Sarajevo Remembers Second Markale Market Massacre

Markale 28th of August 1995 Photo: ICTY
Markale 28th of August 1995 Photo: ICTY

This  week saw Sarajevans pay their respect to the victims of the second Markale Market massacre which took place 28th august 1995 and took the lives of 43 people and injured another 75 when a shell fired from Serb position outside the city landed in the crowded marketplace. According to the UN-report on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina from November 1999, 5  mortar rounds landed in a crowded area of downtown Sarajevo around 11 o´clock on 28th of august 1995, one of those rounds landed in the crowded Markale Market place killing 43 people and wounding another 75. Approximately a year and a half before the market place had been struck by Serb shelling, killing 68 people and wounding 144.

In October last year BBC´s legendary correspondent Jeremy Bowen took the stand in the trial of Ratko Mladic. Bowen had served as BCC´s war correspondent in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to his statement he had been in Sarajevo for most of the time and that “no place was safe” in the city, there was no shelter from the Bosnian Serb shelling and sniper attacks. Many of those TV reports that Bowen had made for BBC while in Sarajevo were shown during his testimony including the shelling of Hotel Europa where refugees that had been expelled from other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina were staying.

Another video showed an artillery attack on children and other civilians in Sarajevo cemetery during the funeral of Vedrana Glavas. Glavas was a two-year old girl who was killed together with another child in a sniper attack on a bus transporting children from and orphanage. The children were being evacuated from the city.

One of those that had survived the second massacre on Markale, Ismet Svraka recounted his experiences that day during the trial of Ratko Mladic. According to Svraka he had lost his left leg and two toes on his right foot in the massacre as well as suffering from stomach pain and intestinal problems caused by shrapnel in his abdomen. Svraka had gone to downtown Sarajevo to deliver a letter to his sister and had taken the back streets in order to avoid snipers, after he had delivered the letter he went to the Markale market where he saw two friends standing in front of the market building when a shell exploded and the shouting and panic started. According to Svraka he was thrown in to a car and taken to a hospital. The prosecution played two video clips of the massacre, according to the IWPR report, “in the the first one you could see piles of contorted bodies lying on the ground amid the pools of blood and debris. Some are lifted into nearby cars, and screaming and shouting can be heard in the background.”

Ismet Svraka was able to identify himself as one of those on the ground.  The second clip was altogether more graphic and was shown after Svraka had left the courtroom. The clip showed a man lying face-up in the street with the top of his head completely blown open and blood gushing into the pavement.

During the trial of Dragomir Milosevic, commander of the Serb army´s Sarajevo-Romanija Corps,  a protected witness: W-137 testifed that; “all of the victims of the shelling were being rushed to hospital in the trunks of many cars, without any distinction as to whether the victims were dead or alive”. According to the witness those collecting bodies could not be certain who was dead and who was still alive and so they rushed to pick up everyone and take them to the hospital as soon as possible.

Djula Leka a resident of Sarajevo had been at the Markale Market when the mortar rounds landed, she was about five to seven meters from the place of impact. She was injured while her brother in-law was killed by the Serb mortar round. She said that a policeman at the scene stopped a car to transport her to the hospital but that the car was full of dead bodies so she refused to get in. To this day she feels pain in her chest and shoulder as result of the injures she received on that day.

Mesuda and Ismet Klaric were immediately taken to surgery, Ismet didn´t survive. The mortar round had landed about five meters behind them. Directly after the mortar hit Mesuda felt like she wasn´t fully conscious or able to see what was going on. When she came to she saw  that she was sitting on the ground with her husband next to her. He told her that he had lost his arm while she was bleeding heavily from her leg. Mesuda also saw people lying on the street towards the cathedral as she was being carried to a car to take her to a hospital with her husband. In the car were also a young man and a young woman, according to Mesuda, the foot of the young girl had been severed by the blast. (page 220-221 D.Milosevic Verdict)

Several Bosnian police officers arrived at the scene minutes after the blast at Markale Market. W-137 a KDZ technician said that he had been in the area with a colleague when he heard a lot of cars sounding their horns and human arms and legs sticking out of the cars he arrived seven minutes after seeing the cars as he and his colleague went back to get their equipment. He described the scene he found at Markale Market as “the last, deepest circle of Dante’s hell” (page 224)

Markale Photo: ICTY
Markale Photo: ICTY

During the trial of Stanislav Galic, the first commander of Sarajevo-Romanija Corps the trial chamber found that there was evidence that the sniping and shelling activity of the SRK in and around Sarajevo were under the direct control of the SRK’s chain of command and that if he had wanted, Galic could have punished those who committed crimes since the trial produced ample evidence that he was aware attacks on civilians by SRK (Sarajevo-Romanija Corps) The trial chamber also concluded based on evidence that not only did Galic knew of the attacks on civilians in Sarajevo but that he indeed controlled pace and scale of those crimes. According to the trial chamber Galic did this with the primary aim of of spreading terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo. Galic was sentenced to twenty years in prison´for crimes against humanity, including grave breaches of the Geneva Convention as well as for the first Markale Massarce in February 1994.

Stanislav Galic was replaced by Dragomir Milosevic on August 10th 1994.  In 2009 after an appeal Milosevic´s sentence was reduced from 33 to 29 years. Nevertheless Dragomir Milosevic was sentenced for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. According to the Appeals Chamber verdict: Milosevic conducted a campaign of snipering and shelling attacks on the city of Sarajevo and did so with the primary aim of spreading terror among the city’s civilian population. He conducted a campaign of artillery, mortar and modified air bomb shelling of civilian areas of Sarajevo and on its civilian population.

The siege of Sarajevo was the longest of it´s kind in modern times. It lasted three time longer then the siege of Stalingrad and a year longer then the siege of Leningrad. Beginning on April 5th 1992 and last for almost 4 years, 11541 people lost their lives, of those 1601 were children. Approximately 50 000 people were wounded by artillery and sniper fire coming from Bosnian Serb positions around the city.

List of those who died in the massacre: Omer Ajanović, Hidajet Alić, Salko Alić, Zeno Bašević, Husein Baktašević, Sevda Brkan-Kruščica, Vera Brutus-Đukić, Halida Cepić, Paša Crnčalo, Mejra Cocalić, Razija Čolić, Esad Čoranbegić, Dario Dlouhi, Salko Duraković, Alija Dževlan, Najla Fazlić, Rijad Garbo, Ibrahim Hajvaz, Meho Herceglić, Jasmina Hodžić, Hajrudin Hozo, Jusuf Hašimbegović, Adnan Ibrahimagić, Ilija Karanović, Mesudija Kerović, Vehid Komar, Muhamed Kukić, Mirsad Kovačević, Hašim Kurtović, Ismet Klarić, Masija Lončar, Osman Mahmutović, Senad Muratović, Goran Poturković, Blaženka Smoljan, Hamid Smajlhodžić, Hajro Šatrović, Samir Topuzović, Hamza Tunović Ajdin Vukotić, Sabaheta Vukotić, Meho Zećo Narima Žiga.

On 28th August this year ICTY NEWS posted this short clip of the aftermath.

Short clip from BBC documentary; Death of Yugoslavia on the second Markale Massacre.


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