1 Thursday, 26th February 1998
2 (3.30 pm)
3 (In closed session)
13 Pages 6991 to 7028 redacted - in closed session
1 (4.53 pm)
2 (A short break).
3 (5.10 pm)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Have the accused brought in,
5 please, and we will resume our work.
6 Mr. Harmon.
7 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President, your
8 Honours. Good afternoon, good afternoon, counsel.
9 The next witness is a protected witness who
10 will be having face distortion and pseudonym. I am
11 informed the next letters are DD. I will refer to the
12 witness as Witness DD.
13 In summary, Witness DD is a 44-year-old
14 Bosnian Muslim who in April 1993 lived in the
15 municipality of Kiseljak in the village of Hercezi. If
16 we have the ELMO illuminated, I put the map on the ELMO
17 and point out the location, the location of the village
18 of Hercezi.
19 It is not marked in orange, Mr. President, but
20 the tip of the pointer points to the actual village
22 Mr. President, and your Honours, Witness DD's
23 testimony will describe the take-over of the village of
24 Hercezi by the HVO. He will describe in the ensuing
25 months that the Bosnian Muslims were permitted to
1 remain in the village, but were essentially under close
2 guard and scrutiny. They had to register, for example,
3 every day with the HVO.
4 During the time he spent in the village after
5 the take-over of the village, which was in April of
6 1993, he and others in the village were forced to do
7 work by the HVO and that work included the digging of
8 trenches at front-line positions.
9 Ultimately, Mr. President, on approximately
10 6th September, the HVO came to his village and informed
11 Witness DD and other Muslims who remained in the
12 village that they would be exchanged. They were then
13 taken out of the village and taken to the village of
14 Rotilj. The Witness DD remained in Rotilj until 20th
15 September 1993 and part of his testimony will be to
16 describe to your Honours what happened to him and to
17 the others in the village of Rotilj.
18 He will testify, for example, that in the
19 village of Rotilj, he and other Muslim civilians were
20 taken to front-line positions and had to dig trenches.
21 He will testify that shortly after arriving in Rotilj
22 he was taken to dig trenches at a location near his
23 village and the mosque, which had been intact when he
24 left the village, had been burned down. He will point
25 out in one exhibit the mosque and the various buildings
1 that are attached to the mosque and will describe the
2 destruction of the mosque.
3 On 20th September, he will testify that he
4 was taken to the Kiseljak army barracks in Kiseljak,
5 where he remained for approximately 10 days. While he
6 was there he was beaten, he was robbed and he was
7 forced to dig trenches. He will testify that other
8 Muslim civilians as well had the same experiences
9 during those 10 days he was at the Kiseljak army
11 He will then testify, Mr. President, that on
12 or about 30th September 1993, he and the Muslim
13 civilians who were in the Kiseljak army barracks were
14 taken to Kresevo, where they remained for approximately
15 one month, essentially as forced labourers. During
16 that month he will describe what happened to him and
17 the other Muslim civilians. He will testify that they
18 were forced on a daily basis to engage in strenuous
19 forced labour, digging trenches and the like. He
20 remained there until approximately 30th October 1993.
21 While there, he will testify that he saw
22 a group of soldiers engage in front-line activities with
23 the HVO. Those soldiers were described by him as the
25 On 30th October, Mr. President, he will
1 testify that he was transferred back -- he and other
2 Muslims were transferred back to the Kiseljak army
3 barracks, where again he was incarcerated, and he will
4 describe the conditions to your Honours. Those
5 conditions include forced labour, trench digging and,
6 ultimately, he was wounded himself on the front-lines on
7 November 18th 1993, while digging trenches.
8 He will testify that he received a serious
9 wound on his back, that he was then transferred from
10 the location where he was digging trenches ultimately
11 back to the Kiseljak army barracks and on that same day
12 taken to Rotilj where he remained until 14th January
14 He will describe the conditions again on the
15 second visit to Rotilj, this time the visit between
16 November 18th 1993 and 14th January 1994. Those
17 conditions will include description of the HVO coming
18 to the village, rounding up Muslim civilians and taking
19 them to engage in forced labour.
20 Mr. President, his testimony will relate to
21 Count 1 of the indictment, persecution, paragraphs 6.3
22 to paragraph 7; Count 14 of the indictment, paragraph
23 11, and counts 15 through 20, paragraphs 12 through
25 That concludes my opening remarks,
1 Mr. President and your Honours.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. In order to
3 summarise things and to make things shorter so that we
4 are not going to get lost in all kinds of details,
5 there are four essential points: there is the taking of
6 the village, the period from 6th November to 13th
7 September 1993, which includes the episode in which the
8 exchange took place; there is the period of 20th
9 September to 30th October 1993, at the Kiseljak
10 barracks; then the forced labour period, in Kresevo, if
11 I have that right, and lastly there is a fourth period
12 from the time he was wounded in 1993 and 4th January
14 Try to be as succinct as possible when you
15 are discussing these essential points, Mr. Prosecutor.
16 Now, let us have Witness DD brought in.
17 (The witness entered court)
18 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me?
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE JORDA: We will call you "Witness DD"
21 because you are being covered by protective measures.
22 The Registrar is going to give you a paper on which
23 your name and first name appears, but do not say them.
24 Simply verify that this is you. (Handed).
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Now the Registrar
2 is going to give you the oath, that is your solemn
3 declaration. Remain seated and read it, please.
4 A. May I begin?
5 JUDGE JORDA: Proceed.
6 A. I solemnly declare that I will speak the
7 truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You are going to
9 testify at the request of the Prosecutor in the trial
10 being conducted against General Blaskic, who is here in
11 the courtroom. The Prosecutor gave us a summary of the
12 essential points of your testimony. You will speak
13 freely about the points which were pointed out as --
14 which the Prosecutor indicated as the most important.
15 After several preliminary questions, in blocks of facts
16 or events, you will testify freely.
17 Mr. Prosecutor, you may begin. We will sit
18 for about an hour, or one hour and 15 minutes.
19 WITNESS DD
20 Examined by MR. HARMON
21 Q. Thank you.
22 Let me ask you some preliminary questions,
23 Witness DD. Are you a Bosnian citizen?
24 A. I am.
25 Q. Are you a Muslim by faith?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. In April of 1993, did you live in the
3 Kiseljak municipality, in the village of Hercezi?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In April of 1993, were you a civilian?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. On 18th April 1993, did the HVO occupy the
8 village of Hercezi?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, I would like to have you testify about
11 certain events in blocks. The first area I would like
12 you to testify about, Witness DD, is from the time of
13 the take-over of your village by the HVO on 18th April
14 1993 until your ultimate removal from the village on
15 6th September 1993.
16 Could you describe to the judges the events
17 relating to the take-over and the events that ensued in
18 your village?
19 A. In the morning of the 18th April 1993, the
20 neighbouring villages were attacked by HVO units.
21 I was surprised that morning because I did not expect
22 anything. I expected -- I thought it was some kind of
23 celebration, something to do with Easter. Then I asked
24 my neighbours what it was. They, too, were surprised.
25 They probably knew what was happening and said
1 "something is wrong".
2 Then we saw the neighbouring villages that
3 were exposed to battle; houses were set on fire. This
4 did not happen in my village, as there was no
5 resistance. We had surrendered what weapons we had,
6 hunting weapons, so that my village was not torched and
7 there was no fighting in my village.
8 On 20th April, during the day, all the
9 weapons were surrendered so that we men spent the
10 evening at our neighbour's house and all night at our
11 neighbours who were Croats, together with the
12 commander, Vucic Pero, known as "Madzar". They were
13 kind to us, they gave us food, dinner, et cetera, so
14 there were no problems, though we felt embarrassed that
15 this had happened and we felt humiliated and offended,
16 et cetera.
17 From 20th April on, we had to report daily.
18 At the edge of my village, there was Radimir Tola,
19 known as Mladen, and his sister Ana kept a record of
20 presence. This reporting had to be done just in case
21 anybody should decide to try and escape, so that they
22 knew that we were all there.
23 After that, we were allowed to work in the
24 field, but not to move away. This went on for about
25 two and a half or three months and then, in August, for
1 a time, we had to dig trenches.
2 Our commander, Pero, known as "Madzar", told
3 us that we should clear the road and to do something
4 because he had orders to force us to do labour. So we
5 cleaned away the road for a couple of days but later on
6 we had to go and dig trenches in the area behind the
7 village of Mr.akovi, a place called Hurije.
8 While digging trenches our neighbours,
9 Croats, were on the front-lines of defence. They
10 treated us fairly, they helped us dig. We had lunch in
11 Stojan's house. After having lunch -- after the
12 Croatian soldiers had lunch, we could also eat whenever
13 there was any food.
14 Later, after that, things became more and
15 more difficult. In August the Croatian police, both
16 the military and the civilian, started arresting people
17 and rounding them up and boarding them onto trucks and
18 taking them to the barracks in Kiseljak and some others
19 to the municipality.
20 I hid so that I was not taken on that
21 occasion, but my neighbours were. This lasted until
22 6th April, when we went to Rotilj --
23 Q. Excuse me, Witness DD, you said "6th April",
24 do you mean 6th September 1993?
25 A. I made a mistake, I am sorry, the 6th
1 September. The 6th September.
2 One day -- or rather I did not dig trenches
3 that day because my daughter was going to be
4 exchanged. Seeing her off for the exchange, blue
5 police car together with the military police came and
6 they told us we were all going to be exchanged, so we
7 went to our homes, escorted by the military police. We
8 were given five minutes to get ready and to wait for
9 buses. The buses arrived. We got into them and they
10 drove us, under the excuse that they were taking us for
11 exchange. But we were not exchanged straight away, but
12 were taken to the village of Rotilj, at the cafe called
13 Konek. Both us from the village from Hercezi and
15 These military policemen who were escorting
16 us, I do not know where they went but we waited there
17 for a couple of hours, men, women and children and the
18 elderly. Then we were told to go to the upper part of
19 the village of Rotilj, and Hodzic Salko and Fadil
20 Topalovic then helped us in putting us up, though
21 I went to stay with my relatives.
22 As you probably know, the lower part of
23 Rotilj, the Muslim houses were burnt, so that we went
24 to the upper part of the village.
25 We were all crowded into houses --
1 Q. Witness DD, let me interrupt you there and
2 ask you some questions about what you have testified to
3 thus far. You mentioned that an individual by the name
4 of Pero had received orders that the Muslims had to
5 engage in forced labour. Was Pero a Bosnian Croat and
6 a member of the HVO?
7 A. Pero is a Bosnian Croat and he was the
8 commander of an HVO unit.
9 Q. Did you and the other Bosnian Muslims from
10 Hercezi volunteer to do this work? Was this voluntary
11 labour or was it coerced?
12 A. Obviously under those conditions, it was
13 forced labour.
14 MR. HARMON: Now, let me show you, with the
15 assistance of the usher, Exhibit 273, and ask you if
16 you can identify this exhibit.
17 Mr. President, and your Honours, Exhibit 273
18 is a map that has eight locations mapped. Attached to
19 it are numbers that -- the identities of locations
20 which he correspond to numbers which are on the map
21 itself. (Handed).
22 Witness DD, did you have an opportunity to
23 mark on Prosecutor's Exhibit 273, the green marks that
24 are found on the exhibit itself, which represent
25 locations where you had to dig trenches?
1 A. (Answer not translated).
2 Q. Did you also indicate the names associated
3 with each of the numbers found on the map?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, throughout your testimony today, you
6 will be referring to various locations where you were
7 forced to dig trenches. Are all those locations
8 indicated on Prosecutor's Exhibit 273?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The first location that you have testified
11 about is the area of Mr.akovi. You do not have to put
12 it on the ELMO, you can just testify about it. The
13 first location where you had to dig trenches in
14 Mr.akovi, is that location number 1 or location number
16 A. Number 1, the location of Mr.akovi or, more,
17 precisely, Hurije.
18 Q. Now, let me ask you some questions then
19 relating to your removal from the village of Hercezi on
20 about 6th September 1993. Were all of the Muslim
21 villagers who remained in the village of Hercezi
22 removed by the HVO on that day?
23 A. All Muslims from Herceg were taken away that
24 day except for one person who was disabled, and two
25 days later he and his wife was brought as well.
1 Q. When you left on 6th September what was the
2 condition of the mosque that was in the village?
3 A. We passed by bus, by the mosque and it was
4 intact, with the exception of some of the inventory
5 that had been looted from the inside.
6 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, there appears to be
7 a mis-translation to one of the answers that is given --
8 apparently it is not a mis-translation. Apparently it
9 is what the witness said.
10 Let me ask you again, Witness DD. The
11 question I asked you was, on 6th September were all the
12 villagers were the village of Hercezi taken away from
13 by the HVO. The answer that shows up on the screen is
14 "all Muslims from Herceg were taken away"; did you
15 mean Hercezi?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. Okay.
18 A. Hercezi, the village of Hercezi with the
19 exception of one man and woman who were transported two
20 days later.
21 Q. In respect of the homes that you and the
22 other Muslim residents of Hercezi vacated, on 6th
23 September, what happened to those homes?
24 A. All the houses were intact, except for one,
25 owned by Hasim Turcinovic, which was torched before we
1 left for Rotilj.
2 Q. Did anybody move into your houses, the
3 vacated houses?
4 A. The Croatian inhabitants from Fojnica moved
5 into our houses immediately. This was organised by
6 Stanic Ivica, known as Anica, and Oris Ljube from
8 Q. To your knowledge, do the Croats who moved
9 into your houses still live in your houses?
10 A. They are still living there, though there has
11 been some movement. Some from returned to Fojnica.
12 Then after that some houses were burnt and the mosque
13 was also set fire to after we left to Rotilj, or rather
14 the minaret was mined later on.
15 Q. Let us talk about your stay in Rotilj between
16 6th September and 20th September 1993. Can you tell
17 the judges about the conditions that you and the other
18 Muslims found in the village, in Rotilj when you
19 arrived on 6th September 1993?
20 A. The people in front of the hotel moved to the
21 upper part of the village. With great difficulty they
22 were put up. There were so many people that it was
23 impossible to find accommodation for all of them. Some
24 were in a religious building and others in houses
25 abandoned by that date.
1 Of course we were all surrounded in that
2 village. There were soldiers from HV -- HVO soldiers
3 from Kakanj living above the village. They would shoot
4 when they were drunk. Then there were artillery pieces
5 above the village too.
6 In the lower part of the village there was
7 a checkpoint with two guards on duty round the clock.
8 Then the village was toured by Juro Tuka, an elderly
9 man over 60, who was armed with a rifle, and he could
10 not be a military conscript, allegedly to look after
11 the safety of the inhabitants.
12 It was impossible for us to move to Kiseljak
13 to get food, to see a doctor and that sort of thing,
14 because the conflict had already started. People were
15 terrified and they realised what was happening.
16 Q. While you were in Rotilj, did you and other
17 Muslim male civilians have to go to dig trenches
18 because the HVO took you to those locations?
19 A. For six or seven days, we did not go to dig
20 trenches, until some kind of a record was made. The
21 local people went to other locations, whereas we, from
22 Herceg were sent to Mr.akovi again, to the region number
23 2, as marked on this map. That was where the defence
24 lines were held by people from Visnjica, Dolat and
25 Fojnica. That is troops of the HVO.
1 Q. Now, when you went to this location, Mr.akovi,
2 did you have an opportunity to pass the mosque in the
3 village of Hercezi and could you describe to the judges
4 the condition of the mosque as you saw it?
5 A. When we passed by the mosque in a small van,
6 a TAM van, the mosque was on fire. We just saw that it
7 had been set on fire. We could not see anything else.
8 The minaret was still there. It had not been blown up
10 MR. HARMON: With the assistance of the usher,
11 if we could place Exhibit 68 on the screen, I am
12 particularly interested in a single photograph, 689, in
13 Exhibit 68, please. (Handed).
14 If you place that on the ELMO,
15 please, usher.
16 Thank you. Witness DD, there appears to be
17 two main structures in that particular photograph.
18 First of all, do you recognise what that photograph
19 represents and could you tell the judges what that is?
20 A. This photograph shows the mosque. The
21 western entrance, the eastern part of the mosque with
22 the premises downstairs where the dead people would be
23 bathed and the prayers done.
24 To the right was the minaret. This is the
25 house where the hodza lived. In the ground floor was
1 a classroom for children and this was a small premise
2 where the tools for digging tombs were held. Here
3 there is a shed and wood was held there. Over here was
4 green iron gate and there was a wire fence around it.
5 (Indicating on photograph).
6 There was a basin with water here and three
7 tombs were dug here where Muslim soldiers, if you like
8 to call them that, were buried in exchange for fighters
9 of the HVO.
10 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, usher. I am
11 finished with that particular exhibit.
12 Now, Witness DD, I would like to turn your
13 attention to your stay in the Kiseljak barracks,
14 between 20th September 1993 and approximately 30th
15 September 1993. Before you start your testimony, if
16 I could show you the Prosecutor's next exhibit, which
17 is Exhibit 274, and ask that that be placed on the
19 Mr. President and your Honours, Exhibit 274 is
20 an enlargement of a previously admitted exhibit,
21 Exhibit 75, it has three locations marked on it. The
22 accompanying legend identifies those locations.
23 A. Around 20th April, the military police came
24 to fetch me and one of my relatives and they took us to
25 the barracks in Kiseljak. There they put us up --
1 Q. Witness DD -- let me interrupt you for
2 a second. Let me ask you, first of all, if you can see
3 the exhibit that is placed on the ELMO. There are
4 three numbers and three circles on that particular
5 exhibit. Did you indicate these locations to me and do
6 I have these locations marked on this exhibit?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you tell the judges, starting with
9 number 1, what number 1 is, what number 2 is and what
10 number 3 is on this exhibit?
11 A. Number 1 is the entrance gate and a board
12 with the words "barracks", the word "kasana" which was
13 replaced with the word "vojane" and the chequer board
15 This was the guard house where the guards
16 used to be. This was a road, a parking place and this
17 was the pavilion or the place where the prisoners were
18 held. This was the command building.
19 The part where we were held, the prisoners,
20 there was a corridor, a small office, with a commander
21 and the other interrogators who questioned the
22 prisoners. To the left was a room where Dore, the
23 interrogator, used to work. To the right was a larger
24 room, it was dark, where I was placed for the first
25 time, where I found the other prisoners and here there
1 was another smaller room.
2 Later on we were moved to this room. Next to
3 it was another small room for the cleaning of weapons
4 and another small room known as the marsana, for the
5 police -- marsana.
6 Q. Number 3 is where you were detained, the
7 building in which you were detained; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What is number 2 on this particular exhibit?
10 A. Number 2 is the command building, probably
11 where the command of the HVO unit, Fociceljak, was
13 Q. Could you please tell the judges in your own
14 words about the conditions in the Kiseljak army
15 barracks for you and the other Muslim detainees?
16 A. When entering or going out of the cell, the
17 room, we had to have our head bowed and our hands on
18 our back, in a straight line, one by one. The same
19 applied when we went to do labour, or when we were
20 lined up in the hall.
21 In one of these rooms there were about 55 of
22 us prisoners. Inside we had plastic containers and
23 plastic bottles for urination because we had no chance
24 of going outside except when we went to work and in the
25 morning we would be given one minute to defecate. Then
1 a policeman from near Travnik would mistreat individual
3 We slept on blankets on the floor and we were
4 given one blanket to two or three of us as covers. The
5 room was over-crowded because it was about four by five
6 metres in size.
7 Of course, we were beaten. I would not say
8 that all the prisoners were beaten, but most of them
9 were and I know of some, and among them I was one.
10 A few days later, after being interrogated by
11 Miro Biletic, the prison warden, his father was Ivo, he
12 was born in 1958, he interrogated me, together with two
13 other policemen, but they did not beat me.
14 The second night, I was called by the soldier
15 on duty of the HVO and that evening I was beaten by the
16 policeman, the military policeman of the HVO, Spreco,
17 who came from Plakarevo, near Travnik. Before beating
18 me, he told me to take out everything I had in my
19 pocket, to take off my watch and I had 820 German Marks
20 and I had to give them to him.
21 He beat me for about 15 minutes and he would
22 say to me -- he would suggest to me that we should have
23 a boxing match. Of course, I did not dare say anything
24 and he would continue beating me, saying -- repeating
25 the same words: "Where is your pistol?".
1 After this beating the policeman took me out
2 again and asked me to take off my leather jacket for
3 them to use and then they would give it back to me.
4 They never did and all I had on was a T-shirt.
5 A couple of days later, or to be more
6 precise, on 29th September, they beat me in this
8 I was beaten by five military policemen of
9 the HVO. Miro Biletic was behind the door. He hit me
10 with a stick and the rest of them with their boots. It
11 is interesting that they did not hit me on my legs or
12 my head but only in the ribs, my stomach, the kidney
13 area and above the kidneys, in my back.
14 After this beating, which lasted for about 21
15 to 30 minutes, Miro Biletic winked and said: "Let him
16 go, that is enough". Before that beating I had to take
17 off a sweatshirt that I had found and then he wound the
18 sweatshirt round my head and took me out.
19 During the beating itself, a policeman was
20 standing at the door with lights pointing into my eyes,
21 spotlights. I did not dare ask anything, then
22 a policeman came and said: "Get up and put your hands
23 against the wall." We stood there for about 15
24 minutes. They did not do anything. Then we could put
25 our hands down.
1 In addition to Miro, there was this policeman
2 Spreco, Ivo Medic, Marinko, 1962 from Zavraje,
3 Frankovic Zeljo. After that, on the 29th in the night,
4 to the 30th, about four o'clock, we were transferred in
5 a Zastava vehicle to Kresevo to dig trenches in the
6 Mehurisce area --
7 Q. Let me interrupt you there before we get to
8 Kresevo. Let me ask you some clarifying questions:
9 while you were at the Kiseljak barracks during the time
10 period of 20th to 30th September 1993, did you have to
11 dig trenches, and if so, can you tell the judges where
12 you dug the trenches, how many people dug the trenches,
13 whether they were civilians, whether they were
15 A. In the prison, in Kiseljak, we were all
16 civilians. Allegedly there was another room where the
17 BiH army soldiers who had been captured were detained.
18 I did not see this. Of course, we were forced to dig
19 trenches and to engage in other forced labour in
20 addition to trenches, even though all the trenches were
21 right on the front-line.
22 Usually a commander would come from one of
23 the regions, asking for so many prisoners to dig
24 trenches. Our names would be called out. We would get
25 into the small TAM van or a Zastava vehicle. The
1 driver or the escort or the commander or a policeman
2 would close the doors and then a small vehicle would
3 follow just in case anyone tried to escape. The same
4 applied on the way back.
5 As far as food is concerned, in Kiseljak,
6 itself, the rule was that the people digging trenches
7 were given some food on the spot, whereas those who did
8 not -- and they were the elderly and the sick -- were
9 not given food. I must point out that Slavko Biletic,
10 a policeman from Kakanj, and Miro Colic would sometimes
11 find some food for us, some bread and some Italian tins
12 or Australian beans and they would give them to us.
13 Indeed, they protected us as much as they could and
14 I want to mention them for this.
15 Q. Witness DD, would you go on a daily basis to
16 the front-lines and then return the same day from trench
18 A. We went on a daily basis, except when there
19 was fighting, when we did other kind of work.
20 Sometimes we stayed for several days, such as
21 Brezova Kosa, Basino Brdo in the Otigojce region in
22 Kresevo, the region of the enterprise barrack.
23 Q. Now, when you were taken out of building 3
24 and loaded into small vehicles, where were those
25 vehicles parked? Were they parked between the
1 commander's headquarters which is number 2, and the
2 barracks in which you were housed, which is number 3?
3 A. At the access road to building number 3 and
4 in the direction of building number 2, which is the
5 command building, it depended.
6 Q. You were loaded up -- you and the other
7 Muslims who were taken to go dig trenches, you were
8 loaded into vans that were parked between building 2
9 and building 3; is that fair to say?
10 A. Yes, yes. About 30 to 50 metres away -- the
11 buildings were about 30 to 50 metres apart and
12 a vehicle would come up to, say, the administration
14 Q. Was there any attempt, by the people who were
15 taking you to dig trenches, to conceal you and the
16 other Muslim prisoners who were being taken from the
17 line of sight from the command building? Were they
18 trying to hide you from the commanders in the building
19 in number 2?
20 A. I did not understand the question.
21 Q. Was there any attempt by the people who took
22 you and the other Muslims to dig trenches to conceal
23 you from view from the people who were in the
24 commanders' building?
25 A. I do not know anything about that.
1 I actually do not understand, so I do not know.
2 I never said that.
3 Q. Let me try to approach the question in
4 a different way: when you were loaded into the vans,
5 could the people who were in the building number 2 see
6 the people who were being loaded into the vans?
7 A. Oh, now I understood. Yes, of course, you
8 could see it because it was not any great distance. Of
9 course you could see it and we did see it.
10 Q. The same is true when you returned from the
11 trenches, you were unloaded in the same location; is
12 that correct?
13 A. Yes, we would usually go there in the morning
14 and we would come back in the evening. Sometimes it
15 was -- sometimes it would already be dark when we came
17 Q. Witness DD, if you could just point to the
18 locations on Exhibit 273 where you and the other
19 Muslims were taken to dig trenches during that
20 time frame we are talking about. How many locations
21 were you taken to dig trenches and which ones are they
22 on Prosecutor's Exhibit 273?
23 A. Prisoners were taken to various places.
24 I was, again, taken to the sector marked with "3"
25 towards Crvena Stijena, Palesko Brdo and in 3 Palesko
1 Brdo in the direction of Visoko.
2 I was also taken to the sector number 8,
3 Brezova Kosa. Sector 4, that is Brajkovici, above the
4 church towards Gunovaca.
5 Q. Witness DD, let me ask you a couple more
6 questions. You said that your watch was stolen and
7 a little over 800 Deutschmarks was taken from you.
8 Was either the watch or money returned to you?
9 A. They were not.
10 Q. Were valuables from other Muslim civilians
11 who were housed in the Kiseljak army barracks also
13 A. I heard people spoke about it, but I never
14 saw anything with my own eyes, so I cannot speak to
16 Q. Okay. Now, let us turn now to your
17 experiences in Kresevo. Were you taken to Kresevo on
18 or about 30th September 1993?
19 A. We were taken to Kresevo in the morning hours
20 over there in front of a pool, that is the motel in
21 Kresevo. From there we went to Mehurisce and
23 Q. Who took you to Kresevo?
24 A. We were taken by the HVO soldiers together
25 with the police and together with me was also the
1 mining engineer, Vid, who was also in charge of
2 construction of the building of fragmentation mines.
3 He worked in the company called Celik.
4 Q. Could you describe to the judges your
5 experiences during the month when you were in Kresevo?
6 Could you do that succinctly, please? Your description
7 is to describe the conditions, the type of food you
8 received, what you were forced to do. Please proceed.
9 A. We slept in the barrack hall. I think about
10 34 of us, something around that number, came up there
11 and we found there some other prisoners from the
12 Kresevo municipality, part of them from Jajce who
13 happened to be there and some from Svinjarevo.
14 Usually in the morning there would be a roll
15 call of sort. Each prisoner who went to work would get
16 a third or a quarter of bread and a pack of margarine
17 and this would be divided between 30/40 to 70 people,
18 it depended.
19 Then we would be passed to Banje or the
20 sector of Tola. From there we would go on foot usually
21 using paths. The engineers of the HVO were just in the
22 process of constructing new roads, so that they could
23 link it up to the HVO positions around Mehurisce.
24 Q. Witness DD, you said you found a number of
25 other Muslims at Kresevo in the location where you were
1 brought by the HVO. Approximately how many other
2 Muslims were there and were they civilians or were they
4 A. In the Kresevo hall, together with the
5 Kiseljak and Kresevo people, there were about 80 of
6 us. About 60 people went to dig trenches, a few people
7 were sick and some elderly people went to certain
8 villages to deal with the crops.
9 I can also add that there were some miners
10 among the prisoners in this hall.
11 Out in the field we also received some bread,
12 some margarine, sometimes some jam.
13 I also need to add that there was a Nikola
14 from Pirin, who was an elderly man who brought this
15 food for us. Sometimes he would give us some burek or
16 some extra canned food. I would also like to give him
17 credit for that.
18 I would also like to say that we had good
19 tools, they really had good tools for digging, so it
20 was easier for us to dig there --
21 Q. Witness DD, approximately how many days did
22 you dig trenches when you were in Kresevo?
23 A. It was exactly one month. One part of the
24 civilians -- the prisoners from Kresevo left early,
25 they were there for about 15 days and we stayed exactly
1 one month. So that on the 30th of October, we were
2 returned to the Kiseljak barracks.
3 I would like to add that on 25th October we
4 were, for the first time, registered in Kresevo by the
6 Q. Moving ahead with this part of your
7 examination, was there sufficient food for you and the
8 other Muslim people forced to dig trenches?
9 A. We did not have enough food, both in quantity
10 and quality, given the kind of work that we did. When
11 we returned from Kresevo to Kiseljak and until I was
12 wounded, I think I lost about 28 kilograms. When
13 I returned to Kiseljak, to the barracks, I had 112
14 kilograms and when I was released I had 84.
15 Q. Did the other Muslims who were forced to dig
16 trenches also suffer extreme weight loss?
17 A. Of course, the very fact speaks about it.
18 There was a lot of work and not enough food. After we
19 came back from Kresevo we had some cooked food but it
20 was not very much, it did not have enough fat in it or
21 enough salt.
22 Q. I want to move through parts of your
23 testimony fairly quickly, Witness DD. While you were
24 at the front-lines at Kresevo, did you see soldiers
25 dressed in black? Can you identify those soldiers?
1 A. While we were working on the front-lines of
2 the HVO, one day they sensed that there may --
3 a counterattack may be coming from the BiH army so the
4 reinforcements came and those soldiers were called
5 Maturice. They were of course wearing black uniforms,
6 they had good weapons, they had arm bands and insignia
7 of the HVO.
8 At the time the positions were being
9 fortified and I do not know who did this, the
10 commander's name, but he took us with him to a burnt
11 house which belonged to somebody called Stanic. We
12 made fire there because it was cold and I really would
13 like to salute this commander because he saved us that
15 Q. Witness DD, can you tell us, in respect of
16 Prosecutor's Exhibit 273, where was it that you were
17 forced to dig trenches around Kresevo? Which number is
18 it on Exhibit 273? Just point to the number and tell
19 us which one it was.
20 A. Number 5, this was the sector, Mehurisce,
21 Cimburov Brijeg, and above Pirin. It was called --
22 above Pirin, around there.
23 MR. HARMON: Okay. Thank you very much.
24 Witness DD --
25 JUDGE JORDA: What number is that, please?
1 MR. HARMON: Number 5, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
3 MR. HARMON: Now, Witness DD, I would like you
4 to tell the judges about your experiences once you
5 returned from Kresevo to the Kiseljak army barracks,
6 you returned on or about the 30th October and you
7 remained there until the 18th November 1993, is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you tell the judges about your
11 experiences at the Kiseljak army barracks during that
12 time frame?
13 A. When we returned to the Kiseljak barracks, we
14 found in the room about 50 prisoners. That means that
15 five of them had been released. We again went to dig
16 trenches in the sector of Brezova Kosa. Then
17 Brajkovici-Oglavac. We spent two days at that but
18 there were combat operations going there so we did not
19 dig. We spent the night there and returned to
21 We were in Kiseljak for a couple of days
22 because there were combat operations going on in
23 Jasikovac and the Basino Brdo sector and on the 15th
24 November we were transferred together with some other
25 people who were in the municipal building to the
1 Otigosce sector and from there to dig trenches in
2 Jasikovac and Basino Brdo.
3 I remained there for about three days. On
4 the 18th November, an attack was launched by the HVO
5 units and I was wounded, together with another two
6 prisoners. From there, with another HVO soldier, I was
7 transferred to or received first aid. With this mining
8 engineer, Vid, I was transferred to the Otigosce
9 sector. I was examined and it was determined that
10 there was a bullet in my right-hand side. I stayed
11 there for a couple of hours and then went to war
12 hospital in Kiseljak.
13 I was properly examined. Everything was done
14 properly and everything was all right and I then asked
15 Vlado Markovic, who has since died, and his son to take
16 us to the infirmary in the barracks and I asked this
17 man, Frankovic, for some pills. He did not give them
18 to me, but Dr Vujica gave them to me and then he
19 ordered this driver to take me and my colleague back to
20 a room and we stayed there for another couple of hours
21 and later two military policemen took me in a police
22 vehicle to the Rotilj village and there I was, until
23 14th January 1994.
24 Q. Let me ask you briefly some questions about
25 your stay in the Kiseljak barracks until 18th November
2 You indicated that you and other Muslims had
3 to go dig trenches. Just very briefly, if you could
4 point out on Prosecutor's Exhibit 273 the various
5 locations. Identify them by number, where you and the
6 other Muslims were taken to dig trenches. Just
7 identify them by number.
8 A. We went to the sector number 8, Brezova Kosa,
9 number 6, Brijkovic, but we did not dig there and
10 Basino Brdo, the sector where I was wounded.
11 Q. How many times did you go to Brezova Kosa,
12 which is number 8?
13 A. We went once but we stayed there for five or
14 six days. One group stayed there and one group
15 returned. We spent the night in the house of a person
16 called Zlatko, who moved from Kakanj and he was
17 commander of this sector, Lukic, Brezova Kosa. We were
18 in a basement.
19 Q. When you returned from the area of Kresevo to
20 the Kiseljak barracks, you said you saw approximately
21 50 people in building number 3, which is the barracks.
22 Could you tell me, were those all Muslims and were they
24 A. These were all Muslims civilians. Among them
25 was also a young Muslim man, Jasmin Uzunovic, who was
1 told to provoke the prisoners, because he was not
2 mentally healthy.
3 I can also add that before and after my stay
4 at Kresevo in Kiseljak there were two French men, but
5 Muslims. They went to be exchanged and I do not know
6 when it was, after we returned from one of these labour
7 stints they were gone. They were also beaten a lot.
8 Why, I do not know.
9 Q. Now, when you were wounded on the 18th
10 November, 1993, you were taken the same day to Rotilj;
11 is that correct?
12 A. Yes, the same day.
13 Q. Was the bullet that wounded you ever removed
14 from you?
15 A. No, it is still in my body, and I submit as
16 proof the referral of the doctor there received and
17 also I can confirm it now.
18 Q. After you were taken to Rotilj on the 18th
19 November you remained there until -- I believe you
20 testified 14th January 1994. Could you please describe
21 to the judges the conditions you found in Rotilj when
22 you arrived on the 18th November and the conditions
23 that existed through the 14th January 1994?
24 A. In addition to Rotilj also being a camp, it
25 was much easier for me there than in the barracks. So,
1 I recuperated a little. I got better food so that
2 I could recover fully. There was also a ban on
3 movement, you could not go anywhere.
4 There was private exchanging going on.
5 I waited for about 40 days to be privately exchanged
6 before I went. Money did not mean much there. When
7 I came back from -- when I -- when I left the barracks
8 a number of people were exchanged, and so we waited
9 almost every night for someone to be privately
10 exchanged. I was privately exchanged on 14th January
12 Of course, people were afraid of robberies
13 and looting. Men were afraid of being recaptured and
14 taken to dig trenches again. They would be taken to do
15 other types of labour.
16 At one point a policeman came to where I was
17 staying. He said, "we need two people to go to dig
18 trenches because two elderly men refuse because they
19 are too weak." I showed him my certificate showing
20 that I was wounded, then he was decent with me and he
21 let me alone.
22 So it was very difficult. I received some
23 humanitarian aid during this period. Sometimes Dr Pero
24 would come to Rotilj. He would bring some medicine for
25 people who were sick, but it was not normal by any
1 stretch of the imagination. We were surrounded. There
2 were guards, there was a gate you could pass through
3 then. You did not dare, you were afraid you would be
4 taken to dig trenches or do other type of labour.
5 Q. While you were there during the last part of
6 your captivity, up until 14th January 1994, was it
7 quite a normal occurrence that the HVO would come in
8 and select men to take to dig trenches and perform
9 other forms of forced labour?
10 A. Yes, it was, either during the day or towards
11 the evening, yes.
12 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, Witness DD.
13 Mr. President and your Honours, I would move
14 to introduce Prosecutor's Exhibits 273 and 274 into
15 evidence. I have concluded my examination. Thank
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. I note
18 that you absolutely respected the summary that you
19 announced and we judges congratulate you.
20 Mr. Nobilo, in the cross-examination, I am
21 sure that you have some questions.
22 Mr. Nobilo is General Blaskic's Defence
23 attorney. He is going to ask you some questions now.
24 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO
25 Q. Good evening. You said on 18th April 1993
1 the HVO took the village; did they attack or did they
2 just come to you?
3 A. There was no armed conflict in our village.
4 They just took control of the territory and when we
5 surrendered these hunting weapons we offered no
6 resistance. There was no fighting there, unlike
7 Visnjica, Gomlonica, Svinjarevo villages.
8 Q. In these villages, where people did not
9 surrender their weapons, how much shooting and when did
10 you hear the shooting?
11 A. For a couple of days and for up to a month
12 later you could hear sporadic fire. I could not
13 pinpoint the locations.
14 Q. You said that you had to report in every
15 day. Did this mean men, or women and children as well?
16 A. Only the able-bodied men had to report.
17 Q. Was this changed later and it was less
19 A. Yes, it was also done later, because a couple
20 of people fled to the territory of the BiH army or were
21 exchanged so it was made more frequent and then it was
22 then again relaxed later, because it was also more
24 Q. In the area of Hurije where you dug trenches,
25 how far is that from your village?
1 A. It is about two to two and a half kilometres
2 from my village.
3 Q. Does that mean that the front-line was there?
4 A. Yes, and then it moved towards Plocari up to
5 the mosque and to Plandiste.
6 Q. Does that mean that it kept coming closer to
7 your village?
8 A. No, the HVO kept advancing.
9 Q. When you dug, did you dig fox-holes,
10 dug-outs, trenches?
11 A. It was the fortification of the front-lines.
12 It was the trenches and sometimes dug-outs and it
13 was -- they would be covered with some light
14 construction materials.
15 Q. Did you ask that your daughter be exchanged?
16 A. No. I did not know that, some of my
17 relatives did it.
20 Q. Did you ask for an exchange -- did you ask
21 UNPROFOR for exchange?
24 do not need to speak any names before your protection.
25 Q. So, the HVO -- the authorities did not allow
1 you to leave even though you wanted?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. When did you see the mosque as being
4 destroyed, what month?
5 A. It was in the month of September, sometime
6 around six to seven days after my departure for
7 Rotilj. So that would mean on the 13th or 14th
9 Q. At that time you were not present there, you
10 do not know who destroyed it?
11 A. I do not. I just passed by there.
12 Q. The people who moved into your village, why
13 did they leave their own residences? Do you know under
14 what circumstances they left?
15 A. I learned when I came to Rotilj, I learned
16 that. They were in the same situation as we were.
17 Q. In other words, the army drove them out?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. How many people from Fojnica came to the
20 Kiseljak municipality?
21 A. I do not know really, I had no way of finding
23 Q. Do you know in January/February of 1993, from
24 Bilalovac and the surrounding villages a number of
25 Croatian refugees came?
1 A. Where?
2 Q. From Bilalovac?
3 A. Kacuni and the surrounding villages.
4 Q. And where did they come; to the Kiseljak
5 municipality territory?
6 A. I do not know.
7 Q. When you arrived in Rotilj, was there some
8 fence there, like a real camp has?
9 A. No, there was no fence.
10 Q. Were there any patrols of armed soldiers who
11 walked around?
12 A. There were some in the upper part of the
13 village, the soldiers from Kakanj, who would sometimes
14 get drunk and shoot. Those were the soldiers who lived
15 here, and down at the entrance where this Muslim
16 population was, so there was a gate there so you could
17 not pass on the main road. Maybe there were some other
18 points which I did not see.
19 Q. Except for the people who were at that gate?
20 A. No, it was more like a ramp.
21 Q. Okay, a ramp or checkpoint. How many were
22 they there?
23 A. There were mostly two people, sometimes one
24 even. When I would pass from digging trenches I would
25 just see them.
1 Q. Except for those one or two at the ramp and
2 the elderly man of 60 who guarded you, were there any
3 other soldiers there, in the sense that they worked in
4 protecting you?
5 A. That I do not know. I did not see any.
6 Q. Those at the ramp, did you also feel them as
7 being there for your own protection?
8 A. Maybe, but I do not know that, maybe.
9 Q. Did Caritas bring in their trucks food
10 from --
11 A. Yes, UNHCR did and Caritas did and that was
12 positive too. Even the priest from Gromiljak also sent
14 Q. Was this a regular thing?
15 A. No, it was not regular, but he did it for his
16 own parishioners.
17 Q. Yes, that was the priest. What about
18 Caritas, did they ship it regularly every month?
19 A. I do not know that. I was not there all the
20 time. When I was wounded, I know that the UNHCR sent
22 Q. Could we say that during the war there was
23 more food in Rotilj than elsewhere?
24 A. To be honest with you, given the famine and
25 the food that was available in what the UNHCR kept
1 bringing and everything else, there was.
2 Q. So was there more in Rotilj than elsewhere?
3 A. I do not know. I was in Rotilj --
4 Q. But you said that elsewhere there was famine;
5 was there any famine in Rotilj?
6 A. No, you could not say that.
7 Q. When the commander -- did the commander from
8 Rotilj protect you?
9 A. To be honest with you, I do not even know
10 even know who the commander in Rotilj was. I was
11 recovering there. I was lying, I did not move around
12 so I cannot tell you much about it.
13 Q. Why were you imprisoned? Did you do
15 A. No, I did not do anything. There was one
16 interrogation. I had hunting weapons which
17 I surrendered, but I had permits for it. The first
18 question they asked me in Kiseljak, they asked me what
19 were my relations with my neighbour, Adranija. I said
20 I was fine with him. Then they asked me where was his
21 weapons, I said I did not know. Then they asked me
22 whether I took part in any attacks and I said I had no
23 ideas over that.
24 Q. So those were some accusations?
25 A. No, those were questions.
1 Q. I would just like to remind you in your
2 statement which you gave previously, on page number 5,
3 in the second paragraph from the top, you said that the
4 commander of the camp was trying to protect you, that
5 is to prevent any crimes against you, some robberies,
7 A. You mean in the Kresevo --
8 Q. No, in Rotilj?
9 A. Oh, in Rotilj. You mean the elderly man who
10 walked around the village?
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. Tuka is his name. He had that role because
13 he wanted to protect us from some kind of attack,
14 mistreatment or from being looted and sometimes he
15 would come and he let us know about -- if anything
16 happened, so he did try to do something.
17 Q. I believe that this was not entered right in
18 the in the transcript; you were wounded during the
19 attack of the BiH army on 18th November?
20 A. Yes, the HVO pushed the line towards Fojnica
21 and they were fortifying the lines and we -- prisoners
22 were digging at the time and then the BiH army
23 counterattacked and that is when I was wounded, and
24 I was wounded by the BiH army.
25 Q. You told the judges that you were privately
1 exchanged. What does that mean? That was without the
2 knowledge of the HVO.
3 A. Yes, that was without the HVO authority
4 knowledge, because a man came to Rotilj and he said:
5 "Get ready, we are going to get exchanged". So we got
6 ready, there was nine of us altogether, we went up to
7 Tusnjic. We came up there and we waited until this was
8 sorted out. I do not know how and what was done.
9 There were four people from Kakanj, four Croatians,
10 a woman, a man and I think two children.
11 Before that, a man was sent to Kiseljak with
12 a list and the HVO units let him through. He was going
13 to go to Kiseljak and ask for these people, so this
14 private exchange took place without any commissions,
15 knowledge or UNHCR or people who were involved in
16 this. So we were exchanged in that way and it was all
17 done fairly.
18 Q. Was this for money?
19 A. No, it was not done for money, even though my
20 father and my younger daughter were exchanged for
22 Q. But the authorities did not know that?
23 A. No, they did not.
24 Q. You were in Hercezi, you dug in many
25 different locations. You were in the Kiseljak barracks
1 in Fojnica, in Rotilj, in all these places; did you
2 ever see Colonel Blaskic in any of those?
3 A. No, I did not ever, even though he is my
4 neighbour. I only saw him on BH television with the
5 former General, Sefer Halilovic and some others.
6 Q. Did anybody refer to him?
7 A. No, I do not think so.
8 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President, that is
10 MR. HARMON: No questions.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Witness DD.
12 I just wanted to have a clarification. When you spoke
13 of the mosque, when you came back and the mosque was
14 destroyed, was there any knowledge about the way it was
16 A. The mosque was only set on fire and the roof,
17 sort of, collapsed. Then you could only see some smoke
19 JUDGE RIAD: Nobody knew who set it on fire?
20 A. Nobody knew, nobody could know which has
21 passed by there, but the time will come when this will
22 come out.
23 JUDGE RIAD: Were other public places like
24 schools or institutions also damaged and burned down?
25 A. We did not have such structures. During the
1 conflict, no structures were destroyed, but after the
2 mosque, Ganija Havdos, Sahet Meho, Sahet Ahmed, Ranica
3 Cinovic, and Zulko and Hasim Turcinovic houses were all
5 JUDGE RIAD: What was particular about these
6 houses? Were they prominent people, were they among
7 the leaders of the area?
8 A. Those were houses in the upper part of the
9 village and nobody moved in them. Most probably they
10 were looted and later set on fire. Why, I do not
12 JUDGE RIAD: Looted by whom, do they know?
13 A. Croatian population from the village of
14 Markovi and Lug.
15 JUDGE RIAD: By other neighbours or by the
17 A. Croatian neighbours, civilians.
18 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Just one question. It
20 is about these same houses which were burned down. You
21 mentioned a number of names of owners. Who were these
22 owners; were they Croats or Muslims?
23 A. When I was speaking of these owners,
24 I referred to all of them as Muslims.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Witness DD, you were taken care
2 of by the Croats -- at least by the Bosnian Croats --
3 when you were in Rotilj. How do you explain that? You
4 had been mistreated for weeks, for months, you are
5 wounded -- that is, you were wounded by Bosnian Army
6 troops, and yet you were well treated, well taken care
7 of. How do you explain that?
8 A. In the midst of some many atrocities that
9 were committed, perhaps not so much precaution was
10 taken. People who helped me and who examined me and
11 offered me care all knew me and they were all fair to
12 me. I have to give them credit. I have to tell the
13 court how it was.
14 In fact, I can say that they did not
15 distinguish between me and another wounded HVO
17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Your testimony is
18 complete. The International Criminal Tribunal thanks
19 you for having come to The Hague. Please do not move
20 for the time being.
21 We will suspend our work, it is now 6.45. We
22 will resume on 16th March, subject to anything the
23 Registrar would like to say.
24 I would like to say that we have heard five
25 witnesses in six calendar days, according to the
1 Registrar. For the Prosecution there are about 30
2 calendar days left; is that right?
3 THE REGISTRAR: Full days, that is for the
4 examination and cross-examination.
5 JUDGE JORDA: There is a lot of work to be
6 done yet, not only as regards examination of the
7 witnesses but also as regards precision and
9 Thank you very much. We will see one another
10 again on 16th March.
11 (6.45 pm)
12 (Hearing adjourned until 16th March 1998)