Sarajevo Indictment: Ex-General Stanislav Galic Arrested

Tribunal Update 157: Last Week in The Hague (December 20-24, 1999)

Sarajevo Indictment: Ex-General Stanislav Galic Arrested

Tribunal Update 157: Last Week in The Hague (December 20-24, 1999)

Friday, 24 December, 1999

First to go, in Banjaluka on December 20, was retired Republika Srpska army general Stanislav Galic, followed on December 23 in Foca, "an individual suspected of being Zoran Vukovic," as was cautiously stated in a statement by NATO secretary-general George Robertson.

In an indictment issued on March 26, 1999 and 'sealed' at prosecutor's request, Galic is charged with leading forces under his command on a deliberate campaign of shelling and sniping against the civilian population of Sarajevo.

Galic has been charged, on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility and his command responsibility, with four counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of violations of the laws or customs of war. This involved "inflicting terror, sniping and shelling," as commander of the Bosnian Serb Army Sarajevo Romanija Corps between 1992 and 1994.

It is said in the introduction to the indictment that before 1992 Sarajevo "was a flourishing multi-ethnic community and a cultural and economic centre in the former Yugoslavia". A 1991 census indicated that the city and immediate surroundings had a population of some 525,980, with an ethnic composition of 49.3 per cent Muslim, 29.9 per cent Serb, 6.6 per cent Croat, 10.7 describing themselves as 'Yugoslav' and 3.5 'other' groups.

Even before the beginning of the conflict in April 1992, the indictment states, "armed forces supporting the Serbian Democratic Party (Karadzic's SDS) and elements of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) occupied strategic positions in and around Sarajevo.

"The city was subsequently subjected to blockade and relentless bombardment and sniper attacks from these positions. Much of the bombardment and sniping was from positions in the hills around and overlooking Sarajevo, from which the attackers had a clear, detailed and commanding view of the city and its civilian population."

According to the Prosecutor, Galic's Sarajevo Romanija Corps had a leading role in those attacks. The indictment states that "for forty-four months, the Sarajevo Romanija Corps implemented a military strategy which used shelling and sniping to kill, maim, would and terrorise the civilian inhabitants of Sarajevo. The shelling and sniping killed and wounded thousands of civilians of both sexes and all ages, including the elderly.

"The Sarajevo Romanija Corps directed shelling and sniping at civilians who were tending vegetable plots, queuing for bread, collecting water, attending funerals, shopping in markets, riding on trams, gathering wood, or simply walking with their children and friends.

"People were even injured and killed inside their own homes, being hit by bullets that came through the windows. The attacks on Sarajevo civilians were often unrelated to military actions and were designed to keep the inhabitants in constant state of terror."

The indictment, which was unsealed after Galic's arrest, contains two schedules. The first includes a list with the names of 32 victims of sniping campaign, of both sexes, mostly Bosniaks, but also Serbs and Croats, ages between 5 and 73.

In the second schedule to the indictment the dates and locations of certain artillery or mortar attacks on large groups of civilians in areas including Dobrinja, Ciglane, Alipasino Polje and also the February 4 1994, attack on the city's Old Town market, in which 66 people died and more than 140 wounded.

The number of killed and wounded, the type and calibre of weapons used as well as the positions of the Romanija Corps from which the mortars were fired are precisely listed.

Galic will enter a plea to all these charges at his initial appearance before the Tribunal's judge, scheduled for Wednesday, 29 December 1999.

Besides Galic, accused for crimes during the siege of Sarajevo, the Tribunal also holds Radislav Krstic, former commander of the Drina Corps of the Bosnian Serb army, accused of genocide in Srebrenica. It also holds Momir Talic, former commander of the Bosnian Serb Krajina Corps, accused together with Radoslav Brdjanin, in an amended indictment announced last week, of genocide against the non-Serb population of Bosanska Krajina.

The doyen among the detained generals is Bosnian Croat general Tihomir Blaskic, in The Hague since April 1996. After the end of a marathon trial for crimes committed by Bosnian Croat forces in Central Bosnia, Blaskic's sentence will most likely be pronounced mid-February next year.

The other man arrested this month, Zoran Vukovic, is accused of eight counts of torture and rape of Muslim women while he was a paramilitary leader in the town of Foca in south eastern Bosnia. The Foca indictment names Vukovic alongside Gojko Jankovic and Dragan Zelenovic. All three men are accused of the rape of women and girls held at the Foca High School in July 1992 and the sexual abuse of women, including girls aged 15 and 16, at the Partizan Sports Hall. See Foca Indictment: Arrest Of Zoran Vukovic.

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