As the cross-examination of Karadzic’s ballistics expert continued, prosecutor Feargal Gaynor confronted her with ‘a far more likely scenario’ for the first Markale incident: a mortar shell fired from the Bosnian Serb army positions hit the market full of people, killing 66 and wounding 140 people. Subotic remained adamant that it was ‘a well-planned act of sabotage’ perpetrated by persons unknown

Zorica Subotic, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicZorica Subotic, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

At the trial of the former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic, the prosecution challenged the findings presented by the defense ballistics expert. She claimed that both Markale incidents were in fact ‘well-planned acts of sabotage’. Prosecutor Feargal Gaynor devoted most of his time today to the first Markale incident: 66 persons were killed and 140 injured in a blast on 5 February 1994.

The prosecutor confronted the defense expert with ‘a far more likely scenario’: the fatal shell was fired from the VRS positions on the market full of people. Subotic ruled it out, saying that ‘all the physical evidence points to a different conclusion’: that the explosion was caused by a ‘stationary explosive device’ planted at the market by ‘a team of highly skilled saboteurs’.

Subotic agreed with the prosecutor that there should be physical evidence at the scene indicating that a stationary explosive device had been detonated. However, as she said, ‘the explosion site is not the best place for finding every little thing’. She agreed that the Markale footage shows ‘real blood, not fake’; she did find it strange that no blood was visible underneath some of the bodies, or the quantity was not sufficient, at least according to her standards.

According to her theory, a team of ‘sophisticated saboteurs’ caused the explosion and brought a number of dead bodies to the scene to increase the casualty count. It all took 15 o 20 minutes, as she said. A prosthetic leg was planted at the scene to make the ‘picture even more gruesome’. Although Almir Begic testified in the prosecution case that the prosthetic leg shown in the Markale footage belonged to his father, Subotic was adamant that those were two different prosthetics.

According to Subotic, the entire operation was ‘well-orchestrated in the media’. When she was asked if a TV crew that recorded the scene of the incident was also part of the ‘conspiracy’, she grew evasive. When she was asked if it was her evidence that the crime scene technicians from the Sarajevo MUP, Mirza Sabljica and Ekrem Suljevic, who carried out the crime scene investigation, were ‘part of the conspiracy’, she said, ‘I didn’t name any of the investigators’.

Subotic claims that a team of saboteurs had buried a 120 mm shell stabilizer fins in the ground at the site where the explosion would be set off; the angle of the stabilizer was to make it appear as if the shell had been fired from the VRS positions. According to her, it was relatively easy to do it: she saw on the recording that the stabilizer had been dug out with a shovel. When the prosecutor asked her if she had ever tried digging a hole in the asphalt with a shovel, she said she hadn’t, adding that her ‘high heels’ would sometimes stick into the asphalt in summertime.

The prosecutor then moved on to Subotic’s findings on the second Markale incident, on 28 August 1995. Subotic again claimed this was an act of sabotage, involving either a stationary explosive device, as in the first incident, or a shell that was thrown from a roof top or a window. The cross-examination will continue tomorrow.