BELGRADE – The attack on the Markale market was organized by Alija Izetbegovic and Islamic religious leader, Mustafa Ceric, and conducted by generals of the Muslim Army of the Republic of BiH Sefer Halilovic and Mustafa Hajrulahovic Talijan. This was said on Tuesday at the trial of General Ratko Mladic by protected witness under the pseudonym GRM-116, a former member of the security of Alija Izetbegovic.

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERCEGOVINA (FILES): Passers-by remove wounded from a central Sarajevo street in this 21 August 1995 file photo after artillery shells smashed in the area near the fruit and vegetable market killing at least 33 people and injuring 57 others. The signing of the general framework agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Hercegovina will be held in Paris 14 December 1995.   EPA PHOTO   EPA/FEHIM DEMIR
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERCEGOVINA (FILES): Passers-by remove wounded from a central Sarajevo street in this 21 August 1995 file photo after artillery shells smashed in the area near the fruit and vegetable market killing at least 33 people and injuring 57 others. PHOTO: EPA/FEHIM DEMIR

As a defense witness for General Mladic, the witness said that, as a member of the special unit “Biseri”, from 1992 to 1994 he was part of the security of the Presidency of BiH which held meetings in the building of the National Bank in Sarajevo and that is when he heard what Izetbegovic, Ceric, Halilovic and other officials said at those meetings.

GRM-116 was also a defense witness at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, when he also made the same claims, according to which “the strongest influence” on Izetbegovic had Ceric, and the main goal of the massacre of Muslim civilians at Markale was to provoke Western intervention on the side of Muslims.

“Ceric quickly persuaded Izetbegovic that this is the right thing to do and that sacrifices must be made,” said the witness.

Speaking of the bloody attack on Markale, GRM-116 testified that “the idea came from Ceric, and was implemented by generals Halilovic and Mustafa Hajrulahovic called Talijan”.

“The two of them presented the plan to place a mortar in the direction of Spicasta stijena, near the village of Mrkovici, because it was known that the Serbs there had artilery that often fired, so the granade would drown in fire,” said GRM-116. “Alija and Ceric accepted this, and Sefer turned to Talijan and said: ‘Talijan will do this’. I was present when Alija approved this. At the next meeting, however, Halilovic said that the attempt was not successful because the grenade fell on a roof near Markale. For a new attempt, it was waited for the same crew of UNPROFOR to be at the position, as there was agreement with them not to count grenades. Alija told them: ‘Try again.’ They went and soon we heard what had happened at Markale.”

At Karadzic’s trial, he cited Ciric’s words:

“Alija, be advised. 50 to 70 of us dies every day and nobody knows about it. If 200 of us is killed in one place, the whole world will know! And those who are killed, they know why they were killed, they were killed in the path of God and everyone will already be martyrs,” said, according to the witness, Ceric, after which Izetbegovic took his advice and agreed with “Markale” plan.

According to the indictment which holds charges against general Mladic (73), wartime commander of the Army of the Republika Srpska, for terrorism against the civilians in Sarajevo, the grenade which was fired on February 5 1994 killed 66, and wounded 144 civilians at Markale was fired from Serb positions.

The claim that Markale was shelled by Muslim made not only Serbs, but also the former UN observer Stefan Joudry at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, saying that the explosion at Markale market was staged to blame the Serbs.

Jodry was Colonel of the Canadian Forces and testified in favor of Karadzic’s defense.

New claims made by former member of “Biseri” on Tuesday was almost not conveyed by any media from Sarajevo, only a small number did.