Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 7920

1 Tuesday, 28th April, 1998

2 (2.30 pm)

3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.

4 Will the Registry please bring in the

5 accused?

6 (The accused entered court)

7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, yes, hello. I would

8 like to greet all the members and parties in this

9 courtroom, as well as the interpreters. I assume

10 everyone can hear me and that the technicians are

11 working. Hello to everyone.

12 Mr. Kehoe, we are going to then resume with

13 Witness KK?

14 MR. KEHOE: I am sorry, Mr. President, I was

15 having a problem with my equipment.

16 We are going to continue with Witness KK.

17 I believe the usher just went out to get him.

18 (In closed session)

19 [redacted]

20 [redacted]

21 [redacted]

22 [redacted]

23 [redacted]

24 [redacted]

25 [redacted]

Page 7921

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13 pages 7921-8008 redacted closed session.

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

Page 8009

1 (In Public Session)

2 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me? Can you hear

3 me now? I am the one speaking to you now, it is the

4 judges.

5 First of all, please identify yourself, based

6 on the document that will be put in front of you by the

7 Registry. Look at your name. Do not say your name,

8 just see if you recognise it.

9 Please remain standing for a few moments

10 longer so you can read the solemn declaration.

11 WITNESS LL (Sworn)

12 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Please be seated.

13 We are going to call you "Witness LL",

14 because that corresponds to the protective measures

15 which the Prosecutor has requested on your behalf. So,

16 you are here to testify in the case of the Prosecution

17 versus Mr. Blaskic, who is here in this courtroom. The

18 judges ask that you speak without fear. You are under

19 the protection of the International Criminal Tribunal.

20 After a number of questions asked to you by

21 the Prosecutor, then you will free to make your

22 testimonies, talking about the things you have seen in

23 your village and also about three or four other

24 points. Perhaps there will be additional questions put

25 to you by the judges, but, of course, you will also be

Page 8010

1 asked questions by counsel for the accused during

2 cross-examination.

3 We are going to be sitting with you for about

4 30 minutes, we are not going to be able to finish. We

5 ask for you to take a rest this evening and we will

6 continue tomorrow afternoon with your testimony.

7 Mr. Cayley, you have the floor.

8 MR. CAYLEY: Witness LL, good afternoon.

9 A. Good afternoon.

10 Q. A couple of preliminary questions: did you

11 live in the village of Gromiljak in Bosnia-Herzegovina

12 until the 17th July 1993?

13 A. I lived until 5th October of 1993, until

14 I was exchanged and, on 17th July, I was thrown out of

15 my house.

16 Q. Are you of the Muslim faith?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, if you could briefly explain to the

19 court the events that occurred in the town of Kiseljak

20 after the multiparty elections in November of 1991?

21 A. Yes.

22 JUDGE JORDA: Witness LL, when you respond to

23 the questions, please, first of all, face the judges

24 and also, can you come closer to the microphones so the

25 interpreters can translate what you are saying? Thank

Page 8011

1 you.

2 Very well. Now you may answer the question

3 put to you by the Prosecution.

4 A. After the multiparty elections in 1991 in

5 Kiseljak, the HDZ won; that is, it won the most votes.

6 Immediately the Croats started dominating. They first

7 flew the Croatian flags on all public buildings and

8 they imposed the Croatian language in schools.

9 They also made the -- both the teachers and

10 school children speak the Croatian dialect. They

11 started instructing the Croatian population to have as

12 little contact with the Muslims as possible and many

13 children who -- many children who had socialised with

14 us told us that they were forced to do that.

15 So, the relations became very strained and

16 were limited to business contacts at the minimum.

17 Also, they were cutting us -- our phone

18 lines, whereas the Croatian inhabitants did not have

19 their lines cut off. We checked that with our Croatian

20 neighbours. For instance, we would go there and ask

21 them if their lines were open and they were at the time

22 when we were receiving no signal.

23 They also introduced the Croatian currency as

24 the only official one, apart from the German currency,

25 which was also used.

Page 8012

1 The more educated people started saying that

2 the Croats and Muslims could no longer live together,

3 that Kiseljak was historically Croatian territory and

4 it should be ethnically pure, and that Muslims should

5 go to the towns where they were in majority, meaning

6 Visoko, Zenica and they called it a "Muslim-mania"

7 those two towns.

8 A physician who was in town said, on several

9 occasions, that all children that came from mixed

10 marriages should be killed so that Kiseljak would be

11 ethnically pure.

12 They also set up Radio Kiseljak, where only

13 Croats were employed; no Muslims were allowed to work

14 there and anti-Muslim propaganda was spread through

15 these broadcasts, often times they, sort of, broadcast

16 these -- what they called revolutionary songs which

17 were really very nationalist.

18 MR. CAYLEY: Witness LL, I do not want you to

19 say your profession to the court because I do not want

20 you to identify yourself, but would it be correct to

21 say that you are a university-educated person?

22 A. Yes, I received higher education. At that

23 time, my profession was still not available as through

24 university courses, was not taught at universities.

25 Q. But it would be right to say that you had had

Page 8013

1 contact with a number of educated persons who were

2 Bosnian Croats in Kiseljak?

3 A. Yes, I worked in an institution where

4 everybody did have education. We were over 100 and

5 everybody was educated.

6 Q. And when you expressed your views a moment

7 ago -- or expressed facts a moment ago -- about

8 Croats, essentially saying that Muslims should leave

9 the Kiseljak area and go to Zenica and Visoko, were

10 these the views of educated Croats in Kiseljak?

11 A. Yes, completely.

12 Q. A couple of other points on this area: were

13 you aware of destruction being carried out on Muslim

14 businesses in Kiseljak?

15 A. Yes. Yes, I knew and I even saw -- I even

16 saw some business premises which were destroyed, and

17 this was especially the case when the war in

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina started.

19 The HVO army shot from their weapons into the

20 Muslim shop windows. They looted some. I even saw a

21 shoe shop which they vandalised. They tore out the

22 protective grate that was there, and they looted

23 everything. They also looted a butchers shop and then

24 another shop.

25 I also heard of similar cases elsewhere.

Page 8014

1 Q. And these were all Muslim-owned businesses in

2 Kiseljak?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And did you actually see the HVO carry out

5 these acts, or did you just see the end result; the

6 destroyed business?

7 A. I saw what was left behind, what they had

8 left behind and I saw that on the same day.

9 Q. Do you recall what happened to the Muslim

10 relief agency, Merhamets in Kiseljak?

11 A. Yes, I remember. The Muslim organisation,,

12 Merhamets, was set on fire and all the goods that were

13 there were burned and then it was blown up, the

14 building was blown up completely so the Muslims could

15 not get any aid, any more, and they could not get it

16 from Caritas organisation that was also in down. The

17 two were completely separate.

18 Q. Do you know who destroyed the Muslim relief

19 agency?

20 A. I heard that the HVO soldiers did that.

21 Q. Now, all of these events that you have

22 testified to, happened prior to 18th April 1993?

23 A. No. Merhamet was destroyed in June 1993.

24 Q. Now, if I can move ahead in time to the

25 attack on your village on 18th April 1993. If you

Page 8015

1 could explain to the judges if you recall what happened

2 on that day, from the beginning of 18th April? If you

3 could go through to the period when you were allowed to

4 return to your home by the HVO?

5 A. On 18th April in the morning, at 7.30 --

6 this was the Sunday, and it was a Catholic Easter

7 holiday -- we heard shooting. My family was in the

8 house and we heard the automatic weapons fire.

9 It was a custom for the Catholics to shoot in

10 the air on holidays as they were leaving church, so

11 that is what we thought at first, but then we heard the

12 heavy weapons detonations and then we realised that it

13 was something else and not religious celebration.

14 We did not have a basement in our house, so

15 my family and another family from my neighbourhood

16 moved into a house of another neighbour who did have a

17 basement. We were a total of eight and we were all

18 civilians.

19 A short while later, a car arrived and three

20 HVO soldiers jumped out of the car. This was in front

21 of our house and they -- they requested that we let

22 them in with their weapons pointed at us. We did and

23 they said that they came to get the weapons, so they

24 told us to surrender the weapons. We told them that we

25 did not have them. Then they said they would search

Page 8016

1 the house and if they found the weapons, then we would

2 be killed and our house set on fire.

3 They searched the entire house from the attic

4 to the basement and, after not having found anything,

5 they left.

6 Shortly thereafter, another four HVO soldiers

7 came and they did the same thing. They searched every

8 house in the neighbourhood and this was repeated

9 several times over the next several days.

10 They searched all houses in the

11 neighbourhood.

12 We, again, heard detonations thereafter and

13 looked out the window. Then we saw, in the immediate

14 vicinity, houses on fire. This was the village of

15 Visnjica and at 1.00 pm there was an old couple's

16 house, they were retired, they did not have any sons or

17 any military there. Their house was set on fire first

18 and it was followed by some other houses.

19 Round 4.00 a man, a neighbour, came from the

20 village and he told us that he came on orders of the

21 Chief of Police. He came to tell us that we had to

22 report to a basement of a house at 6.00. If we did not

23 do that, that they would come and arrest us.

24 We went to this basement at 6.00 and we found

25 a large number of civilians there who were of Muslim

Page 8017

1 ethnic background. Then a group of HVO policemen

2 arrived, who separated out the men and took them to

3 another basement, which was away from this house.

4 We had a pregnant woman in our house. She

5 was about to give birth. I asked that we women be

6 released so that we could go back home. However, they

7 did not allow that, but that evening they put us up in

8 a house of a Croat, where we were supposed to stay the

9 night.

10 The next day they released us home, only for

11 women, and in the basement where the men were, there

12 were 63 persons of Muslim ethnic background.

13 The conditions were such that there was no

14 floor there, there was just rubbish, some wood and some

15 rocks.

16 There were small children among them,

17 including some babies. They had no food, no water and

18 in front of the basement there were armed HVO soldiers

19 who guarded them so they would not escape.

20 After seven days, women and children were

21 released, while the men were kept there for 15 days and

22 every day they would take them to dig trenches.

23 After that, they released them home, but they

24 had to report to the police every morning and every

25 evening. After 15 days when the situation seemed to

Page 8018

1 have calmed down, I returned to work to see whether

2 I was going to be able to continue to work there.

3 I was allowed to come back to work, as were the others,

4 but before that, we had to receive a permission from

5 the HVO authorities.

6 I had to go on foot for six kilometres to get

7 to work every day, because no bus or taxi cab wanted to

8 stop and give me a ride. On 24th May in the evening,

9 since curfew was introduced for Muslims which lasted

10 between 21.00 until 05.00 hours, three HVO soldiers

11 came and knocked on the door. I did not want to open

12 up because I was alone in the house.

13 Members of my family managed to escape to the

14 free territory by 20th May, so I was the only one left

15 in the house to guard it and to continue working.

16 I managed to hide among the plants on the balcony and

17 I spent the entire night there. I saw and heard what

18 was going on in front of my house during the night.

19 They were talking about how they needed to take my

20 son's car as well as my neighbour's car and how they

21 were going to kill my neighbour the next day when they

22 catch him.

23 Then they killed my dog. If I need to give

24 names, I know all the names of the people who were

25 involved. In the morning, since the curfew was until

Page 8019

1 05.00, after the HVO soldiers, who were standing guard

2 in front of my house, after they withdrew, I warned my

3 neighbour that they had decided to kill him and since

4 there was fog -- it was early in the morning -- he

5 managed to escape across the hills to the free

6 territory.

7 That day I went to work and I went to the

8 police headquarters to see the chief and I told him

9 what had transpired the night before, but he did

10 nothing.

11 When I came back home, the door to the

12 apartment had been broken down and my son's vehicle was

13 gone.

14 JUDGE JORDA: All right, everything has been

15 re-established. You may continue for a few more

16 minutes, then it is up to the Prosecutor to decide when

17 to stop.

18 A. I asked a man to have the lock fixed,

19 exchanged, so that I remained in the house.

20 On 27th May, as I was coming back from work

21 with a colleague of mine, I saw a man I knew driving my

22 son's car in downtown Kiseljak, and he was parking the

23 car across the street from the Kiseljak police

24 station. I approached the vehicle and I asked him to

25 please return the car, at which point he opened the

Page 8020

1 door; he pushed me aside and started beating me

2 savagely.

3 About 10 HVO policemen stood around watching

4 all this, they were maybe a metre or two away from us,

5 and they were laughing openly. He beat me up; he

6 insulted me and he spat at me. After that, I went to

7 the UNPROFOR base, where the Canadian contingent was

8 staying and, since I can communicate in English, I told

9 them what had happened to me.

10 The soldier called the command in Visoko and

11 told them about it, and the next day an officer came

12 from Visoko. He took my statement and several other

13 neighbours also used this opportunity, and these were

14 people who were also abused by the HVO soldiers. So

15 they also lodged complaints.

16 The Canadian officer promised that he would

17 come again and left.

18 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I think that is

19 probably a good time to pause until tomorrow.

20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, we shall stop here.

21 This will give the time for the witness to relax and to

22 give a break.

23 So the Chamber now stands adjourned.

24 Tomorrow is the last afternoon of the week, as you

25 know. I make this statement to the Prosecution and to

Page 8021

1 the Defence. Tomorrow we will resume at 2.30 pm. The

2 Chamber stands adjourned.

3 (6.30 pm)

4 (The hearing adjourned until 2.30 pm on

5 Wednesday, 28th April 1998)

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25