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14 October 2010

Karadzic: A Total Massacre at Markale

A Prosecution witness testifies at the trial of former Republika Srpska President Radovan Karadzic and recalls the killing of Sarajevans at the Markale marketplace in February 1994, adding that “the situation was chaotic” after the explosion.


During the course of cross-examination and additional examination, Prosecution witness Mirza Sabljica, former ballistics expert with the Safety Services Center in Sarajevo, spoke about ballistics investigations into the Markale incident, which took place on February 5, 1994.
The witness said that, upon their arrival at the marketplace, investigators noticed “a chaotic situation and a lot of blood”. 
 
“This was a total massacre. They were loading bodies onto trucks. Body parts could be seen all over the place, there was a lot of blood... During the course of our investigation we found a projectile stabilizer stuck in the asphalt,” Sabljica explained, adding the projectile could have exploded at that particular location only. He said that the asphalt was not “chiseled” during the course of the investigation.
 
Sabljica testified on October 11, 12 and 13 at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, wartime Bosnian Serb leader, who is indicted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war committed from 1992 to 1995.
Karadzic is charged with having participated in a sniping and shelling campaign conducted in Sarajevo during the war. 
 
The Hague Prosecution considers him responsible for the shelling of the Markale marketplace in Sarajevo on February 5, 1994 and August 28, 1995, when dozens of civilians were killed and more than a hundred were wounded.
 
During the course of additional examination the witness spoke about the investigations conducted in the Grbavica district of Sarajevo in 1996, when fortified sniper nests were found in four skyscrapers in Lenjinova Street and the so-called “Metalka” building.
 
“According to this report, VRS [Republika Srpska Army] snipers covered Zmaja od Bosne Street, where the tramway was located. As the street was exposed to snipers placed in the four skyscrapers during the course of the war, people called it ‘the sniper alley’,” the witness explained.
 
The testimony of this witness was completed with today's cross-examination and additional examination. As Karadzic did not feel well, the hearing was completed earlier than planned.
 
The trial is due to continue on October 15.
D.E.
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