Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 2903

1 Monday, 29th September 1997

2 (2.30 pm)

3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Mr. Registrar, can you have

4 the accused brought in?

5 (Accused brought in)

6 JUDGE JORDA: Are the interpreters ready? Can everyone hear

7 me? Mr. Prosecutor? The gentlemen on the Defence,

8 General Blaskic?

9 MR. BLASKIC: Good afternoon, your Honour, I hear you well.

10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, good afternoon. My colleagues can

11 hear me too, thank you. In that case, we can begin.

12 Mr. Prosecutor, we are still in the Prosecution

13 stage. It is up to you to introduce, Mr. Kehoe, our next

14 witness.

15 MR. KEHOE: Good afternoon, Mr. President, your Honours. Our

16 next witness is another witness for which the Prosecutor

17 will be seeking protective measures, so designated as

18 Witness E. I have discussed this matter with the

19 Defence and they have raised no objections to any

20 protective measures for this witness. Witness E

21 requests the full body distortion and name as well. The

22 basis of that is because of still locality to Vitez,

23 being at or near the area of Vitez and obviously the

24 fear to her and her family as a result of that.

25 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, on condition that there is no

Page 2904

1 objection on the part of the Defence, we can have

2 Witness E brought in. So we will have voice distortion,

3 is that right, Mr. Kehoe? The protective measures

4 consist of? Just a moment. Perhaps we need to close

5 the curtains first. There is some doubt as to the

6 measures that are required, therefore while the curtains

7 are being pulled down, what are the exact protective

8 measures, please?

9 MR. KEHOE: The exact protective measures requested by the

10 witness are a full body distortion and name not released

11 to the public. However, your Honour, I do believe that

12 to be totally safe in this matter that voice distortion

13 should be added, albeit it was not specifically

14 discussed with the witness. I do not think that this

15 witness knows one way or the other, but I think to be

16 safe it would probably be a wise thing for the

17 Prosecutor to ask for.

18 JUDGE JORDA: If there is no opposition on the part of the

19 Defence, these are merely technical matters and whenever

20 we undertake such complex measures, we have certain

21 difficulties. The Defence has no objection to these

22 complete protective measures? No objection? Thank

23 you. Witness E can be brought in.

24 (Witness entered court)

25 JUDGE JORDA: Please sit down, Witness E. Can the witness

Page 2905

1 hear me? Witness E, because that is how we are going to

2 call you, it is the President of the Trial Chamber that

3 is facing you. Can you hear me? Can you hear me?

4 THE WITNESS: It is not Bosnian. I cannot hear Bosnian.

5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, the technical department is

6 telling us that the request for voice distortion has not

7 reached them. Is that correct?

8 MR. KEHOE: That is correct, Mr. President.

9 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore would it take a lot of time to

10 ensure voice protection too? At least may I ascertain

11 whether you can hear me.

12 THE WITNESS: Yes.

13 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. While the protective measures are

14 being undertaken, it will take another two or three

15 minutes perhaps. Very well. Witness E is going to be

16 shown out, the meeting will be adjourned for ten minutes

17 so that voice protection can be provided as well and to

18 avoid any wasting of time, we will adjourn for a

19 minute. Please do not lift the curtains yet. In that

20 case, we will adjourn for a few minutes. The judges

21 will withdraw and when the measures have been provided

22 we will resume work.

23 (2.45 pm)

24 (A short break)

25 (2.50 pm)

Page 2906

1 JUDGE JORDA: The sitting is resumed. Mr. Registrar,

2 I suppose that everything has been ensured so that we

3 can hear Witness E?

4 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, everything is in place.

5 (Witness entered court)

6 JUDGE JORDA: Witness E, can you hear me?

7 THE WITNESS: Yes.

8 JUDGE JORDA: You are going to read -- I am not going to ask

9 you your identity, because you are under the strictest

10 protective measures. If you need to leave, then the

11 curtains will be pulled down again. You will be called

12 Witness E. This is not very courteous, but it is the

13 best way of protecting you. You can speak freely,

14 without fear. You are addressing the International

15 Tribunal and you are under its protection.

16 Before answering questions by the Prosecution, you

17 will be asked to read the solemn declaration and you are

18 a witness in the case against General Blaskic.

19 Ordinarily, this statement is read standing, but,

20 exceptionally, we are going to allow you to read it from

21 your position in the chair. You have the declaration in

22 front of you, please read it.

23 WITNESS E (sworn)

24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, we can begin. Mr. Prosecutor, yes?

25 Excuse me. (Pause).

Page 2907

1 First of all, as I do not wish your name to be

2 mentioned, we are going to show you a document and you

3 are simply going to tell me whether that is in fact your

4 identity, by saying yes or no. Is that your identity?

5 A. Yes.

6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

7 Very well, Mr. Prosecutor. How much have you

8 envisaged for questioning this witness?

9 MR. KEHOE: The notification we gave to Mr. President, to the

10 court, is two hours, but we anticipate it will be less

11 than that. I would say, your Honour, approximately an

12 hour.

13 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. To achieve that, the Tribunal

14 would like to ask you to go directly to the questions

15 which are at the basis of your accusations against

16 General Blaskic; that is to say that all the questions

17 that are too far removed from this objective should be

18 avoided as much as possible. Of course it is up to you

19 to decide, Mr. Prosecutor, but the Tribunal would be most

20 appreciative if you were to proceed in that way. You

21 can proceed.

22 Examined by MR. KEHOE

23 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Witness E.

24 A. Good afternoon.

25 Q. On 16th April 1993, were you living in Vitez?

Page 2908

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Prior to that, had you lived there with your family your

3 entire adult life?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Witness E, tell the judges what happened on the morning

6 of 16th April 1993.

7 A. (Not interpreted) but when I looked through the windows

8 of my apartment --

9 JUDGE JORDA: At least as far as the French booth is

10 concerned, could you please resume work? Can the booths

11 hear me, and the English booth as well? Yes. We

12 apologise, could you start again, please.

13 A. In the morning as usual I got up to go to work and

14 I looked through the windows and I saw two houses

15 burning in Stari Vitez. I thought it was a fire, but

16 when I woke up my husband and we discussed this we heard

17 a very powerful explosion. A couple of minutes later,

18 the sirens went off from the fire brigade centre in

19 Stari Vitez. We could hear this well. We got the

20 children up and we went down to the cellars.

21 JUDGE JORDA: Will you please speak a little more slowly so

22 that the interpreters can follow you and interpret

23 properly? Thank you.

24 A. Yes. The other tenants of the building were also going

25 down to the basement. The entrance was under lock and

Page 2909

1 key, so that no one else but the inhabitants were

2 there. I went back up to the apartment to get some

3 things for the children and when we went down we agreed

4 that we would not open the door for anyone, because we

5 did not know what was happening outside.

6 I do not know how long this went on for, and

7 before we heard this explosion I was a little confused,

8 seeing the fire, because there were very many soldiers

9 in the house in front of my building. They were wearing

10 black uniforms. Some were in camouflage uniforms, with

11 HVO insignia. It was very early, it was not quite light

12 yet, so I could not see all the insignia, but this was

13 in any case unusual.

14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Prosecutor.

15 MR. KEHOE: Witness E, you said you headed down towards the

16 basement. Why did you go to the basement?

17 A. Yes, because the sirens were on, the siren for danger,

18 and we use the basements as shelters.

19 Q. Witness E, you are a Muslim, are you not?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Did just Muslims go down to the basement or did Croats

22 and others go down to the basement, in addition to the

23 Muslims?

24 A. All the inhabitants of our building, both Muslims, Serbs

25 and Croats, everyone was going down to the basement.

Page 2910

1 Q. You just told the judges that you saw these soldiers

2 from your window that were dressed in black and in

3 camouflage; is that right?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Did you see anything else?

6 A. I saw the houses on fire in Stari Vitez. At first,

7 there were two houses on fire, and as it dawned more

8 then we could see that the fire was spreading to other

9 houses.

10 Q. After you observed the burning of houses in Stari Vitez

11 and the soldiers, did you go back down to the basement?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Tell the judges what happened the rest of the day on

14 16th April.

15 A. Somebody was banging on the door and we did not know

16 what to do, and then the glass on the entrance was

17 broken to the staircase. I think also a grenade was

18 thrown in, but I could not really tell because there was

19 a lot of shooting all over. One of our neighbours, a

20 Croat, opened the door, we could hear steps -- of course

21 I could not see exactly in the basement who was coming

22 in, but they were going along the staircase. I do not

23 know how much time they spent in the staircase. Then

24 they came down and said that all the Muslims had to come

25 out of the basement. Only the women, Muslim women who

Page 2911

1 had mixed marriages or rather who were married to Croats

2 stayed on.

3 Q. Witness E, let me ask: who called the Muslims out of the

4 basement?

5 A. The soldiers who had entered the basement, the HVO

6 soldiers who had entered the basement.

7 Q. When the soldiers -- after the soldiers called the

8 Muslims out of the basement, what happened and what did

9 you see?

10 A. When they took us out, they cursed us, they forced us

11 across the street, they lined us up two by two, they

12 were masked. I find it difficult to remember this.

13 I had a four year old girl, and they were pointing the

14 weapons at the children. It is very difficult for me to

15 talk about these things. One of the little girls who

16 was smaller than mine was screaming and the soldier

17 shouted at the mother to calm her down. She could not

18 and then they sent us back to the basement together with

19 our daughters. I did not know what happened to my

20 husband or the others.

21 I returned to the basement, the shooting

22 continued, and some time in the afternoon the women and

23 children were sent back and then we heard that they were

24 alive and that they had been detained in the Workers'

25 University building, or the cinema building, as we

Page 2912

1 called it.

2 Q. Could you recognise these soldiers, or did they have

3 some type of -- something over their faces?

4 A. I could not recognise them, they all had masks on their

5 faces; actually they were stockings in other words,

6 stockings over their faces.

7 Q. Were anybody else besides Muslims taken, or was it only

8 Muslims that were taken to the cinema?

9 A. Only Muslims.

10 Q. After this, the men and all the Muslims were taken to

11 the cinema and the women and children were returned;

12 what happened after that?

13 A. We stayed on in the basement. All the tenants were

14 there, except that the men who were Croats went off to

15 work, probably. Some people went in uniform, they were

16 mostly in uniform. They probably had those uniforms in

17 their apartments, though I do not know that, but it was

18 mostly women and children who stayed behind. But they

19 would come occasionally, probably at the end of their

20 shifts, I do not know.

21 We were terrified for our husbands and our

22 fathers. One day there was some sort of an alert in the

23 basement. Women, Croat women, were talking and one

24 woman whose husband, a Croat, had to go to another part

25 of the Kolonija, she called me and another neighbour, a

Page 2913

1 Muslim, and she was closer to the telephone because in

2 the meantime all the telephones were cut, there was only

3 one operating in the staircase, and she said that

4 something was being prepared, an explosion or something,

5 and she had left her keys so that we could use them and

6 that we should open the windows, because there might be

7 an explosion.

8 She also told us not to move, not to go anywhere

9 because she did not know whether we were still in the

10 basement or back in our apartments. So both me and my

11 neighbour who knew about this, we were afraid to go back

12 to our apartments because we did not know what was going

13 to happen. I thought that maybe she had been wrong.

14 Anyway, when I entered the corridor of my

15 apartment, I do not know what came first, the sound of

16 the explosion or the dust that was choking me in my nose

17 and mouth. So I ran down to see whether the children

18 were alive, whether there was any destruction. At first

19 we did not know what it was. (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted) My Muslim neighbour, when she went to her

23 apartment which was on the third floor, said that there

24 were many buildings destroyed in Stari Vitez, so that

25 the assumption was that something had happened over

Page 2914

1 there.

2 Q. Witness E, this woman that called you and your Muslim

3 neighbour; what had she asked you to do?

4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

5 MR. KEHOE: This woman that had called you and your neighbour

6 about this event, this explosion that was going to take

7 place, what had she asked you to do?

8 A. She said that, if we could, we should go to her

9 apartment and to our own apartment to open the windows,

10 because something terrible was in the offing, that we

11 should not risk anything and that we should stay in the

12 basement because something would happen.

13 Q. In the basement, were the Croat women talking to one

14 another about something during this period of time?

15 A. Yes, they were talking. I later learnt that they had

16 also heard on the radio and the TV, because in the

17 meantime a TV set and a radio had been brought down to

18 the basement, because we spent eight nights and nine

19 days in the basement.

20 Q. What had these Croat women learned from the radio and

21 the TV?

22 A. I do not know exactly. I think their husbands could

23 have told them too, because another neighbour had moved

24 away to another building. She also called up another

25 neighbour, saying that something was going to happen,

Page 2915

1 that her husband had told her that and her husband was a

2 HVO soldier.

3 Q. But it was clear, Witness E, that all of these people

4 knew that some type of large explosion was going to take

5 place before it happened?

6 A. Yes, maybe even two hours before it happened. I do not

7 know exactly how it happened, we were all very afraid,

8 but much earlier, anyhow.

9 Q. How many days did you spend in the basement?

10 A. Nine days.

11 Q. After you left the basement, where did you go?

12 A. I went to other people's apartments, because our

13 apartments, the apartments of three families, were

14 facing Stari Vitez, so they would not let us go back so

15 we had to go to other people's apartments.

16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, Mr. Hayman, Mr. Nobilo, could you

17 come here, please, just for a minute? (Pause).

18 Please do not be disturbed. It is simply to make

19 sure that your protection is as best as possible,

20 because in answering the questions of the Prosecution

21 and also the Defence, especially when you speak too

22 quickly, you may let escape information which might

23 possibly allow your identification. We have a system

24 which allows us to redact that from the transcript.

25 I wanted to consult the Prosecutor and the Defence to

Page 2916

1 see what we can do to make sure that this does not occur

2 and that you should be protected as well as possible.

3 Therefore I wish to ask you to speak a little more

4 slowly, because it is difficult for the interpreters to

5 follow you, and also to speak in such a way not to

6 disclose any identification elements. If this should

7 happen, we will take care of it, because the Registrar

8 will take note of it and have it redacted from the

9 transcript, even though the hearing is public.

10 Having said that, Mr. Prosecutor, can you please

11 continue?

12 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, thank you.

13 Witness E, after you left the basement, you said

14 you went to another apartment, is that correct?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. (redacted)

17 A. (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 Q. (redacted)

21 A. (redacted)

22 Q. (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 A. (redacted)

Page 2917

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted). I simply could not stand it any more

6 and while we were still in the basement they kept saying

7 that our apartments, facing Stari Vitez, were dangerous

8 because there were snipers there and so I thought that

9 the best thing for me to do was to stand on the balcony

10 and to be hit by a sniper. I stood there crying for a

11 long time, but nobody shot at me and I did not have

12 enough strength to jump from the balcony, so I went

13 back, of course in a state of total depression.

14 Q. Witness E, did you go up to that balcony wanting a

15 sniper to shoot you?

16 A. Yes, I did not see any other way out.

17 Q. Nobody from Stari Vitez shot at you, did they?

18 A. No, they repeatedly told us that there was shooting from

19 the direction of Stari Vitez, and when we went to visit

20 our husbands they told us to run, and one of the women

21 who went there did run, but there was no shooting,

22 nobody was shot from the direction of Stari Vitez.

23 Q. You said that you had received some information when you

24 went to see your husband at the Workers' University,

25 which is also the cinema, about Muslims being shot while

Page 2918

1 digging trenches. Did you receive other information

2 during this time of Muslims that were killed in Kolonija

3 and who had disappeared?

4 A. That was the only place where we could learn of

5 anything, because we could not go out of the basement.

6 I think that our building was the only one, the Muslims

7 from my building, (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted), and we would

10 hear either that somebody was evicted during the night

11 or during the day, someone else got killed, and that is

12 where we learnt that Muslims were being expelled and

13 killed. Until then, we were quite confused, because we

14 did not know what the truth was, because in the basement

15 we were mostly listening to Vitez TV programmes and

16 Vitez radio programmes, and these were edited by Croats,

17 and they were always saying that the Croats were at

18 risk, that they were being attacked by Muslims, so we

19 simply did not know what the truth was and when we went

20 to the Workers' University, we learnt that it was the

21 Muslims who were the victims and not the Croats.

22 On one occasion, I remember seeing on Vitez

23 television a street in Zenica with a tank, then bodies

24 in the street, and they said that this was how Croatian

25 people and Croat children were being mistreated, and

Page 2919

1 this was a terrible sight to see. When I went to Zenica

2 and this part of the city, this was actually in front of

3 the department store in Zenica, where a large number of

4 people of all ethnic groups got killed, not just Muslims

5 or just Croats or just Serbs, but whoever happened to be

6 there, because a grenade fell.

7 I do not know, I am not an expert, but apparently

8 it had come from the direction of Vitez.

9 Q. You said that you had seen a TV programme while you were

10 in the basement about that shelling incident in Zenica;

11 is that right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. What did the TV say as to who was killed?

14 A. While I was in Vitez when I saw this on Vitez, the

15 comment said that the Croats were the victims in Zenica,

16 that they were persecuted in Zenica, that they were

17 killed there.

18 Q. Did you come to a different conclusion when you

19 ultimately went to Zenica and saw that particular scene?

20 A. I came to the conclusion that none of it was the truth,

21 that this was mere intimidation, that they wanted to

22 frighten us. Their people, the Croatian people, were

23 supposed to think that this was happening. But, for

24 example, even in Zenica, they would say on television

25 that Cajdras, a village near Zenica, was burned down,

Page 2920

1 that everyone was expelled, that people were being

2 persecuted in Zenica too, but when I was travelling from

3 Vitez to Zenica, when I passed through that village,

4 only one house was burned down, no more than that.

5 When I arrived in my sister-in-law's apartment in

6 Zenica, across from her apartment there was a Croat

7 family who was living there in that apartment, and they

8 lived there throughout; nobody even knocked at their

9 door. There were a lot of us in my sister-in-law's

10 apartment, and she even asked us if some of us wanted to

11 spend the night at her place.

12 Q. So Witness E, are you saying that Vitez television was

13 controlled by the Croats?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Vitez television gave information about the destruction

16 of the village of Cajdras?

17 A. Yes, Cajdras, yes.

18 Q. Excuse me, Cajdras. After you heard that on television,

19 you actually went through the village of Cajdras, is

20 that right?

21 A. A month and a half later I went through Cajdras and none

22 of it had been true.

23 Q. So none of the information that was coming across on

24 Vitez TV concerning atrocities committed against Bosnian

25 Croats was true?

Page 2921

1 A. No, it was not true. None of it was true. They always

2 said the Croats were under attack, that Muslims were

3 mistreating them and beating them up and in the basement

4 naturally I could not know what the truth was, only when

5 I got out of Vitez I realised that it was not true.

6 Q. (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 A. (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 2922

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 Q. (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. From that until the time that you left Vitez, were you

11 in fear for yourself and for the rest of your family?

12 A. Yes, I was in fear. It was terrible for me. I always

13 had Croat friends, ever since I was a child, in my

14 native town also where I was born, right next door, we

15 had Croat neighbours. Also in the apartment building

16 where I lived later and also in the office where

17 I worked, I worked with Croats. Also, among my

18 relatives there were also some mixed marriages. But

19 I was so hurt during those days when my husband had been

20 taken away; none of them came to see me, none of my

21 friends, and they did not come to ask how we were, my

22 children and I, and they did not ask what they could do

23 to help. I felt totally insecure and unsafe because

24 I realised I did not have any friends, there was no one

25 to turn to, no one would help me and my children.

Page 2923

1 Just a detail: a seven year old boy who lived in

2 our same apartment building; I liked him more than any

3 other child in the neighbourhood because he did not have

4 a father. It was a beautiful spring day, this was mid

5 May already, I think. We were standing in front of the

6 entrance, a soldier went by and he asked the soldier for

7 a bullet and the soldier said "why", and he said "I want

8 to kill a balija", and that was a pejorative name for

9 the Muslims. He said that perhaps he could try to kill

10 two Muslims with one bullet because it is no good

11 wasting bullets on Muslims, and his mother was there and

12 she did not say a word about this and we had all lived

13 together before that, and before that we never paid any

14 attention to that, whether somebody was a Serb or a

15 Croat or a Muslim, but now all of a sudden there were

16 such differences.

17 Q. What did you think was going to happen at that point

18 after you had -- excuse me. (Pause).

19 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Prosecutor. Excuse me.

20 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.

21 Witness E, during this period of time, were you

22 also continuing to get information about the expulsion

23 and disappearance of Muslims in the Vitez municipality?

24 A. This happened every day. Someone would always see

25 someone else. Every day there were new expulsions from

Page 2924

1 Vitez. During the night, during the day, one never knew

2 when. I can say, though, that in my apartment building

3 there were no expulsions. Perhaps this was because it

4 was on the very line between Stari Vitez and Vitez.

5 Perhaps they also needed us for something, so they did

6 not do anything to us, I do not know. So the only thing

7 they did was take us away.

8 Q. Witness E, between the information you received

9 concerning the disappearance and expulsion of Muslims

10 and after you had observed this conversation with the

11 seven year old Croat boy asking for the bullet to kill

12 balijas, how did you feel?

13 A. How did I feel? Insecure, unsafe. How could I feel

14 when I knew that my life became worthless and that it

15 did not mean anything to anyone whether I would remain

16 alive or not?

17 Q. Let us move ahead, Witness E, to 30th May 1993. Did two

18 Croat men come to your house on 30th May 1993?

19 A. Yes. Before, I heard about people who were being

20 expelled undergoing different provocations before that,

21 and we were already living in our own apartments by

22 then, we were allowed to live in our own apartments and

23 two young men came to the door, they knocked, and I went

24 to the door. One of them wore a uniform, the other one

25 did not, and he said that they came to change apartments

Page 2925

1 with us, that we should move to Zenica, to their

2 apartment and that they should come here. I said I did

3 not want to move and then he was telling me about his

4 apartment in Zenica, that it was a big apartment, 100

5 square metres, but I said I did not want to leave

6 because I always believed that a more normal situation

7 would be restored and that I did not want to leave. He

8 insisted on this changing of apartments and when he saw

9 that I was not thinking along those lines, they left.

10 After that, I was so frightened, I was trembling,

11 and I told my husband "we are certainly the next in

12 line now", because that is the kind of thing that would

13 usually happen before an expulsion.

14 In the meantime, my husband's sister came. She

15 lived in another part of Kolonija, where people could

16 move more freely. We asked her to find some sort of

17 transportation for us and we left ten or fifteen minutes

18 after that. I did not dare wait any longer.

19 Q. Did you believe that those two men coming to your house

20 and asking you to leave and go to Zenica to their house,

21 did you believe that was a threat?

22 A. Yes. They had no reason to come and ask me whether

23 I wanted to change apartments with them, because there

24 were other apartments too, and others that were in

25 better condition, because my apartment had already been

Page 2926

1 considerably damaged.

2 Q. Did you believe, Witness E, that that was just the first

3 step before they or others came back and forced you out

4 of your apartment?

5 A. Yes, that is what happened to other people too.

6 Q. Did you complain to the HVO when these two men came to

7 your --

8 A. No, no, I did not complain. I did not have enough time

9 to. My only objective was to get away as soon as

10 possible, because I know that there were other people

11 who complained and then the HVO took them away and we do

12 not know until the present day what happened to them.

13 They never came back.

14 Q. So you know of an instance of someone who did complain

15 to the HVO and subsequently disappeared?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. How long after these two men came to your apartment did

18 you and your family flee?

19 A. Perhaps ten or fifteen minutes, half an hour at the most

20 after that.

21 Q. Where did you go?

22 A. We did not ask where or what, wherever the driver took

23 us. Most people went to Zenica, and that was the road

24 that covered the least part of Croat territory. If

25 I had asked to go to see my sister it would have been

Page 2927

1 more difficult, I think. I did not even ask. He simply

2 took me there. I imagine everybody went that way and he

3 probably knew that was the way everybody was specified

4 to go.

5 Q. Tell the judges what happened when you got on the road

6 between Dubravica and Zenica.

7 A. When I crossed the lines, I did not know that -- I did

8 not know what a front-line meant before, because I had no

9 business with the military before. We crossed the HVO

10 line and there was no population there. Before we

11 arrived in the village of Poculica, near Zenica, part of

12 the road that you could see from Sefi Gaj, I was not

13 very familiar with it then, but I was told it was held

14 by the HVO. We heard shooting and we lay on the road

15 and then we were running from one shelter to another.

16 My four year old girl also ran and there was a fence

17 there and it hit the wood of that fence and she was

18 really lucky not to have been hit by that bullet, she

19 was really lucky to have survived.

20 When we came to the populated part of Poculica,

21 and when we said there was a lot of shooting and that we

22 had to run from one shelter to another, there everybody

23 was surprised because they said there was no shooting

24 there before that, that you could normally go along that

25 road. So then I came to the conclusion that somebody

Page 2928

1 had probably phoned and said that we were getting out

2 and that is probably why they tried to shoot us and

3 after that, people would not travel during the night,

4 only during the day, I think.

5 Q. That day, Witness E, was your family the only family

6 that was expelled, or were there others?

7 A. There were a few families in front of me and those who

8 were in front of us were not shot at, whereas the five

9 or six families that were behind us, I do not know what

10 happened to them, but as we arrived in Poculica, we were

11 all sitting there, standing and talking and asking who

12 had travelled. The ones travelling before us did not

13 hear any shooting, but the ones after us were also shot

14 at.

15 Q. How many families had got out of Vitez that

16 particular day?

17 A. I do not know. As we were going, I remember when we

18 were resting in one place, I know that two other

19 families caught up with us and then continued and then

20 as we arrived, other families were also arriving. Two

21 were truly expelled, they hardly had any time to get

22 dressed, they were not even carrying any of their

23 personal belongings, they said they were simply pushed

24 out.

25 Q. You said earlier in your testimony that you went to

Page 2929

1 Vitez -- excuse me, that you went to Zenica after you

2 left Vitez, is that right?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. When you got to Zenica, did you learn of other families

5 who had been expelled from Vitez also?

6 A. There were many families. Most people had already been

7 expelled. Most of them were expelled and we also went

8 to see some of them, to find out who was still alive,

9 what the situation was like. I also went to the school

10 to see the people from Ahmici and to other places where

11 there were people from other villages. Vitez is a small

12 place, we all know each other, so everybody was always

13 interested to what had happened to someone else.

14 Q. So how many people were expelled from the area?

15 A. I do not know the number.

16 Q. Was it a large number, or just a few?

17 A. If about half of Vitez were one nationality and the

18 other half of another, now there are perhaps only 100

19 Muslims left in Vitez under HVO control; that means that

20 several thousand Muslims were expelled. I do not know,

21 I do not even know the exact population or anything.

22 Q. Witness E, were you ever able to go back to your

23 apartment and retrieve all of your personal property?

24 A. No.

25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, at this point I would request --

Page 2930

1 the Prosecutor requests that we go to closed session,

2 because we have some identification procedures to give

3 to the court which will essentially conclude the

4 Prosecutor's direct examination. To do that, I do

5 believe we have to go to closed session.

6 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let us now go into closed session,

7 Mr. Registrar.

8 So far, Witness E, the protective measures so far

9 concerned you personally. Now we are taking an

10 additional measure, which means that the whole hearing

11 is no longer public. Up to now it was public, but you

12 were totally protected. Now the hearing is no longer in

13 public. We are in closed session.

14 (In closed session)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 2931

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13 pages 2931-2946 redacted closed session

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

Page 2947

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (In open session)

16 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Riad, please continue.

17 JUDGE RIAD: Witness E, you started by telling us that you

18 were called to go down to the cellar and then afterwards

19 they took away the men and the ladies went back to the

20 cellar. These men which were taken, were they military

21 people, were they soldiers, or were they civilians?

22 A. Civilians.

23 Q. They were all civilians.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Did all of them come back?

Page 2948

1 A. Yes, they all came back to the basement on the 30th --

2 no, two of them came back earlier, but most of them, the

3 rest came back on the 30th.

4 Q. You also mentioned that the wife of one of the HVO

5 soldiers told you before the explosion that there was

6 going to be an explosion, so that means that the HVO

7 knew about the explosion; is that what you meant to say?

8 A. The neighbour who said that there would be an explosion,

9 she is not the wife of a HVO soldier.

10 Q. There is confusion between the two voices. Yes.

11 A. She is only the wife of a Croat, but I do not think that

12 he was a HVO soldier. He was involved in other matters,

13 but yet another neighbour, who heard from the wife of

14 another person, a HVO soldier, is the one I mentioned on

15 another occasion. But that is another person.

16 Q. You also told us about this little boy, little Croat boy

17 who wanted to kill two Muslims with one bullet and who

18 apparently, being a little boy, was extremely

19 conditioned against the Muslims. What brought this to

20 the children? How did it happen that these children

21 were so conditioned?

22 A. I do not know, probably under the influence of all these

23 things that were happening. If you look at the way

24 people behaved from October 1992, the situation was

25 different to the pre-election time, for instance, before

Page 2949

1 the elections, children did not know who was what ethnic

2 background, they all played together.

3 Q. Was it the media? Was it a big role of the media to

4 increase the hatred against the Muslims? By whom was it

5 done, do you know anything?

6 A. In Vitez, very often on TV Vitez, if you were watching

7 the news, for example on Tuesdays, there were always

8 press conferences that were broadcast from the Busovaca

9 studio, I think. You could always feel some kind of

10 tension. Being Croatian was emphasised and that the

11 Croats had their historic territories that history was

12 supposed to restore to them, something like that, I do

13 not know. Sometimes people did not feel very

14 comfortable if they were of a different ethnicity, if

15 they were not Croats, after such discussions and after

16 such TV programmes. Zvonko Cilic figured prominently in

17 his writing -- I am sorry, perhaps I was not supposed to

18 mention any names.

19 Q. Take care of that. You also mentioned that people who

20 had to leave their apartments, some of them complained

21 to the HVO and after that, they disappeared. You

22 mentioned that to the Prosecutor when he was questioning

23 you. They complained to the HVO. Whom do people

24 complain to when such questions -- when they are kicked

25 out of their houses or mistreated? What is the

Page 2950

1 authority which they complain to?

2 A. Truth to tell, I was not present, but I heard from other

3 people that they addressed the HVO police, but that is

4 what I heard from others. I was not present there.

5 Q. Did many of these people who left, did they come back,

6 to your knowledge?

7 A. Only the family I mentioned, they were no longer there.

8 I do not know what happened to them, but they do not

9 seem to be alive any more.

10 Q. Do you know by any chance what happened to those who

11 stayed among your friends, who refused to leave? Do you

12 know what happened to them afterwards?

13 A. I do not know what happened, but most people went out,

14 wherever the soldiers came. I do not know whether these

15 people needed apartments and whether that is why they

16 had to take them, but whenever a soldier came to expel

17 someone, they could not remain, as far as I know,

18 everybody had to leave.

19 I even know of a neighbour of mine in the same

20 entrance who used to baby-sit for my children before the

21 war. She was warned by another neighbour. She was

22 probably one of the last Muslim tenants in my entrance.

23 Another neighbour came to see her and told her that she

24 should leave and it is a good thing that she managed to

25 stay on that long, but that it would be better for her

Page 2951

1 to leave. All of this was after I had left. I still

2 see her now and I know that is what she was told,

3 although her son stayed on, because he is married to a

4 Croat woman, so they did not have to leave that

5 apartment, but he stayed in Vitez, her son.

6 Q. You just mentioned in your answer that the soldiers came

7 out to ask the people to leave. Did I hear you rightly,

8 it was the soldiers who came to order people to leave?

9 A. In most cases, yes, it was soldiers, but I do not know

10 who else could have. I know that a soldier and a

11 civilian, two men, came to my door, for instance.

12 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.

13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Witness E, would you say that the armed

14 conflict came to an end some time ago?

15 A. I did not understand.

16 Q. Was there a situation in which military power was being

17 used in the Vitez municipality?

18 A. From 16th April 1993, military power was being used.

19 What other power?

20 Q. Has that situation come to an end?

21 A. I think that on 1st May, I do not know exactly, I think

22 it was 1st May, there was some kind of cease-fire, some

23 kind of agreement was reached. At any rate, the

24 families, the Muslims who lived in Kolonija, could go to

25 Stari Vitez and visit, and the Croats from Stari Vitez

Page 2952

1 could go and visit the other way around. Lists were

2 made, I do not know who organised that, probably the

3 authorities, but only those people who were on these

4 lists could go and visit, so one person per family could

5 go to Stari Vitez and visit their families, and that is

6 when we heard more about this explosion, and then I knew

7 that my mother-in-law was alive too, she lived in

8 Stari Vitez and until then, I did not even know whether

9 she was alive and what had been happening to her.

10 Q. You said that the population in Vitez dropped from a

11 higher number to about 100; that is the Muslim

12 population?

13 A. In the area under HVO control, yes.

14 Q. I think you said some thousands of Muslims left?

15 A. I assume, I do not know the exact number.

16 Q. Have any of those who left returned to live in Vitez?

17 A. As far as I know, not yet.

18 Q. Have you ever returned to Vitez?

19 A. (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 2953

1 (redacted)

2 Q. Can you tell the court why you and other Muslims who

3 left Vitez have not returned to live there?

4 A. We are not allowed to do so. I would love to go back,

5 even to live in a shed. I only want to live in my own

6 home, not in somebody else's place.

7 Q. I think you mentioned that a Croat lady offered you the

8 use of her apartment?

9 A. (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 Q. That was in Zenica, not in Vitez?

16 A. Yes, not in Vitez.

17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: All right, thank you.

18 JUDGE JORDA: Witness E, during these events, did you ever

19 hear talk of General Blaskic? You told Defence counsel

20 that you never saw him, but did you ever hear of him in

21 the basement or where you were exiled, whether there was

22 any statement to the effect that such and such soldiers

23 were under the command of General Blaskic, or was the

24 first time you heard of him when you were asked by the

25 Prosecutor?

Page 2954

1 A. I think that in Vitez there is not a single person who

2 does not know of Blaskic, so I cannot say anything

3 specific about him personally. I did know of Blaskic.

4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Your testimony is thereby

5 completed, including the direct and cross-examination.

6 Do you wish to add anything that you did not have

7 occasion to say in answering the questions of the

8 Prosecution or the Defence, or the questions of the

9 judges? You have come, you made a long trip, you have

10 shown a lot of courage. Do you think that you have said

11 everything, or would you have anything else to add?

12 A. I do not know if I would have anything else to add,

13 except for the fact that I would like to go to my own

14 home.

15 JUDGE JORDA: The Tribunal thanks you very much, and wishes

16 you tranquillity for the rest of your life.

17 Mr. Usher, will you please accompany the witness,

18 but stay seated for a minute until we pull down the

19 curtains, and then you may go on to the witness room.

20 MR. HAYMAN: There is one redaction matter, your Honour,

21 I would raise in an appropriate setting.

22 MR. KEHOE: I had one as well, Mr. President.

23 MR. HAYMAN: Probably the --

24 JUDGE JORDA: Shall we please have the witness accompanied

25 out and then we can see what we have to do.

Page 2955

1 Mr. Usher, you can accompany the witness. Thank

2 you very much.

3 (The witness withdrew)

4 JUDGE JORDA: What are the redaction questions that you

5 have, Mr. Hayman, Mr. Prosecutor? Shall we go into

6 private session now?

7 MR. KEHOE: I think private session is appropriate at this

8 point, your Honour.

9 JUDGE JORDA: Agreed. In that case, Mr. Registrar, can we

10 have a private session now?

11 (In closed session)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 2956

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (In open session).

17 JUDGE JORDA: It is Mr. Andrew Cayley who is going to take

18 over on behalf of the Prosecution. It is Mr. Andrew

19 Cayley who will continue, is that right?

20 MR. CAYLEY: That is correct, Mr. President.

21 JUDGE JORDA: The same remarks, Mr. Andrew Cayley, as we made

22 for the previous witness. Everything regarding the

23 biographical elements which have no direct bearing or

24 direct interest regarding the events which are at the

25 basis of the charges against General Blaskic should be

Page 2957

1 not annulled but simplified, at least. Of course, the

2 Trial Chamber does not wish to give you any

3 instructions, but it would be most appreciative if you

4 should be as specific and as direct as possible. Please

5 introduce your next witness.

6 MR. CAYLEY: The Prosecutor would like to call, Mr. President,

7 Captain Tudor Ellis.

8 JUDGE JORDA: And roughly how much time will you need,

9 Mr. Cayley?

10 MR. CAYLEY: A maximum of three hours, Mr. President.

11 (Witness entered court)

12 JUDGE JORDA: Would you please tell us your identity,

13 please? Just your name and surname. Can you hear me?

14 THE WITNESS: Yes, Tudor Ellis.

15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. You have a declaration.

16 Mr. Usher, have you given the declaration to the

17 witness. You know this procedure well, Mr. Usher.

18 Can you read that declaration, please.

19 CAPTAIN TUDOR ELLIS (sworn)

20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated, Captain.

21 Examined by MR. CAYLEY

22 Q. Captain Ellis, good afternoon. Can you tell the court

23 your nationality?

24 A. I am English.

25 Q. What is your current profession?

Page 2958

1 A. I am a serving officer with the British army.

2 Q. I think you are soon to retire from the army, are you

3 not?

4 A. That is correct, in December.

5 Q. When did you join the British army?

6 A. In September 1990.

7 Q. I think from September 1990 to August 1991, you attended

8 the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, is that

9 correct?

10 A. That is correct, yes.

11 Q. Which branch of the army did you join?

12 A. I joined the infantry and I joined the Cheshire

13 Regiment.

14 Q. I think you joined the Cheshire Regiment in Germany in

15 February 1992, just before their deployment to Bosnia,

16 is that correct?

17 A. That is correct, yes.

18 Q. What rank did you hold at that time?

19 A. I was a second lieutenant.

20 Q. What was your position within the battalion?

21 A. I was a platoon commander.

22 Q. Could you just very briefly explain to the court the job

23 of a platoon commander?

24 A. I was responsible for the welfare and operational

25 readiness of 36 men and four Warrior armoured fighting

Page 2959

1 vehicles.

2 Q. We will come on to your service in Bosnia, but just very

3 briefly to bring the court up to date, I think after

4 your return from Bosnia you served in Northern Ireland,

5 Brunei and in England, is that correct?

6 A. That is correct, yes.

7 Q. You are now a Captain, is that correct?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. You have held positions as a company second in command,

10 an infantry training captain and a company operations

11 officer, is that correct?

12 A. That is also correct, yes.

13 Q. I think you are also a jungle warfare instructor for the

14 British army, is that correct?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And I believe your most recent position with the

17 Cheshire Regiment has been as the battalions operations

18 officer on an operational tour in Northern Ireland, is

19 that correct?

20 A. That is correct, yes.

21 Q. Very briefly, what does that entail you doing?

22 A. It is the planning and execution of a large-scale

23 military operation in Northern Ireland, commanding

24 upwards of 600 men.

25 Q. Let us now talk about Bosnia-Herzegovina, and

Page 2960

1 specifically I wish you to recall events that occurred

2 between October and November 1992 and then when you left

3 in May 1993. When was the decision made for the

4 Cheshire Regiment to deploy to Bosnia-Herzegovina?

5 A. It was late in August 1992, early September.

6 Q. Where was the Cheshire Regiment located in

7 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

8 A. We were initially based in Vitez.

9 Q. If I could ask for exhibit 29 to be placed on the easel,

10 please?

11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, could you go a little more slowly?

12 We are near the end of the day and the interpreters are

13 a bit tired, like the rest of us, so could you slow down

14 a little, please.

15 MR. CAYLEY: Yes, I will, Mr. President.

16 Could you take the pointer in your hand and just

17 indicate to the court, for a point of reference, the

18 location of the British battalion, if you can, in Vitez?

19 A. Here. (Indicates).

20 Q. What is the nearest location to that, the nearest

21 geographical location on the map?

22 A. Stari Bila.

23 Q. Take a seat. How far from the centre of Vitez was the

24 British battalion camp?

25 A. It was approximately three kilometres.

Page 2961

1 Q. What was your position with the battalion whilst they

2 were based in Bosnia?

3 A. I was a platoon commander.

4 Q. I think your platoon was 3 platoon of A company, is that

5 correct?

6 A. That is correct, yes.

7 Q. Major Geoffrey Martyn Thomas, now Lieutenant Colonel

8 Geoffrey Martyn Thomas, was your commanding officer, is

9 that correct?

10 A. That is correct, yes.

11 Q. Am I right in saying that from November 1992 until

12 December 1992, you were based in Vitez, yourself?

13 A. Yes, I was.

14 Q. I think there were two companies based in Vitez, is that

15 correct?

16 A. That is also correct, yes.

17 Q. What was the responsibility of each company?

18 A. Each company took it in turns, the first company spent a

19 week in operations and the second company spent a week

20 on guard. It was a simple one week on, one week off

21 alteration.

22 Q. I think in December 1992 you were tasked by the then

23 commanding officer of the Cheshire Regiment, Colonel

24 Robert Stuart, to find a route over the mountains from

25 Vitez to Kladanj, is that correct?

Page 2962

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. I think that was to enable the battalion to escort

3 humanitarian aid from Vitez to north eastern Bosnia, is

4 that correct?

5 A. That was the primary aid, initially. The secondary aim

6 was to try to open up a corridor to the east with

7 Serbia.

8 Q. In order to escort humanitarian aid from the rump

9 Yugoslavia into Bosnia, is that correct?

10 A. Yes, it is.

11 Q. I think in Christmas 1992 -- I know we are racing

12 through time here, but it is to get to your relevant

13 testimony -- Christmas of 1992 you went back to Vitez,

14 is that correct?

15 A. Yes, I did.

16 Q. Then on New Year's Eve 1992, you returned to Kladanj, is

17 that correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And you assisted in the establishment of the permanent

20 British base at Tuzla, is that correct?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Towards the end of 1993, towards the end of January

23 1993, you returned to Vitez again, is that correct?

24 A. Yes, and towards the end of that month I went on two

25 weeks' leave, returning in the first few weeks of

Page 2963

1 February.

2 Q. You remained in Vitez for the rest of your service in

3 Bosnia, is that correct?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Can you describe the atmosphere in the Lasva Valley area

6 during this time in January 1993, the feeling -- your

7 feelings, the feelings of your soldiers under your

8 command?

9 A. Throughout that time, basically towards the end of

10 February, and running up to March time, there was a lot

11 of interethnic fighting between the Bosnian Croats and

12 the Bosnian Muslims. That went on to a period of

13 tension which built up from mid March onwards, running

14 into April.

15 Q. At this time in Central Bosnia, particularly --

16 specifically in your region, Vitez, Busovaca and

17 Kiseljak, who were the two ethnic factions that were

18 present in that area?

19 A. The two majority ethnic factions were predominantly the

20 Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Croats.

21 Q. Are you aware of the military forces that were related

22 to those ethnic factions?

23 A. Yes, I am. Firstly the Bosnian Muslims were represented

24 by the BiH and the Bosnian Croats were represented by

25 the HVO.

Page 2964

1 Q. Were you aware of the particular badges that those

2 different armies wore?

3 A. Yes, I saw them day-to-day.

4 Q. If I could now ask the technical staff to bring up first

5 of all previously admitted exhibit Z3/1, which is, for

6 the purposes of the court, 100/2; do you recognise that

7 badge in front of you?

8 A. Yes, that was the badge of the HVO.

9 Q. If we could now just move to -- wait one moment. If we

10 can now have badge Z3/2, which is, for the purposes of

11 the court record, exhibit 100/3. Do you recognise that

12 badge?

13 A. Yes, that is the badge predominantly worn by the BiH,

14 Muslims.

15 Q. During your time in Bosnia you saw these badges an awful

16 lot, is that correct?

17 A. Yes, they were basically our primary means of

18 identification between the two forces.

19 Q. Were you aware at this time of the ethnic composition of

20 the town of Vitez?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Could you explain what that was, please, to the court?

23 A. In very rough terms, the civilian population was

24 basically a 50/50 mix of Bosnian Croats and Bosnian

25 Muslims. The military command in the region was

Page 2965

1 primarily dominated by the HVO, and that centred around

2 Vitez, running down to Busovaca.

3 Q. So in the town of Vitez itself, it was a 50/50 split in

4 terms of the civilian population, the split between

5 Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, is that correct?

6 A. In loose terms, yes. There were a few other Bosnian

7 Serbs, but not very many at all.

8 Q. In the outlying villages in the municipalities of Vitez,

9 Busovaca and Kiseljak, are you aware of the ethnic

10 composition of those villages?

11 A. The ethnic composition was very localised, it was based

12 on villages and each village had its own ethnic

13 grouping, be it Bosnian Muslim or Bosnian Croat.

14 Q. I want to take you forward to 15th April, and

15 specifically, just to refresh your memory, remind you

16 that you were driving on that day into Vitez from the

17 direction of Busovaca, is that correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Do you remember passing the village of Santici and

20 Ahmici on that day?

21 A. I do, yes.

22 Q. Can you describe to the court what you saw?

23 A. The only reason for remembering this particular view was

24 the fact that the mosque in Ahmici was still standing,

25 it was like a white spear pointing up into a brilliant

Page 2966

1 blue sky. The only reason why I remember it so vividly

2 is because the next time I did see it, it had been

3 destroyed.

4 Q. If we can go to 16th April 1993, what time did you wake

5 that morning?

6 A. On 16th April, I was awoken at about 0630 hours by my

7 platoon runner, a man called Private Booth.

8 Q. What did he tell you to do?

9 A. He told me that I was to move to the battalion

10 operations room for a briefing because my platoon was to

11 be called out for a tasking. At the time, my platoon

12 was the stand-by platoon for the battalion, which meant

13 that it was on 15 minutes notice to move to react to an

14 incident that might happen in our area.

15 Q. What was the briefing that you received in the

16 operations room that morning?

17 A. I moved to the operations room and I was briefed by the

18 watch keeper to move to the Vitez area, as a returning

19 patrol had seen smoke in the area of Vitez. It was not

20 specified whether it was the town itself or the outlying

21 areas and I was to move to the area and find out what

22 the source of that smoke was.

23 Q. Am I right in saying that you then proceeded into the

24 town with two Warriors; is that correct?

25 A. I proceeded towards the area of Vitez, although I did

Page 2967

1 not move into the town straight away. I actually took

2 the route that the returning patrol had taken, because

3 I felt I would be in a better position to view any

4 fighting or smoke that they might have seen.

5 Q. If I could now please ask for a pre-marked exhibit, which

6 is exhibit 56D, to be placed on the easel?

7 Can you take a look at that photograph, please,

8 Captain Ellis? I have shown you that aerial photograph

9 before, but will you identify it for me? What is that

10 aerial photograph?

11 A. It is an aerial overview of the area of Vitez.

12 Q. You say that you proceeded into town along the same

13 route as the previous patrol who had informed the

14 operations room of smoke. Can you indicate to the court

15 the route that you took that morning?

16 A. Yes, I can. Just to orientate the court, the British

17 base would be located around here, if it were to be on

18 the map. (Indicates). The route we took was to move up

19 the road here and on to the Vitez bypass road, which is

20 this white line here. Our intention was to move up this

21 road here (indicates) to try to establish what the

22 actual returning patrol had seen previously, and then

23 I was to make my way to the northern end of Vitez, come

24 back around and do a full circuit back into camp.

25 Q. Just remaining standing for a moment, what did you

Page 2968

1 encounter on that road as you proceeded along it?

2 A. On this road here (indicates), I reached this point

3 here, and there is a petrol station there. As I got to

4 the petrol station, I saw a troop grouping,

5 approximately 15 to 20 soldiers, and they were doing two

6 things at the time, and this caused me to actually stop

7 the two Warrior vehicles that I had with me at the time.

8 Q. You can take a seat now. You state that had you got to

9 the petrol station and you saw a troop grouping of

10 approximately 15 to 20 soldiers. You stopped. Why did

11 you stop?

12 A. They were in the process of looting the garage, and they

13 also had two men dressed in civilian garb and a white

14 car held at gun point to the left of the garage. So

15 I stopped my two vehicles and I pulled into the garage

16 forecourt and I got out of my vehicle, out of the turret

17 down the front of the vehicle and jumped on the ground

18 to try to find out what was going on.

19 Q. You say these soldiers were looting the garage. Can you

20 describe to the court what was going on?

21 A. As I say, there were approximately 15 to 20 soldiers

22 there. They had smashed the windows at the front of the

23 garage. It was a glass-fronted garage forecourt-type

24 shop, and they were taking the merchandise out of the

25 shop and they were just basically passing it amongst

Page 2969

1 themselves.

2 Q. Were these soldiers HVO or BiH?

3 A. I recognised them to be HVO soldiers. They were dressed

4 in uniform and they were wearing the insignia of the HVO

5 and the man that was in charge of them came up to me to

6 speak to me. He was not particularly worried about my

7 presence there, and he definitely seemed to be in

8 control of what was going on. I spoke to him in broken

9 German and Serbo-Croat to try to ascertain what was

10 going on, and also what was going on in Vitez itself,

11 and as I was saying this one of the civilians came up to

12 me and identified himself as press, and said that they

13 were being held at gun point. When I asked what was

14 happening, the man's reply was that he had been tasked

15 to hold the garage and that he had been briefed that the

16 Muslims had actually attacked the Croats in Vitez town.

17 Q. The man that said this to you was the commander of the

18 HVO, is that correct?

19 A. He was the commander of that grouping at the garage,

20 that is correct, yes.

21 Q. So even though this looting was taking place, there did

22 actually appear to be someone in charge of what was

23 going on?

24 A. Yes, there was. I also asked him if he could let the

25 two men go who were being held and he agreed. They got

Page 2970

1 into their car and drove off.

2 Q. Were these two men frightened?

3 A. Very frightened, yes.

4 Q. You say that the commander stated that the Muslims had

5 attacked the Croats in Vitez?

6 A. That is what he told me, yes.

7 Q. What did you do next?

8 A. I got back into my vehicle and I proceeded along the

9 road to the north of the town, to the junction of the

10 Vitez road where it meets the Vitez bypass.

11 Q. If you could stand again and just do one thing for me.

12 If you could take a pen and mark the location of the

13 garage you have just been describing? Just put a red

14 circle around it and mark it "1".

15 A. (Witness marks map).

16 Q. Approximately, if you cannot specifically remember. If

17 you could mark it "1 HVO". Then if you could take the

18 pointer in your hand and indicate to the court the route

19 that you took after you left the garage.

20 A. I moved from the garage and up to this junction here.

21 (Indicates).

22 Q. Am I right in saying that beyond that junction there was

23 normally a checkpoint known as the Dubravica checkpoint?

24 A. That is correct, yes.

25 Q. That was a HVO checkpoint?

Page 2971

1 A. Yes, that was a permanent checkpoint planned by the HVO.

2 Q. You turned right to go into town, did you not, at the

3 T-junction that you have just indicated; is that

4 correct?

5 A. That was my intention, yes.

6 Q. Please take a seat. You came to another checkpoint, a

7 checkpoint which was an unfamiliar checkpoint, is that

8 correct?

9 A. That is correct. The usual pattern of things in the

10 area was that the HVO manned a full-time checkpoint on

11 the Zenica mountain road junction, which is about 500

12 metres further north to the one I was at and they

13 actually used this particular junction as a resting area

14 for the troops from that checkpoint and it was quite a

15 low key area. On this particular morning, I was quite

16 surprised to find approximately 15, maybe 20, HVO

17 soldiers manning this checkpoint. Behind the checkpoint

18 itself there was like a trailer-type semi-permanent

19 building that was being used as a rest area and had been

20 there for some time. Behind that, there seemed to be

21 sort of a marshalling area and there was a lot of troop

22 movement and activity in the area.

23 Q. You stated that on this particular morning, there were

24 approximately 15 to 20 soldiers actually manning the

25 checkpoint. Can you describe precisely the different

Page 2972

1 groups of soldier that you saw? You say you saw some

2 behind the building as well.

3 A. When I first moved into the checkpoint, it became very

4 quickly apparent that they were very hostile towards me,

5 very aggressive in their manner, and they were not

6 prepared to let me through that checkpoint.

7 Firstly I will talk about the grouping that was

8 actually manning the checkpoint itself.

9 They were equipped with small arms and also RPGs,

10 rocket-propelled grenades, an anti-armour weapon that

11 had the capability to do some serious damage to my

12 vehicles.

13 The grouping that were actually manning the

14 checkpoint, pointing all their weaponry at me, and there

15 was obviously one man in charge who was very aggressive,

16 very angry. He was gesturing towards me with his rifle

17 and basically making it very clear through his gestures,

18 both verbally and with his arms, that he was not going

19 to allow me to move into the town of Vitez itself.

20 So that was the checkpoint troops. Behind the

21 building itself, on a piece of scrap area, there was a

22 larger concentration of troops. Again, a conservative

23 estimate from what I could see would be about another 20

24 or so soldiers, and then looking down the road that

25 actually ran into the town of Vitez, there were a

Page 2973

1 further two groups of soldiers, one of approximately 10

2 and the other of approximately 15 soldiers, and there

3 was one group on one side of the road and one group on

4 the other side of the road, both walking down into the

5 area of Vitez, and they were not ambling into the town,

6 they were not manoeuvring themselves tactically into the

7 ground, but they were moving down as a squad, which was

8 reasonably unfamiliar in that area at the time.

9 Q. How were these soldiers dressed?

10 A. They were actually dressed differently to the normal,

11 the run of things. They had the HVO insignia. However,

12 the usual uniforms of the area were the Bosnian-style

13 combats, reasonably similar to British combats. These

14 people were wearing a lighter green colour uniform, and

15 I believe that we identified it as a Chinese variant

16 uniform, and they were all wearing this, they had a sort

17 of job lot of it.

18 Q. They were armed somewhat differently to the normal

19 troops that you were used to seeing, is that correct?

20 A. In that area, yes. They seemed to be equipped slightly

21 better in the fact that they had RPGs at the checkpoint

22 and that is something that did not often happen.

23 Q. By RPG, you mean a rocket-propelled grenade?

24 A. Yes, there were a number of them.

25 Q. Did it appear that this gentleman who was acting in a

Page 2974

1 hostile manner towards you was very much in charge?

2 A. He was certainly in charge of controlling access at that

3 checkpoint, yes.

4 Q. There were, as you have said, upwards of 50 troops,

5 between 50 and 100 troops in this entire area, is that

6 correct?

7 A. Yes.

8 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, the time is now 5.30. If you

9 desire to finish here, it would be an appropriate time

10 for the Prosecutor to finish asking questions.

11 JUDGE JORDA: Actually, if you agree, I think this would be

12 the right point to break, and we will adjourn. We will

13 begin tomorrow at 10.15. The meeting is adjourned.

14 (5.30 pm)

15 (Court adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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