Ratko Mladic’s defense denies that the VRS used modified air bombs. However, in the cross-examination of a former UN observer, Per Brennskag, Mladic’s defense claimed that modified air bombs nicknamed ‘sows’ because of their destructive power and inaccuracy …in fact were an ‘accurate’ weapon

Per Brennskag, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialPer Brennskag, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

Retired lieutenant colonel in the Norwegian army Per Brennskag testified at the trial of the former commander of the VRS Main Staff Ratko Mladic. In 1995, Brennskag was a UN military observer in Sarajevo. The witness’s written statement based on his previous testimony in the cases against Dragomir Milosevic, Momcilo Perisic and Radovan Karadzic was admitted into evidence.

From 22 March to 24 May 1995, Brennskag monitored the heavy weapon collection points at Pale. In early June, he was assigned to an UNMO team that monitored the artillery fire from an observation post in Pofalici. He saw that most of the shells were fired from the VRS positions. The shelling intensified in June 1995, when his team counted 150 shells that hit the town in a 24-hour period.

During his mission in Sarajevo, the witness saw four to six modified air bombs being launched from the VRS positions in Ilidza; one of them hit the Bosnian TV on 28 June 1995. On that day, the witness was at his observation post and could see the launch of a modified air bomb from the Ilidza position, the trail of smoke and finally the bomb hitting the TV building. The event was registered in the UNMO report of that day; the report was shown in court.

In the cross-examination, the defense put it to the witness that modified air bombs were not ‘inaccurate’, contradicting the witness’s statement. Mladic’s defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic insisted that modified air bombs met all the technical and tactical requirements. According to Stojanovic, modified air bombs were ‘tested’ and ‘accurate’.

At the request of Judge Moloto, defense counsel Stojanovic explained that it ‘absolutely doesn’t mean’ that the VRS had modified air bombs in its arsenal. ‘For the defense it remains controversial who launched them and with what degree of accuracy’, Stojanovic said. In his next question, the defense counsel put it to the witness that the BH Army in fact used modified air bombs. The Norwegian officer replied that he had ‘no knowledge of that’.

Per Brennskag’s cross-examination will continue tomorrow morning.