WITNESS CONCLUDES THERE ARE NO RELIABLE CONCLUSIONS
Canadian military officer Michel Gauthier testified at Ratko Mladic's trial via video link. He was the leader of an UNPROFOR team that investigated the incident in which a mortar shell hit the Markale market in Sarajevo on 5 February 1994. The investigators concluded that it was impossible to draw any conclusions as to which warring faction had fire the fatal shell that killed 66 and wounded 140 residents of Sarajevo
Today, Mladic's defense tendered into evidence the written statement that the Canadian military officer Michel Gauthier gave to Radovan Karadzic's defense in 2011. According to the summary of the statement read out in court, on 11 February 1994 Gauthier left the UNPROFOR HQ in Zagreb to go to Sarajevo, six days after the Markale market massacre. After an on-site investigation and the examination of all the available evidence, he concluded that the findings of the French Battalion were 'unreliable' because the investigators had used 'unconventional methods' when they determined the azimuth. Furthermore, when the French soldiers extracted the stabilizer fins from the ground, they made the hole bigger and therefore the crater analysis did not yield reliable results.
The official report filed by Gauthier's team on 15 February 1994 states that a 120-mm mortar shell exploded at the Markale market. The shell could have been fired by either of the warring factions because the mortar could have been placed anywhere between 300 and 5,500 meters away from the impact site. The shell could have been fired from both the area held by the BH Army and the territory controlled by the VRS Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
As he was questioned by Mladic's defense counsel Dragan Ivetic, Gauthier said the conclusion would remain the same regardless of whether it was possible to hear the sound of the shell being fired or not. The make of the shell would be immaterial too, because both sides could and did capture weapons and ordinance from their enemies. Furthermore, the UN military observers had restricted freedom of movement and did not know the locations of all the mortar emplacements.When the defense lawyer asked him if he had heard rumors in the UN to the effect that the Bosnian side was responsible for the incident, the witness said he had not heard any 'useful information' that would appear to corroborate that version of events.
In the cross-examination, Gauthier confirmed that the investigation determined that the Markale explosion had not been caused by an explosive device planted at the site or thrown out of a nearby window. He added that before impacting the ground, the shell did not touch any of the stalls. He agreed with the prosecutor that the UN military observers could move around freely on the Bosnian side. He did say, however, that it was impossible to check all the mortar emplacements along the path of the fatal shell. Gauthier did not change his evidence from the Karadzic trial, when he said that estimated angle of fire coincides with the positions where the Kosevo Brigade of the SRK had its mortar emplacements at Mrkovici.
The trial will continue tomorrow with the evidence of the defense ballistics expert Zorica Subotic.
- Case : Mladic
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- 2015-09-16 PROVING MLADIC'S ALIBI
- 2015-09-15 DENYING FACTS ABOUT MARKALE MASSACRE
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- 2015-09-23 EXPERT CONTESTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR ARTILLERY INCIDENTS
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