EXPERT’S CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Today the prosecutor probed the conspiracy theory according to which the Markale market incidents had been staged and the bodies brought from somewhere else. In that case, the prosecutor argued, many people should have been in such a conspiracy – from the Bosnian and UN investigators to the civilians in the town market and the TV crew that recorded the tragedy. Mladic’s expert defense Zorica Subotic refused to blame anyone in particular for their involvement, but nevertheless remained adamant that there was a conspiracy
In the cross-examination of the defense’s ballistics expert Zorica Subotic today the prosecutor contested her allegation that the two Markale town market incidents –on 4 February 1994 and 28 August 1995 –had been staged. The indictment against Mladic alleges that the shells were fired from the Serb positions. Subotic contradicted the allegations, claiming that the rounds were planted and activated from the ground. A large number of bodies had been brought to the town market from somewhere else, the ballistics expert argued. The prosecutor noted that this was a ‘conspiracy theory’easy to show up as such and to contest.
The first explosion on the Markale market killed 66 and wounded more than 140 persons. Prosecutor Weber noted that the video recorded after the explosion showed the dead and the injured. He asked the expert if the blood was ‘real’. Subotic replied that in her expert report she didn’t contest the fact that it was indeed blood.
In the cross-examination today, Mladic’s expert was put on the spot:she had to present in minutest detail her theory of what happened in the first Markale incident. Subotic claimed that the stabilizer fin had been torn off a 120-mm shell ahead of the incident. The fin was then buried in the ground and the shell was placed on a stand, concealed and then activated from the ground.
If there really was a conspiracy, the prosecutor suggested, many persons would have had to be involved in it: the Bosnian police and UNPROFOR investigation teams, many civilians who later testified about the incident, the TV crew that taped the incident, and many other institutions and individuals. The expert didn’t want to point her finger at anyone in particular. According to Subotic, the people and institutions mentioned by the prosecutor did not participate in the conspiracy. ‘Well, if no one was involved in it, then there was no conspiracy, isn’t it?’, presiding judge Orie noted. That ‘isn’t true’, the witness replied.
In that case, the prosecutor went on, there was a highly-organized sabotage unit that planned the complex action carefully with a view to misleading the Bosnian and UNPROFOR investigators, to make them believe that Mladic's troops were responsible. The people in the sabotage unit would have had to clandestinely plant the shell in the middle of the town market without anyone taking notice: the asphalt would have had to be drilled and the shell stabilizer placed at the precise depth and angle which would later indicate it had been fired from the Serb positions. Also, another explosive device would have had to be planted and detonated at approximately the same time. Finally, amid the chaos, the bodies of soldiers who had been killed by mortars and then dressed in civilian clothes killed would have had to be brought in from a secret location. ‘Yes, most likely that’s the way it happened’, the expert witness replied.
A ‘more likely scenario’, the prosecutor pressed on, was that the investigation of the crime scene, the depth of the stabilizer impact and other evidence found by the Bosnian and UN investigation teams showed that the shell had been fired from the Bosnian Serb positions. That was ‘absolutely impossible’, Subotic replied. Subotic remained firm even when confronted with the evidence of British expert Derek Allsop, Radovan Karadzic’s defense witness. Allsop had dismissed all Markale conspiracy theories: that the shell was thrown from a building, that it was caused by a stationary explosive device, that the shell was buried into the asphalt. Mladic’s expert agreed with Allsop noting that Allsop didn’t consider her theory –that the explosive device was planted and that the stabilizer had previously been buried in the asphalt.
The second Markale explosion killed 43 and wounded 75 Sarajevo citizens. According to Subotic, that too was a conspiracy. The shell had either been planted and then activated or ‘reached the town market entrance in some other way’, as the expert alleged in her report. Asked to clarify what that other way could have been, the expert replied that ‘all options are possible’. One such possible ‘idea’is that the round was thrown off a roof or from a nearby window. The prosecutor once again invoked Allsop's testimony: speaking about both Markale incidents, he was adamant that it was impossible to throw a shell that weighed 12.5 kg from a building to a distance greater than 10 meters. Allsop believed that a single person couldn’t do it but he didn’t consider the possibility that some tool was used, Subotic explained.
As the hearing drew to a close, the cross-examination turned its focus on the modified air bombs. Zorica Subotic may be able to complete her evidence tomorrow.
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