At the time of the second attack on the Sarajevo market, the commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps was undergoing medical treatment in Belgrade. When he returned, subordinate officers told him that they hadn’t shelled the city on 28 August 1995, Milosevic said. Milosevic admitted that he had ordered the shelling of Sarajevo with modified air bombs but denied that they were as inaccurate as the prosecution claimed

Dragomir Milosevic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicDragomir Milosevic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

As the cross-examination of General Dragomir Milosevic continued, the accused Radovan Karadzic and his witness tried to present the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps as an exemplary and professional unit that strictly observed international laws of war. In his evidence, Milosevic implied that care for civilians was the main concern of the Corps under his command. This is contrary to the allegations in the indictment about the terror campaign against the citizens of Sarajevo who were under constant artillery and sniper attacks during the four-year siege.

In his testimony today, Milosevic said that fire was opened from large-caliber artillery pieces on the city only if the assessment was that this fire would disable the enemy positions, provided that these positions were not located in ‘civilian-ridden’ areas. As Milosevic said, the BH Army 1st Corps used ‘perfidy’: they would launch artillery attacks on Serb positions to provoke a response. Then they would create a climate in which Serbs were the main culprits.

The witness contends that his predecessor on the post of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commander, Stanislav Galic, was very ‘restrictive’ in respect of the shelling of civilian areas. Galic even warned his superior commanders ‘in an obstreperous way’ to refrain from prohibited attacks. In 1994, when Milosevic assumed the command, he led the corps ‘with the same continuity but with a different style’, Milosevic explained.

The prosecution agrees with the statement, but sees the ‘continuity’ in the continued artillery and sniper attacks on the citizens of Sarajevo. The ‘difference in style’ is in the prosecution’s view evidenced by the introduction of the highly destructive and inaccurate air bombs in the Corps’ arsenal. Today Milosevic tried to explain why and how the air bombs were used.

The prosecution alleges that the system used to launch the modified air bombs from the ground couldn’t guarantee a modicum of accuracy. Milosevic said that modified air bombs were used only after they were tested and ‘improved’ in terms of their accuracy. The whole process was started at the proposal of the experts from the Pretis factory in Vogosca who tried to find an alternative for the normal artillery ammunition as there was a shortage of normal rounds. Milosevic claimed that the modified air bombs were used only to attack enemy strongholds, both on the front line and in the city. Also, Milosevic confirmed that his Corps was responsible for five of six attacks in which air bombs were used that are listed in the indictment. Five persons were killed and dozens wounded in the attacks, but Milosevic argued that the enemy artillery nests and ‘areas teeming with troops’ were targeted.

During Milosevic’s term as the corps commander, the Markale market in Sarajevo was shelled the second time on 28 August 1995. The incident killed 43 persons and wounded 75. Milosevic was undergoing medical treatment in Belgrade at the time. Today Milosevic claimed that when he returned, subordinate officers told him that the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps ‘had been anathematized’ for no reason. Milosevic was told that ‘such weapons were not fired at all on that day’ from the Serb positions.

General Dragomir Milosevic will continue his evidence tomorrow morning.