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COURTSIDE: Sarajevo Trial

Sarajevan recalls how he lost his family in water queue mortar attack

A series of personal tragedies from citizens of the Bosnian capital were heard last week at the trial of General Stanislav Galic, former commander of Bosnian Serb Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, which besieged Sarajevo.

The witnesses were summoned to show the extent of the suffering civilians endured in the siege, whose principal purpose, the prosecution says, was to terrorise civilians.

Rasim Mehonjic lost his wife and two daughters on July 12, 1993 when a mortar shell hit a group of about a hundred civilians waiting for water. Twelve were killed and 15 wounded.

Mehonjic had been standing by the water pump; his wife and children were close by. "I was trying to fight my way over the bodies of the dead and wounded to find my family," he said "I saw they had been killed and I fainted."

The indictment alleges that the lethal grenade came from Bosnian Serb army positions. Another witness, Enver Taslaman, wounded there together with Mehonjic, helped reconstruct the incident.

General Galic is accused of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of was for his role in the 44-month siege. The prosecution alleges that Galic's forces pursued a strategy of shelling and sniping in order to kill, maim, wound and terrorise civilians. The trial continues.

Vjera Bogati is an IWPR special correspondent at The Hague and a journalist with SENSE News Agency.

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