1 Thursday, 23 March 2000
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
6 morning, ladies and gentlemen; good morning to the
7 technical booth, to the interpreters. Yes, I can hear
9 We're back to resume the case against
10 General Krstic. I believe I see Mr. Cayley behind this
11 pillar. There's always this problem, but I see that
12 the team is here. We can now move on with our case. I
13 believe we have one witness today.
14 Mr. Harmon, is that so?
15 MR. HARMON: We are continuing with
16 Mrs. Omanovic, Mr. President. Good morning,
17 Mr. President and Your Honours; good morning, counsel.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 WITNESS: CAMILA OMANOVIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
22 morning, Mrs. Omanovic. Can you hear me?
23 THE WITNESS: Yes. Thank you. Good
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You will
1 now resume your evidence today. I should like to
2 remind you that you are still under your solemn
3 declaration, and you will continue to answer questions
4 which Mr. Harmon will ask of you. Thank you.
5 Examined by Mr. Harmon: [Cont'd]
6 Q. Good morning, Mrs. Omanovic.
7 A. Good morning.
8 Q. Before we return to your description of the
9 events in Potocari, I want to ask you a few questions
10 about some individuals. Do you know the Streten
11 Petrovic family?
12 A. Yes, I do, that family, because Streten lived
13 in the same area with me.
14 Q. Approximately how old is Streten Petrovic?
15 A. Forty-ish. Slightly younger than I am.
16 Q. Do you know the name of Streten Petrovic's
18 A. They called him Ilija Saspata, and even
19 before the war he had a very characteristic long
21 Q. Thank you very much. Now, let us return to
22 where we were yesterday when we took a recess. In your
23 testimony, you had described your flight from
24 Srebrenica to Potocari, and you told us that you had
25 arrived at a location known as the Zinc Factory. Is
1 that correct?
2 A. Yes. We reached the compound of the zinc
3 plating unit and that is where we spent the night.
4 Q. Can you describe to the Judges the conditions
5 in which you found yourself at the zinc factory?
6 A. When we arrived from Srebrenica, we were in
7 the yard of the zinc factory and nearby factories.
8 People came there simply -- I don't know why, but we
9 somehow thought we would not go any further because the
10 UN base was there. So we somehow thought we should put
11 up there for the night, that we should make the best we
12 could. And everybody, whatever personal effects he had
13 with him, looked where he would spend the night.
14 So it was kind of a plateau, an area where we
15 gathered. I found a cover of a container that they
16 used to zinc plate in that factory, so we used that,
17 covered it, and that was our bed. The baby had its
18 pram, and we left our belongings in the pram and we
19 simply lied down on the ground. Or, rather, you
20 couldn't lay down, you simply had a corner where you
21 waited what would happen next.
22 As we sat there, snipers would fire every now
23 and then, and all this throng would then move to one
24 side or the other, screaming. Above us was the Pecista
25 village where the Serb soldiers were firing at houses.
1 The sound of that shell, again we would simply dodge to
2 one side or the other with frightened cries, and that
3 is how we spent the night.
4 Some were throwing up, some were scared. It
5 was the area where you lived, even the -- that area,
6 that small tight space was everything to us, the
7 bedroom, the bathroom, everything. We were simply all
8 crowded there.
9 Q. You mentioned the village of Pecista. Could
10 you tell the Judges what you saw happening to that
11 particular village and houses around it?
12 A. Above the village of Pecista, along the edges
13 of the village, the houses were -- around there the
14 houses were torched. They were firing shells and
15 everything was going up in the air.
16 Q. Were you in a position where you could see
17 the soldiers lighting the houses on fire?
18 A. I couldn't see the soldiers myself, but the
19 houses were being put on fire. You can't see it with
20 the naked eye but you can see the flames. You can see
21 it's burning.
22 Q. Now, in and around the zinc factory, how many
23 people were with you? Can you estimate the number of
25 A. The exact number I couldn't really give you,
1 but there were some several thousand people in that
2 area. We were packed close together, and the area
3 couldn't have had more than one kilometre square, and
4 yet all people who had arrived from Srebrenica were
5 there in all those production plants around the zinc
6 plating factory. The 11 of March, the zinc plating
7 unit, and down to the yellow ribbon that separated the
8 UN base from the rest of the world.
9 Q. What kind of food, what kind of water was
10 available to the refugees?
11 A. Only what one happened to bring along, but
12 mostly people went without food and without water.
13 MR. HARMON: Mr. President and Your Honours,
14 I'm going to now show a film clip that is approximately
15 47 seconds long, so it is a clip that will be -- you
16 have to look at very quickly, but it will show the
17 crowds of people. If we could have the lights reduced
18 and we could show this clip. As I say, it's very
19 brief, and it's taken from footage that we have
20 available to us, and we believe it accurately reflects
21 the number of people in and around at the particular
22 moment. It is Exhibit number 51.
23 [Videotape played]
24 MR. HARMON:
25 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, you've seen this film footage
1 before, because I've shown it to you, but does this
2 accurately show in some respects the number of people,
3 refugees who were in and around the buildings in
5 A. Yes, quite, as this film shows. It describes
6 accurately the situation in which we found ourselves in
8 Q. Now, on the night of the 11th, when you were
9 in and around the Zinc Factory, can you tell the Judges
10 the general mood, the general mental state of the
12 A. People were all frightened, people were all
13 hungry, people were scared out of their wits. They
14 didn't know what would happen next, so that those were
15 people who were terrified. I don't know -- I don't
16 really know how to describe it.
17 Q. All right. Well, let's focus our attention,
18 then, on the following day, Mrs. Omanovic, because the
19 next day you were selected to become a representative
20 of the Muslim people and you were selected to attend
21 the meeting at the Hotel Fontana. Can you tell the
22 Judges how it was that you were selected?
23 A. In the morning, when the next morning came,
24 Ibro Nuhanovic, Zina Civic, and Nesib Mandzic came to
25 look for me. And they said, "We have to go to the
1 Dutch camp to talk about putting some order in this
2 area where we are." I was lying down on the ground and
3 I looked very untidy, so I said, "I have to change
4 slightly and put myself in order. Why me?" "Well,"
5 they said, "you come from Srebrenica. Most --
6 indigenous Srebrenica." People had left Srebrenica
7 before the war and there were very few literate
8 indigenous Srebrenica people left.
9 So they chose me, as a mother, as a woman,
10 and a literate person; they asked me to go there as a
11 representative of women, to go to the Dutch camp to
12 talk to them, to ask for some relief in food, an
13 organisation there. Because the weather was so hot
14 that after a day or two we would have certainly fallen
15 ill from one disease or another, because it was so
16 hot. And we would have perished simply from the heat,
17 from diseases, from hunger, from thirst, from that
18 disorderly life.
19 So I went with them to the Dutch camp to talk
20 to people so that we could organise ourselves, with
21 their help, and try to see how to make our life more
22 organised in that area.
23 MR. HARMON: Mr. President and Your Honours,
24 I'm going to now show you Prosecutor's Exhibit 49,
25 which is a small segment of film footage from that
1 meeting. The film is approximately eight minutes
2 long. It only represents a part of the meeting. And I
3 would ask Mr. Dubuisson to please disseminate to Your
4 Honours copies of the transcript from that meeting.
5 The film is Prosecutor's Exhibit 49 and the transcripts
6 are 49A in English, 49B in French, and 49C in B/C/S.
7 And I would ask the interpreters to please
8 translate the film as it's being shown.
9 Now, if we could dim the lights, please, and
10 we could start with Prosecutor's Exhibit 49, please.
11 Could the lights be dimmed, please.
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
13 "SOLDIER: This is their interpreter.
14 "CAMILA: We are representatives -- wait a
16 "VOICE: Good morning.
17 "NUHANOVIC: Ibro Nuhanovic.
18 "MLADIC: What will you have? I will have
19 mineral water, and offer them some juices. Madam, what
20 is your profession?
21 "CAMILA: I am an economist.
22 "MLADIC: Where did you study?
23 "CAMILA: In Brcko.
24 "MLADIC: Are you married?
25 "CAMILA: I am.
1 "MLADIC: And your name is Amela?
2 "CAMILA: No. Camila.
3 "MLADIC: Camila?
4 "CAMILA: No. Camila. I have two children
5 and I have a grandchild.
6 "MLADIC: Well, you are so young, and a
7 grandmother already?
8 "CAMILA: A grandmother.
9 "MLADIC: When were you born?
10 "CAMILA: 1953.
11 "MLADIC: What did you do before?
12 "CAMILA: I was with my colleague here in the
13 secondary school.
14 "MLADIC: Then you don't need me?
15 "CAMILA: No, I don't.
16 "MLADIC: Can you perhaps resolve the
17 problem? You say you were schoolfellows in the same
18 classroom, weren't you?
19 "CAMILA: Why couldn't we?
20 "MLADIC: Was he perhaps popular?
21 "CAMILA: No. We were simply good friends.
22 We didn't know that this would happen. And I mean, had
23 we been politicians, but we were simply citizens. I
24 never had an argument with anyone in Srebrenica, never
25 with anyone. I just live my good solid life, my life,
1 and it just happened so that I stayed in Srebrenica
2 without some [indiscernible]. Here, again, what will
3 be next?
4 "MLADIC: Did you play any part in politics?
5 "CAMILA: No. I was only the chief
6 bookkeeper. I was never involved in politics.
7 "MLADIC: And now in the war?
8 "CAMILA: Not even in the war.
9 "MLADIC: And the gentleman next to you?
10 "NUHANOVIC: I'm Ibro Nuhanovic. I'm an
11 economist, a former businessman. Now I'm in the war.
12 Now I'm here in Srebrenica. We're stuck here.
13 "MLADIC: Will you speak a little louder
14 please, if you can?
15 "NUHANOVIC: Well, I'm saying we simply
16 happened to arrive in Srebrenica during the war.
17 Otherwise I lived in Vlasenica.
18 "MLADIC: And where were you born?
19 "NUHANOVIC: I was born in the village of
20 Soboranj, Han Pijesak municipality.
21 "MLADIC: The village?
22 "NUHANOVIC: Soboranj.
23 "MLADIC: Soboran.
24 "NUHANOVIC: I left in 1955. I went to the
25 secondary school and then I worked here in Bratunac. I
1 worked in Srebrenica. But they chose me to come here
2 with these people. They invited me.
3 "MLADIC: I want to help you but I want
4 absolute cooperation of the civilian population.
5 Because your army has suffered defeat, there is no need
6 for your men to get killed; your husband, your brothers
7 or your neighbours. All you have to do is to say what
8 you want. And I told that to a gentleman last night.
9 You can either survive or vanish. For your survival, I
10 request that all your men who carry weapons, who
11 attacked and committed crimes, the men who did commit
12 the crimes against your people, did they hand over
13 their weapons to the Army of Republika Srpska. And
14 after you lay down your weapons, you can choose to
15 either stay in the territory or, if that would suit you
16 better, to go where you wish. The wish of every
17 individual inhabitant here will be respected no matter
18 how many of you there are.
19 "CAMILA: How do we get in touch with them?
20 "MLADIC: You are in a position to know. The
21 rest of the army can be disarmed and lay down their
22 weapons before my officers in the presence of UNPROFOR
23 officers. You can choose to stay or leave if you
24 wish. If you want to leave, you can say so and you can
25 go to the four corners of the world. After the weapons
1 are laid down, every individual can go where he says he
2 wants to go. That is why it is necessary to provide
3 the fuel. I'll provide vehicles. You can provide the
4 fuel. You can pay for it. If you cannot afford to pay
5 for it, then UNPROFOR should bring in four or five
6 tanker trucks to fill up the trucks, because there are
7 a lot of people, and that should be solved. If you
8 choose to leave, and I do not want to influence you in
9 any way, I have nothing against you, I have nothing
10 against the innocent and guiltless. You can choose if
11 you want to go east across Serbia or -- I don't mind.
12 If you want to go west, you can say where you want to
14 "VOICE: They say they want to go to
15 Bratunac, to the stadium.
16 "MLADIC: Right. Who said that?
17 "VOICE: The people.
18 "MLADIC: Are they coming here? Let them go
19 to the stadium and one of their representatives from
20 here will be with those people there to see them board
22 "CAMILA: Could I ask you if my daughter and
23 her child could go?
24 "MLADIC: Well, yes.
25 "CAMILA: She shouldn't leave her here. I'd
1 rather stay here myself.
2 "MLADIC: If necessary, madam, you and your
3 daughter and granddaughter will be transferred in my
4 vehicle. Don't worry."
5 MR. HARMON:
6 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, that film clip is only a
7 portion of the meeting; is that not correct?
8 A. Yes, it is. It is only a fragment of the
9 meeting at which I was present.
10 Q. Describe the meeting, when you came in, what
11 happened once you came in.
12 A. I entered the room, and that is when I saw my
13 schoolfellow Miroslav Deronjic. I was really
14 terrified. Then at some point I turned to him and I
15 said, "Miroslav, dear, what are you doing to all those
16 people. Help us. They're all bare handed, hungry,
17 barefoot, driven to the stadium like cattle, left at
18 the mercy of those men. They're firing, targeting at
20 Then Mr. Mladic told us to sit down, because
21 we knew one another. And he said that he had
22 experienced the greatest success of his life during
23 those days, the conquest of Srebrenica. And my feeling
24 was that he had prepared it all as a form of theatre,
25 as a stage to show it all to us.
1 He just indicated to somebody with his hand
2 to bring something, and he brought a broken vase from
3 the municipal hall in Srebrenica, and he said, "This is
4 my trophy, the greatest moment in my life, the conquest
5 of Srebrenica. I know how many people were born
7 And they brought the Registry of Births, and
8 then they brought in the Registry of Deaths and the
9 Registry of Marriages, and he said, "I know the last
10 person who had got married in Srebrenica." He said,
11 "You can go anywhere you want or you can stay here or
12 just vanish."
13 Then I knew that if we agreed to leave there,
14 then perhaps we might survive, and if we tried to stay,
15 that we would simply exist no more.
16 Q. Now, you mentioned at the beginning of the
17 meeting that you had a conversation with Mr. Deronjic.
18 MR. HARMON: If I could have the next exhibit
19 which is Prosecutor's Exhibit 52 disseminate, and if I
20 could have it also placed on the ELMO. Just a little
21 lower, please.
22 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, this is a still image taken
23 from the film we just saw, and let me ask you if you
24 can identify in Prosecutor's Exhibit 52 Mr. Deronjic.
25 A. He was sitting across the table. This is him
2 Q. The record should reflect --
3 A. The man with whom I went to school.
4 MR. HARMON: The record should reflect that
5 Mrs. Omanovic has pointed to the man in the far
6 right-hand corner of the image, the man in the black
7 jacket holding a glass in his left hand.
8 Q. Now, you mentioned that you made a request at
9 the beginning of the meeting or a plea of some sort to
10 Mr. Deronjic. What did Mr. Deronjic say to you after
11 you made that request?
12 A. He was trying to explain that he too had had
13 victims in that war, but Mladic interrupted him.
14 Mladic wouldn't let anyone discuss, and I had the
15 feeling that he wanted to have the main say in the
17 Q. Did anybody else have any say in the meeting
18 or was General Mladic the person who was conducting the
19 meeting alone?
20 A. It was General Mladic who conducted the
21 meeting alone most of the time.
22 Q. Let me show you the next exhibit, which I'd
23 ask also to be placed on the ELMO, which is
24 Prosecutor's Exhibit 53. I'd also ask that that be
25 disseminated to the Court and to counsel.
1 This also, Mrs. Omanovic, is a still
2 photograph, an image taken from the film we just saw.
3 Do you recognise anybody in this particular image other
4 than General Mladic?
5 A. I know this man here [indicates].
6 Q. You're pointing to the man with the green
7 shirt, civilian shirt, on the left-hand side of the
8 image. How do you know that man?
9 A. Yes, I'm pointing at him. I just know him.
10 I don't know what his name is. We used to run into
11 each other in town. He lived in Bratunac, and I would
12 often go to Bratunac to visit my sister. Bratunac was
13 the town that was closest to Srebrenica, and we used to
14 meet each other. We used to know a lot of people from
15 Bratunac. And I went there, when I went to see about
16 the situation, about the evacuation, I saw that man.
17 He was standing somewhere near the buses.
18 Q. What did he say, if anything?
19 A. He said, "Mrs. Camila, where are your
20 children?" But I lied to him. I told him that my
21 children had already left by bus. He said, "No one can
22 help you. Your fate has been determined."
23 At that moment, I simply knew that nothing
24 would go well, that we didn't have many chances of
25 survival, myself and my family, because my children
1 were still in front of the transport company.
2 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, after the meeting concluded,
3 where did you go?
4 A. We were taken back to the UN base. As we
5 were going out, as we were going towards the UN camp, I
6 saw that the Serb soldiers had already mingled with our
7 population. They were armed and they were walking
8 around. So I asked the driver to take me back to the
9 location where my children were and he did that. So
10 instead of going to the UN base, I went to my
12 I was waiting for Nuhanovic and Mandzic to
13 join us, because we had an agreement in Bratunac that
14 there was supposed to be a list and the evacuation was
15 supposed to begin with elderly people, women and
16 children, and I thought that this would happen, but
17 they never showed up. They never came back to do
18 that. We simply saw trucks and buses arrive after that
19 and there was no order whatsoever. People started
20 boarding buses and the evacuation started.
21 Q. Now, on the 12th, did you also see
22 General Mladic in Potocari?
23 A. Yes, I did. He was standing behind the
24 yellow ribbon and he was accompanied by his soldiers.
25 They distributed several bars of chocolate to the
1 people who were standing next to that yellow ribbon.
2 They walked around a little amongst the
3 people who had been amassed there, and then after that
4 he simply left somewhere.
5 Q. Now, you said that people started to go
6 toward the buses. Did that include families with male
7 members, with fathers and sons?
8 A. Yes. All of the families started boarding
9 those trucks, and again there was a big crowd of people
10 and the atmosphere was the same as the one in
11 Srebrenica before that. People felt that they would be
12 saved if they boarded trucks. Everybody was yelling.
13 Children were crying. Everybody at the same time
14 started moving towards the entrance where the buses
15 were. Everybody together, including women and men and
17 Q. Did you see anything happen to the men and
18 the boys who were with the families moving toward the
20 A. Yes, I did. They were being separated.
21 Between buses and along the street where the buses were
22 lined up for transport, there were lots of soldiers and
23 civilians who had the right to separate people. It
24 seemed that everybody had the right to separate people
25 from the line.
1 We didn't know the reason. We didn't know
2 why. They were simply singling out people whom they
3 didn't like, but I couldn't conclude anything as to the
4 basis for that separation.
5 Q. Now, where did the men and the boys who were
6 separated go?
7 A. They went towards the White House. It was an
8 uninterrupted column of people, very quiet, very calm,
9 and you had the feeling that it would never stop, it
10 would never be interrupted. New people were coming,
11 and the people at the end of the column would disappear
12 behind the White House.
13 Q. Can you tell the Judges the range of ages of
14 these males who had been separated and were queuing up
15 in front of the White House?
16 A. All of them were above 13 years of age.
17 There were lots of young boys who looked older, but
18 those who were above 13 were separated.
19 Q. Did you see anybody -- any boy who happened
20 to be disabled amongst the males who had been
22 A. I saw Mirza Mehmedovic. He was a totally
23 handicapped person. He couldn't communicate at all.
24 He was mentally retarded.
25 Q. And was he in line as well, going toward the
1 White House?
2 A. Yes, he was. He was trying to say something
3 to them, but they simply pushed him aside. He was also
4 separated, together with others. He was completely
5 mentally retarded. He was unable to explain anything
6 to anyone, but he was still separated.
7 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, do you know if he survived?
8 A. No, he did not survive.
9 Q. Now, the men who had been separated, did they
10 have with them personal effects, bags of their
12 A. They had their personal effects, but they
13 couldn't take them into the White House. There was a
14 huge pile of things and people were told to leave their
15 personal belongings on that pile, that they couldn't
16 take anything with them.
17 Q. Now, after you saw this, Mrs. Omanovic, where
18 did you go?
19 A. I went back to my family, and at that
20 point -- you mean after Bratunac?
21 Q. After you had seen the separation of these
22 men and boys and you'd seen General Mladic in and
23 around Potocari, did you return back to the Zinc
24 Factory and did you move to another location?
25 A. I went to the Zinc Factory where my family
1 was, and I noticed there and all around the camp a
2 number of armed people walking around. Next to my
3 family, there were between five and ten soldiers
4 standing. They were looking at my daughter and
5 cursing, and I was really afraid to spend the night
7 There was a little wood not far from there,
8 and I was afraid that me, my daughter, my son, and the
9 grandchild would be taken there. So I crossed over to
10 the other side of the street, and we stood on a little
11 clearing next to some buses. We put a blanket down and
12 we sat there. There were lots of people around us.
13 The transport was going on, but there was a number of
14 people who were standing actually near where we were.
15 Q. Now, when you say that the soldiers were
16 cursing, were they cursing at your daughter or were
17 they cursing at other refugees?
18 A. They were cursing my daughter. They were
19 really very vulgar. "You're so young and you have a
20 child." And it's true, she was very young, she had a
21 child, but they were glancing at her with hostility,
22 and I was really afraid for her.
23 Q. Now, you say you moved. Did you move to the
24 bus compound across the way from the Zinc Factory?
25 A. Yes. This is where I moved and this is where
1 we stayed, on the following day as well.
2 Q. Now, how many other refugees were in and
3 around the bus compound where you had relocated
5 A. Everybody except for those who were not able
6 to board the buses. Everybody was there and the space
7 was getting narrower. We were crowded next to each
8 other so as to be as close as possible to the
9 transport, to the buses.
10 Q. Are you able to estimate the number of people
11 in and around the bus compound?
12 A. Again, it must have been several thousand,
13 because in the evening, we learned that only 1.000
14 people had been able to leave. So everybody who
15 eventually went to Tuzla was there, but we were all
16 very crowded because people were in a hurry to board
17 the buses.
18 Q. Now, I'd like you to describe what you saw
19 and what you heard the night of the 12th and the early
20 morning of the 13th while you were at the bus
22 A. The second night was even worse than the
23 first night, and I think it was the worst night I ever
24 had in my life.
25 In the evening and throughout the night, Serb
1 soldiers and Serb population were moving around on
2 buses and trucks, and they were shouting, they were
3 firing, they were going to Srebrenica and back. The
4 Serbian soldiers would come to us with flashlights.
5 They were singling out people, individuals, taking them
6 away, and we would hear screams coming from behind the
7 buses. A woman was giving birth. She was screaming.
8 She had no one to help her. Another one was going
9 completely crazy. This influenced other people as well
10 and, in fact, the atmosphere in general. So we would
11 move all of a sudden in waves, and then shortly after
12 that we would be calm again.
13 Then they threw some kind of sand on all of
14 us and people started coughing. So people said that
15 those were some kind of poisonous gases.
16 We put the child in the pram and we covered
17 the pram with something so as to help the baby. People
18 were throwing up.
19 But the night was very, very calm and some
20 people started falling asleep. But from a nearby
21 slaughterhouse, we all of a sudden heard a voice of a
22 man who resembled the voice of Fikret Hodzic, whom we
23 all knew very well, and it sounded as if he was being
24 tortured. He would cry, "Nesib, Nesib." Then
25 everybody else would start crying and yelling, and then
1 everything would stop again. We didn't have enough --
2 we didn't have time to fall asleep or to keep quiet
3 because screams would start all over again. It was a
4 night of horror.
5 And I was just trying to figure out how to
6 save my children. I was not interested in living
7 anymore. I just wanted to save my children. I wanted
8 to cut my daughter's hair and to put a scarf on her
9 head and to take her child away to try and make it on
10 her own.
11 I was talking to my son. But there was a man
12 next to us. He was laying unconscious. He looked
13 paralysed. And I told my son, "Go and sit by that
14 man. Try to think of a fake name. Tell the people
15 that this man is your grandfather, that you have to
16 help him." But my son just simply sat next to me and
17 he wouldn't listen to me. He didn't want to do that.
18 And I spent all the night thinking how to save my
19 children. And I moved towards the entrance where
20 everybody else was. I really don't know how I was able
21 to muster all that courage, because at the same time I
22 witnessed this terrible scene of separation of people.
23 They took their rucksacks and I took the
24 baby. We put some food -- we took some food for the
25 children and we grabbed each other. We took each
1 other's hands and we were trying to make our way
2 through the crowd. I no longer had any force left. I
3 could not fight what was happening to me. So we came
4 close to that white ribbon -- I'm sorry, yellow ribbon,
5 yellow tape, where UNPROFOR buses were.
6 Q. Let me interrupt you there for just a
7 minute. I'm sorry. But when you said -- I'd like to
8 stay focused, if we can, for just a few more minutes,
9 on the night before you attempted to board the buses
10 yourself. So if we could stay focused on that for just
11 a minute.
12 You said that people would come into the
13 compound and they would take refugees out of the
14 compound. Who were those people who were coming into
15 the compound and how were they dressed?
16 A. Serb soldiers came. They were wearing
17 Serbian uniforms and UN uniforms, and they mingled with
18 the population. They were walking amongst us and they
19 were looking for people -- on what basis, I don't
20 know -- using flashlights, and they would point to
21 certain individuals, who would then be taken away.
22 Q. And do you know a man by the name of Sefik
24 A. Yes, I know him. He's a neighbour of mine.
25 He was sitting next to us all that time while we were
1 in Potocari.
2 Q. Tell the Judges what happened to that
4 A. Sefic Mustafic was taken away, and after a
5 while he returned. He was frightened. And we wanted
6 to know what had happened, where he had been. But he
7 said he didn't dare tell us everything, that he
8 couldn't tell us everything, that perhaps one day he
9 would tell us what had happened. So he spent some time
10 sitting next to us and then he left. We thought he had
11 just gone for a walk, but he hanged himself.
12 Q. Now, let me ask you if while you were in the
13 compound you had heard women being raped by Serb
15 A. Everything that took place in the camp we
16 could see or hear, because we were sitting next to each
17 other. Rumours were spreading quickly. We could hear
18 about rapes, murders, people being taken away. We
19 were all in the know, because we were all amassed at
20 one place and news would spread quickly. So whoever
21 saw something would tell it to his neighbours, so we
22 knew exactly what was happening where in the camp, at
23 all times.
24 Q. Now, what effect did the separation of males,
25 boys and husbands, from their families, what effect did
1 the rumours of rapes, what effect did the cries of
2 torture that you could hear in and around the bus
3 compound have on the refugees who were in the bus
5 A. All the while while we were staying there in
6 the camp, we were just trying to figure out who would
7 be next to be killed or to be taken away. We were just
8 waiting for that to happen. And that's why people were
9 in such a hurry. That's why people wanted to leave as
10 quickly as possible. People were losing patience.
11 They wanted something to happen. They couldn't handle
12 the uncertainty. And that was the effect on the
13 population. We simply wanted to get away from there as
14 quickly as possible.
15 Q. Now, did you subsequently learn that your
16 young son had seen something while you were at the bus
17 compound, and can you explain that to the Judges,
19 A. My son went to fetch some water, and he saw
20 five or six human bodies that had been slaughtered near
21 the river bank. He wouldn't leave me after that. He
22 didn't talk about it anymore, but he wouldn't be
23 separated from me after he had seen that terrible
25 Q. Now, Mrs. Omanovic, I'd like to turn now to
1 the morning of the 13th of July. Did you attempt to
2 leave? Did you attempt to get on a bus or a truck?
3 And can you explain to the Judges what happened?
4 A. On that morning, I decided to leave. I took
5 my children. We were holding each other's hands. I
6 took the baby and I went to the -- up to the yellow
7 ribbon. It was very difficult. Everybody was trying
8 to leave.
9 So I went to a vehicle which was a personnel
10 carrier. I thought it was an ICRC vehicle. A lady was
11 there who was acting as an interpreter. She was
12 telling people to calm down. I tried to contact her.
13 I tried to ask her to take the children and that I
14 would come back, but she obviously didn't understand
15 what I was saying. So I went to the first vehicle, but
16 some people were standing there who wouldn't let us on,
17 and we were not allowed to board any of those buses.
18 But there were a lot of people behind us.
19 Again, a separation was taking place. Some
20 people were let on those buses, some were put aside.
21 We were taken to the first truck, and near each truck
22 there would be some kind of rock, or a stool, with
23 some -- there was some jewellery on it. And one person
24 asked -- one person gave me several rings and a medal,
25 and I didn't know -- I couldn't figure out why he was
1 doing so. And so he said, "You might need it in
2 Bratunac." But we were afraid, because there were
3 rumours that on the way to Bratunac, or where people --
4 where people would reach the Bosniak territory, that
5 they were also being separated and their belongings
6 were taken away from them.
7 I started shouting, "Help, help." I thought
8 it was the ICRC. I thought they would help us. And
9 then the Serb soldiers said, "Just start the engine and
10 leave." I had my two children on my sides and my
11 daughter said, "Please, mother, don't cry. Let us just
12 throw away this jewellery. No one will know that we had
13 thrown it away."
14 My children stayed on the truck and I jumped
15 out of the truck, so they left in the direction of
16 Bratunac. And there was an armed Serb soldier coming
17 towards me, and he stopped me and he told me, "You will
18 now see what's going to happen in Bratunac." And I
19 told him, "Just kill me. I don't care about my life.
20 Just leave my children alone."
21 I managed to run away, and I went up to the
22 barbed wire, which was very high. I couldn't jump over
23 it, but there was a hole underneath, and I crawled
24 through that hole and I managed to reach the UN base.
25 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, let me ask you: You mentioned
1 Bratunac. Had something happened in Bratunac in 1992
2 or 1993 that you're aware of?
3 A. Again, people were separated in Bratunac. It
4 was at the very beginning of the war. This took place
5 on the Bratunac playground. Lots of people had been
6 taken away on that occasion, and we haven't heard of
7 them ever since, and they must have been killed.
8 Q. Now, after you crawled under the fence that
9 you just described, what happened, Mrs. Omanovic?
10 A. I ran to the UN base and I called the
11 interpreters. I told them that people should be helped
12 and I told them that people were being taken off the
13 buses on the way to Bratunac. And I told them that
14 people were being separated elsewhere, not only in
15 Potocari, and something should be done to help them.
16 Then a brother of mine -- my brother came and
17 I asked him to try to help me kill myself. I was
18 afraid of falling into the hands of Serbian soldiers,
19 because there were terrible stories that were being
20 told about them. And at that moment I could only think
21 of those rumours, those stories. There were stories
22 about rapes, slaughters, and I was afraid that my
23 daughter would be raped in front of my own eyes, that
24 my grandchild would be slaughtered, and I couldn't
25 simply face it. And this man, he had already prepared
1 a rope --
2 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, but it's very
3 difficult to follow the witness. The interpreter
5 MR. HARMON:
6 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, would you just slow down a
7 bit? I've received a word from the interpretation
8 booth that they're having difficulty because of the
9 pace of your testimony. Could you slow down a bit.
10 A. Very well. And my brother showed me the
11 noose he had prepared for himself, and I pulled it out
12 of his hand and I climbed to the upper floor of the UN
13 base. There were lots of people, and children were
14 standing at the window and watching those trucks moving
15 away. And I asked them to go away from the window,
16 because it was -- I had heard that a body of a person
17 who hangs himself is very ugly.
18 So that is what I tried to do. I climbed a
19 chair and I saw two Serb soldiers with UN soldiers
20 coming up, and I felt -- I must have been so terrified
21 that I thought they were looking for me. So I climbed
22 up on that rack which was there for drying and I laid
23 there, and they walked up and down, were looking what
24 was going on. They went around, they went back. And
25 as they were climbing down the stairs I sat on that
1 drying rack, on top of that drying rack, and I
2 tightened the noose which I had already prepared, I put
3 it around my neck, and I jumped down. And I woke up in
4 the hospital and I really don't know what happened
6 Q. Mr. Omanovic, thank you very much.
7 MR. HARMON: I've concluded my direct
8 examination, Your Honours. Thank you.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you,
10 Mr. Harmon. Before we move on to cross-examination,
11 perhaps it would be good to make a break, so that now a
12 20-minute break.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
16 Mrs. Omanovic, you will now be answering questions
17 which the Defence counsel for General Krstic, that is,
18 Mr. Petrusic or Mr. Visnjic, will ask you.
19 Mr. Petrusic, you have the floor.
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning,
21 Your Honours; good morning, my learned friends from the
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Petrusic:
24 Q. Good morning, Mrs. Omanovic. Before I ask
25 you some questions, I should like to tell you that it
1 is not our intention to take you back to that period of
2 July 1995 and all that you went through. We do not
3 wish to revive all those memories. We hope that as an
4 educated woman and emancipated woman, you will
5 understand that the principal objective of the defence
6 is the establishment of the truth and all that happened
7 in Srebrenica, and that is all we have in mind. Now I
8 should like to move on to some specific questions.
9 Mrs. Omanovic, at the beginning of your
10 testimony, you said that on the 10th of July, men were
11 separated from the rest of the Muslim population, next
12 to the petrol station in Srebrenica. Could you please
13 tell us if that separation was spontaneous or did
14 somebody invite people to split into two groups?
15 A. I could say that it was spontaneous. As they
16 came out of the town, men and women headed for Potocari
17 and men towards Kazani, and, yes, it was next to the
18 petrol station.
19 Q. Among the men, were there some wearing
21 A. I don't know when I should begin to answer.
22 If I could know only when to start answering. If
23 somebody could tell me.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
25 we seem to have the problem with the language because
1 we speak the same language.
2 A. No, no. Somebody told me --
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] If I may, at
4 the end of each of my questions, should I say, "This is
5 the end of my question," so that the witness knows that
6 she can begin with her answer? Could I do that?
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon
8 perhaps will explain.
9 Yes, Mr. Petrusic. Just a moment.
10 MR. HARMON: I explained to the witness,
11 because counsel speaks the same language as the
12 witness, that she needed to pause so that we didn't
13 have overlap and create a problem for the interpreters,
14 and I think that is the source of the problem. She is
15 inquiring when she needs to commence her answer. So
16 that, I think, is the problem.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank
18 you, Mr. Harmon, very much for this clarification.
19 Mr. Petrusic, Mrs. Omanovic, as you know,
20 when we speak the same language, then there is always a
21 risk of speaking too fast and not making a pause so the
22 interpreters can keep up, because the interpreters are
23 always a couple of seconds behind of what was being
24 said. So could you just wait a little.
25 So Mr. Petrusic, if you just make a pause
1 after you finish your question.
2 When you hear the end of Mr. Petrusic's
3 questions, just make a short pause. I believe you
4 understand really when the question has ended. You do
5 not have to hear, "This is the end of the question."
6 Just wait for a while after you've heard the question
7 to give the interpreters time. Simply remember that
8 there's always one person between you, which is an
10 So I believe that -- of course, Mr. Petrusic,
11 you can also do as you suggested, "This is the end of
12 my question," but do I not think there is any need for
13 this. I'm quite sure that we shall have a very good
14 communication even without that if you only make this
15 short pause.
16 Yes, Mr. Petrusic, move on.
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. So Mrs. Omanovic, would you please answer my
19 questions. Among those men, were there any wearing
21 A. Yes, there were some uniformed men. Not very
22 many, but here and there. Some of them had weapons.
23 Q. They formed a column, didn't they?
24 A. Well, no, they didn't form a column. All I
25 could see was only the beginning. Whether they formed
1 a column further on, I wouldn't know. But from the
2 street, men simply separated and they came together in
3 groups. There were groups like ours, except they were
4 groups of men on that other side, but they were not
6 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, I should like to move on to
7 the meeting on the 12th of July, at the Fontana Hotel
8 in Bratunac around 10.00.
9 We saw the footage. Did General Mladic
10 introduce each one of the participants in the meeting?
11 A. Yes, he did. General Mladic did introduce
12 all the participants of the meeting.
13 Q. As he introduced General Krstic, did he say
14 anything about him?
15 A. I don't remember. I don't remember him
16 saying anything. I was too frightened, and I can't
17 recall quite a number of details.
18 Q. Did General Krstic take an active role in the
20 A. Again, I don't remember him saying anything.
21 Q. And any one of the other participants in the
22 meeting, did he take part in the discussion?
23 A. No, I don't think so.
24 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, could you tell us: What were
25 the conclusions of that meeting?
1 A. It is a rule that a meeting reaches some
2 conclusions and that the record is made or something
3 like that, but our meeting ended in a rather unusual
4 way. Somebody came in and said that people had broken
5 into the stadium, as if all this crowd had broken in,
6 so that we stood up, simply. Nobody was taking
7 minutes, nobody signed anything, nothing that should be
8 a normal routine at a meeting, some items on the agenda
9 or something. It was all incidental, that somebody
10 needs to provide trucks, that somebody needs to take
11 fuel or something, but there was nothing that would
12 make it look like a proper meeting.
13 Q. And would you know if some minutes were made
14 later on, or a record? Was it made later on?
15 A. I know when a woman -- I don't know what her
16 name was -- some foreign television crew arrived to
17 make an interview with me to shoot something, and then
18 somebody -- his name was Mila. He was an interpreter.
19 I believe he was a Slovenian. He showed me something
20 which was supposedly the record of that meeting, and it
21 figured my -- made a name, but it was not my
22 signature. So that was the first thing that I saw as a
23 can kind of a record of that meeting, but I did not see
24 anyone taking it during the meeting or anyone preparing
25 it for signature when the meeting ended. The meeting
1 ended just out of the blue.
2 Q. And after that meeting did you see General
3 Mladic in Potocari?
4 A. I saw him when he arrived with a group of
5 soldiers. He walked around the compound and he
6 distributed some chocolates to the children. But I
7 think he's a great actor and he was doing this only
8 because there were some cameras shooting him.
9 Q. Just for a moment, I should like to go back
10 to the previous night, between the 11th and the 12th of
11 July. Was there any gunfire around the compound then?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And between the 12th and the 13th, during
14 that night?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, in your testimony you said
17 that you heard rumours about rapes. Was it anything
18 more than rumours, or did it end there; that is, did
19 you receive any more reliable, any more trustworthy
21 A. I said in my testimony that I did not see a
22 single murder, I mean with my own eyes. I did not
23 witness a rape. I heard all those sounds and
24 everything, but I did not see it with my own eyes. But
25 in that compound, in that place where we were, the
1 rumour of any evil deed, of anything that happened,
2 yes, spread around, but I did not witness any of that.
3 Q. On the 13th of July, you and your family were
4 not allowed to board the buses that were parked there,
5 were you?
6 A. Quite right. They did not allow us. And I
7 think that during this meeting with Mladic I did ask
8 not to transport us as cattle, because I must again
9 repeat what I'd heard: that so many babies suffocated
10 in that crowd, the first group that was transported to
11 Bratunac. And I asked him to treat us properly as
12 human beings. And he knew that I had a baby of three
13 months, and he said, "At some point I'll take you in my
14 own bus." But he would not allow it. I wasn't asking
15 for myself. He wouldn't allow my baby to board the
16 bus, but the truck, and then they stoned the truck and
17 did all sorts of things that they were not to do.
18 Q. And who, then, boarded those parked buses
19 which were standing next to those trucks?
20 A. Well, again, people; again, the crowd -- I
21 don't know how to explain it to you. Next to every bus
22 there were standing men who were selecting. I don't
23 know what method they used, because there are always
24 some selection methods. Somebody says, "You can
25 board," or "Just let him through." Or other people
1 they wouldn't allow it, because there were very many
2 men among those buses and were they simply selecting
3 it. And they would simply put their shoulder, put
4 their elbow out, and would simply prevent him from
5 boarding the bus if they thought that that person
6 shouldn't board the bus.
7 Q. Those men who were making the selection who
8 would and who would not board the bus, were they in
10 A. Some were uniformed and some were in civilian
12 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, perhaps this is asking you to
13 do too much, in view of the state that you must have
14 been in at the time, but please allow me to ask you if
15 perhaps you noticed the patches, the insignia, the
16 flashes of the military or the police or some other
17 units there. Do you have any recollection of that?
18 Can you tell us something about it?
19 A. Believe me that at that moment, whether I
20 simply didn't want to or whether I didn't dare look at
21 any man, but I cannot bring back to my mind any single
22 face. I merely held my children next to me and I was
23 trying to board it. Nobody, except that man who was at
24 the meeting and who said that my fate was sealed, I did
25 not recognise anyone. Was that fear? Was it
1 something -- I don't know. But I wasn't really
2 looking at any one of them in the face; I was simply
3 trying to board as soon as possible, to get my children
4 on board. No, nobody. Insignia, no. I simply didn't
5 look at those men who were there. I knew they wouldn't
6 allow me to board, but who and why, I don't not know.
7 I simply cannot remember and I cannot bring back to my
8 mind any of the flashes, any of the insignia, and I
9 really don't know who that was or what they were.
10 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, thank you. I have no further
12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,
13 Your Honours.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,
15 do you have any additional questions?
16 MR. HARMON: I do not, Mr. President. Thank
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you
19 very much.
20 Judge Riad.
21 Questioned by the Court:
22 JUDGE RIAD: Mrs. Omanovic, good morning.
23 Can you hear me?
24 A. Yes. Good morning, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE RIAD: I don't want to prolong your
1 difficult situation of testifying to these very sad
2 events. I just would like to understand two more
4 You mentioned that General Mladic reiterated
5 that you have either to leave or perish. Leave what?
6 What is the area which he meant by "to leave"; to leave
7 the area of Srebrenica or to leave a bigger area? In
8 your opinion, what was this area which he meant?
9 A. I think he meant the area of Srebrenica,
10 because that is the only point not held by Serbs. We
11 were encircled as if we were in a camp, because the
12 whole territory, all the hills around my town were held
13 by Serbs. And so if we left, then this whole territory
14 would be Serb. Because in the Drina Canyon, we were
15 from all sides surrounded by Serbs, and only that
16 enclave, Srebrenica, was the territory which the Serbs
17 had not captured yet.
18 JUDGE RIAD: But also you could not go to any
19 other Serb part of Bosnia?
20 A. Nobody. It was only -- I don't really know
21 why, but nobody asked us, nobody made any lists, nobody
22 talked to us to reach some understanding, or anything.
23 They simply brought the buses. And they knew, because
24 such chaos reigned in Srebrenica, so they knew if they
25 brought those five buses, or any number of vehicles,
1 that people were simply set off. Because before that,
2 they had passed such horrible nights that each one of
3 us wished to be dead. The ordinary death would have
4 been a blessing for us, and we suffered so much. We
5 simply wanted to get away, to get away, only not to
6 stay there. And we didn't even have any other
7 possibility. It was, I think, a mere formality.
8 Nobody asked us anything. Those buses were brought
9 there and people were crowded, and that is how the
10 transport started. We had no say in the matter.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Good. You also mentioned more
12 than once that -- I can almost repeat what you said:
13 People would -- anybody could come to the compound and
14 point out to any person, to any individual, to be taken
15 away. What do you mean by, "Anybody could come and
16 point out"? You meant soldiers, Bosnian Serb soldiers,
17 or you meant even individuals, any Serb would come and
18 choose a prey to take out?
19 A. Yes. They were only Serb soldiers, Bosnian
20 Serb soldiers. They were taking away with those
21 torchlamps pointed at them. In daytime they would walk
22 around people, among those crowds, and people were
23 gathered there on two sides, and they would just walk
24 among them and take away those men and never came
25 back. They would take one man after another one. They
1 would talk to him, walk with him, and then they would
2 be gone. Then at night they would once again come,
3 point their torches at those men and just call out
4 individual men and none of those men came back again.
5 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned that among these
6 people there were UN -- people with UN uniforms. Did I
7 understand you rightly?
8 A. Yes, you did. The second night, the Serb
9 soldiers dressed -- because they spoke the same
10 language, Bosnian, and they had UN uniforms, and they
11 came wearing uniforms as they came to us and moved
12 around us.
13 JUDGE RIAD: So it was Serb soldiers wearing
14 UN uniforms? I don't hear you.
15 A. Yes. Yes. They were Serb soldiers wearing
16 UN uniforms.
17 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you,
19 Judge Riad.
20 Judge Wald, do you have any questions?
21 JUDGE WALD: Just a few. When the people
22 boarded the buses in Potocari, they were in a great
23 rush to get on the buses and to get out of there, as
24 you have told us. Did the people around you know where
25 they were going? Did they know what would happen to
1 them when they reached a certain place, or did they
2 simply get on the buses just to get out of Potocari?
3 A. In order to put an end to this agony, people
4 were leaving. They didn't know where they were
5 leaving, but they just wanted to put an end to that.
6 They didn't know whether they would survive or die.
7 They didn't know where they were going.
8 JUDGE WALD: You also mentioned that on one
9 of the nights there were screams around the compound,
10 but you could hear them but you didn't know what was
11 actually happening. Were any of those screams women's
13 A. Yes, there were women's screams as well.
14 There was a woman giving birth, which was not far from
15 me. She was crying. There was another woman that
16 simply went crazy on a bus. She was -- this was
17 influencing us all. It affected the atmosphere and
18 created the atmosphere of terror that night.
19 JUDGE WALD: My last question is: You said
20 that you feared very much falling into the hands of
21 Serbian soldiers or having your daughter fall into
22 their hands, and you referred to things that had
23 happened on the buses on the way to Bratunac. How did
24 you know what happened to any of the buses after they
25 left Potocari? Where did that information come from
1 that caused you fear that if you got on the buses some
2 bad things might happen and made you go to the UN
3 authorities and complain?
4 A. I don't know where those stories had come
5 from, who was the origin of those rumours. All I know
6 is that throughout that period which we spent in
7 Srebrenica, terrible stories about genocide, for
8 example, were being told, genocide perpetrated by
9 Serbian soldiers on the civilian population, women,
10 children. We were afraid of every single soldier. We
11 saw monsters in all of them, monsters who were capable
12 of most inhumane things.
13 This is why I was so fearful to end up in
14 their hands. Because death is nothing, but the way one
15 dies is what counts, because we had been hearing table
16 stories about Serbian soldiers torturing people,
17 mutilating people, raping women, and I simply couldn't
18 allow that to happen to my children, because I was, in
19 a way, guilty for leaving them in Srebrenica, and I
20 would have been responsible for their fate. I was the
21 one who actually made that decision in Srebrenica.
22 They were much too young to leave on their own. This
23 is why I felt so terrible, this is why I jumped out. I
24 just tried to see whether any help was possible.
25 It's very difficult for me to be more
1 precise. This is what we had heard, what we had been
2 hearing all that time.
3 Sometimes throughout that period we would
4 either listen to the radio or saw a TV broadcast, but
5 nothing that we saw on TV or heard on the radio was
6 very nice.
7 JUDGE WALD: But your fears were generated by
8 these stories of what had happened in other villages
9 and elsewhere, but you didn't have any specific
10 information about what had happened to the people on
11 the bus that had left Potocari; is that right?
12 A. They were taking people away. They were
13 taking them away from the camp. We could hear screams
14 throughout the night. It was very difficult, because
15 we felt that something terrible would happen.
16 During that night we were just sitting there,
17 and all of a sudden we would hear screams from a man
18 who was being tortured. It's a terrible thing to
19 experience. Because of such rumours, because of such
20 stories, we all feared that we would be the next.
21 Maybe it was only my imagination, I don't know, but if
22 you keep hearing horrible stories, you cannot be
23 assured that your life would be spared.
24 When he said that he would take my children
25 in a special vehicle, whereas we were actually not
1 allowed to board the bus at all, and I knew that I
2 couldn't expect anything good to happen to me in
4 JUDGE WALD: Thank you, Mrs. Omanovic.
5 A. You're welcome.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
7 Mrs. Omanovic, I have at least four questions for you.
8 My first question is the following: Whilst
9 you were at the meeting with General Mladic, at one
10 point he told you that you could choose between
11 surviving and vanishing, and you said that "vanish"
12 could, in a way, also include the possibility of
13 survival somehow. What I would like to know is whether
14 this possibility of survival was a conclusion of yours
15 or was it General Mladic who had actually said that?
16 A. Well, he simply said, "You can survive or
17 vanish." My conclusion was that if I leave, I would be
18 saved; and if I stayed, I would die.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well
20 then. So the way you understood it was that there was
21 actually no choice, because if you chose to stay, this
22 would mean not to survive. Was that the case?
23 A. Yes, exactly.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] My second
25 question: There were people who were at the meeting
1 together with you, and there was someone who told you
2 at that meeting that your fate had been sealed. How
3 did you interpret that particular message?
4 A. I thought I would simply disappear. I
5 thought that nobody could help me. I thought I had to
6 be the one who had to vanish.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So you
8 understood that something had already been prepared or
9 determined in advance for you?
10 A. Yes, exactly, because when he saw that my
11 fate had been sealed and when we reached the buses,
12 when we were not allowed to board the buses, when I got
13 to that truck where I was given this medal, I knew that
14 something was brewing, something bad.
15 I had the typical instinct of a mother. I
16 wasn't worried about myself. I felt sorry for my
17 children. At that moment, I just jumped out. They
18 said I was brave at that moment. No. No, I wasn't. I
19 was just acting on the instinct of a mother who had to
20 protect her children.
21 That is why I jumped off the truck. I ran to
22 that soldier who pointed his gun towards me and said to
23 him, "Kill me, just leave my children alone. They're
24 innocent. They're underage. My son is there on the
25 truck." And this soldier was also frightened of me
1 although he had a gun. But my instinct as a mother was
2 much stronger, and I had enough force to run away. The
3 UN base was not very close by. My children were
4 leaving to an unknown destination. I didn't know what
5 was going to happen to them, but I had enough force to
6 fight because of this maternal instinct in me. I
7 thought that there must be something that can be done
8 to help my children who had been taken away. They were
9 both under-aged. That's why I jumped out of that
10 truck. I wasn't brave, I was just trying to use the
11 little force that was left in me in order to save my
13 I apologise for crying.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please do
15 calm down. We have profound respect for you and what
16 you have suffered, and you are indeed a brave woman,
17 because you needed a lot of force, a lot of strength to
18 experience what you have been through. We also know
19 you are a brave woman because you have come here to
21 May I continue, Mrs. Omanovic?
22 A. Yes, Your Honour. Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
24 Mrs. Omanovic, you described, in very negative terms,
25 Serbian soldiers. I would like to know: What was
1 their image before the war? Did they have this
2 negative image before or was it only the result of the
4 A. Let me just have a sip of water and I will
5 tell you.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please
7 relax, Mrs. Omanovic.
8 A. Prior to the war, Serbian soldiers were not
9 behaving that way, or maybe they were simply
10 pretending. We lived together, we socialised with each
11 other, we lived next to each other, we went to school
12 together, we worked together, and we respected mutually
13 our traditions, and it was very difficult to understand
14 where all that hatred had come from on the part of the
15 people who had lived together with us.
16 When I think back, I know that I worked
17 together with four Serbs and two Muslims when I was
18 working as the chief accountant at that company. We
19 lived together very well. We had a good life. We
20 would visit each other. I would bake typical Muslim
21 cakes for my Serbian friends for their family reunions
22 and celebrations, and it was so strange to see such a
23 sudden change. We couldn't realise where all that
24 hatred had come from.
25 Today, after all that has happened, I'm
1 simply unable to understand the atrocities, how anyone
2 could commit such atrocities.
3 They knew we had problems because of the
4 concentration of iodine in the factory and there was
5 some very typical diseases for that area, but we never
6 received any necessary medicine from them during that
7 time. It was also a kind of -- it was a method to
8 intimidate us.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] This is my
10 fourth question, Mrs. Omanovic: We saw several
11 videotapes, and we saw the confusion which reigned in
12 and around the base. You lived through all that, and I
13 would like to know whether amidst that turmoil -- you
14 were an educated person -- did you manage to notice,
15 were you able to observe any signs of organisation?
16 Could you tell that things had been prepared in advance
17 in any way?
18 A. I did have a feeling, because of what was
19 going on, that we had been brought to a stage where
20 everything had been prepared in advance, that there was
21 a team of people working in an organised manner. And,
22 for example, at that meeting, things happened in such a
23 way that I had the impression that everything was
24 organised, and then the meeting stopped abruptly, and
25 that was very strange. So, well, this is the
1 impression that I had at the time.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Who do you
3 think was the chief organiser of all that?
4 A. Well, it was General Mladic. He was a kind
5 of director there and he was also acting his role in
6 that scene.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I do have a
8 fifth question, Mrs. Omanovic. You know who General
9 Krstic is, don't you?
10 A. I heard a lot about General Krstic. I met
11 him for the first time in Bratunac during the
12 negotiations. However, I had never seen him before
13 that meeting, nor did I see him after the meeting. I
14 haven't seen him, actually, until I've come here.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You say
16 that you met him for the first time at the meeting in
17 Bratunac. How did you know that the person in question
18 was General Krstic?
19 A. Well, I believe that introductions were made
20 at the meeting.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So somebody
22 introduced you, introduced General Krstic to you. Do
23 you remember the exact words that were used during that
25 A. Well, "This is General Krstic."
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Just like
2 that? Did they say anything about his function?
3 A. I do not remember, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Do you
5 remember where in the room, where the meeting was being
6 held, did General Krstic sit?
7 A. I believe he was sitting on General Mladic's
8 left-hand side.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,
10 thank you. Mrs. Omanovic, thank you very much for your
11 answers to both my questions and questions put to you
12 by my colleagues. Mrs. Omanovic, you have completed
13 your testimony here before the International Criminal
14 Tribunal, and I should like to express our gratitude
15 for your coming here. We do think you were a very
16 brave person, despite what you may think of yourself.
17 We can also tell that you're a tolerant person,
18 reasonable person, and I hope that you yourself can
19 also make a personal contribution so that your country
20 may again find peace and safety. Once again, thank you
21 very much, Mrs. Omanovic, for coming to The Hague.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,
24 I think we should perhaps start with your next witness.
25 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, may I move into
1 evidence exhibits that were introduced through this
2 witness: specifically, Prosecutor's Exhibit 49, which
3 is the film of the meeting on the 12th of July;
4 Prosecutor's Exhibit 49A, B, and C, which are
5 transcripts of the meeting; Prosecutor's Exhibit 50,
6 which is a video, the first video which I played
7 showing the people, the refugees; Prosecutor's 51,
8 which is a 48-second video showing crowd scenes;
9 Prosecutor's 52, which is a still photograph taken from
10 the video; and Prosecutor's 53, likewise a still
11 photograph taken from Prosecutor's Exhibit 49.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
13 Mr. Petrusic, any objections?
14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] No, Your
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,
17 then. The exhibits have been admitted into evidence.
18 Mr. Harmon, perhaps we can begin the
19 testimony of your next witness.
20 MR. HARMON: I'm informed by my colleague,
21 Mr. Cayley, that this witness will require a closed
22 session, and we're prepared to proceed with the next
23 witness once the courtroom is closed.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm
25 addressing the public now. We are now going to move
1 into closed session for our following witness.
2 However, before we do so, I have to ask Mr. Petrusic
3 whether he has any objections against protective
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] We have
6 reached an agreement, Your Honour, and we do not have
7 any objections to protective measures.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you
9 very much, Mr. Petrusic.
10 Let us prepare the courtroom for the closed
11 session, during which we will hear our following
13 [Closed session]
13 pages 1144-1209 redacted -closed session
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
22 at 2.36 p.m., to be reconvened on
23 Friday, the 24th day of March, 2000,
24 at 9.30 a.m.