Case No IT-95-14
1 Wednesday, 1st October 1997
2 (10.00 am)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated, we can resume our hearing
4 now. Registrar, would you have the accused brought in,
6 (Accused brought in)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Do the interpreters hear me? Is everybody
8 ready? Good morning. Does everybody hear me? The
9 Defence, Prosecution, Mr. Blaskic?
10 MR. BLASKIC: Good morning, your Honour, I hear you well.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. So we can begin. It was
12 Mr. Gregory Kehoe representing the Office of the
13 Prosecutor to continue with the questioning of the
15 MR. KEHOE: Yes, good morning Mr. President, your Honours. As
16 the Prosecutor's next witness, the Prosecutor would like
17 to call Cazim Ahmic.
18 JUDGE JORDA: While we are waiting for the witness, the
19 Tribunal and judges would like for you to go as quickly
20 and directly to those basic questions for the
21 Prosecution, and that we attempt not to get into too
22 many details, because that opens out the possibility of
23 an even longer cross-examination than it might have
24 been, and then because you have a purpose by bringing in
25 this or other witnesses, and the Tribunal would like to
1 get as quickly as possible to the heart of the matter.
2 Of course, we are not going to control the questions you
3 ask, that is not the purpose that we are seeking, but we
4 want you to go directly to the essential part of your
5 questioning, as the Defence should also do when its turn
7 The witness's name is what?
8 MR. KEHOE: Cazim Ahmic, C-A-Z-I-M.
9 JUDGE JORDA: About how long have you planned for this
10 morning with this witness?
11 (Witness entered court)
12 MR. KEHOE: I have allocated two and a half, your Honour, but
13 I believe I will be done more quickly than that.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Do you hear me? Could you tell us
15 your last name and your first name, please?
16 THE WITNESS: Ahmic Cazim.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cazim Ahmic, you are going to read, while
18 you are standing, the declaration which the usher is
19 going to give you which is the oath. Go ahead. Read
20 the document, please.
21 CAZIM AHMIC (sworn)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may now be seated. You were
23 called by the Prosecutor as a witness for the
24 Prosecution as part of the trial which is being
25 conducted in this International Criminal Tribunal
1 against General Blaskic, who is in this courtroom. You
2 are a Prosecution witness and the Prosecutor will
3 therefore ask you a series of questions, as you know,
4 and afterwards the Defence, defending General Blaskic,
5 will, like in all courts, then ask another set of
6 questions. But for the time being, please relax, you
7 are sitting before judges, you have nothing to fear.
8 Try to answer as clearly as you can the questions that
9 Mr. Kehoe the Prosecutor will ask you. Mr. Kehoe, go
10 ahead, please.
11 Examined by MR. KEHOE
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. President, your Honours.
13 Good morning, Mr. Ahmic. Mr. Ahmic, how old are you
14 and where were you born?
15 A. I was born in Pirici, the municipality of Vitez. I am
16 55 years old, I was born in 1941.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, prior to 16th April 1993, did you live in the
18 village of Zume?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Zume was a village that was sometimes connected to
21 Santici and sometimes connected to Ahmici and sometimes
22 connected to Pirici, is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. While you were living there, you were working at the
25 Vitezit factory, correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Vitezit, excuse me. Prior to 16th April 1993, you had
3 spent your whole life living in the Pirici and Zume
4 area, is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell me about your family on 16th April 1993, and I am
7 talking about your immediate family, wife and children.
8 Did you have a wife and did you have children?
9 A. Yes, I had a wife and children. My wife was killed, my
10 son, my mother, my sister, a nephew. That was my next
11 of kin.
12 Q. You had a daughter as well who survived, is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Mr. Ahmic, the troubles in the Ahmici area began on
15 approximately 20th October 1992, is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Tell us about what happened, tell the judges what
18 happened on the morning of 20th October 1992, when you
19 and your family were in your homes.
20 A. In the morning, around 5.30 or 5.40, in front of the
21 house of Semren, our neighbours, a gun, a cannon fired
22 the mosque in Ahmici. That is how it started.
23 Q. Continue on. What did you see throughout that period of
25 A. After the mosque was fired at, from the house of Jozo
1 Covic and Mirica Selenka, they are my first neighbours,
2 my house was shot at from these houses by Semren Dario,
3 Mario, actually, Ivica, Covic Jozo, Zoran Covic.
4 Q. Were these men Croats or Muslims?
5 A. Croats, yes.
6 Q. Did any other shooting go on?
7 A. There was shooting, there was shooting elsewhere, but
8 I cannot identify exactly who shot at who. I saw these
9 people shooting at my house, but there was shooting in
10 the village.
11 Q. Did this shooting take you by surprise?
12 A. Well, of course it would surprise you if somebody shoots
13 at your house. Ivica Vidovic, from his house, my house
14 was also being shot at. I was surprised, of course
15 I was surprised, naturally a man is surprised.
16 Q. After this shooting started, what did you and your
17 family do?
18 A. Yes. We immediately sought shelter so that no one would
19 be hit. A barn was already burning down there, so we
20 did not want someone to be hit. Normally we sought
22 Q. Where did you go?
23 A. We went to a thicket down there below my house, along
24 the road, towards the road below my house. That is
25 where we were hiding until the evening.
1 Q. Where did you go then?
2 A. In the evening, as it was getting dark, we moved up
3 towards Ahmici, towards Gornji Ahmici.
4 Q. Then what did you do up there, sir, and how long did you
6 A. We came there in the evening and we did not spend much
7 time there, we went to Vrhovine, where it was safer,
8 Vrhovine, further up above Stari Ahmici, so it was
9 further away.
10 Q. Did you stay there for a period of time before returning
11 to your house?
12 A. Yes, we did. We stayed up there for about five or six
13 days, about a week, but I cannot tell you exactly how
14 many days.
15 Q. Did anything happen that caused you to return to your
16 house? Was there an agreement, some type of peace
18 A. Some kind of agreement must have been made most probably
19 as soon as we were called to go back to our homes.
20 Probably there was some kind of agreement reached among
21 the people down there, so we all returned home.
22 Q. Mr. Ahmic, on the morning of 20th October, did you see
23 any artillery pieces on trucks or artillery pieces from
24 the surrounding area firing into Ahmici?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Tell the judges what you saw.
2 A. From Donje Rovine, from that direction, from Donje
3 Rovine, a vehicle came from that road on to the main
4 road, I do not know, it was some kind of heavy weapon.
5 It was shooting as it drove along, in two places
6 roughly, in Ahmici and Gornji Ahmici.
7 Q. How about from the area of Hrasno. Was there any
8 artillery shooting into Ahmici from Hrasno?
9 A. Yes, this was a mobile vehicle, but also from Hrasno,
10 from the Rusici houses and from Hrasno, artillery was
11 shooting from there in the direction of Ahmici.
12 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, with your permission may I approach
13 and have the witness stand up, and I believe we are
14 going to talk about 50E, which is the pre-marked map
15 which is on the easel.
16 If I can ask you to stand, Mr. Ahmici, and use this
17 microphone -- let me see if it is on. Just stand right
18 there. Mr. Ahmic, just looking at this map of 50E, which
19 is a map of the Ahmici, Zume, Pirici, Santici area, is
20 that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Could you point to where your house is in Zume?
23 A. My house in Zume is here (indicates).
24 Q. That is marked with the number 1?
25 A. Yes, 1.
1 Q. Just to get our bearings here, on this photograph,
2 Ahmici is --
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, if you want to come closer to the
4 map, because they were pre-marked lines on it before, so
5 in order to avoid any questions you might ask, I would
6 like you to come close to the map to make sure what the
7 Prosecutor is putting on the map matches what the
8 witness is saying.
9 MR. HAYMAN: We looked at it before the hearing, your Honour,
10 thank you.
11 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, in the interests of moving this
12 matter along, working with the witness, we pre-marked
13 this exhibit.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that was a very good initiative, thank
16 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Ahmic, point to the area of Ahmici. You just
17 pointed to Zume, so where is Ahmici?
18 A. Ahmici is over here.
19 Q. And Santici?
20 A. Santici is over here (indicates), already 25th May that
21 is where Santici is. I am sorry, perhaps somebody
22 cannot hear me, that is why I keep repeating this.
23 Q. Right now, the area of Zume is connected to Santici, is
24 that right?
25 A. Yes, that is right. That is it.
1 Q. On the morning of the 20th, you were in your house and
2 you said that the firing came from over your house
3 toward the mosque. Where did that firing come from?
4 Could you point to that on the map?
5 A. This is Semren's house and the shooting came from in
6 front of his house and they were shooting towards the
7 mosque, up here towards the mosque. This is where the
8 mosque is roughly, so it was in front of this house,
9 this is Semren's house.
10 Q. That is marked on the exhibit as number 2, is that
12 A. Yes, that is right.
13 Q. Did they hit the mosque?
14 A. Yes, they hit the top of the minaret.
15 MR. HAYMAN: For clarity of the record, the witness is not
16 indicated the point at which number 2, the arrow, is
17 directed. He indicated a location immediately to the
18 right of the block containing number 2.
19 JUDGE JORDA: This is why I wanted you to be near the map so
20 you would not have to ask these questions later. I did
21 not grant an objection of yours the other day, I do
22 remember, but I would like us to move forward, so
23 Mr. Kehoe, is the witness showing it clearly? I have
24 trouble seeing from here and it is not very clear on the
25 monitor either. Mr. Kehoe, is he indicating where it
2 MR. KEHOE: The number 2 is pointing to Semren's house and
3 the firing was coming in front of Semren's house into
4 the mosque, but the number 2 is pointing actually to
5 Semren's house.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?
7 MR. HAYMAN: It is just a matter of making sure that when the
8 witness points to a location, the record actually
9 reflects what he is identifying.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Okay. If we could repeat this so that it is
11 in the transcript -- all right, let us go on.
12 MR. KEHOE: Now, you said that in addition to the firing into
13 the mosque from in front of Semren's house, there was
14 additional firing going on on a house close to you; is
15 that right?
16 A. Yes, this is the house of Jozo Covic and Milica Selenka,
17 over here.
18 Q. Are they Croats?
19 A. I am showing the number, I am showing the house
21 Q. That is number 3?
22 A. From that house of Jozo Covic and Mirica Selenka and
23 Ivica Vidovic, called Jevcen, from behind his house,
24 from this area, my house was shot at. They shot at my
25 house from rifles.
1 Q. You also mentioned that a truck with a heavy weapon came
2 down from Rovine and came to the road and was firing
3 into Ahmici.
4 A. That is the road (indicates). That is the road. They
5 were shooting from this area when the vehicle just got
6 on to the main road and then it moved lower, and then it
7 was shooting up towards Ahmici.
8 Q. The other location that you mentioned, which is not on
9 this map, is the area of Hrasno, is that right?
10 A. Hrasno, these are the Rusici houses up here, and Hrasno
11 is up here, that area.
12 Q. That was another location that was firing into Ahmici,
13 is that right?
14 A. Yes, artillery. I am not very good at this, I am not
15 very knowledgeable as far as these arms are concerned,
16 I do not know exactly which is which.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, if you could please be seated again and I will
18 go back to the podium and we can continue the questions.
19 Mr. Ahmic, prior to this shooting into your house
20 on the morning of 20th October 1992, and the firing on
21 to the mosque, did you have anything to do with any
22 roadblock that took place on the Vitez Busovaca road?
23 A. I did not have anything to do with it. I imagine there
24 was some kind of roadblock near the catholic cemetery
25 down there, but this was not in my village, I had only
1 heard about it, that there was a roadblock there.
2 Q. Did you even see the roadblock?
3 A. No, I did not see it, I did not go down there.
4 Q. You were a civilian, were you not?
5 A. Naturally a civilian.
6 Q. Mr. Ahmic, after this incident, the attack on
7 20th October 1992, did the HVO collect weapons from
8 Muslims in your village and in surrounding villages?
9 A. Yes, and some of the people who had guns handed them
10 over, people from the area of Zume.
11 Q. Did you hand your weapon over?
12 A. I had no weapons, I had a hunting gun and why would
13 I hand that over?
14 MR. KEHOE: Before we move ahead into the area of April 1993,
15 Mr. President, your Honours, I would like to move into
16 evidence Prosecutor's exhibit 50E.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?
18 MR. HAYMAN: No objection. I do not think all the numbered
19 locations have been identified, but we have no objection
20 as to what has been.
21 MR. KEHOE: The four locations that were listed up there were
22 number 1, his house; number 2, Semren's house that fired
23 on to the mosque; number 3, another house in the area
24 that fired into his house; and number 4, the area that
25 is on the road where the truck came down from Donje
1 Rovine and fired into Ahmici. All four areas have been
2 indicated and identified.
3 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. Kehoe is not the witness. The record is what
4 it is, your Honour.
5 JUDGE JORDA: All right, I think this was marked in the
6 transcript. Mr. Hayman, that has to do with the
7 identification. I would like us to go on, we can put
8 this into the record.
9 THE REGISTRAR: This will be 50E.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Fine, continue please.
11 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, before we move into the area
12 surrounding 16th April 1993, we would like to move to an
13 exhibit that was introduced into evidence yesterday,
14 which is I believe 56D, and with the assistance of
15 Mr. Dubuisson or the usher, that is the next exhibit that
16 is underneath this particular copy and if we could just
17 flip it over, we could ask a question or two about that
18 exhibit before we move into April 1993. If I could
19 approach, Mr. President?
20 Mr. Ahmic, if I could ask you to stand once again
21 with the pointer?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Ahmic, you said you lived in this area your entire
24 life, is that right?
25 A. Yes, that is right.
1 Q. If you could just back away, are you familiar with a
2 petrol station on the Vitez bypass road that had a bear
3 in a cage next to it?
4 A. Yes, I know it.
5 Q. Can you point to it?
6 A. It is the petrol station of Kreco Asim.
7 Q. Who is Kreco Asim? Is he a Muslim or a Croat?
8 A. Muslim, a Muslim, yes.
9 Q. Can you point to it on the map?
10 A. Yes, that is it. (Indicates).
11 Q. Is that the area circled there?
12 A. Over here, over the bridge the hunting lodge is there
13 and then the petrol station of Asim Kreco.
14 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Ahmici. You can take a seat,
16 Mr. Ahmic, let us move ahead to the area, the time
17 surrounding 16th April 1993, the morning of the attack.
18 Prior to the attack on 16th April 1993, did you know
19 that you were going to be attacked?
20 A. We did not know. Had we known, we would have got out
21 and tried to save ourselves. We did not know anything
22 that we would be attacked, at least not my village, and
23 I did not know anything.
24 Q. Who was home at your house that night?
25 A. Who spent the night at the house, in the house, who was
1 there, I mean my family?
2 Q. Yes, your family.
3 A. Yes, it was my wife, my son, my daughter, a nephew of
4 mine, Brkic, Enver Brkic from Busovaca. He was spending
5 that particular night at my house.
6 Q. Did you see anything unusual happening that night in
7 your village?
8 A. I did not notice anything unusual happening.
9 Q. That evening, had you got a phone call from your
10 neighbour, Senada? We are talking about the evening of
11 the 15th?
12 A. Yes, Senada. I cannot remember her last name because
13 she moved in there later on. She called me in the
14 evening and she said that she was standing in front of
15 her house before that and that Ivo Vidovic came in front
16 of her house with two unknown men, and said "you are not
17 supposed to go anywhere, it is night-time, you are not
18 supposed to go anywhere", so what were his intentions?
19 No one knew. That is why she called me. That was
20 probably a HVO patrol. She called me and she asked,
21 "what is this all about?" I said, "I have no idea.
22 Are there any other signs? I do not know anything". So
23 that is how it was.
24 Q. What time of night was that phone call, approximately?
25 A. 10.30, as I said.
1 Q. Mr. Ahmic, let us move to the morning of 16th April
2 1993. Can you tell the judges what happened on the
3 morning of 16th April 1993?
4 A. On 16th April 1993 in the morning, early in the morning,
5 about 5.30, a shell hit my house. It came through the
6 window. It was of a smaller calibre, so that I jumped
7 up to see what was happening, where it had come from,
8 and it was -- it came from Anto Covic's house, because
9 Jozo Covic came out, rubbing his hands, saying "I did a
10 good job". Jozo Covic, Anto Covic's son had fired that
11 shell. It was of a smaller calibre, probably. Then the
12 real shooting started all over the village.
13 Q. Tell us what you did, Mr. Ahmic. You said the real
14 shooting started; even before we get to that, if I may,
15 when you looked out and saw Jozo Covic rubbing his hands
16 as if he had a good shot --
17 A. I assumed he was pleased with the effect he had
18 produced. Of course, we immediately started to look for
19 shelter where we should go. I looked through the window
20 and I saw that it was an out and out attack, and that we
21 had no choice but to withdraw towards Ahmici.
22 Q. Mr. Ahmic, in your area of Zume and Santici, there were
23 both Croat houses and Muslim houses, is that right?
24 A. Yes, it was a mixed village or settlement. As far as
25 I was able to observe, because it is a flat area, every
1 Croatian catholic house nearby was marked, because from
2 every chimney stack there was smoke coming out and
3 probably this was a sign marking the house. That is my
4 assumption, because there was no smoke coming out of
5 Muslim houses.
6 Q. Mr. Ahmic, there was smoke coming out of the Croat houses
7 and no smoke at that time in the morning coming out of
8 the Muslim houses.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You saw the attack begin. Was it Muslim houses that
11 were being attacked or Croat houses?
12 A. Muslim houses, Muslim, yes.
13 Q. After you looked out the window and you saw this attack
14 taking place, tell us what you saw. Tell the judges
15 what happened.
16 A. What was happening was an attack on this settlement. My
17 house was hit by this shell from Jozo Covic's house,
18 people were running, they were calling Pezer Sefik, so
19 there was all out shooting everywhere. They called his
20 name, they cursed him, they insulted him, they called
21 him to come out, cursing his "balija" mother, saying if
22 he did not come out, they would burn down everything.
23 There is some glass on his staircase, and I saw a
24 soldier from behind climbing up the steps and there was
25 smoke already, so I realised what was happening, but
1 this all took place at lightning speed, so I realised it
2 was a general attack, so immediately we started running
3 away towards Ahmici.
4 Q. Mr. Ahmic, the person that you are talking about whose
5 house they were calling to, who was that?
6 A. Sefik Pezer, Pezer Sefik.
7 Q. Did you see the soldiers in his house?
8 A. Yes, I saw one soldier climbing up the steps.
9 Q. What army was that soldier from?
10 A. I could not see any insignia, because it is not so
11 close, but knowing that my house had been hit and that
12 they were cursing the "balija" mothers, one knows what
13 army it was, the HVO army.
14 Q. What happened to Sefik Pezer and his family?
15 A. He was killed, as well as his son. Sefik Pezer was
16 killed and his son.
17 Q. Near your house and Sefik Pezer's house, did Ibrahim
18 Pezer live?
19 A. Yes, he did, Ibrahim Pezer and Sakib Pezer. They killed
20 Sakib then as well, and his son, and Ibrahim and his
21 wife and Besim and his wife and son, they killed them
22 all, they were killed then.
23 Q. Did they also set Ibrahim Pezer's house on fire?
24 A. I could not see that at that time. I could not see
25 that, as far as Ibrahim Pezer's house is concerned.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Ahmic, if you could move a little bit back
2 from the microphone, it would help the interpreters.
3 You are a little bit too close to the microphone. Thank
4 you very much. Continue, Mr. Kehoe.
5 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Ahmic, you said that you were in the house
6 that morning with your wife and daughter, and your son
7 and your nephew. Where did everybody go when the
8 shooting started?
9 A. We ran from the house in the direction of Ahmici. As
10 I was the last to leave the house, when I got to Esad
11 Ahmic's house, meaning I had crossed the street, by that
12 time already, no one knew where everyone else was.
13 I did not know where my son was, my wife, my daughter,
14 my nephew, and then I continued towards Ahmici. One of
15 the -- Esad Ahmic was in the courtyard in front of his
16 house and I was behind his barn, and one of the soldiers
17 reached his yard. I could not see, but I assume it was
18 a pistol, I heard a shot, I later heard his wife calling
19 him out "run, run, the children have left". He probably
20 did not want to run from his own yard, he said, "I am
21 not going anywhere". So that a soldier reached him, a
22 shot could be heard and then she started screaming, and
23 I hear this man saying, "run, go", and then she ran out
24 into the road next to me. She had caught sight of me,
25 and she said, "run, at least so that you remain alive.
1 They are killing everyone". So from there we went on
2 together towards Ahmici.
3 Q. Mr. Ahmic, you said that Esad Ahmic's wife was
4 screaming. Was she screaming after she heard the shot?
5 A. She said something to the effect, "why are you killing
6 him? Why have you killed him?" Something to that
7 effect, "why, why are you killing him?" It was already
8 clear what had happened.
9 Q. Did Esad Ahmic have a family as well?
10 A. Yes, he had a family, and when we got there, just below
11 Vlatko Kupreskic's house, we were somehow crawling up
12 towards this house of Vlatko Kupreskic, I and Esad's
13 wife found my wife, who was seriously wounded in the
14 head. Esad's daughter Hajra was dead, and his other
15 daughter, Besima, she was also wounded in the leg. So
16 we stayed there for a while. I do not know exactly for
17 how long, three or four hours. It was in a kind of
18 ravine, and we waited there for our fate, we did not
19 know where we should go or what we should do.
20 Q. Mr. Ahmic, Esad Ahmic had two daughters that were --
21 A. Three daughters.
22 Q. Three daughters, and two of those three daughters were
23 present on the morning of the 16th, is that right?
24 A. They were all present over there, but one got killed,
25 one was wounded. But they were present, his wife too,
1 and his little son, Islam, together with my wife, my
2 daughter. Then there was Senada there, there was
3 Osmancevic Zulejha there, they are all neighbours who
4 ran away and we caught up with them.
5 Q. Esad's daughter Hajra was killed when you got up to the
6 area around Vlatko Kupreskic's house?
7 A. Yes, when I got there.
8 Q. And Besima, his daughter, was wounded?
9 A. She was wounded in the leg.
10 Q. You mentioned that your wife was wounded in the head?
11 A. Yes, in the head, very seriously wounded. She still
12 gave signs of life.
13 Q. Where was she wounded, where was the gunshot wound?
14 A. I gave her first aid, from the back of the head, and
15 I assumed the bullet came out above the left eye, above
16 the left eyebrow, and her eye had started coming out
17 already. She was hit in the head.
18 Q. Mr. Ahmic, how many people were with you in the ravine
19 for that three to four hour period of time?
20 A. There was Esad's wife, three daughters, the little boy,
21 myself, my daughter, then Senada, I cannot recall her
22 surname, and Zulejha Osmancevic.
23 Q. Were these people soldiers or civilians?
24 A. Civilians, of course, all of them. They were women,
25 girls, children.
1 Q. Now there were other people, civilians, that were killed
2 up near you that you could not see their bodies, Fata
3 Pezer and Dzana Pezer, is that right?
4 A. Pezer, her father-in-law, Aziz. I could not see that,
5 I learnt about that afterwards. She was not far, maybe
6 30 metres from me. There is a slight slope there so
7 I could not see it, and then they said that apparently
8 Fata had been killed, but I could not see that.
9 Q. Was Fata Pezer a Muslim and a civilian also?
10 A. She was a sick woman, she had bad kidneys. She was a
11 civilian, of course, a woman.
12 Q. Were all these people that were up there in the ravine
13 with you, were they all Muslims?
14 A. All Muslims, yes, all of them, yes.
15 Q. You said you went up to a ravine by Vlatko Kupreskic.
16 Who was Vlatko Kupreskic?
17 A. Vlatko Kupreskic is the son of Franjo Kupreskic, a
18 neighbour, one might say. He worked in the SPS. I do
19 not know much more about him.
20 Q. The SPS factory is in the same location as where you
21 were, the Vitezit, is that right?
22 A. Yes, I worked in Vitezit. It is in the same location.
23 It used to be one factory and then it was divided into
24 different departments, as we called them, basic
25 organisations, and then they became work organisations.
1 Q. What was going on when you were in the ravine, did you
2 see or hear what was happening at Vlatko Kupreskic's
4 A. I could not see anything, because it is again in a
5 downhill, in a kind of hole. Then there is a path and
6 we could see people running across that path to and fro
7 all the time. They kept crossing this path. There was
8 shooting coming from all directions all over the place.
9 Then afterwards, I do not know exactly how long we were
10 lying there, three or four hours, and then suddenly
11 someone in front of Vlatko's house said, "gather
12 together". He said "it is over. We have finished our
13 work", so that a group of HVO soldiers, five of them,
14 across the way from Zlatko Kupreskic, there is a small
15 thicket and they were coming out of that thicket, these
16 five men, when they called them out, and they noticed us
17 in this ravine, and they immediately said, "how come you
18 are there? What are you balijas doing there?" So they
19 searched us immediately. They found on Senada 300 or
20 400 marks, Deutschmarks in her handbag. They took it
21 away. They did not find anything else on the others, on
22 me and the others.
23 Then they lined them up in a row, in a line, and
24 since my wife was on the ground lying down and I was
25 next to her, one of them came up to us, saying that he
1 was going to cut our throats, both of us. He was
2 cursing our balija mothers, saying, "what are you doing
3 alive on this land?" Then they were taking a decision
4 as to whether they should shoot us or slit our throats,
5 and then one of them said, "you know, I am from
6 Nezirovic. Do you know where that is?" I said, "I have
7 no idea". "Do you know where Kacuni is?" "Kacuni is near
8 Busovaca". He said, "I am from Nezirovic and I am going
9 to cut your throats, both of you", and he took out a
11 Then one of them, young men, one of these young
12 men, said, "wait a minute, let us see what we should do
13 with them, whether we are going to shoot them or not",
14 so they were consulting amongst themselves as to what
15 they should do. The decision was taken why they were
16 wearing masks so I could not recognise any of them, they
17 may not have been from our parts, they were wearing
18 masks, so I have no idea. They decided not to liquidate
19 us. They said, "get lost". One of them came up to me,
20 asked me where I was from, and said, "why are you not
21 over there where your people are? Why are you here?"
22 I said, "I do not know who mine are or where they are.
23 I would not be coming here if I knew" and from Ivica
24 Kupreskic's house there was a lot of firing in the
25 direction of the school, towards Donje Ahmici, and then
1 he said, "why are you not over there?" What he meant,
2 I do not know. "I have no idea", I said, "this is not
3 where I am from, I am 500 metres away from here".
4 So I said "I started running away with these women
5 and children, you see my wife is half dead" and he said,
6 "run as fast as you can and get away from here, because
7 no Muslim may tread this earth. If any other group
8 would have come along and found you, they would have
9 executed you without any qualms. You are very lucky it
10 was us who came across you. Go and run for your life.
11 No Muslim may stay here. If they learn that I let you
12 go, I will be executed", he said.
13 So that I asked Kupreskic, he had come out to see
14 what was happening, and I asked him for something, a
15 wheelbarrow or something, so that I could get out
16 towards Ahmici.
17 Q. Which Kupreskic was this?
18 A. Franjo Kupreskic.
19 Q. He was an older man, was he not?
20 A. Yes, an older man, the father of Vlatko.
21 Q. Before we talk about your conversation with Franjo
22 Kupreskic, the HVO soldier that told you to leave, that
23 you were going to be killed if you were met by any other
24 HVO patrol, did he appear to be the leader of that
1 A. I assume he could have been, because he had that small,
2 what do you call it, radio station, a walkie-talkie,
3 some kind of earpiece. He was holding it in his hand,
4 so I assume he could have been the leader because he was
5 the one who told us the decision that we would be
6 allowed to go free and to go towards Ahmici.
7 Q. So he had a walkie-talkie or a Motorola in his hand to
8 talk to other people with, is that right?
9 A. Yes, he was moving away, he did not speak to anyone in
10 front of me when they were consulting amongst themselves
11 as to what they should do, he would move away from us.
12 Q. Mr. Ahmic, you said that you went to Kupreskic Franjo and
13 asked him for some help. Tell the judges about that,
15 A. Yes, as Franjo came out of the house to see what was
16 happening, whether he knew in advance or not, I do not
17 know, and I asked him if he could give me something, a
18 cart or something, and he said "I do not have anything
19 like that". "Then give me an axe at least, so that
20 I can make some kind of a carrier, something for my
21 wife". I had to get to Ahmici and there is quite a
22 sharp slope, so that I could get my wife up there,
23 because she was still alive. He did not give me
24 anything. One of the soldiers told him, "give the man
25 an axe or something", and then he gave me a blunt axe,
1 upon the insistence of this HVO soldier, so I cut off
2 two pieces of wood, and using the clothes and the
3 sleeves of a piece of clothing, we managed to carry my
4 wife, I and my daughter and Senada, and Osmancevic, and
5 we managed to carry her up to Ahmici.
6 When we got there, UNPROFOR, two armoured vehicles
7 of UNPROFOR arrived. They came something a little
8 before 1.00 in the afternoon, about 12.30, about 1.00,
9 somewhere around there, and they extended first aid to
10 my wife, and they took her off to Travnik. Probably she
11 underwent surgery. She was not saved, she died.
12 Q. Where did your wife die and where was she buried?
13 A. She died at the hospital in Travnik and she is buried in
15 Q. How did you identify your wife and how did you know that
16 she died in Travnik?
17 A. I know because she was carried away by the UNPROFOR to
18 Travnik, and when it was possible to go to Travnik
19 across the hills, I went there, and I enquired at the
20 hospital, and in the morgue, because she did not have
21 any ID documents on her. But a picture of her was taken
22 after her death, and under a code number and the picture
23 I identified her, so that I know it was my wife. She
24 was buried on 24th April, and she was hit on 16th April
25 and buried on the 24th, under the number of 03, but that
1 does not matter anyway.
2 Q. Mr. Ahmic, your wife was buried in Travnik. Were other
3 Muslim civilians that were killed in the Ahmici, Zume,
4 Santici area, were they buried in places other than in
5 Stari Vitez?
6 A. Some at Poculica, and others who were burnt down in that
7 house in Ahmici, also in Poculica and in Stari Vitez,
8 also in Travnik you see, and there are some people about
9 whom no one knows where they are.
10 Q. Mr. Ahmic, after UNPROFOR took your wife to Travnik, what
11 did you do and what happened?
12 A. You know what, I did not know about the rest of my
13 family, and there was a lot of shooting going on in
14 Ahmici, I was already up there in Ahmici, so I could not
15 move until night fell, and I would not dare either. So
16 then during the night I moved up there, it was -- all of
17 Ahmici, everybody had fled, Ahmici was empty, everyone
18 went to Vrhovine.
19 Q. When you say that you were fleeing towards Ahmici, you
20 are talking about upper Ahmici, is that right?
21 A. Yes, yes, upper Ahmici, Gornji Ahmici.
22 Q. While you were in the area of upper Ahmici, Gornji
23 Ahmici, did you see fire, artillery fire and shooting
24 coming from areas surrounding Gornji Ahmici?
25 A. There was shooting all over, artillery was hitting
1 Gornji Ahmici too from the Rusici houses and from
2 Hrasno, just like on the 20th, from Mete, from Borik.
3 You can see Ahmici well, and these special bullets,
4 fragmentation ammunition was used and then there is this
5 area called Borik in Mete and smaller ammunition was
6 used from there, fragmentation ammunition and then from
7 Hrasno and also from the Rusici and Mijanvic houses,
8 that is that area, Donje Rovine.
9 Q. So artillery fire was coming from Hrasno and Donje
10 Rovine, the same locations that were used on
11 20th October 1992?
12 A. And on the 20th, yes, on the 20th too.
13 Q. Did you ultimately escape?
14 A. We all escaped from Ahmici, from upper Ahmici. No one
15 was out there. Whoever had survived left, and during
16 the night everyone moved towards Vrhovine. Some people
17 went to Zenica. Everybody fled. I was waiting in
18 Rovine, I did not know what had happened. I did not
19 know that my mother was killed, I did not know that my
20 sister was killed, I did not know about my son, I did
21 not know that day about my son, about my nephew and my
22 mother, what had happened to them, so I was waiting up
23 there in Vrhovine so that some of them would come if
24 they had survived, but then as other people came I found
25 out that they were all killed. I did not know
1 immediately that all of them were killed, all my people
2 were killed, so that is why I stayed in Vrhovine.
3 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, with your permission, if we could
4 move to the next exhibit which is the map 50F, which is
5 again a pre-marked exhibit, your Honours, of the Ahmici,
6 Pirici, Santici area. If I can approach the witness?
7 Again Mr. President, if I could ask Mr. Ahmic to stand up
8 by the microphone with his pointer, we have a series of
9 locations on the map to point out to your Honours.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Ahmic, you have understood what the
11 Prosecutor has asked. Are you all right, Mr. Ahmic? Do
12 you want to take a break now? We are going to have a
13 break soon anyway.
14 MR. KEHOE: I am sorry, I did not get a translation. That
15 will be fine if your Honour wants to take a break now.
16 JUDGE JORDA: We will have a break soon, but I was really
17 asking Mr. Ahmic whether he felt all right, whether he
18 wanted to take a break now and resume at 11.30, or,
19 Mr. Kehoe, if you have a few more questions about this
20 particular exhibit, we could also have a break in five
21 or ten minutes.
22 Mr. Ahmic, how do you feel? These memories are
23 very painful for you and the Tribunal is sensitive to
24 that fact. We are going to ask you certain things about
25 the map -- are you all right?
1 A. Precisely, that is what I wish to say. But whatever you
2 prefer, whatever you decide, because these are painful
3 memories for me, repeating this tragedy is -- but you do
4 your job.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, perhaps you could ask one or two
6 more questions and then we will stop. All right. Go
8 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Ahmic, again, if we could stand up to the map
9 that has been identified as 50F.
10 Just for the record, Mr. President, this is the
11 same exact map as 50E, but we just have different
12 numbers, one being the 20th October period, this being
13 the 16th April 1993 period.
14 Again, taking a look at this map, Mr. Ahmic, your
15 house is again listed or marked as number 1, is that
17 A. This is my house. (Indicates).
18 Q. That has the number 1 marked on it, is that right?
19 A. Yes, it is marked with number 1. This is my house.
20 I do not look at the numbers, you know, I look at the
21 place. This is my house, this.
22 Q. This number 2, this particular house here?
23 A. This is the house of Anto Covic.
24 Q. Was that the house where the firing into your house was
25 coming from early in the morning on 16th April 1993?
1 A. Behind the house of Anto Covic there is a shed, and Jozo
2 shot at my house from that shed on 16th April. I saw
3 him when I got up. That is where the firing came from,
4 because my window faces Anto's house directly, so I saw
5 Jozo when he got out, and I saw him rubbing his hands
6 like this (indicates), Jozo Covic, yes.
7 Q. The next house right here, which has the number 3, whose
8 house was that?
9 A. This is Sefik Pezer, this is Sefik Pezer's house and
10 this is Mustafa Pezer, called Ibrahim, this is his
11 house. But number 3 is Sefik Pezer.
12 Q. Number 4 is Ibrahim or Mustafa Pezer?
13 A. Mustafa Pezer, but his nickname, his another name is
14 Ibrahim. He was killed, his wife and his son Fadil,
15 this is his house.
16 Q. Sefik Pezer and his son were killed as well in number 3?
17 A. Yes, they were killed too, and next to him is the house
18 of his uncle, Sefik Pezer, he was killed as well and his
19 son too.
20 Q. Sefik Pezer, house number 3, is the house where you saw
21 the soldier going up the staircase?
22 A. Yes, there are glass windows near the staircase, so
23 I saw the soldier walking up happily, they were not
24 calling out Sefik's name any more because they were
25 calling out his name and they were cursing his balija
1 mother and they were saying "get out, get out, otherwise
2 we are going to set you on fire", so I had assumed that
3 he and his son were killed and I saw the back of this
4 soldier going upstairs and then I saw the smoke that
5 started coming out. That meant that he had set the
6 place on fire.
7 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I think this is an appropriate time
8 to take a break.
9 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume in about 20 minutes, around
10 11.35. It will be 11.35, 20 minutes.
11 (11.15 am)
12 (A short break)
13 (11.35 am)
14 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is now resumed. Please have the
15 accused brought in.
16 (Accused brought in)
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Ahmic, do you hear me? Have you rested up
18 a bit?
19 A. Yes, I have rested and I feel --
20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, then we can resume, Mr. Kehoe.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, your Honours, thank you. If
22 I could just go back to the map again and resume where
23 we left off just before the break, and if I could again
24 ask Mr. Ahmic to stand up by the microphone with the
1 Mr. Ahmic, you said that you left your house and
2 headed in the direction of Esad's house. Can you point
3 to that direction? Just using the pointer, can you show
4 us the direction that you went in?
5 A. This is my house (indicates), and I left the house and
6 started going in this direction, this is the house of
7 Esad Ahmic.
8 Q. Esad Ahmic is the house that has the number 5?
9 A. Yes, number 5, that is it.
10 Q. Is that the house where you heard Esad Ahmic's wife
11 saying, "why are you killing him?" And then her telling
12 you "leave, they are killing everybody"?
13 A. Yes, I was behind the barn, this is my barn, and there
14 is a shrub there, by the road, this is where I hid, so
15 the army, the HVO army already came into the yard. A
16 small shot rang out, probably somebody shot a pistol,
17 I imagine, and she was saying, "why are you killing
18 him?", and this and that, and somebody told her, "get
19 lost! What are you saying?" She went out on the road,
20 so we were running away together and she said, "run,
21 run, they are killing everyone. You should at least try
22 to stay alive", so we were withdrawing along this road
23 gradually over here (indicates).
24 We had difficulty in crossing the road here,
25 because from here, from the house of Ivica Kupreskic,
1 there was shooting coming from that house. I do not
2 know what they had, a machine gun or something, maybe it
3 was a machine gun, I do not know, but they were shooting
4 at the school and at the mosque, and when they would
5 stop a little, then we would cross to the other side.
6 There was a ravine down here, near Vlatko's house. It
7 has all been flattened out now but that is where we hid
8 and that is where we found my wife. Esad's three
9 daughters and his young son Islam, my wife and my
10 daughter were there and Zulejha Osmancevic, and Senada.
11 I cannot remember her last name because she came from
12 elsewhere. So we were hiding there below Vlatko's
14 Q. The place where Ivo Kupreskic -- the machine gun was
15 firing from Ivo Kupreskic's house, that is marked with
16 the number 8, is that right?
17 A. Yes, number 8, that is the house.
18 Q. The place that you went to in the ravine, that is marked
19 with number 6, where your wife was lying?
20 A. Yes, that is it.
21 Q. Number 7 is Vlatko Kupreskic's house, is that right?
22 A. Vlatko Kupreskic.
23 Q. Excuse me, Vlatko Kupreskic. After you were released by
24 the five HVO soldiers, you said you took your wife up
25 towards Gornji Ahmici. Can you show us the direction
1 you went in?
2 A. From here along this road up there, that is where I went
3 (indicates). This is Matif Dzamir, the matif mosque of
4 upper Ahmici. I took the road leading to the area up
5 here. That is where I arrived with my wife, my daughter
6 was there, Zulejha Osmancevic and Senada, Esad's wife
7 parted from us and her two daughters and her little son
8 was there too, but one of her daughters was killed, was
9 back there and she went towards Pirici, along this path.
10 Q. The area, the place where you and your wife went to in
11 Gornji Ahmici is marked with number 9, is that correct?
12 A. Yes, that is it. I already indicated that.
13 Q. I am just clarifying the number, Mr. Ahmic. Is that
14 approximately where the UNPROFOR vehicle picked up your
16 A. Yes, they came along this road, the same road that
17 I took to Ahmici, and as they were coming I walked
18 towards them and I gave them signs, I tried to show that
19 there were wounded people there and they probably had an
20 interpreter with them anyway, and they said that they
21 would turn around and they came here, to the
22 intersection, and they went back and they gave first aid
23 to my wife. They took her and I asked them to take her
24 to Zenica and they said, "only to Travnik, that is as
25 far as we can go", and they took her to Travnik.
1 Q. You said that Esad's wife took this road down towards
2 Pirici that you just pointed to?
3 A. Yes, towards Pirici. Up here, above Vlatko's house,
4 there is a separate path that goes to Pirici
5 (indicates). She took that path so she parted with us.
6 Q. She passed the house where your mother and your sister
7 lived, is that right?
8 A. Yes, they went this way and this is the house of my late
9 mother and sister. I heard from her that she saw both
10 of them killed in front of the house.
11 Q. Your mother and sister's house is marked with number
13 A. That is it, yes.
14 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time I will offer into
15 evidence Prosecutor's exhibit 50F, which is this map.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Fine, 50F, Registrar. Go ahead.
18 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, with Mr. Dubuisson's assistance,
19 I would like to move to the next exhibit, which is 53A,
20 which is again underneath this exhibit. 53A has no
21 markings on it. It is a map that has previously been
22 received into evidence as Prosecutor's exhibit 53 and it
23 is a wider angle view of the Ahmici area.
24 Mr. Ahmic, you said previously in your testimony
25 that there was artillery fire coming from the area of
1 Rovine and Hrasno. Could you use this particular --
2 A. Donje Rovine, yes.
3 Q. Mr. Ahmic, if you could use this particular marker and
4 mark the areas in Donje Rovine and Hrasno where the
5 artillery fire was coming from.
6 A. This is the path from Donje Rovine that leads to the
7 main road, through Lasva, across Lasva and here, this is
8 the Rusici houses, on this location. That is where the
9 fire was coming from, hitting Ahmici.
10 Q. Could you circle it so we could see it, sir? It might
11 be a little difficult to see with that marker, but could
12 you circle the area?
13 A. (Witness marks map). This region here, this area.
14 MR. KEHOE: Okay. Your Honour, he might want to try a
15 different colour.
16 A. Donje Rovine.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, if you could use this colour so the judges can
18 see it.
19 A. Of course, no problems.
20 Q. Okay. You also mentioned another artillery fire
21 location as Hrasno. Could you also circle that area?
22 A. I think we have to unfold the map more. It is off the
23 map. Hrasno -- perhaps you will not be able to see it,
24 it is here, roughly here, from this location here,
25 roughly. (Indicates). I cannot see it very well -- now
1 that is better, that is better. It is from this area of
2 Hrasno that Ahmici was fired at with artillery.
3 Q. Could you make that circle --
4 A. Both on 20th October 1992 and on 16th April, I was in
5 Ahmici and artillery fire was coming from Hrasno and
6 from Donje Rovine.
7 Q. Mr. Ahmic, can I ask you to make that area a little
8 darker so the judges can see it? That area of Hrasno,
9 could you mark it a little darker with the marker in
10 your hand?
11 A. Yes, of course I can. This is this area, Hrasno. This
12 is Donje Rovine. All of this is Donje Rovine, this part
13 here, but roughly the fire was coming from here, the
14 artillery fire.
15 Q. Was there also fire coming from areas that were just
16 outside of Gornji Ahmici?
17 A. I do not understand. I do not understand the question.
18 What did you say? I beg your pardon.
19 Q. Sir, when you were hiding in the bushes on the evening
20 of the 16th, was there also fire coming from the area --
21 into Gornji Ahmici from an area just outside of Gornji
23 A. I cannot tell exactly, I do not know about that exactly.
24 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Ahmic, you can have a seat, sir.
25 Your Honour, at this time the Prosecutor will
1 offer 53A into evidence.
2 JUDGE RIAD: May I just ask, please, where is Vitez on this
4 MR. KEHOE: It is not on this map. Mr. President, if I could
5 now move --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. Kehoe.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Kehoe.
8 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I could now move to a series of
9 photographs that have been marked already as exhibit
10 108, and if I could request the assistance of the usher
11 and the ELMO for a series of photographs to be placed on
12 the ELMO. (Handed). If you could take them out of the
13 binder and just take them one by one.
14 Mr. Ahmic, the first photograph, which is 108/1, do
15 you recognise those two men?
16 A. I do, it is Sefik Pezer and his son Ahmed.
17 Q. Are those the two men who were killed on the morning of
18 16th April 1993?
19 A. They were killed in the morning, yes.
20 Q. Let us turn to the next photograph, 108/2. Do you
21 recognise that man and that woman?
22 A. This is Pezer Mustafa, known as Ibrahim, and his wife,
24 Q. Were they also killed?
25 A. Yes, they were also killed on that day.
1 Q. 108/3, the next photograph.
2 A. It is Ibrahim's son, Adil. He was killed too on that
4 Q. 108/4, the next photograph.
5 A. This is the family of Esad Ahmic.
6 Q. Could you use the pointer, with the assistance of the
7 usher, could you use the pointer on to the photograph,
8 Mr. Ahmic. You have to point it on the ELMO. Can you
9 point out Esad Ahmic?
10 A. This is Esad.
11 Q. Was he killed that morning as well?
12 A. Yes, he was killed. I was behind his table when he was
13 killed, just behind his table.
14 Q. You also saw one of his daughters shot and one of his
15 daughters wounded that morning as well, did you not?
16 A. This is his daughter Hajra, whom we found dead up there
17 and this is Besima, the little one. She was wounded in
18 the leg, just below Vlatko's house.
19 They cannot hear me if I do not speak into the
21 Q. Okay. Let us turn to the next photograph and I believe
22 it is 108/5: you mentioned a woman by the name of Pezer
23 Fata that you could not see but was also killed in the
24 area. Do you know who this is?
25 A. This is Fata Pezer. When I reached this group of women
1 and children, she was on a slight -- there was a small
2 slope between this ravine and she was lying dead on the
3 other side of this slope. That is what they told us
4 when we got there, they asked me, "did you see Fata?
5 She is here" and I said, "no, I did not see her". They
6 told me she was just around the corner, so to speak, and
7 that is this Fata.
8 Q. But she died that morning as well?
9 A. Yes, she was killed.
10 Q. Let us go to the next photograph, 108/6. Do you
11 recognise anybody in that photograph?
12 A. This is my son, Besim who was killed, who was killed on
13 that day. This one. (Indicates).
14 Q. This photograph, Mr. Ahmic, was taken in happier times,
15 was it not?
16 A. Those were his school mates from his school, they were
17 in fourth grade of the chemical school in Vitez. They
18 were his friends from his class.
19 Q. Did those friends include Muslims and Croats?
20 A. I know only this one, he is Ahmic Sulejman. I know the
21 others from sight. This one is a Croat. There were
22 Croats there too. This one is a Croat. (Indicates).
23 Most of these here are Croats. It was a mixed class, it
24 was normal in those days.
25 Q. Your son died that day as well, did he not?
1 A. Yes, I learnt that later.
2 Q. Let us go to the next photograph. I believe it is
3 108/7. Do you know that young man?
4 A. This is my nephew, Brkic Enver, who disappeared on that
5 day too. He was killed.
6 Q. Was this the nephew that was living in your house on the
7 morning of 16th April 1993?
8 A. Yes, he is the one, Brkic Enver.
9 Q. The next photograph, 108/8?
10 A. This is my sister, Ahmic Zulejha.
11 Q. And the next photograph, 108/9?
12 A. My mother, Hajra Ahmic.
13 Q. Mr. Ahmic, were your sister and your mother together when
14 they were killed on the morning of 16th April?
15 A. They lived together, and I heard from the one who
16 escaped, Ahmic Azra, I learnt that she had seen them at
17 the doorstep of their home, both of them killed, shot
19 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time the Prosecutor will
20 offer into evidence Prosecutor's exhibit 108.
21 Mr. Ahmic, your wife, your son, your nephew, your
22 mother and your sister were all killed that day.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. With the family name of Ahmic, you had many cousins
25 living in that area, did you not?
1 A. You see, we are all more or less related, roughly.
2 There were about 50 relatives of mine who were killed on
3 that day.
4 Q. So you lost 50 members of your family on 16th April
6 A. Yes, that is what I said.
7 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, the Prosecutor has no further
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Ahmic, the questions that the Prosecutor
10 asked you to answer which bring such painful memories to
11 you are now completed. This is a trial against a man
12 who has been accused and who is presumed innocent. He
13 has two defenders, and now it is General Blaskic's
14 lawyers' turn to ask you questions. You are under our
15 protection and you can speak without fear and you may
16 answer as best you can the questions that one of the two
17 Defence counsel will ask you, either Mr. Nobilo or
18 Mr. Hayman -- Mr. Nobilo, then, who is one of
19 General Blaskic's defenders, who is now going to ask you
20 a series of questions.
21 If you have any problem at all, do not hesitate to
22 ask, to interrupt and I will speak with my colleagues
23 and we will try to make sure that everything goes as
24 best as it can for you.
25 Mr. Nobilo, it is now your turn.
1 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Mr. Ahmic, good morning, as the President has told
4 you, my name is Anto Nobilo, I am Defence counsel for
5 General Blaskic and I only have a few questions on
6 behalf of the Defence and I hope we will not keep you
8 On the eve of 16th April 1993, you mentioned
9 several of your neighbours. What were the relationships
10 between the Croats and the Muslims prior to that date?
11 Were they the same as they used to be a couple of years
12 before then, or had anything changed?
13 A. Of course it had changed. It was changed.
14 Q. Could you please describe what those relations were
15 like, how they had changed among what used to be good
16 neighbours, Croats and Muslims.
17 A. What do you mean?
18 Q. Before the 16th, before this unfortunate event, the
19 weeks and months running up to April 1993; for instance,
20 with your next door neighbours, Croats, did you have
21 good relations, did you say hello to each other, or was
22 there tension between you?
23 A. I was in very good relations with them. I do not know
24 what the reason could have been to attack me.
25 Q. And after October 1992, the neighbour who fired at your
1 house, did you ask him, "why did you shoot at my
2 house?" Did you talk about that at all?
3 A. What could I ask him? There is nothing to ask. How
4 could I say "why did you shoot at me?" What is there to
6 Q. Did you say hello to one another after that event?
7 A. In most cases, we did.
8 Q. And the Kupreskic family that you mentioned, what kind
9 of relations did you have with them?
10 A. I had very good relations with them, especially with the
11 older Kupreskic, Franjo. As far as I am concerned,
12 I personally -- when we met, we would exchange greetings
13 and everything.
14 Q. Can you help us to explain why you think those
15 neighbours that you mentioned, Kupreskic and your next
16 door neighbour, Jozo and the others, what happened? Why
17 did they act in that way? Can you know why it happened,
18 can you explain it?
19 A. I told you, I see no cause, no reason at all for them to
20 attack me, to kill my wife, to kill my mother, to shoot
21 at me. What was the cause? I am not a politician, so
22 I do not know why or how this happened, what was the
23 reason for all of this.
24 Q. You said you are not a politician; were you elected into
25 the Presidency of the branch of the Party of Democratic
1 Action of Ahmici on 16th September 1991?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Together with Ahmic Ejub, Ahmic Rasim, no?
4 A. I do not remember that.
5 Q. Are there any other Cazim Ahmics?
6 A. Yes, my name is Ahmic Cazim Besim and there is Ahmic
7 Cazim Jahim.
8 Q. The roadblock from October 1992, how long was it there
10 A. Believe me, I do not know.
11 Q. So the roadblock was in Ahmici, right, on the road next
12 to Ahmici?
13 A. Lower down, on the main road, at least that is what
14 I heard, near the cemetery.
15 Q. Then why did you run towards Ahmici if something was
16 happening there, and the reason for the conflict was in
17 Ahmici? Why did you flee towards Ahmici and not in some
18 other direction?
19 A. What do you mean Ahmici? Gornji Ahmici and the road
20 down under it, there is a big distance between the two,
21 there is a large distance.
22 Q. I will be really very brief, let us go to the 16th.
23 I know this is very difficult and painful for you, but
24 just a little patience. On the 16th in the morning,
25 when the shell fell in, was your son up already?
1 A. We all jumped to our feet, because every piece of
2 glass -- pieces of glass were all over the house.
3 Q. Did your son have a weapon in his hand on that morning?
4 A. No one had.
5 Q. Was your son a member of the TO or the BH army?
6 A. Yes, he was.
7 Q. Did he have a weapon in the house?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And your nephew?
10 A. He did not have any weapons on him either, at the time,
11 on that day, at home, no.
12 Q. Is it true that a box of anti-tank mines, anti-infantry
13 mines and another box of anti-infantry mines, two
14 automatic rifles and a hunting rifle were found in your
16 A. I am not aware of it. It was not there. What they
17 could have said ...
18 Q. Is it true that your son, when he was hit, was in a
19 group with the following young men: Enver Brkic, Muharem
20 Djidjic, Nedzad Djidjic, Budo Osmancevic, Ibrahim Karic
21 and his son Ibrica, is that correct?
22 A. It is possible because that is what I heard from Ivica,
23 that they had been together.
24 Q. Were they all conscripts, soldiers, these men that
25 I have listed?
1 A. I really do not know.
2 Q. Tell me, if you remember; your late son, which unit did
3 he belong to of the TO?
4 A. He was a signals man.
5 Q. Attached to which unit? Where was the command of the
7 A. In Prevocica.
8 Q. In Prevocica?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You have listed a number of names of people who you saw
11 killed or dead. Could you say whether you saw any one
12 of these persons actually being wounded and in what way
13 they were wounded? You saw that they were wounded, but
14 how, who had fired, from what distance? Did you see any
15 of those things?
16 A. I could not see that exactly, who had hit whom. I saw
17 who fired the shell at my house.
18 Q. But later?
19 A. I could not see that. I could hear the cries.
20 Q. Could we try to focus on the time Vlatko Kupreskic said,
21 "the job has been done".
22 A. I do not know who said it, but it was in front of his
24 Q. Can you tell me when this happened in time, roughly?
25 I know it is very difficult for you to locate that.
1 A. I can only say very roughly how much time I spent there,
2 about three or four hours.
3 Q. From what time?
4 A. I do not know exactly, around noon, 12.30, somewhere
5 around that, around 12.00. I did not look at my watch.
6 Q. I understand that, but let us try and locate this more
7 precisely. At what time did you encounter the UNPROFOR
9 A. I was already up there in Ahmici and the UNPROFOR could
10 have arrived somewhere just before 1.00. I had only
11 just reached there and UNPROFOR came after me, so it
12 must have been before 1.00.
13 Q. So UNPROFOR was there before 1.00, around 1.00. So if
14 we go back in time, how much time before UNPROFOR did
15 somebody say, "the job is done, it is over" in front of
16 the Kupreskic house? Could you tell us whether that was
17 half an hour, an hour, two hours before the arrival of
19 A. It could have been about one hour before then.
20 Q. So if UNPROFOR came around 1.00, then this statement was
21 heard around 12.00, or before 12.00. Tell me, when you
22 were lying next to the Kupreskic house could firing
23 still be heard the three hours you spent there? Was the
24 fighting very intensive or was it more sporadic?
25 A. There was occasional fire, but I could not pay any
1 attention. I had found my wife there, there were dead
2 people there, I could not really think about anything
4 Q. I understand that, but when the soldier came up who was
5 not a neighbour, this group of soldiers who asked you
6 why you were not at the front --
7 A. No, "why are you not with your own people", and I said
8 "how do I know where mine are and who are mine?"
9 Q. Did he say that they were in the school or in the
11 A. I assumed and he mentioned, he said, "why are you not
12 over there", down there where the fire is directed
13 against the mosque and the school, from Ivica's house,
14 at least that is what the soldier said.
15 Q. Were you looking towards the mosque and the school?
16 A. How could I look?
17 Q. When you got to Vrhovine, when you escaped from this
18 whole situation, was life there normal or were the
19 inhabitants abandoning Vrhovine?
20 A. The inhabitants did not leave Vrhovine.
21 Q. Is it a mixed village, Bosnian Croats and Muslims?
22 A. No, it is just Muslim.
23 Q. So Vrhovine is a Muslim village?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I am almost done. Could you list the neighbours that
1 you saw engaged in combat operations, fighting with
3 A. On 16th April, I saw only Jozo Covic, who fired at my
4 house. Judging by the hole in the wall, it must have
5 been some kind of hand grenade or something, a lighter
6 calibre weapon. There was running across the path from
7 Sefik Pezer's house and others, but there were HVO
8 soldiers running around, but I could not identify any
10 Q. How many of your neighbours did you see under arms?
11 A. On the 16th? I have just told you.
12 Q. Just him?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. If you add up all the soldiers you saw, how many did you
15 see? How many HVO soldiers did you see?
16 A. Without any identification, you mean?
17 Q. Just how many persons you saw.
18 A. I did not count them, man.
19 Q. But roughly, roughly.
20 A. At Kupreskic's house, there were five of them.
21 Q. As for the others, running across Jozo Covic's house,
22 how many of them were there?
23 A. I do not know, I was not counting them.
24 Q. One further question: the Nezirovic's house, the soldier
25 that wanted to cut your throat, did he say that balijas,
1 the term he used, the pejorative term, did he say that
2 his brother had been killed by the balijas?
3 A. Yes, he said "the balijas killed my brother", yes, that
4 is true.
5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. Ahmic, for your patience and for
6 answering my questions. I have no further questions.
7 Thank you, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. Do you wish to
9 redirect, Mr. Prosecutor?
10 Re-examined by MR. KEHOE
11 Q. Just by way of clarification. You were asked a question
12 by Mr. Nobilo concerning a HVO soldier who said that his
13 brother had been killed by Muslims, is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. But he also said, did he not, that he was killed
16 previously, down in the Busovaca area?
17 A. Yes, he asked me, "do you know where Nezirovic is?" And
18 I said, "no, I have no idea". "Busovaca, do you know
19 where Busovaca is, and Kacuni, Nezirovic is near
20 Kacuni", he said. And he said, "my brother got killed",
21 and he cursed my balija mothers and he said he was going
22 to cut my throat and that of my wife.
23 Q. Your nephew had been driven out of Busovaca and that was
24 why he was living with you, is that correct?
25 A. He was in a camp in Busovaca and when they were released
1 from the camp he came to Zenica and then he stayed with
2 my mother and sister. It is a young man, he was a young
3 man, and the war interrupted his studies in Sarajevo.
4 He stayed with my mother and sister and it was just by
5 chance that he spent that night at my home.
6 Q. Moving ahead, the five HVO soldiers that met you around
7 the Vlatko Kupreskic house, they had masks on, did they
9 A. Yes, their faces were painted.
10 MR. KEHOE: Nothing further, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I now turn to my colleagues to ask whether
12 they have questions they would like to ask.
13 Judge Riad, do you want to ask any questions?
14 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, Mr. Ahmic. I will try to follow
15 the description of the events, the very sad events which
16 happened to you, just to make sure I understood rightly
17 the conclusions we can reach. You mentioned that on the
18 evening of 15th April, your neighbour Senada -- I think
19 you said she was married to a Croat, warned you, she was
20 a friend, I suppose --
21 A. No.
22 Q. -- warned you that Vidovic came to them to tell them
23 that they should not move out of their house, is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. This Vidovic, is he a HVO, or was he linked with the
2 HVO? Was he a Croat?
3 A. Ivo Vidovic is a Croat. Whether he is a member of the
4 HVO or not, I do not know, but he was on the patrol.
5 Since that is what he told this neighbour, and he told
6 her that no movement was allowed, and there were two
7 unknown men with him, so my assumption is that it was a
8 patrol, and whether he is a member of the HVO and to
9 what extent, I am not sure of that, I do not know.
10 Q. And the massacre started the next morning?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Was the massacre generalised, organised? Because you
13 said that after your house was attacked, there was
14 general shooting. Was this shooting everywhere?
15 A. All Muslim houses in my settlement were being shot at.
16 Q. At the same time almost, as if it was a planned action?
17 A. I was awakened by a grenade. Whether other houses were
18 shot at beforehand, I do not know, but as soon as the
19 grenade hit my house all Muslim houses were being shot
20 then, but whether they were being shot at before, I do
21 not know. But we were awakened by the grenade that
22 reached our house.
23 Q. You mentioned some families who were completely
24 massacred, like the Sefik Pezer, the Pezer family, even
25 the women were massacred, your own family you lost.
1 Were these families prominent families in the place, did
2 you have any special role in the society, or was it just
3 part of the indiscriminate massacre?
4 A. Precisely that, an attack on all.
5 Q. You mentioned that someone came to you and told you,
6 "you Muslims have no place to live here, you should not
7 live here", is that right? Who was that person?
8 A. This was this group of five soldiers, HVO soldiers.
9 Q. So he was a soldier?
10 A. Yes, when they found us in that hole below Vlatko's
11 house where there were dead people and wounded people,
12 when they decided not to liquidate us after all, that is
13 when he told me that. "There is no room for you here,
14 go away, Muslims should not be here any more, they
15 should not be allowed to tread this ground", that was
17 Q. Speaking of this person who saved you, and you said he
18 was a soldier, he mentioned that you should keep it
19 secret because he would himself be executed if they knew
20 that he had saved you.
21 A. Not that, he said, "run away as quickly as you can,
22 because my commander may come in. Run away as fast as
23 you can", that I should get out of the area as soon as
24 possible because if they saw me being released, then
25 they might hurt him too. These people were masked.
1 I do not know who they were, I could not recognise them.
2 Q. He spoke of his commander? Did he mention his
4 A. No.
5 Q. Was his commander a military man? Was he himself a
6 military soldier?
7 A. These five people were HVO, they had the insignia, they
8 had the chessboard sign on their caps, they were fully
9 armed with weapons, they were HVO army.
10 Q. You spoke of the artillery shooting from Hrasno and from
11 Donje Rovine on Ahmici. What were they shooting at?
12 Did they have some target, some particular places,
13 military places, or cultural places? What were they
14 shooting at, or just at the people?
15 A. They were shooting the settlement up there. I do not
16 know what their interest was. There are no important
17 targets up there. The infantry did not come into Ahmici
18 that day, though. They did shoot, they used artillery,
19 but what was their objective? I do not know, whether
20 they wanted everyone to move out, I do not know.
21 Q. You mentioned that they shot at the school and at the
22 mosque, is that right?
23 A. Yes, from the house of Ivica Kupreskic, as I was
24 crossing the road below Vlatko's house, as I was trying
25 to reach my wife who was badly wounded and the other ten
1 women or so, it was difficult to do that. The firing
2 came from the edge of Kupreskic's house, towards the
3 school and towards the mosque.
4 Q. Were there people gathered in shelter in the school or
5 the mosque, because usually people run to religious
6 places for shelter? Or was it to destroy the mosque?
7 A. Believe me, I do not know. I do not know.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahbuddeen is going to ask a few other
11 JUDGE SHAHBUDDEEN: Mr. Ahmic, I wonder if you would take a
12 look at the photograph -- Mr. Registrar, it is 108/6.
13 Would you look at the back row? You see two boys
14 holding up a V sign. Does that V sign have a meaning?
15 A. I do not know.
16 Q. Okay. That is all right, Mr. Usher.
17 A. I did not even notice that.
18 Q. I hope that shows you that the judges are paying
19 attention. You described some shooting on 22nd October
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Nobilo asked you a question as to whether after that
23 date you and the people who did the shooting would say
24 hello to each other, and I think that you said yes, on
25 most occasions; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. He asked me generally speaking when I would meet
2 Croats, that is how I understood him.
3 Q. Oh, I see. Generally speaking --
4 A. Yes, naturally. That was my understanding of what he
5 said. He asked me whether I would say hello to my
6 neighbours and yes, I would say hello to my neighbours.
7 Q. After that shooting on 22nd October, would you and the
8 people who did the shooting say hello to each other?
9 A. They shot at me directly, he would not say hello to me.
10 Can you imagine what he would be like? He looked at me
11 like this.
12 Q. Did you report those incidents which occurred on
13 22nd October to anyone? For example, the police
15 A. What could I report to anyone? I was not the only
16 person who was attacked. Many people were attacked.
17 Q. So the answer is no.
18 A. Yes, the answer is no.
19 Q. On 16th April 1993, you and your family had to leave
20 your house in the circumstances which you have
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Nobilo asked you a question, and he will forgive me
24 if I do not recall it precisely, as to whether you had
25 in your house any landmines and ammunition. Do you
1 remember that question?
2 A. I remember it.
3 Q. On that morning, did anybody mention to you that you had
4 landmines and ammunition in your house?
5 A. No one did.
6 Q. Did anyone mention that to you before 16th April?
7 A. No one did.
8 Q. Did anyone --
9 A. I do not even know about that, that something like that
10 was there.
11 Q. Did anyone mention that to you after 16th April?
12 A. No, not at all, no one did.
13 JUDGE SHAHBUDDEEN: Then Mr. Ahmic, I thank you.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Ahmic, your testimony is now complete. The
15 Tribunal wishes to thank you for having had the courage
16 to come to The Hague and to have had the courage to
17 confront the suffering which all of these memories must
18 bring back.
19 The Registrar -- the usher will help you to leave
20 the courtroom and then the next witness will be brought
22 A. Mr. President, the court, thank you very much. I thank
23 you for having mentioned once that you commiserate with
24 my suffering. I thank you as a person and I thank you
1 (The witness withdrew)
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, would you have the next witness
3 brought in, please? We have about 15 minutes left. We
4 can begin at 3.00, at least can we have time now to
5 introduce the new witness so that we can save a little
6 time for this afternoon, Mr. Harmon, is that all right?
7 MR. HARMON: Yes, Mr. President. My next witness will be
8 Mr. Sakib Ahmic, but in the course of the testimony of Mr.
9 Cazim Ahmic, an exhibit which has not been pre-marked
10 arrived here while it was being completed. If I could
11 have five minutes to set it up on the easel, if we could
12 take a recess just for five minutes and then commence,
13 I would appreciate that.
14 JUDGE JORDA: We would like to have the witness brought in
15 first and then we can speak about that exhibit.
16 MR. HARMON: Fine, thank you very much.
17 (Witness entered court)
18 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me? Could you please spell your
19 name for me, your first and last name, please. Start
20 with your family name, please.
21 THE WITNESS: Ahmic Sakib.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Sakib Ahmic, the usher will give you a
23 solemn declaration which you will be asked to read. It
24 is an oath. Please remain standing and read the
25 declaration which has been given to you.
1 SAKIB AHMIC (sworn)
2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Ahmic. You may be seated.
3 Please be seated, in fact. You have agreed to testify
4 before this International Criminal Tribunal as part of a
5 trial which the Tribunal, at the request of the
6 Prosecution, is holding against General Blaskic. You
7 are a Prosecution witness, therefore the Prosecutor will
8 first ask you several questions. You are under the
9 protection of the Tribunal and you may speak without
10 fear or hatred.
11 Mr. Harmon, in the remaining time, perhaps could
12 you condense a certain number of identifying elements
13 about this witness and then concentrate on the
14 objectives that you will follow through the statement
15 that you have asked for from Mr. Ahmic. You now have the
16 floor, Mr. Harmon.
17 Examined by MR. HARMON
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Mr. Ahmic, are you 64 years old?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Are you a Muslim?
22 A. A Bosniak Muslim.
23 Q. Were you born in the village of Pirici in 1933?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. How many years had you lived in the village of Ahmici
1 before the date of April 16th 1993?
2 A. I lived in the village of Ahmici from 17th January 1933.
3 Q. Did you move from Pirici to Ahmici?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. When did you move from Pirici to Ahmici?
6 A. In 1957.
7 Q. Did you build your own home in the village of Ahmici in
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I have an exhibit here that has
11 not been pre-marked and I would ask that it be marked as
12 an exhibit and then I will assist, if I could -- with,
13 of course, permission -- placing it on the easel,
14 because Mr. Ahmici needs a particular orientation of that
15 diagram to identify certain locations on it. I have as
16 well for the court and for counsel a blow-up portion of
17 this particular exhibit which indicates the relevant
18 parts about which he will be testifying. If I could
19 pass those up, your Honour?
20 JUDGE JORDA: This for the time being is an identifying
22 Mr. Registrar, have you noted down this number,
23 what it is going to be?
24 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it will be 110.
25 JUDGE JORDA: All right, 110.
1 Mr. Harmon, then you can distribute the
2 enlargements of the photographs to the judges and while
3 the usher is setting up the map, rather the photograph.
4 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, the exhibit has to be set up in a
5 particular way for Mr. Ahmic to orient himself, so if
6 I could assist the usher in setting it up, I would
7 appreciate it.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, fine. Perhaps the best would be for you
9 to come closer to the witness and to help the usher to
10 set up the exhibit in the way you wish, before the
11 witness begins to answer the questions. Go ahead,
12 then. Mr. Registrar, would you please correct the
14 THE REGISTRAR: I had by mistake said 110; it is not 110 but
15 rather 50G.
16 MR. HARMON: Thank you.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, you have set up the exhibits,
18 perhaps you could begin to ask your questions now.
19 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ahmic, I would like to orient you to the
20 particular exhibit which is Prosecutor's exhibit 50G, a
21 large aerial photograph that is on the easel next to
22 you. Before we get into the substance of your
23 testimony, I would like you to approach that particular
24 exhibit and I am going to ask you some questions about
25 identification of buildings on that exhibit. Could you
1 stand please and approach the exhibit? Mr. Ahmic, could
2 you point out your house on 50G, the location of your
4 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please, I think Judge
5 Shahbuddeen wants to ask something.
6 MR. HARMON: For the record, Judge Shahbuddeen, this exhibit
7 would normally be oriented in a different way, but
8 because this witness has requested it be oriented in a
9 particular fashion so he has familiarised himself with
10 it -- it is somewhat upside down and around.
11 JUDGE SHAHBUDDEEN: Thank you.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for having so kindly answered Judge
13 Shahbuddeen. We can resume again.
14 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ahmic, can you use the pointer and point to
15 the house that you built in 1957?
16 A. Yes, I can.
17 Q. Are you holding the pointer on your house?
18 A. Yes, right this minute I wish to say that this is my
19 house. It is here under number 14.
20 Q. Mr. Ahmic, do you see a number of other houses that have
21 the colour green on them?
22 A. Yes, I see it.
23 Q. Are those houses houses that were owned by Muslims?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, I do not want us to do the same
1 thing that we did before, having the witness say -- I do
2 not want to begin having these explanations given over
3 and over again. Everybody is in front of this map. The
4 number 14, does that represent the witness's house?
5 MR. HARMON: Yes, that is what he has testified.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Would you please make it clear, so we do not
7 have to go back there. 14 is his house and the Defence
8 is nodding, therefore you can now move to the other
10 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ahmic, could you now identify those houses
11 that belong to Muslims, that have numbers next to them
12 and have arrows pointing to them; could you identify the
13 owners of those particular houses, starting with number
15 A. I can. Number 1, the house of Brbic Fuad.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak into the
18 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ahmic, could you speak into the microphone
19 which is to your left?
20 JUDGE JORDA: He would have to be connected. Is he
21 connected, yes?
22 A. Number 1 --
23 JUDGE JORDA: For the interpreters, 1 is Fuad Brbic, is that
24 right? 1 is Fuad Brbic.
25 MR. HARMON: Go through the next house, number 2 and through
1 the remaining houses that are marked as remaining
3 A. Number 2 the house of Rejip Ahmic. Yes, that is it, so
4 number 2 is Rejip Ahmic's house.
5 Q. Number 3?
6 A. Number 3, Suad Ahmic.
7 Q. Number 4?
8 A. Number 4, Hrustanevic Ines.
9 Q. Number 5?
10 A. Number 5, Ahmic Hajra, the daughter of Zulejha and
11 Cazim. Number 6, Ahmic Munib.
12 Q. Number 7?
13 A. Number 7, Ahmic Hazrudin.
14 Q. Number 8, Mr. Ahmic?
15 A. Number 8, Enver.
16 Q. Number 9?
17 A. Can we proceed?
18 Q. Yes, please.
19 A. Number 9, Bordo.
20 Q. Please proceed, Mr. Ahmic.
21 A. Number 10, Gradinovic Ramiz.
22 Q. Number 11?
23 A. Number 11, Hrustanevic Majo.
24 Q. Number 12?
25 A. Number 12, Krdzalic.
1 Q. Number 13?
2 A. Number 13, Sakib Ahmic.
3 Q. Who lived in number 14?
4 A. In number 14 Suprija Ahmic.
5 MR. HARMON: So the record is corrected, your Honour, there
6 was a reversal between numbers 13 and 14 and now
7 Mr. Ahmic has testified that he lived in number 13.
8 Mr. Ahmic, I would like to turn your attention
9 to --
10 JUDGE JORDA: The witness is supposed to tell us that, that
11 is, who is living in 13 and who is in 14, or 12. I am a
12 little unsure myself now. Make it clear, please.
13 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ahmic, let us start at number 13. Who lives
14 in the house that is indicated number 13?
15 A. Sabik Ahmic.
16 Q. That is your house, is that correct?
17 A. According to this map, to the east first comes the house
18 of Suprija Ahmic, west of Suprija is Sakib Ahmic's
19 house. That is the way it has been drawn here.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps, Mr. Sakib Ahmic, we are going to
21 interrupt here, during the lunch pause perhaps you
22 should think about where houses 13 and 14 are. Perhaps
23 on this aerial photograph that is not very easy to say.
24 We are going to take a pause now, Mr. Ahmic, for lunch.
25 I think that if the Witness and Victims Unit is taking
1 charge of that and we will begin at 3.00 this
3 (1.00 pm)
4 (Adjourned until 3.00 pm)
1 (3.00 pm)
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume now. Have the accused brought
3 in, please. Please be seated.
4 (Accused brought in)
5 JUDGE JORDA: We will now continue with the examination of
6 Mr. Ahmic. Mr. Harmon?
7 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President and your Honours.
8 Mr. Ahmic, I would like to clarify a point that was
9 not clear at the conclusion of the direct examination
10 this morning. Could you please approach Prosecutor's
11 exhibit 50G once again and indicate to the court the
12 owners of the houses indicated number 13 and number 14.
13 A. Yes. In number 13, that is the house of Sakib Ahmic.
14 Q. That is your house, is that correct?
15 A. Yes, that is my house, under number 14 is the house of
16 Sukrija Ahmic.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, I would like to direct your attention to
18 number 15, it is marked in pink. Whose house is number
20 A. Number 15 is the house of Vlatko Kupreskic.
21 Q. Whose house is number 16?
22 A. Number 16 is the house of Ivica Kupreskic.
23 Q. Thank you. You can have a seat again, Mr. Ahmic.
24 A. Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Ahmic, were some of your immediate neighbours Bosnian
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Are some of their houses marked in pink on Prosecutor's
4 exhibit 50G?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What was the family name of your Bosnian Croat
8 A. Kupreskic.
9 Q. In the decades that you lived in the small area of
10 Ahmici, the small part of Ahmici, how did you get along
11 with your Bosnian Croat neighbours?
12 A. Excellently, we lived as if we were one family.
13 Q. Can you give some examples of how you lived as one
15 A. I can. Our entire life, from our childhood, which we
16 spent together, we lived like one household. If a child
17 is born in my neighbour's family, we shared in their
18 joy, we would go to see the new-born, we would have
19 coffee and a drink to celebrate. When a child is born
20 in my home, they would come too, for coffee, brandy and
21 so on. So we really had very good neighbourly
23 Q. Did you share in each other's religious holidays and
25 A. For instance, when my son went to serve in the army,
1 then all our neighbours would come, regardless of their
2 ethnicity, both Muslims and Serbs, to see off the young
3 man going into the army, and the same applied when one
4 of theirs was going into the army, so we were always
6 Q. Let me direct your attention to some of your neighbours
7 specifically. Let me start with Zoran Kupreskic. How
8 well did you know Zoran Kupreskic?
9 A. Yes, I have known Zoran Kupreskic since he was born.
10 Q. Did he come to your house often and did your children
11 play with him?
12 A. Yes, they were always together, they would play ball
13 together. In fact, they spent their childhood together.
14 Q. How many metres away from your house was the house of
15 Zoran Kupreskic?
16 A. Roughly 50 metres or so.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, let me direct your attention to Mirjan
18 Kupreskic. How well did you know him?
19 A. Just as well as any of my own children, I have known him
20 since the day he was born.
21 Q. How many metres away from your house was the house of
22 Mirjan Kupreskic?
23 A. Almost the same distance as between my house and Zoran's
24 house, because he was living with his father Anto.
25 Q. Now directing your attention to Vlatko Kupreskic, how
1 well did you know him?
2 A. Also from his birth, from his childhood.
3 Q. And again, how far away was his house from your house?
4 A. Vlatko Kupreskic's house was about 40 or so metres away
5 from mine.
6 Q. Lastly, let me direct your attention to Ivica Kupreskic,
7 and ask you how well you knew him.
8 A. Very well, also from his childhood.
9 Q. How many metres away was his house from yours?
10 A. Roughly 70 or 75 metres.
11 Q. Mr. Ahmic, prior to the April 16th 1993 attack on the
12 village of Ahmici, were there any Armija military units
13 stationed in the village of Ahmici?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Can you describe to the court what you have mentioned as
16 the village patrol? What was it, what was its purpose,
17 what did it do?
18 A. The purpose of this patrol was to take care during the
19 night that no one should break into the village, should
20 infiltrate himself into the village, carry out any acts
21 of sabotage, any burning of houses, tables, barns or
22 anything like that.
23 Q. Did the Muslims and the Croats have a joint village
24 patrol initially?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did that change at a later time and subsequently did the
2 Muslims have their own patrol?
3 A. Yes, exactly. The Croats did not want to have these
4 joint patrols. The Croats separated from the Bosniak
5 Muslim patrols.
6 Q. And in respect of each of these patrols, how many men
8 A. Two at a time.
9 Q. Were there a number of shifts, if you will? Would one
10 two-man patrol be replaced by another two-man patrol
11 during the day?
12 A. Yes. The patrols would change every two hours, because
13 this was night-time watch duty, not during the daytime,
14 only at night. Nobody was on duty during the daytime,
15 nor was there any need for that.
16 Q. Were there four patrols a night?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were the members of the patrol armed in any way?
19 A. No, it depended on whether anyone may have had a hunting
20 rifle or a pistol with a licence in his private
22 Q. Were there members of the HVO who lived in the village
23 of Ahmici?
24 A. Yes, there were Kupreskics, this is considered to be a
25 part of Ahmici too, the Kupreskici.
1 Q. Before the attack on 16th April 1993, did you ever see
2 any portable radio equipment in the house of Zoran
4 A. Yes, a radio station was noticed in Zoran Kupreskic's
6 Q. Can you describe the radio station, please?
7 A. It is roughly 50 by 25 centimetres, 50 in height, 25
8 centimetres wide, roughly that shape (indicates).
9 Q. Did it have an antenna?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Directing your attention to the days immediately
12 preceding the attack on April 16th, did you notice
13 anything unusual in the area of the Kupreskic homes?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you explain what you observed to the court?
16 A. I noticed in the evening around 9.00 a small yellow
17 truck, a TAM truck of 1.5 tonnes, came to the yard of
18 Ivica Kupreskic's house, and what I found unusual was
19 that that night there was no external light bulb on in
20 front of their homes, any one of their homes. The truck
21 stayed there all night, the van, and in the morning
22 about 7.00 roughly, this small TAM truck or van left
23 Ivica Kupreskic's yard and, passing by Zoran Kupreskic's
24 house, it honked the horn and then it went on in the
25 direction of Vitez.
1 Q. Mr. Ahmic, I would like to address your attention to
2 16th April 1993, and ask you first of all, can you
3 identify the other persons who were in your house on the
4 morning of 16th April 1993.
5 A. Yes. I was in my house, also my son Naser was there, he
6 was born in 1963; then my daughter-in-law who was of the
7 same age as he, born in 1963; then my grandson, Sejad,
8 who was three months old, and on Friday morning -- then
9 there was another child, Elvis, who was six years old.
10 Q. Mr. Ahmic, would you describe to the court the events of
11 the morning of April 16th?
12 A. Yes. On 16th April 1993, in the morning, at 5.30,
13 I heard a strong explosion. At the same time, two guys,
14 two young men, broke into the room and simultaneously
15 Naser was on his feet, and the Ustashas, as they entered
16 the door, through the door, they saw Naser and they cut
17 him down with a burst from an automatic rifle. This
18 other one immediately threw some petrol from a bottle on
19 to the armchair, set fire to it, then to the right also
20 another bullet, and then in the meantime, a burst of
21 fire was directed against Naser, my daughter-in-law,
22 then Elvis who was on the couch.
23 I fell, hitting my head against the wall. For a
24 second I had a heart attack or something. For a moment
25 I was lost, but I recovered very quickly. Then a burst
1 of fire -- he approached the couch, he fired at me
2 through the elbow rest of the armchair, but my head was
3 turned against the wall, so one burst of fire, a second,
4 a third, and these casings fell against my right arm.
5 Then they went to the door, the child was in his
6 cot, the door was in that direction (indicates), the cot
7 was in this direction. When the child made a sound, he
8 came back and he opened fire against the baby and there
9 was not a sound left. All this happened in a couple of
10 seconds. It all went at lightning speed.
11 Q. Mr. Ahmic, let me ask you, what happened to your
13 A. That very moment, I jumped up into the room, I ran to
14 the room, I opened a window pane, but the blinds were
15 still down. I peeped through the window, thinking
16 I should jump through the window and try and escape.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, before we get to that part of your narrative,
18 if you would just listen to my question very carefully.
19 What happened to your daughter-in-law prior to getting
20 to that particular point in your story?
21 A. I heard her just sighing, letting out breath under
22 pressure of fire. I believe she was still alive and she
23 burnt alive, I am quite sure.
24 Q. Mr. Ahmic, did you recognise the individual who shot
25 Naser and your daughter-in-law, and your grandchildren?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Who was it?
3 A. Yes, I immediately caught sight of Zoran Kupreskic and
4 his brother Mirjan.
5 Q. Who was it who fired the bullets at your son Naser and
6 your daughter-in-law? Was it Zoran or was it Mirjan?
7 A. It was Zoran who was firing. He was in black uniform.
8 Q. Who was it who lit your house on fire?
9 A. Mirjan was the one who set fire to the house. He set
10 light in two places.
11 Q. What did he set your house on fire with?
12 A. He had a bottle of petrol, and the moment he entered the
13 room, when Zoran entered, Mirjan dropped some of this
14 petrol on the couch, then he set light to it, and the
15 flame burst immediately, then left of the door, next to
16 the bed, there was a chair. He poured petrol on that
17 chair too and with a match, he set light to it, so that
18 two flames appeared simultaneously, very quickly.
19 Everything was transformed into fire and flames, and
20 there was a general conflagration, one might say.
21 Q. Mr. Ahmic, in your testimony you used the term
22 "Ustasha". What do you mean by that?
23 A. When I use this word, it applies to the HVO, the HVO
25 Q. Mr. Ahmic, after the inside of your house caught fire,
1 would you then continue with what you did?
2 A. I was standing next to the window and waiting for some
3 occasion to save my life, because the fire was gaining
4 ground. I did not have the strength to jump, because
5 the HVO army was in the yard next to the Kupreskic's
6 house, at Zlatko's then at Ivo Kupreskic -- when I say
7 Ivo, I imply Ivica, because their houses were nearby.
8 I did not dare jump out alive and be caught by them
9 alive, because I feared the worst, so I decided I could
10 not stand it any more, the end was at hand, I was either
11 going to burn there or to be caught alive, so I ran
12 through the flames, through the yard, up the steps to
13 the barn, and I decided to do this because in front of
14 my house, in the direction of the road, there was some
15 building materials, some bricks, some wooden piles, so
16 that I was protected from sight, so I managed to run
17 across the yard, climb into the barn and I hid under the
18 hay against the wall, and I kept quiet there. From
19 there I could see --
20 Q. Mr. Ahmic, let me ask you some questions before we turn
21 your attention to the barn. Before you left your house
22 and went to the barn, did you sustain serious burns?
23 A. Terrible burns I had. You can still see the scars, my
24 thumb, everything was burnt.
25 Q. Was your face burned as well?
1 A. I was in very bad shape. My face, my hair, everything
2 was burnt, my hands, I had blisters that burst
3 immediately, there was skin hanging like rags, my arms
4 up to my elbows were burnt.
5 Q. Immediately before you jumped out of your house and fled
6 to the barn, was your daughter-in-law still alive in
7 your opinion?
8 A. They were burnt while I was still at the window waiting,
9 because everything caved in while I was still in the
10 corner next to the window.
11 Q. Could you hear her before you left the house?
12 A. My daughter-in-law, yes, I heard this sigh that she made
13 from pain, and when she parted with her life. I said a
14 moment ago that there was a deep sigh when she passed
15 away, which means that she was still alive, that she was
16 burning alive in the house.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, after you hid under the hay in the hayloft of
18 your barn, what did you see?
19 A. When I was in the barn, Franjo Kupreskic came out into
20 his yard, calling the chicken. At the same time,
21 Safradin Nikica, known as Cico, approached Franjo
22 Kupreskic. Franjo Kupreskic said to him, "Cico, go back
23 and have a look at the situation in Sakib's house", so
24 Cico immediately turned round, turned back and came from
25 front of the entrance to my house. There was nothing
1 for him to see except for this bonfire, so he went back
2 to Franjo Kupreskic's, and Franjo asked him nicely,
3 "what did you see, Cico?" Cico said, in this tone of
4 voice and with these words, "there is nothing,
5 everything has died", in a high pitched voice, the word
6 used for animals.
7 I was in the barn listening and watching and
8 I thought to myself, "you do not know, Cico, that Sakib
9 is watching you with his own eyes from the barn and
10 listening to what you are saying", but I was unable to
11 do anything at that point in chime.
12 Q. From your position in the hayloft could you see your son
13 Sukrija's house?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. What did you see there?
16 A. The house was on fire, the whole house was in flames,
17 and my Sukrija's and Meho Hrustanovic's and Muhamed
18 Krdzalic's and Ramiz Gradinovic's and -- what is his
19 name, across the way. I just cannot recall his name for
20 the moment.
21 Q. Did you see Sukrija's wife?
22 A. No.
23 MR. HARMON: If I could have, Mr. President, the usher please
24 put two photographs from a pre-marked exhibit, from
25 exhibit 109, if I could have initially photograph 1 put
1 on the ELMO and then photograph 109/2.
2 Mr. Ahmic, in photograph 109/1, there appears to be
3 a male and a female. Can you identify those two
4 individuals in that particular photograph?
5 A. Yes, I can. This is my son Naser. Next to him is my
6 daughter Suhreta.
7 Q. Naser was the young man who was murdered in your
8 presence on the morning of the 16th, is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Suhra, your daughter, was not in your home on that
11 occasion, is that correct?
12 A. No, she did not even live with me, she had a house of
13 her own with her husband, and she lived there.
14 Q. Mr. Usher, if you could place Prosecutor's exhibit 109/2
15 on the ELMO.
16 Mr. Ahmic, who is the young man depicted in
17 photograph 109/2?
18 A. Yes --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps we could do this quicker.
20 A. This is Ahmic Sukrija, who was killed in front of his
22 MR. HARMON: That was near your home, is that correct?
23 A. Yes, right next door, nearby.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Usher.
25 A. 15 metres away.
1 Q. Mr. Ahmic, while you were in the barn, did you see Cazim
2 Ahmic carrying a stretcher?
3 A. Yes, I did. I saw him carrying a person on a primitive
4 stretcher. Cazim was walking in front, holding this
5 stretcher with both hands, and behind there were two
6 people carrying the stretcher on both sides, and they
7 were moving along the road to Stari Ahmici and they were
8 moving in that direction.
9 Q. Next, Mr. Ahmic, while you were in the hayloft, did you
10 see a number of young men who were killed and can you
11 describe what you saw?
12 A. Yes, I saw, from the house of Sulejman Pezer, I saw
13 Smail Pezer, the path went by their houses and it fed
14 into the main road leading to Ahmici. Then the house of
15 Vlatko Kupreskic was there and that is where this small
16 path fed into the big road to Ahmici. I saw a few young
17 men who left the house of Sulejman Pezer, and they came
18 to this clearing, they saw in front of Vlatko's house
19 HVO soldiers, they went to the right through a thicket
20 and as they got out, they came to a small canyon. When
21 they got out of this small canyon to the plateau above,
22 I saw them right in front of me, just as I can see the
23 fingers on my hand now, I saw them moving, and a burst
24 of gunfire came from Vlatko's house and the young men
25 simply fell, fell on to the ground.
1 At the same moment, three HVO soldiers went across
2 a street, they came to these people who were killed,
3 they searched them, they searched their clothes, they
4 went back and stood in front of Vlatko Kupreskic's
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Ahmic, would you care to rest for a while?
7 Would you like to take a break?
8 A. No, I am willing to go on working. I still have the
9 strength to do that.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Continue, please.
11 A. As far as I am concerned.
12 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ahmic, were these young men that you saw --
13 first of all, how many young men were there that were
14 killed in front of you?
15 A. About four or five young men, five or six young men, as
16 much as I could tell at that moment.
17 Q. Were these young men armed or unarmed?
18 A. No.
19 Q. No, they were not armed? Is that what you mean?
20 A. No, they were not armed, they were civilians, boys in
21 civilian clothes.
22 Q. While you were in the barn, did you hear any heavy
23 weapons being fired from the area of the Kupreskic
25 A. Yes, I heard a semi-automatic rifle or something, I do
1 not know exactly what it was, but it was heavy arms and
2 it was firing at the mosque of Donje Ahmici.
3 Q. While you were inside the hayloft again, did you see any
4 UNPROFOR tanks come into the area near your place of
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Before those tanks came to that location, was there a
8 lot of firing from heavy weapons and guns?
9 A. Yes, there was. Until the moment the tanks arrived,
10 when the tanks came up from the main road, when they
11 entered the territory of Ahmici, then everything went
12 quiet. There was silence, there was no shooting any
13 more. The tanks were moving towards Ahmici, and one
14 tank went to the left, in front of Ivica Kupreskic's
15 house; the other tank came to my front yard, in front of
16 my house. They were standing there, the tank in front
17 of my house, opening the turret, and a young man got out
18 of the tank, I just saw the top of his body, he looked
19 left and right, he got back into the tank, he closed the
20 hatch, and at that moment, the tank from Ivica
21 Kupreskic's house came back and started moving along the
22 road to Gornji Ahmici.
23 At the same moment, this tank that stood in front
24 of my house started moving behind it, so they both moved
25 towards Gornji Ahmici. Very quickly they returned from
1 Gornji Ahmici and they went to the main road, Sarajevo
2 Travnik, they moved towards Vitez. As they approached
3 Pican's cafe, the HVO used all the weapons they had and
4 it seemed to me that the ground was shaking, because
5 they were shooting from all these weapons they had, and
6 then it was over, everything went quiet again. Not a
7 single shot was heard any more.
8 At that moment, when the gunfire stopped, a siren
9 could be heard, or rather the horn of a car in front of
10 Vlatko Kupreskic's house, and then another one from
11 Ivica Kupreskic's house, and at the same time, the
12 siren -- the fire brigade went off. I was still on the
13 barn, and I was thinking, "this must be an honour of the
14 action that was successful, the slaughter of Ahmici, the
15 ethnic cleansing of the Ahmici village". I am sure that
16 all these sirens went off in honour of this successful
17 action of theirs.
18 Q. Mr. Ahmic, why did you leave the barn and when did you
19 leave the barn?
20 A. I must say that when I was in the barn, I did not hear a
21 man come up to the barn or climb the steps up, but in
22 front of the steps up there, I had two tyres from
23 passenger cars, one on top of the other. On the upper
24 tyre, there was some of that hay that cows cannot eat,
25 so they would leave that hay on that tyre. I felt
1 someone take the tyre away and put it down. I felt
2 that, I heard the tyre fall on the floor, and then
3 I realised that the place was on fire. I heard the
4 sound of fire, I felt the smell of hay burning. I could
5 not make any noise, I was afraid that somebody was
6 downstairs in the barn and I was afraid they would
7 notice me.
8 I started raising my head slowly so that I could
9 just see with my eyes what was happening in the barn,
10 and there was hay all over, a layer of hay about 70
11 centimetres thick all over the floor of the barn, so
12 I looked around and there was no one, I looked into the
13 other yard, I could not see anyone over there, so
14 I started thinking quickly, how could I save myself in
15 this situation? Why should I go? Should I run down,
16 should I grab a hay fork? Should I run one way, where
17 the manure pit was, or should I simply just lie in the
18 manure pit and mask myself with the manure, and then
19 I also thought about the roof, too. I know that the
20 barn is in the east-west direction, I realised that if
21 the roof would start falling on the manure pit,
22 I realised that I would burn alive in there if the roof
23 fell on top of the manure pit, so I did not dare walk
24 down the steps either, because I was afraid somebody
25 might see me and catch me alive.
1 I quickly decided what to do. I could take a
2 board, a wooden board from up there, and that is what
3 I did. I put it down very, very quietly, a fly could be
4 heard, because I was afraid -- I wondered where people
5 were. Everybody had rubber soles on their shoes and you
6 could not hear them move around. You could only see
7 people rather than hear them. I grabbed this wooden
8 board, I jumped into the manure pit, and there was a lot
9 of fire wood by the manure pit, and during the winter,
10 when the women and children would bring the fire wood
11 into the house for heating purposes, they made a hole in
12 this stack of fire wood, and I got into this stack of
13 fire wood, and also there were parts of passenger cars
14 standing there, because this was in front of Sukrija's
15 auto repair shop, so I got in that side and I hid
16 between these two parts of passenger cars and I sat
17 there all day.
18 Every moment they would come into the repair shop,
19 they would get out of the repair shop, and I heard the
20 first one say, "look at this good door", the garage
21 door. They did not say anything else, but they kept
22 coming in and going out and coming in and going out, and
23 I was hiding there, frightened, wondering whether
24 anybody would notice these parts of the passenger car,
25 and they would see me and catch me alive. I was just
1 praying to God that night would fall, so that they would
2 stop moving in front of me, because I was afraid that
3 they would catch me alive any minute.
4 It became dark, night fell, they stopped walking
5 here and there. I stayed on some more over there, and
6 I was wondering where to go and how to get out. The
7 fire was still up there and you could see very well in
8 that direction where I was supposed to move, Pirici,
9 Vrhovine, Zenica, up there. I was sitting there
10 waiting, I heard the roosters. I thought at that point
11 it must have been about 2.00 am. I saw that everything
12 was still ablaze. I did not dare get out, because I was
13 afraid that they would catch me, but I tried to guess
14 where the HVO guard could be, both on the left-hand side
15 and the right-hand side, on the east and on the west
16 side, and I decided that when I heard -- when I would
17 hear the roosters again, I would have to leave, because
18 I should not be there by dawn, because if I were still
19 there at dawn, I am sure they would catch me alive, and
20 if that were the case, I am sure I would end up like my
21 children, dead in the house.
22 When I heard the roosters again, I got up,
23 I crawled from under those passenger car parts and
24 believe it or not, I could not stand up, I could not
25 stand upright. My back was stiff, I was still
1 crouching, so I had great difficulty in standing up and
2 I spent a lot of time in the hospital afterwards. But
3 everything was quiet now, quiet, you could not hear a
4 thing. I walked in front of the repair shop, and my
5 late son's, Sukrija's, car was parked there and then in
6 front of the passenger car, I saw Sukrija, the late
7 Sukrija, lying there, tilted. I walked in front of him,
8 I took him by the armpits and I wanted to put him to lie
9 on the ground.
10 As I took him under the armpits, I realised that
11 I did not have any strength left, I did not have the
12 strength to raise this glass, so I had to leave him as
13 he was. I went on to the road, there was a fence going
14 by the road --
15 Q. Let me ask you, when you came out and you were at
16 Sukrija's house, what was the condition of the other
17 Muslim houses that were in and around your house and
18 Sukrija's house, specifically the houses that you have
19 identified marked 1 through 14?
20 A. All of them were burnt down. I was waiting for them to
21 burn down throughout the night, so that everything would
22 not be ablaze, so that there would not be any light, so
23 that in the dark I could escape to Pirici.
24 Q. Mr. Ahmic, what was the condition of the Bosnian Croat
25 houses in the area of your house?
1 A. They were in good order -- sorry, may I just ask one
2 thing? Are you asking me whether they were in good
3 order, the Croat houses in that area, in my
5 Q. Yes, I am.
6 A. They were all in good order, they are in good order
7 until the present day. Their houses are intact, no one
8 touched them.
9 Q. Mr. Ahmic, after you left the barn, you fled in the
10 direction of Pirici, and you arrived at your mother's
11 house, is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How old was your mother in 1993?
14 A. In 1993, my mother was 84 years old.
15 Q. Was she living alone in her house?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Tell the court what happened from the time you arrived
18 at your mother's house.
19 A. When I arrived at my mother's house, I knocked at the
20 window. She was already awake, she could not sleep when
21 she saw what had happened down there. I told her
22 through the window, very softly, "mother, open the door
23 and do not turn on the light". She opened the door the
24 very same minute, I walked in and she said, "son is, is
25 that you?", and I said, "mother, yes, it is me". I sat
1 on her bed and I asked my mother, "mother, could you
2 light a fire as soon as possible and make me some tea,
3 because I am freezing, I am frozen". She lit a fire
4 immediately and she made me some tea and I asked my
5 mother, I said "mother, do you have some cigarettes,
6 I do not have a single cigarettes". She gave me a pack
7 of cigarettes and a match box and I lit a cigarette.
8 I was drinking this tea, I do not know whether
9 I had finished the tea or not; a burst of gunfire came
10 from this place called Bahra. As soon as I heard the
11 gunfire, I put this cup on the cupboard and through the
12 kitchen I went to the room, to the window, the second
13 burst of gunfire came, west of mother's home, about 200
14 or 250 metres below Pirici. At that moment, I came back
15 from the room and I told my mother, I said, "mother,
16 here they are at Bahra. Off I go and if they catch me,
17 I am finished". At that moment -- I was bare foot, you
18 know, she said "son, take these socks" and she took off
19 her own socks and gave them to me and put them off.
20 I tried to put these socks on because she has much
21 smaller feet, but at least I managed to put the socks on
22 my toes, so off I went out the door and off through the
23 gardens to Pirici and I came to Baringi.
24 Now I was 100 per cent sure that I got out of all
25 danger, all crises, I knew I was no longer endangered by
1 the HVO. Up there, there is a big metal post, an iron
2 post, transmission lines, and I lit a cigarette and
3 I was looking at Ahmici, Zume. There is an excellent
4 view from up there. I saw that all of it was burnt
5 down, everything that was Muslim, everything had burnt
6 down. Every Croat house still had its roof.
7 I got up and went to Vrhovine, and as I got up
8 there to Vrhovine, I tried to get into the first house,
9 the door was open, I walked into the house and no one
10 was there. I went to the other house -- I knew all
11 these people -- and there was no one in the other house
12 either. I went to the third house, the door was open,
13 no one was there. I got up to the road that leads to
14 Kratine, and the population of the village Vrhovine had
15 fled from their houses towards Kuber and Gola Kosa and
16 all that, and that morning they shelled Vrhovine too and
17 that is why the people left their houses, they got out
18 of the village, they went up there.
19 When they saw me up there, the medical man
20 Mujezinovic, he saw me and said "Sakib, brother, why did
21 someone not take care of you, bandage your wounds?"
22 I said, "you are the first people I managed to reach.
23 There was no one to give me any kind of first aid", so
24 he put a bandage on one arm and the other arm and he
25 said "Sakib, we have two people who are wounded and you
1 are the third one. The ambulance is up there at the
2 intersection, the ambulance will come and take the car
3 and go straight to Zenica to the hospital". That
4 moment, I went into the house of Huso Havazovic. No one
5 was in the house, but the room was nice and warm, the
6 stove was burning and I lay there by the stove, I tried
7 to get my feet warm and that very moment, Huso walked in
8 and his wife Fata, the owners of the house, and they
9 looked at me, they know me very well, and they said
10 "Sakib, is that so?" I said, "yes", and they said,
11 "here is the car and they are going to take you to
12 Zenica", so I got out, got into the car and off it was
13 to Zenica, to the hospital.
14 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, before we get to Zenica, I have
15 two more brief questions of Mr. Ahmic and then, if it is
16 the appropriate time, I would like to take the 4.00
17 break. I just have a couple more questions in this
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, go ahead.
20 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ahmic, you mentioned that there were two
21 people who were wounded. Did you see those two people
22 who had been wounded? Can you identify them and
23 describe their wounds, please?
24 A. Yes, I can. Out of these two people who were wounded,
25 one of them was the daughter of my uncle, he is an
1 Ahmic, her name was Besima. The other wounded person
2 who was wound -- Besima was wounded in her leg. The
3 other one was Bilic, also wounded in the leg.
4 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. Ahmic. I have no additional
5 questions at this time, your Honour. I have some
6 additional questions after we return from the break.
7 A. Thank you.
8 JUDGE JORDA: It is a little early for the break, but given
9 the fact that -- since we began at 3.00, but on the
10 other hand, when I turn to my colleagues, I think
11 perhaps it might still be a good idea to stop now.
12 (Pause). My colleagues feel that we could go on until
14 MR. HARMON: That is fine, your Honour --
15 JUDGE JORDA: 4.20.
16 MR. HARMON: After you arrived in Zenica, you were placed in
17 the hospital. Can you describe, first of all, the
18 nature of your injuries and then how long you remained
19 in the hospital?
20 A. Yes. I was in a very bad condition of being burnt. My
21 hair had burnt, my face, my arms had burns. I was in a
22 terrible state of burning, of burns, suffering from
23 burns. I was treated and I arrived at the hospital on
24 17th April, roughly in the afternoon, about 5.00 pm.
25 I was discharged from hospital on 1st May 1994.
1 Q. So you remained in the hospital over one year, is that
3 A. Yes, a year and 20 days. I had heart problems, I was
4 treated for the burns, and also for high blood pressure,
5 so I was in such a condition that I was not allowed to
6 move around on my own.
7 Q. Mr. Ahmic, the village of Pirici where your mother lived,
8 was that a Muslim village exclusively?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you talk to your mother after you were in the
11 hospital and did she relate to you what happened to her
12 and to her house after you fled the village?
13 A. Yes. After leaving my mother's house, two HVO soldiers
14 came and told her to abandon the house. She did not do
15 it, but they searched everything in the house, looking
16 for this and that, and they set fire to her house. She
17 went out of the house and headed for Zume, and at Zume,
18 she had two sons with their own homes living there, and
19 she had a grand daughter from her -- the daughter of her
20 daughter at Zume.
21 She slowly went in that direction and when she
22 reached the Vidovic house -- I cannot recall the first
23 name for the moment, I think it was Ankha or something
24 like that, anyway that does not matter so much -- in
25 that house, her son-in-law was there and her grand
1 daughter Bajra. When she came by, they took her in,
2 into Ljuba Vidovic's house, that is the name from
3 16th April. Ljuba Vidovic protected her from the HVO
4 fighters, she hid them, Ramo, Bajra and my mother, but
5 Ljuba had a son in the HVO in Vitez, and he engaged an
6 UNPROFOR vehicle which came down there and picked up
7 Bajra, Ramo and my mother and transported them to the
8 territory of Zenica.
9 Q. This woman who sheltered your mother was a Bosnian
10 Croat, is that correct?
11 A. I did not quite understand the question.
12 Q. The woman who sheltered your mother was a Bosnian Croat,
13 is that correct?
14 A. Yes, a Croat, yes.
15 Q. What did your mother say happened to the rest of the
16 houses in the hamlet of Pirici? Did she tell you what
17 happened to those other houses?
18 A. My mother told me that when they entered her house, it
19 was a neighbour called Covic who came in, and another
20 colleague of his, whom she did not know, and they set
21 fire to her house in her presence. They set fire to all
22 of Pirici, everything was burnt down.
23 Q. Mr. Ahmic, as a result of the events on 16th April, how
24 many of your relatives were killed?
25 A. From among my family, 12 members were killed.
1 Q. Who were they? What are their names? Do you remember?
2 A. Yes, I do. First from my house, Zehrudina, Sejad,
3 Elvis, Naser; that is four members, Sukrija five. Eso
4 and Hajram, that is seven. Muzafir, eight; Meho, nine;
5 Islam, ten; Sefik, eleven; Suhra, twelve. My grand
6 daughter, who happened to be in the village of Nadioci,
7 I heard that they were slaughtered.
8 Q. With the help of the usher, if I could have the
9 Prosecutor's exhibit 109, three photos from that exhibit
10 placed on the ELMO, starting with 109/3, and we will use
11 109/3, 4 and 5. Mr. Ahmic, can you identify the
12 individual depicted in Prosecutor's exhibit 109/3, the
13 photograph that appears on the screen?
14 A. Yes, I can. This is my youngest brother, Sefik.
15 Q. That is a photograph that was taken in the early 1960s,
16 is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now can we turn to Prosecutor's exhibit 109/4. This,
19 Mr. Ahmic, is a picture that was taken in 1976. Can you
20 identify the individual in that particular picture, the
21 male in that particular picture?
22 A. Yes, this picture shows my brother Islam, with his wife
23 and child.
24 Q. Your brother's wife and child, is that correct?
25 A. Yes, they are alive in Zenica.
1 Q. Lastly, Mr. Ahmic, if we could turn our attention to
2 photograph 109/5, who is the young man depicted in that
3 particular photograph?
4 A. This is my son-in-law, Muzafir Poscul, the husband of my
5 daughter Suhra, who was on the photograph with her
6 brother Naser.
7 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, Mr. Ahmic.
8 Mr. President, I would move to introduce into
9 evidence Prosecutor's exhibit 50G, which is the aerial
10 image, and Prosecutor's exhibit 109, which is the
11 collection of photographs. I have no further questions
12 of Mr. Ahmic, your Honour.
13 JUDGE JORDA: We will break now, take 25 minutes to give the
14 witness a little bit of time to catch his breath, to
15 rest a bit, relax, so we will resume in 25 minutes.
16 (4.15 pm)
17 (A short break)
18 (4.40 pm)
19 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing. Can we have
20 the accused brought in, please?
21 (Accused brought in)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Sakib Ahmic, you are in a legal institution
23 at a Tribunal. Do you hear me?
24 A. Yes, I can.
25 JUDGE JORDA: You are in a Tribunal and before this Tribunal
1 is a man who is presumed innocent but who has been
2 accused. There are lawyers on both sides and now
3 General Blaskic's lawyers are going to ask you the
4 questions which they wish to ask you in order to defend
5 their client. You are under the protection of the
6 Tribunal and of the judges who are going to hear the
7 cross-examination. If at any point you need to rest,
8 please do not hesitate to ask the judges to permit that
9 to happen.
10 I now turn to the Defence to ask who is going to
11 be doing the cross-examination. Mr. Nobilo.
12 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Mr. Ahmic.
14 A. Good afternoon.
15 Q. My name is Anto Nobilo, attorney of General Blaskic, and
16 on behalf of my colleague and myself, I only have a
17 couple of questions, perhaps to obtain some useful
18 information for the benefit of the court. I am
19 interested in Zoran, Mirjan, Vlatko and Ivica
20 Kupreskic. Did they go to the front-lines in the
21 fighting against the Serbs or elsewhere? Were they
22 members of units or did they move around and keep watch
23 duty only around their houses in Ahmici?
24 A. Regarding Ivica Kupreskic, he was seen wearing a HVO
25 uniform. I am not familiar with his movements, where
1 and when he moved.
2 Q. And Zoran Kupreskic?
3 A. Zoran Kupreskic was also seen in uniform, a black
4 uniform, and I am also not familiar with his movements.
5 Q. Mirjan Kupreskic?
6 A. Mirjan Kupreskic; I do not remember the garb he wore,
7 whether it was HVO or anything else.
8 Q. And Vlatko?
9 A. Vlatko Kupreskic wore a civilian uniform, but I would
10 see him going out with a rifle in the evening at 10.00,
11 with another soldier. Where they went after 10.00 at
12 night, I do not know.
13 Q. In the months that preceded these tragic events, did you
14 see them at home all the time, or were they lost from
15 sight for certain periods of time?
16 A. They could be seen at home. I was not in a position to
17 see them every single day, but we would come across each
18 other every week, or I would see them in their yards,
19 back yards, and we saw each other like that.
20 Q. The small TAM truck that you saw about two nights prior
21 to these unfortunate events, was it empty or was it
23 A. This yellow TAM truck, which was I think 1.5 tonnes
24 capacity, I could not see at night-time whether it was
25 loaded or not. I could not see whether there was
1 anything behind or in the cabin, but in any event, this
2 TAM was there.
3 Q. So if anything was on it, you would have seen it?
4 A. As it was night-time, 9.00 at night, at the distance that
5 I was at, that is in my yard, and this vehicle was in
6 Ivica Kupreskic's yard, I could not tell whether there
7 was any cargo in that truck or not.
8 Q. Mr. Ahmic, do you remember your statement made to the
9 investigators of The Hague Tribunal? This was the time
10 when you drew some maps of the village. On page 3 you
11 said that the truck was empty. Is that correct, that is
12 what you told the investigators of the Tribunal?
13 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, counsel, could you just identify the
14 date of the statement?
15 MR. NOBILO: It is your statement, but there is no indication
16 of the date. It is a statement that contains a map of
17 the village of Ahmici. So Mr. Ahmic, did you tell the
18 investigator then, the investigator of the Tribunal,
19 that the TAM was empty?
20 A. I doubt that I said that. I do not know whether it was
21 loaded or empty, because I could not see.
22 Q. Very well. Were you part of the village patrols?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Who was the responsible person who would say when you
25 would take over the shift or when it would be one of
1 your neighbours' turn?
2 A. Nermin Kermo.
3 Q. Was he responsible for the whole village, or just for a
4 part of it?
5 A. Only for our part of the village.
6 Q. Can you please clarify that? What area would Kermo be
7 responsible for?
8 A. It is the area linked to this sketch, these blue houses,
9 and then the houses of those people, their houses, the
10 other part of the road, below the upper mosque in
12 Q. Mr. Ahmic, could you be so kind as to show us on the map
13 this area with a little more precision, so we know what
14 territory Kermo was responsible for. Just a moment
15 please, so the usher can switch on the microphone.
16 Could you please show us on this map, which is
17 Prosecutor's exhibit 50G?
18 A. Here it is, it is this part, indicated by number 12,
19 this small hamlet here, these houses here, and all of
20 these houses over here. (Indicates).
21 Q. Can it be stated that the houses marked in green on this
22 map more or less represented the hamlet for which your
23 group or your patrols were responsible for, or is it
24 smaller than that?
25 A. I did not understand the question.
1 Q. You said that Kermo was responsible for a part of the
3 A. Not of the village, of this hamlet.
4 Q. Does this hamlet include all the houses marked in green
5 or is it smaller than that?
6 A. All the houses marked in green.
7 Q. Thank you, you may sit down. Mr. Ahmic, does this hamlet
8 of yours have any particular name to distinguish it from
9 the rest of Ahmici?
10 A. It is known as Smrike, that is how we are called locally
11 as Smrike.
12 Q. So Kermo can be said to have been responsible for
13 organising the patrols in Smrike?
14 A. Yes, we can say that.
15 Q. Can you tell me which other parts of Ahmici existed with
16 regard to these patrols?
17 A. They were organised in Gornji Ahmici, upper Ahmici, and
18 they were organised in Donje Ahmici, near the first
19 mosque in Donje Ahmici.
20 Q. Who was responsible for patrols in Gornji Ahmici?
21 A. Believe me, I do not know.
22 Q. Do you perhaps know who was responsible for Donje
24 A. I am not sure of who participated on behalf of those
25 people there in Donje Ahmici, who was in charge, so to
1 speak, regarding the patrols.
2 Q. As far as you can remember, how many inhabitants did the
3 whole village of Ahmici have?
4 A. I cannot tell you, to be quite frank.
5 Q. Prior to these tragic events, were there refugees living
6 in Ahmici, coming from other parts of
8 A. Yes, there were.
9 Q. Do you know how many roughly there were?
10 A. I could not tell you the number, but I know for sure
11 that there were some people from eastern Bosnia, then
12 there were some from Turbe, Vlahovici, a part of Kroula,
13 that is it.
14 Q. Can it be said that Ahmici as a locality hosted a large
15 number of refugees, is that true?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In 1993, how old were you?
18 A. I was 60.
19 Q. And you were keeping watch duty?
20 A. I was not engaged all the time. If somebody was absent,
21 one of the people in our hamlet, then I would take his
23 Q. Tell me, in addition to these village patrols, did the
24 young men belong to the TO or other units of the
25 BH-Army? I am thinking of the young people from
2 A. There were members.
3 Q. If the young men -- if a young man from Ahmici belonged
4 to a unit of the BH-Army, where would his command be?
5 A. Preocica or Kruscica.
6 Q. Tell me, do you know where the command of the company of
7 the battalion or the brigades were?
8 A. No, I do not know.
9 Q. Was there any command in Vrhovine, any headquarters?
10 A. I am not familiar with that.
11 Q. Did you know Mirsad Ahmic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Was he a commander?
14 A. He was for a time -- he participated in the distribution
15 or assignment of these patrols.
16 Q. Can we say that he was commander for the whole of Ahmici
17 for a certain period of time?
18 A. I do not know exactly.
19 Q. What role in the army did your neighbour Fuad Brbic
21 A. Fuad Brbic in my opinion, he kept track of, how shall
22 I put it, of the people who assigned these patrols.
23 Q. So he was superior to them?
24 A. Yes, in my opinion he was.
25 Q. So let me summarise: Fuad Brbic was superior to those
1 people who would assign you to patrols?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you know that there was a mobilisation, which means
4 it was not just voluntary service but that young men
5 were mobilised into the Territorial Defence?
6 A. I do not know of that.
7 Q. Do you know Hazrudin Bilic?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Was he a soldier?
10 A. I think Hazrudin Bilic was actually one of the people in
11 charge of these patrols, and he assigned people to the
12 patrols for night duty.
13 Q. Was Mirsad Bilic a member of the TO?
14 A. I do not really know.
15 Q. If you remember tell me, if you do not just say you
16 cannot remember. Would you see him in uniform?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Mirsad Ahmic, do you know him?
19 A. I do.
20 Q. What was his role?
21 A. In my view, his role was the same as that of this Bilic,
22 to assign people to the patrols.
23 Q. Did you see Fuad Brbic with some kind of a radio
24 communicating with Vitez?
25 A. Yes, he did.
1 Q. What kind of a radio was it, can you describe it?
2 A. I can. It was a radio, about 50, 60 cent metres high,
3 with an antenna.
4 Q. You told me that he had communicated with Vitez. Do you
5 know with who in particular in Vitez?
6 A. I have no idea. I know that this radio station was at
7 the school for a time, and I too, in the absence of
8 others, was assigned to be on duty at the school with
9 another friend of mine, and a third person who operated
10 the station.
11 Q. So the radio station was at the school. What was the
12 school, was it some kind of a headquarters?
13 A. To tell you the truth, I do not know myself.
14 Q. Who came to the school where the radio was when you were
15 on duty?
16 A. While I was on duty, no one came except the person on
17 duty with me, Hussein Ahmic, and this third person.
18 Q. Apart from the radio in the school, did you see anything
19 stored there, any military material stored there?
20 A. No, 100 per cent no. Absolutely nothing. People were
21 absolutely unarmed, there was the radio station and that
22 is all.
23 Q. Rasim Ahmic, do you know him?
24 A. Rasim Ahmic? Yes, I know him. He lived below the road
25 at Zume.
1 Q. Was he too a member of the TO military units and on
2 watch duty?
3 A. I have no idea.
4 Q. But to go back to the school where you kept -- were on
5 duty, can you remember when this was? Was it in 1993 or
6 in 1992 or both years?
7 A. It was some time between -- in the autumn of 1992,
8 I think.
9 Q. You said that Rasim came from the Donje Kuce lower
10 houses. Do you know Hazim?
11 A. I do, he is his brother.
12 Q. Was he a member of the TO?
13 A. I do not know. I know that he worked as a cobbler.
14 Q. Do you know Nazif Ahmic?
15 A. I know him very well, there are three brothers that you
16 have asked me about, these two, and this one is the
18 Q. And Ejub Ahmic?
19 A. Ejub Ahmic? Yes.
20 Q. Was he a soldier?
21 A. He is from Pirici, I do not know.
22 Q. And Zijad Bilic and Dramo Bilic; do you know them?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. Were they soldiers?
25 A. I do not know.
1 Q. Nazif, the third brother, Nazif, was he in the TO army?
2 A. You asked me about Nazif; Nazif, Rasim and Asim, they
3 are three brothers, I do not know.
4 Q. I am sorry, I forgot. Do you perhaps remember October
5 1992, there was some shooting and a clash over the
6 roadblock at Donje Ahmici, near the main road and the
7 catholic cemetery; do you remember that event?
8 A. I do not.
9 Q. You do not know anything about that event?
10 A. I do not know anything. In 1992?
11 Q. Yes, 1992 October.
12 A. No, I have no idea.
13 Q. Tell me, your son Zikret, he was in the TO?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you tell us what his position was, what his rank
16 was? He was an educated man, was he not?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you tell us about that?
19 A. I cannot tell you anything about that.
20 Q. So you do not know where he was working, what unit he
21 belonged to and what place?
22 A. In Vitez.
23 Q. During this conflict, did he stay on in Vitez?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Just one more thing. Your son left Vitez, where did he
1 go, to Mahala or elsewhere?
2 A. To Zenica.
3 Q. So he came to Zenica, thank you. I am not going to
4 torture you once again, so that you will not have to
5 describe the crime committed against your family, but
6 I am just trying to ask you to remember the time when it
7 happened, around what time?
8 A. Are you referring to April 16th?
9 Q. Yes, when your family was murdered. When was that?
10 A. This was exactly in the morning at 5.30, at 5.30 am.
11 Q. Tell me, do you know Hazim Ahmic who built the Donje
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did he have some kind of private army in the mosque?
15 A. No, not that I know of.
16 Q. The previous day, did you perhaps see a white Lada car
17 with foreign people coming to Hazim, to the mosque?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Were you near the mosque then?
20 A. No, I do not even know where I was.
21 Q. On 16th April 1993, when you were in the barn, what time
22 was that, if you can remember?
23 A. The time -- I cannot remember the time.
24 Q. When you saw this heavy machine gun or semi-automatic
25 rifle shooting from the Kupreskic house towards Donje
1 Jahmir, the mosque, can you remember that picture?
2 A. No, I did not see that.
3 Q. What happened?
4 A. I heard it, I heard the shot.
5 Q. So you heard the sound but you did not see it?
6 A. No, I did not see it with my eyes.
7 Q. Did you see the area around the new mosque?
8 A. You cannot see that area, I did not see it, you could
9 not see it from the forest.
10 Q. All right. Could you recall when you saw the UN tanks,
11 what time that was approximately?
12 A. I do not remember that time either. I cannot remember
13 the right time, you know, at those moments, given
14 everything that was going on and everything that was
15 happening to me and my children and my house.
16 Q. Of course I appreciate that. You said the tanks, they
17 were white. Were those the tanks that have a gun or
18 those that do not have a gun?
19 A. They did have a gun in front.
20 Q. Big gun? Did it have a machine gun or a cannon?
21 A. They had a machine gun.
22 Q. So it was not a tank, it was an armoured vehicle with a
24 A. An armoured vehicle with a gun, yes.
25 Q. Did it have regular rollers, wheels or caterpillars?
1 A. Caterpillars, yes, they were the same, both tanks in
2 front of Ivica Kupreskic's house and from front of my
3 house, they were the same, the two tanks.
4 Q. You described some time ago that you reached Baringi and
5 you felt 100 per cent safe. Can you tell me why?
6 A. Yes, because everything in the area of Ahmici and Zume,
7 everything was burned down and everybody was killed.
8 The HVO army killed everyone. So when I came to my
9 mother's house, they had not reached Pirici yet, the
10 HVO, they were below Pirici, but at that moment, they
11 came to Pirici.
12 Q. I understand that, but why did you think that Baringi
13 was safe? I understand your life was jeopardised near
14 Ahmici, Pirici, Zume et cetera.
15 A. But I saw that everything was intact up there, no one
16 was up there. That was why I felt 100 per cent safe. I
17 was sure that no one was up there everything that was
18 done was happening in the area of Ahmici.
19 Q. And at Baringi, did you see the BH-Army setting up
20 positions there to defend you?
21 A. No.
22 Q. You did not see the positions?
23 A. No. There was not a living soul up there.
24 Q. You said that Jozo Covic burned down your mother's house
25 with another man. Where is he from? Where did he live?
1 A. He is Jozo Covic's son, I do not know his first name.
2 He lived in Zume, down there, and my mother told me that
3 when they came to her place, she said, "it is Ana's son,
4 Nikola's grandson from Zume".
5 Q. You knew him, you knew his father?
6 A. I know them very well.
7 Q. Can we say he is a neighbour of yours?
8 A. We lived about 700 or 800 metres apart, from one house
9 to the other there was 700 or 800 metres.
10 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. Ahmic. Mr. President, no further
12 JUDGE JORDA: Again, turning to the Prosecutor.
13 MR. HARMON: I have no additional questions.
14 JUDGE JORDA: I then turn to my colleagues to ask whether
15 they have any questions they would like to ask, perhaps
16 Judge Riad has a few. The judges will ask you a few
17 additional questions, and then your testimony will be
18 complete. Judge Riad will first ask you a few
19 questions. Judge Riad?
20 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Sakib Ahmic, you mentioned that you had a
21 truck in front of your house and in front of another
22 house, and then this truck left, whether it is a truck
23 or a tank, and shooting started, and I can mention your
24 words, you said the shooting was so strong that the
25 ground, the earth was moving, was shaking. If there was
1 so much shooting, what were they shooting at, because
2 previously you mentioned that the Armija military had no
3 presence in Ahmici. So what was the HVO shooting at
4 with such strength?
5 A. The truck that the gentleman is asking me about, I never
6 said that there was a truck in front of my house.
7 I just said that I saw a little truck, yellow, on the
8 13th or the 14th in the evening, around 9.00 in the
9 evening. It came in front of the house of Ivica
10 Kupreskic. That is number one.
11 Number two: I heard shooting in front of the house
12 of Ivica Kupreskic. I think that they were shooting
13 towards the mosque in Donje Ahmici.
14 Q. What was destroyed in the mosque, the minaret or -- what
15 were they shooting at, at the mosque? What did they want
16 to destroy?
17 A. At that moment, I do not know. I do not know what they
18 wanted to destroy at that moment, but at any rate, it
19 was obvious later that the mosque was totally ruined,
20 and that the minaret was broken and it had fallen down.
21 Q. Were there other mosques around the area or in ...
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Were they also shot at and destroyed?
24 A. Those mosques were destroyed.
25 Q. You also mentioned that when Smail Pezer and Sulejman
1 Pezer got out and hid in a small canyon, they were shot
2 at and then HVO soldiers reached to them and searched
3 their bodies. Does that mean that HVO soldiers were
4 around during these killings, and were they doing the
5 killing, or just watching?
6 A. I am sorry, let me just repeat the question the way
7 I understood it. Is the question related to the death
8 of the four or five young men near Vlatko Kupreskic's
9 house? Is that the question?
10 Q. I will ask you a more general question. Most of the
11 killing was done by private people or by HVO, or by
12 people linked with the HVO like Zoran, if I understand
13 rightly, Zoran Kupreskic, whom you said was dressed in
14 black and had a radio, so how was the killing done, by
15 whom, in general?
16 A. It was done by the HVO army.
17 Q. I just want to ask you a very general question. You
18 said that you lived very happily, when you started
19 speaking to us, you lived very happily with your
20 Croatian neighbours. When was this turning point where
21 everything went wrong, in your opinion?
22 A. To tell you the truth, there were no turning points.
23 I think that until the very last moments we had good
24 neighbourly relations, and we never doubted these
25 neighbours of ours. We were always good and true
1 neighbours. We never could have thought of something
2 like this happening, let alone having it actually
3 happen. I mean all of that that happened on 16th April.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Judge Shahbuddeen?
6 JUDGE SHAHBUDDEEN: Mr. Ahmic, you saw Zoran Kupreskic in a
7 black uniform on the morning of 16th April.
8 A. Yes, I saw him in my house.
9 Q. Was that the first time you had seen him in a black
11 A. No.
12 Q. You saw in a --
13 A. I saw him in a black uniform before that too.
14 Q. How would you identify that black uniform, as belonging
15 to what military group?
16 A. That black uniform belonged to HOS.
17 Q. I see. So he was a HOS member?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. All right. Could you explain --
20 A. In my opinion, judging by his uniform, the black uniform
21 in which I saw him before.
22 Q. Could you then explain why is it that you were referring
23 to HVO people being around? Was he a HVO member also?
24 A. If I may say so, I can say that everything that was done
25 in the territory of Ahmici was done by the HVO army, and
1 on the day of 16th April, Zoran Kupreskic, who wore a
2 black uniform, to my home, I really do not know why he
3 did that.
4 Q. Did you know to what organisation he previously
6 A. In my opinion -- actually I do not know if I can really
7 answer this question, whether he really belonged to the
8 HOS or whether he belonged to the HVO army. When all of
9 this happened on 16th April, at that time HOS did not
10 exist. As far as I knew, HOS was integrated into the
11 HVO army, so it was a single HVO army.
12 Q. I see. Like Mr. Nobilo, I do not want to torture you
13 with questions relating to the details of certain parts
14 of your narrative, so let me ask you a question about
15 Ljuba Vidovic, who I think took in your mother. She was
16 a Croat person?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were there other Croats who rescued other Muslims?
19 A. Personally, on the territory of Ahmici, I have not heard
20 until the present day about any one of these Croat
21 neighbours trying to rescue any Bosniak Muslims.
22 Q. So any rescue of that kind would have taken place
23 outside of Ahmici, is that what you are saying?
24 A. If we are talking about my mother -- is that what you
25 are referring to?
1 Q. Yes, indeed.
2 A. That is precisely what happened. It happened outside
3 Ahmici, because that area belongs to the area of
4 Santici, where my mother was rescued.
5 Q. I understand. One last question about relations between
6 Croats and Muslims. You said that before 16th April,
7 relations between those two bodies of people were good,
8 is that right?
9 A. Good, that is true.
10 Q. Do you personally still have friends amongst the Croats?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Let me ask you one or two questions about that yellow
13 truck. Was that the first time that you ever saw that
14 yellow truck?
15 A. That was the first time I saw it.
16 Q. Was that also the last time that you saw it?
17 A. First and the last time, yes.
18 Q. Did it have a covered back, or was the back an open
20 A. An open back, a small TAM truck.
21 Q. What time did it leave?
22 A. It came in the evening, around 9.00 pm, but it was
23 customary, in the case of my neighbours, the Kupreskics,
24 to have an external light on in front of my house too,
25 and Vlatko's, and Zoran's, and the Bilic, and everywhere
1 else, but that night, when the TAM truck arrived,
2 approximately around 9.00 in the evening, not a single
3 light was on outside any one of the Kupreskic houses.
4 The truck parked by Ivica's house and I saw it around
5 7.00 in the morning as it drove out of Ivica's yard by
6 Zoran Kupreskic's house. It honked its horn and moved
7 on to the Sarajevo Travnik main road.
8 Q. I know. At what time did you observe that the back was
9 an open back, when it came or when it left?
10 A. I saw that it was open in the evening when it arrived
11 and also in the morning as it was leaving and when I say
12 that I saw that it was in the evening too, what I am
13 saying is as it was entering Ivica Kupreskic's yard
14 Ivica's father's house had lights on at one window, at
15 another window, so as the truck drove into Ivica's yard,
16 I saw because of the lights from Ivica's father's house
17 that it was open at the back and in the morning when it
18 was leaving Ivica's house, I saw that it was open in the
20 JUDGE SHAHBUDDEEN: Thank you very much.
21 A. Thank you.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Ahmic, I believe that Judge Riad still has
23 another question he would like to ask. Judge Riad?
24 A. Just ask, please.
25 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Ahmic, please try to give me a clear answer
1 to a statement you made to the Defence attorney,
2 Mr. Nobilo. You mentioned to him that you ran away
3 because the HVO, and I am quoting your words, "killed
4 everyone". Does that mean that there was a general
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is that what you mean by that?
8 A. They killed everyone who they came across. For example,
9 there are some survivors who are women, children, but
10 most people were killed, and all Muslim houses were also
12 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
13 A. Thank you.
14 JUDGE JORDA: The testimony is now complete, Mr. Ahmic. This
15 was a long day for you. Do you have the feeling that
16 you have said everything that you had to say to the
17 Tribunal? Do you wish to add anything? If not, the
18 testimony is complete.
19 A. If I may, I wish to thank the entire office of this
20 court, and I want to thank everyone for the honest and
21 fair way I have been treated and the way in which I have
22 been asked questions. I thank the entire court over
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, we can now have Mr. Ahmic
25 accompanied out of the courtroom, and we can wish him
1 only calm and serenity for the rest of his life after
2 these dreadful events. Then we will ask the Prosecutor
3 to introduce the following witness.
4 A. On my part, I wish all these people the very best, the
5 people that I have been seeing over these past two or
6 three days here in The Hague, in the state of the
7 Netherlands, thank you all very much.
8 (The witness withdrew)
9 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, our next witness will be Elvir
10 Ahmic. We are not prepared to proceed with him at this
11 point in time and would request that we proceed with him
13 JUDGE JORDA: Because the witness is not here, is that why?
14 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, he recently arrived, he is here in
15 the building.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, we then agree that we will begin
17 tomorrow morning at 10.00. In the future, if possible,
18 Mr. Harmon, try to be sure that there is not too much
19 time lost this way, time which we could have perhaps
20 used for the testimony. But we will now adjourn our
21 hearing and begin tomorrow again at 10.00.
22 (5.30 pm)
23 (Court adjourned until 10.00 am the following day)