Prosecutors at the trial of Ratko Mladic before the Hague Tribunal argued in their closing arguments that it is proved that he and his army terrorized a population of Sarajevo with the campaign of artillery and sniper attacks.
Prosecutor Adam Weber said that, during the three and a half years of war, the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) opened indiscriminate artillery fire on Sarajevo and targeted civilians with a sniper.
As evidence that Mladic ordered and approved these attacks, the prosecutor released record of an intercepted conversation from May 1992 in which Mladic ordered artillery fire on Sarajevo settlements of Velesici and Pofalici “because there are not many Serbs”.
VRS exposed civilians in Sarajevo, according to Weber, to “massive bombing that covers an entire city” or sporadic shelling, depending on Mladic’s decision, throughout the war.
“A single part of the city was not spared … they targeted hospitals, people at funerals, in lines for water and food… Mosques were targets as well,” said Weber.
Proving that the VRS snipers, at the same time, targeted civilians in Sarajevo, the prosecutor referred to the UNICEF data from 1994 that “on 40 % of children in Sarajevo was opened direct sniper fire”.
As evidence of Mladic’s attitude toward civilians, Weber quoted his words from the footage that was shown in the court: “Every time I come to Sarajevo, I kill someone while passing by.”
Weber said that the defense is trying to show Mladic as a “heroic savior” of civilians, saying that he provided a “well-being” of the population. “Nothing could be more far from the truth,” said Weber.
According to the prosecutor, Mladic, on the contrary, exhausted civilians in Sarajevo by denying them humanitarian assistance, water, electricity and gas, which he “used as means” to achieve his goals.
“VRS has blocked all the roads out of town and shot at civilians who were trying to leave,” said the prosecutor.
Prosecution will continue with closing arguments.
Mladic is charged with genocide in Srebrenica, persecution of Muslims and Croats throughout the territory of BiH, terrorizing civilians in Sarajevo with long-lasting shelling and sniping and taking UNPROFOR members as hostages.