1 Thursday, 10th June, 1999
2 (Closed session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court).
5 --- Upon commencing at 9:45 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario
8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
14 redacted pages 3457 3528 (closed session)
16 (The witness withdrew)
17 MR. NICE: We can go into open session for
18 the next witness.
19 (Open session)
20 (The witness entered)
21 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness make the solemn
23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Take a seat.
2 MR. NICE: Before I start this witness's
3 evidence, can I deal with some matters of
4 administration which I think will save time? There are
5 bundles of proposed exhibits; I don't think they are
6 likely to be controversial. They are photographs and
7 maps. Can they be provided, two for the Defence, three
8 for the bench, and one for the registry? I'm neutral
9 as to whether they are distributed to Your Honours now
10 or whether the registry holds bundles and distributes
11 them item by item later. It may be that the Court
12 would like to have them as bundles in advance. But in
13 any event, that's one for the registry, three for the
14 bench, and two for the Defence.
15 I trust that the Court has already had
16 provided to it the synopsis or summary of what it is
17 forecast that the witness will be able to deal with.
18 JUDGE MAY: No.
19 MR. NICE: I simply don't understand. That,
20 I think, has gone to the Defence. I simply don't know
21 how that's happened, but I know that my staff has been
22 very busy on something else this morning. I will
23 arrange to have that copied, if I may, pretty well
24 forthwith, if Ms. Verhaag can leave the court and just
25 get that dealt with, or -- thank you very much.
1 While that's being done, can I make the
2 following suggestion about maps. As the Court will
3 know, from this or from other cases, there are lots of
4 aerial shots, but unfortunately the aerial shots are
5 frequently not taken from south/north. Some witnesses
6 and some of the rest of us prefer to deal with things
7 looking at them from south/north, and I know that this
8 witness will find all maps easier skewed round so that
9 they reorientate themselves north.
10 With that in mind, the Court might find it
11 helpful first simply to remind itself -- unless it is
12 already so familiar it doesn't need to be reminded --
13 with where Ahmici is on this map, which is a map that
14 probably need not trouble the witness, because it is an
15 area with which he is familiar.
16 Ahmici lies south and just slightly west of
17 Zenica. I know some of the Court's maps have been
18 marked, I think, in green highlighter, or in
19 highlighter. It's not terribly well marked, as it
20 happens, but it's -- well, my finger points out where
21 it is, if that's of any use (indicating), but it's
22 south and slightly west of Zenica. It lies on the road
23 between Vitez and Busovaca, and immediately in the
24 vicinity, other villages that will be referred to
25 include, to the west, Santici; further west, Dubravica;
1 and I think, possibly, just slightly to the south and
2 east, Nadioci. But in any event, one can see that the
3 road from Vitez runs east and slightly south on its way
4 down towards Busovaca.
5 It may help, right at the beginning, if I
6 deal with the maps now, through the witness, and I
7 happen to know that one of the maps, he has yet to
8 see. It will, I think, be the third map in the
9 collection that the Court has, the A3-size sheet, and
10 it's Prosecution Exhibit Z1585,1, and if that could be
11 made available to the witness.
12 JUDGE MAY: The witness must be introduced
14 MR. NICE: I'm so sorry, yes. I must ask him
15 for his name.
16 THE WITNESS: ABDULAH AHMIC
17 Examined by Mr. Nice:
18 [Witness answers through interpreter]
19 Q. Can you please tell us your full name?
20 A. My name is Abdulah Ahmic.
21 Q. Currently living in which town or village?
22 A. I live in Zenica.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. NICE: May the witness, then, now please
25 see, to help us with the geography, Exhibit Z1.585,1.
1 As I have already indicated, this is not a map that
2 he's had an opportunity to see so far today. Can I
3 invite the witness -- who, as he has heard me say,
4 prefers to deal with maps north/south -- to turn the
5 document on the overhead projector round so that it
6 faces north, because I'm sure this will help us all.
7 So if he would turn it pretty nearly upside down.
8 Q. Mr. Ahmic, if you could look at the document
9 on your right-hand side -- the usher will point you to
10 it -- and if you would like to turn it round so that it
11 faces north, which means turning it round pretty well
12 180 degrees, I think, can you please point out, first
13 of all, where Ahmici is on that map?
14 A. Ahmici is here (indicating). This is the
15 upper part, this is the middle part, and this is the
16 lower part of the village of Ahmici.
17 Q. We'll come to the location of particular
18 houses and other features later, but just to assist the
19 Tribunal with fitting this map into any other map or
20 maps -- take your time, because you haven't seen it
21 before -- can you tell us or show us on the map where
22 Santici is?
23 A. Santici starts here, and then you go all
24 round here. They cover a wide area (indicating).
25 Q. The last point to help us with on
1 orientation, will you, just having circled that whole
2 area of Santici, will you take the marker, please, to
3 the middle area. Just point to the middle of Santici,
4 where you were, on the main road.
5 A. This (indicating).
6 Q. That area there has a road going off to the
7 right, and on the map we see quite a large area of
9 MR. NICE: I think the Court will find that
10 that block of roads and features is sufficiently
11 recognisable that you'll be able to orientate every
12 other map that we come to.
13 I trust the Court now does have the synopsis
14 of evidence, and I'm able to deal with a large number
15 of matters very swiftly with this witness by agreement
16 with the Defence.
17 Q. Mr. Ahmic, were you born in 1963 in Ahmici,
18 becoming a skilled worker in a military factory until
19 1990, when you were then unemployed for two years?
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Before the multi-party elections in 1990,
22 were relations between Croats and Muslims living
23 locally relatively good?
24 A. The relations were relatively good.
25 Q. Following multi-party elections, were most of
1 the Muslims part of the SDA and the Croats of the HDZ?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Were you a party member, but did you resign
4 before the conflict?
5 A. Yes, that is correct too.
6 Q. The HVO was established in April 1992 with
7 its headquarters in the Hotel Vitez. Did the soldiers
8 of the HVO receive training in Grude, and did you see
9 them frequently passing through the village of Ahmici?
10 A. Since I lived nearby, near the road, the
11 Busovaca/Vitez road, I could frequently see the HVO
12 soldiers passing by in vehicles.
13 MR. NICE: I think it'll probably help if the
14 large map is left on the ELMO because we will find
15 ourselves referring to it from time to time. If you
16 could leave it there, orientated the same way, I would
17 be very grateful. Thank you.
18 Q. Is it the case that there were no HVO
19 barracks, either in or close to Ahmici, but that there
20 were local HVO soldiers living in the village?
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. Before the war, was Ahmici divided to this
23 extent, that there were some areas more populated by
24 Muslims and less by Croats than other areas?
25 A. There was a part, the upper part of the
1 village, where the Muslims were the only ones living
2 there, and then the other parts of the village of
3 Ahmici was more mixed.
4 Q. And you've already pointed it out, but rather
5 quickly, can you take the marker and just point on the
6 ELMO that part which was most densely populated by
7 Muslims? Move the plan, if you need another bit to
8 come into focus or the usher will help you do it.
9 A. This is the area where Muslims lived, and
10 where they were not mixed in with the Croats
12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Nice,
13 could you try to find out from the witness, what was
14 the proportion of Muslim population which lived in that
15 particular area of the village? I believe it is Upper
16 Ahmici we're talking about.
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. Can you help the Court? What was the
19 approximate percentage occupation of Upper Ahmici by
21 A. In Upper Ahmici, there were no Croats. It
22 was only Muslims who lived there, exclusively.
23 Percentage-wise, the population of Ahmici was -- the
24 upper part of the village, there was about 20 per cent
25 of the population, so that most of the population of
1 Ahmici lived in the lower and middle parts or sections
2 of the village.
3 Q. As to the other percentages in the village
4 generally, can you estimate those? Was it all Croats,
5 or were there other ethnic groups as well as Croats
6 present in the village?
7 A. Only Muslims and Croats lived in the village,
8 but Croats were significantly fewer in number. They
9 were a minority. But part of the Muslims who lived in
10 the area of Zume were not part of the local commune of
11 Ahmici, but rather the local commune of Santici. And
12 there were quite a few Muslims.
13 Q. We've already seen where Santici is. Does
14 this map enable us to identify Zume with particularity?
15 A. Yes, you can see it. I can show you where
16 the Muslims in Zume lived. That would be the local
17 community of Santici (indicating).
18 Q. Very well.
19 A. This is here (indicating).
20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) What was the
21 number of people inhabiting Ahmici in general?
22 MR. NICE:
23 Q. Can you help Judge Bennouna with that
25 A. I think about four to five hundred.
1 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) How many
2 houses were there in the village, and how many Muslims
3 were there in the village? Could we try to find that
4 out from the witness?
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. Can you help the Judge, please?
7 A. I think that there were about 400, 430, maybe
8 up to 450 Muslims.
9 MR. NICE: I forecast, but I'm not absolutely
10 certain, that we're going to hear detailed evidence of
11 analysis from another witness, possibly, from a witness
12 whose evidence is already part heard.
13 (Trial Chamber confers)
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. Dealing with the composition of the village
16 and with the presence of armed soldiers in the
17 village -- I beg your pardon, of soldiers in the
18 village, before any particular problems, you've told us
19 that there were no barracks. Were there HVO soldiers
20 living in the village?
21 A. Yes, there were.
22 Q. And at that time, was the Territorial Defence
23 also established with its headquarters in the high
24 school some kilometres away in Vitez?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Is it the position that the Territorial
2 Defence did not have many weapons nor proper uniforms
3 at that time and was primarily organised as a possible
4 defence against the Serbs?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Were you part of that Territorial Defence,
7 and was your brother the Ahmici commander, at least
8 until after an attack in October '92?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And your brother's first name was ... ?
11 A. His name was Muris.
12 Q. I want you now, please, to deal with events
13 of and immediately following the 19th of October of
14 1992. On that day, did the Territorial Defence in
15 Ahmici erect a barricade?
16 A. Yes. The Territorial Defence erected a
17 barricade on the Busovaca/Vitez road on the 19th of
18 October in the early evening hours.
19 Q. Why?
20 A. Because we learned that the Croatian army was
21 amassing in Kakanj and Busovaca, and they were to go to
22 Novi Travnik, where a conflict had broken out with the
23 Bosniaks. On that day we could even hear explosions
24 coming from the direction of Novi Travnik.
25 Q. So just explain or amplify your answer. What
1 was it that led from knowledge of this conflict that
2 was happening as near or as far as Novi Travnik, what
3 was it about that conflict that led to the decision to
4 block the road? What were you seeking or what was the
5 Territorial Defence seeking to do?
6 A. The conflict broke out probably because of
7 the intention of Croats to take over a military
8 factory, and our intention was to cut off the road and
9 prevent the HVO units to pass down that road between
10 Busovaca and Vitez.
11 Q. Can you point out, on the large map on the
12 overhead projector, approximately where the blockade
13 was erected?
14 A. It was erected here (indicating). There is a
15 Catholic cemetery here in this area (indicating), and
16 it was erected here (indicating).
17 Q. Before we leave that part of the map, where
18 was the house in which you lived at that time?
19 A. This would be my house (indicating).
20 Q. Thank you. The other side of the main road
21 from the majority of the village of Ahmici?
22 A. Yes. I was below the road, closer to the
23 Lasva River. That is where I lived.
24 Q. Can you remember at approximately what time
25 the barricade was first effectively a barricade?
1 A. It was erected just as it was growing dark.
2 It was dusk.
3 Q. When that had been done, where were you,
4 where did you go?
5 A. I was in the school yard in the village of
6 Ahmici when the barricade had been erected.
7 Q. Please point out where the school and school
8 yard are or were.
9 A. I believe that this is it (indicating).
10 Q. Before you leave that area, just to help the
11 Court in general orientation, the mosque of Ahmici,
12 where is or was that?
13 A. It was very close to this school building
14 (indicating). The mosque was around here
16 Q. The school, was that operating as the
17 headquarters for the time being for the Territorial
19 A. You could say so, even though we did not have
20 much equipment, so it didn't make it much of a
21 headquarters. But it is true that we gathered there.
22 Q. Did you have some communication facilities
23 there available to you?
24 A. Yes, it was a radio transmitter which we
25 called a RUP station, a RUP transmitter.
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, when you come to a
2 convenient moment.
3 MR. NICE: I was going to propose that
4 moment, because I know the balance of these two
5 paragraphs will take some time to deal with, although
6 what follows can be dealt with more swiftly.
7 JUDGE MAY: Very well. I hope it's going to
8 be practical to finish this witness tomorrow.
9 MR. NICE: Certainly. I have every reason to
10 think that's possible.
11 JUDGE MAY: While I have that in mind,
12 tomorrow's hours, we shall be sitting tomorrow at
13 10.00, not at 9.45, but we'll go on until 1.15, if we
14 have to, to complete the witness.
15 Mr. Ahmic, we're going to adjourn now until
16 half past 2.00. Could you please be back then.
17 Could you remember, in this adjournment and
18 any others there may be, not to speak to anybody about
19 your evidence, and don't let anybody speak to you about
20 it, and that does include members of the Prosecution.
21 THE WITNESS: Yes, I understand.
22 JUDGE MAY: Half past 2.00.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 MR. NICE: Before we resume the evidence, my
3 apologies to the interpreters for not having provided
4 them with the summary before the short adjournment. It
5 is now provided, but I do apologise for that.
6 Ms. Verhaag draws to my attention that I'm
7 making a nonsense of the record by not having the
8 aerial map marked. My intention is to have the witness
9 deal with a map of a different scale when we come to
10 matters of detail, but it's quite right that this map
11 ought to be marked, and I think perhaps with about
12 three or four markings.
13 Q. So if I could just ask the witness, please,
14 to take -- I think the orange pen will serve, to your
15 right -- and if you could very kindly just write on the
16 map that's on the ELMO a capital "A" for where your
17 house is -- capital 1 -- put just "1" for where your
18 house is. You can make it a big, bold figure, if you
19 want to. It would be easier.
20 A. (Witness complies)
21 Q. And then a "2" for where the school and the
22 mosque are roughly to be found.
23 A. (Witness complies)
24 Q. "3" for Lower Ahmici.
25 A. (Witness complies)
1 Q. And then "4" for Santici.
2 A. (Witness complies)
3 MR. NICE: If that could be put on the ELMO,
4 please. Well, it's -- thank you. We can't see those
5 figures, and I imagine that this map will therefore
6 have to be formally marked as 1.585,1 -- stroke 1, is
7 it? Something to that effect. Thank you.
8 Q. I'm picking up at the narrative at
9 paragraph 6. You were at the headquarters, such as it
10 was, at the school in Ahmici. Did information come to
11 you about four HVO military policemen? Just "Yes"
12 or "No."
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What was the information or intelligence
15 about those four policemen?
16 MR. STEIN: Objection, unless there's a
17 proper foundation laid.
18 MR. NICE: Let me deal with it in this way.
19 I'll come back to all the material that was narrated in
20 due course, but let's deal with the mechanism first.
21 Q. Just "Yes" or "No": Intelligence came to you
22 about four soldiers?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. From whom did you personally hear that
1 A. I heard it from fellows who were in the --
2 (French translation cut in)
3 MR. STEIN: Excuse me. We're lost. We just
4 got French on our headsets.
5 JUDGE MAY: I know. The French
6 interpretation is coming through with the English.
7 Let's try again.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. From whom did you personally hear that
11 A. I heard it from those guys who were in the
12 schoolyard, in the yard of the school in which I was.
13 Q. From where had those guys learnt what they
14 told you?
15 A. Somebody had brought the news, somebody who
16 had been at the barricade came to the schoolyard, and
17 that is how the story spread that four soldiers were
18 disarmed at the barricade and turned back to Vitez.
19 Q. Don't give me the contents of what you were
20 told, for the time being; I just want the method by
21 which it reached you.
22 So somebody from the barricade had come to
23 the schoolyard. As you understood it, had the event
24 concerning the four policemen happened at the
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. NICE: In these circumstances, this is
3 information -- we've seen it geographically without
4 having yet had the barricade marked on the plan, but
5 it's information coming from the barricades on the
6 road, back up to the school house, communicated to the
7 people at the school house and to this man. This is
8 all part of the background to this event. This
9 particular part of information relates only, at this
10 stage, to what happened to the soldiers -- before
11 Mr. Stein, who has more particular concern, rises --
12 because paragraph 6, although inclusive, is not as
13 precise as it might be, and this piece of intelligence
14 relates to what happened to the soldiers only. I'll
15 deal with anything that happened thereafter later.
16 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry. What you're asking
17 for is the evidence relating simply to the soldiers,
18 not what it was reported as being said about the
20 MR. NICE: Correct. Well, what was said by
21 way of a threat or warning later is a separate incident
22 which I'll deal with separately. This is just what
23 happened to the soldiers.
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Stein, is there any
25 objection to that, the car being stopped, report of?
1 MR. STEIN: No, sir.
2 MR. NICE: For safety, I think I'll deal with
3 it, if I may, in a leading format, because that will
4 probably avoid any risks.
5 Q. Is it right, Mr. Ahmic, that you were
6 informed that a car with four HVO military policemen
7 had been stopped at the barricade?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Is it right that your understanding was that
10 those soldiers were disarmed?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And that four weapons, rifles, were
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And that the soldiers had to return from the
16 barricades back where they had come from?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And from which direction had they apparently
20 A. As far as I know, from the direction of
22 Q. Now, I want you to answer the next questions
23 just "Yes" or "No." Do you understand me?
24 A. I do, yes.
25 Q. At some stage, was a warning or threat
1 received? Just "Yes" or "No."
2 A. We did --
3 Q. Just "Yes" or "No."
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Was it one warning or threat, or more than
6 one, of which you were aware?
7 A. As far as I know, there was only one threat.
8 Q. As far as you understood it, did the threat
9 come at the same time as the person brought information
10 about the military policemen being sent back, or did it
11 come at a different time?
12 A. It came later.
13 Q. I now want to ask you -- I want you to deal
14 only with your understanding of the mechanism, the
15 route by which the warning or threat came, and I want
16 you to say nothing about the content of it. Do you
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. How much later did the threat or warning
21 A. Four hours later, I think.
22 Q. From whom did you hear it?
23 A. I heard about the threat also from those
24 fellows who were in the yard in which I was at the
1 Q. As you understood it, and again don't say
2 anything about any names or anything of that sort, or
3 anything about the content of the threat, but as you
4 understood it, how had they learned of this warning or
6 A. They had received the information from our
7 men who were in the direction of Zume and those men of
8 ours who were in a way deployed towards Zume, and a
9 courier came from the Croat side and transmitted the
10 threat. Somebody, needless to say, then transmitted
11 the message to the staff, and that is how it spread.
12 Q. That was four hours after the incident
13 involving the military policemen. Approximately what
14 time of the day, evening, or night was this?
15 A. Evening hours.
16 Q. Did an attack come subsequently?
17 A. No. Yes, in the morning.
18 Q. So how much after the threat did the attack
20 A. Around 9.00, 9.00 or 10.00.
21 Q. How many men were guarding or stationed at
22 Ahmici at about the time of the blockade being set up
23 and the warning or threat being received?
24 A. Perhaps around 200. Not more than 200.
25 Q. So from what you've told us earlier about the
1 population of Ahmici itself, does this involve men
2 coming from areas wider than Ahmici itself?
3 A. Yes. About half of the men came from outside
4 to help, and half of them came from our place.
5 Q. To what degree were these men armed at this
7 A. They were very poorly armed. I don't think
8 that half of them had any weapon at all.
9 Q. How widely, to your knowledge, how widely
10 dispersed around Central Ahmici were these men? Use
11 the map that's still on the ELMO, if that would help.
12 A. They were deployed like this (indicating).
13 Here was the school (indicating), and then some men
14 were here (indicating), and then they were deployed
15 like this (indicating). The barricade was here
16 (indicating), and some were deployed above the village,
17 that is, around Gornje, and they were at different
19 Q. You pointed to the barricade, but it may be
20 that I misunderstood the pointing. Could you please
21 take the orange pen, and I think we're up to number 5,
22 and could you mark in a big, bold figure where the
23 barricade was, roughly? Write it as a "5." Write the
24 figure "5," please, just as big and bold as you like,
25 because we've all got other copies of the plan.
1 A. (Witness complies)
2 Q. Thank you. To the north, you told us about
3 men being in the direction of Zume who, as you
4 understood it, received the warning from the
5 messenger. How far, roughly, were those men?
6 A. The courier came directly to those men of
8 Q. Can you point on the plan where those men, as
9 you understood it, were?
10 A. Somewhere here (indicating), here or here or
11 there (indicating). I'm not quite certain myself, but
12 that is roughly where they were.
13 Q. Are you saying then, as you understood it,
14 the courier came off the main road and up the street to
15 the area of the school and the mosque?
16 A. No, no. The courier came from this
17 direction. This is the road he took.
18 Q. Well, then can you mark that, please, or part
19 of that road with a big, strong "6" on the plan?
20 A. (Witness complies)
21 Q. The following morning then, an attack
22 occurred. What damage was done to buildings?
23 A. Fire was put to them, to three or four
24 houses. They did it mostly with incendiaries, and some
25 10 to 15 houses were damaged, and about ten stables
1 were also set on fire.
2 Q. The incendiary devices that set fire to those
3 buildings, were you able to tell from which direction
4 they came?
5 A. The attack mostly came from these directions
6 like that (indicating), like this, more or less, and
7 from here (indicating). From this direction, in the
8 direction of the barricade, that is where their attacks
9 came from, from here and from there and like this
11 MR. NICE: The witness has marked, in very
12 general terms, attacks coming from both the east and
13 the west towards the barricade.
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. Did something happen to the mosque in the
17 course of this attack?
18 A. Yes, it did. It was hit -- its minaret was
19 hit by a shell from a recoilless gun.
20 Q. Was it possible to say from which direction
21 that shell had come?
22 A. I saw it being hit. From the direction of
23 Zume is where the projectile came.
24 Q. [Indiscernible] indicates roughly the figures
25 "7" and "6" on the map, as marked. At that stage,
1 although damaged, did the minaret remain standing?
2 A. Yes. It was the top that had been hit only.
3 Q. Was anyone killed in the course of this
5 A. Amongst us, Halid Pezer was killed.
6 Q. He was how old?
7 A. Fifteen or sixteen years of age.
8 Q. Did you personally see anything of his being
10 A. No, I didn't.
11 Q. Where was he when he was shot, as you
12 understood it?
13 A. He was near the barricade, but not at the
14 barricade itself.
15 Q. At this stage, how many armed Territorial
16 Defence people were there defending the village,
18 A. I believe there were about 60 armed men.
19 Q. Their rifles or other arms having come from
21 A. Some of the rifles had been brought by those
22 guys who came to help, and we had some too.
23 Q. How long did the attack last?
24 A. It lasted from about 6.00 in the morning
25 until 2.00 in the afternoon. That is, one could hear
1 shots being fired until 2.00 in the afternoon.
2 Q. Were you there yourself in Ahmici for all of
3 that time or had you moved before 6.00 in the
5 A. I was there in the morning, and during the
6 attack there by the school, then I went out. But I was
7 mostly involved with the evacuation of civilians. I
8 was trying to help the civilian population as much as I
9 could, so that I first helped them to pull out to
10 Gornji Ahmici, and when the upper part of the village
11 came under shell fire, then I helped them to pull out
12 towards the village of Vrhovina, which is to the north
13 of the village of Ahmici.
14 Q. Are either of these places shown on the map
15 that we have here, Gornji Ahmici first?
16 A. (Indicating)
17 Q. Right off to the right. If you could mark
18 that, please, again with a good, strong "7."
19 A. (Witness complies)
20 Q. Thank you. The other village to which you
21 evacuated or assisted in the evacuation of civilians
22 was where?
23 A. It was to the north, north of this village,
24 up there.
25 Q. The name of this village?
1 A. Vrhovina.
2 MR. NICE: That is actually not shown on this
3 plan, but the Court can see it on the coloured map.
4 It's just to the north.
5 Q. I want to now, please, return to the warning
6 or threat that had been received, and I want you,
7 please, to deal with these questions quite carefully.
8 First, saying nothing of any named
9 individual, can you tell us what was the nature of the
10 threat or the warning that you received?
11 MR. STEIN: With respect, I think we're
12 getting so dangerously close that we won't be able to
13 extricate ourselves.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. What is the objection?
15 MR. STEIN: As I understand the testimony
16 that's come in, there has been some individual or
17 individuals noted as couriers who, at a certain time
18 yet on the record, went to some fellows who were in the
19 Zume area and gave them some sort of statement or
20 warning or threat. They, in turn, talked to fellows in
21 another location, in the schoolyard near the blockade,
22 and those persons, in turn, told this individual.
23 That's four layers. As to what was said, how it was
24 said, who said it, the specifics, it's four layers of
25 one message, even if it is a message, the clarity of
1 which is in doubt, the specifications of which are in
2 doubt, and the author of which is in doubt.
3 JUDGE MAY: But it does have this indicia, if
4 you like, it does have this characteristic, that what
5 he said is repeated must have been repeated fairly
6 quickly, even if from mouth to mouth, and within a
7 relatively short area, and it does have, does it not, a
8 degree of spontaneity about it or there wouldn't have
9 been the opportunity to manufacture, even if there's
10 the opportunity, of course, of something being
12 MR. STEIN: Yes, and the spontaneity in this
13 particular instance probably goes the other way around,
14 in that this was a confrontation, confrontational
15 situation, barricades, armed men. It was a war, if you
16 will, and consequently the issue of the kind of
17 spontaneous declaration that would go and therefore
18 mean a truthful statement, it seems to me, goes the
19 other way, because people were on edge, hyper,
20 concerned, hypervigilant perhaps, much was getting
21 distorted, and so while I understand Your Honour's
22 thought, I think it actually turns the other way in
23 this particular circumstance and negates the
24 reliability as opposed to enhances it.
25 JUDGE MAY: We'll consider this.
1 MR. NICE: Can I add two points, with leave?
2 Simply one, that of course the content of the
3 threat, that is, the nature of the threat, forget any
4 name that is mentioned, was borne out by events, giving
5 some objective reliability to the making of the threat
6 and its connection.
7 As to the question of any alleged maker,
8 original maker of the threat, I don't necessarily want
9 this material in for that reason at this stage, for
10 there is a difference between threats being made or
11 warnings being given in the name of a person and the
12 fact that those warnings are given in that person's
13 name necessarily coming from him or her.
14 At this stage, bearing in mind the state of
15 the evidence as it presently is, what I want is the
16 nature of the warning and in whose name it was given.
17 Connections between the name identified and the real
18 source of the warning may be derived from other
19 material, but I'm not necessarily suggesting that in
20 itself, it goes right the way back to the source. But
21 there is every reason to believe that the warning, as
22 delivered, is faithfully reproduced.
23 To take a homely example. It's the, "Your
24 father will punish you when you come home if you
25 haven't done your homework," that sort of thing.
1 Threats can be made in the names of others for all
2 sorts of reasons.
3 At this stage, I wish the evidence to be
4 given in full, because there is every reason to believe
5 it's reliable as recounted.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is it then the fact of the
7 threat as distinct from the truthfulness of it?
8 MR. NICE: No. The threat could be truthful,
9 but the full range of the threat -- it would be asking,
10 I think, on its own, quite a lot of this material, to
11 trace right the way back to the originator. One can
12 well imagine circumstances in which people say, "I am
13 making this threat in the name of so and so," and that
14 they make that threat is entirely reliable. They would
15 make it, for example, because that is indeed the boss,
16 that is, the person who might originate such a threat,
17 whether he did or did not on this occasion, being a
18 matter for other evidence.
19 So what we want at the moment is this
20 evidence in for the fact that it was said. Its value,
21 as with all hearsay, will be for later assessment when
22 any other evidence is available, but that it was said
23 is what I want at the moment.
24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Just a
25 question to Mr. Nice. Mr. Nice, if I understood you
1 well, it is not the first time that we are hearing
2 about this barricade which was built on the road
3 leading from Vitez to Busovaca and crossing Ahmici. I
4 think that this Chamber has already listened to a
5 witness who has told us about this barricade and a
6 possible threat made by one of the accused. Can you
7 confirm what I'm saying or am I wrong in any way?
8 MR. NICE: I think Your Honour is right. I
9 regret I don't have chapter and verse, but I think we
10 can certainly find it for you.
11 MR. STEIN: If I may -- thank you, Judge --
12 the fact that there was ultimately an attack does not
13 corroborate the efficacy of the threat or what was
14 said. They could be two distinct -- and indeed are two
15 distinct events. The fact that something happened
16 after the threat was made may be just pure
17 happenstance, but the thing that is so insidious, so
18 concerning to us, is that Mr. Nice is essentially
19 saying he wants the statement in to show that it might
20 have been made in the name of, even though the person
21 whose name it was made in the name of may never have
22 said it. And the fact that there are four distances
23 removed, we will never be able to confront the
24 individual who claims that in the name of Mr. Kordic,
25 or anyone else, such a thing was said, because we don't
1 know who that individual was and no one in this
2 courtroom ever will.
3 So not only do you have it in his name, and
4 what was said is in doubt, and whether he ever said it,
5 when you weigh all that, the prejudicial effect clearly
6 outweighs the probative value.
7 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) Your Honour, I
8 may be able to assist. It's not so much a legal
9 argument as a question of the culture in Bosnia.
10 Bosnia is well known for creating stories and legends.
11 The writer, Ivo Andric, was awarded a Nobel prize, and
12 he was an excellent storyteller. I think it is an
13 element we should bear in mind. Stories are created
14 very quickly in Bosnia. Thank you.
15 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
16 JUDGE MAY: We've considered this
17 application; we shall admit the evidence. We think it
18 carries with it its own characteristics, which I've
19 referred to, of closeness in time and place, so that it
20 is potentially -- and I say "potentially" -- reliable,
21 despite the fact that it is reported through a number
22 of mouths. We bear in mind too what is said about the
23 importance of the threat as relied on as opposed to any
24 allegation of who ultimately made the threat.
25 All these are matters which will have to be
1 considered when we look at all the evidence together,
2 but for the moment, we're satisfied that it has
3 probative value, and as such, should be admitted.
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. Mr. Ahmic, what was the nature of the threat
6 or warning made, as you understand it?
7 A. It was said, "Remove the barricade or you
8 will be burnt, your houses will be burnt, and you will
9 be killed."
10 Q. Was it said from whom that message had come?
11 A. We were told that this was a message from
12 Dario Kordic, and this threat was intended to be
13 reported to my brother, Muris, the commander, and not
14 to the people in general. It was -- we were told to
15 carry this message to our leader.
16 Q. At that stage, October 1992, had you met
17 Dario Kordic yourself?
18 A. I did not know Dario Kordic until he began to
19 appear in the media, and I remember that in 1991, in
20 Vitez, when the census began -- I think, by the way he
21 looks, that it was him -- it was a preparation for the
22 census which took place in all of Yugoslavia.
23 Q. And was it to do with the census that you met
24 him or had something to do with him?
25 A. I didn't meet him, but I noticed him, and
1 later, when he appeared in the media.
2 Q. The evacuation of the population of Ahmici
3 following this attack, was that also associated with
4 removal of the barricade?
5 A. The evacuation of the population was carried
6 out spontaneously. The evacuation began before the
7 checkpoint was removed.
8 Q. Was the checkpoint removed voluntarily or by
10 A. By force. The people manning the checkpoint
11 ran out of ammunition and they had to withdraw.
12 Q. Had any other village or community in the
13 area of Vitez or Busovaca shown the level of resistance
14 to the HVO that Ahmici showed on this occasion in
15 October '92?
16 A. It was the first conflict, as far as I
17 remember, between the HVO and the Territorial Defence,
18 at least in our region.
19 Q. Thank you. Between then and April of 1993,
20 was there any other local active conflict or resistance
21 of this scale, putting up a roadblock on the main road?
22 A. Later, there were conflicts on the territory
23 of Busovaca municipality, but the conflict first began
24 in Novi Travnik, and the very next day, Ahmici was
25 attacked. Afterwards, from 1992 and early 1993, there
1 were clashes on the territory of the Busovaca
3 Q. Then I'll turn to those, and I'll pick up the
4 story quite swiftly now, in the summary, at page 3.
5 Following the October attack, were there
6 negotiations between the HVO and the Territorial
8 A. Yes, there were negotiations.
9 Q. Did the HVO demand the surrender of the
10 Territorial Defence and all their weapons?
11 A. Yes. They demanded that all weapons should
12 be surrendered, and they confiscated a good part of the
14 Q. But by way of handing over weapons, were the
15 four rifles that had been taken from the military
16 police handed over?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were there limitations thereafter on the
19 places where the Territorial Defence could patrol?
20 A. Yes. We were no longer allowed to patrol,
21 except in the upper part of the village, which the HVO
22 had not entered. We could patrol there normally, but
23 not in the lower part of the village.
24 Q. Following the October attack, did you become
25 aware of the HVO arming themselves?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you become aware of units from places
3 such as Herzegovina, Kresevo, and Kiseljak coming into
4 your region?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Were there increasing numbers of HVO soldiers
7 in Ahmici itself?
8 A. Yes, we could notice it.
9 Q. Were they just staying in houses or did you
10 have reason to believe that they were staying
12 A. A unit arrived in the restaurant "Bungalow,"
13 which is in the immediate vicinity of Ahmici, and they
14 set up a military camp or barracks there. We also
15 noticed that especially at night, certain people
16 unknown to us would arrive in Ahmici and patrol there
17 together with the local Croats from Ahmici.
18 Q. Can you please, on the map, if it's possible,
19 show us where the Bungalow was?
20 A. Here (indicating).
21 Q. Perhaps you could mark that, please, with a
22 large figure "8."
23 A. (Witness complies)
24 Q. Apart from people at and from the Bungalow,
25 did you become aware of people who you thought might be
1 staying in a wood?
2 A. Yes, we concluded that there were soldiers in
3 the wood as well, in the immediate vicinity of my
5 Q. So we've seen -- you've marked your house as
6 number 1; it's not very clear, but we can find it.
7 There's to the south of your house, on the map, a
8 rectangular block. Is that the wood you're referring
9 to? Just point it out, please.
10 A. This is the wood (indicating).
11 Q. Thank you. And how did you work out that
12 there may have been people there?
13 A. Well, we noticed that in the morning, people
14 would take coffee and breakfast into the wood. It was
15 mostly the Croatian women who did this. They went to
16 the wood often, carrying coffee and breakfast and
17 lunch, so that it was easy to establish that they were
18 taking this to someone.
19 Q. Was there a build-up in the number of military
20 vehicles and trucks that you saw?
21 A. Yes, mostly along this road, the
22 Busovaca/Vitez road, from 1992 to 1993, it was mostly
23 HVO military vehicles that used this road, because the
24 communications to Zenica were cut off near the village
25 of Lasva, so that there was no civilian traffic. It
1 was very scarce. So it was mostly military vehicles
2 which used this road.
3 Q. Nevertheless, was the position about there
4 being barracks in Ahmici for the ABiH the same, namely,
5 that there were no such barracks?
6 A. As far as I know, on the territory of the
7 Vitez municipality, there were only three places where
8 the Territorial Defence had organised accommodation for
9 soldiers: In Preocica, Kruscica -- in Preocica and
10 Kruscica, and in Vitez, they only had a headquarters.
11 MR. NICE: We needn't trouble the witness
12 with the coloured map, but Preocica is pretty well
13 immediately to the north of Ahmici, and Kruscica is
14 immediately south of Vitez -- well, perhaps towards --
15 north and a little to the west. I don't know if the
16 Court's managed to find them yet.
17 Q. Did tension between Croats and Muslims
18 increase between October '92 and April '93?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Were there, as you've explained, incidents in
21 various locations between the parties?
22 A. Yes, there were incidents in the village of
23 Ahmici and especially in Vitez. In Vitez, the
24 situation was incredible. I remember once I spent the
25 night in Vitez, and there was a lot of noise, breaking
1 of glass, gunfire, and I saw that the situation was
2 terrible at that time, especially in Vitez. They would
3 smash up shops owned by Bosniaks. As regards the
4 village of Ahmici, they would often fire at houses,
5 they would blow up cars, we would hear explosions which
6 we could not explain but which disturbed us, and so
8 Q. Did the HVO have checkpoints over the main
10 A. Yes, the HVO had many, many various
11 checkpoints, whether on the main road or at the
12 entrances to their villages. They had an incredible
13 number of checkpoints where they plundered, looted
14 property, and prevented the passage of people, mostly
16 Q. Did the ABiH have some checkpoints at
17 entrances to villages which were principally occupied
18 by Bosnians, Bosniaks?
19 A. As far as I can remember, if there were any,
20 there were very few, because we didn't have enough
21 people to man these checkpoints, because our --
22 Q. That's all right. I'm sorry to cut you
23 short, Mr. Ahmic, but some of these matters have been
24 heard of by the Court before, and we don't have to go
25 into everything in detail.
1 Coming to the 16th of April, did you notice
2 something a few days before the 16th of April, a change
3 in the area?
4 A. I have already described the situation from
5 1992, October 1992. Four days before the attack, the
6 situation had become incredibly quiet, and this seemed
7 very odd to me. It was a camouflage. It was a
8 concealment by the HVO. At least, that's how it seemed
9 to me.
10 Q. Was that a commonly held view, or were there
11 others who regarded the period of quiet optimistically?
12 A. Yes, most people viewed this optimistically,
13 so that this really deceived us quite a lot.
14 Q. On the morning of the 16th of April itself,
15 at about 5.30 in the morning, were you awoken by the
16 sound of artillery fire?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you assume an HVO attack?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Were you able to judge from which areas,
21 approximately, the attack was coming?
22 A. I assumed, and most probably the attack came
23 from three directions: From the east, the south, and
24 the west. That is, Nadioci, Rovna, and Santici.
25 Q. Did you see soldiers in the area of your
1 neighbour's house?
2 A. Yes, I noticed soldiers very soon.
3 MR. NICE: Can the witness now have laid on
4 top of this large map, to which he may return, the plan
5 Z1.527, and the Chamber, having become familiar with
6 the larger map, will again find it easy to have this
7 map upside down. It makes it a little inconvenient for
8 the witness because it's a premarked map, and the
9 figures will be upside down, but I'm sure, on balance,
10 it's better to deal with it this way because the map
11 will now already be familiar as to some of its
13 Q. This map shows, in a larger scale, the road
14 on the opposite side of the main road leading down to
15 your house, which is marked as number 1; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The neighbour's house of which you speak, is
19 that number 2? Or is that some other dwelling?
20 A. The neighbour's house is marked with "2," and
21 it's Hajrudin Ahmic's house.
22 Q. The soldiers that you saw there, did you
23 recognise any one of them by sound or sight?
24 A. I recognised two guys from Nadioci by sight.
25 I think the name of one of them is Delic. He was
1 rather -- was strongly built and middle-aged, and the
2 other one was also middle-aged and had a long neck.
3 They were torching a house, and around there were
4 another four or five soldiers. They had a canister
5 filled with gasoline.
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Nice,
7 you asked the witness whether he was able to recognise
8 soldiers; is that so?
9 MR. NICE: Yes.
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Which
11 soldiers are you talking about?
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. Mr. Ahmic, the people who were at the
14 next-door house, were they soldiers, or were they
15 civilians? How were they dressed?
16 A. They were wearing military uniforms. They
17 were soldiers who had attacked these houses. Most
18 probably they were HVO soldiers.
19 Q. His Honour drew to our attention that I had
20 failed to sort that detail out in advance. As to these
21 soldiers, or these people dressed in military uniform,
22 were you able to see any distinguishing patches at that
24 A. No, I did not, and I wasn't paying attention
25 to their insignia at the time.
1 Q. The man Delic, did you know him as a member
2 of any military group or not?
3 A. Yes, I think he was a member -- at least I
4 saw him among the reserve police members before the
6 Q. Apart from the other man you've described, or
7 another man you've described, did you hear anything
8 said by anyone at about this time in the morning?
9 A. Yes, I heard a voice, and I assumed that --
10 it was similar to Ivo Papic's voice.
11 Q. Ivo Papic being a resident of which
13 A. We were neighbours. He was very close to my
15 Q. Can you show on the map how near he lived to
16 your house?
17 A. Ivo Papic's house was here (indicating).
18 Q. Indicates the bottom centre of the plan, the
19 plan being upside down.
20 What did you hear him say?
21 A. He said, "Faster, faster, to this house." He
22 was referring to the house where I was. He said, "Move
23 off from there. You won't find anything there." This
24 is what I heard. In other words, he was calling
25 soldiers from Fahrudin Ahmic's house, which is marked
1 with "2."
2 Q. And directing them to whose house?
3 A. That they should go to my house, marked with
4 the number "1."
5 Q. Your brother had had a role in relation to
6 the Territorial Defence locally; did he still hold that
7 position or had he by now resigned it?
8 A. My brother immediately resigned, that is,
9 immediately after the first attack on the village of
11 Q. Did the soldiers come to your house, and did
12 you hear an explosion and then two shots?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Until that time, had your brother been
15 downstairs in the basement, with you on the ground
16 floor, you communicating with him by shouting between
18 A. Yes, we communicated among ourselves. We
19 shouted out to each other, and we said to each other,
20 "We can't go anywhere. Our houses are surrounded."
21 And shortly thereafter, there was an explosion, boom, a
22 loud explosion, followed by two small-arms weapons --
23 shots from two small-arms weapons.
24 Q. Did HVO soldiers then demand entry by banging
25 at the door, and did you and your father go outside to
1 be faced by two heavily armed soldiers?
2 A. They first shot at the door with bursts of
3 fire, and then they called us out, and my father and I
4 then opened the door.
5 Q. When you saw the soldiers, did they have
6 painted faces, bulletproof vests, with light blue
7 ribbons on their sleeves?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Could you tell of what military group they
10 were members?
11 A. They did not have any military insignia.
12 They were only dressed in camouflage uniforms.
13 Q. Did they ask for weapons, and did you hand
14 over a hand grenade, being the only weapon that you
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did one of them ask you whether you knew what
18 your people had done in the villages of Dusina and
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you ask them what had happened?
22 A. Yes, I asked what was the meaning of that. I
23 asked one of the two, and then he said just what you
24 now quoted. That is what he said.
25 Q. Did these two soldiers you were facing appear
1 to know each other well or not, or can't you say?
2 A. My impression was that they did not know each
3 other very well, but I'm not sure.
4 Q. Did the older soldier repeatedly tell the
5 younger to carry out an order?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did the younger man refuse, being told by the
8 elder that he would pay for his disobedience later?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was the younger man sent to guard your mother
11 and sisters, who were in the yard?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Was your father then ordered by the older man
14 to move in the direction -- you say, I think, the
15 direction of Rovna, but looking at the plan with your
16 house shown on it, would that be to the north, east,
17 south, or west of the house?
18 A. From the south.
19 Q. From that moment, did you and your father see
20 that your brother was lying dead on the floor?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Your father, I think, broke down but was
23 immediately shot in the head by the older soldier and
24 appeared to die immediately?
25 A. The soldier ordered him. He was the one who
1 was next to my brother Muris. He told him to step out
2 two steps, and he barely did it, and then he shot him
3 in the temple and killed him.
4 Q. Did the soldier also then shoot you?
5 A. He immediately, after that, he told me to
6 step out two steps, and then he shot a bullet into my
8 Q. You moved your head just before he delivered
9 the shot, and the bullet both entered and exited your
10 head; is that correct?
11 A. Probably. He hit me in the left side of the
12 head, and the bullet exited through my right cheek.
13 Q. Did you fall to the ground and pretend to be
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did the older soldier walk away, although
17 checking that you were apparently dead on one occasion?
18 A. Yes. He started coming back, but then he
20 Q. How long did you stay in the position that
21 you had taken on the ground?
22 A. Very briefly. Perhaps a minute or two.
23 Q. What did you know of the condition of your
24 mother and sisters?
25 A. Mainly that they had stayed behind in the
1 hallway in the house, they were very pale, and then I
2 did not see them after that.
3 Q. Was there anything you felt you could do to
4 help them at that stage or not?
5 A. There was no chance of my helping them.
6 Q. Where did you go from your house?
7 A. I went running to the main Vitez-Busovaca
9 Q. Had you seen some vehicles moving along the
10 road at that time?
11 A. At that time, nothing was coming. But while
12 I was being executed, there were vehicles passing down
13 that road.
14 Q. Was that United Nations vehicles?
15 A. Yes. There was a convoy there.
16 Q. Looking at the plan, can you point
17 whereabouts on the road you went?
18 A. I ran to this position, to this place marked
19 with number 4 (indicating).
20 Q. Did you stay hiding in that area for the
21 whole of that day and the following night?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Were you able to hide in what was effectively
24 a drain, or a ditch or stream covered with a drain?
25 A. It was a drain for a stream which was passing
1 under this road.
2 Q. Were you hoping to see further United Nations
3 vehicles that you could alert to your condition and
5 A. I was on the road for only five minutes, and
6 then I had to climb down into the drain because I
7 noticed soldiers running towards me from the direction
8 of Zume.
9 Q. So had you at least hoped to see United
10 Nations vehicles? Just "Yes" or "No."
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. But in the event, staying in this stream, did
13 you see movements of other soldiers throughout that
15 A. Yes, I did see them.
16 Q. In any event, you did not see any United
17 Nations soldiers who could help you?
18 A. No, but occasionally I would hear vehicles
19 passing over me on the road.
20 Q. Did you have to submerge almost completely in
21 the water, when soldiers were in the area, to avoid
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Nevertheless, were you able to see soldiers
25 and to see the markings on their shoulders and
1 elsewhere that indicated what groups they came from?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What markings did you see or what other
4 indicators of military groups did you see?
5 A. I saw the HVO insignia, HV insignia, and the
6 special-purpose unit Vitezovi insignia.
7 MR. NICE: Could you look, please, at
8 Exhibits 2564 and 1529, which are the two patches, or
9 coloured copies of them? Could they just be laid on
10 top of the plans? Please don't move the plans, because
11 we'll come back to them.
12 Q. How did the patches that you saw compare with
13 the patches now being shown to you?
14 A. They were similar to these. They looked like
16 Q. Did you also see people with distinctive
17 coloured belts?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What was the significance of them? What was
20 the colour of the belts, and what was the significance?
21 A. The belts were white, and I assumed that
22 these were the military police units.
23 Q. Did you see people in black uniforms?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The significance of that, please?
1 A. It meant that these were the uniforms which
2 belonged to the Ustashas or the HOS. HOS had such
3 similar black uniforms, and in World War II, the
4 Ustashas used to wear such black uniforms.
5 Q. Did you see soldiers dressed like this
6 throughout the day or just at particular periods of the
8 A. I saw these soldiers who were in this area
9 (indicating) only in the morning, and this was within
10 about an hour, as they were regrouping. In this area
11 (indicating), I saw soldiers within a period of four or
12 five hours but at intervals of about an hour, as they
13 were passing through in groups of the size of a squad.
14 MR. NICE: The witness has indicated, in
15 general terms, the three marked routes 5, 6, and 7 on
16 the plan.
17 Q. Are you saying that the soldiers came along
18 the routes marked 5, 6, and 7 in the morning and
19 shortly after your arrival in the stream?
20 A. The 5 and 6 was in the morning, and the
21 direction marked 7 was throughout the whole day.
22 Q. As between HVO people with the white belts
23 and the people in the black uniforms, are you able to
24 associate those different groupings with any of these
25 particular numbers, 5, 6, and 7?
1 A. The direction marked by 5 was where the
2 military police members came up running and even
3 civilians carrying uniforms, so it was a mixed unit and
4 a special-purpose unit. The direction marked by 6 is
5 where the units in black uniforms were deploying, and
6 the direction marked 7 was a very well-equipped unit
7 the size of a platoon, and with them I noticed that
8 some wore the HV and the HVO insignia, and they had
9 different colour ribbons on their shoulders. One was
10 green, black, white. Each group had different colour
11 ribbons. I saw about four or five such groups.
12 Q. By the end of the day, had your wound swollen
13 up and were you very cold from being substantially
14 submerged in water?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Had you seen houses in the village of Ahmici
18 A. Yes. I saw very soon that my own house was
19 on fire, and the other houses below the road, they were
20 burning. In the evening, when I emerged from this
21 shelter where I was in, I saw that other houses were
23 Q. We may deal with that in a little more detail
24 later. But in summary, were any Croat houses burned,
25 to your knowledge?
1 A. I think that no Croatian house was burned by
2 the Bosniaks, but I know that in the hamlet of Santici,
3 a fire was started at Drago Josipovic's house, and I
4 know that Vitez HTV or Zagreb HTV came. A TV crew came
5 and filmed it and presented it as if the Bosniaks had
6 attacked Croats, and that was something that was to
7 trick their audiences. This is what I was told later
8 by people who were imprisoned in Vitez who saw this
10 Q. Thank you.
11 A. It was some kind of a shed that was torched.
12 Q. As to the events, cold and wet, did you see,
13 looking at the plan, that the house marked number 10
14 was on fire? Just point it out if I've got it right.
15 A. When I saw it, it had already been burned
16 down, but it was still burning out.
17 Q. Did you go there for shelter and, indeed, to
18 get warm?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. When you got there, did you in due course
21 find that there were soldiers in the area of that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Taking it quite shortly, you inside the house
25 and the soldiers outside, what sort of soldiers were
1 they, by their markings?
2 A. I could not recognise the markings because it
3 was nighttime. They were probably Croatian soldiers.
4 Q. First of all, did you overhear something from
5 house marked number 10, in the course of that night,
6 coming from your house marked number 1?
7 A. I heard a voice, but only in the morning. I
8 heard my mother's voice, as she was crying and saying,
9 "They killed my husband and my sons." But it was
10 foggy and I couldn't see anything. I just heard it.
11 Q. I think that was the last time you ever heard
12 your mother's voice.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Your sister was also killed in due course?
15 A. Yes. I learned of that later.
16 MR. NICE: So you were in the house marked
17 number 10. I propose to read --
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. NICE: -- paragraph 16 to the witness to
20 make life easier and quicker, unless there is any
22 Q. Did the following happen? I'm going to read
23 you quite a long passage, and then I'm going to ask you
24 if it's accurate.
25 Did you see two HVO military policemen coming
1 to the house in a car, with the soldiers already at the
2 house, saying to them that there was a Mujahedin in the
3 house, the soldiers asking the military policemen what
4 to do. The commander of the military policemen said
5 they should throw a grenade into the house and kill the
6 person there. That was done. The grenade hit the
7 ground, but you got onto the floor, I think, planning
8 to give the appearance of being dead even if you
9 survived, and the house was full of smoke.
10 Two HVO soldiers came to the window to see
11 whether you were dead. Everything was burning, and you
12 were nearly yourself on fire. They saw you moving and
13 realised you were not in fact dead. They went away to
14 get some dynamite to blow the house up. You went to
15 the window and waved to two Croatian neighbours, who
16 came to the house, recognised you, saved you and took
17 you to Zume, to a collection centre.
18 Is that, broadly speaking, accurate?
19 A. It is. It is. It wasn't a shell, it was a
20 grenade, and the house was practically reduced to
21 ashes. There was only one part of it smouldering
22 still. But, yes, that is the gist of it.
23 Q. The two Croat neighbours, can you name them?
24 A. Yes. One has died, Simo Vidovic, and the
25 other one was Ivo Papic.
1 Q. From whereabouts on the plan did they come?
2 Just point it out, please.
3 A. They came from here (indicating), from this
4 house and the stable, and there is a depression, a
5 valley or a gully, and that is how they walked.
6 MR. NICE: The witness marked an area not far
7 from the marking 3 on the map.
8 Q. You were taken to the collection centre at
9 Dubravica. Just give me one minute.
10 MR. NICE: May the witness please have
11 Exhibit 1980?
12 JUDGE MAY: When you get to a convenient
13 moment, Mr. Nice.
14 MR. NICE: Certainly, yes. Again, this can
15 be left simply on top of the others.
16 If the Court takes the map and turns it
17 around so that it's not quite upside down, it will see
18 in the bottom right-hand corner the bend in the road
19 and the little rhomboid shape of roads that I indicated
20 earlier might be a useful sign post and will be able to
21 connect this map, which shows Santici and Dubravica,
22 which is then held this way a little up to the
23 left-hand side.
24 So if you would like to place this map on the
25 ELMO with that sort of orientation, please. No, I
1 don't think so. That way around, please. All right.
2 Q. Well, we can see, Mr. Ahmic, that Santici is
3 to the top right as you're looking at it on the ELMO,
4 and there's a road down to Dubravica. How did you get
5 taken to the collection centre?
6 A. We walked in a column down this road here
8 Q. How many of you?
9 A. I believe there were about a hundred of us,
10 women and children and a few men.
11 Q. Any or many men of your sort of age?
12 A. One only. There was only one.
13 Q. That was one other or just you?
14 A. Yes, me and another one.
15 JUDGE MAY: Have you got very much more?
16 MR. NICE: No. There's little in the text,
17 and there's a number of photographs, but they can be
18 dealt with swiftly.
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well. I hope, turning to
20 the Defence, that we can finish cross-examination by
22 MR. STEIN: We'll give it our best shot, but
23 I think we should be able to.
24 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now.
25 Mr. Ahmic, would you be back, please, at
1 10.00 tomorrow morning, when I hope that we shall be
2 able to conclude your evidence.
3 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, no problem.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
5 4.02 p.m., to be reconvened on
6 Friday, the 11th day of June, 1999,
7 at 10.00 a.m.