The prosecution contends that Mile Poparic has based his conclusions on assumptions and has altered evidence to fit his purposes. Poparic responds that harmless ‘technical errors’ did not lead to erroneous findings. Mladic’s defense expert has denied that the Bosnian Serb army was to blame for sniper incidents in Sarajevo

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

At the beginning of the cross-examination of Mile Poparic, Ratko Mladics defense military expert, the focus was on the sniper attacks on Sarajevo trams. In his expert report, the witness suggested that the trams were hit at locations from which there was no line of sight from the Serb positions in high-rise buildings such as the white skyscrapers and the Metalka building. The prosecutor argued that the expert deliberately misidentified the locations of the incidents to make it look as if the shots had come from the Executive Councils building, which was under the control of the Bosnian forces.

The witness noted that the broken glass beside a tram in a photo meant that the tram was hit at that location. This prompted the prosecutor to remind the witness that he had claimed that glass sometimes does not break immediately after the impact: initially, there is just a bullet hole and then the glass breaks and scatters. The prosecutor also called into question Poparics conclusion about the source of fire in the incident that occurred on 3 March 1995.Azem Agovic and Alen Gicevic were wounded in a tram near the Holiday Inn Hotel. Based on Agovics entry wound, Poparic concluded that the bullets were not fired from the Serb positions. Later, Poparic admitted that he didnt take into consideration the possibility that the victim had turned right or left during the conversation.

According to Mladics expert, Dzenana Sokolovic was wounded and her seven-year old son Nermin was killed on 18 November 1994 not by a Serb sniper but in the cross-fire. According to the prosecution, the evidence on the exchange of fire that Poparic relied on didnt pertain to any skirmishes between the warring factions: it was an attempt of the UNPROFOR anti-sniper teams to prevent further targeting of civilians from the Serb positions. The witness agreed with the suggestion of prosecutor Edgerton that the pedestrian crossing where the mother and her son had been hit by a single bullet could be seen with the naked eye from the Metalka building, which was under the Serb control. Also, the witness agreed that everyone could see that the victims were civilians.

At the very end of the cross-examination, the prosecutor presented a report of the Sky News reporter Aernout van Lynden about the Sarajevo firemen. The footage shows a building on fire. In the examination-in-chief, Poparic claimed that the tracer rounds that hit the building were not fired from the Serb positions. Had it been so, the bullets would have come in at a right angle. Today the prosecutor played a slow-motion recording showing clearly that the bullets hit the building at a right angle. Poparic could only agree that the bullets had been fired from the positions held by Mladics army.

At the beginning of the re-examination by defense counsel Branko Lukic, the discussion turned to the errors the witness made in his expert analysis and incorporated them in the report. Poparic tried to clarify that the errors were harmless and technical in nature. Consequently, in Poparics opinion, the mistakes didnt result in erroneous conclusions.

Mile Poparic will complete his evidence tomorrow.