Defense ballistics expert Zorica Subotic has altered, concealed or modified the evidence in Ratko Mladic’s case to suit her purpose, which is to deny that the Bosnian Serb army was to blame for the artillery attacks on the Sarajevo civilians, the prosecutor noted in the cross-examination. Subotic claims that she has presented all the information in order to make the judges see the ‘full picture’ of the events

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

In her three expert reports and in her evidence at Ratko Mladic's trial, defense ballistics expert Zorica Subotic strove to convince the judges that the army under the command of the accused was not responsible for the artillery attacks on the civilians in Sarajevo during the four-year siege. The expert suggested that the incidents had been staged and the shells had been planted. The victims were brought in to the incident sites from somewhere else, Subotic claimed. According to her, if the shells were actually fired from a weapon, those weapons were located on the BH Army positions. Today, the prosecutor tried to contest Subotic’s key comments and suggestions.

According to the prosecutor, the witness modified the evidence to suit her purpose, which is to deny the accusation that the Bosnian Serb army was to blame for the shelling of Sarajevo. In order to achieve her goal, the expert deliberately altered or concealed the findings of the Bosnian police and UNPROFOR investigation teams. For example, in some situations the expert claimed that the north had not been correctly marked in the sketches made by an investigation team. The prosecutor explained that the direction from which the shell had come was not determined on the basis of the sketches but an examination of the shell craters.

In her reports Subotic took the liberty of evaluating the credibility of the prosecution witnesses; this prompted presiding judge Orie to note that it was the Trial Chamber’s task. Expert witnesses who testify at the request of either party shouldn’t do that, the presiding judge said, but should only deal with matters in their field of expertise. In Zorica Subotic’s case, this is ballistics of firearms and cold weapons. As Judge Orie said, the evidence called during the trial should be used for that purpose only.

The prosecutor then questioned the witness about an incident that happened in Dobrinja on 12 July 1993, in which 13 citizens of Sarajevo were killed and 14 were wounded. According to the prosecutor, the expert claimed that the BH Army had fired the shell while at the same time she alleged that a BH Army unit command had been located nearby. The prosecutor asked her whether the evidence then showed that the Bosnian side had shelled its own command, or was the expert merely trying to leave some room for maneuver, if it turns out in the end that the shell had been fired from a Serb position. Subotic replied that she didn’t mean to suggest anything. Her only intention was to present all the information and thus paint a ‘full picture' of the events.

On 12 July 1993, the day when the attack on Dobrinja was launched as part Operation Lukavac 93, the commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps Stanislav Galic ordered his troops to cause ‘as many casualties as possible’ to the enemy in ‘disarray’. Galic was sentenced to life in prison before the Tribunal. According to the prosecutor, the Bosnian Serb army fired on the water queue as part of this operation. The expert witness rejected the suggestion, saying it was unsubstantiated.

Zorica Subotic continues her evidence tomorrow.