VRS general Stanislav Galic contends that the ‘enemy’ regularly attacked their own combat positions and civilian targets in the city in order to blame the Serbs for ‘turning Sarajevo into hell’. They used ‘postmortems conducted by their pathologists’ to reinforce the image, Galic exclaimed, obviously referring to the investigations conducted by crime scene technicians

Stanislav Galic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicStanislav Galic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

The Bosnian Serb army never fired first on the BH Army positions in Sarajevo. Quite the opposite was the case: the VRS made every effort not to respond to the attacks from the city. When it was forced to retaliate, the VRS did it with utmost care for the civilians. This is the gist of what Stanislav Galic, former commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, said in his defense of Radovan Karadzic. Karadzic is on trial for the crimes in Sarajevo and for a number of other crimes in BH.

The defense used the reports sent by the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps command to the VRS Main Staff in 1993 to corroborate its case that the Corps exhibited ‘patience and restraint’. The reports list the BH Army attacks on the civilian areas and the military positions around the city and describe the actions taken by Galic’s Corps. The Corps sometimes returned fire; at other times, it did nothing. The witness said that the Serbs launched counter-attacks only when they were ‘forced to do it’, in cases of ‘great casualties’ or when the enemy seriously threatened their positions.

In order to explain how, despite the extraordinary care his units took, there was so much destruction and so many civilian casualties in the city, Galic again resorted to the oft-repeated argument that the BH Army ‘shelled its own people’. Galic contends that the ‘enemy’ regularly targeted their own combat positions and civilian targets in the city to blame the Serbs. Such efforts to frame the Serbs coincided with the visits by foreign delegations to Sarajevo; the purpose was to show them how ‘Serbs were turning Sarajevo into hell’. These claims are once again corroborated only by the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps reports.

The report of May 1993 states that the ‘enemy attacked the Presidency building and the HQ of the UNPROFOR Ukrainian Battalion’: the purpose was to blame the attack on Serbs. Galic insisted it was a ‘setup’ because the assumption was that everybody would think the Serb side was responsible for an attack on the BH Presidency. Galic explained that ‘they’ had their own ‘pathologists’ who performed ‘post-mortems’ and confirmed that the rounds had indeed come from the VRS positions. Galic was apparently referring to the investigations conducted by the Sarajevo police crime scene technicians.

Today the witness again insisted on the purported superiority of the BH Army in relation to the VRS. The 1st Corps had about 35,000 soldiers in Sarajevo, while the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps was 10,000 strong, the witness said.

The testimony of the former Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commander will continue on Thursday. Tomorrow, there will be a hearing on the prosecution’s appeal against the Trial Chamber’s decision to acquit Karadzic of genocide in the municipalities of Bratunac, Foca, Kljuc, Sanski Most, Vlasenica and Zvornik.