In the cross-examination, Radovan Karadzic’s defense witness Desimir Sarenac contended that the VRS was not responsible for the massacres of Sarajevo civilians in the bread and water queues. To be able to hit such narrow spaces, the shells had to be ‘either brought in by a bird’ or guided by laser

Desimir Sarenac, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicDesimir Sarenac, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

Desimir Sarenac, former security chief in the VRS 1st Sarajevo Brigade, continued his evidence at the trial of Radovan Karadzic. Sarenac claimed that the Serb artillery positioned in the hills around Sarajevo couldn’t have caused civilian casualties such as the massacres in the water queue near Pivara, the bread queue in Miskina Street and the Markale town market.

According to the witness, it was impossible for shells to hit such narrow spaces. As the cross-examination continued, the witness said that the shell would have had to be ‘either brought in by a bird’ or ‘guided by laser’. When prosecutor Carolyn Edgerton asked him about it, the witness said that the SRK didn’t have any laser-guided rocket systems.

If the VRS had the ability for accurate fire, the witness argued, it would have chosen more profitable targets, such as ammunition depots, military commands or such. Why would the Serbs attack the poor people in the market, the witness remarked, especially given that ‘every Serb knew that every mistake they made would cause international and domestic outcry’.

In Sarenac’s opinion, only Muslims could be the culprits for the massacres in the bread and water queues: they did it to ‘prompt the international community to intervene’. The witness agreed that a shell fired without laser guidance would fall 50 to 100 meters from the target, and that ‘at least three rounds’ must be fired for the gunners to be able to ‘correct the fire’.

In the examination-in-chief, the judges admitted into evidence as Karadzic’s exhibits the maps of Sarajevo on which the witness marked the locations of the BH Army arms factories, commands, headquarters and other facilities, according to the VRS intelligence. Karadzic did this in a bid to admit into evidence over 200 documents in which those facilities are mentioned.

In the cross-examination, the prosecutor contested the reliability of the witness’s marks on the maps. This prompted Karadzic to try to establish the link between Sarenac and the documents in a different way in order to be able to tender them into evidence. The judges didn’t admit the documents, telling the accused that he should have showed the documents to the witness during the examination-in chief.

After Desimir Sarenac completed his evidence, the trial continued with the testimony of the former deputy chief of Vlasenica police Mane Djuric.