Prosecutor Edgerton contested General Stanislav Galic’s claims that his corps opened fire on Sarajevo only in self-defense. To refute the claims, the prosecutor used Galic’s orders to attack residential parts of the city and a video recording showing the shelling of a cemetery during the burial of two children who had been killed by snipers. The witness claimed that the recording was ‘a set-up’ and ‘has nothing to do with real life’

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

On the last day of his cross-examination, General Stanislav Galic admitted that the Bosnian Serb military and political leadership headed by Radovan Karadzic was aware that the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps was using disproportionate force. As he was questioned by prosecutor Edgerton, Galic said that Karadzic purportedly ordered him several times to put a stop it, to ‘reduce and limit’ the shelling to ‘the minimum of military necessity’.

Asked if the orders really did put a stop to disproportionate attacks, Galic replied that he couldn’t prevent them. ‘I could stop the disproportionate shelling only if I could stop the war, and that was not in my jurisdiction’, the witness explained. Galic didn’t clarify why, as the commander of the corps that held Sarajevo under siege, he couldn’t control his artillery.

Galic argued that there were disproportionate attacks even though he and other officers explicitly prohibited them. This prompted the prosecutor to show an intercepted conversation of 20 May 1993. The chief of the VRS Main Staff, General Manojlo Milovanovic ordered Galic to respond to the BH Army artillery attacks ‘five-fold’. That would later be justified as ‘active defense’, Milovanovic explained. The prosecutor put it to the witness that the ‘active defense’ concept in the VRS documents made it possible to respond disproportionately to the attacks from the city. The witness said he didn’t remember the conversation with Milovanovic, claiming that he ‘could say a lot of things’ about Milovanovic but ‘I don’t want to besmirch his honor’.

The prosecutor brought up various Sarajevo-Romanija Corps documents showing that Galic issued orders to his troops to shell residential areas in Sarajevo such as Pofalici, Velesici, Ciglane and Alipasino Polje, without clearly defining military targets. The witness explained that those were planned orders: this means that those areas were to be attacked only if the enemy ‘opened fire’ from those locations. The witness urged the judges to distinguish between ‘planning and actual operations’.

The prosecution has a video tape recorded in August 1992 by BBC reporter Jeremy Bowen: the recording shows the shelling of a cemetery during the funeral of two children killed by snipers. The prosecution contends that this proves that Galic’s corps targeted civilians and opened fire without military necessity. Asked if the shells were also fired in response to a BH Army artillery attack, the witness said that Bowen’s footage was ‘a set-up’ made by the people who were there to ‘foment their propaganda’. ‘It has nothing to do with real life’, the witness noted. Galic suspects that the smoke was artificial, and that the event was staged in such a way that the detonations are heard at the exact moment when the children were placing flowers on the grave. Finally, Galic said that the recording ‘may be’ authentic but it didn’t appear to be to him.

As the hearing today drew to a close, Radovan Karadzic began re-examining the witness. The re-examination is expected to be completed tomorrow. The next witness will be the former Krajina Serb president Milan Martic.