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Courtside: Sarajevo Trial

By Vjera Bogati in The Hague (TU 289, 11-16 November, 2002)
By IWPR

The defence team representing accused Bosnian Serb general Stanislav Galic claimed that cuts in the electricity, water and gas supplies were caused by the fighting.


Electrician Velimir Radivojevic, in charge of Bosnian Serb section of the electricity installations, told the tribunal that cables and equipment were often damaged by the battles raging nearby.


When asked by the defence to clarify whether one section of the city could have electricity while another did not, the witness replied that at times the supply was partial due to the low voltage. He said there was no truth in the idea that electricity supplies were intentionally cut off.


Another defence witness, whose identity was protected, testified that territorial defence arms in his village of Hresna, near Sarajevo, were "equally distributed" between Serbs and Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) at the start of the war.


A second protected witness, a platoon commander in Galic's Sarajevo-Romania corps, testified about "frequent and massive" attacks by the government army in the city against Bosnian Serbs.


He estimated that 3,000 shells were fired on Bosnian Serb positions during one offensive by government forces attacking from positions inside the city in July 1993. In common with many other defence witnesses, he claimed that Sarajevo’s civilians were not intentionally targeted.


The defence contends that the battle for the capital was not a siege by the Serbs, as is alleged in the indictment, but rather a clash between armies of equal strength and that any civilian suffering was a result of collateral damage.


The prosecution maintains that Bosnian Serb troops used shelling and sniping to kill, maim, wound and terrorise the Sarajevo civilians for 44 months.


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


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