Weapons and military equipment expert Mile Poparic continued his evidence in Ratko Mladic’s defense claiming that the BH Army was responsible for sniper attacks on the Sarajevo civilians. At the beginning of the cross-examination the prosecutor put it to Poparic that he used erroneous methodology to reach his conclusions

Mile Poparic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trialMile Poparic, defence witness at Rako Mladic trial

In the final part of the examination-in-chief at Ratko Mladic’s trial, Mile Poparic, the defense’s military expert, denied that the Bosnian Serb army was responsible for sniper incidents listed in the indictment; these allegations center on the terror campaign against the Sarajevo citizens. Poparic suggested that the results of several investigations of incidents in which Sarajevo citizens were wounded did not paint a real picture of the events.

One of the gravest sniper incidents listed in the indictment happened on 18 November 1994. Dzenana Sokolovic and her seven-year-old son Nermin were fired at as they walked along Zmaj od Bosne Street. The bullet passed through the woman’s abdomen and after exiting hit the boy in the head. Dzenana Sokolovic was seriously injured and the boy died en route to the hospital. Mile Poparic highlighted a discrepancy between the police report and Dzenana Sokolovic's evidence on the one hand and Sokolovic’s medical records: according to the former, the entry wound was in the right side of her abdomen and the exit was in the left side, and according to the latter, it was the opposite. Poparic thinks the medical staff got it right, which would mean that the bullet had come from the BH Army-controlled area.

Poparic also concluded that the bullet that hit a tram on 23 November 1994 in Zmaj od Bosne Street could not have been fired from the territory under the Bosnian Serb control. Two passengers in the tram were wounded in the shoulder in the incident. Poparic also spoke about an incident in which 14-year old Tarik Zunic was hit in the hand on 6 March 1995 in Sedrenik Street. According to him, Zunic had to have held his arm straight up and away from his body for him to be hit from the positions held by Mladic’s troops.If he had held his arm in any other way, he could only have been hit by a BH Army sniper. In his evidence at the Tribunal and in his statement to the OTP investigators, Zunic claimed that he was holding a backpack with his right hand at his right shoulder when he was hit.

At the beginning of the cross-examination the prosecutor brought up several methodological errors Poparic made when he wrote his expert reports. The prosecutor suggested that the witness didn’t take into account all the evidence available to him and didn’t use GPS coordinates he had been given. Also, in establishing the positions of the warring factions, Poparic used a map drawn in 1995 and used the data when he analyzed the incidents that had happened before that period, the prosecutor highlighted.

According to the prosecutor, Poparic drew erroneous conclusions because his methodology was wrong. In his analysis of the incident in which Ramiza Kundo was wounded on 2 November 1993 in Brijesko Brdo Street, Poparic missed the spot where the victim was injured by as much as 130 meters. Prosecutor Edgerton suggested that the witness did this deliberately in order to be able to claim the BH Army was responsible for the attack. The witness admitted he had made a mistake but claimed it made no difference as there was a line of sight from the victim to the positions of both armies in the 130-meter stretch.

Mile Poparic’s cross-examination continues on Monday.