1 Thursday, 27 August, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-16-T, the
5 Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
6 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic,
7 Vladimir Santic, also known as "Vlado."
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. We may now
10 Mr. Moskowitz?
11 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 While we're waiting for the witness, I might alert the
13 Court to our next week's schedule, which has been
14 handed out to Defence lawyers today, and also of a
15 slight change with regard to a witness we had on our
16 schedule for the second week of trial, which we
17 notified Defence counsel about after session
19 Witness number 8 on the list of last week we
20 have decided not to call and will not be testifying.
21 That is, I think, consistent with our continuous
22 evaluation of the state of the evidence in an attempt
23 to streamline.
24 Therefore, the witness following witness
25 number 8 on that list, Payam Akhavan, will then be
1 testifying, we hope, by later today. And then we will
2 continue on with the list that we have now provided to
3 the Court and to Defence counsel for next week and
4 later this week as well.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: But the first witness is the
6 one who is now here giving evidence, and we may hope
7 that he will finish today. In this case, we will start
8 tomorrow with number 2 on the new list.
9 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Actually, we hope to get to
10 number 2 on the new list today.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Today, wonderful. Thank
13 We have prepared a list of the dates of
14 hearings, which has been distributed to the parties,
15 and then we will raise a fairly important matter at the
16 end of the cross-examination and re-examination of the
17 present witness.
18 (The witness entered court)
19 MR. PULISELIC: Mr. President?
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Mr. Puliselic?
21 MR. PULISELIC: It seems to me that yesterday
22 a minor mistake was made in the transcript on page 130,
23 line 11. It says in the transcript that Dragan Papic
24 said to the witness that it was a Croatian house.
25 That's how it is said in the transcript. But the
1 witness said that Dragan Papic said to the soldiers,
2 who were supposedly there, to not touch that house
3 because that was a Croatian house. So according to the
4 witness, Dragan Papic was addressing the soldiers and
5 not the witness himself.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, I think you're right,
7 absolutely right. I thank you for your comment, and we
8 will check and make the necessary change in the
9 transcript. Thank you.
10 Mr. Moskowitz?
11 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 WITNESS: FAHRUDIN AHMIC
13 Examined by Mr. Moskowitz:
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ahmic.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. Yesterday, we stopped at about the point that
17 we were going to begin with the events immediately
18 preceding April 16, 1993. Before we get there, I would
19 like to show you a couple of photographs, just so we
20 can better visualise where your house was and some of
21 your neighbours' houses were that you mentioned in your
23 At this point, I would ask the usher, if he
24 would, to show the witness this exhibit, please.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number 76.
1 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
2 Q. Mr. Ahmic, do you see your house in that
3 photograph or what remains of your house, and could you
4 point it out if you do?
5 A. Yes, I do see it. It is this one.
6 Q. That would be the house on the left-hand side
7 of that photograph; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, on the left-hand side. I'm pointing at
9 it with my right hand.
10 Q. Thank you. Do you see another house there
11 that you can identify to the right of your house?
12 A. This is Pero Papic's house here.
13 Q. That would be to the extreme left on the
14 photograph; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. Now, looking at the other side of the
17 photograph, in the distance to the right of your house,
18 is there a house that you can identify?
19 A. Yes. This is Sulejman Ahmic's house.
20 Q. Would that be the house that Abdulah Ahmic
21 lived in?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Do you see Abdulah Ahmic's house in that
24 photograph or is it hidden?
25 A. I cannot see it. I cannot see it here. It
1 should be somewhere next to my house.
2 Q. Now, just so we can correlate the photograph
3 to Exhibit 75, which was the aerial blow-up, perhaps if
4 the usher could show the witness Exhibit 75, the blow-up
5 so he can do that. Your house is house number 37; is
6 that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. The photograph, then, would show your house
9 as house number 37?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. MOSKOWITZ: May I have the usher show the
12 next photograph, please?
13 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit number
15 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
16 Q. Again, do you see the photograph of your
17 house or a picture of your house in that photograph?
18 A. Yes, I do. This is it. (Indicating).
19 Q. Do you see two houses directly to the left of
20 your house depicted in that photograph?
21 A. Yes, I do. This is Pero Papic's house, and I
22 can see Marija's house, Marija Papic's house.
23 Q. So you say Marija Papic's house is directly
24 behind Pero's house?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. If you could look at the blow-up, Exhibit 75,
2 which the usher will assist you with in a moment, would
3 it be correct to say that "H" and "I" are Pero and
4 Marija's house as depicted in that photograph?
5 A. Yes, Marija's house under "I" and Pero's
6 house here, letter "H."
7 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President?
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Mr. Radovic?
9 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, once again I
10 don't think that this question has been put correctly.
11 The Prosecutor cannot ask whether it is correct that
12 these houses belong to those specific owners. If the
13 Prosecutor wants to know who these specific houses
14 belong to, then he should ask, "Who do houses under
15 number or letter so and so belong to," otherwise, the
16 Prosecutor is telling the witness both the position and
17 the marks of the houses, as well as the owners' names.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, Mr. Moskowitz, I think
19 you should kindly refrain from putting leading
21 MR. MOSKOWITZ: They were leading questions,
22 I certainly admit that, although yesterday we did go
23 through that aerial map, and I believe I asked him
24 whose house was "H" and whose house was "I." He
25 provided that information of his own accord yesterday.
1 This was merely an attempt, I think, to get through
2 this as quickly as possible.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
4 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps I could raise this with
5 the Defence. As I understood it, there wasn't any
6 dispute about whose house is which. If there is a
7 dispute, then we ought to know. If there's no dispute,
8 then, of course, counsel can lead about it because it's
9 not a matter which is, in any way, contentious. But if
10 it is disputed as to whose house is which, it may be
11 helpful if you would tell the Prosecution so that
12 eventually the Court is going to have an idea of whose
13 house is which and, if necessary, if there's a dispute
14 about it, we would have to decide it, if it's an
15 important matter.
16 Perhaps the Defence might like to put some
17 thought to that.
18 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
19 Q. Now, Mr. Ahmic, looking again at Exhibit 75,
20 once again, would you point out the little alleyway or
21 street that you took when you were returning to your
22 home following the October incident and met the Papics,
23 including Dragan Papic, by the machine gun?
24 A. I took this direction, this alley. Well, I
25 didn't say that I met Papic with a machine gun. Papic
1 was in the bunker with Simo Vidovic, while Vinko
2 Vidovic and Dragan Papic, they were approaching me from
3 the bunker, and they stopped me somewhere in the
5 Q. Thank you. I'm sorry for that misstatement.
6 Could you, just for clarity's sake -- I would ask the
7 usher if he would place Exhibit 76, the photograph, on
8 the ELMO so that we can see where that little lane is.
9 This is not a very excellent picture of this, but can
10 you see in that photograph the lane that you were
11 walking down that day, and point it out for us,
13 A. Yes, this is the lane, towards my house.
14 Q. I think you said yesterday that you noticed
15 that there were some blocks that were being used for
16 the bunker that you recognised as belonging to your
17 house. Where did those blocks come from? Were they in
18 front of your house or inside your house or where?
19 A. They were brought from in front of my house.
20 The blocks were here in front of my house. They were
21 brought here to Papic's house where they had put up a
22 bunker using the blocks.
23 Q. All right, thank you. Thank you, Mr. Usher.
24 Now, before proceeding on to the next events, I did
25 want to clarify one thing with you that we talked about
1 yesterday, and that has to do with the incident in
2 October '92 and about the barricade.
3 You may have misunderstood my question when I
4 asked you, "What did you know about that barricade
5 situation," and my question specifically to you is, and
6 I want to make it clear, not what did you know
7 personally from what you saw that day, but what you
8 found out about it, either that day or on subsequent
9 days, from talking to people.
10 What do you know about that barricade
11 situation? What had happened on October 20th, 1992?
12 A. I, myself, was not at the barricade; however,
13 I heard from other people talking about it. They said
14 that the barricade was erected by the BiH army close to
15 the cemetery. It was erected by the BiH army, as I
16 heard, because HVO were approaching Novi Travnik from
17 Busovaca or from Kacuni or wherever, but they were told
18 that many HVO troops were approaching because Novi
19 Travnik had been attacked, and that that barricade was
20 put up, yet we were attacked.
21 We were dispersed, and this took only some 60
22 minutes, 40 minutes. We were dispersed. We were
23 beaten. The HVO took over the whole area. We withdrew
24 and we fled to the upper Ahmici. This is what I heard,
25 but I was not there, and I saw nothing myself.
1 Q. Do you know whether or not, following this
2 incident in which the HVO broke through the barricade
3 and essentially were victorious that day, do you know
4 whether there was any requirement that Muslim citizens
5 of Ahmici turn over their weapons?
6 A. I don't know when they were required to turn
7 over the weapons, but I know that the population of
8 Ahmici were required to turn over the weapons.
9 Q. Do you know who was requiring them to turn
10 over the weapons?
11 A. Well, their commanders were requiring it.
12 Nenad Santic and -- well, I don't know who else
13 specifically. I just know that the HVO commanders
14 insisted that the weapons be turned over by the BiH
15 army who, anyway, had very few weapons, only the
16 weapons that were brought from Slimeha. When Slimeha
17 was mined at that time, the Territorial Defence went up
18 there to fetch the weapons that were half burnt,
19 destroyed, hardly functional, and they were
20 subsequently repaired. And that's the weapon that we
22 Q. Were there any threats about what would
23 happen if weapons were not turned over that you are
24 aware of?
25 A. There were threats personally. Dragan, on
1 that day, when he was sitting at my table, he said to
2 me, "Unless you turn over the weapons, you'll be
3 shelled. You'll be destroyed," simply, all of us up
5 Q. This would be Dragan Papic who said this to
7 A. Yes. Dragan Papic told me this in the
8 morning when I came back. We were sitting at the
9 table. He, Vinko Vidovic, my wife, and myself were
10 seated around the table.
11 Q. This is where Mr. Papic had that bomb fuse
12 and Mr. Vidovic had the card?
13 A. Yes. He was showing me the card indicating
14 that he was a member of the special units of either the
15 Jokers or the police down in the Bungalow. I
16 personally did not touch the card. He would just show
17 it to me, holding it in his hand.
18 Q. Now, following the conflict at the barricade
19 in '92, did you have an opportunity to observe any
20 damage done to the minaret of the mosque located in
21 Ahmici, the lower mosque?
22 A. That morning when I took my wife and my
23 children towards Ahmici, I noticed the upper part of
24 the minaret being destroyed. That's the very top of
25 the mosque.
1 Q. If I may impose on the usher again, could the
2 witness be shown Exhibits 28 and 29, please? Before
3 you point, just tell us what that is, please. This is
4 Exhibit 28, which has already been admitted into
6 A. This was the mosque before. That's the way
7 we built it. When the village was attacked, the upper
8 part, the uppermost part of the mosque was hit, and
9 there were holes caused by the bullets all over the
11 Q. The next exhibit, please, this would be 29
12 already admitted into evidence. What does this show,
13 Mr. Ahmic?
14 A. Well, these are the holes, and the upper
15 part -- well, probably it's missing because it was
16 destroyed, not the whole minaret, but only the
17 uppermost part that I had shown you on the earlier
18 photograph. This part was not destroyed entirely. It
19 was only the upper part.
20 Q. Does this picture accurately show at least
21 part of the damage done to the minaret after the
23 A. Yes. This does show some of the damage, but
24 further up, there was a part which was also only
25 slightly damaged.
1 Q. Was the minaret repaired sometime after the
2 October incident?
3 A. It was repaired.
4 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Usher.
5 Q. If I may, I would like to go back to one
6 morning when my wife, when she got up. She noticed
7 through the window my neighbours, the Croats, they were
8 all dressed in camouflage uniforms, and they had
9 weapons with them. At that time, she summoned me to
10 come to the window and have a look.
11 I got up too, and I saw this picture of my
12 neighbours, in weapons, carrying out of Mario Papic's
13 house certain crates, military boxes, crates. What was
14 inside, I do not know, but they were wearing camouflage
15 uniforms, they had weapons. And at that time I told my
16 wife, "Get ready, you and the children, and let's all
17 go to Upper Ahmici. I will, however, stay here to see
18 what was going on."
19 At that time, I knew nothing about what was
20 going to happen, but I noticed, when I went out, there
21 were Ivo Papic, Dragan Papic, Mario Papic, Zoran Papic,
22 all of them were there dressed, with weapons.
23 I went there and I asked the neighbours,
24 "What is going on?" At that time Ivo Papic told me
25 that the Bosnian army had attacked Busovaca, Rovna,
1 Kovacevic, and that a massacre is being committed
2 there. However, I told them that I had no knowledge of
3 that, and I asked them, "What shall I do now?" At that
4 time Ivo Papic said, "There's no life together with you
5 any more. Get lost and beat it to your people up
6 there, and tell Sakib Ahmic," and he was his very good
7 friend, that, "He should never be coming back to me.
8 He shouldn't come here and cry."
9 My wife and my children had left for Upper
10 Ahmici, and after this talk with my neighbours, I
11 decided to go and visit Sakib Ahmic, and I had told him
12 what Ivo had said to me. He simply said, "Well,
13 Fahrudin, I cannot believe this." I turned around and
14 went away, and went up to Urcevihe to stay with my
16 Q. Do you have an idea of when this incident
17 took place?
18 A. I know they told me when Rovna, Busovaca and
19 Kovacevic was attacked, but I really cannot recall the
21 Q. Can you say whether it was before or after
22 the conflict in October?
23 A. That was after this first conflict, at the
24 time when we were still living together. At least
25 that's how I can recall it.
1 Q. And just for clarity too, you mentioned Sakib
2 Ahmic. Which Sakib are you referring to?
3 A. I was referring to Bajricin's Sakib Ahmic,
4 who was the best friend of Ivo Papic's.
5 Q. This is the Sakib who's related to Abdulah
6 Ahmic, is that correct?
7 A. Yes. He was Abdulah's uncle.
8 Q. Now, I want to focus your attention on the
9 day before April 16, 1993. Do you recall seeing
10 anything unusual that day that raised your suspicions
11 that something might happen the following day?
12 A. On the 15th of April, that day my
13 mother-in-law visited me, with her daughter, and the
14 daughter told me that she had seen two uniformed
15 soldiers on a motorbike. They had camouflage
16 uniforms. One of them had the BiH army flag fixed to
17 the motorbike. They would drive up and down the road.
18 And she also said that they were yelling while driving
19 up and down, and they yelled at her.
20 That day, she went to fetch her other sister,
21 who was married, at the station, in the upper part, and
22 she brought her to my house, together with her child.
23 On the eve, I went out to collect some wood,
24 and my mother-in-law came out too. Marija talked to
25 her. She asked her, "How are you," "What's going on,"
1 things like that.
2 After that we went back to the house, and we
3 saw, both my wife, myself and all the others. We saw
4 through the window that Pero's wife had packed her
5 luggage, a car came to fetch her, and she and her child
6 were taking the luggage with them, left for Zenica.
7 However, they couldn't get as far as Zenica because
8 there was a block on the road. Therefore, they had to
9 turn towards Busovaca.
10 My wife, at that time, said, "Something is in
11 the offing, this is no good." However, I told her that
12 I would go up to the upper part of the village, to my
13 commanding officers, and ask them what was the news.
14 And that's what I did.
15 I went up there to the mosque to pray, and on
16 my way to the mosque I met Vinko Vidovic, and I saw him
17 packing up the luggage, the belongings. A car came and
18 his wife and Vinko's children all left.
19 In the mosque, I told my co-believers that
20 the situation was not good. My neighbours were
21 fleeing. They were simply going somewhere. Where, I
22 didn't know. They responded by saying that I was
23 panicking and that I shouldn't cause panic among the
24 people, that I should go home and what did I fear.
25 However, I told them, "I am not afraid, but I have a
1 house full of children and women. I am alone. I'm the
2 only adult male in the house." Their reply was, "If
3 one has to defend one's house, it should be defended at
4 the threshold." When I asked these leaders of mine,
5 they said if I was afraid to sleep down there, that I
6 should go to the upper village. And after prayers, I
7 returned home.
8 Q. Did you go to the -- I'm sorry, go ahead.
9 A. When I came home, my wife asked me, "What's
10 new?" I didn't say anything. I just said there's
11 nothing. No one knows anything about anything. So we
12 had a talk as to what we should do, because it was
13 difficult for the eight of us to go anyplace. If I
14 didn't have my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law and
15 the children, I would have gone to the upper village,
16 but as they were staying with us, I stayed at home. We
17 spent the night there, and for my own safety I went
18 outside from 10.00 to 12.00, watching to see whether
19 there were any suspicious movements, any signs that the
20 situation was worsening. I saw nothing.
21 I went back into the house. My wife packed a
22 red bag. I was a bit irritated. I said, "What are you
23 doing? Why are you packing? There's nothing." And
24 she said "Never mind, just in case." And I went to
1 In the morning, I was awakened by the sound
2 of fire. I jumped out of bed, as did my mother-in-law
3 and everyone else in the house. "What is this," she
4 asked. I said, "I don't know what it can be." And she
5 said, "It's a war, children."
6 I ran out to the veranda. I looked around.
7 There was no one. I looked at my neighbours. There
8 was no one. I felt shells falling, all kinds of
9 weapons were being fired, then I went back inside and I
10 said to my wife and children, that they should go into
11 the cellar in case the house were to be shelled,
12 because the upper floor had still not been completed.
13 So to avoid any injury, I told them all to go into the
14 basement where they would be safer. My wife said, "No,
15 we won't go into the cellar, we want to flee into Upper
16 Ahmici." The only thing I said was, "Get out of the
17 house. Don't carry anything, just run towards Upper
18 Ahmici." I stayed behind to lock the house, the
19 cellar, and to look around to see whether there was
21 While they were fleeing towards the road, I
22 locked the cellar and the house, and I was standing
23 around the corner of my house. I didn't see anyone.
24 And as I was running towards the road, I crossed the
25 road, I turned to the left and to the right, and as I
1 looked to the right, I noticed, next to Ivo's house,
2 two soldiers bending down.
3 I saw the glimmer of fire coming from a
4 firearm from Dragan Papic's window. Then I ran on from
5 there. I caught up with my wife, my mother-in-law, and
6 the children and all the others who were fleeing. When
7 I caught up with my wife, she said, "Take the little
8 girl's back, please." I didn't manage to reach the
9 little girl. I was already hit.
10 When I was hit, I thought -- I said, "Look,
11 I've been wounded. Lie down, everyone." And then I
12 saw, coming from Mehmed Ahmic's and Dragan Papic's
13 house, the shooting was coming from there. From around
14 the corner of Mehmed Ahmic's house I also saw fire
15 coming from a weapon.
16 As I was running with my family, my wife,
17 children, my mother-in-law. We were running towards
18 the upper mosque. And I felt fire coming from up there
19 somewhere, so I knew I couldn't go in that direction.
20 So I ran into Hilmija Ahmic's house, carrying my arm
21 because I thought that it had been broken.
22 When I entered, I saw a house full of women
23 and children. Everybody was asking everybody else what
24 was happening. I laid down on a bench. This was next
25 to the road along which I had come. No one dared help
1 me. I was asking for help, but no one dared to dress
2 my wounds. They were afraid. They just tied up my
3 hand so as to stop the flow of blood.
4 I told them then, "We have no way out, but
5 call UNPROFOR up. They're the only ones that can up to
6 us. We have no other chance." Then Hilmija's
7 daughter-in-law called up Hilmija's daughter, who was a
8 judge in Zenica, telling her to address the UNPROFOR
9 for aid for Ahmici, and that's what indeed happened.
10 She called up. Whether she got her on the phone or
11 not, I can't remember.
12 Later on, my wife asked me whether I needed
13 any assistance. I told her, "Go -- you go and save
14 yourself and the children, and leave me behind."
15 However, she sent her sister to stay with me, and she
16 stayed throughout until the UNPROFOR arrived.
17 When the UNPROFOR arrived, they treated me.
18 They put me on an infusion and they dressed my wounds,
19 intravenous infusion. I asked them to transfer me to
20 the hospital. And there was an interpreter with them.
21 His answer was that they were not allowed to help
22 anyone, because those were the orders they had received
23 from the Croatian army, and they left.
24 I don't know how much time went by. I was
25 lying there. Hilmija's windows had been protected.
1 The windows facing the street were protected with
2 wooden planks five centimetres thick. It was exposed
3 to fire, and they were using incendiary bullets.
4 Regardless of their protection, one of these bullets
5 entered and set fire to a couch, not the one I was
6 lying on, and it started burning. I was alone just
7 then in the room, so I cried out, "The house is on
8 fire." Hilmija and Ismet Pezer entered crawling,
9 crawled in and put out the fire that had started
11 After a little while, the UNPROFOR arrived.
12 This time they took me, and someone else was there, a
13 woman, lying above me. Allegedly it was Nedira Pezer.
14 I didn't say that they took a photograph of me when
15 UNPROFOR was treating me. I forgot to mention that.
16 They took a photograph of me then.
17 And when they transported me to the hospital,
18 they said to me everything would be okay. And on the
19 way there, I think that we were going through the town
20 of Nova Bila, where we were stopped. They wanted to
21 take me to the hospital. There was some kind of
22 misunderstanding. And then they took me to Stari
23 Travnik, to the hospital there, that's where I was
25 Q. I'll ask the usher to place 75 on the ELMO.
1 Thank you.
2 Just to clarify a few things, Mr. Ahmic,
3 could you, with the pointer, demonstrate the route of
4 travel you and your family took as you fled your house
5 towards Upper Ahmici?
6 A. Along this road.
7 Q. And I believe you testified that you got to
8 the road. And did you cross that road, the main road,
9 the Vitez/Bucovaca main road?
10 A. Yes, I crossed it.
11 Q. And is there an indication on the map, or can
12 you indicate to us about where you think you were when
13 you were hit with the bullet?
14 A. Here, between Omer's house and Sakib's
15 stable. Somewhere here between Sakib's stable and
16 Omer's house. That is where it happen. I can't tell
17 you exactly, but there.
18 Q. Approximately where that "X" and arrow is on
19 the exhibit in front of you would be fairly accurate
20 where you were -- accurately show where you were,
21 approximately, where you were struck; is that right?
22 A. Yes, yes, somewhere just there.
23 Q. What side -- if you can recall, what side of
24 your body was struck with the bullet, your left side or
25 your right side?
1 A. My right arm. This is where the bullet
2 entered, and this is where it came out, and you see
3 what my hand is like now.
4 Q. So you still --
5 A. This is where it entered, and this is where
6 it exited.
7 Q. Were you struck in any other part of your
8 body with gunfire at that time?
9 A. I was struck here in the right hip.
10 Q. Now, you said that you went to Hilmija's
11 house. Could you shows us where on this exhibit, after
12 you were injured, where on this exhibit Hilmija's house
14 A. Here, here.
15 Q. And that would be house 15 on the blow-up; is
16 that correct?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. Now, you also said that you saw firing coming
19 from Mehmed's house. Do you see that house on the
20 blow-up in front of you, and if so, could you describe
21 what number it is?
22 A. From here, number 3.
23 Q. And I believe you said you also saw flashes
24 of fire coming from the Papic house. Which Papic house
25 were you referring to, if you could point to it,
2 A. This is Papic's house.
3 Q. That would be house marked "A". That would
4 be Ivo Papic's house; is that right?
5 A. Yes, Ivo Papic's. Both Ivo and Dragan live
6 there, Dragan Papic lives there.
7 Q. Were you armed on that day?
8 A. No, I never had a firearm. I didn't have a
9 uniform. I felt so sure that I didn't need it, and
10 that this would never happen. At least as far as the
11 Croatian side and the Muslim side were concerned, I
12 could never imagine that this would happen between us.
13 Q. Who was near you when you were shot in the
14 elbow and in your side? Who were you close to?
15 A. I remember my wife, that she stopped me,
16 saying, "Please carry this red bag," which the little
17 girl was carrying, and that is when I was hit. And
18 then I said, "Lie down, I have been wounded, they are
19 shooting." And that is when I looked and saw the flash
20 of fire coming from Mehmed's house, and we could hear
21 the shrapnel hitting the iron door of Omer Pezer's
22 house. And they were shooting at me, so I immediately
23 fled from there.
24 Q. Which house is Omer Pezer's house?
25 A. It is here, somewhere here.
1 Q. Now, you mentioned your wife was near you.
2 Do you recall how she was dressed that day?
3 A. Believe me, I don't know. I don't know. I
4 know from the photograph I was wearing a sweater, but I
5 do not recall anything about the way people were
7 Q. Were there any children close by you and your
8 wife when you were shot?
9 A. I don't remember anything, how far from me
10 they were, but they were there, close by. The
11 children, and my wife, and mother-in-law and my
12 sister-in-law, they were all close by. I had reached
13 them. I had caught up with them and when I slowed
14 down, when I reached them, that was when I was hit,
15 when my woman told me to pick up the bag. And before I
16 managed to pick it up, I was hit.
17 MR. MOSKOWITZ: May I ask the usher at this
18 point to show the witness the next photograph?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 78.
20 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
21 Q. Mr. Ahmic, I believe this is Exhibit 78,
22 which has been placed on the ELMO.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, 78.
24 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
25 Q. Do you recognise what that picture shows and,
1 if so, please tell us?
2 A. I recognise that it was struck with firearms,
3 that it had been burnt. I know that I went inside into
4 this house, and I lay here next to this window against
5 this wall. That is where the couch was, and it went in
6 the shape of a letter "L."
7 Q. Do you see pockmarks outside that house?
8 A. Yes, I do. I see earmarks left by firearms.
9 Yes, I can see the pockmarks.
10 MR. MOSKOWITZ: May I ask the usher to show
11 the next series of photographs?
12 JUDGE CASSESE: I'm sorry. May I ask you to
13 ask the witness whose house this was?
14 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Oh, I'm sorry.
15 Q. Again, whose house is this?
16 A. It is Hilmija Ahmic's house.
17 Q. You have the blow-up right in front of you,
18 Mr. Ahmic, and if you can look at that for a second.
19 Hilmija Ahmic's house, if you could point to it and
20 give us the number on the blow-up?
21 A. It is number 15. Here it is (indicating).
22 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Thank you.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 79.
24 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
25 Q. I think you indicated that some photographs
1 were taken in Hilmija's house. What does this show?
2 A. This picture shows me when UNPROFOR came and
3 gave me first aid.
4 Q. Do you have an idea approximately what time
5 UNPROFOR came?
6 A. Approximately at about 11.00.
7 Q. And your family had already fled to upper
8 Ahmici by the time UNPROFOR came; is that right?
9 A. They had fled to upper Ahmici thanks to
10 UNPROFOR, because they gave them the chance to get
12 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Could we have the next
13 exhibit, please?
14 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 80.
15 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
16 Q. Again, if you could tell us what this picture
17 shows and, perhaps, tell us who these people are in the
18 picture, if you know?
19 A. This was the owner of the house, Hilmija
20 Ahmic. This was his daughter-in-law. This was a
21 neighbour, Pezer, who lived across the road from
22 Hilmija. I don't remember her first name. This is me,
23 and I was being treated. I think that this was the
24 interpreter and, with him, an UNPROFOR officer.
25 Q. "The interpreter" meaning someone who could
1 speak the Bosnian language with you and you could
2 communicate with to UNPROFOR?
3 A. Yes, who came with the UNPROFOR.
4 Q. I see that in the photograph the interpreter
5 is dressed like a soldier. Is that how you remember it
6 as well?
7 A. I don't remember him.
8 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Could we have the final
9 picture, please?
10 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 81.
11 A. This is the same owner, Hilmija Ahmic. He
12 was the owner of the house. And as I just said, this
13 was the, I think, interpreter with UNPROFOR. This is
14 Hilmija's daughter-in-law, and this, I don't know, I
15 can't recognise her.
16 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
17 Q. The woman who has her hands on her face, the
18 daughter-in-law, was she the one who called Zenica?
19 A. Yes, she called Zlatija, Hilmija's daughter,
20 asking her to call up UNPROFOR.
21 Q. Were you in a great deal of pain at that
23 A. Of course I was, because my hand was almost
24 blown off.
25 Q. Did you remain conscious that day, all day?
1 A. I was conscious all the time, even in
2 hospital. I didn't lose consciousness at all.
3 Q. Do you know what kind of hospital you were
4 taken to in Novi Travnik or in Travnik?
5 A. I was taken to Stari Travnik, the hospital
6 there. The hospital I was accommodated in, there were
7 HVO soldiers, BiH army soldiers. We were all in the
8 same hospital. We were all being treated there.
9 Q. When were you reunited with your family, if
10 you could tell us quickly?
11 A. Twenty days later, roughly, I was transferred
12 to Zenica, and when we were being transferred, they
13 used small coaches. I don't remember exactly how many
14 of us there were. The small bus was full. We were
15 stopped at Ovnak. They held us there for an hour. The
16 HVO, their army, they eventually let us go to Zenica,
17 but it was hard.
18 When I was accommodated in the hospital in
19 Zenica, only then did I learn about my wife and
20 children. And then they looked for me in the hospital,
21 and they found me.
22 Q. Were they all right? Did they survive, your
23 wife and children?
24 A. They survived. All of them are okay.
25 Q. I think you said that when you were placed in
1 the ambulance, there was a woman in there already. You
2 thought her name was Nedira. Did you have a chance or
3 an ability to observe her injuries at all?
4 A. I couldn't see, but I heard that she had been
5 hit in the head. When I left the hospital, I learned
6 that she had been hit in the head.
7 Q. Now, I just want to go back for a second to
8 the day before and clarify a couple of things. You
9 talked about a motorcycle going up and down the road
10 the day before. Did you, yourself --
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. -- see the motorcycle?
13 A. No, I didn't see it myself. It is my
14 sister-in-law who told me about it when she arrived at
15 my house.
16 Q. You also talked about meeting Vinko Vidovic
17 on the way to the mosque that evening.
18 A. When I was heading for the mosque from the
19 road, I saw Vinko Vidovic, his wife, and his children
20 getting ready to leave, and a car was waiting for them
21 to leave. Where they were leaving for, I don't know,
22 but I noticed that they were leaving in the direction
23 of Zenica. And since the road was blocked by stones,
24 they couldn't go to Zenica, so they probably left for
1 Q. That's what you assume. You don't know that
2 for a fact, is that right, that they were blocked?
3 A. I don't know. That's what I assume.
4 Q. When you say they left for Zenica, in what
5 direction on the valley road would they have to go to
6 go to Zenica, towards the cemetery or towards Vitez?
7 A. They started towards the cemetery.
8 Q. And that was the direction that you saw them
9 travel, so you assume they were going to Zenica?
10 A. Yes. I assumed that they then had to go to
11 Busovaca because they couldn't go to Zenica. You know,
12 a lot of avalanches were there blocking the road, and
13 they couldn't go as far as Zenica.
14 Q. Now, do you recall giving a statement to an
15 investigator in 1995 about some of these things?
16 A. I recall a statement that I made.
17 Q. Do you remember whether you were spoken to
18 for a long time during the time you gave the statement
19 or were you spoken to for a short time or do you recall
20 at all?
21 A. I can only recall that I was fetched by
22 somebody asking me to make a statement in connection
23 with Ahmici, and I went with them, not knowing what
24 sort of a statement I was supposed to give and why I
25 was supposed to give this statement.
1 However, I went with them. I gave this
2 statement. I cannot recall where I gave it, and I
3 really cannot remember how long I was speaking, because
4 my arm really hurt me. I was in pain. I wasn't
5 focused really. I had lost my house, all of my
6 belongings, and I just couldn't concentrate at that
7 time. I was in pain. As I said before, my arm was
8 really hurting me, and I couldn't focus when I was
9 making this statement.
10 Q. Did the investigator speak to you in your
11 language or was he speaking English, as far as you
12 could tell?
13 A. What language he spoke, I do not know, but
14 there was an interpreter. Whether a man or a woman, I
15 cannot recall either, because I really didn't feel the
16 need. I wasn't focused while giving the statement.
17 Q. Do you recall, one way or the other, whether
18 the statement was read over to you after you gave your
20 A. I cannot recall that. It may have been read
21 to me, but I really cannot remember that. I cannot
22 remember anything about this.
23 Q. Have you now had a chance, in the last
24 several days, to review and look at that statement?
25 A. Yes. I have had an opportunity to do it. I
1 saw it. I reviewed it, and I was shocked by the
2 statement, because what is said in the statement, it
3 really causes pain in me, because I have really had
4 very many unpleasant experiences.
5 Q. Did you think that there were some mistakes
6 in the statement, as you read it over recently?
7 A. When the attorney was reading this statement
8 to me, I noticed mistakes, and there are things in the
9 statement that I had never said.
10 Q. Are there some things you specifically recall
11 now that you think were mistakes in the statement that
12 you would like to clarify at this point?
13 A. Well, as far as the situation when I was
14 wounded is concerned, that's where I was really
15 confused. I could never get to Hilmija's house with my
16 family. I couldn't get into the house. I supposedly
17 asked the commanding officer to give me a weapon or
18 something. I really cannot understand why this is in
19 the statement, because I could never say this. I was
20 not wounded there. I was not there with the family. I
21 ran into this house on my own.
22 Q. I think you're referring to a sentence in the
23 statement that indicates that you had gone to Hilmija's
24 house before you were wounded, left Hilmija's house and
25 then were wounded after leaving Hilmija's house, and
1 then returned again. You're saying that that is just
2 not accurate; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. MOSKOWITZ: May I have just one second,
5 Mr. President?
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, please.
7 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Those are all the questions I
8 have. At this point, we would offer into evidence
9 Exhibits 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, and 81, I believe, are
10 all of them.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Pavkovic?
12 MR. PAVKOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
13 Mr. President, I would like to put a few questions to
14 this witness myself, and then Petar Puliselic will be
15 cross-examining this witness. However, it is about ten
16 minutes until the break, and the ten minutes will not
17 be enough for my questions. Therefore, I would ask you
18 to advise me on further deliberations.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. We will rise now
20 so that we will resume at twenty past eleven, and you
21 will start with the cross-examination. It's better for
22 you and, of course, for the proceedings.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.55 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.25 a.m.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Pavkovic.
1 Cross-examined by Mr. Pavkovic:
2 MR. PAVKOVIC:
3 Q. Good morning, sir.
4 A. Good morning.
5 Q. My name is Petar Pavkovic. I'm an attorney.
6 A. Pleased to meet you.
7 Q. I would like to put a few questions to you.
8 Yesterday in your testimony you said that you
9 were born in 1953 in Ahmici?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You said that you spent all your life there?
12 A. Yes, except when I was working for three
13 years and a half in Rijeka on a construction job.
14 Q. Can you tell us something about the relations
15 among the different ethnicities and neighbours, or
16 rather, more specifically, the first question, what
17 ethnicities were living in Ahmici?
18 A. As far as ethnicity is concerned, I was
19 really not thinking a lot about it. I was not paying a
20 great deal of attention to that fact. There was no
21 need for me to do that. We lived together very well.
22 I was not interested in the ethnicity, I just took a
23 person at face value.
24 We lived together -- I mean, I can't imagine
25 any community to living a better life. I know that we
1 would marry with people from other ethnicities, and I
2 never really noticed who is who and who was who.
3 Q. So if I understand you well, you and the
4 other citizens were in good relations?
5 A. Yes. With all of them. With Croats, with
6 all the others.
7 Q. As you said it yesterday, this went on until
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What was actually going on at that time?
11 What did you notice?
12 A. I noticed something I never saw before. I
13 saw for the first time these camouflage uniforms with
14 my neighbours, and I noticed that they were procuring
16 Q. But at that time you were at war with the
17 Serbs. What was unusual about it?
18 A. I know that there was a war going on at that
19 time, but -- how to put it. I didn't understand it as
20 a war. I was simply not interested, because I was
21 against any war.
22 Q. At that time had you recognised that there
23 had been a war in the former Yugoslavia, in Slovenia
24 and Croatia?
25 A. Yes, I knew that. I knew a war was waged.
1 How and why, however, I didn't know why. I was not
2 interested in that.
3 Q. Did you ask anyone living together in a good
4 life what was going on?
5 A. Of course, I was asking them. I would ask my
6 neighbours, "What is going on. Why is there a war?"
7 And they would simply say, "The Serbs had attacked."
8 Q. Very well. And on one day you were told to
9 join your people, to beat it, as you said yesterday.
10 How did you understand that? Before that you had joint
11 duty guards and everything, and then all of a sudden
12 you were told to go and join your people.
13 A. Yes, that's what they told me, but I didn't
14 understand it. I just went up to join my people. I
15 would join them, and we would then organise duty guards
16 which were not really very specific. It was not really
17 duty guard. We would sit down, we would play cards, we
18 would play chess. We actually were just together to
19 prevent a possible incident, an unusual situation.
20 Q. Tell me, since when had you been a member of
21 the BiH army in relation to the events in 1992?
22 A. In April, 1992, I would join the defence, the
23 Territorial Defence, because I was put on a waiting
24 list by my employer, and I had to bring to my company
25 certain certificates to show them that I was
1 incorporated into an organised unit and that I would
2 get salary from there.
3 Q. I understand you. You said you went up there
4 with your people. Where was that?
5 A. That was up there in Krcevine.
6 Q. Where did you report at that time?
7 A. Bilic Hidzo was there.
8 Q. Who was there?
9 A. Well, he was sort of a commander.
10 Q. What sort after commander?
11 A. I don't know. I wasn't interested in that.
12 There was some sort of commanders in charge of guards
13 and I was a member of that guard.
14 Q. How many commanders of this sort were there?
15 A. At the beginning, I know there was Pjanic,
16 then there was Hidzo Bilic and Ahmic Muris. I can
17 recall these commanders. When they were there and how
18 long, I don't know.
19 Q. So they were the commanders. Whose
20 commanders? Who did they command to?
21 A. I don't know. I know they were in contact
22 with Vitez.
23 Q. But in Krcevine how many other people were
24 there that they were in contact with?
25 A. I don't know.
1 Q. Do you understand me? You are talking about
2 a commander. Well, if you are a commander, then you
3 have certain people to command to. Who were they
5 A. Well, these were actually not commanders.
6 These people were in charge of deploying the guards.
7 Q. Did you notice them having any weapon when
8 you came there?
9 A. No, they had no weapons.
10 Q. No weapons?
11 A. No weapons whatsoever.
12 Q. What about the weapons that were collected at
13 Slimena and were brought in?
14 A. This were burnt up weapons that were sent to
15 Grabovi and Upper Ahmici. The people who went up to
16 Slimena, they brought the weapons back. They would
17 repair the weapons so that they can be functional.
18 Q. Can you tell me a name of these people who
19 went and fetched the weapons, repaired them?
20 A. Suad Ahmic was one of them that I know.
21 I know he went up there and brought the weapons back.
22 Q. Can you describe the weapons?
23 A. I don't know. I didn't see the weapons at
25 Q. You never saw a single piece of the weapons?
1 A. No, I didn't see any weapons.
2 Q. Let us now go back to the situation prior to
3 the first conflict. You told us how this first
4 conflict took place. I'm referring to the October,
5 1992 conflict.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You told us that you were given orders by the
8 BiH army to put up a barricade. Well, not you
9 personally, but that the order was issued by the BiH
11 A. As far as this barricade is concerned, I told
12 you before that I received no orders. I knew nothing
13 about a barricade being erected. I was not on the
14 barricade. I heard from other people talking about the
15 barricade, when it had already been put up, when this
16 was all over, and they told me that Novi Tavnik was
17 attacked, that many troops would have to go there to
19 Q. Who then received this order?
20 A. I know that it was issued -- sorry, that the
21 barricade was erected by the BiH army, that's what I
22 heard, but I specifically know nothing about this
24 Q. Do you remember who you heard this from?
25 A. I cannot recall this. This was a story that
1 went on. I heard it. By whom and when, I don't really
3 Q. Who exactly, according to your knowledge, put
4 up this barricade?
5 A. As far as I know, it was the BiH army that
6 put it up.
7 Q. Well, were these people from Ahmici?
8 A. I heard that two of them were from Ahmici,
9 Zado Ahmic (phoen) and another Ahmic. Well, these two,
10 but nobody else, I heard, was participating in the
11 erection of the barricade. And I heard that they took
12 weapons from somebody at the barricade, but what
13 specifically happened I really do not know.
14 Q. You mentioned that later this barricade was
15 removed in about an hour's time.
16 A. Well, as far as I heard, the barricade was
17 removed rather quickly, in an hour or an hour and a
18 half, as I heard it.
19 Q. After the removal of the barricade, did you
20 go there?
21 A. No, I never went to that site ever. I don't
22 know where the barricade was put up.
23 Q. So you don't know how it looked like?
24 A. No, I don't know how it looked like. I had
25 nothing to do with it.
1 Q. Yesterday you mentioned that on the 20th of
2 October, 1992, Halid Pezer was killed and that you
3 transferred his body to his mother.
4 A. Yes. I don't know exactly the date when it
5 was, but I can recall coming down there. Whether it
6 was a day or two after the attack, I don't know, but I
7 know that I went down there with Mirsad Ahmic, who was
8 my uncle, a relative. I heard there that this man was
9 killed, and that his mother was asking for the body to
10 be discovered. I don't know where the body was.
11 Mirsad told me where it was, and we went there
13 We took the body out and transported him to
14 the mosque. We left it there and this is where the
15 mother collected him.
16 Q. I think you mentioned a name Ahmic. Are you
17 referring to the same person? Now, earlier ago you
18 talked about Halid Pezer?
19 A. Halid Pezer was killed, but Mirsad Ahmic was
20 with me. He was with me transporting the body.
21 Q. Where was the body of Halid Pezer at that
23 A. It was behind Pjanic's house.
24 Q. Is this where he was killed?
25 A. Yes, this is where he was killed.
1 Q. Are you sure that this is where he was
3 A. I'm not sure but this is where we found him.
4 Q. Have you seen him being killed?
5 A. No, I didn't see that.
6 Q. After the first conflict -- I think it is
7 better for me to use that term than to mention dates.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. After this first conflict, you said that the
10 Bosniaks were requested to surrender their weapons?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Who made this demand? Did anybody ask you to
13 surrender your weapons?
14 A. It was the HVO that demanded it.
15 Q. The HVO, yes, but a person, a person you
17 A. No, I don't know. I heard this from our
18 leader Muris Ahmic, who was there where we kept watch
19 duty. And when we were attacked, I think this was on
20 the next day, he asked that our weapons be surrendered
21 to the Croats because they had threatened to destroy us
23 Q. Where were you then keeping watch duty?
24 A. At that time I was in Gornji Ahmici, Upper
25 Ahmici. I don't remember for how long.
1 Q. How many of you were there?
2 A. Not many. We were just local, 10 or 15 local
3 inhabitants, because some people were fighting the
4 Serbs on the front, some were working. There weren't
5 many of us.
6 Q. Was that some sort of a front-line, a combat
8 A. No, we didn't have any combat lines
10 Q. Would you please refer back to the events on
11 the eve of the second conflict, when you were wounded,
12 as you just explained. You said you were woken up in
13 the morning by the sound of gunfire, and that then you
14 were getting ready with your family. I'm summarising
15 what you said, of course.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. That with your family you headed towards the
18 house of Hilmija Ahmic. Tell me, you explained to us
19 today that while you were going towards Hilmija Ahmic's
20 house and when you caught up with your family, which
21 went ahead of you, and when your wife told you to pick
22 up a red bag from the little girl, as you've said, that
23 you were hit then and wounded. Did I understand you
24 well that your wife was there as well?
25 A. They were all nearby, my wife, my family, my
1 mother-in-law, my sister-in-law. They were all going
2 in front ahead of me, and I caught up with them.
3 Q. About what time could this have been?
4 A. About 5.20, 5.30. This was at the time of
5 the morning prayers, when we go to prayer, when we do
6 our religious rights.
7 Q. You showed Their Honours the injury you
8 sustained on that occasion. After being taken by
9 UNPROFOR on that same day for treatment, where did they
10 take you?
11 A. I was in a personnel carrier. I didn't know
12 where they were taking me.
13 Q. Yes, but in the end where did they take you?
14 A. I assumed it was Nova Bila, where they took
15 me inside -- or rather, they opened the personnel
16 carrier. There was a misunderstanding. I don't know
17 what happened. Then they shut the door again and then
18 continued on. However, when we reached this spot where
19 they opened the carrier again, realised that I had
20 got -- I had reached Stari Travnik, in front of the
22 Q. And you were accommodated there?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. How much time did you spend there?
25 A. Roughly 20 days.
1 Q. And what happened then?
2 A. After that they didn't do anything to me.
3 They didn't treat my arm. They just put a splint on
4 it, because the hospital had been looted, there were no
5 plates, no spoons. I ate from cardboard containers
6 with my hands. There were no spoons, no plates, no
7 pyjamas. For six days I laid there with nothing on
8 me. I had nothing on me.
9 And I spent about 20 days there. They
10 couldn't do anything for me. And then they said they
11 would transfer me to Zenica, and that's what they did.
12 A small bus collected us and took us, via Han Bila, to
13 Obloke, where again we were stopped by Croatian HVO
15 Q. Tell us when you reach the Zenica hospital.
16 A. In the afternoon.
17 Q. Did they admit you immediately into
19 A. Yes, they did, immediately.
20 Q. How long did you stay there?
21 A. I don't remember exactly.
22 Q. Never mind, just roughly?
23 A. Approximately a month.
24 Q. And did they do surgery?
25 A. No. My arm was infected, because in Travnik
1 they didn't have the necessary bandages. They didn't
2 have the medicines. And when I got to Zenica,
3 Mr. Sabic, the doctor, told me that my arm was infected
4 and that they couldn't help me either.
5 Q. What happened next?
6 A. Well, my hand remained stiff. I had terrible
7 pains for two or three months after that. I had
8 constant pain because everything was broken there in my
10 Q. Tell me, please, when were you discharged
11 from the hospital?
12 A. I left the hospital. I went to the
13 infirmary, outpatient's department. I did exercises
14 and thermal treatment. Then I went to the medical
15 school. I don't remember how long I stayed there.
16 After that, I asked them to give me an apartment where
17 I could stay with my family.
18 Q. My question only has to do with the time you
19 spent in various medical institutions.
20 A. I can't remember, but there is the evidence.
21 There is my file, my documents, showing how much time I
22 spent in hospitals. All that is in the documents. I
23 can't remember the dates.
24 Q. No. We were talking in general terms. I'm
25 asking you about the approximate period. Did you say
1 that you had very severe pains for another two or three
3 A. Yes, I did. I had severe pains.
4 Q. Tell me, when was your treatment completed?
5 When did you go home?
6 A. I can't remember when it was all over. I
7 can't remember all that, but there are the documents.
8 There are the medical records to show that.
9 Q. I'm just asking you if you remember without
10 the documents. Tell me, after those three months,
11 shall we say, that you had severe pains, did you
12 continue to have pain?
13 A. Yes. My arm hurt for three years until it
14 all healed, because nothing was really undertaken, and
15 I still have problems with that arm.
16 Q. Thank you, sir. Would you please now answer
17 this question, and, Mr. President, this will be my last
19 Today you have already partly answered this
20 question, but tell me, apart from your testimony
21 yesterday and today in this honourable Trial Chamber,
22 how many times and with whom did you discuss these
23 events in Ahmici of the 16th of April, 1993, the second
25 A. I don't remember. Of course we talked about
2 Q. My question is how many times and with whom?
3 I do not mean with your neighbours, but with persons
4 who introduced themselves as representing a certain
5 institution or a body, with official persons?
6 A. I remember talking twice to representatives
7 of our own authorities who asked me to make a
9 Q. Do you remember when you spoke to people who
10 told you that they had come on behalf of the
11 International Tribunal, the Prosecutor's office?
12 A. I do remember that they came, but I don't
13 remember when, because I was traumatised. I was
14 wounded. Everything I owned had been destroyed. My
15 arm was bothering me, so I really can't remember.
16 I wasn't always very willing to talk about it.
17 Q. I assume, Mr. Ahmic, that you still feel
18 traumatised to this day, even today?
19 A. Of course. I don't like talking about it,
20 because it upsets me every time I talk about it.
21 Q. I understand that, Mr. Ahmic, but as you said
22 at the beginning of your testimony, we need to learn
23 what you saw, what you experienced, what you heard. So
24 I hope you will understand us and me personally when
25 I'm questioning you about these details which are still
1 upsetting you.
2 Will you tell me, please, do you remember --
3 maybe I could refresh your memory. Did you, two years
4 after the event, that is, in 1995, did you make a
5 statement to a person who said that he was an
6 investigator of the Prosecution?
7 A. Sir, I really do not remember. I know I made
8 statements, but I cannot fix it in time. I didn't
9 consider this. I did make statements, but I didn't
10 think that it would come to this in concrete terms.
11 Q. But when you learned that all of this would
12 take place, did you then talk to anyone?
13 A. No. I never talked, nor did I write
14 anything. I'm saying what I experienced, what I
15 remember, and this is the truth. What I know and what
16 is in my head, that is what I'm telling you.
17 Q. If I were to remind you of some statements
18 that you made earlier on, and we have those statements
19 in writing, signed by you, to remind you of some of the
20 things you said, would that refresh your memory?
21 A. I'll do my best.
22 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, if necessary, I
23 should like to tell you where I'm quoting from, even
24 though I have the Croatian version here, but I can
25 refer you to the English text.
1 Q. I'm referring to the part where you mention
2 Halid Pezer, that you wanted to carry his body to his
3 mother, that you were picking him up from a trench?
4 A. I didn't see a trench, nor was there a
5 trench. Halid was lying on the ground. Two soldiers
6 were present there. I don't know them. I don't know
7 who they were. We were in fear. We feared they would
8 do something to us. I simply said that we picked him
9 up. And there was no trench, nor did I see any trench.
10 Q. May I just remind you that in this statement,
11 maybe I should have done that at the beginning, this
12 statement from the 7th of February, 1995, you say that
13 this is your only statement. Now you've told me that
14 you made several statements.
15 A. I don't understand you. You used the
16 Croatian word "vejlaca" for February.
17 Q. It's the second month, February.
18 A. I understand now.
19 Q. Let me repeat: On the 7th of February, 1995,
20 you told the investigator of the Office of the
21 Prosecution that this was the only statement that you
22 had provided up to then, but you have just told me that
23 you made several statements. What is correct?
24 A. I remember very well that I came once or
25 twice to the security office or to Metalurg Company and
1 that I was questioned, and that is the truth, but I
2 don't know when that was. But I was interviewed. Why
3 I was interviewed, I don't know.
4 MR. PAVKOVIC: Just a moment, please. I beg
5 the Court for indulgence. I apologise.
6 Q. Could you explain, I didn't quite understand
7 what you meant when you said "CSB"?
8 A. It is our police down there.
9 Q. What did they do?
10 A. They took me there. Where they came from, I
11 don't know who it was, and they took me there to make a
12 statement to those people.
13 Q. After making that statement, you read it?
14 A. I didn't read it. I don't remember them
15 reading it to me either.
16 Q. Did you sign it?
17 A. I signed it. I saw that I had signed it, but
18 I really do not remember anything. I was depressed.
19 My arm was hurting, and when I talked about it, it
20 upset me, and I simply don't remember.
21 Q. Sir, this was two years after the event when
22 you were wounded. You said that your pain lasted for
23 three months, but this was two years later when you
24 made this statement?
25 A. I had constant pain for three months, day and
1 night. I couldn't sleep during the day or the night.
2 Q. But, sir, you made the statement two years
3 after you were wounded?
4 A. Yes, I did, but I don't remember.
5 Q. What don't you remember?
6 A. I don't remember them reading the statement
7 to me. I don't remember them translating it into
8 Bosnian for me.
9 Q. Let me remind you. If I remind you, perhaps
10 you will remember. You said today and yesterday that
11 you were wounded going to Halid's house. When you and
12 your wife, after the second conflict, went towards
13 Halid's house to accommodate your family there, that
14 you were wounded then. That is what you said today.
15 A. No, I didn't say that.
16 Q. I think we are not understanding one
17 another. I'm talking about the second conflict. Early
18 in the morning of the 16th, you were taking your
19 family, your mother-in-law and the children, to Halid's
21 A. No, not to Halid's house, Hilmija's house.
22 Q. And that is when you were wounded?
23 A. Yes, when we were trying to escape from my
25 Q. Do you know what you said in 1995? May I
1 read it out to you? You said, and I quote: "When my
2 family was put up in this house, I decided to look for
3 my leader, my commander. I did not have a weapon with
4 me, so I thought maybe he could give me a weapon. I
5 was wounded as I was leaving Hilmija Ahmic's house, and
6 I was hit in the right elbow."
7 Today you explained that you were also hit in
8 another part of your body?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you see the difference between what you
11 said here in court and what is written down here?
12 A. I do see the difference, and this has upset
13 me a lot.
14 Q. What has upset you?
15 A. This has upset me because that is not what I
16 said under any circumstances, and I do not remember
17 that at all.
18 Q. When did you remember that?
19 A. Only when I came here and when my attorney
20 showed me this statement.
21 Q. When you said you came here, what do you
23 A. When I came here to the Tribunal.
24 Q. And what attorney?
25 A. My Alberto. He showed me that statement.
1 Q. This statement from 1995?
2 A. Yes. The statement that you are quoting
3 from, he showed me that statement.
4 Q. How did he show it to you? Did he read it
5 out to you?
6 A. I asked him to read it out to me.
7 Q. Did an interpreter read it for you?
8 A. He read it and the interpreter translated.
9 Q. What happened then?
10 A. What happened was that I said, and that is
11 true, that I do not remember any of that.
12 Q. I don't understand that. I'm sorry.
13 A. I said that I do not remember anything from
14 that statement. I do not remember saying that.
15 Q. Then what you have told us here in court, how
16 come you remember that?
17 A. I remember that because that is the truth. I
18 told you the truth.
19 Q. You told the Tribunal things that mostly
20 figure also in this statement. I have just drawn
21 attention to certain differences. So my question is
22 how come there is this difference and why is this not
24 A. I really don't know how this happened. I
25 don't remember how it happened.
1 Q. What else did the person whom you call your
2 attorney tell you? What else did he say to you?
3 A. He told me just to tell the truth and the
4 things I saw. "Don't say anything else."
5 Q. Did he show you any photographs?
6 A. Yes. He showed me the photographs on which I
7 was wounded and the maps and things. He did show me
9 MR. PAVKOVIC: Thank you very much. Thank
10 you, Mr. President. I have no further questions.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Pavkovic.
12 Mr. Puliselic?
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Puliselic:
14 Q. Good day, sir. I'm attorney Petar
16 A. Good day.
17 Q. In your statement, you said that the Bosniaks
18 and the Croats, at first, held joint guard duty?
19 A. Yes, they did.
20 Q. Do you remember, approximately, when the
21 Bosniaks and Croats started holding separate guard
22 duty, roughly?
23 A. Roughly, I really don't know. I know that,
24 with my neighbours, I held guard duty below the road.
25 We never crossed the road. And I know that on one
1 occasion, Rafael Skoro told me, "I'm really sorry, but
2 we can't keep watch duty together anymore. Go and join
3 your people."
4 Q. You mentioned the event when a barricade was
5 put up in Ahmici in 1992. You said that you were not
6 present there.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you, perhaps, know that in the area of
9 Jajce, there was a battle between the Serbian forces
10 and the HVO, that is, between the Serb army and the
11 HVO? Do you also know that the HVO needed assistance
12 in men because Jajce was about to fall?
13 A. I am not aware of that because the war
14 simply -- I didn't realise that the war was coming,
15 that there would be a war.
16 Q. Are you familiar with the road that leads to
17 Jajce, because apparently HVO units were moving in the
18 direction of Novi Travnik. Do you know anything about
20 A. No. I know nothing about that.
21 Q. Did you have any prior knowledge to the
22 effect that the Bosniaks or the Muslims would be
23 putting up that barricade in October 1992?
24 A. I'm sorry. You're speaking in Croatian. I
25 don't understand.
1 Q. Did anyone inform you? Did you hear anything
2 about it, that this barricade would be put up?
3 A. I said that after all this, after this
4 barricade, I was not informed. I didn't know there was
5 a barricade, because later when I went to the village,
6 I heard that there was a barricade and that it had been
7 put up by the BiH army. Because they apparently had
8 heard that Novi Travnik had been attacked, and that
9 large numbers of HVO troops were coming from Busovaca,
10 Kacuni, and I don't know from where else, but that a
11 very strong army was heading for Novi Travnik. And
12 that the barricade had been put up by the BiH army to
13 stop those soldiers.
14 That is what I heard. So that within one
15 hour or an hour and a half, they had captured this
16 village afterwards and passed through unimpeded.
17 Q. Do you remember exactly when it was you took
18 your family to upper Ahmici? You said that this was in
19 the morning when the shooting started. Could it have
20 been the evening before?
21 A. I remember both conflicts occurred just when
22 we were praying. Both conflicts started at the time of
23 the morning prayer.
24 Q. That's fine, but I'm asking you whether,
25 perhaps, your family had been taken away the evening
1 before, before the shooting started early in the
3 A. No. I was with my family at home when both
4 conflicts broke out.
5 Q. You said that your closest neighbour was
6 Alija Ahmic?
7 A. Among the Muslims, yes.
8 Q. Is he the closest among the Muslims or is he
9 the closest generally?
10 A. Among the Muslims, he's the closest, and
11 Marija is the closest among the Croats, and Pero.
12 Q. You said that his son was Abdulah?
13 A. Yes, the son of Alija Ahmic.
14 Q. Does he have any other son?
15 A. He had Muris and Munir, both of whom were
17 Q. What was Muris?
18 A. Muris, at the time of the first attack, was
19 the leader, the leader of our guards.
20 Q. Can you remember exactly, was it Muris who
21 actually informed you that the barricade would be put
23 A. No, nobody informed me. I didn't even know
24 anything about it. I just told you. I don't know
25 anything about the barricade. I only could have heard
1 about it from others.
2 Q. You said that at the time of the first
3 conflict, Halid Pezer had been killed. And you said in
4 the statement you gave to the investigator that he was
5 hit by a sniper. My question is: How do you know that
6 it was a sniper that had killed him?
7 A. I assume, because he was hit by a single
8 bullet, single shot, but I don't know what weapon was
10 Q. So you're only assuming that it was a sniper?
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 Q. Do you know that any Croat was killed on that
14 A. I don't remember. I don't remember any Croat
15 having been killed. I don't know. I never heard that
16 any Croatian soldier had been killed on that day.
17 Q. In the statement you made to the
18 investigator, you spoke about burnt houses, and, among
19 other things, you said that Mehmed Ahmic's house,
20 Hajrudin Pjanic's, Sakir Pezer's and Mehmed Ahmic's
21 house had been burnt. You also mentioned four stables,
22 and you listed the owners of those stables that had
23 burnt during the first conflict. Was that just so?
24 A. It is true that I said that Alija's stable,
25 Mehmed's house, Bilic's stable, and I don't remember
1 those others that I listed. I know that Alija Ahmic's,
2 Mehmed Ahmic's, Hidzro Bilic's house, I certainly
3 listed them, but I don't remember.
4 Q. According to the information available to the
5 Defence, it was only one house that burnt, the house of
6 Mehmed Ahmic, known as Sudzuka, and partly Hajrudin
7 Pjanic's and Sakir Pezer's stable. A witness has also
8 testified to that here in the courtroom during the
9 hearings. What do you think is correct?
10 A. What I just said is correct. I listed the
11 houses that were burnt, but I don't remember exactly
12 all the houses that I listed.
13 Q. But you remember fully your statement
14 regarding the number of houses and stables that were
16 A. No. I don't remember the number of houses
17 and stables.
18 Q. Fine. Thank you. Can you, perhaps, answer
19 the following question: How many members of the BiH
20 army were there in Ahmici, approximately?
21 A. Approximately, I don't know. There weren't
22 any members of the army. This was no army. There was
23 no command. According to my understanding, people just
24 acted as they wanted on a voluntary basis.
25 Q. Was the situation similar with the Croats?
1 A. As far as I know, it was not. They had a
2 command, and they acted strictly in accordance with
3 their orders, as far as I could notice.
4 Q. But you also followed certain orders as to
5 who should go where for which duty?
6 A. Yes. The leader of the guard duty did make a
7 timetable as to when we should keep watch.
8 Q. In a statement to the investigator, you said
9 that Dragan Papic came to see you one day in order to
10 inform you that you should contact Slavko Skoro.
11 Yesterday during the hearing, you said something else.
12 You said that Vinko Vidovic and Dragan Papic stopped
13 you when you were returning home, and that they told
14 you on that occasion that you should contact Slavko
15 Skoro. Which of the two is correct?
16 A. It is true that they stopped me right next to
17 the bunker built with my building blocks, and there was
18 a light machine gun there, which could be put on a
19 support and which could also be used without this
20 support. I also saw Simo Vidovic there, Dragan Papic.
21 And Vinko Vidovic came up to me when I was passing with
22 my family and told me that I had to ask permission from
23 Slavko Skoro to return to my home for reasons of
25 Q. Do you see that that is different from what
1 you told the investigators?
2 A. This is what I said, and this is the truth.
3 Q. Can you tell me, who is Vinko Skoro?
4 A. Vinko Skoro, it's not Vinko Skoro. It's
5 Vinko Vidovic.
6 Q. You said that Dragan Papic said that you
7 should contact Vinko Skoro?
8 A. No, Slavko Skoro.
9 Q. I apologise. Who is Slavko Skoro?
10 A. Slavko Skoro was one of their leaders, a
11 commander. I don't know who was under his command or
12 leadership, but I know that he was there in that
14 Q. Yesterday you mentioned that Mehmed Ahmic's
15 house was shot at from Dragan Papic's house, but then
16 you said you didn't see it. You heard about it?
17 A. Yes. I was behind Sakib Bajric's stable on
18 the road. The two of them, I don't know who exactly
19 was with me, but they told me that Mehmed Ahmic is in
20 his house with a family, that shots are being fired
21 from both the forest and Dragan's house at his house.
22 Q. May I remind you that this is also something
23 that you did not make in your statement you gave to the
24 investigator in 1995, these details.
25 A. I don't remember that.
1 Q. You have also mentioned yesterday in this
2 court an M-53 machine gun, and you also mentioned a
3 bunker that was put up from concrete blocks that had
4 belonged to you and that had been around your house.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Let me emphasise on this occasion again that
7 this was not mentioned by you in your statement to the
8 investigator in 1995.
9 A. Well, I guess not. I don't remember.
10 Q. Can you perhaps tell us what did this machine
11 gun look like, what is the size of the bullets, the
13 A. This is the machine gun I was given in the
14 army. It is a machine gun you could use with a support
15 and without it. When you use the support, you need
16 three gunners. I was one of the three while I was at
17 the army. And when you use it with a support, it can
18 be an anti-aircraft gun. It is also possible to be --
19 well, it has to be operated by one person. It has to
20 be carried out by another person. Well, anyway, that's
21 how I -- what I thought was the type of the weapon.
22 Q. In terms of metres, how far was the machine
23 gun away from you?
24 A. I saw it from the road, about 30 metres
25 away. Well, roughly, of course. I don't know exactly
1 how far away it was from me.
2 Q. Was this machine gun surrounded by the
3 concrete blocks, by the bunker? Was it put up outside
4 the bunker?
5 A. Well, the bunker was in a semicircle. The
6 machine gun was located down here. So I could see it
7 in front of the bunker.
8 Q. What time of the day was it approximately,
9 can you tell us?
10 A. I don't know exactly. It may have been
11 around noon.
12 Q. Can you answer the following question: At
13 that time, and I'm referring to 1992, did the Muslims
14 in Ahmici set up a combat line? To be more specific,
15 you used this very term, the "combat line", in the
16 statement you gave to the investigator of the
17 International Tribunal, so tell me, what is a combat
18 line? What was this combat line?
19 A. I don't remember that. I just know that
20 there were no combat lines in Ahmici.
21 Q. In your statement to the investigator, you
22 said that Muris Ahmic, the commander, came to the
23 combat line and asked from those who were located at
24 the combat line something. Can you recall this? Can
25 you recall Muris Ahmic coming there?
1 A. Well, I can remember the watch guard. We
2 were just watching there. It was not a combat line.
3 And he came there when he insisted that we surrender
4 the weapons.
5 Q. What sort of weapons did you have at that
7 A. I had no weapons whatsoever. I never had a
8 weapon. I never had a uniform.
9 Q. Well, I'm just asking you about the weapon.
10 Did you have the weapon then?
11 A. No.
12 Q. So what is the point in you being watch guard
13 without a weapon?
14 A. With Hajrudin Pjanic, I told him that I will
15 have no weapon. And actually, I didn't want to join
16 the watch guard because I had no weapons. Usually the
17 people would not use the weapon on watch guard, they
18 would just keep them in their houses.
19 Q. Yesterday you said you were somewhere around
20 Sakib Ahmic's stable, and that two neighbours told you
21 that shots being fired from the forest and from Papic's
22 house. You didn't mention this to the investigator
23 either. How can you explain that.
24 A. I can't remember that at all.
25 Q. It turns out that your recollection now is
1 much better than it was in 1995. Yesterday you also
2 said that on one morning Dragan Papic and Vinko Vidovic
3 came to your house, and that Dragan Papic was holding
4 in his hand some sort of bomb fuse?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. This, again, is a new detail that you
7 mentioned -- did not mention in your statement to the
8 investigator. How come?
9 A. Well, I don't remember that. I felt the need
10 now to tell to this Tribunal everything that I can
11 remember, all the details I can recall in order to be
12 able to tell the truth and the whole truth here.
13 Q. Let me draw your attention to another
14 distinction. Earlier ago, you did not, in a single
15 word, say that Dragan Papic threatened saying that the
16 Croats would destroy the other part of Ahmici, while
17 you said this yesterday.
18 A. Yes, that is what I say yesterday.
19 Q. In your statement to the investigator, you
20 said that when you left Hilmija Ahmic's house you were
22 A. No, I don't remember that.
23 Q. And you said that when you were hit, you saw
24 a flash of a rifle shot from a window of Ivo Papic's
1 A. No, I can't remember that. Well, you can't
2 see a flash from there really.
3 Q. But that is what you said in your statement.
4 A. I can't recall this.
5 Q. Can you tell me what is the distance between
6 Hilmija Ahmic's house and Ivo Papic's house?
7 A. Well, I don't know. I can guess.
8 Q. Well, try to give me an approximate figure.
9 A. Well, about 200 metres.
10 Q. Yes, I think you are right. However, in your
11 statement to the investigator, you mentioned 100
12 metres. What is the distance between Ivo Papic's house
13 and the site where you were wounded, approximately?
14 A. Well, approximately I can perhaps say that it
15 is some 40, 50 metres.
16 Q. You also said that upon being wounded you
17 were resting in Hilmija Ahmic's house, and you said
18 that the windows of the house were protected?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. On the other hand, however, in your statement
21 to the investigator, you said that from Hilmija Ahmic's
22 house you could see soldiers running around Ivo Papic's
23 house, and you described them, the soldiers. You said
24 that they had camouflage uniforms, you said that they
25 had some socks on their head, with openings for eyes
1 and mouths.
2 A. I do not remember that. I was wounded. I
3 was lying down. I couldn't see that in any way. I was
4 lying down. I was wounded in my arm and my thigh.
5 Q. Well, I'm just drawing your attention to the
6 differences between the statements you made here in the
7 Court and the statement you gave to the investigator.
8 After Hilmija Ahmic's house, what were the
9 other houses close to your house, and I'm referring to
10 the Muslim houses only.
11 A. Only Alija Ahmic's and Sulejman Ahmic's. And
12 further up towards the road there was Salih Ahmic's
13 brother's house, and Salih Ahmic's house and Mirnes
14 Ahmic's, who were the brothers.
15 Q. So there was a number of Muslim houses
17 I will go back with one question to 1992.
18 Can you answer the following question: On October 20,
19 1992, near your house were there any soldiers that were
20 shooting at Pero Papic's house?
21 A. That's true. In the morning when the attack
22 was launched, when I went out with my wife and my
23 children, when we were heading towards Upper Ahmici,
24 Pero and Vinko told me that their windows had been shot
25 at. And it's true that one could see traces of shots
1 on Pero Papic's windows.
2 Q. So you could see the damage?
3 A. Yes, I saw it. Who was shooting, where from
4 and how, I do not know.
5 Q. Today, in your testimony, you said that when
6 you had given the statement to the investigator of the
7 International Tribunal, you felt some pain in your arm
8 and that you were not focused?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Well, these details that I reminded you of
11 that were mentioned in your statement were now denied
12 by you. You said that what is in this statement and
13 these differences that I've been pointed at, you said
14 that you did not make this -- these statements to the
16 A. I can't remember it. Maybe I gave the
17 statement, but I can't remember it.
18 Q. You said you were not concentrated. Why
19 didn't you tell the investigator about it, this fact,
20 if that was true?
21 A. I can't remember. I would just answer the
22 questions that were put to me specifically. Whatever
23 was asked of me, I answered.
24 Q. I will read to you a text at the end of the
25 statement you gave to the investigator. It reads as
1 follows: "This statement has been read over to me in
2 the Bosnian language and is true to the best of my
3 knowledge and recollection."
4 This is a statement you signed?
5 A. Yes. I saw that I had signed it, but I
6 really do not remember it.
7 MR. PULISELIC: Your Honours, I have no
8 further questions for this witness, and I would like to
9 submit this statement as evidence, the statement made
10 by the witness to the investigator of the International
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Any objection from the
14 MR. MOSKOWITZ: We have no objection.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. It is admitted
16 into evidence.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Defence Exhibit 2/5.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: I assume the Defence are
19 through with their cross-examination, and I wonder
20 whether the Prosecutor -- yes, Mr. Radovic?
21 MR. RADOVIC: I shall be very brief, as my
22 learned colleagues have covered almost all the
23 questions I had. May I mention the name now? Is it an
24 open or a closed session.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: It's an open session.
1 MR. RADOVIC: Nevertheless, in that case I
2 will not mention the name.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Radovic:
4 MR. RADOVIC:
5 Q. Tell me, sir, what your signature on this
6 statement you gave to the investigator meant to you?
7 The fact that you signed this piece of paper, what did
8 it mean to you?
9 A. I really don't know. I made that statement.
10 I don't remember, because I was upset by that war. I
11 was hurt. I made a statement, but I simply don't
12 remember anything.
13 Q. Yes, but my question is: Could you explain
14 to the Court what the fact of signing that paper meant
15 to you. What went through your mind when you signed
16 that paper?
17 A. Nothing. I simply don't know. I simply
18 signed it, because they brought me there to make the
19 statement. I made the statement and I signed it.
20 Q. But what did that mean?
21 A. I don't know what it means. I signed it. It
22 means that I made a statement, that I signed it, but
23 why, I don't know.
24 Q. The interpreter explained to you that what
25 you signed meant that what is in that statement was
2 A. I don't remember the translator explaining
3 that to me, nor do I remember him translating that into
5 Q. Do you have any medical documentation about
6 your treatment?
7 A. I think I do. I think that the attorney has
8 all the medical reports. He showed me them.
9 Q. I'm asking you that because these documents
10 were not disclosed to us?
11 A. No, I didn't give them anything. They
12 themselves got it. How they got it, I don't know.
13 Q. But they showed you that it was in their
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Which means that they have something that
17 they haven't disclosed to us. You're quite sure that
18 they showed it to you?
19 A. Yes. They do have it and they showed it to
21 Q. The doctors who were treating you, when did
22 they tell you that they had done everything that they
23 could, and that they could not achieve any further
24 improvement with your arm? When did they tell you
25 that? Yes, that they wouldn't treat you any further.
1 A. When I reached the hospital in Zenica. Then
2 Dr. Sabic told me that.
3 Q. Yes, but you were still treated for a time?
4 A. Yes, I was, for a long time. I don't
5 remember exactly. I know that I was in the hospital in
6 Zenica, then in the outpatients department, then also
7 in the medical school, but for how long I don't know.
8 Q. But when did you leave the last medical
9 institution in which you were treated?
10 A. I don't remember when I left the medical
11 school, because I stayed there too. I don't remember
12 when I left.
13 Q. What was the therapy they gave you?
14 A. I went for heat treatment, exercises,
15 electricity, ice and that sort of thing.
16 Q. Were you ever treated for depression?
17 A. No, never.
18 Q. Because you just told the Court that you were
19 depressed, but you were never treated for depression?
20 A. No. I was deeply affected by the war, by
21 having lost everything, and for a long time I was
22 fearful as a result of the war.
23 Q. You never went for psychiatric treatment?
24 A. No, I didn't need that.
25 Q. I didn't understand in your statement that
1 you gave to the investigator, the Prosecution, you said
2 that, "During the attack I was a member of the BiH
3 army," without saying whether you were referring to the
4 first attack on the 20th of October, '92, or the second
5 on the 16th of April, '93. As of when did you consider
6 yourself to be a member of the BiH army?
7 A. I considered myself to be a member from April
8 1992. That is when I joined, because of the
9 certificates I carried to my company to be able to
10 certificate the fact.
11 Q. Yes, we've heard all that. You need not
12 repeat that. We know that and it is already in the
13 transcript. So if I understood you well, you
14 considered yourself to be a member of the army from
15 April '92?
16 A. A member of what we had, this defence. That
17 is what it was. This watch duty that we kept, that is
18 what it was.
19 Q. Yes, but from when did you consider yourself
20 to be a member of the army?
21 A. That is when I joined.
22 Q. So you put an equation sign between
23 membership in the Territorial Defence and membership in
24 the army, as far as I understand.
25 A. Well, that was something like that. It was
1 called the Territorial Defence.
2 Q. So we've cleared that up now. When you use
3 the pronoun "we," you said, "We put up the barricade on
4 the main road in Ahmici," and it follows from this
5 statement that you participated in putting up the
7 A. I did not. I did not participate, I only
8 heard about it.
9 Q. Why then did you use the pronoun "we"? Were
10 you thinking of the Bosniak side without your
11 participation, or were you implying that you too
13 A. I know that the BiH army had put it there.
14 Q. So you considered this having been done by
15 the party -- by the side you belonged to, but you were
16 not present. I apologise, Your Honours, but I feel
17 that it is necessary to clear these points up.
18 Then you said, "We were supposed to prevent
19 the passage of Croatian soldiers through Ahmici."
20 Again you use the word "we." I assume you mean your
21 Bosniak side was to prevent the passage of Croatian
22 soldiers through Ahmici, but you personally did not
23 participate; is that correct?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. Further on, you said that you were told to
1 report to Slavko Skoro, and you didn't report to Slavko
3 A. I did not.
4 Q. Did you suffer any consequences for not
5 reporting to Slavko Skoro?
6 A. No, I did not.
7 Q. You went on to say that you saw Hakija Trako?
8 A. No, no, no, I didn't mention him. Not
9 Hakija, Jahija. Jahija Trako. Jahija Trako.
10 Q. I'm sorry, witness, you said Hajika. I
11 apologise. Jahija Trako said that they were collecting
12 rifles and handing them over to the Croatian side.
13 Then you went on to say, "I know the main people who
14 surrendered their weapons were killed in the second
15 conflict." Is that correct?
16 A. The people that you were down there next to
17 the road, below the road.
18 Q. What about Jahija Trako? Was he below the
20 A. No, he was not. He was in Upper Ahmici and
21 he's alive.
22 Q. Very well. You also said that on the eve of
23 the conflict, we're talking about the 15th of April
24 now, that you first went to see your commander,
25 Hajrudin Bilic, nicknamed Hadzija and you told him and
1 warned him of the danger that was coming that you
2 yourself had seen?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did he take your warning seriously?
5 A. No. No one knew anything about anything. No
6 one knew anything.
7 Q. After that you went to the mosque and you
8 told everyone what you had seen; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, correct.
10 Q. So you went to two places and you made these
11 warnings in two places?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And what was the reaction of the people in
14 the mosque?
15 A. No one knew anything. In fact, they attacked
16 me and said I shouldn't cause panic.
17 Q. Who were the people in the mosque?
18 A. There was the Hadzija who was killed. I know
19 the person who built the mosque. Then there was Ahmic
20 who was killed, Abdulah Ahmic who was killed.
21 Q. I don't mind about the names, I just want to
22 know whether there were any people who had come from
24 A. No, I didn't notice any outsiders there, not
25 a single one.
1 Q. Roughly how many people were there around the
2 mosque at the time?
3 A. At the time mostly elderly people, five or
4 six of them.
5 Q. Altogether?
6 A. Altogether.
7 Q. You were speaking about the camouflage
8 uniforms that individual Croats were wearing?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Tell me, what was the uniform worn by the BiH
12 A. The BiH army, as far as I recollect, did not
13 have uniforms, but what they would bring from Slimena,
14 canvas from the Yugoslav army, the JNA, and then they
15 made uniforms from that material, but they didn't have
16 any uniforms.
17 Q. Very well. But what they made from that
18 material, what colour was it?
19 A. It was camouflage.
20 Q. So there was no distinction between them in
21 terms of the colours?
22 A. No, this material was different. It was
23 different in colour from the camouflage uniform. There
24 was a difference.
25 MR. RADOVIC: I won't ask you anything about
1 the machine gun, because you explained it very well.
2 You're the only one among all those who spoke about a
3 machine gun so far. Now, let me go on.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry to interrupt you, but
5 we feel that you are counsel for Zoran Kupreskic, and
6 we don't see the relevance of all the questions you are
7 putting to the witness. If you go on putting a lot of
8 detailed questions concerning matters which are of
9 relevance to those accused who have been mentioned by
10 the witness, then, as I say, it is a Pandora's box. We
11 will never come to an end of this trial.
12 I wonder whether you could exercise some
13 restraint and refrain from putting questions -- we have
14 already allowed Mr. Pavkovic to ask questions, although
15 his client, Vladimir Santic, to the best of my
16 understanding, has not been mentioned by the witness.
17 But as I say, we can't allow all counsel to put a lot
18 of questions. The more so, because some counsel have
19 already questioned or put in doubt the credibility of
20 the witness, and have put a lot of questions about the
21 written statement.
22 I wonder whether it is of some utility. I
23 mean, whether it is useful for this trial to keep
24 insisting on some points. Although you don't repeat
25 the same points made by your colleagues, you go on
1 insisting on the same matters.
2 May I suggest that we break now for lunch and
3 we resume in two hours, and then I hope that you
4 will -- if you wish to go on you will go on, but we
5 will now, over the weekend, think of some sort of
6 regulation to be looked at. Something to be issued so
7 that we -- without restricting in any way the right of
8 the Defence to cross-examine the witnesses, whether we
9 can come to some sort of balanced and sensible solution
10 so as to avoid protracted proceedings, which in the
11 event may not prove useful.
12 I wonder whether after that the Prosecutor
13 wishes also to re-examine the witness, so we can make
14 some plans for the afternoon. Mr. Moskowitz, do you
15 intend to re-examine at the end of -- well, of course
16 you can't say now, you are not sure, a hundred per cent
17 sure, but --
18 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I had two short
19 clarifications I want to make.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: So you also intend to
21 re-examine. So that's why it's better to rise now, and
22 we will reconvene at what, quarter to three, I think,
23 so we have two full hours.
24 MR. RADOVIC: Yes. Your Honour, I have come
25 to the end of my cross-examination, but before the
1 Prosecutor starts with the re-examination, I should
2 like to explain why all Defence counsel are
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. All right. So you'll
5 do so this afternoon. Thank you.
6 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.47 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.45 p.m.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon. Before I
3 call upon Mr. Radovic, let me tell him that I owe him
4 an apology for speaking in a slightly impatient tone
5 before lunch when commenting on his cross-examination.
6 I, however, stick to the substance of what I said, and
7 we may probably have an exchange of views or a
8 discussion on this point.
9 I wonder whether Mr. Radovic would now like
10 to address this particular point, as he announced
11 before lunch.
12 MR. RADOVIC: Well, I'm referring to two
13 matters. As far as the Defence counsel's questions are
14 concerned, we decided that Mr. Petar Pavkovic, who is
15 our coordinator, will raise this issue.
16 However, there is another problem. The
17 problem that as far as the last witness is concerned,
18 the Prosecution's office never submitted to us their
19 medical records. We would ask the Court to request the
20 Prosecutor to submit these medical records to us for
21 the following reason: The witness said that, given the
22 pain suffered two years after the wounding, due to the
23 wounds that were inflicted on him, he was not in a
24 position to make a correct statement, if you will, to
25 the investigators of the OTP.
1 Given the fact that two years is a very long
2 period of time, we would like to submit these medical
3 records to a forensic medical expert so as to establish
4 the authenticity of the records concerned. This is why
5 we would need the medical records concerned.
6 The other issue will be taken up by attorney
8 JUDGE CASSESE: On this particular point, the
9 Court considers that this is a small, unimportant
10 issue, not relevant to the question of credibility of
11 the witness. So we don't even need to ask the
12 Prosecutor to comment, and we will move on to other
14 I would turn to Mr. Pavkovic to raise the
15 issue of cross-examination, the general issue.
16 MR. PAVKOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President, for
17 allowing us to raise these issues too. The question
18 you raised today, provided the Defence understands it
19 very well, namely, that the Defence counsel should, in
20 their cross-examination, limit themselves to the
21 Defence counsel only whose accused are being mentioned
22 by the witness with a view of a speedy and efficient
24 With your permission, Mr. President, let me
25 link very briefly this issue with an issue you
1 mentioned last week, for we believe that these two are
2 very closely linked issues. I'm referring to the need
3 for the indictment to be structured very well and very
4 precisely. If we understood you well, at that time,
5 you were addressing the Prosecution, and you emphasised
6 that this also applies to the Defence. And when
7 mentioning the Tadic case, you said that the Defence
8 should be very precise as far as the questions of
9 persecution are concerned. It seems to me that you
10 said on that occasion that even in the event of a
11 murder as an element of persecution, that it should
12 also be very clearly defined as such in the
14 Your Honours, we are now facing an indictment
15 that has not been structured accordingly, which was
16 very well observed by you, Mr. President. And as long
17 as the indictment is structured in this way, the
18 Defence and the Defence counsel, specifically, since we
19 have the indictment, including Count 1, where the
20 plural is used where the accused are indicted together
21 with a number of other persons, we have to resist this
22 sort of indictment as it is.
23 We, therefore, take it that this indictment
24 refers to everyone and to all of them. We believe that
25 this stems from Rules of Procedures and Evidence,
1 Article 82A, which indicates that in joint trials, each
2 accused shall be accorded the same rights as if such
3 accused were being tried separately.
4 This is why we would urge you, Your Honours,
5 to request the Prosecution to restructure the
6 indictment. Here, we are speaking about very serious
7 charges with very serious punishment implied, and we
8 believe that those rules, which are relevant to very
9 serious charges and punishment, these should be
10 considered restrictively, and they should only apply to
11 the facts that are very clearly specified. Where the
12 indictments are not individualised, we believe our
13 rights should remain such as they are, namely, that the
14 Defence, indeed, insists upon the rights of the
16 Thank you, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I wonder whether
18 the Prosecutor would like to comment on these remarks?
19 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, the Prosecution
20 does not share the views that have just been voiced by
21 the Defence counsel. Would you like us to express
22 ourselves this very afternoon on these, rather, general
23 matters, or should we have a special hearing on these
25 I just wish it to be noted that we do not
1 share these views, that we are at Your Honours'
2 disposal to express our position, and if you wish us to
3 do so now, we will be glad to do so. But we would like
4 to hear your further guidance on this matter.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: We feel it would not be
6 advisable to deal with this problem this afternoon,
7 perhaps next Monday or Tuesday before beginning with a
8 new witness. Therefore, I think it is better to
9 postpone the debate on this matter, but in the
10 meantime, the Prosecutor could, perhaps, consider its
11 positions on the matter.
12 First of all, I would like to thank
13 Mr. Pavkovic for his comments. Let me make, in a
14 tentative way, very tentatively, because what I'm going
15 to say will, in no way, prejudge the final position of
16 the Court after hearing both the Prosecution and the
17 Defence, just two points as follows: The first point,
18 actually, when I asked the Prosecution and the Defence
19 to try to file a supplementary brief, supplementary in
20 the case of the Prosecution, on the notion of
21 persecution, I merely expressed doubts. I didn't set
22 out a definite position of the Court on the notion of
24 I said that this is a difficult area, a new
25 area where we have to break new ground, and it will be
1 very important for the Defence and the Court to be
2 aware of the position taken on this important legal
3 issue by the Prosecution. By the same token, we would
4 also welcome any legal brief from the Defence.
5 The second point is, just expressing now my
6 own view, I would say that I think at this stage it is
7 impossible to ask or it is very difficult to ask the
8 Prosecution to restructure the indictment, as you
9 suggested. They may probably cast light on some points
10 which are now being discussed and better define their
11 position, in particular, the notion of persecution.
12 I would agree with you. I don't have the
13 indictment here close at hand, but I think that Count 1
14 relates to all indictees. To the best of my
15 recollection, as you rightly pointed out, it does
16 relate to all indictees. To this extent, of course,
17 you're right to say that you have a right to
18 cross-examine witnesses with particular respect to that
20 In light of Rule 82A, again, I agree with you
21 that this is the relevant provision, but let me sum up
22 the discussion by saying that we are aware that we have
23 to strike a balance between two notions or two
24 requirements, the requirement of fairness and the
25 requirement of expeditiousness of proceedings. Now,
1 fairness means that we have to safeguard, by all means,
2 the rights of the accused, particularly in light of
3 Rule 82A.
4 On the other hand, we should be mindful of
5 this other basic requirement of expeditiousness, and
6 that means that we want to avoid any unduly protracted
7 proceedings. If the proceedings are too protracted, I
8 think this is against the basic right of the accused to
9 have a quick trial.
10 Therefore, we wonder whether Defence counsel,
11 when they feel that they have to ask questions in the
12 cross-examination of witnesses, they could confine
13 themselves to relevant questions, to questions which
14 are relevant and not repetitive. My feeling has been
15 so far that on many occasions, many questions put by
16 legal counsel while cross-examining the witness were
17 repetitive, were actually variations on the same theme,
18 as it were, sometimes, say, on the discrepancy between
19 the written statement and the statement made here in
20 court by the witness.
21 We don't need to hear about this theme ten times.
22 I mean, we are a court of professional Judges. We do
23 understand the points made so ably by legal counsel,
24 and we, of course, as I say, don't need to -- we can't
25 accept a sort of harping about the same theme in a
1 repetitive manner.
2 We would also like to ask, and these are two
3 minor practical points, when you, Mr. Pavkovic, give us
4 the list of legal counsel wishing to cross-examine the
5 witness, could we say that the list should be, in a
6 way, a final list? I do understand that you may have,
7 at the last minute, one of the counsel who wants to put
8 a question, but if possible, we would like to have a
9 list which is complete without any last-minute
11 Also, I wonder whether you could stick to a
12 principle that you yourself set out and proposed, and I
13 think it's quite sensible, namely, that the witness
14 should be first cross-examined by the legal counsel
15 whose client is concerned by the testimony given by the
16 witness. I think it's a more rational and logical
17 principle, but on some occasions, I have realised that
18 you have not followed this principle, as I say,
19 enunciated by yourself.
20 Having said so, we decided in a discussion at
21 lunch time, that in future, we will try to be absolutely
22 sensitive to the rights of the Defence and, on the
23 other hand, also, however, be rather strict, and we may
24 stop and ask you whether a particular question is
25 relevant, so that you have to show why the question is
1 relevant. This is sort of a practical arrangement, but
2 let us see whether we can proceed in a more expeditious
3 manner in the future.
4 We also feel that, on some occasions,
5 probably the Prosecutor should direct the witness, in a
6 sense, to shorten the exposition of the witness. We do
7 understand there are psychological reasons why some
8 witnesses tend to talk at length because there is also,
9 of course, a -- we all understand for what reasons.
10 Probably one of the raison d’être of our Tribunal is
11 also to enable witnesses to recount their own dramatic
12 experiences. However, sometimes probably the
13 Prosecutor may feel it opportune and advisable to try
14 to lead, in this sense, the witness.
15 Let us continue and hope that this afternoon
16 we may move on to our next witness. I wonder whether
17 there are other questions by Defence counsel. If not,
18 I assume Mr. Radovic was the last one.
19 MR. PAVKOVIC: As far as I know, we have no
20 further questions. Mr. President, we will certainly
21 abide by your comments and suggestions.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. That's most
23 helpful and kind of you.
24 I would like to ask the Prosecutor whether he
25 would like to re-examine the witness.
1 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Just briefly, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
3 Re-examined by Mr. Moskowitz:
4 Q. Mr. Ahmic, just a couple of matters I would
5 like to clarify with you. You were asked about the
6 machine gun in front of the Papic house when you
7 returned following the October '92 incident. You
8 talked about a machine gun that could have a platform,
9 in which case it would be an anti-aircraft gun, or this
10 is a machine gun that could be used without a platform,
11 in which case it would not be an anti-aircraft gun.
12 Do you recall whether the machine gun you saw
13 in front of the Papic house on the day you described
14 had a platform or did not have a platform?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. The
16 microphone is not on.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Radovic?
18 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, the Prosecutor
19 is actually misleading the witness by putting these
20 questions, because in his statement, the witness stated
21 that the machine gun consists of the part which is used
22 for shooting and the platform. And when it is used as
23 an anti-aircraft gun, then another support is being
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. RADOVIC: Well, we know this specific
2 machine gun. This is why it is not correct to say that
3 the machine gun is used with a platform only when used
4 as an anti-aircraft carrier or machine gun.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry. Can you stop? I
6 think the question was whether the machine gun he saw
7 on that particular day did have a platform or did not.
8 I think it's quite appropriate, that particular day.
9 Yes, Mr. Radovic?
10 MR. RADOVIC: No, because the Prosecutor
11 said, "This is a machine gun only when used with a
12 platform." A special support has to be used as an
13 anti-aircraft weapon. Without this special support, it
14 is a simple machine gun that can be served and operated
15 by only one person.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Can you rephrase
17 it, Mr. Prosecutor?
18 JUDGE MAY: What I suggest is that the
19 witness describes the gun.
20 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
21 Q. Could you, Mr. Ahmic, describe the weapon
22 that you saw that day?
23 A. The weapon that I saw that day was a machine
24 gun which can be fired by a single person. A single
25 person can use this light machine gun. It can be
1 operated by only one person. There was no platform. I
2 saw no platform. That's it.
3 Q. You say it can be operated by one person.
4 Can one person carry it easily?
5 A. Yes. One person can carry it easily and can
6 fire with it very easily. Because I was the person in
7 charge of firing when using these machine guns in my
8 military service with the JNA. But, of course, if it
9 is used with a platform, you need three persons. The
10 machine gun would be operated by the person who
11 operates it and by somebody who helps him in firing,
12 but it can also be operated by one person only.
13 Q. You also were asked about whether or not you
14 saw a flash of firing coming from the Ivo/Dragan Papic
15 house. I want to clarify that, if we can. As you were
16 fleeing from your house and before you were injured or
17 shot in the elbow and in your side, did you see flashes
18 coming from the Dragan Papic house or did you not?
19 A. When I was crossing the road, I turned left
20 and I turned right. When turning right, I noticed two
21 soldiers bending close to Dragan Papic's house. At
22 that time, I saw a flash from Dragan Papic's house, and
23 then I continued running away.
24 Q. Did that flash appear to be coming from
25 inside the house through one of the windows or from
1 outside the house where the soldiers were?
2 A. It appeared to be coming from the window. I
3 saw, actually, a shape behind the window.
4 Q. When you were inside Hilmija's house, having
5 been injured, were you able to see any flashes or any
6 kind of firing coming from the Papic house?
7 A. No, I didn't see it. I was wounded. I was
8 lying down, and I didn't see anything. I, actually,
9 couldn't see anything. I was lying down until UNPROFOR
10 took me out on a stretcher.
11 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Your Honours, that ends my
12 redirect, but I have a request at this moment to make
13 of the Court and to ask the Court's indulgence on a
14 third topic which would not, in my view, be proper
15 redirect in that it was not raised on
17 It is, however, I think, a point of
18 clarification that may be helpful to the Court. There
19 was some testimony briefly, I think, on direct about a
20 sister-in-law who claimed to have seen a motorcycle
21 with a BiH flag driving by. I think that was in
22 response to a question about, "Did you see anything
23 unusual on the 15th that made you suspicious that
24 something was afoot," and I think that was one of the
25 things that he mentioned. This is not a big point in
1 the case.
2 However, I have been informed by the witness
3 that that is, in fact, not what he intended to convey.
4 Rather than make a proffer in front of him as to what
5 he intended to convey, he was quite adamant with me
6 that having come all the way from Bosnia, he wants the
7 record to be straight on what he intended to say.
8 This is not, I think, narrowly redirect. So
9 I raise it with the Court and seek the Court's advice
10 about it. It don't think it's a major point.
11 Although, you never know. As the evidence comes in, it
12 may make some difference. In any event, he feels
13 strongly that he wants to make it clear to the Court
14 what he meant by that.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: First of all, let me ask
16 Mr. Radovic. No comment?
17 MR. RADOVIC: Your Honour, I understand that
18 this is re-examination, so I'm wondering why this
19 addition to the cross-examination, because if the
20 Prosecutor intends to continue with the re-examination,
21 let him continue without telling the witness what he
22 intends to question him about in continuation of his
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. We have decided that
25 Mr. Moskowitz may ask this question of the witness in
1 re-examination. However, I think it is only proper for
2 the Defence, if they feel the need to put questions on
3 this very point, to ask questions of the witness in
5 Please, ask the question of the witness.
6 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
7 Q. Would you clarify, if you will at this time,
8 what your, I believe it was, sister-in-law told you she
9 saw? I'm now talking about that motorcycle on the 15th
10 with, you say, the BiH flag on it.
11 A. Yes. When my sister-in-law came to my house,
12 she explained to me that she had seen two HV soldiers
13 on motorcycles carrying around a Bosnian flag, the flag
14 of the BiH army that was attached to the motorcycles.
15 Q. Did she tell you whether this flag was on the
16 motorcycle or was it being dragged behind the
17 motorcycle, or was it affixed in some other way?
18 A. They were dragging it behind the motorcycle,
19 along the road. It was being dragged along the road.
20 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I think that's the
21 clarification. Thank you.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Pavkovic,
23 does any Defence counsel wish to cross-examine on this
24 particular point?
25 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. Radovic.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Radovic?
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Radovic:
3 MR. RADOVIC:
4 Q. Here we are again the two of us, but I have
5 just one question for you.
6 These two who were pulling the Bosnian flag
7 along the ground, have they got any connection with any
8 one of the accused? Did you see any one of the accused
9 doing such a thing?
10 A. No, no.
11 MR. RADOVIC: Thank you.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Radovic.
13 I have only one question. This morning,
14 Mr. Ahmic, this morning you said when -- and I have the
15 transcript in front of me -- that when you were wounded
16 and then treated by the UNPROFOR soldiers who came to
17 see you, and they dressed your wounds and gave you an
18 intravenous infusion, you asked them to be transferred
19 to the hospital. And then you said there was an
20 interpreter with them, and this interpreter said that
21 they were not allowed to help anyone because those were
22 the orders they had received from the Croatian army,
23 and then they left.
24 So my question is: Who told you that the
25 Croatian army had issued orders to the effect that
1 nobody should be treated in this hospital, if this is
2 what you meant? You said, "helped." Who said so to you?
3 Was the interpreter -- the interpreter said to you that
4 the orders were that the -- from the Croatian army was
5 that nobody should be helped in the hospital?
6 A. Yes. It was the interpreter who told me that
7 they mustn't assist our people, our wounded, that they
8 mustn't do that.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Assist in the hospital?
10 A. No, no. This was when he was giving me
11 first-aid, when he was dressing the wound. This
12 UNPROFOR officer and the interpreter in this house when
13 they treated me for the first time, that is what they
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. But to which particular
16 hospital were they referring? When you said, "Take me
17 to a hospital," and they said "No, because we know of
18 orders from the Croatian army." Were you thinking of a
19 particular hospital?
20 A. No, no, I wasn't thinking of anything in
21 particular, I was just trying to get saved. I was
22 wounded and all I wanted was to be taken away, because
23 there was no help coming from any side. There was no
24 one who could help us except for the UNPROFOR. And
25 what they did was to halt the shooting and take the
1 women and children towards the upper village. We had
2 no other aid coming from any other side.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, if the Registrar could
4 be so kind, or the usher, as to give the witness
5 Prosecution Exhibit number 80. I wonder -- this is a
6 picture showing you in the house of Mr. Hilmija Ahmic.
7 I wonder whether -- yes, it should be put on the ELMO.
8 Could you please indicate who of these two
9 UNPROFOR soldiers, I don't know whether they are both
10 soldiers, one is interpreter, who told you that you
11 could not be taken to the hospital because of the
12 orders received from the Croatian army?
13 A. I know that the interpreter said this to me,
14 and I think that this is the interpreter.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Sorry.
17 MR. MOSKOWITZ: We have another photograph
18 which we didn't introduce, only because we didn't want
19 to be duplicative, that, I think, shows the two men
20 more clearly if it would be of assistance to the Court.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: No. Thank you. It's
22 sufficient, because clearly one -- their uniform is
23 slightly different.
24 Anyway, so this young man, the interpreter,
25 who you called the interpreter, told you about the
1 Croatian orders. Thank you.
2 Thank you, Mr. Ahmic. I assume there's no
3 objection to the witness being released?
4 Mr. Ahmic, thank you for coming here to
5 testify in court. You may now be released. Thank
7 A. Thank you, you too. Thank you very much.
8 (The witness withdrew)
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, the while the Prosecutor
10 is calling the next witness, may I raise, very quickly,
11 an issue to which we would like to draw the attention
12 of both parties? The important remark and request made
13 yesterday in court by Judge May about the need to see,
14 to be aware and have a clear perception of the
15 distances between the various buildings, houses, the
16 mosques, the cemetery, the Catholic cemetery and so on,
17 set us thinking of the problem of whether it would be
18 feasible for the Court to do what we call a visit to the
19 site of the alleged crime, which is provided for in
20 many International Tribunals, including the
21 International Court of Justice, and we came to the
22 conclusion that this would be extremely useful to the
23 Court to have an idea of the village, the small
25 This is provided for in our Rules of
1 Procedure and Evidence, Rule 4, which states as
2 follows: "A Chamber may exercise its functions at a
3 place other than the seat of the Tribunal, if so
4 authorised by the President, in the interests of
6 I have also looked up the relevant rules of
7 the Statue and Rules of Procedure of the International
8 Court of Justice. They also provide for the same
9 possibility and give some guidance.
10 We strongly feel that it would be important
11 for the Court to go there. However, we feel that it
12 will be good to go with the Defence counsel and the
13 Prosecutors, and without the accused, because this may
14 create problems for the accused to go there, quite a
15 few problems. But probably the presence of Defence
16 counsel, all Defence counsel, will be sufficient. And
17 we could try to see whether we could spend this one
18 day, one full day, moving around, checking the various
19 buildings and so on.
20 Of course, we know there are two problems.
21 One problem is security for those people, say, Defence
22 counsel, the Prosecutor and the Court to go in there,
23 plus members of the Registry, security and financial
24 implications, which is always a huge problem.
25 Before, however, formally sending a request
1 to the President and the Registrar, we would like to
2 have your views and know whether you, in principle,
3 would be in favour. If so, we could send, as I say, a
4 request to the President and the Registrar, more so because
5 I think the area is under control of the Dutch/American
6 forces, members of UNPROFOR, and probably the Dutch
7 army or whatever forces could provide for
8 transportation from here, and maybe a military
9 aeroplane with all the Court, including, of course, the
10 parties and so on. And probably one full day there
11 would be sufficient.
12 This would, of course, in a way, make also
13 the financial implications acceptable, and they or the
14 other forces of UNPROFOR should provide security to all
15 of us.
16 What is the position of the Prosecutor first,
17 and then the --
18 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, we would most
19 sincerely applaud the idea that you just proposed. We
20 believe that it is, indeed, very important for this
21 trial in particular to know exactly the site. I went
22 on several occasions and saw that for myself, how
23 important it was, after reading the documents. So I do
24 indeed think it is very important, that it is an
25 excellent idea in principle.
1 As for the practical aspect of the matter
2 that you referred to, I think there is no doubt that
3 your Court will receive the full co-operation and
4 support of the Dutch battalion SFOR, which is
5 responsible for the Vitez region.
6 There will certainly be a number of practical
7 problems to deal with, security problems, for example,
8 the mine -- problem with the mines, to make sure that
9 the mines have been removed, but I think that not one
10 of those problems is insoluble and they can all be
12 As for the legal formalities, the legal
13 aspect of this move, as far as I am concerned, and
14 according to my experience, it is something that is
15 done very frequently and doesn't pose any problems, and
16 one has to ensure the contradictory aspect of the
17 trial, that is that the Defence should be present, and
18 I see no major obstacles. Therefore, the position of
19 the Prosecution is very favourable regarding your
20 proposal, despite the absence of the accused. As far
21 as I know, there is nothing about that in the rules,
22 but I think the contradictory nature of the trial will
23 be ensured by the presence of Defence counsel of each
24 of the accused.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Radovic.
1 MR. RADOVIC: As far as we are concerned, we
2 also agree with this proposal and we feel it would be
3 useful. As far as your security is concerned, from the
4 Croatian side, we can assure you that there is
5 absolutely no danger, as far as we are familiar at
6 least, with the mentality of the people living in Vitez
7 and in the environs. Therefore, we accept and we do
8 believe that this will contribute to an objective
9 assessment of the events in that area for what is
10 happening in this trial.
11 In this trial, we had already, in the
12 investigation stage, asked the investigators to come to
13 Vitez, and not to interview only one side and not to
14 only indict on one side. You have an indictment that
15 is absolutely one-sided. Not a single person from the
16 Croatian side was heard. So this will be the first
17 step towards establishing a balance. And the next
18 step, of course, will be, when you hear the second
19 group of witnesses, that is the Defence witnesses.
20 I must say, unfortunately, that for the first
21 time in my career as an attorney, before I was a
22 Judge, it was the first time that I come across the
23 problem of, "My witnesses and your witnesses," because
24 in the area in which we worked, we usually had
25 witnesses of the Court, a person who has to tell the
1 truth regardless of whether he is speaking in favour of
2 the Defence or the Prosecution. He conveys what he saw
3 and what he heard.
4 We realise that this system was established
5 when the International Court of Justice -- no, I'm
6 sorry, not the Court of Justice, for the crimes in the
7 former Yugoslavia was established. But in any event,
8 we applaud this step which will ensure that things are
9 viewed not in a one-sided manner only. Thank you.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. As for the point
11 of, "Our witnesses, their witnesses," I'm afraid this
12 is the procedure. And this is, of course, as you know,
13 Mr. Radovic, better than me, it is the adversarial
14 system, which is totally different from the
15 inquisitorial system with which you are familiar in your
16 country and also other European persons from
17 Continental Europe are also familiar with namely the
18 inquisitorial system where you have a totally different
19 approach, but we have to stick to our rules.
20 Therefore, we have the Prosecution witnesses and then
21 in a few weeks time we will have the Defence
23 Mr. Pavkovic?
24 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, of course, this
25 is up to you to decide when we'll be going on this trip
1 to visit the site, but it seems to me that I can speak
2 of behalf of my colleagues in the Defence, that after
3 the presentation of the Prosecution evidence, that
4 would perhaps would be the most convenient moment to
5 visit Ahmici. That is, between the Prosecution and the
6 Defence case. At the end of the Prosecution case and
7 before the beginning of the Defence case. That would
8 be my suggestion, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Radovic?
10 MR. RADOVIC: I do apologise for asking for
11 the floor again, but when deciding on the date of this
12 visit, one must bear in mind that this is Central
13 Bosnia, and that the weather in the later autumn is
14 quite harsh, and already in December it can snow
15 because the altitude is quite high. I'm just drawing
16 your attention to this technical point.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: But I think Mr. Pavkovic made
18 a very good point. The best period would be after the
19 Prosecution case, the end of the Prosecution case, and
20 before the Defence start with their own case, namely in
21 October. And October is the period of the first
22 episode, the first attack, so, therefore, it would be
23 quite appropriate. So we would also be aware of --
24 become aware of the weather in October.
25 All right. Well, I thank you for your
1 comments, and, of course, on the basis of your
2 position, which is in favour of our suggestion, we will
3 send a formal letter, a request to the President and
4 the Registrar.
5 We will now move on to the next Prosecution
7 (The witness entered court).
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon, Mr. Akhavan.
9 Could you make the solemn declaration?
10 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall
11 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
15 Now, this is typical witness where probably
16 the Prosecution could focus on a few major points.
17 Also, because we have the statement.
18 May I ask, Mr. Terrier, do you regard
19 Mr. Akhavan as an expert witness or as a fact witness?
20 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, the Prosecution
21 considers Mr. Akhavan as a fact witness, which means he
22 will be cross-examined by representatives of the
24 WITNESS: PAYAM AKHAVAN
25 Examined by Mr. Terrier:
1 Q. Mr. Akhavan could you tell the Court your
2 name and date of birth?
3 A. I name is Payam Akhavan. I was born on April
4 11, 1966.
5 Q. Today you're working with the Office of the
6 Prosecutor for the International Tribunal?
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. Would you tell the Court about your education
9 and experience in the area of International
10 Humanitarian Law?
11 A. I have obtained a law degree and a
12 post-graduate law degree in the field of International
13 Human Rights Law. Prior to joining the Tribunal, I had
14 worked with the Norwegian and Danish Human Rights
15 Institutes respectively in Oslo and Copenhagen, after
16 which I joined the United Nations Centre for Human
17 Rights, where I worked with Tadeusz Mazowiecki. Prior
18 to that I'd been involved in the missions of the
19 Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe, both
20 of which were related to humanitarian law violations in
21 the former Yugoslavia.
22 Q. Mr. Akhavan, you participated in the
23 preparation and drafting of a report of the Human
24 Rights Commission, dated 19th May, 1993, under the
25 heading, "The Situation Regarding Human Rights on the
1 Territory of the Former Yugoslavia"; is that correct?
2 A. Correct.
3 MR. TERRIER: I would like to tender into
4 evidence a copy of this report. I wish to say, Mr.
5 President, that this is a public document that, of
6 course, the witness is not a signatory of it. It is a
7 report of the Commission for Human Rights, of which
8 Mr. Tadeusz Mazowiecki was the head as the former Prime
9 Minister of Poland.
10 We have communicated through a representative
11 of the Defence and tendered a copy of this report,
12 though it is not, strictly speaking, a statement of the
13 witness, but we have given a copy of this report to
14 each of the Defence counsel.
15 If they wish, I can give them additional
16 copies if they need them. In any event, I am at the
17 disposal of the attorneys.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 82.
19 MR. TERRIER:
20 Q. Mr. Akhavan, could you explain under which
21 circumstances you participated in the drafting of this
23 A. I was a member of the staff of the Special
24 Rapporteur for the former Yugoslavia, Prime Minister
25 Mazowiecki, and was deployed in Zagreb together with a
1 college, (redacted).
2 We were approached during the middle of April
3 by the members of the European Community Monitoring
4 Mission regarding allegations that humanitarian law
5 violations had taken place in the Lasva Valley region
6 of Central Bosnia and, in particular, in the village of
7 Ahmici. Both of us had also seen television footage of
8 atrocities which had been committed in this village.
9 At that point, we decided to obtain approval
10 from the United Nations Centre for Human Rights in
11 Geneva in order to conduct an on-site investigation.
12 After which we arranged, through the United Nations
13 Protection Force, to travel to the Lasva Valley region,
14 upon which we conducted extensive interviews with
15 members of the British battalion, with members of other
16 international agencies such as the U.N. High
17 Commissioner for Refugees, the ECMM, as well as those
18 who had survived the events in Ahmici.
19 This report reflects the findings of that
20 mission, in addition to information coming from other
21 sources, relating, for example, to the city of Mostar
22 and other events which we did not directly
24 Q. Regarding the facts on Ahmici, which you did
25 investigate, could you tell us, roughly, what was the
1 date, if you remember, or how many times you went to
3 A. We arrived in the town of Vitez on the 30th
4 of April and left on the 7th of May. So we were there
5 approximately one week. During this period, we visited
6 Ahmici on three occasions, I believe, on May 1st, 2nd
7 and 6th. During this period, we also once visited the
8 survivors of the attack on Ahmici in the neighbouring
9 city of Zenica, in addition to conducting interviews
10 with some of the commanders who may have been involved
11 in that attack.
12 Q. Let us comment on your visit to Ahmici,
13 please. Could you tell us what struck you, in
14 particular, in this village of Ahmici?
15 A. The scale of destruction was quite
16 extensive. I believe that from approximately 150 to
17 200 homes in the village, there were fewer than 20
18 which had not been destroyed. The scale of destruction
19 was extensive. There were homes which, some two weeks
20 after the attack, were still smouldering.
21 There was also a real, what would I describe
22 as, smell of death in the village. One could sense
23 that there were still many bodies which had not been
24 recovered from underneath the rubble. There was
25 virtually not a living creature in the village. Even
1 dogs, cats, and cattle had been killed and were lying
2 all over the roads.
3 So I think on the whole, what struck me was
4 the total and all-embracing form of the destruction of
5 this village and its inhabitants.
6 Q. Could you, with the permission of the
7 President, approach this aerial photograph showing the
8 village of Ahmici, and with the pointer on your left,
9 indicate the area of the village which you specifically
10 visited during the several visits that you made to
12 A. I will simply describe the various locations
13 which we visited on the three occasions, not
14 necessarily indicating the order in which they were
16 This, I believe, is the road from which we
17 arrived. We visited the area immediately adjacent to
18 the Catholic cemetery, because according to some of the
19 members of the British battalion who had escorted us to
20 this region, this field right here was an area in which
21 several bodies, up to 20 bodies, had been recovered.
22 Their impression was that this so-called "killing
23 field" was where a number of people who were escaping
24 in a southerly direction from the north of the village
25 may have been ambushed.
1 We checked this small hollow, which is
2 adjacent to the field, and noticed that there were a
3 large number of spent shell casings, indicating that
4 this area may have been used as a staging area for the
5 ambush by the snipers.
6 We travelled up this road to the area where
7 the mosque had been destroyed. This is the mosque with
8 the minaret, because there were two mosques, one
9 further up the road, I believe, in this area. Here we
10 inspected the damage to the mosque and the destroyed
11 minaret and did a small survey of the neighbouring
12 homes in order to appraise the extent of the damage.
13 We also went further up the road, as I
14 explained, to the upper mosque, which had been gutted
15 by fire, and on another occasion inspected some of the
16 homes in this area, as well as a bit further up the
18 That, I think, is more or less the areas of
19 the village which we visited.
20 Q. Regarding what the members of the British
21 battalion called the "killing fields," it is the field
22 that you pointed to adjacent to the Catholic cemetery;
23 isn't it?
24 A. Adjacent to the Catholic cemetery.
25 Q. Do you remember what the members of the
1 British battalion told you regarding the bodies that
2 they found in that field? Were they combatants,
3 civilians, men, women or children?
4 A. According to the members of the British
5 battalion, the 20 people who were found in this
6 so-called "killing field" were almost exclusively women
7 and children, with possibly also some elderly
9 Q. Close to this "killing field," to use the
10 term coined, you found traces of ammunition, ammunition
11 shells, shell cases. Can you tell me what kind of
12 weapons were in question?
13 A. When we did the survey of the various homes,
14 we counted, on average, anywhere from 30 to 50 spent
15 shell casings around the homes, indicating that a
16 considerable amount of ammunition had been used in the
17 attack, also indicating that much of the ammunition was
18 used in the immediate proximity of the home rather than
19 at some distance.
20 The ammunition included the spent shell
21 casings of bullets which would ordinarily be used in
22 machine guns, but we found also some spent shell
23 casings which, according to the British battalion,
24 belonged to anti-aircraft guns. These weapons were
25 used, on occasion, in attacks on personnel, although
1 they were not intended for that purpose.
2 We also found remnants of what I would call
3 grenades which are shot from -- I forget the name of
4 the weapon. Well, they're grenade launchers, and they
5 have rather big shell casings. We also found some of
7 I believe that there were also, in certain
8 cases, empty or broken bottles which were apparently
9 used to carry petrol or gasoline or other flammable
11 Q. Did you examine the insides of some of the
12 houses to have as detailed an idea as possible of how
13 these homes were incinerated?
14 A. We inspected a number of homes. The
15 impression which we gathered is -- well, clearly that
16 the homes were set on fire. There were various reasons
17 why we came to that conclusion. For one thing, the
18 nature of the combat was not such that homes would
19 catch on fire, let's say, because of cross-fire or the
20 use of heavy weaponry. The attack was predominantly by
21 means of guns, which would normally not result in homes
22 going on fire.
23 But what impressed us the most was the
24 intensity of some of the fires and the manner in which
25 certain parts of the home were burnt, to the point
1 where there was a black shine on the wood, suggesting
2 that the fire was one set by the use of gasoline or
3 some other flammable liquid.
4 As I said, virtually every home, with the
5 exception of maybe 15 or 20, had been destroyed by
6 means of fire.
7 Q. During your various visits to Ahmici, you
8 accompanied representatives of the British battalion of
9 UNPROFOR. Did you encounter inhabitants of Ahmici in
10 Ahmici during the course of that visit to Ahmici?
11 A. Yes. We encountered an elderly woman with
12 two young children, who could have been her
13 grandchildren, possibly, walking through the village.
14 We approached her in order to see if she would be
15 willing to speak to us about the events which
16 transpired in Ahmici on April the 16th and if she could
17 possibly help us identify some of the perpetrators.
18 At this point, we noticed that there was
19 sniper fire coming in our direction, indicating that
20 someone was not happy with us speaking with this lady.
21 So we had to leave that area and go immediately back to
22 the armoured personnel carrier.
23 Q. I would now like for us to talk about the
24 encounters you had with some of the survivors who were
25 chased out of Ahmici and whom you met with in Zenica.
1 Could you tell this Tribunal where these survivors were
2 located from Ahmici?
3 A. The survivors were located through the
4 assistance of an institution in Zenica which, I
5 believe, was the centre for the collection of evidence
6 on genocide and war crimes. I believe that this was a
7 governmental agency, although I'm not sure.
8 They identified the location where 150
9 survivors of Ahmici, who had been detained in a school
10 in Dubravica, I believe, by the HVO, were located. I
11 believe the location was possibly a cinema or some
12 other large community centre which was being used
13 temporarily as a refugee centre.
14 We met there with about 50 or 60 of the
15 survivors of the Ahmici attack. Almost all of them
16 were women or young children, with a few elderly males
17 in their midst. We asked them about the events which
18 had transpired on that date, having spent several hours
19 speaking with them, trying to see whether the stories
20 coming from the different individuals were consistent
21 or not.
22 Almost all of them gave roughly the same
23 description of the attack, suggesting that it had
24 commenced very early in the morning around the time
25 when the morning call to prayer had taken place at the
1 minaret, that the attack had begun through explosions
2 towards the north of the village which, presumably, was
3 the result of a mortar attack, and that subsequent to
4 that, there had been heavy gunfire, soldiers going from
5 door to door indiscriminately shooting at buildings.
6 Very often there were stories, accounts, of people
7 being taken out of homes and executed. There were
8 accounts of petrol being poured in the floor of homes
9 or being thrown through windows and homes set on fire.
10 One small girl recounted how her father had
11 been lured out of their home on the promise that he
12 would not be harmed and how he had been shot as soon as
13 he left his home. There were accounts of various
14 instances of killing. I think that I remember only one
15 or two cases where people managed to escape because a
16 member of the HVO decided not to kill them. There was
17 one lady whose husband had been killed, and apparently
18 the perpetrator knew her from before and had decided to
19 spare her life, and he had simply told her that she
20 should rush off and save her life, and that he would
21 not harm her.
22 We wanted to make sure that we would know the
23 identity of the perpetrators. Of course, we were not
24 involved with a criminal investigation. We were human
25 rights investigators. We were involved in the
1 attribution of liability to a state or, where a state
2 does not exist in the context of such an armed
3 conflict, the de facto authorities which exercised
4 authority over that region.
5 Almost all the survivors, without exception,
6 told us that the soldiers were wearing HVO uniforms
7 with the distinctive insignia of those armed forces.
8 We tried to make sure that the soldiers were not
9 members of another paramilitary formation, such as HOS
10 or the others who were operating through the region.
11 What convinced us that this attack was,
12 indeed, committed by the HVO was the fact that, even in
13 the short amount of time that we had, the witnesses
14 came up with the names of 18 perpetrators, all of whom
15 they knew by name, because they were either their own
16 neighbours or people whom they knew from neighbouring
17 villages. At that point, we were convinced that the
18 HVO, indeed, had been responsible for the attack.
19 Q. Do you remember a man whose name was Sakib
21 A. Sakib Ahmic, correct. The gentleman in
22 question was interviewed by my colleague, (redacted)
23 (redacted), on the following day, I believe, in a hospital
24 in Zenica where he was recovering from burns which he
25 had sustained on his body. According to the testimony
1 of Sakib Ahmic, he had been hiding in the back of a
2 couch when the HVO units had attacked the home of
3 either his son or daughter, I don't recall, but he was
4 staying at the home of one of his children.
5 He had heard gunshots, after which he saw the
6 man and woman of the house fall to the ground. There
7 were also two children in this home, according to him,
8 one an infant of less than six months, and another a
9 child of three to four years. He said that after
10 hearing the gunshots, and while he was not certain if
11 the people had actually been killed by the gunfire or
12 not, that the HVO soldiers began to pour petrol over
13 the home, after which he set the home on fire, not
14 knowing that he was hiding behind the couch.
15 He managed somehow to escape through a window
16 and to arrive at Zenica where he was treated for very
17 bad burns which he had sustained on his hands and feet
18 and the side of his body. Based on his testimony, we
19 revisited Ahmici, I believe, on the 6th of May,
20 together with three European Community ambassadors from
21 Spain, France, and Britain respectively, who were on a
22 diplomatic mission to try and stabilise the situation
23 in the Lasva Valley region.
24 We went to the home which Sakib Ahmic had
25 described, based on a crude map which he had drawn on a
1 piece of paper, and we found the home, and indeed, we
2 also found the bodies of the four individuals. There
3 were clearly two adults. One of the bodies was simply
4 a vertebra and a skull. Another body still had the rib
5 cage attached, but the bodies, in general, were not
6 complete. But one could tell that there were two
8 Then there were the remains of what appeared
9 to be an infant and a child, although they were so
10 badly burned, that only with great care was it possible
11 to understand that they were actually human beings. At
12 first, we thought maybe they were some fabric or
13 something else which had been burnt.
14 I believe that after our visit, members of
15 the British battalion took these bodies and gave them a
16 proper burial.
17 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, I request that
18 we be able to show a video, which is a news real made
19 by Scan News made on 6 May, 1993 during the time of the
20 visit which Mr. Akhavan and (redacted) made to Ahmici.
21 This was, of course, with the British battalion, a film
22 which this Tribunal has not had the opportunity yet to
23 see, but this is something that we would like to show
24 Mr. Akhavan now.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
1 (Videotape played)
2 MR. TERRIER: This brief film was not shown
3 at that particular time, but I hope, nonetheless, that
4 this video will be tendered as a Prosecution exhibit,
5 and the Trial Chamber, of course, have the opportunity
6 to see that.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 83.
8 MR. TERRIER:
9 Q. Mr. Akhavan, during that mission in Central
10 Bosnia, in order to clarify what exactly happened, did
11 you meet with the political authorities or military
12 authorities from the Bosnian Croats?
13 A. Yes, we did. During the day that my
14 colleague went to meet Sakib Ahmic in Zenica, I went to
15 meet with the leading authorities of the HVO in the
16 Lasva Valley region. I met first with then Colonel
17 Blaskic at his headquarters in Vitez, after which I met
18 with Mario Cerkez, who, I believe, was the head of the
19 HVO in Vitez. After that, I met with Dario Kordic, who
20 was the vice-president of the HVO and the HDZ political
21 party, I believe, in the Herceg-Bosna community.
22 Q. Among these various political and military
23 authorities, did you ask of them what might have
24 happened in their own assessment in Ahmici?
25 A. Yes. The purpose of the meetings was to try
1 and see whether there were any plausible alternate
2 theories or explanations as to what may have transpired
3 in Ahmici.
4 None of the people with whom we spoke
5 admitted that the HVO were involved in these crimes.
6 To the contrary, they insisted that the HVO, being
7 professional soldiers of high rectitude and conduct,
8 could not be involved in such terrible actions, but
9 there were no plausible alternative explanations
11 Dario Kordic, at one point, tried to suggest
12 that the Serbs may have committed this crime or that
13 Muslim extremists themselves may have committed the
14 crime in order to gain international sympathy. None of
15 those theories were plausible, in light of the
16 consistent and overwhelming testimony of the witnesses
17 with whom we had spoken, and in light of the fact that
18 Ahmici was, perhaps, only two kilometres away from the
19 HVO military headquarters in Vitez.
20 It would have been exceptionally difficult,
21 for example, for a group of Serbs to cross the lines
22 undetected, numbering in the vicinity of 50 to 100
23 soldiers, and to commit such an attack undetected.
24 So after those meetings, we were further
25 confirmed in our conclusion that this was an attack
1 perpetrated by the HVO forces.
2 Q. Did you advise those Croatian authorities
3 with whom you met of any conclusions from your own
5 A. We had not yet prepared the report.
6 Naturally, we were still in the course of gathering the
7 necessary facts. After the report was issued, I
8 believe that it was circulated to all the appropriate
9 sources, including, for example, the government of the
10 Republic of Croatia, the government of
12 We did not formally give this report to the
13 authorities in the Lasva Valley region, since it was
14 not really our mandate to do so. We submit these
15 reports to Geneva. After an editing process, they
16 become official documents of the Commission for Human
17 Rights. At that point, there is a standard
18 distribution of these documents to the member states of
19 the Commission for Human Rights, and so on and so
21 But I do know that the authorities in
22 Herceg-Bosna did ultimately receive this report, and I
23 know this because they sent a letter, a long letter, to
24 Tadeusz Mazowiecki criticising the report, suggesting
25 that it was one-sided, suggesting that it was
2 Q. To your knowledge, did these Bosnian Croat
3 authorities conduct an investigation regarding what
4 happened in Ahmici in April 1993?
5 A. I was aware that there was discussion of an
6 agreement between the Bosnian government side and the
7 Bosnian Croat side suggesting that they were willing to
8 undertake an investigation. To the best of my
9 knowledge, no such investigation ever took place.
10 Certainly, we did not hear of any individual being
11 prosecuted or punished for the events in Ahmici.
12 Q. Did any of the Croat contacts make mention of
13 any loss of life among the Croats or damage to any
14 property owned by Croats in the Lasva Valley on that
15 date of the 16th of April, 1993?
16 A. With respect to the village of Ahmici, no.
17 None of the authorities which we met suggested that
18 there was any sort of property damage or casualties
19 among the HVO units.
20 Q. Outside the village of Ahmici, did you learn
21 of any other losses suffered by Croat inhabitants,
22 outside the village of Ahmici in the Lasva Valley?
23 A. There were two occasions where we came across
24 Croatian casualties. In the city of Vitez, we were
25 told by the padre of the British battalion that a few
1 days ago they had buried 101 individuals who had been
2 killed in the fighting in Vitez. Of those 101 people,
3 96 were Muslims and five were Croats.
4 In the case of a small hamlet called
5 Miletici, which was a few kilometres away from Vitez,
6 we came across evidence that certain renegade elements,
7 popularly referred to as the Mujahedin, had come to
8 this village and apparently beheaded three or four
9 young Croatian men of fighting age in that village.
10 So the evidence which we had is that, for
11 example, in the case of Vitez, that some Croats may
12 have been killed in the cross-fire or in the actual
13 fighting that was occurring in Vitez because, indeed,
14 the Muslims did control one part of the city.
15 In the case of Miletici, we saw what appeared
16 to be a random act of violence by criminal elements,
17 but the case of Ahmici, I think, could be
18 distinguished. There was very little evidence, if any,
19 that there was any sustained or organised military
20 resistance in Ahmici, as distinguished, for example, in
21 Vitez, where even two weeks after the events of April
22 the 16th, the Bosnian Muslims still controlled part of
23 the city.
24 Q. What happened in Ahmici, as you described,
25 did this occur after the 16th of April, 1993? Did that
1 happen later in Ahmici?
2 A. I'm sorry. Did what happen after April
3 16th? The visit to Miletici or the events in
5 Q. The events which took place in Miletici, did
6 they take place after the events in Ahmici?
7 A. Yes. Our impression was that the killings
8 were in retaliation. I believe that it was after April
9 the 16th that the killings in Miletici took place, but
10 the killings in Vitez took place during the fighting, I
11 believe, on and after April the 16th.
12 Q. In order to be very clear and to be clear
13 about your personal intervention and also the meaning
14 and significance of your report, your objective, I'm
15 speaking now about the human rights report, was it
16 designed then to find out who was responsible,
17 individual responsibility, or to just make a report
18 about what had happened?
19 A. The report, as I had explained earlier, was
20 not to attribute individual criminal liability, but was
21 to establish the responsibility of the entity which
22 should bear liability under international law for those
23 human rights violations. The mandate of the human
24 rights special rapporteur in such a situation is to
25 determine the responsibility of state authorities for
1 particular violations.
2 In the case of an internal armed conflict or
3 an international armed conflict where there is a
4 disintegration of state authorities, and it's not
5 possible to attribute liability to a state in the
6 ordinary sense, then one looks at those authorities
7 which exercise a de facto control over a given area,
8 irrespective of their status as a state or other
10 In this case, the entity which we were
11 involved with was the Croatian community of
12 Herceg-Bosna which exercised the de facto powers of a
13 government or state in that territory.
14 Q. To place this into a certain context, on the
15 date of that report, when it came out, this Tribunal
16 did not yet exist; is that right?
17 A. Correct.
18 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, I have no
19 further questions. I would simply wish to submit or
20 tender a number of documents to the witness and also to
21 this Court. These were taken on the 6th of May or
22 during the days that followed, perhaps the 7th of May.
23 These photographs were taken by the members of the
24 BRITBAT from UNPROFOR, and these are photographs taken
25 in the house of Sakib Ahmic. These are photographs
1 taken of the cadavers found in those houses.
2 Some of these photographs will, perhaps, call
3 for a commentary from the witness, but perhaps a brief
5 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 84.
6 MR. TERRIER:
7 Q. Could you please look at these photographs
8 that are going to be shown to you rather quickly and
9 comment on those which you think deserve commenting?
10 Do you recognise the things that you were able to see
11 with your own eyes when you visited that house of Sakib
13 A. Yes. This is the body of one of the adults
14 which we found in the home which Sakib Ahmic had
15 described in an area which was probably the living room
16 or a bedroom. I'm not sure. All the walls had
17 collapsed in the home. It was difficult to tell. This
18 was the body which, as I explained, still had the rib
19 cage intact, whereas the other body still only had the
20 vertebra and the skull. It seemed as if the body had
21 not yet fully decomposed.
22 Q. If the photographs that are being shown to
23 you require no commentary, please just confirm that
24 they were all taken in Sakib Ahmic's house.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 85.
1 A. This is probably the body of either the
2 infant or the child, based on its size and the fact
3 that it was burned very badly.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 86.
5 MR. TERRIER:
6 Q. Is this still another photograph taken in the
7 home of Sakib Ahmic?
8 A. Yes. I believe that that is the room in
9 which we found all of the bodies.
10 Q. What are all the objects that we see on the
11 floor there?
12 A. I believe that those were the shingles which
13 were used on the roof of the house.
14 Q. The next photograph, please?
15 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 87.
16 A. I believe that that is the same rib cage of
17 the adult which we had seen earlier. I presume these
18 were the members of the British battalion that came
19 after our departure in order to take the bodies away
20 and to give them a burial.
21 Once again, the body of one of the adults.
22 These, I suppose, as I explained, are the British
23 battalion members putting the bodies in nylon bags so
24 that they could be taken away and buried, still in the
25 same home as I described earlier.
1 I think we've already viewed this picture.
2 MR. TERRIER:
3 Q. Do you know where the bodies that were found
4 in this house were taken by the British battalion,
5 where they were transported and buried?
6 A. I'm not certain in this particular case, but,
7 in general, bodies were taken to Zenica where autopsies
8 were performed in the morgue. I'm not sure in this
9 particular case where they were taken.
10 This, once again, I believe, is one of the
11 bodies of the children. This is probably the body of
12 the infant, given the size.
13 Q. When you speak of the smallest child, you
14 mean an infant, the child of the age of an infant, a
15 baby. Does that conform with what Mr. Sakib Ahmic had
16 told you previously?
17 A. That's correct. Once again, by the size, I
18 believe that this should be probably the infant, given
19 the size. Of course, it's very difficult to tell,
20 because the bodies were burnt so badly, and in many
21 cases, bits and pieces of the body were missing. So
22 the size can sometimes be misleading.
23 Q. And the object on the photograph, at the same
24 time as the human remains, allows us to judge the size
25 of the remains.
1 Next photograph, please.
2 A. If my memory serves me correctly, we entered
3 this room from this door here, and the bodies of the
4 adults were towards this end of the room, and the body
5 of the infant and the child towards this end.
6 Q. Is the threshold that we see at the top of
7 the photograph, is that the entrance into the house?
8 A. I believe it's the entrance into this room of
9 the house. My impression was that the actual entrance
10 was located somewhere here, but I'm not entirely sure
11 of that.
12 Once again, I'm assuming this is remnants of
13 the child, probably not the infant.
14 MR. TERRIER: We have no more photographs?
15 THE REGISTRAR: No, that was the last, and
16 the number is 69.
17 MR. TERRIER: Mr. President, could 82 to 96
18 be admitted into evidence? And I have no further
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I think it is too
21 late for the cross-examination, so we will now adjourn
22 and resume work tomorrow at 9.30.
23 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at
24 4.25 p.m. to be reconvened on Friday,
25 the 28th day of August, 1998 at
1 9.30 a.m.