Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

COURTSIDE: Sarajevo Trial

Witness recounts horror of the Markale market massacre.
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"There was a terrible blast. The detonation threw me aside and I felt I was flying... There were parts of human bodies around me. Everybody groaned, and as I kept crawling, the situation was going from bad to worse."


That was the testimony of Ezrema Boskajilo, who survived the massacre at Sarajevo's Markale market on February 5, 1994, which is now the focus of the prosecution case against General Stanislav Galic, the former Bosnian Serb commander of the forces besieging the city from 1992 until 1995.


"I would not be able to bring myself to fall asleep ever again, had I not come to give my testimony here, because of the moral obligation I feel towards all those people who maybe protected me and the baby I was carrying on that day with their own bodies," she said.


When she fell she saw many wounded people and body parts on the ground. The prosecution says 66 were killed and 140 wounded in the artillery attack.


To prove that the shell was fired from a position held by Galic's forces, the prosecution called a witness who investigated the bombardment. Police investigator Sead Besic examined the crime scene with French members of UN. Using photographs taken there, Besic showed how he reached the conclusion that the 120mm shell was fired from Bosnian Serb army positions.


The defence read the witness a quote from the UN general secretary's report dated February 15, 1994, which said a UN inquiry into the incident showed the shell could have been fired from either Bosnian Serb army or Bosnian army positions. The witness said he was "not familiar" with this report.


The prosecution will continue presentation of evidence concerning the shelling of Markale next week.


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