In the cross-examination of the defense military expert Mile Poparic the prosecutor put it to the witness that in his expert report he altered the evidence in a bid to corroborate the conclusion that the Bosnian Serb army was not responsible for the sniper incidents in Sarajevo. Parts of the military expert’s testimony were impossible to follow as some photos under seal were discussed

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

The cross-examination of Mile Poparic, Ratko Mladics military expert, continued today. Prosecutor Edgerton claimed that the witness used erroneous premises to reach erroneous conclusions. Prosecutor Edgerton suggested that the errors were not accidental: the witness deliberately modified some data in order to exonerate the Bosnian Serb army for sniper attacks on Sarajevo civilians during the four-year siege.

Speaking about several sniper incidents, the witness said that there was no line of sight from the targets and the positions held by Mladics army. For example, Poparic stated that Sanija Dzevlan was wounded in the thigh when she crossed the Dobrinja Bridge on her bike on 1 January 1994 at 4:30 pm. It was already dark and the visibility was low, the witness claimed. Poparic calculated the exact time when the victim was wounded, or rather, he made an assumption as to when the incident occurred based on the fact that the wounded girl had visited her ill mother in the Kosevo Hospital and was on her way back when she was shot. The witness assumed that she had left the hospital after the visiting hours ended. The prosecutor reminded the defense expert that in her evidence at the Tribunal Sanija Dzevlan stated that her mother was at home sick and that she went to the hospital to pick up the medicines. Poparic replied that in fact it wasnt important when the incident happened. In his report, Poparic covered both alternatives, that Dzevlan was wounded in the dark or while there was still some daylight.

The prosecutor also suggested that the witness changed the locations where the Sarajevo civilians were hit to make it look as if there was no line of sight from those spots to the Bosnian Serb positions. Poparic exaggerated the evidence on the military presence of BH Army at the scenes of the incidents, ignored the witness testimonies and relied on the allegations that were never admitted into evidence in Mladics case.Poparic stuck to his guns, however, although he admitted he had made some mistakes and that several of his conclusions were based on assumptions. The judges warned Poparic that he should always clearly specify which of his conclusions were based on probabilities and which were based on facts.

A good part of todays hearing focused on the witness claim that there were no Serb sniper positions in the Blind Peoples Home. As alleged by the prosecution, the home for the blind was used to open sniper fire on Sarajevo civilians. Poparic didn't change his evidence, even though he was confronted with the witness statements and reports drafted by UNPROFOR and the BH Army. All those sources reported that fire had been opened from the Home which was controlled by the Bosnian Serb army.

The debate also focused on whether there was a line of sight from the Blind Peoples Home to some other locations in the city. That part of the hearing was impossible to follow since the photos presented in court were not shown publicly. It was not stated whether the photos were classified. A similar situation occurred last week when Poparic was examined in chief.

Mladics expert will continue his testimony tomorrow.