Dr Mirjana Andjelkovic Lukic, explosives expert called by Karadzic’s defense, contests the finding of Professor Berko Zecevic that air bombs launched on Sarajevo during the siege had aerosol charges. Karadzic’s witness agreed that the bombs were fired from ground launchers instead of being dropped from planes. The air bombs were never tested

Mirjana Andjelkovic Lukic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicMirjana Andjelkovic Lukic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

The final witness called by Radovan Karadzic last week was Dr Mirjana Andjelkovic Lukic, an explosives expert. For a number of years, she worked for the military Technical Testing Center in Belgrade. The center tested rockets and air bombs for the JNA and later for the VJ. Through her evidence, the defense tried to contest some of the findings presented by the prosecution ballistics expert Berko Zecevic. In his testimony, Zecevic, a professor from Sarajevo, spoke about the effects of various rocket systems used during the four years of the VRS siege of Sarajevo.

In the examination-in chief, Karadzic dealt with the findings on the modification of air bombs which made it possible for them to be launched from the ground. The witness didn’t contest that bombs were fired used ground launchers instead of being dropped from planes. In the Pretis factory, the air bombs were fitted with rockets to propel them. The witness didn’t agree with one part of Zecevic’s analysis.

As the witness insisted, Zecevic’s claim that the original TNT charge in the FAB 250 air bombs was replaced with aerosol explosive would be impossible. Dr Andjelkovic Lukic said that TNT would have to be melted away layer by layer, a long and difficult process. In an explosion, the casing of the bomb couldn’t fragment because aerosol explosive was not as strong as TNT.

In the cross-examination, prosecutor Gaynor showed the witness documents indicating that the Pretis factory had various charges and could load FAB 250 bombs with aerosol explosive instead of TNT. The witness agreed, but said once again that it wouldn’t be necessary as an aerosol charge couldn’t fragment the bomb’s casing. When Judge Baird remarked ‘we don’t know if the theory is correct because nobody tested’ an FAB 250 bomb with aerosol charge, Dr Andjelkovic Lukic replied that this experiment would be ‘unacceptable’ because it is known that the aerosol explosive is much weaker than TNT.

The witness didn’t deny the allegation that rockets used to propel the air bombs were manufactured in the Pretis factory; in this manner, the bombs were modified and could be launched from the ground. The prosecutor asked the witness if such modified ordinance had to be analyzed in detail before use. Karadzic’s expert replied that such analyses were done in her Technical Testing Center; some of the tests took years to complete. However, the witness ‘never had on my desk’ any modified air bombs and didn’t know if they were tested during the war in Republika Srpska.

Unlike Berko Zecevic who was in Sarajevo during the war, Dr Andjelkovic-Lukic admitted that she never had an opportunity to examine the site of the impact of a modified air bomb hit, its remains or any unexploded air bombs. As she said, it was not necessary to attend a scene to identify inconsistencies in Zecevic’s report.

Karadzic’s trial for four joint criminal enterprises in BH, one of which is the artillery and sniper terror campaign against the citizens of Sarajevo, will continue next week.