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Courtside: Galic Trial

By Vjera Bogati in The Hague (TU 300, (10-15 February 2003)

Belgrade ballistics expert Milan Kunjadic analysed a number of sniping incidents that had been reconstructed by the prosecution and shown as evidence at the trial of General Stanislav Galicm, commander of the Bosnian Serb forces which had surrounded the city.

The tribunal investigators, who relied on the testimonies of the surviving victims and witnesses of the attacks, presented panoramic videos and photographs of the surrounding area in order to demonstrate the cases where hits came from Bosnian Serb positions.

But Kunjadic, appearing as a defence witness, was of the opinion that "reconstructions that were conducted a long time after the incident, with some of the crucial ballistic or medical elements missing, cannot be reliable".

In his report, Kunjadic analysed ten out of thirty reconstructions presented by the prosecution. He said it was impossible to determine if the victims were directly shot at or were hit by ricochets.

The prosecutor Mark Ierace pointed out a case where one victim was repeatedly hit by sniper bullets until she died from her injuries. The only place she could be seen from was a tower at the Bosnian Serb position in Dobrinja.

"Can you exclude the possibility that the victim was intentionally shot at?" he asked. Kunjadic said he could not.

Vjera Bogati is an IWPR correspondent in The Hague and a journalist with SENSE news agency.

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