JUSTICE FOR 1,500 KILLED CHILDREN; 12,000 CIVILIANS IN SARAJEVO
SERB GEN. DRAGOMIR MILOSEVIC GETS 33 YEARS FOR TERROR CAMPAIGN AGAINST SARAJEVO CITIZENS
At least 12,000 civilians including 1,500 children were killed during the 44-month siege of Sarajevo - the longest siege in the history of modern warfare - one of the worst atrocities in Europe since the Second World War.
On December 12th 2007, Serb General Dragomir Milosevic was sentenced to 33 years in prison for the shelling and terrorism campaign (all 5 counts of terror) against Sarajevo and its citizens from August 1994 to late 1995.
PHOTO: Former Bosnian Serb Gen. Dragomir Milosevic enters the courtroom of the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday Dec. 12, 2007. Milosevic was convicted of orchestrating months of deadly shelling and sniping to spread terror during the siege of Sarajevo in 1994 and 1995 and sentenced to 33 years.
Both Markale Massacres Committed by the Serb Army
Despite overhelming evidence against the Serb side, their propaganda has for a long time claimed that Sarajevo citizens bombed themselves to gain world sympathy and get the Bosnian-Serb army 'in trouble'; Serbs even claimed that the markale market massacre in Sarajevo was "staged".
The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague highlighted the Markale Market massacre of 28 August 1995, which killed 34 civilians and wounded 78 civilians, as one of the most horrendous Serb terror campaigns against Sarajevo citizens. The Trial Chamber found that the markale market was shelled by the Bosnian Serb army. It rejected the defence’s argument that the shelling of the markale market was a staged event by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ABiH).
The shell landed near Mesuda Klaric and her husband, Ismet. As she regained consciousness, her husband told her: "I lost my arm," according to the judgment. Rescuers pushed her into a car next to a girl whose foot had been blown off and put her husband — who also had lost a foot — in the trunk. He was rushed into surgery but did not survive, Klaric told judges during the trial.
"One of the police officers who investigated the incident described what he saw as 'the last, deepest circle of Dante's Hell,'" judges wrote.
Back in 2005, another Serb General - Stanislav Galic - was also found guilty of terrorizing Sarajevo including the responsibility for an earlier massacre that happened at the same place, 1994 Markale Market massacre in Sarajevo. The judge said that prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt 18 of the 26 sniping incidents they charged and all five of the shellings. That included the 1994 Sarajevo marketplace shelling in which 68 people were killed and more than 100 injured.
Also back in 1999, the the United Nations Report also concluded that Serb Army was responsible for the markale market massacre in Sarajevo (copy of U.N. Report).
Guilty as Charged; Used Modified Air Bombs
Dragomir Milosevic was found guilty of crimes against humanity and of a violation of the laws or customs of war. He was convicted on all five counts of terror, murder and inhumane acts conducted during a campaign of sniping and shelling which resulted in the injury and death of at least 12,000 Sarajevo citizens including 1,500 children in the besieged Bosnian capital.
In its summary of the judgement, the Trial Chamber found that it was under Milosevic’s command of the Bosnian Serb Army that illegal modified air bombs were deployed, noting that these were “….inaccurate and served no military purpose.”
The Trial Chamber found that Milosevic “….abused his position and that he, through his orders, planned and ordered gross and systematic violations of international humanitarian law. Moreover, the Accused made regular use of a highly inaccurate weapon with great explosive power: the modified air bomb.”
The Trial Chamber considered the repeated use of this weapon to be an aggravating factor in reaching its judgement stating that by using modified air bombs, Milosevic was playing with the lives of the civilians of Sarajevo.
"The evidence discloses a horrific tale of the encirclement and entrapment of a city," said Judge Patrick Robinson.
Alma Cutuna was one victim highlighted in the verdict. Shrapnel grazed her head and a sniper's bullet severed an artery in her leg as she stood on a crowded tram in Sarajevo. The high-powered rifles of Bosnian Serb sharpshooters were supposed to be stilled by a cease-fire on that day, Oct. 8, 1994. But at noon, as the tram slowed to negotiate an S-shaped curve near the Holiday Inn on the street known as Sniper Alley, shots rang out. One person was killed and 11 were wounded, including children shot while running near the tram. Emergency surgery saved Cutuna's life.
Reactions from Survivors of Serb Terrorism
Sarajevo resident Dzemail Cilas, 63, said Milosevic deserved an even harsher sentence. "It's not enough," he said.
"All those people killed, the children ... and he ordered it. He should have received a life sentence, just to drag his soul through life till the end."
Dragomir "Milosevic was found guilty. Justice has been served, and victims can be satisfied," said Senida Carovic, the head of an association of civilian victims of the siege.
"However, no sentence is appropriate for what he has done. It cannot bring back our dead or our limbs," she said.
In spite of her relief, Carovic said that judges should have handed Milosevic the same life sentence as was given to his predecessor, former general Stanislav Galic.
"Milosevic only continued what Galic had started and therefore he should serve the same sentence," she said.
Witnesses described feeling like "sitting ducks" or "clay pigeons" as they travelled by tram along a major road of Sarajevo nicknamed "sniper alley".
- Serb Generals sentenced for terrorizing Sarajevo, ICTY Judgments:
1. Trial Chamber Judgement, MILOSEVIC, Dragomir (IT-98-29/1) "Sarajevo"
2. Trial Chamber Judgment, GALIC, Stanislav (IT-98-29) "Sarajevo"
3. Appeals Chamber Judgment, GALIC, Stanislav (IT-98-29) "Sarajevo"
4. Excerpts from "The Fall of Srebrenica", 54th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (15 November 1999)