Ratko Mladic’s defense continued cross-examining expert Richard Higgs in a bid to contest his findings on the Markale market incident that occurred on 5 February 1994. According to the indictment, 66 persons were killed and 140 injured in the incident

Richard Higgs, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialRichard Higgs, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

In his analysis of mortar incidents listed in the indictment against Ratko Mladic, prosecution expert Richard Higgs established that the purpose of the VRS artillery campaign in Sarajevo was to ‘inflict as many casualties as possible’ and the shelling was conducted in a way that served to further this goal. As Mladic’s defense lawyer continued the cross-examination, he tried to contest this and other findings in the expert report using the Markale market incident on 5 February 1994 as a case in point. The indictment alleges that 66 persons were killed and 140 wounded in the incident.

Mladic’s defense counsel Branko Lukic put it to the British mortar expert that it was not very likely that a mortar crew could hit the Markale market with a single shell without correcting fire. Higgs begged to differ, saying it was possible to open accurate fire from a mortar. As Higgs said, he wouldn’t be surprised to see a single shell hit a target, provided accurate calculations had been done in advance.

Lukic also highlighted the ‘mistakes’ in the local police reports on the Markale incident. One of the mistakes pertains to the sketch of the market stalls made by the Sarajevo Security Services Center. In the sketch, the stalls are depicted as having sloping roofs while the on-site photos showed the horizontal roofs, the defense argued. Also, Lukic suggested it was not very likely that a shell could ‘squeeze through’ the stall roofs which were very close together and explode as it hit the asphalt.

Higgs replied that he didn’t see any evidence that would indicate that the shell had exploded on the roof of a stall in the Markale market. Answering a question asked by the presiding judge Orie, Higgs said that around 12 centimeters would have been enough for the shell to pass between two stall roofs and not explode. The witness didn’t find it strange that the crater had been covered with asphalt dust, as shown on the photos exhibited in court.

The defense will continue cross-examining Richard Higgs on Friday, 8 November 2013.