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Bosnia: Witness says Muslims tried to provoke intl intervention

last update: July 11, 17:33

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The Hague, 11 July (AKI) - A witness for the prosecution in the trial of wartime Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic told the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on Wednesday Bosnian Muslims tried to provoke international intervention in 1992-1995 war, even at the cost of killing their own people.

Second prosecution witness, David Harland, who served with United Nations mission in Sarajevo (UNPROFOR) from 1993 to 1995, told the court that Bosnian Serb army terrorized civilians in Sarajevo during the 44-month siege by indiscriminate shelling and sniper fire, but added that Muslims didn’t stand by doing nothing.

Mladic’s lawyer Branko Lukic quoted in court one of Harland’s reports from Sarajevo that Muslim army targeted “not only UNPROFOR soldiers, but local pedestrians as well” in sniper attacks.

“Yes, there were many such cases,” Harland responded. Asked whether he knew that Serb civilians were also killed in Sarajevo, Harland responded that to his knowledge about 1,000 Serbs were killed, but not 5,000 as claimed by the defense.

He said many Serbs were killed because they were forced by Muslim forces to dig trenches around the city and to clear mine fields. Harland said UNPROFOR never determined who fired a shell on Sarajevo market Markale in February 2004, killing 66 people, but Serbs were blamed for the attack.

“Some on the Bosnian (Muslim) side believed that some moves would help them to provoke international intervention,” Harland said. “Izetbegovic (wartime Muslim president) personally told me that civilians shouldn’t be allowed to leave Sarajevo,” he added.

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