Sarajevo outlines planned museum after Mladic arrest

Mon May 30, 2011 1:14pm EDT
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By Daria Sito-Sucic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Sarajevo announced plans on Monday to open a museum of its brutal siege by Bosnian Serb forces, saying the approaching trial of their commander Ratko Mladic made it all the more important to display the evidence.

The museum will open on the siege's 20th anniversary next year and organizers said the timing of the announcement, four days after Mladic's capture in Serbia after nearly 16 years evading war crimes charges, was coincidental but fortuitous.

"Now that Mladic is arrested and we see so many efforts to rewrite history, we see how important these testimonies are," said Suada Kapic, who began collecting documents early in Bosnia's 1992-5 war and is the project's creative force.

She was referring to allegations by Mladic's supporters and family that the siege, which lasted 43 months and killed more than 11,000 people, was a legitimate military operation.

In the early 1990s, the Bosnian capital became a symbol of suffering of its citizens, who remained stuck in the city for 3-1/2-years under daily shelling by heavy artillery and snipers from nearby hills, without water, power and food.

The terror was masterminded by Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Mladic. The latter was seen by Sarajevans as a ruthless commander who did not care about civilians, unless they were ethnic Serbs.

"Shoot over Velusici, there are not many Serbs there," Mladic's ordered during a heavy bombardment of Sarajevo in May 1992 in a communique intercepted by Bosnian security agents and replayed many times in Bosnia since.

Mladic was indicted in 1995 by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague for genocide during the Bosnian war, including the siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.   Continued...

<p>The wreckage of a tram stands in a street following shelling in the Skenderija district in Sarajevo March 1992. REUTERS/Danilo Krstanovic</p>