civilians in Sarajevo. In his contacts with the Serb army personnel, the witness saw that the VRS had a clear chain of command and strict discipline. The witness had the impression that Ratko Mladic controlled the army fully; it had very little leeway to operate outside of Mladic’s supervision. Sitting in the dock, Mladic confirmed the observations of the UNPROFOR officer by nodding his head.

In the two years of his service in BH, the witness concluded that the siege of Sarajevo was important for Bosnian Serbs because it was a lever they used to put the pressure on the Bosnian government. The witness also noticed that the Serb side often shelled Sarajevo in retaliation for their losses on other front lines. After the first Markale incident on 5 February 1994, the witness took part in the negotiations on the ceasefire, the establishment of heavy weapons collection points and the total exclusion zone of 20 km from the center of Sarajevo.

After the prosecutor finished reading the summary, the hearing continued in closed session. The court went back to open session briefly at the beginning of the cross-examination. Mladic’s defense counsel Dragan Ivetic wanted to hear if UNPROFOR was aware of the locations of BH Army depots or their weapons factories. The witness replied that UNPROFOR knew where those facilities were and the court went back into closed session until the end of the hearing.