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COURTSIDE: Sarajevo Trial

Prosecution seeks to prove Serb general was aware that his gunners were targeting civilians.

"The Army of Republika Srpska had good artillerymen...they knew exactly what they were hitting," Jacques Kolp, a former Belgian member of the UN observers mission in Sarajevo, said last week.

He was one of four UN military observers who testified at the trial of the Bosnian Serb commander in the Sarajevo area, General Stanislav Galic, accused of commanding a campaign of terror against civilians in the long siege of the Bosnian capital.

The prosecution intends to prove he knew what he was doing in spite of claims by Galic's defense that he was unaware that innocent people were being killed.

Jeremy Herme, a British Army major, said it could not be argued that the bombardment of the city was directed against a military target. "Actually, where the shells hit, there were no military targets," he said.

Michael Kent Carswell, a Canadian officer, said the Bosnian Serb army's commanding officers had "excellent training". He said their weapons were "well maintained" and the "artillery men were well prepared and their precision was high".

On the basis of at least half a dozen visits to Serb positions around Sarajevo, Carswell concluded that the orders came from Pale and the list of targets was drawn up in the Lukavica headquarters of Galic's Romanija Corps, from where it was relayed to artillery commanders.

The witnesses said a Major Indjic had played an important role in the headquarters in Lukavica, halting mortar and sniper fire on several occasions, though he had to consult his superiors, including General Galic.

Herme said that when the UN observers protested against shelling and sniper fire to Galic or his associates, they received a variety of responses. However, he added, "The gist of their explanations was that it was in defence of their homes and their attempt to save Serbian culture". The trial continues.

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

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