Mladic’s ballistics expert Zorica Subotic claims that the second attack on the Markale town market was staged. At least one of the dead bodies had been ‘brought there from somewhere else’, Subotic says. On the other hand, Subotic didn’t deny that the Bosnian Serb army fired modified air bombs, also known as ‘sows’, on Sarajevo. Contrary to what the prosecution has claimed, the defense expert is adamant that the sows were ‘very accurate’

Zorica Subotic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialZorica Subotic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

Today, Zorica Subotic testified about the second attack on Markale market in Sarajevo. When she spoke about the first attack, the defense ballistics expert claimed that too many people were killed by the shell. She said the same thing today about the second attack. According to Subotic, the number of casualties was incompatible with the destructive power of a 120-mm shell. The first incident occurred on 5 February 1994; the shell killed 66 persons and injured 140. Forty-three persons were killed and 75 were injured on 28 August 1995 in the second incident. This time the investigation carried out by the Bosnian side was even less proper and consistentthan the one in February 1994.

A scene from the video footage of the second Markale attack showing a dead or seriously injured man lying bent over a fence near the town market entrance was particularly suspicious, the expert witness noted. It was impossible for the shell impact to have blown him away like that, she said. Also, Subotic stressed that she couldnt find that man on the victim list. Presiding judge Orie asked the defense expert if she knew who that man was. When Subotic replied that she didnt, the presiding judge wondered how she could state a person was not on the victim list if she did not know who that person was. Subotic told Orie that she did not see that person or anyone who resembled him in the photo files pertaining to the Markale 2 victims.

In light of all those factors, Subotic concluded that the man had been brought in from somewhere else. This, she argued, was proof that the incident had been staged. The presiding judge asked the witness how she could be sure about that. The fact that the blood stain under the victim's arm was very small and the position of his body on the fence were clear indications of that, Subotic explained. According to her, in order to be blown away to end up on the fence in that position, the victim had to be hit with his hands up in the air.

As the examination-in-chief went on, the focus shifted on modified air bombs, also known as sows. The prosecution has alleged that this weapon, used in the attacks on Sarajevo during the last year of the war, was inaccurate. Commenting on several incidents which resulted in civilian casualties, the defense expert basically agreed that the air bombs had been fired from the Serb positions. Yet, in Subotics view, the weapon was in fact very accurate. Subotic tried to prove that every time those projectiles hit civilian buildings in Sarajevo, the actual targets were purported military facilities situated nearby. Instead of hitting a BH Army unit HQ or a weapon and ammunition factory, modified air bombs would always miss the target by an inch and the result would be civilian casualties, Subotic explained.

In a bid to convince the Trial Chamber that sows were accurate, the defense expert mentioned firing tables, which sparked the judges' interest. As it turned out, the firing tables for modified air bomb firing tables were not produced until 2001. The witness nevertheless argued that she had seen them even before they were put to use, at a military training facility in Nikinci in Serbia. Engineers from the Pretis factory in Sarajevo, where modified air bombs were manufactured, were there too. She couldnt remember their names. Subotic didnt see the firing tables after that date and had no idea where one could go to look for them. In the defense experts opinion, those tables didnt exist anymore. The only thing Subotic could be sure about was that the air bombs proved to be extremely accuratewhen they were tested in Nikinci.

Tomorrow will be the sixth day of Subotic's testimony.