Serb chief on trial over Sarajevo

Dragomir Milosevic faces four counts of crimes against humanity.

    Milosevic was a commander of Serb forces deployed around Sarajevo in the final year of the war [AFP]

    He inherited command of the SRK in August 1994 from Stanislav Galic, who was the first suspect to be tried by the tribunal in connection with the siege of Sarajevo.

    "Everyday civilian activity was a hazardous endeavour, subject potentially to a barrage of shells or bullets from the besieging forces"

    Alex Whiting, prosecutor

    Last November, Galic, who was convicted in 2003, had his sentence increased to life imprisonment from 20 years after an appeal by prosecutors.

       

    After Milosevic took command, hundreds more civilians were killed and thousands maimed during the last 15 months of the siege, the prosecution said.

       

    "Everyday civilian activity was a hazardous endeavour, subject potentially to a barrage of shells or bullets from the besieging forces," Whiting said.

       

    The campaign was intended to damage and destroy Sarajevo's cultural and religious monuments and deprive the population of food, water, electricity, gas and transport, he said.

     

    Relentless siege

     

    Sarajevo's plight became synonymous with the 1992-1995 Bosnian war during the 44-month siege. The world saw television images of sniper and shell fire raining down on the city's mainly Muslim population from the steep surrounding hills.

       

    In one infamous attack, 43 people were killed and 75 injured when a mortar shell hit people queuing for bread by the city market in August 1995. The prosecution said they intended to present a video of the carnage as evidence during the trial.

          

    Prosecutors told the court of how one mother, Dzenana Sokolovic, was hit by a sniper's bullet after returning from a trip to gather firewood with her children.

       

    The bullet passed through her stomach and hit her seven-year-old son in the head, killing him on the spot.

       

    Prior to 1992, the city of half a million people had been a blooming multi-ethnic community, the prosecution said.

       

    Norwegian government-backed research by the Sarajevo-based Investigation-Documentation Centre has said about 14,000 people were killed in the Sarajevo area during the war.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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