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COURTSIDE: Sarajevo Trial

Serb snipers "terrorised" Sarajevo civilians

In the trial of Stanislav Galic, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb army's Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, for crimes committed in (and against) Sarajevo, the prosecution last week continued its efforts to prove that snipers targeted civilian inhabitants from various positions that the army held.

The prosecutor wants to prove that Galic, as a commander of the forces besieging the city and holding its citizens in his sights, was responsible for terrorising civilians.

After hearing evidence about the killing of a woman who went to fetch water from the Dobrinja river, prosecution witnesses spoke of the targeting of a part of the city by snipers positioned on the so-called Spicasta Stijena (Sharp-pointed Rock).

The prosecution reconstructed several sniper attacks from the rock, from where a large part of the city could be seen as if on a palm of one's hand.

One victim was Nazija Ocuz, whose kitchen windows overlooked the spot. "I was having lunch and saying to my son: 'Listen to the firing'," she said. "I had barely finished speaking when I was hit." She said no one could walk anywhere because of the snipers and that Sarajevo citizens spent their days in cellars, and their nights fetching firewood and water and working their gardens.

Witnesses spoke of other sniping incidents. Mejra Juovic said she was hit in 1993, while gathering wood. Ekrem Pita testified about the sniping in the Sirokaca area and the residents's efforts to avoid it.

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

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