Defense witness Mirko Sosic claimed that he was forced to leave Sarajevo in August 1992. According to Sosic, doctors of Serb ethnicity ‘disappeared, were detained and injured’; some were even ‘assassinated’. In a bid to defend the relevance of Sosic’s evidence Karadzic invoked his ‘sense of justice’ and said he wanted to paint a full picture of the events in Sarajevo

Mirko Sosic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicMirko Sosic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

Dr Mirko Sosic, former surgeon in the Sarajevo University Clinical Center, gave evidence at the trial of Radovan Karadzic. The witness claimed that he was forced to leave the Center and Sarajevo because he and his other Serb colleagues were subjected to insults and abuse. This is why he went to Pale on 20 August and found work in the Koran Hospital.

In his written statement to Karadzic’s defense Sosic said that after the conflict broke out he was removed from his post of the chief of thoracic surgery ward in the Sarajevo University Clinical Center. Other Serb colleagues, the witness recounted, fared much worse – they were detained, injured and some ‘were assassinated’. As Sosic explained, this was the reason why more than 450 medical doctors of Serb ethnicity left Sarajevo. ‘I couldn’t stop wondering how those people disappeared’, Sosic said.

This prompted Judge Kwon to express his doubts about the legal relevance of that part of the evidence. Karadzic invoked his ‘sense of justice’, saying he wanted to paint a full picture of the events in Sarajevo. ‘We have heard about the wild Serbs attacking Sarajevo, a peaceful city. But Sarajevo was a militarized city, where people were cruel to Serbs’, the accused explained. The list of Serb doctors that left Sarajevo according to the witness wasn’t admitted into evidence because the judges ruled it was irrelevant for the case against Karadzic.

In the examination-in-chief, Sosic claimed that in March 1992 Muslim paramilitary forces ‘occupied’ the Kosevo Clinical Center. After the conflict broke out in April 1992, the entire Sarajevo was blocked from within. Armed groups searched apartments and citizens stood watch in the building entrances… The witness said that in June 1992 he saw a truck with some weapon mounted on the body driving by the hospital. He also saw a cannon at the entrance to the Clinical Center basement. The witness concluded that fire was opened from those weapons on the Serb positions although his neighbors and friends told him otherwise.

In the brief cross-examination, Sosic agreed with the prosecutor that he personally didn’t see the moment when fire was opened from the truck and the cannon. He concluded that the weapons were used because he ‘followed the sound’ the projectiles made before and after the truck passed by and saw the smoke just next to the cannon.