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War criminal Karadzic:
CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
Autor: BIRN
Objavljeno: 30. Sep 2010. 15:09:06
At the trial of Radovan Karadzic, a Hague Prosecution witness speaks about sniper fire incidents in the Dobrinja and Vojnicko Polje districts of Sarajevo while being cross-examined by the indictee.

Indictee Radovan Karadzic continued his cross-examination of sniper fire expert Patrick Van Der Weijden, who began his testimony on September 27. Van Der Weijden told the Court previously that in 2006 and 2009 he visited the locations where bullets from sniper fire had hit individuals in order to identify from which area sniper fire came in each incident.

The witness answered questions pertaining to incidents in the Dobrinja district of Sarajevo, including one in July 1993 when a woman was killed while fetching water from the Dobrinja river, and another in January 1994 when a woman was wounded while riding a bicycle on a bridge over the Dobrinja river.

The witness said that both victims were hit after a burst of bullets were fired, adding he determined that “the shooter was probably situated” in an Orthodox church, where Serb forces were allegedly based.

Karadzic asked Van Der Weijden whether “the Muslim and Serb armies” exchanged fire at that location and whether it was possible that the civilians were not targeted, but had just “entered the zone of gunfire”.

“I would not draw such a conclusion. There was no mention of any fire exchanged, but rather mention of sniper fire in that street. In order for an exchange of fire to take place, Muslim forces would have had to be located in the water. It is unlikely that this was the case because they would have been unprotected. Civilians were hiding underneath the bridge, so they could not have been in the gunfire zone,” Van Der Weijden said in reply.

The indictee asked the witness to explain why the sniper shot into the water and what his target was, given that he did not see the civilians.

“I think they targeted the people who were hiding underneath the bridge. The bullets hit the water,” the witness explained.

Karadzic, the former President of Republika Srpska, is charged by the Prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia with crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995, including the sniper and shelling campaign in Sarajevo, during which thousands of people were killed and wounded.

The indictment against him lists 16 sniping incidents in Sarajevo in which more than 20 people, including children, were wounded and two persons killed.

Van Der Weijden also answered questions about sniper fire in the Vojnicko Polje district, where a 16-year old girl was wounded on June 26, 1994.

A Prosecution document used by the witness during his investigations alleges that “the snipers were based” in the school for the blind, where Serb forces were situated. Karadzic asked Van Der Weijden whether he was requested to “confirm the Prosecution’s allegations”.

“No, my task was to go to the incident locations and check the possibilities. I was supposed to check the locations from which the [victims] could be seen and determine the potential locations at which the shooter could have been situated. (...) In my opinion, the bullet was indeed fired from the school for the blind. After having eliminated various other possibilities, I reached this conclusion,” the witness said.

The trial of Radovan Karadzic is due to continue on September 30 with the examination of a new Prosecution witness.



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