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
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
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
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)
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).
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
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?
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
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
24 A. All the inhabitants of our building, both Muslims, Serbs
25 and Croats, everyone was going down to the basement.
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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,
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
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
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)
20 Q. (redacted)
21 A. (redacted)
22 Q. (redacted)
25 A. (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
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)
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
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,
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?
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)
11 A. (redacted)
7 Q. (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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
25 Q. You said earlier in your testimony that you went to
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 --
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)
13 pages 2931-2946 redacted – closed session
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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)
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
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
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.
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)
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
8 A. We were initially based in Vitez.
9 Q. If I could ask for exhibit 29 to be placed on the easel,
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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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.
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
13 A. Yes, that is the badge predominantly worn by the BiH,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)