1 Thursday, 30 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning. Madam Registrar, could you call the
7 case, please?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
11 Mr. Brdjanin, can you follow the proceedings in a language that
12 you can understand?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning. Yes, I can, even
14 though I did not hear any translation.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: But if you couldn't hear any translation -- I am
16 hearing the translation. Can you hear now?
17 THE ACCUSED: Yes.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you receiving the interpretation?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So appearances for the Prosecution?
21 MS. KORNER: Good morning, Your Honours. It's Joanna Korner, Anna
22 Richterova, and Denise Gustin, case manager, as usual. Can I just
23 briefly, before we deal with Mr. Ackerman's introductions, apologise for
24 asking Your Honours for a decision we'd already got? We'd forgotten that
25 you did an enormous decision which covered everything barring the Rule 92
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I was confused too when you mentioned it. Because I
3 know I had discussed it but I had the legal officer over there and I
4 wasn't quite sure whether it was him or someone else and he was looking at
5 me, I was looking at him, and I couldn't remember. I mean, I got it
6 actually confused at the time with the Rule 92, and I was -- I had some
7 fixed ideas on what I had done and instructions I had given on the Rule 92
8 bis motion and I had forgotten about the other one completely.
9 MS. KORNER: I've already apologised to the legal officer about
10 it, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Korner, you don't need to apologise.
12 MS. KORNER: Thank you very much.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thanks.
14 Appearances for the Defence?
15 MR. ACKERMAN: Good morning, Your Honours. Appearing on behalf of
16 Mr. Brdjanin, I'm John Ackerman, along with Milan Trbojevic and Marela
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you and good morning to you too.
19 Before we start, I have received a note this morning from the
20 registry that the Eid Al Adha feast, holiday, which was indicated until
21 this morning at least on my agenda to be -- to occur, to fall on
22 Wednesday, the 12th February, is now on the 11th. That's Tuesday. So
23 basically, we will be sitting on Wednesday but we will not be sitting on
24 Monday -- on Tuesday. All right?
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, we have an action-packed week that week,
1 I may say. Mr. Kirudja is going to be testifying. I've estimated he will
2 take a whole day in chief and probably a day but -- so there will be that
3 gap. And then --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. But I just wanted to make sure you are
5 aware of this.
6 MS. KORNER: I heard that yesterday.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: We will not be sitting on Tuesday and we will be
8 sitting instead on Wednesday.
9 MS. KORNER: I'm told it's a holiday that has something to do with
10 the phases of the moon rather, like Easter. Presumably they didn't work
11 out the moon phases properly.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Eid Al Adha. I don't know.
13 MS. KORNER: It's a Muslim holiday.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Eid Al Adha is an elaborate word meaning feast.
15 MS. KORNER: It's a Muslim holiday, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Eid Al Adha is probably tomorrow. That's what it
17 probably means. But I don't know any way. Eid Al Adha.
18 So, good morning to you, sir. And welcome back.
19 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: We should conclude your cross-examination, I would
21 say, very soon, but before we even start, please stand up. The usher will
22 hand you again the text of the solemn declaration, repeat it and then
23 Mr. Ackerman will be able to proceed.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
25 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: WITNESS BT81 [Resumed]
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You my sit down.
4 Mr. Ackerman, open session or private session?
5 MR. ACKERMAN: I think we start with open session, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead.
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Ackerman:
8 Q. Good morning, sir.
9 A. Good morning.
10 Q. Sir, most of the questions that I have prepared to ask you, I
11 think can be answered very simply. Many of them with just a simple yes or
12 no. And if you can do that, then most assuredly we can finish rather soon
13 so that you'll be free to depart. So let's see if we can accomplish that,
14 shall we? Okay?
15 A. [No interpretation]
16 Q. You spoke yesterday in your testimony about seeing helicopters and
17 other aircraft flying around the Bosanski Novi area, and you guessed, I
18 believe, that they might be supplying -- the helicopters at least might be
19 supplying arms to the Serbian people. At that time, there was a war going
20 on just across the border in Croatia, wasn't there?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And because of the fighting going on just across the border in
23 Croatia, it was not unusual to see helicopters and aircraft involved in
24 that fighting over there, flying in and around the border area at Bosanski
25 Novi, was it?
1 A. No, but I would just like to clarify the situation at this stage.
2 Q. Go ahead.
3 A. The helicopters were coming from Prijedor area across the Kozara
4 mountain and were skirting the city and would then fly across the Japra
5 valley and an area called Krslje, Josava and other villages, where there
6 was only Serb population. As to any other aircraft flying over the area
7 coming from Croatia or any other battles going on, there was nothing of
8 the sort at that time.
9 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you some questions about the statement that
10 you gave to the Prosecutor on 5 May of the year 2000. I'd ask the
11 Prosecutor to supply you a copy of it so you can follow along and be
12 certain that I'm quoting it properly.
13 MS. KORNER: 5th April.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Yeah, 5 April, 2000.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Ms. Korner.
16 MR. ACKERMAN:
17 Q. During that interview, sir, with the OTP, you were asked about
18 whether or not you were aware of any propaganda going on in the Bosanski
19 Novi area. I'm referring to page 3 in the English version. It's a
20 paragraph beginning with the language, "I don't know of any propaganda."
21 And what the English indicates you said was this: "I don't know of any
22 propaganda apart from Chetnik songs played on the radio. I do remember
23 speeches made by various political figures such as Karadzic, Kupresanin,
24 and Seselj." And it talks a little bit about, "The speeches were not much
25 different than other Serb politicians'." That's what you said, correct?
1 A. I should find that passage quoting my declaration. I can't do it
2 that fast.
3 Q. Okay. I'm going to get you some help.
4 A. It might even be missing from my papers -- no, no, no. I've just
5 found it. On page 3, no propaganda except for the Chetnik songs being
6 played on the radio. What I meant was the media propaganda which would
7 not be accessible to the other side, because at that time, well, we knew
8 in whose hands the radio station of Bosanski Novi was.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Private session, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go into private session, please.
11 [Private session]
6 [Open session]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session, Mr. Ackerman.
8 MR. ACKERMAN:
9 Q. Yesterday in your testimony, sir, you mentioned a group called dry
10 ribs, Suha Rebra. You described them as --
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. -- having been involved in torture slaughter, burning, forcing
13 people to jump off buildings apparently and things of that nature. Do you
14 know where this group was from?
15 A. I do.
16 Q. Were they from the Bosanski Novi area or were they from across the
17 river in the Dvor area?
18 A. The area of Bosanski Novi, the outskirts of Bosanski Novi, an area
19 called Tunjica.
20 Q. Yesterday, sir, during your testimony, page 80 of the LiveNote,
21 you were asked the following question:
22 "Q. Were you aware and can you just answer me this question,
23 please, yes or no? Were you aware of a Regional Crisis Staff in Banja
25 The answer you gave was:
1 "A. I had heard rumours but as to whether Pasic consulted with
2 them, well, I don't know."
3 Do you remember giving that testimony yesterday, sir?
4 A. Probably, most probably.
5 Q. When you gave your statement to the Office of the Prosecutor back
6 in April of the year 2000, you were asked, were you not, if you were aware
7 of a Regional Crisis Staff and you answered, "I am not aware of a Regional
8 Crisis Staff." That was your answer, sir, and you will find that I think
9 on the same page 3, just one paragraph above the earlier paragraph about
10 propaganda. It's the bottom of page 2, sir.
11 A. Page 1?
12 Q. Bottom of page 2, sir. Bottom of page 2.
13 A. It's possible, because it says Regional Crisis Staff.
14 Q. And that's the truth, isn't it? You were never aware of a
15 Regional Crisis Staff at the time, were you?
16 A. Yes -- well, no. I knew that there was a Crisis Staff in Banja
17 Luka, but as to whether it was called Regional Crisis Staff, I don't know,
18 even though it would basically be logical that it would be called that way
19 because of the administrative divisions and levels in this area, so it
20 would have had to be a Regional Crisis Staff. I suppose it was called
21 Crisis Staff for the area of Banja Luka, and the neighbouring areas.
22 Q. Well, I assume you're aware that there was a municipal Crisis
23 Staff covering the municipality of Banja Luka, just like the municipal
24 Crisis Staff of Bosanski Novi covered the area of Bosanski Novi. Weren't
25 you aware of that?
1 A. Every municipality had a Crisis Staff. I suppose there were
2 subregional levels as well, and probably Regional Crisis Staff for the
3 entire area of Banja Luka, the Banja Luka region.
4 Q. You spoke yesterday about listening to the radio or watching
5 television and said you did that "when we had electricity or could find
6 batteries." Can you tell us how much of the time during the year 1992 you
7 did not have electricity and therefore could not watch television?
8 A. Quite some time has elapsed since then. You should be aware, Your
9 Honour, that all my notes, quotes and figures, all my papers have been
10 taken away from my house. My house has been searched on a number of
11 occasions, and I didn't actually keep records. I wasn't able to do so, so
12 I can't tell you exactly how many times that we had power cuts.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... Or expecting
14 you to be precise to the dot. I mean, it's just -- how frequently? Say
15 once a week, twice a week, once a month, more than once a month? Once a
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Possibly two to three times a week,
18 we had some weeks when we did not have power cuts but --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. Does that satisfy you,
20 Mr. Ackerman?
21 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thanks.
23 MR. ACKERMAN:
24 Q. Sir, do you know why there were power cuts? Do you know why there
25 were these problems with electricity?
1 A. No.
2 Q. So is it the case that you had power sometimes gone two or three
3 days a week and you never made inquiry as to why this was happening, what
4 was it that was causing these power problems?
5 A. I could not obtain any information because the phones owned by
6 Bosniaks had been disconnected.
7 Q. So your answer is that you never asked anybody and never found out
8 why these power problems occurred in Bosanski Novi in 1992?
9 A. I was in touch with quite a few Serbs, my neighbours for example,
10 next door neighbours, and they didn't know either.
11 Q. Batteries apparently were also hard to find during this period of
12 1992. Is that -- is that correct?
13 A. It depends. Some people found it easy to get batteries and others
14 didn't. I wasn't one of the lucky ones.
15 Q. When you were able to get batteries, where did you -- where did
16 you get? Where could find batteries?
17 A. At the news agents or in some shops or maybe through a shopkeeper
18 whom we knew, who could sell us certain articles.
19 Q. You were asked yesterday about Mr. Brdjanin. On page 26 of the
20 transcript at line 22, you had this to say: "I think that he had some
21 leading positions but I don't know exactly what his job was." Now, sir,
22 the fact is you have no idea what his position was, do you?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he told us yesterday that -- I think he told
24 us yesterday that he doesn't know for sure, hasn't got an idea.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, I just quoted what he said, and
1 I think it's a bit vague: "I don't know exactly what his job was."
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly.
3 MR. ACKERMAN: And what I want to ask is: You have no idea what
4 his job was? It's not that you're confused, but you don't know what it
5 is, do you?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead. Please answer the question.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't like to be quoted as
8 saying I have no idea about something. I think there is more appropriate
9 language that could be used as well. I said I did not know exactly what
10 the position of Mr. Brdjanin was but that it was a position pretty high up
11 in the hierarchy within the SDS party, well, I do know that.
12 MR. ACKERMAN:
13 Q. And how is it that you know that? What causes you to conclude
14 that he had a position high in the hierarchy of the SDS?
15 A. When I had the honour and the possibility to watch television,
16 well, for the most part of that period, it was out of order even when we
17 did not have power cuts, and I was listening to the radio as well, so I
18 found out a certain number of things in relation to Mr. Brdjanin as well.
19 Q. We spoke a little bit earlier about your having -- whether or not
20 you heard any propaganda, and that's on page 3 of your statement to the
21 OTP, and I read this to you a few moments ago but I'll read it to you
22 again, sir. What you said was: "I remember speeches made by various
23 political figures such as Karadzic, Kupresanin, and Seselj." That's what
24 you told the OTP in April of the year 2000, isn't it?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What was your sense of the position held by Mr. Kupresanin? Was
2 that a high-level position, or if you know exactly what his position was,
3 could you tell us.
4 A. I know this much: He held one of the higher positions. I don't
5 know which position exactly. But I do know that he was well respected and
6 held in high esteem by certain people from the Crisis Staff, and certain
7 citizens I know -- in fact, certain citizens I knew, and knew rather well.
8 Q. When you talked there in your statement, when you spoke to the OTP
9 about the various political figures whose speeches you had heard, you did
10 not mention Mr. Brdjanin, did you?
11 A. I already said earlier that I never contacted Mr. Brdjanin
12 personally, never talked to him directly, never attended any meetings
13 together with him, and all I know were the things I could learn at some
14 point about him.
15 Q. Did you ever talk with Mr. Karadzic or Mr. Kupresanin or
16 Mr. Seselj personally or attend any meetings where they appeared?
17 A. Thank heavens I didn't attend any meetings where they appeared,
18 but I do know that both Karadzic and Kupresanin visited Bosanski Novi.
19 Q. You said in your testimony yesterday at page 27, beginning at line
20 3, referring to Mr. Brdjanin, "It was my judgement that after all, he was
21 somebody who was consulted and was probably involved in the
22 decision-making processes due to his position within the party." If you
23 have a basis for making that kind of a judgement, could you please tell
24 the Trial Chamber what it is.
25 A. Your Honour, I really have to make one thing clear: Before the
1 war began, I was a deputy in the assembly of Yugoslavia. Before the war,
2 I often visited Banja Luka. I knew many politicians and renowned people
3 from all walks of life in Banja Luka. I was aware that Banja Luka was a
4 regional administrative centre from which all initiatives and ideas
5 issued, including instructions about what subordinate units,
6 administrative units, should do. This is why I assumed, in view of the
7 high position of Mr. Brdjanin, that he had a say in things and he must
8 have been consulted about certain decisions that were made between Crisis
9 Staffs of municipalities.
10 Q. Yesterday, you indicated, although he was not one of the persons
11 named in your statement to the OTP, that you'd heard making speeches, that
12 you heard that -- you had heard Mr. Brdjanin speaking on television and
13 you said, "I believe in one of the speeches there was a reference to
14 moving the Muslims out of the area. Something like that." It's the case,
15 isn't it, that you have very little memory of this programme that you
16 claim to have seen Mr. Brdjanin on, isn't that true?
17 A. What I said, if I remember well, was the following: I came back
18 home, I don't know exactly at what time, but in time for -- to see the end
19 of the television programme where one could hear Mr. Brdjanin's speech but
20 I asked one neighbour to tell me about it, and explain it to me, and as
21 far as I understood the explanation, it was about how relationships would
22 shift and what should be done with the Banja Luka Corps. I did not hear
23 or read Mr. Brdjanin's speech in its entirety, nor did I have the
24 opportunity to watch a retransmission of the speech.
25 Q. So having not seen it, you first of all don't know specifically
1 what the person said, and you can't even say with certainty that it was
2 Mr. Brdjanin and not some other politician, can you?
3 A. I can say with certainty that this speech was broadcast, because I
4 saw Mr. Brdjanin on television, but that time I came back from work late,
5 [redacted], and I came back home in time
6 to hear the end of the speech. I don't remember the details.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
8 THE INTERPRETER: No microphone for the Judge.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: It's okay. It's good that the microphone wasn't
10 on. Madam Registrar, make a printout of this page, please, and I will
11 tell you what to redact. Thank you. Yes, Mr. Ackerman, please proceed.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: You want to turn your mic off again now, Your
13 Honour. Thank you.
14 Q. You told us yesterday that the Bosanski Novi municipality, you
15 agreed with some figures read to you by Ms. Korner, in the 1991 census was
16 about 60 per cent Serb. Correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And in the multi-party elections, it's the case, isn't it, that
19 the SDS won the majority of the seats in the Bosanski Novi municipal
21 A. That's how it should have been.
22 Q. Well, that's how it was, too, wasn't it?
23 A. I don't know whether the proportional representation was observed
24 in terms of percentages. I can't tell you exactly.
25 Q. But you do know that the SDS won the majority of seats in the
1 municipal assembly, don't you?
2 A. It held the key positions, yes.
3 Q. The President of the municipality was a Serb and a member of the
4 SDS, correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Yesterday, Ms. Korner kept asking you about the takeover of
7 Bosanski Novi. Who was it that took over what from whom? The Serbs were
8 already holding the key positions and were the majority government because
9 of the elections. So what kind of a takeover was there, if any?
10 A. It was an absolute coup, removing Bosniaks from all public
11 positions and making it impossible to continue with normal life.
12 Q. But this -- this business of removing Bosniaks from public
13 positions, that resulted, did it not, from an election that was held where
14 the SDS won the majority and therefore were in control of the government?
15 A. The SDS controlled all key positions, but you were asking me about
16 the coup. It was effected by the SDS and its part pardon sans.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: I think we have exhausted that. We need to go to
18 private session now, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Go to private session.
20 [Private session]
13 Page 13837-13844 – redacted – private session
17 [Open session]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Sir, in your statement to the Prosecutor, if you'll move down from
21 that part that talks about medical supplies coming from Banja Luka about
22 two paragraphs, it's indicated that you told the Prosecutor the following:
23 "There was a group of Bosnian intellectuals that went to meet local
24 authorities. They suggested that the majority of Bosniaks should move
25 because of incidents and -- I'm sorry?
1 A. I don't seem to be able to find the passage.
2 Q. Next page, second paragraph -- no, not two pages over, just one.
3 "There was a group of Bosnian intellectuals."
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you find it?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead, Mr. Ackerman.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: All right.
8 Q. "There was a group of Bosnian intellectuals that went to meet local
9 authorities. They suggested that the majority of Bosniaks should move
10 because of incidents and that it was not good for them to stay in Bosanski
11 Novi. As far as probably I know, this was the initiative of the
12 Bosniaks. They asked for the presence of international agencies to be
13 present. I don't think that either the Serbs or the Bosnians expected so
14 many people to move out that same day."
16 A. It says, and the group of Muslim intellectuals went to negotiate
17 with the municipal authorities in relation to the possibility of their
18 moving out of Bosanski Novi.
19 Q. But, sir, my question is: What you told the Office of the
20 Prosecutor that day, you continue to stand by, do you not?
21 A. I maintain that there was a group of Muslims, Bosniaks, asking for
22 some of the Muslims to be moved out of Bosanski Novi for security reasons,
23 safety reasons. I am still sticking to that original statement. That was
24 the gist of that conversation.
25 Q. Yes. Just -- I just want to have this made very clear, sir, so
1 let me ask it this way. You see the paragraph that begins with, "There
2 was a group," and ends with, "Bosnians expected so many people to move out
3 that same day." You have found that paragraph. Read that paragraph and
4 tell me if you stand by what it says?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And "stand by" means for every part of that
7 paragraph. Because although the whole -- the entire paragraph was read
8 out to you by Mr. Ackerman, the subsequent -- your subsequent answer did
9 not cover the entirety of it but only part of it. So go through the
10 paragraph, let's go through it sentence by sentence if necessary, and just
11 confirm whether you stand by it or not. I'll do that myself,
12 Mr. Ackerman.
13 First, "There was a group of Bosnian intellectuals that went to
14 meet local authorities. They suggested that the majority of Bosniaks
15 should move because of incidents and that" --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: It was not good for them to stay in Bosanski Novi.
18 Do you stand by this? Do you confirm this?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. And then you also say, "As far as I know,
21 this was the initiative of the Bosniaks." Do you confirm this?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And you add, "They asked for the presence of
24 international agencies to be present." Do you stand by there?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, to provide guarantees.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And then finally, you conclude by saying, "I
2 don't think that either the Serbs or Bosnians expected so many people to
3 move out that same day." Do you agree, do you confirm this?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ackerman.
6 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour. We need to go back to
7 private session again, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session for a while.
9 [Private session]
13 Page 13849 – redacted – private session
23 [Open session]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. Ms. Korner, is there
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, yes, in fact in relation to that last
2 answer, but I think I can deal with that without having to go back into
3 private session.
4 Re-examined by Ms. Korner:
5 Q. Sir, from what you've just said, you do not know whom Mr. Pasic
6 went to consult? You just know that he went to consult someone or some
7 body, some body of people?
8 A. I suppose he must have consulted someone.
9 Q. All right. Yes.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, that's all I ask in re-examination.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Ms. Korner.
12 Sir, we have some questions from the bench, after which you would
13 have earned your rest for the rest of the week at least.
14 Judge Taya?
15 Questioned by the Court:
16 JUDGE TAYA: On page 3, in paragraph 2 of your statement, 5 April,
17 2000, you stated that, "I heard that Mr. Brdjanin came to the
18 municipality -- municipal building several times." My question is as
19 follows: First one, you mean the municipality building of Bosanski Novi?
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE TAYA: From whom you heard about that?
22 A. From my neighbours, Serbs.
23 JUDGE TAYA: Approximately when you heard about that?
24 A. I can't state it categorically as having been in 1992, but I did
25 hear that he came in the course of the war.
1 JUDGE TAYA: Thank you.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So, sir, that brings us to the end of your
3 testimony in this trial, for which I thank you. I also thank you for
4 having accepted to come over. I know this wasn't easy for you. I can put
5 your mind at rest that you will be attended to by the officials of this
6 Tribunal to assist you for -- on your return to your country of
7 residence. I thank you once more and you will now be escorted by the
9 Ms. Korner, we have a quarter of an hour. Shall we start straight
10 away with the next witness?
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, Ms. Richterova is calling the next
12 witness. I can't recall if there are any protective measures, there are
13 not so ...
14 JUDGE AGIUS: There are no protective measures so members of the
15 gallery, we will soon be starting with another witness so the curtains
16 being drawn shouldn't deter you from -- they came to follow the
17 proceedings, most of which were in private session, and they were trying
18 to get a glimpse of who was getting -- giving evidence.
19 MS. KORNER: I know. Your Honour, I find this slightly unnerving
20 because I notice some gentleman wandering around yesterday who was trying
21 to look around. I think they ought to be --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: In fact, Madam Registrar, please, make sure that
23 when we are in private or -- private session, that the monitors at the
24 back -- I know that you did take precautions yesterday, but some of them
25 were trying to find out exactly.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, Ms. Richterova points out that in fact
3 although it's slightly early it makes sense to take the break now and
4 start the new witness.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We'll have -- yes, Mr. Ackerman?
6 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I might ask Your Honours if I could be
7 excused for the balance of this session so I could do some other tasks?
8 JUDGE AGIUS: You are excused Mr. Ackerman.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Who is taking over?
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Mr. Trbojevic.
12 MS. KORNER: Me too, please.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: You too? So it's Madam Richterova will be
14 conducting the chief.
15 MS. KORNER: She will.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So we'll have a 25-minute break. Thank you.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.17 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Usher, please could you bring the witness in,
20 the next witness?
21 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, I'm sorry to disturb but I can hear
22 you. This document is only in B/C/S. It's an exhumation report, and I
23 will use it at the end only for confirmation of names.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
25 MS. RICHTEROVA: I received this document this morning, so I hope
1 that there won't be any objection that this document is only in its
2 original language. I already asked the Defence.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Yes, Mr. Trbojevic, I understand that there
4 wouldn't be any objection.
5 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] No objection, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Mr. Alic.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good day.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: The gentleman who is standing next to you will be
13 handing to you the text of a solemn declaration. This is the equivalent
14 of an oath. That means a solemn declaration that in the course of your
15 testimony, you will be speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
16 but the truth. So now I invite to you read that solemn declaration aloud
17 and that will be your solemn undertaking with this Trial Chamber as
18 explained to you by me already.
19 So please proceed. Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
21 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 WITNESS: MIDHO ALIC
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. You may sit down. Please be
1 Usher, please arrange the microphones. Thank you.
2 Mr. Alic, I will explain to you very briefly what's going to
3 happen here. We will start with a series of questions that will be put to
4 you by Madam Richterova, who is in charge of the Prosecution today. And
5 when she is finished with her questions, you will then be cross-examined,
6 in other words asked a few questions, by Mr. Trbojevic, who is co-counsel
7 defending Mr. Radoslav Brdjanin, who is the accused in this case. Then
8 we'll see whether it's the case of a re-examination, some further
9 questions, either from the Prosecution or from the bench. I am the
10 Presiding Judge, my name is Agius and I come from Malta, and on my right
11 you can see Judge Janu from the Czech Republic, and on my left, Judge Taya
12 from Japan.
13 I thank you, Madam Richterova you can start with your
15 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you, Your Honours.
16 Examined by Ms. Richterova:
17 Q. Good morning, would you be so kind and state your full name for
18 the record?
19 A. I'm Alic, Midho.
20 Q. You were born on 7 February, 1955 in Blagaj, Japra?
21 A. In 1955 in Blagaj Japra, which is in the municipality of Bosanski
23 Q. And you are a Bosniak; is it correct?
24 A. Yes, I'm Bosniak.
25 Q. Mr. Alic, I would like to start by showing you a map of Bosanski
1 Novi municipality.
2 MS. RICHTEROVA: If I can ask the usher to show the witness
4 Q. Can you show us at this map where Blagaj Japra is?
5 A. I can.
6 Q. Opposite of Blagaj Japra is Blagaj Rijeka?
7 A. Yes, across the river Sana.
8 Q. Is it correct to state that these two villages have one name,
9 Blagaj or they are known as Blagaj, and the village Blagaj is --
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. -- divided by the river Sana into Blagaj Rijeka and Blagaj Japra?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Who lived in these two villages? What was the ethnic composition?
14 A. In Blagaj Japra, there lived only Muslims. In Blagaj Rijeka there
15 were both Serbs and Muslims.
16 Q. Do you know approximately how many people lived in these -- how
17 many Muslims lived in these two villages?
18 A. In Blagaj Japra, there were approximately 500 households, maybe
19 2.000 people in all.
20 Q. When you look at the map, you can see other villages, and can you
21 tell us which of these villages were occupied by Bosniaks, by Muslims?
22 And if you can point --
23 A. Yes. I can tell you that there were Muslims here in Hozici as
24 well and in Donji Agici [Realtime transcript read in error "Maglici"], and
25 there were Serbs.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 THE INTERPRETER: And the speaker should speak into the
2 microphone, please.
3 A. And in Gornji Agici, there were Muslims.
4 MS. RICHTEROVA:
5 Q. Just for the record, it's not "Maglici" but Agici?
6 A. Agici.
7 Q. What other areas were occupied by primarily by Muslims?
8 A. I don't quite understand, whether within the municipality of
9 Bosanski Novi or somewhere else.
10 Q. No, no. We will talk only about the municipality of Bosanski
11 Novi. So I will ask you, was Ekici and Alici Muslim village or Serb?
12 A. It was a Muslim village.
13 Q. Crna Rijeka and Hodzici?
14 A. Crna Rijeka, there were both Serbs and Muslims there.
15 Q. And can you tell us the closest Serbian village which was to
16 Blagaj Japra?
17 A. Petkovac which is not indicated here, and then Svodna. It was a
18 Serb village as well.
19 Q. And what about Maslovare?
20 A. Maslovare had a mixed population, both Serbs and Muslims.
21 Q. Okay. Thank you. I am done with the map for the time.
22 I want to ask you about the life in Blagaj Japra. You said that
23 it was primarily a Muslim village, but did you have contact with
24 villages -- with Serb villages? And now I'm talking before 1992.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. How would you briefly describe the relationship between Serb and
3 A. Before the war, the relations were quite good. We went to school
4 together. We sat in the classroom together. There were no problems at
6 Q. Did you socialise?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You said before the war. Do you -- and you mean the war in
9 Croatia which started in --
10 A. Before the war.
11 Q. In 1991. Now, I want to ask you in which way the life change
12 after the war started?
13 A. Well, I don't know. First Muslims who had jobs in companies were
14 being dismissed, and then slogans started appearing, Serbia and all that,
15 and posters of Slobodan Milosevic, and all the insignia. And if you went
16 to see a doctor, you could get a prescription for the necessary medicines
17 but if you were a Muslim, you couldn't get the medicines and if you were a
18 Serb, you could. So we didn't enjoy the same rights as they did.
19 Q. I will stop you here for a moment, and we will go step by step.
20 You mentioned that if -- that people lost their jobs, first
21 Muslims who had jobs in companies were being dismissed. Let's start with
22 dismissal. What can you tell us, to your knowledge, what do you know
23 about these dismissals?
24 A. Well, I had a friend, Mesinovic, Mustafa, who was told one day,
25 when he appeared for work, to go home. There was no work for him to do
1 any more. And then other people in my village found themselves in the
2 same situation. I did not have a job myself so I was not dismissed, but
3 for the most part it was the Muslims who were losing their jobs, both from
4 the businesses or other official positions as civil servants.
5 Q. You mentioned civil servants. Do you have some example of a civil
6 servant who would be Muslim and dismissed?
7 A. I don't know personally, but I did hear that they were losing
8 their jobs. I can't think of any names in particular.
9 Q. Now I will move to -- to your knowledge, was there any restriction
10 of movement in Bosanski Novi municipality? And now I'm talking about --
11 let's start -- the beginning of 1992, spring 1992.
12 A. Yes. There was a curfew.
13 Q. How did you learn about this curfew?
14 A. Well, on the radio, and we were told that between 8.00 and 12.00,
15 you were not allowed to be out or 2.00 to 4.00 or 5.00 in the evening.
16 Q. Are you saying that you were not allowed to be on the street
17 between 8.00 in the morning and 12.00 in the morning?
18 A. Yes. And then in the afternoon, after 12.00 or rather 2.00, and
19 then afterwards. So basically, you were simply allowed out to buy
20 groceries or whatever, or feed the animals.
21 Q. To your knowledge, was there any difficulty to go from your
22 village, Blagaj Japra, to the town of Bosanski Novi?
23 A. Well, the Serbs were free to move about. The Muslims were not.
24 Yes, certainly, there must have been cases but I don't know. I mean some
25 people risked it and sometimes they were either not recognised or not
2 Q. If I understand you said yes, but tell me, do you know whether
3 there were any checkpoints which would check movement of people out of
4 Blagaj Japra or whether there were some checkpoints in the vicinity of the
5 town of Novi?
6 A. In the vicinity of Bosanski Novi, sometimes there were moved to
7 Blagaj Rijeka because that's on the road to Prijedor and Banja Luka. They
8 would be moved there temporarily and then somewhere else as well.
9 Q. Did you personally go through these checkpoints?
10 A. I myself didn't, because I was self-employed. I had my own
11 business, and I could not get more fuel to go and get the commodities. So
12 I sold everything out and then I couldn't get any fuel, I couldn't work
13 any more, I couldn't move anywhere.
14 Q. I will elaborate on one thing. At the beginning you mentioned
15 that Muslims cannot get medicine, but Serbs were able to get it.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. To your knowledge, was there any -- was there ever a refusal by
18 shops in town to serve or supply foodstuffs to the non-Serbs?
19 A. Yes. Not in my case but some of my neighbours, yes. I mean, they
20 didn't have groceries and then they went to look for them and then, yes,
21 they got them.
22 Q. But do you know what kind of food or what kind of stuff they were
23 refused to be sold?
24 A. For the most part, it was foodstuffs, flour, salt, that sort of
1 Q. Mr. Alic, was there barracks in Bosanski Novi town?
2 A. Yes, there were.
3 Q. Do you know what type of unit was there stationed?
4 A. I don't know. I don't know. For the most part, I observed
5 reservists, not really young people, who went in and out of the barracks,
6 armed, mostly of Serbian ethnicity.
7 Q. And now what year are you talking about, when you mention these
9 A. Well, even before the war, while the war was going on in Croatia,
10 there were reservists and they stayed on when the war began in Bosnia as
12 Q. And after the war started, and during the first half of the year
13 1992, was the situation the same? Was there reservists or were there
14 regular soldiers?
15 A. There were mostly reservists at that time.
16 Q. These reservists, did they come to your village? I know I'm
17 now -- I'm sorry, I'm again talking about the first half of the year 1992.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did they come officially or did they just went through?
20 A. I don't believe they came officially because I had both a small
21 shop and a restaurant. They would come in to my catering establishment to
22 drink and eat. I don't know on what basis they arrived.
23 Q. During the war in Croatia, were there occasions that soldiers with
24 equipments would pass through your village?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. How often did it happen?
2 A. Sometimes it was every day. Sometimes in other periods it was
3 every other day. Depends.
4 Q. And what can you tell me about the soldiers who passed through
5 your village? Who were they and how did they behave?
6 A. For the most part, they were all the soldiers, reservists, they
7 were rowdy, they shot in the air, they shot at the mosque, they saw a
8 mosque and immediately knew it was a Muslim village. She showed the
9 three-finger sign, et cetera.
10 Q. In -- at the end of 1991, first half of 1992, are you aware of the
11 fact that Serbs would be receiving weapons, or that they would be arming
13 A. Well, we did know that.
14 Q. Did you personally see anything?
15 A. Through Blagaj Japra and the valley of the Japra, every other day
16 trucks would be passing loaded, and you could feel when the truck was
17 full, loaded, the engine would work in a certain way, and you knew when it
18 came back empty, the engine would work differently, the sound was
19 different, and these trucks carried weapons and ammunition that belonged
20 previously to the army.
21 Q. Did these trucks, were they military trucks?
22 A. Yes, exclusively military trucks. There were also civilian trucks
23 passing but for the most part, there were military trucks.
24 Q. But you didn't see, personally, what was in these trucks?
25 A. I didn't see it with my own eyes but I suppose it was military
1 equipment. Why would they be carrying something else on army trucks?
2 Army helicopters landed in Serbian villages, such as Vladimirovic, Svodna,
3 Maslovare, exclusively areas populated by Serbs.
4 Q. Did you see these helicopters?
5 A. Yes, I did. It would land, remain on the ground for half an hour,
6 an hour, and then take off again. I didn't see what they carried or what
7 they unloaded, but I could see they landed only in Serb villages.
8 Q. Now I would like to deal with a document which was premarked as
9 Exhibit P1656. And I know that the witness -- if I'm not wrong -- has
10 slight difficulty to read because of his injury in his eye. I would read
11 passages from this document, and ask him to make comments.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, it would be better if he is still
13 given the text, and if it could be of any help to him, we could put it on
14 the ELMO, the Serbo-Croat version of the text, and have it zoomed so that
15 it will more visible to him.
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: For the interpreters, now I'm referring to the
17 page 2, second page, the last paragraph, starting in Serbian language
18 [B/C/S spoken].
19 JUDGE AGIUS: In the English version if I read you well, it's the
20 bottom of page 3, no?
21 MS. RICHTEROVA: It's bottom of page 3.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
23 MS. RICHTEROVA:
24 Q. Mr. Alic, you may even look on the screen, if it is easier for you
25 to read it, and this is a wrong page. It should be page 2. Yeah, yeah,
2 And I will read you one paragraph, and then I will ask you to make
3 a comment. It says, "SDA activists, planned and prepared groups to
4 destroy the bridge over the Sana River in Blagaj and the Japra river in
5 Petkovac in case the organs of the military police intervene and carried
6 out repressive measures." SDA activists commented on this in public in
8 And now I'm interested in fact in this part, "Through operational
9 work, information was obtained that the people listed below possessed
10 automatic weapons and hand grenades, the distribution of which was
11 organised by the SDA in the course of January 1992." And then we have a
12 list of 20 names, and I -- you saw this list yesterday, and I asked you
13 whether you knew these people.
14 My first question is: What do you know about arming Muslims in
15 the village of Blagaj Japra or Blagaj Rijeka?
16 A. I know nothing about it. And I suppose that it is not true, that
17 it is propaganda and sheer lies.
18 Q. Do you want to -- do you want to say that there were no weapons at
19 all in Blagaj Japra?
20 A. No. Apart from the weapons we had licences for, meaning hunting
21 rifles, carbines, and pistols.
22 Q. So there were weapons but they were legal -- legally-obtained
23 weapons, like pistols or hunting rifles?
24 A. Yes, yes, only that.
25 Q. Under number 4, his name Ismet Selimovic. Did you know this
2 A. I did.
3 Q. Who was he?
4 A. He was the secretary of the local commune of Blagaj Japra and
6 Q. This document says that he was in possession of automatic weapon,
7 among others. Do you know whether -- to your knowledge, was he in
8 possession of automatic weapon?
9 A. As far as I know, he didn't. I know he had a pistol, a Bereta,
10 just as I did, because I know I borrowed bullets from him but we only had
11 licensed weapons.
12 Q. Now I --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Richterova, could you ask him whether he was
14 related to him?
15 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes, Your Honour. I just intended to do it.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
17 MS. RICHTEROVA:
18 Q. Was Ismet Selimagic related to you?
19 A. No. He was my brother-in-law or son-in-law.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note. It is not quite clear in
21 our language which it is.
22 MS. RICHTEROVA:
23 Q. Can you describe what was the relationship because the interpreter
24 cannot get the right words. Was he a husband of your daughter or a
25 daughter of your brother?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: That makes it even more confusing, Madam Richterova,
2 daughter of your brother?
3 How was he related to you? By blood or by marriage?
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In our language, that means that he
6 was married to the daughter of my step-brother, not my own daughter but
7 the daughter of my step-brother.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay that's clear enough. You may proceed.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Or half-brother.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thanks.
11 MS. RICHTEROVA:
12 Q. Now I want to move to the page in B/C/S, it is page 3, and it is
13 third paragraph starting. [B/C/S spoken] this on the top. And in English
14 language, it is page 5, in the middle of the page. And I will read
15 again. "Towards the end of March, in the area of Blagaj Rijeka, a
16 military equipment was distributed to members of the SDA armed forces,
17 uniforms and berets, with two emblems, one of which was a yellow star with
18 a crescent and the other the old Bosnian coat of arms, which is worn by
19 members of the League of Patriots."
20 Are you aware of the fact that the members of SDA were
21 distributing such uniforms, either in Blagaj Rijeka or Blagaj Japra?
22 A. No. Nobody got that. Nobody received that. And that too is an
23 untruth. In other words a lie.
24 Q. Were there any Muslim armed forces in Blagaj?
25 A. No. There was nothing. Nobody wore a uniform in Blagaj Japra or
1 in Blagaj Rijeka, and in the entire valley of the Japra river, nobody was
2 wearing even a uniform.
3 Q. And now I will read the final part. It is again on this page 3,
4 and it is in the middle, the paragraph starts, [B/C/S spoken] and I will
5 read it from the third line, and in English, it is page 6, and it starts,
6 third line from the top. And it says, "SDA activists in Blagaj step up
7 the subversive propaganda activity by reinforcing the opinion among the
8 Muslim public that it was essential to fight until the final liberation
9 from the Serbs. They thus spread a negative attitude amongst its people
10 towards the army and the Serbs and prepared psychologically for the
11 beginning of the conflict. This culminated in an attack on a military
12 police patrol from the Banja Luka Corps which was passing through Blagaj
13 on 10 or 11 May of this year."
14 And the last sentence: "Since the SDA did not respect the
15 agreement reached by the municipal assembly on disarming paramilitary
16 formations, and an attack on a military police patrol in Blagaj followed,
17 disarmament was also carried out by partially searching the field."
18 I want to ask you a few questions about what I just read. Are you
19 aware of any type of Muslim propaganda within Blagaj which would be raised
20 by any leading members of SDA in this area?
21 A. No. There was none.
22 Q. Can you tell us who -- who were the leading members of SDA in your
24 A. I know about Izet Mehmedagic, only about him, but no one else in
25 my village.
1 Q. And did you heard anything which would promote hatred towards
2 Serbs in your village?
3 A. You mean on the part of the Muslims?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. No.
6 Q. Was there anyone who would ask, request, people to arm themselves
7 and fight against Serbs?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Was there anyone who would ask Muslims to be tolerant, not to --
10 not to provokate anyone?
11 A. You mean somebody who asked Muslims to refrain from provoking
12 Serbs or the other way around?
13 Q. Yes. Was there anyone among Muslims who would ask, who would
14 request, other Muslims not to provokate the Serbs?
15 A. Well, we were all in favour of not provoking anyone. All to the
16 last man.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: But there you are not answering the question.
18 You're telling us that you were all more or less in agreement amongst
19 yourselves that you shouldn't provoke the Serbs, in other words that you
20 should or that you would rather keep sleeping dogs lying. The question
21 is: Amongst the Muslim leadership, was there any initiative to encourage
22 the Muslims in Blagaj to be passivists, to be tolerant and not to provoke
23 the Serbs? Was there an initiative coming from the top or was it just
24 something that you felt naturally amongst you?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there was no initiative from
1 outside. It came from within. All we asked for was to be left alone and
2 we were happy to leave everyone else alone. There was no one who came
3 from outside.
4 MS. RICHTEROVA:
5 Q. Now I will not ask about the person who would come from the
6 outside. And I will be more specific. We already mentioned Ismet
7 Selimagic. Do you remember that Ismet Selimagic would talk about the life
8 between Muslims and Serbs, how it should be arranged?
9 A. He didn't say anything about that. He, too, was in favour of
10 everybody leaving everyone else alone.
11 Q. I will move with this document. We mentioned or I mentioned or
12 this document mentioned that there was an attack on a military police
13 patrol on 10 or 11 May. Do you know whether something like that really
15 A. Yes. An incident happened but it was not created by Muslims.
16 Serbs themselves orchestrated this incident. And in Zurim, between
17 Bosanski Novi and Blagaj, they threw a hand grenade on a military jeep,
18 fired a couple of bursts of gunfire, turned on all the lights on the
19 vehicle, and headed forward, and they were saying that it was the Muslims
20 who did it, whereas that wasn't true. They themselves orchestrated this
21 incident to make it look otherwise.
22 Q. And the date, the date, is it correct that it happened on 10 or 11
23 May this year, which means 1992?
24 A. It was the 11th. The 11th of May at 10.00 p.m., around 10.00 p.m.
25 Q. This document further states that the SDA did not respect the
1 agreement on disarming. I will deal with this in a moment. For the
2 moment, I'm done with the document. Thank you.
3 Mr. Alic, in spring, do you remember any announcement with respect
4 to handing over, surrender of weapons in Blagaj?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And do you recall when was it?
7 A. I remember. It was on the -- give me just a second to remember.
8 Q. Was it before --
9 A. It was sometime around the 6th of May, when the Radio Bosanski
10 Novi broadcast an ultimatum to the Muslims to hand over any weapons they
11 had, not later than the 11th of May.
12 Q. And you just said that you heard it over the Radio Bosanski Novi.
13 Do you still recall this announcement, who did this announcement? Was it
14 some -- was it the police or municipal assembly or SDS or SDA, whoever,
15 that he -- that this organisation would ask people to surrender their
17 A. I think it was the Serbian -- Serb Crisis Staff in Bosanski Novi.
18 Q. And after the announcement that you have to surrender weapons,
19 what was your reaction, people in your village? Did you surrender the
21 A. We were happy to turn our weapons over, but we could only turn
22 over the weapons we possessed with the licence. And they wanted us to
23 hand over something that we didn't have at all.
24 Q. So you said you decided to hand over the weapons. Where were you
25 supposed to take these weapons?
1 A. They required us to bring our weapons in front of the assembly of
2 Bosanski Novi.
3 Q. You are talking about assembly in the town of Bosanski Novi?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you go separately or did you -- did you choose one person from
6 your village who would take these weapons?
7 A. We gathered in front of the school building in Blagaj Japra, the
8 last day before the end of the ultimatum. It was the 11th, a Sunday, and
9 we agreed to turn over all we had to Izet Mehmedagic because he was
10 president of the SDA or a member of the SDA, I'm not sure. Izet had a
11 small truck and he loaded all the weapons we had into his truck and drove
12 it to the building of the assembly in Bosanski Novi.
13 Q. And do you know -- you didn't obviously -- you didn't go with him
14 but did you later learn what happened when he -- Izet Mehmedagic brought
15 these weapons in front of the municipal building?
16 A. After Izet loaded the weapons on his truck and drove off, we
17 remained standing in front of the school building to hear how it would all
18 proceed and how it would end.
19 Q. Yeah. And you again didn't answer my question. What did you
20 learn, if anything, from Izet Mehmedagic, after he returned to the
21 village? Did he hand over the weapons or what happened with these
23 A. Well, he took the weapons there. We waited for him to come back.
24 And when he did, he came back with the same weapons and he told us to
25 collect our weapons because they simply laughed at him and they said,
1 "Take it back. That's not what we want. You didn't deliver what we asked
2 you to deliver."
3 Q. And as you already said a couple of seconds ago, it is at the same
4 night this military police car was attacked?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell us, after the military car was attacked, what happened? What
7 happened that night in your village?
8 A. After the attack, I was sitting in front of my house and I was
9 smoking. The first shells were fired on to Blagaj Japra, 13 shells, and
10 we heard other firearms but basically there were 13 shells landing in
11 Blagaj Japra.
12 Q. How long did the shelling last?
13 A. Approximately half an hour, maybe one hour. They didn't follow
14 closely one another. They would fire two or three shells and then wait a
15 bit and a couple of shells again and wait again. Perhaps between 30
16 minutes and a hour.
17 Q. Were you able to see whether -- what -- whether there was
18 something specific targeted?
19 A. We couldn't see. We could simply hear the shells landing. We
20 could approximately tell where it had landed. One landed not too far from
21 my house, maybe 50 or 100 metres away but we didn't know what the targets
23 Q. You said the shelling lasted approximately one hour, which would
24 mean that the shelling would stop shortly after midnight. Did anything
25 else happen between midnight and the following morning?
1 A. Nothing happened during the night. I with my wife and children
2 and my neighbours, about ten families altogether, we were hiding in a
3 cellar and waited for the morning to find out what happened.
4 Q. And in the morning, did you find out what happened?
5 A. No. We just heard it on the radio that there was a -- yet another
6 call for the arms to be surrendered, a repeat of that original call that
7 we had a couple of days earlier.
8 Q. And this morning, after you heard that there was another call to
9 surrender the arms, did you discuss the situation among themselves and
10 maybe with your Serb neighbours?
11 A. No, not with the Serbs. We had planned a convoy to go to the town
12 hall with our tractors, our vehicles, to take those weapons back to them
13 but they rejected it. First of all, they told us to do so, and then they
14 let us know that the road between Blagaj and Bosanski Novi was closed and
15 so not to go.
16 Q. This following day, was there another shelling of your town, of
17 your village?
18 A. Yes. As soon as they made that announcement, about an hour
19 earlier, another round of shelling started.
20 Q. How long this particular shelling lasted?
21 A. That lasted a bit longer, let's say between 10.00 in the morning
22 until early afternoon, 1.00 or 2.00 p.m.
23 Q. And because it was daylight, were you able to see whether they
24 targeted any specific buildings?
25 A. No. We couldn't because as soon as the shelling started, we left
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 for the shelters, I mean the same cellar that we spent the night in.
2 Q. And after the shelling stopped or maybe during, did you receive
3 any information that you should move to another village?
4 A. No, not yet, but my father and my uncles and Alic, Amil, and a
5 couple of other people agreed amongst themselves to go to the neighbouring
6 village called Vitezovac to talk to the Serbs and ask what it was all
7 about, since the road to Bosanski Novi was closed, to find out what they
9 Q. And what did they find?
10 A. They went to Drago Ninic. Since he had a coffee shop, he opened
11 the doors for them. So they went in and he -- no. They went to negotiate
12 things, and he -- no, my father said to him to serve them a drink. He
13 said, "Drago bring us a drink." And he answered my father, "No, no, no,
14 Jasim, I can't give you a drink any more. That was in 9 old days but we
15 can't drink together any longer".
16 Q. And this is what you later learned from your father?
17 A. When he came back home, that's what he told us. But they had
18 barely reached the house and the shelling started again.
19 Q. And during this shelling, did you decide to move to another
21 A. No. My neighbour, Selmic, Hamdija, came on his tractor, and he
22 came to my part of the village. He more or less knew which houses had
23 cellars and so on, and even with the shelling and all, he came along and
24 he told us all to come out of the shelters and to tell the others that we
25 should form a convoy and go to Rajko Hodzic in Maslovare.
1 Q. And did you go to Maslovare?
2 A. We all went, all of us. I mean some people stayed in the woods,
3 and some people stayed back in the cellars. We didn't know about them.
4 We thought they had left as well so we went to Maslovare. And as we were
5 approaching Maslovare, near Mica Karlica's house there were about a dozen
6 Serbs. There was a ramp barring our way and that's where they were
7 waiting for us.
8 Q. I will stop you here for a second. You mentioned Mica Karlica and
9 some other Serbs. What did they -- what did they wear? Were they in
10 uniforms or in civilian clothes?
11 A. They wore uniforms.
12 Q. And what kind of uniforms?
13 A. Army fatigue uniforms.
14 Q. Did they carry weapons?
15 A. All of them. They all had automatic weapons.
16 Q. Apart from Mica Karlica, did you know any -- anybody else from
17 this group of soldiers?
18 A. Yes, yes, I did.
19 Q. Whom did you know?
20 A. I knew Ranko Gvozden, Milan Gvozden, Djuro Miljatovic, Mico
21 Baltic, and some others. There were more of them. I can't remember now.
22 Q. Where did they come from?
23 A. From Maslovare.
24 Q. And before I stopped you, you said that they were waiting for
25 you. So tell us what happened after they stopped you.
1 A. When we got to the checkpoint, I was in the first tractor with
2 Hamdija Selmic. I got off and Mico Karlica -- well, the convoy stopped
3 and Mico Karlica asked me whether we had any weapons and we said yes, and
4 he says, "Well, inform everybody and surrender your arms and leave
5 everything to us."
6 Q. And what did you do?
7 A. I myself went along the convoy and asked the people bearing arms
8 to take them to the checkpoint and surrender their weapons, and that's
9 what they did. For the most part, those were handguns and guns -- and
11 Q. Did -- after this, did you reach Maslovare, the village of
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And did you stay there?
15 A. They directed us in the direction of Rajko Hodzica's holding. He
16 was a rich man and had a large holding and big stables, and so we could go
17 to his stables and his garage and his outhouses and that's what we did.
18 Q. And how long did you stay in Maslovare?
19 A. We spent a night there, and we stayed until approximately 10.00 in
20 the morning. Then the Serb soldiers bearing arms came along, five or six
21 of them, and they inquired about Mehinovic, Huso, in particular and some
22 other people as well. I can't remember the names exactly. And Camil Azic
23 answered and then they said that Huso had a grenade launcher or rather a
24 mortar and apparently he had not surrendered it. And the other guy said
25 well, I can tell you he does not have it. I could swear that he does not
1 have the mortar, I can swear on my head. And they said, "Well, you think
2 your life is very cheap."
3 Q. Did you -- you said you stayed there over night and the following
4 day were you able to return to Blagaj Japra?
5 A. Yes. When they collected some of our people, some Bosniaks, and
6 they left in the direction of Blagaj to search everything, and to see
7 whether everything was empty and safe, but they put our people in front of
8 them, the Muslims, and they said, "If anybody decides to shoot us, you
9 will all get killed."
10 Q. So at the end, did you return to Blagaj Japra?
11 A. No. I didn't at that stage. They first went to Blagaj and
12 checked the area and they put their flag on a big house - I can't remember
13 what house exactly, what was the name of it - and on the stables belonging
14 to Refik Uzeirovic and they placed the Serb flags there and they said
15 whoever interferes with these flags is going to be killed, just to make
16 sure that nobody would interfere, and then they came back and they said
17 you're free to go back home.
18 Q. So eventually, you came home?
19 A. Yes, but I had not relinquished my gun, and then Mico Karlica
20 stopped me on the road as I was going back home. And he said to me --
21 because they had a list from the interior ministry and the police, about
22 who had guns, and he reprimanded me because of that. And I said well, I
23 will let you have the gun by nightfall. So I went back home, I looked for
24 my gun, I found it, and I went back to Maslovare. I gave him the gun and
25 I turned it in my direction so that he would not get the suspicion that I
1 was going to shoot him or anything, and I got the cartridges out and --
2 well, he got the cartridges out, and he gave them back to me and I said
3 "well, I don't need them." And he said, "I don't need them either." And
4 then he put them in his pocket and then I went back home.
5 Q. Mr. Alic, now I want you to tell me briefly, when you returned
6 back to Blagaj Japra, what did you see in the village? Was there
7 anything -- everything in order or was anything destroyed?
8 A. No. And I've forgotten to mention this. When I took the gun
9 back, he offered me a beer, and I said, "Don't offer me drinks." I mean,
10 we had been friends earlier on, so I said, "I don't feel like anything
11 much." I had not had anything to eat or drink and I couldn't sleep the
12 night. And then he made me have this beer and they were celebrating, they
13 are were singing songs. I didn't mind, and then they made me have another
14 beer so I had another beer. And then I asked Mico, "Could I go back --
15 could I go to the shop, could I go to the loo because I had two beers?"
16 And then he said, no, go behind there.
17 And then, as I was standing behind an outhouse, I happened to look
18 inside, because there was a crack in the planks and so there was this
19 crack, so one could see through about a centimetre or two, I could see
20 inside. And I could see that this was full of army supplies, ammunitions,
21 boxes, weapons, I can't remember exactly but it was full to the bursting.
22 Q. Thank you for this information, but I will return back to my
23 previous question. In which condition was Blagaj Japra and Blagaj Rijeka
24 when you returned that day from Maslovare?
25 A. Well, when I left Maslovare I could see that there were houses on
1 fire from Vuco Mehanovica [phoen] then the mosque in Blagaj Japra, in
2 Blagaj Rijeka, rather, and there was another house on fire there, and some
3 other houses. I can't remember which ones exactly. According to my
4 knowledge, this mosque in Blagaj Rijeka was set on fire by a Serb, Jovo -
5 just a moment - Paukovic from the neighbouring village called Petkovac.
6 After setting it on fire, he jumped into the water and he drowned.
7 Q. Mr. Alic, just make it clear, there was a mosque in Blagaj Rijeka
8 and there was a mosque in Blagaj Japra. Is it correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you just said that the mosque in Blagaj Rijeka was burning,
11 that this --
12 A. Yes, it was already burning.
13 Q. And what about the minaret of that mosque?
14 A. It was an old, wooden mosque, and it was on fire, so everything
15 was on fire. There was no concrete or cement there, so everything was
16 burnt down.
17 Q. And the mosque in Blagaj Japra, in which condition was this one?
18 A. The minaret was still standing but it had been hit by several
19 shells maybe, I don't know. I suppose it must have been a recoilless gun
20 or something, because the shell went straight through the minaret and then
21 out on the other side.
22 Q. Now I will ask you about events which occurred between this day
23 and 9 of June. In this short period of time, this month, were there
24 shellings either of your village or other villages in Japra valley?
25 A. In the subsequent fortnight, my village was fairly calm, perhaps
1 even 20 days, but since we had phones, I heard that some other villages
2 had been shelled, in much the same way as Blagaj and Rijeka Japra,
3 villages such as Suhaca and Hodzici.
4 Q. And you said that you learned over telephones that these villages
5 were shelled. What happened to the population from these villages?
6 A. I suppose they must have fled somewhere during the shelling, or
7 maybe had gone to shelters or cellars.
8 Q. My question was more about whether they stayed in these villages
9 or whether they left these villages.
10 A. They stayed for a while, and then it started in Gornji Agici and
11 then Donji Agici, Suhaca, et cetera. They gradually started shelling all
12 of those villages and chasing people away from their houses and chasing
13 them in the direction of Blagaj so that the entire Japra valley was
14 basically emptied and people were chased in the direction of Blagaj Japra
15 and a part of Blagaj Rijeka.
16 Q. Can you tell us roughly how many people moved to Blagaj Japra and
17 Blagaj Rijeka from these villages in Japra valley?
18 A. I suppose about 80.000 [as interpreted] people, including women
19 and children. I can't tell you exactly how many inhabitants there were in
20 each individual village.
21 Q. I just -- I'm not quite sure about the translation. Did you say
22 80, 80.000 or 18.000?
23 A. No, I didn't say 80. I said 8. 8.000. I said 8.000 to 10.000.
24 Q. Thank you for the clarification. So these people came to your
25 village and they stayed for some period of time. During --
1 A. [No translation]
2 Q. I want to -- can you hear me?
3 A. Yes, I can. Now I can.
4 Q. During the time when these people from the Japra valley stayed in
5 your village, were there any negotiations between Muslims or between SDA
6 and Serb part, about the fate of these people?
7 A. Yes. Sifet, who was the President of the SDA from Suhaca -- well,
8 once every two or three days he travelled to Bosanski Novi to negotiate
9 with the Serbs for people to return, et cetera, but it always seemed to
10 fail. We still stayed where we were. There was a lot of uncertainty
11 because we didn't know what would happen next. However, on the 8th of
12 June, at around 4.00 in the afternoon, there was Mico Dolic and Ranko
13 Gvozden who came along and they asked us to form a convoy at around 8.00,
14 9.00 in the morning and for us to go in the direction of Banja Luka.
15 Q. I will again stop you here for a moment. You mentioned this
16 person Sifet. Do you know his whole name?
17 A. I think it's Sifet Barjaktarevic. Barjaktarevic I think was his
18 family name.
19 Q. And you said he was president of the SDA from Suhaca?
20 A. Yes, he was.
21 Q. I stopped you when you mentioned that these three, two or three
22 people came to your village, that you were -- that were you to form a
23 convoy the following day. Who were these people? Were they soldiers or
24 were they civilians?
25 A. Mico Dolic wore a uniform. Ranko Gvozden had the civilian top but
1 he was wearing army camouflage pants, and both of them were of course
3 Q. And when you said that this Mico Dolic wore a uniform, was it a
4 military or police uniform?
5 A. A military, a soldier's uniform.
6 Q. So what happened on 9th of June, 1992?
7 A. Since we could not believe it, nobody organised any convoys, we
8 got up in the morning. In my house I had about 30 refugees from Suhaca,
9 Hodzici, and some of the villages, and I myself with my family were
10 staying at my parents' house. And we simply did not believe it, so we
11 continued to sit at home and we were simply waiting. We didn't know what
12 was going on. But then I went out into the street and there was Samid
13 Imsirevic who had some knives and about a kilo or two kilos of meat from
14 his butcher shop and he said there was a tank in the direction of
15 Maslovare and there was a bus full of soldiers. And that made me a bit
16 suspicious. I didn't say anything to anyone but it was suspicious.
17 Q. At any point, did any soldiers come to your house?
18 A. No. We could hear firearms. We were in the house. We didn't
19 know what was going on, because that hamlet was a bit further away from
20 the main road, and we were in the house when the shooting started and that
21 they were shooting at our house, my father's house, and my mother went out
22 and she could hear burning, and there was smoke.
23 So as I was saying my mother went out of the house and she saw the
24 army moving on to my parents' house, maybe five, six, ten soldiers,
25 marching in the direction of the house, and they approached the house.
1 And they said, Is there anything inside? And my mother gathered her
2 courage and she went out and she said yes the house is full of people and
3 then we were told to get out, and they swore at us and they told us to get
4 out of the house, all of us.
5 Q. So you went out, there were these soldiers. Did you recognise any
6 of --
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you recognise any of the soldiers who approached your house?
9 A. Not at that point. I didn't recognise anyone. Some of them were
10 wearing masks on their faces. Some of them didn't but I couldn't
11 recognise anyone. As we came out, there was my brother, Kemal Alic and
12 Ismet Selimagic. My brother, my mother, my wife, my four children. There
13 were about 20 of us all in all. Maybe 25. I can't be precise now. They
14 lined us all up against the barn, some of us, and against the hedge, some
15 others. They cursed our mothers and told to us turn over our weapons. We
16 said, We can't turn over any weapons because we had already turned them
17 over in Maslovare. Since I had a disabled aunt, the wife of my uncle,
18 they told us to go in the direction of the school building. Since we had
19 this disabled woman with us, we had to carry her in our arms.
20 Q. And did you enter the school building?
21 A. We arrived in front of the school building. There was a group of
22 soldiers there. One soldier motioned us into the school building, and
23 stayed with us all the time. The rest of the soldiers went behind the
24 building, talking between themselves. We didn't know what they were
25 talking about. Then they came back and told us to get out of the school
1 building and go to the main road. We came out in a file and went.
2 As soon as we came on to the main road from the yard, I saw a dead
3 man lying on the road. He was lying face down. I couldn't see who it
4 was. They told to us walk faster and not to look. Some 50 or 100 metres
5 later, we saw a tank on the road and about 10 to 15 Serb soldiers around
6 the tank.
7 Q. You mentioned that you saw a dead body on the ground. What about
8 houses? Were you able to observe what went on in the village?
9 A. We saw houses burning, hay stacks, stables, barns, smoke rising,
10 although it was raining, but there was shooting from all sides, and
11 everything was burning. You couldn't see where the shooting came from.
12 Q. You also mentioned that you saw a tank and soldiers. Did you --
13 did you go toward these soldiers?
14 A. We did. And we passed by them and by the tank. Nobody told us a
15 word. 50 metres on, we were going towards a hamlet, my hamlet, Sikare. A
16 group of soldiers was waiting for us there. They were all armed. Some
17 had masks on their faces, some didn't. I could recognise those who didn't
18 have masks. They were waiting for us there, and they separated women and
19 children on one side, and us men on the other side. My brother,
20 Kemal Alic carried his 2-year-old son in his arms. And one of the
21 soldiers took the child away from him and put the child into the other
22 group giving it to the child's mother.
23 Again, they demanded weapons. We said we don't have any. We had
24 already turned it over. They said, "Throw on the ground everything you
25 have in your pockets." We complied. We emptied our pockets. They asked
1 Ismet Selimagic: "Where is your brother?" At first they asked who is the
2 secretary in the local commune, and Ismet said, "I am." They asked,
3 "Where is your brother?" He answered, "He is working in Zagreb." They
4 said, "It's not true. He is in the Croat National Guard." And Ismet
5 said, "It's not true. I can show you a paper." He motioned to get a
6 paper from his jacket but he was not allowed to. The soldier hit him and
7 he fell to the ground.
8 Then another soldier came out, stepped out, and talked to my
9 brother. I couldn't hear what they were saying. I was looking at my wife
10 and children, who were crying out to me. I motioned to my wife to take
11 the children further behind so that they should not look. So this other
12 soldier came up to my brother and hit him three times in the head with a
13 rifle butt. Nobody asked me anything.
14 When we were throwing our documents on the ground, I asked one of
15 Serbs, a big man who was wearing a hat with a Kokarda on his head, I asked
16 him, "Can I keep my ID because it's an important document?" And the
17 soldier answered, "No. You won't be needing it." At that point, I
18 already knew that we wouldn't -- that we would come to a bad end, that
19 something was in the offing.
20 They released everyone else, my father, my uncle, every other man,
21 except for me and my brother. Us, they lined up against the wall. I
22 motioned to my wife to take the children away so that they wouldn't see
23 what was going to happen, because I thought we were going to be executed.
24 A soldier appeared who had a ski hat on his head so I could only
25 see his face. He said, "Let these two men go because they didn't do
1 anything." This man with the Kokarda looked at me, sized me up from head
2 to toe, and told him to -- told me to go. This man was Milos Popovic. So
3 I went off. One man was guarding my family under an awning because it was
4 raining and they were watching. I thought I would be shot in the back. I
5 didn't look back. I didn't look across my shoulder.
6 When I was 10 metres away from Ismet and Kemal, I heard this man
7 telling them too that they were free to go. And they set off. I heard
8 the men then saying to them, "Run." I heard them starting to walk faster
9 and then there was a burst of gunfire. I looked across my shoulder. I
10 saw Slavenko Balaban firing in the back of my brother and the other man.
11 They fell to the ground, one opposite the other.
12 Q. And they were dead?
13 A. They were shot dead.
14 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, I don't know whether it is
15 appropriate time to have a break because I lost track.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: How much longer do you require? Because from what I
17 read and the documentation that you gave us, you haven't got much left.
18 MS. RICHTEROVA: I have one hour.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: One hour. Okay. So we'll have a break now of 25
20 minutes. I take it that if you require one hour, let's make the break for
21 20 minutes so that you will have an entire one hour afterwards. And I
22 take it that you will conduct the cross-examination tomorrow, then?
23 Mr. Trbojevic?
24 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [No interpretation]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. So it's a 20 minutes break.
1 Thank you.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.50 p.m.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Richterova.
5 MS. RICHTEROVA:
6 Q. Mr. Alic, before the adjournment, we finished with the part where
7 your brother Kemal Alic and Ismet Selimagic were killed. And before you
8 also said that the soldiers separated men from women. At this point,
9 after the death of these two men, where were the rest of you were taken?
10 A. Well, when these people were killed, I approached my family and I
11 stood at the same place, under this balcony. A couple of minutes later
12 from my hamlet of Sikare, they drove out more people, women and children,
13 who had come along the road, whereas we had come across the fields. They
14 ordered people to lie down on the asphalt road. There were about 50 of
15 them. After they lay down, I heard the soldiers saying, "Start with the
16 tank and run them over." But it was only intimidation. Nobody drove the
17 tank at them.
18 Then Dranko -- Branko Balaban, called Sice came, he called out
19 three men, Samid Imsirevic, Camil Alic, and Fehim Mehmedagic. He told
20 them to stand up and they put their hands behind their back and they -- he
21 took them to the road and shot them dead. Then a military vehicle came
22 by. He stopped by. They stopped by and asked us why we were standing
23 there. We said, "The troops ordered to us stand there." They told us
24 that we were free to go towards Japra. We started off --
25 Q. I'm really sorry to interrupt you. First thing I forgot to convey
1 you a message from the booths that they would ask to you slow down because
2 they have really a hard time to keep with your speed of talking. So
3 please, slow down. And I will -- I will -- before we will go on with your
4 story, I want to stop when these three men were killed. Did you see it
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And did you -- did they stay on the ground or were they taken
8 somewhere else after they fell down, after they fell down?
9 A. They all remained lying down, those two who were killed earlier,
10 and the three men who were shot later. All of them remained lying on the
12 Q. So I interrupted you at the point when you said that a military
13 jeep arrived and you were told that you can go wherever you were, or what
14 exactly the person in the car told you?
15 A. This person first asked us, "What are you waiting for here?" We
16 replied that the troops had told us to stand there and wait. He cursed
17 the soldiers and said, "You are free to go towards the grounds of the
18 Japra company."
19 Q. Did you know this person, the person from the car?
20 A. No, I didn't know him.
21 Q. But he was a soldier?
22 A. It was an officer rather than a soldier.
23 Q. And so he sent you towards the Japra compound. So did you go
25 A. We set off along the road towards Japra and we -- when we reached
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the bridge over the Sana River, another group of Serb soldiers was waiting
2 for us there. They were wearing red berets. They told us to empty our
3 pockets on to the ground.
4 Q. And I would like to ask the usher to show the witness two photos.
5 It is P1683.44 and 45. You can start with 44 and place it on the ELMO.
6 So can you describe what we can see on this picture?
7 A. I can see here the bridge which we were supposed to cross to reach
8 Blagaj Rijeka.
9 Q. Can you show us on the picture which is on the ELMO from which
10 direction you came and in which direction you went?
11 A. We came from this direction, took the left turn, crossed the
12 bridge, into Blagaj Rijeka. Here in front of the bridge, we see one side
13 of the road. We don't see the other side on which the soldiers were
14 standing. We threw here on the ground, valuables, papers, gold and
15 jewellery, anything we had, watches. Everything was thrown on to the
16 ground. I didn't throw my car keys. It remained in my pocket. One
17 soldier asked me, "What's in your pocket?" I said the keys of my car. He
18 asked me what kind of car? I told him. And then he made me give him the
19 car keys. After which we were told to go across the bridge into Blagaj
21 Q. Can you show the witness the other picture? So it is the same
22 bridge, just the picture from the different position. Is it correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Where did you -- on this picture, where did you -- from where did
25 you come?
1 A. We came from this direction. And came out on to the bridge. Now
2 we see the other side of the road where the soldiers were standing, as
3 well as on the other side. Here on the road, there were our valuables,
4 papers, and other stuff lying.
5 Q. Thank you. I'm done with these pictures, and I would like to show
6 the witness pictures 9 -- from 9 until 12.
7 You crossed the bridge and as you stated before, you were ordered
8 to go to Japra compound. What was this Japra compound? What was it?
9 A. It was an enterprise that had a quarry, produced all sorts of
10 construction material, sand, et cetera. You see what kind of material on
11 this picture. This was a mechanical workshop. There was a fence around
12 it. We got off the bridge here and came into the compound, using this
13 entrance, and walked on towards this gate here.
14 Q. At any point, were you taken inside of this building?
15 A. Yes. I had four small children with me and my wife and I came
16 into this building to find cover from the rain. A Serb soldier came in,
17 shot a round through the roof, and told us that all of us men should come
18 out of the building.
19 Q. And did you go out?
20 A. Yes, all of us got out and only the women and children remained
22 MS. RICHTEROVA: Can we show the witness other pictures?
23 Q. We can see the same compound. The other picture, please? Is
24 this -- which side of the warehouse are we seeing now?
25 A. The road was on this side. Here is where we got in. This side is
1 closer to the Sava River and the railway.
2 Q. While you were outside, did anything occur which struck your
4 A. That same soldier who chased us out came out himself. He was
5 carrying a Kalashnikov this way, with the rifle butt on his shoulder, and
6 he walked about watching us. You don't see the entrance on this picture.
7 But that was where Sulejman Burzic was standing, near the entrance.
8 The soldier asked Sulejman something, I didn't hear exactly what.
9 He asked, "Do you know this man?" Sulejman said yes. And the soldier hit
10 him on his head, and then stepped away from him and fired two rounds into
11 him. Sulejman was shot dead. And then the soldier took a blanket or a
12 plate from somewhere and covered Sulejman's head. He walked by us without
13 saying a word. The soldier's name was Zare Janjetovic. He was the
14 secretary of the local commune in --
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't hear the name of the
17 MS. RICHTEROVA:
18 Q. Can you repeat --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I didn't quite understand something here. According
20 to the transcript, we have, "But that was where Sulejman Burzic was
21 standing near the entrance of the soldier asked Sulejman something. I
22 didn't hear exactly what. He asked, Do you know this man? Sulejman said
23 yes and the soldier hit him on his head and then stepped away from him and
24 fired two rounds into him. Sulejman was shot dead."
25 When he asked Sulejman, do you know this man, which man was he
1 referring to?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The soldier asked, "Do you know who
3 I am?"
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Who you are?
5 MS. RICHTEROVA: The soldier.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Himself, in other words, he asked Sulejman --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The soldier asked Sulejman, "Do you
8 know who I am?" Sulejman said yes, after which he was hit on the head
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
11 MS. RICHTEROVA:
12 Q. Are you we able to see the place where he was shot on any of these
13 pictures? Maybe the previous one.
14 A. We can see more clearly here. This is where the fence was, and
15 next to the fence was the road. There was a ramp here. Here was the
16 entrance. It was right at the corner, a metre or two behind the fence
17 that he was standing. I was standing here where this excavator is now, at
18 the time. The distance between us was about 5 metres, not more.
19 Q. I'm done with these pictures, and if we can prepare pictures 7 and
20 8. How long did you stay in this compound?
21 A. While we were standing there in the compound, we saw rail cars for
22 livestock that came in a convoy into the Japra compound. We didn't know
23 for which purpose, and later we learned they had been prepared for us.
24 Q. So at any point, were you ordered to enter these trains?
25 A. They ordered us to board the rail cars, men to board the open rail
1 cars and women and children the closed ones. Since Ismet was dead, I went
2 to a rail car carrying this disabled aunt of mine. I met Mico at one
3 point and asked him, "Can I board the same rail car as my wife and
4 children and this disabled woman?" He nodded and I boarded a closed rail
5 car together with my family.
6 Q. Can we show these two pictures to the witness? On these two
7 pictures, we can see trains. Are they the same as you boarded?
8 A. Well, I don't know if they are precisely those, but they are the
9 same kind. We see here the closed rail cars and further down, we see the
10 open type of rail car. When I say "closed," I mean with a roof.
11 Q. And I'm done with these pictures. And you mentioned that you
12 asked one Mico whether you can join your wife. Whom are you referring
13 to? Who was this Mico?
14 A. Mico Dolic, who was wearing a military uniform. The same Mico who
15 issued us that ultimatum that day with Ranko Gvozden before we formed a
16 convoy. That's the same Mico who allowed me to come into the same rail
17 car as my family.
18 Q. While you were entering, boarding these trains, was -- were you
19 able to observe what went on outside, around these trains?
20 A. When I helped this disabled aunt of mine on to the train, I lay
21 her on the floor, then I looked around to see where my other relatives
22 were, if I could help them board the train, and I'll say the next -- the
23 adjacent rail car was an open type car. I couldn't see. And a soldier
24 came then calling out Hasan Merzihic, who was in one of the adjacent rail
25 cars and came out. The soldier took him towards the creek, towards a
1 small shop there, and when they reached a small bridge at that point, the
2 soldier killed him. Shot him dead.
3 Q. Did you see when this Hasan Merzihic was taken away? Did you see
5 A. I did.
6 Q. And did you see when he was shot?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. Was anybody else taken from this train?
9 A. They called out several people, some failed to respond, and they
10 didn't come in to look for them. I wasn't called out at all. And later
11 we closed the door to prevent our children from watching the scene. I was
12 afraid that somebody might call me out and take me away. I didn't look
14 Q. And you said some failed to respond. Did anybody respond?
15 A. No.
16 Q. So after you were aboard on these trains, can you describe how
17 many of you were in one wagon, in one of these trains?
18 A. I couldn't say exactly how many we were. We might have been up to
19 a hundred. There were men, women and children.
20 Q. Was it full or half full?
21 A. The rail car was full. There was this disabled woman. There were
22 sleeping children, people carried luggage. There was not much free space
23 around. It was mainly full.
24 Q. And where were you taken in this train?
25 A. Towards Prijedor, Banja Luka, and Doboj. Right outside Doboj, at
1 a small station, which I had never heard about before, called Stanari, we
2 stopped, and it was only the next --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction it was about 9.00 a.m.
4 in the morning.
5 A. We stopped there, we were hungry and thirsty. We asked for
6 water. We needed to change the clothes on our children. We stayed four
7 or five hours there. There were Serb troops around the rail cars and all
8 of a sudden, there came the order for men to be separated from women. We
9 were separated. And then they started loading us into closed rail cars,
10 140 persons per rail car. At least there were 140 in my rail car. They
11 closed the door behind us. Then we travelled on --
12 Q. I will stop you here for a second. I want to ask you, when you
13 left Bosanski Novi, or this Japra compound, approximately how many rail
14 cars was in your train?
15 A. I couldn't tell you exactly.
16 Q. Are you able to tell whether there were five, ten, 20, one?
17 A. There were at least 10 to 15.
18 Q. And you also mentioned that you -- you travelled until 9.00 in the
19 morning of the following day, that you were thirsty, hungry, you wanted to
20 change your clothes. Were you provided with water, with food?
21 A. No. We got nothing at all. We went to a creek and we drank
22 there, whether it was fit to drink or not. And then our women changed
23 their babies and washed them there, and they washed their nappies up until
24 to the point where they came and separated us.
25 Q. So after you were separated, you said that you men were loaded to
1 another rail cars. Do you know what happened to the women?
2 A. No. We didn't know. We boarded the closed carriages and we had
3 no notion of what was happening to the women. The women stayed outside
4 and we boarded the carriages, the very same one that the women and
5 children were on earlier on. So we were taken back and we did not know
6 anything about the women and the children, and at a bend, we saw that the
7 open carriages were no longer there. So it was clear to us that the women
8 and children were left behind, that they were not with us.
9 Q. So you were in these rail cars, in this train, and where were you
11 A. In the direction of Banja Luka, back to Bosanski Novi. And we got
12 to Banja Luka in late afternoon, early evening, and we were stopped there
13 and Serb soldiers were throwing stones and they were shouting, "This is
14 Alija's army. Open the door so we can cut off their ears." And they
15 swore us in other ways as well. And we kept quiet and we spent the night
16 there in the carriages.
17 And on the day after, in the morning, perhaps around 8.00 or 9.00,
18 of course, I couldn't tell you exactly because we didn't have our watches,
19 we had to relinquish everything. And then we were taken in the direction
20 of Prijedor, Omarska, and we got to Omarska and we just stood there for a
21 long time, and then later on we heard that the plan was to leave us there
22 at Omarska, but then there was apparently no agreement. And then we were
23 taken on to Prijedor and we stayed there as well for about an hour or two,
24 and then we were taken on to Brezicani which is the first station after
1 And then one man opened the doors and he had a hose, and we all
2 went to the water because we wanted a drink of water and it was very hot,
3 and we stayed there for about two hours maybe, and we were told afterwards
4 when we reached the camp that it wouldn't be safe to go through Svodna
5 village because there were some land mines and there were some civilians
6 there who were likely to shoot at the train, and then when some sort of
7 order was re-established --
8 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you but I'm reading, "we were told
9 afterwards, when we reached the camp that it wouldn't be safe to go
10 through Svodna village," et cetera. So I want you to tell us, you were in
11 the train, you were taken in Omarska, you were not received in Omarska,
12 they -- where did they take you from the Omarska? Just briefly.
13 A. Prijedor, Brezicani, and then Bosanski Novi.
14 Q. So how long this journey lasted? For how long did it last?
15 A. Almost the whole day. We got at the Mlakve stadium at about 4.00.
16 Q. First you stopped in Doboj when you were close to Doboj, when you
17 were separated from your women? No?
18 A. No, no. Not in Doboj. Before Doboj, there is a village called
19 Stanari, it is a small railway station, and it's called Stanari.
20 Q. So it was in the morning and did you reach --
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you reach Mlakve stadium the same day?
23 A. On the same day, we got to the stadium.
24 Q. So when the train arrived to -- back to Bosanski Novi, where
25 exactly is Mlakve stadium in relation to Bosanski Novi town?
1 A. When you enter Bosanski Novi, there is a railway line to the left
2 and Bihac, Bosanska Krupa, and Odzak are the places which follow.
3 Q. And how far is the station from the stadium? I'm talking about
4 this railway station where your train stopped.
5 A. I don't understand. What do you mean? The Bosanski Novi station
6 or Blagaj Japra station?
7 Q. No, what I mean, you said you were taken to Mlakve stadium. So
8 from which station -- from which railway station were you taken to the
9 Mlakve stadium and how far was this railway station from this stadium?
10 A. Well, from the direction of Blagaj, we did not enter the Bosanski
11 Novi station. There was a turnoff. I mean, you could go straight ahead
12 to the railway station but then we went across the bridge, in fact, in the
13 direction of Bihac, and so that railway line is near the stadium and it is
14 about 2 to 3 kilometres, perhaps 2 kilometres. That's the distance
15 between the Bosanski Novi railway station and the Mlakve stadium.
16 Q. And when you were taken to Mlakve stadium from this railway
17 station, were you accompanied by soldiers or did you go on your own?
18 A. No. We got off there. It was not a railway station. It was just
19 the railway line. And there were canals on both sides. And the doors
20 were opened and then there was an asphalt road to Bihac, and we were asked
21 to cross the road and enter the stadium. And we had the rows of Serb
22 soldiers flanking us as we got off the train and went into the stadium, so
23 basically it was as if you were escorting sheep somewhere.
24 Q. I would like to show the witness photos 1 to 6, from 1 until 6.
25 And these are just pictures of Mlakve football stadium. Can you briefly
1 always describe what we can see on these pictures? So you have picture
2 number 1.
3 A. This is the main stadium where we were held. And this is the
4 railing, and this is where the railway line is in the direction of Bihac,
5 as well as the main road.
6 Q. You said you were -- you were held on this field. Do you remember
7 approximately how many -- how many men were kept in that stadium?
8 A. I don't remember but it wasn't always easy to tell the precise
9 figure because people were taken away and brought in during the nights,
10 but somewhere around 750, 730. But I can't give you the precise figure,
11 as people were taken away and brought in, and that happened during the
12 night. And then in the morning, you saw new faces people I had not seen
13 before, et cetera.
14 Q. Can you have a look at the second picture? Again, can you tell
15 the Court what we can see and what do you know?
16 A. This is the perimeter and the bleachers and we had guards
17 everywhere, and in the middle, there was another guard, heavily armed, and
18 they were guarding us, watching us, all the time, and around the stadium,
19 there were guards as well, but these, the ones who were here were watching
20 us from an elevated position, as it were.
21 Q. You just said that there were guards. Are you able to tell us
22 whether they were soldiers, regular soldiers, military soldiers, whether
23 they were policemen?
24 A. No. They were Serb reservists, not regular soldiers, and not the
1 Q. And on this picture, are we -- are you able to tell us where you
2 were kept?
3 A. The entrance was here behind this woman on the picture here so we
4 went in this way and we slept underneath the bleachers. I can't tell you
5 exactly. And then -- that was the exit. The entrance and the exit. And
6 that's where we could sleep on concrete basically in toilets in the
8 Q. I will only briefly ask you, you mentioned this entrance. When
9 you enter the Mlakve stadium that day you arrived, were you registered?
10 A. Yes. Everybody was registered. Names and surnames. And there
11 was a roll call twice a day in the mornings and in the evenings.
12 Q. While you were in Mlakve stadium, were you interrogated?
13 A. No. I myself wasn't. Some people were. I don't know what
14 about. But I myself was not interrogated, as to the way we were treated,
15 well, they kept cursing us and swearing at us and saying, "Well what was
16 wrong with living with us before?" Et cetera.
17 Q. I will go back to conditions in this camp in a moment. I only
18 want to finish the pictures. Can you have a look at the third picture?
19 And can you tell the Court what we can see here.
20 A. You can see the same thing but from the other side. This is the
21 road, and to the left, there is another auxiliary stadium, as it were, and
22 this is where we were, where those glass panels are.
23 Q. And we can see on this picture some clothes hanging. What were
24 these building which were attached to the main tribune -- to the main
1 A. This is the stadium building. There were some apartments there
2 and some of them were even inhabited whilst we were being held there, but
3 for the most part they were inhabited by Serbs. There were no Muslims
5 Q. You said that some Serbs lived there. Were you able to contact
7 A. No, not at all. By no means.
8 Q. Picture number 4. What is this? Is it the main field or is it
9 that auxiliary field?
10 A. No. This is the auxiliary one. This is the auxiliary one.
11 Behind this here you can see -- behind is the river Una and behind there,
12 across the river, it's the territory of Croatia.
13 Q. You mentioned that there is the territory of Croatia. Were you
14 able to establish any contact from the outside world?
15 A. No. We were there but on the previous picture, where you can see
16 a glass panels, I mean people were looking across at Una and the UN
17 noticed it and they would come by, they would come by cars, and since
18 there is a road behind the river, and there were people passing by and
19 then they would turn their cars. And people would come to the windows to
20 the glass panels, and those driving by in their cars were flashing their
21 lights and greeting us and when the Serbs realised, they made it
22 impossible afterwards.
23 Q. You said that there were UN. Do you know what kind of people they
25 A. No, I didn't know. It's just that when we were released from the
1 stadium, when we went in the direction of Croatia, I saw blue helmets. I
2 didn't know who or what they were, but they escorted us all the way to
4 Q. Then we have picture number 5. It is again the main field,
5 which -- and we can see the houses. Were these houses -- did these houses
6 belong to Muslims or to Serbs?
7 A. It was a mixed population. There were both Serbs and Muslims
8 there. It was mixed.
9 Q. I'm done with the pictures.
10 Now I would like to ask you about the conditions in this camp.
11 You already said that you had to sleep on the floor. Did you have any
13 A. No blankets to speak of, no, no blankets. You simply had to lie
14 down where there was enough space. If there was not enough space to lie
15 down, you had to sit up. There were 730 or 750 people. There was not
16 enough space for all of us and people got head lice. We couldn't wash
17 properly. We had to wash with cold water, without soap, and sometimes
18 there was not even water, there was no electricity. I mean, the
19 conditions were hopeless.
20 Q. What about meals? Did you receive your meal regularly and how
22 A. No. We had a meal in the morning and another one in the evening,
23 but one kilo of bread would be divided amongst eight people. If it's
24 fresh bread, it's just one slice, and it's two pieces basically each, and
25 then the soup was so thin and it just looked like dish water, like when
1 you do the dishes, and the water that remains. That's what it looked
3 Q. And apart from the soup, did you receive -- soup and bread, did
4 you receive something else?
5 A. No, we didn't. And sometimes we were given salt in boxes, and
6 sometimes I put some salt in a piece of paper. And since I didn't have
7 anything to eat, I would just eat a bit of salt because otherwise I
8 couldn't even drink and I didn't have any bread and for 28 days, I didn't
9 even use the toilet because we didn't have enough to eat.
10 Q. How were you treated by the guards in this camp?
11 A. Well, it depended. We had different people there every week.
12 Some of them were all right. Sometimes they were taunting us. They would
13 bring along cigarettes and said that they could -- we could buy them, but
14 we didn't have any money, or then they said they would search us and if
15 they found any money, they would kill us. And then they opened the
16 packets and would sell cigarettes one by one just so that they could get
17 everything that we had out of us.
18 Q. During your stay in the camp, were you beaten?
19 A. Yes. I myself wasn't beaten but some people were.
20 Q. And was anybody injured while in the camp?
21 A. Yes and no. I mean, I once saw an underage boy being hit, and he
22 was hit in the stomach with a gun, that's something that I witnessed.
23 Perhaps there were other instances that I did not witness.
24 Q. And was there anybody ill during the stay in the camp? And was
25 any medical help provided, if necessary?
1 A. Some people were ill, but nobody provided any medical assistance.
2 You were sick, you were sick. There was nobody to complain to or ask for
3 anything. You just lasted as long as you could.
4 Q. Do you know whether doctors or a doctor ever come to the camp?
5 A. I don't know. As far as I'm aware, no. I only know that there
6 was somebody employed at the hospital once came along, and he gave us a
7 powder to stop the head lice spreading, but he didn't do it. They just
8 gave us this spray, the powder. And then the following day, they brought
9 a tank of cold water so that we could wash out the powder. That was all.
10 Q. And did you sustain any injury while in the camp?
11 A. I had a problem in my right eye. A Serb soldier hit me. I don't
12 know who he was. I don't know his name. But I still can't see from that
13 eye. It was already dark, almost night-time, and I didn't see who hit me,
14 and the eye remained closed until I got to Croatia. When I came to
15 Croatia, I went to the doctor. They tried to treat me and then I had
16 surgery when I was in Germany, but I -- I've lost my sight in that eye.
17 Q. How long did you stay in the camp?
18 A. On the 9th, we came out, so 45 days, a month and a half. We left
19 the houses on the 9th of June, and on the 11th of June, we entered the
20 camp, and on the 23rd of August, we left the camp.
21 Q. Before you left the camp, did you sign any papers?
22 A. Yes. We had to sign a paper stating that we were leaving the
23 municipality of Bosanski Novi permanently, voluntarily, and that we left
24 all our belongings to the Republika Srpska.
25 Q. This piece of paper you just described, did you sign it in the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 A. Yes, yes. Everybody had to sign.
3 Q. And who brought this piece of paper?
4 A. It came from the municipality, from the Crisis Staff. The people
5 who came along were civilians so I don't know who they were. They had two
6 desks and we were -- we were just filing by and putting our signatures on
7 to these documents.
8 Q. You said that they came, they had two desks. Were they civilians
9 or soldiers or were they in civilian clothes or in uniforms, these people
10 who brought --
11 A. They were civilians. They had civilian clothing and they had some
12 folders, some papers, and they put all that on to the desks. Everything
13 had been prepared in advance. All we had to do was put our signatures.
14 Q. I want to show the witness one other document. It's the new one,
15 P1627. And it says, among others, "Client Midho Alic, Declaration, I
16 hereby declare that I own no real estate in Bosanski Novi municipality,
17 under my own name, and that I am permanently leaving Bosanski Novi
19 We can see that the signature is not yours. Who was the person
20 who signed this document?
21 A. In the course of my stay at the stadium, I lived in Blagaj and I
22 had somebody here and she knew that it was possible to get those papers
23 and that people would be released on the basis of them, and she came along
24 one day, she brought some bread. Sometimes people were allowed to bring
25 food, sometimes they were not. So I managed to be in touch with her, and
1 I told her to sign the papers for me and her name was Mujic, Minka. She
2 is a cousin of mine -- or rather my sister. Because I didn't have
3 anything to my name. It was all in my father's name. All the property I
4 did have, my house and my father had his house, but it was all in his
6 Q. And at the end, you were released on 27 of -- I'm sorry, 23rd of
7 July, and you were put on convoy, is it correct, and you were taken to
8 Karlovac and then further?
9 A. Yes, yes. We crossed the Una river and we crossed over into
10 Croatia, the place called Dvor, and then across Glina, we got to
11 Karlovac. We were taken by bus.
12 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, I have three documents which I can
13 finish in five minutes but most probably tomorrow.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I think we have to stop here, otherwise,
15 we will create problems for the Trial Chamber that will start at quarter
16 past 2.00.
17 Mr. Alic, I thank you for your patience and your cooperation. We
18 haven't finished. Madam Richterova has got only a few minutes left, and
19 then you will be taken over on cross-examination by Mr. Trbojevic, I
20 suppose, and that will be tomorrow morning, starting at 9.00, for which
21 time this sitting is being adjourned. Thank you.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
23 1.46 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
24 the 31st day of January, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.