WERE 'SOWS' IN SARAJEVO ACCURATE OR NOT?
Mladic's defense ballistics expert Zorica Subotic claims that modified air bombs used by the Bosnian Serb army in Sarajevo were just as accurate as any other artillery system. The prosecutor on the other hand argues that the weapon was inaccurate and very destructive
At Ratko Mladic's trial, the prosecutor argued that in the last few years of the war, the Bosnian Serbs included a new weapon in their arsenal to terrorize the citizens of Sarajevo as part of their campaign against the city: modified air bombs, also known as 'sows'. The defense's ballistics expert Zorica Subotic didn't contest the allegation that the Bosnian Serb army had had that weapon in its arsenal, but she denied that the bombs were highly destructive and inaccurate.
According to the witness, modified air bombs were as accurate as any other artillery system. In her expert report, Subotic stated that the weapon was used in Sarajevo against legitimate military targets such as BH Army commands. Sometimes the weapons would miss and 'accidentally' kill civilians. Subotic noted that the bombs would miss their targets by 10, 20 and up to 200 meters. The only time a bomb missed by a larger margin, 480 meters, was when an attack was launched on Cobanija Street, Subotic explained. The prosecutor put it to the witness that due to their design, the shells could miss the target by 250 meters on each side. According to Subotic, the error margin was 200 meters.
Modified air bombs were manufactured in the Pretis factory in Sarajevo, which was under the Bosnian Serb control during the war. The bombs that were originally meant to be dropped from aircraft were fitted with rockets 'Grad' and the combo was then fired from specially designed launch pads. Three anti-hail rockets were mounted on the air bombs of up to 100 kilos, and those weighing up to 250 kilos were fitted with three to four such rockets.
The firing tables for this new-fangled weapon have never been produced at any of the trials in The Hague. Zorica Subotic claims she had the 'firing tables in my hands' during the war, but has not seen them since. She could not tell the judges where the firing tables could be found.
According to her, the new tables were drafted in 2001 and were kept in the Military Technical Institute in Belgrade, where she was employed. The tables pertained 'more or less' to 'weapon that was technically identical' to the modified air bombs.
At the end of the hearing today, which was the ninth day of Zorica Subotic's evidence, the defense began re-examining her. Zorica Subotic is expected to complete her evidence tomorrow.
- Case : Mladic
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