On 5 February 1995, a shell killed 66 and wounded more than 140 persons in the Markale market in Sarajevo. The judgment sentencing General Stanislav Galic to life in prison established beyond reasonable doubt that the shell was fired from the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps positions. In his evidence in Karadzic’s defense, Galic denied the responsibility arguing there was ‘something abnormal’ in that finding

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

Radovan Karadzic wants to prove that the image of the Bosnian Serb artillery and sniper terror against the Sarajevo citizens was the result of ‘tricks and set-ups’ of the BH Army. According to Karadzic, the BH Army caused incidents and then blamed the Serb side while the international observers and the media fell for the trick. The accused wants to correct the distorted picture through the testimony of the former Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commander, denying that the Serb side was responsible for the attacks on the Sarajevo civilians.

The worst incident during the witness’s tenure as the corps commander was the shelling of the Markale market on 5 February 1994, known as the Markale 1 incident. A mortar shell killed 66 and wounded more than 140 persons. General Galic denied that his troops were responsible for the attack, saying that he didn’t and wouldn’t ever have ordered something like that. Galic claimed that ’10 NATO commissions’ (he probably meant the investigations led by international observers in the city) weren’t able to establish where the shell had been fired from. Karadzic asked Galic if it was possible for a single shell to hurt 200 persons in an ‘empty market on a winter afternoon’. Galic replied that ‘certainly there should have been fewer people’ in the market. As he said, it was ‘the only 120-mm shell in the world that inflicted such casualties’.

Galic was keen to know where the shell fragments had gone. Only the shell’s tail fin was recovered after the explosion, Galic said. In his opinion, this is an indication ‘that something was not right’. He claims he had other elements that show there was ‘something abnormal’ in the findings. The judgment sentencing Galic to life in prison concluded based on the testimonies of the witnesses, UN investigators, local investigators and expert reports that the shell that hit Markale had been fired from the Serb positions.

Today the witness denied the Bosnian Serb army’s responsibility for other major mortar incidents that occurred between September 1992 and August 1994, while he was the corps commander. The first incident was the attack on about 200 persons attending a football match in Dobrinja on 1 June 1993. More than 10 persons were killed and about 100 were wounded in the attack. Galic said that a shelter used by the BH Army was located there: it was a legitimate target, but he nevertheless denied the Bosnian Serb responsibility for the attack. To corroborate his claims, he said that none of the reports he received said nothing about the attack on civilians in Dobrinja. Also, Galic criticized the ‘Muslim side’ for allowing the gathering of so many people at a place that was mere 150 meters from the front line. Karadzic presented a report of the BH Army Igman Operational Group. The report didn’t mention that civilians were attacked in Dobrinja on 1 June 1993. In response to the presiding judge’s question the witness agreed that the location of the incident wasn’t in the area of responsibility of that operational group.

Galic also claimed that he didn’t order the attacks on civilians in the water queue on 12 July 1993 and wasn’t informed about them. According to the indictment, 13 persons were killed and 14 were wounded in the incident. Galic also denied he was responsible for the deaths of six children who were out playing on 11 January 1994 in Alipasino Polje and for the killing of eight and wounding of 18 civilians in the humanitarian aid queue in Oslobodilaca Sarajeva Street. The incident happened the day before the attack on Markale. ‘Only an enemy of the Serb nation and of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps’ could be responsible for such incidents, Galic argued, in a bid to blame the BH Army. Galic said that the BH Army attacked UNPROFOR soldiers in the city, again to blame the attacks on the Serbs. This was part of their campaign to force NATO into intervening.

General Galic continues his evidence on Monday.