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COURTSIDE: Sarajevo Trial

Witness of sniper attack relives riverside terror

When the people of Sarajevo went to fetch water during the siege of the Bosnian capital, they put their lives at risk, witnesses in the trial of Stanislav Galic, the former commander of Bosnian Serb forces who shelled the city and held it under sniper fire, said last week.

The prosecution's proving procedure, like the two previous weeks, was dedicated to detailed reconstruction of sniping incidents referred to in the Galic indictment.

One witness, Sadija Sahinovic, recalled fetching water at the Dobrinja river with her neighbour Munira Zametica, on July 11, 1993. "Munira grabbed water and .... as she was about to get up she fell over the concrete. She yawned two, three times and the entire throat came out through her mouth. Her neck was severed."

The witness said incessant sniper fire along the river from the direction of the Orthodox Church, some 900 meters away in a part of the Dobrinja suburb under Serb control, stopped people for whom the river was the only source of water from approaching and filling their pails.

Tribunal investigators reconstructed the Zametica incident at the site of the crime last year. The witnesses showed where they stood that day and where the victim was hit. From a photograph, the prosecution claims that the sniper shot was fired from the Orthodox Church. The prosecutor said the event showed the "medieval state of deprivation, exhaustion, hunger, thirst and fear" in Sarajevo in the 44 months of siege. The trial continues.

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

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