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COURTSIDE: New Sarajevo Indictment

Serb general indicted for military campaign against the Bosnian capital
By Mirko Klarin

The Hague chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte last week unsealed an indictment against General Dragomir Milosevic for the shelling and sniping of Sarajevo from August 1994 to November 1995.


After unsealing the Dubrovnik indictment at the beginning of October, Del Ponte announced that she will request Hague judges to disclose seven remaining secret indictments - and has been doing so at a rate of one a week.


Two weeks ago, she unsealed an indictment against Pasko Ljubicic, the former HVO military police commander accused of crimes against Bosniaks in central Bosnia, including the massacre in Ahmici.


If he had read the indictment against General Stanislav Galic that was unsealed after his arrest in December 1999, General Dragomir Milosevic would have easily concluded that he was also on the list of persons sought by the tribunal.


Galic was accused of the shelling and sniping of Sarajevo from September 1992 until August 1994, while commander of the Bosnian Serb Army's Sarajevo Romanija Corps. The campaign continued for at least a year after Galic was succeeded by Milosevic, up until that point his chief of staff.


The Milosevic indictment is almost identical to the one against General Galic (see Tribunal Update No.157). Only the periods to which they refer are different.


Like Galic, Milosevic has been charged with with four counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of violations of the laws or customs of war. The charges relate to the deliberate campaign of shelling and sniping of the civilian population of Sarajevo by forces under his command.


"For forty-four months" - the indictment states - "the Sarajevo Romanija Corps implemented a military strategy which used shelling and sniping to kill, maim, wound and terrorise the civilian inhabitants of Sarajevo. The shelling and sniping killed and wounded thousands of civilians of both sexes and all ages, including children and the elderly.


"The Sarajevo Romanija Corps directed shelling and sniping at civilians who were tending vegetable plots, queuing for bread, collecting water, attending funerals, shopping in markets, riding on trams, gathering wood, or simply walking with their children or friends.


"People were even injured and killed inside their own homes, being hit by bullets that came through the windows. The attacks on Sarajevo civilians were often unrelated to military actions and were designed to keep the inhabitants in a constant state of terror."


The prosecution hopes that the release of the indictment will enable the arrest of the accused, who is assumed to have sought refuge in Serbia following the arrest of General Galic by SFOR in December 1999. However, even if General Milosevic was arrested tomorrow, or voluntarily surrendered to the tribunal, there is little likelihood that the two former commanders would be tried together. General Galic has been in custody for nearly two years and his trial should start in early December.


Mirko Klarin is IWPR senior editor for the war crimes tribunal and editor-in-chief of SENSE News Agency.