WITNESS SPEAKS ABOUT MARKALE ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MASSACRE
Mirza Sabljica, former ballistics expert of the Sarajevo Security Services Center, began his evidence at the trial of Ratko Mladic. During the war Sabljica took part in the investigation of numerous sniper and artillery incidents. One of the incidents is the Markale massacre which happened exactly 19 years ago, on 5 February 1994
Former ballistics expert of the Sarajevo Security Services Center Mirza Sabljica started his evidence at the trial of Ratko Mladic. He is testifying under his own name but with image distortion as protective measure. During the war, Sabljica took part in the investigation of about 60 sniper and almost 100 artillery incidents. One of them happened on this very day 19 years ago, on 5 February 1994: the first Markale market massacre. The massacre was caused by a 120-mm mortar shell that was fired, according to the prosecution’s evidence, from the north-northeast, where the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps had its positions. Sabljica confirmed this.
Sabljica had already testified in detail about the methodology used in the investigation of this and other incidents at the trials of Stanislav Galic, Dragomir Milosevic, Momcilo Perisic and Radovan Karadzic. In the examination-in-chief at Mladic’s trial, Sabljica provided some additional clarifications about the analysis of the mortar explosion traces, and other evidence found at the crime scenes. The typical prints left by the mortar shells at the point of impact on the asphalt were called ‘Sarajevo roses’.
Apart from the Markale massacre, Sabljica testified about three other incidents: the shelling at a football match in Dobrinja on 1 June 1993, the attack on Alipasino polje on 21 January 1994 in which children were killed and wounded and the shelling of the humanitarian aid queue in Dobrinja on 4 February 1994. Sabljica also described the visit to the skyscraper in Lenjinova Street in Grbavica in 1996, when the Security Services Centre investigators discovered ‘sniper nests’ in the building. The civilians in Sarajevo were targeted from those sniper nests.
In the first part of the cross-examination, Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic contested the findings of the investigations conducted by Sarajevo investigators. He noted that the investigation of the shelling at a football match in Dobrinja was carried out in November 1995, two and a half years after the incident. Also, the defense counsel noted that Sarajevo investigators were able to establish the direction, but not the site from which mortar shells were fired. Lukic implied that those shells may have been fired not only by the VRS, but by somebody else, and that would be the BH Army.
Ratko Mladic’s trial continues tomorrow.