1 Friday, 25th September, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-16-T, the
6 Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
7 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic,
8 Vladimir Santic, also known as "Vlado."
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Good morning.
10 Mr. Terrier?
11 MR. TERRIER: Good morning, Your Honours. We
12 have learned this morning that Witness No. 13 on the
13 list will not be able to come this morning for health
14 reasons. The Victims and Witnesses Unit has just told
15 us about this, and yesterday evening, I met myself this
16 witness, who told me that he had some difficulty
17 adapting to The Hague. Indeed, he has flown from
18 Bosnia, it is the first time he has taken a plane, so
19 he feels a bit ill and he won't be able to come this
21 As for the two other witnesses, the first to
22 come to testify before you will be No. 12 and then
23 No. 11 will come.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Well, these are the facts of
25 life. There's nothing we can do about it.
1 All right then. So this witness who is now
2 feeling ill, will we see him Monday morning?
3 MR. TERRIER: I do hope so, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: So do we.
5 MR. SMITH: Good morning, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning.
7 MR. SMITH: I would now call Witness U. In
8 relation to protection measures, Your Honours, this
9 witness has asked for face protection and name
11 (The witness entered court)
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. Would you
13 please make the solemn declaration?
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
15 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
19 MR. SMITH: Your Honours, in terms of
20 procedure, I would ask that the majority of the session
21 be in open session but the final part of the session
22 being closed where some more identifying details will
23 be necessary.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: So we are now in open
25 session, I gather.
1 MR. SMITH: Yes, Your Honour.
2 WITNESS: WITNESS U.
3 Examined by Mr. Smith:
4 Q. Good morning, Witness U.
5 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, above the Z,
6 the diacritical mark is missing.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. All right. You
8 may proceed.
9 MR. SMITH: Your Honours, to assist the Court
10 in putting this witness's evidence in context, I ask
11 that Your Honours refer to Exhibit 208, which is a
12 list, and on the first portion of that list, page
13 number 13. This witness was living in the house of the
14 person given the identification number 399. That's the
15 second column. Later in his evidence, he will point
16 that house out to the Court, but so that Your Honours
17 can understand the evidence more easily ...
18 Q. Witness U, I'd like to advise you that the
19 Court has given you protection measures, protection in
20 relation to your face - your face will be disguised on
21 public TV - and also in relation to your name. I will
22 refer to you as Witness U.
23 In relation to specific detail that we may
24 ask for in relation to other people you saw on this
25 day, we will ask for those details more at the end of
1 the testimony when that will be in closed session. We
2 will advise you at that time, but until then, if you
3 can be more general in describing people rather than in
4 particular in the beginning. Do you understand that?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. Witness U, on the 16th of April, 1993, you
7 lived in the village of Ahmici; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. Can you tell the Court where you originally
10 came from in 1992 before you arrived in Ahmici?
11 A. I came from Karaula.
12 Q. You lived there most of your life?
13 A. Yes, I lived in Karaula all my life. I was
14 an inhabitant of Karaula.
15 Q. In November '92, did you have to leave
17 A. We had to leave Karaula under the pressure of
18 the Serb or Chetnik aggression.
19 Q. Did you move to another village before you
20 arrived at Ahmici?
21 A. We first came to the village of Dubravica
22 where we were put up, my family was put up; then we
23 were accommodated in a neighbouring village near
24 Ahmici, and then we had to leave that village also; and
25 then we went to the village of Ahmici.
1 Q. About what time did you arrive at the
2 neighbouring village to Ahmici?
3 A. It was approximately February. I cannot
4 recall the exact date.
5 Q. Without mentioning the name of the village,
6 can you describe to the Court the types of people that
7 populated the village, their ethnic origin?
8 A. This village, in terms of the ethnic origin
9 of the people, was mostly populated by Croatian people,
10 by Catholics, there was a fewer number of Muslims
11 living in the village, and the other part, the
12 vacationing cottages, I don't know how that was
14 Q. About how many Muslim families were living in
15 the village when you arrived?
16 A. Down there where I lived in that village,
17 there was some six or seven families living in the
18 lower section, and those were Muslim families, and the
19 rest of the families were all Catholic.
20 Q. When you say "Catholic," are you referring to
21 Bosnian Croat, Bosnian Serb, Bosnian Muslim? Which?
22 A. I'm referring to Bosnian Croats, Bosnian
23 Serbs, and Bosnian Muslims.
24 Q. About how long did you stay in the village
25 before moving to Ahmici?
1 A. I stayed there for about a month and a half,
2 about 45 days.
3 Q. Why was it that you moved to the village of
5 A. The pressures being brought to bear by the
6 Bosnian Croats. They seized property, they maltreated,
7 they searched the houses looking for weapons, so it was
8 not a place to live in, to survive, for the Muslim
10 Q. Was your house searched?
11 A. Yes, it was.
12 Q. On about how many occasions was your house
14 A. During my stay, my house was searched three
15 times as were all of the houses of the Muslims, but I
16 can't tell you exactly how many times the others were
18 Q. Who, in fact, searched the houses? Did they
19 belong to any military group?
20 A. A military formation bearing the insignia of
21 the HVO, the military police of the HVO.
22 Q. Did you know any of the people that searched
23 your houses?
24 A. I did. I didn't know them from before, but I
25 knew them at that moment. The gentlemen nicknamed
1 Cicko and Rutko, as the locals called them, but I
2 personally did not know them because I had never been
3 in that village before.
4 Q. About how old were Cicko and Rutko?
5 A. Between 25 and 30 years old.
6 Q. What were they searching your house for?
7 A. For a while, I was a metal worker, and every
8 time when I came, they came to search for weapons,
9 searching my house, checking to see whether I had been
10 preparing myself when I, in no case, was in possession
11 of any weapons.
12 Q. You mentioned that there was stealing
13 occurring in the village. Stealing was occurring in
14 relation to who?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Who was stealing what from who? Who had
17 things stolen from them in the village? Which ethnic
19 A. The gentleman who came as a refugee from
20 Jajce, Vasid. From him, they seized his car. Then
21 from another refugee, Ganic Nahid, they also
22 confiscated his car and some other property and
23 searched the house and they maltreated the family. So
24 that under such pressures, all of us, the rest of the
25 Muslim population of the village, left and went to the
1 village of Ahmici.
2 Q. When you say they were stealing from these
3 people you have just mentioned, who is "they"? What
4 military group did they belong to, if any?
5 A. I do not know whether they belonged to a
6 military formation, but they -- with insignia and
7 camouflage uniforms, there were lads, there were young
8 men, I already said who they were, and those very same
9 persons, on another occasion, maltreated my minor son
10 looking for some weapons, having him take his clothes
11 off in order to find something, to exert pressure, but
12 as they couldn't find anything, the only thing they did
13 was subject him to fear, but they could not find
15 After all this had been done, I myself felt,
16 as did all the others, that we were not welcome in that
17 place, and we searched for another location, another
19 Another thing happened, which was a murder, a
20 killing in that village. It was also a Bosniak Muslim,
21 and after we had gone through all that, we saw that we
22 were not suitable, and we left that place and went to
23 seek refuge in another place, namely the village of
25 Q. Did you witness that killing?
1 A. No, I did not. I only heard an explosion. I
2 was present at the funeral, but I did not witness the
3 killing because it happened late at night and I was not
4 a witness to that.
5 Q. Can you tell the Court briefly how that
6 killing occurred from what you heard?
7 A. According to what I had heard from my
8 neighbours, there was no quarrel or grudge between
9 those two persons involved. The only reason for that
10 was that he was a member of the army, and at night his
11 house was blown up and he was killed, and I cannot tell
12 you what the actual reasons were.
13 Q. Which army was he a member of?
14 A. B and H.
15 Q. Witness U, do you know of a location near
16 that village called the Bungalow?
17 A. Yes, I do. Between these two villages, there
18 is a location, a site, a hotel or a bungalow, yes, I
19 know it well.
20 Q. Can you explain to the Court, at the time
21 that you were staying at that village, what the
22 Bungalow was and what it was used for?
23 A. As we were coming to that village, we could
24 see that the bungalows were used for some sort of a
25 military facility because there was some heavy
1 weaponry, a part of heavy weaponry was there, and the
2 insignias were worn on camouflage uniforms and on black
3 uniforms which one could see every day.
4 Q. Which military group did the Bungalow relate
6 A. The military formations of the HVO.
7 Q. You have said that because of these
8 happenings towards Muslims, you and some other families
9 left and went to Ahmici; is that correct?
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. How was it that you decided to go to Ahmici?
12 Was there an offer of housing there?
13 A. At that moment, nobody offered us any
14 accommodation initially and we sought protection there
15 because the population there is Muslim, so we tried to
16 find accommodation in the summer vacationing cottages
17 and some in the houses proper, in the real houses, and
18 so we were helped by the neighbours there.
19 Q. About how many families from this village
20 went to Ahmici?
21 A. Just a minute. I have to think of the exact
22 number. Three families, refugee families, that fled
23 came to the village of Ahmici, and other families were
24 put up by other families in Vrhovine, around Vitez and
25 so on, but the number of families which left the
1 village was six or seven and only one family remained,
2 a family of an intermarried couple. They are the only
3 ones who remained in the village.
4 Q. You finally found a house in Ahmici to stay
5 at, without mentioning the name of the house at this
7 A. Yes, yes, we did.
8 Q. You have said this before, but can you remind
9 us the exact time that you arrived in Ahmici?
10 A. I cannot tell you the exact date. It was the
11 month of February. I'm not quite sure. I cannot say
12 what the exact date was.
13 Q. You arrived in Ahmici with your family; is
14 that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Your wife and children?
17 A. Yes, my wife and children and a sister of
18 mine was with us. My sister, my two children, and my
20 Q. When you arrived at Ahmici, or shortly after,
21 there were some meetings that were held in the Ahmici
22 village. Can you tell the Court what those meetings
23 were about that you attended?
24 A. Yes, we did. Before I came to the village of
25 Ahmici from that village, we'd meet in connection with
1 the complaints of the Muslims, the Bosniak Muslims,
2 against things being done by the Croats, so we went to
3 seek refuge and see to the restoration of order that
4 was promised, that that would indeed be so, but words
5 were one thing and actions were quite a different
7 We talked about trust, confidence between the
8 Bosniak Muslims and the Bosnian Croats, that they would
9 not harm one another, that there should be no fears,
10 that there should be no suspicions, but after a while,
11 what happened happened, and it happened in the village
12 of Ahmici.
13 Q. These meetings, were they in relation to the
14 refugees, namely yourself, coming from that other
15 village, and the problems that occurred in that other
16 village, or were the meetings in relation to possible
17 problems that may have been occurring in Ahmici
19 A. Not knowing what the situation was like in
20 the village of Ahmici, we came up there to seek
21 accommodation from the village from which we came, in
22 the village of Ahmici. And people were asking that
23 someone guarantee us our life in that village, but
24 there was no one who could do such a thing. No one
25 could guarantee that to us. So at this meeting -- at
1 this meeting we discussed the question of the refugees,
2 of the people who had fled, whom I represented, and the
3 locals. They were discussing the issue of their own
4 stability of their own security and the security of
5 both them and us, and we came there as a third party to
6 ask for our own security to also be a consideration.
7 Q. Was it ever suggested that you go back to the
8 village that you've just come from?
9 A. Yes, it was suggested that we go back. We
10 sought guarantees in that village, which we could not
11 get, so we stayed. We could not return.
12 Q. And who did you seek those guarantees from?
13 A. From the Croatian people and the Civil
14 Defence with which we registered, to whom we applied
15 when we came to that village, from them.
16 Q. And why couldn't these people guarantee that
18 A. The answer which was given to us is that
19 things were being done by extremists, that it was not
20 them. That they couldn't guarantee on behalf of them
21 anything, the extremists.
22 Q. And which extremists were they referring to?
23 A. They had in mind the Croatian people,
24 extremists, who were searching the houses, maltreating
25 the people, looting. And those extremists wore the
1 insignia of the HVO, under the command of which they
2 were. And I know that for a fact that they wore such
3 insignia. And who was in command? That is one thing
4 do I not know.
5 Q. So Croats from this village, having been
6 unable to guarantee your security back in that village,
7 you decided to stay in the village of Ahmici?
8 A. No, they were not. We decided to stay in the
9 village of Ahmici.
10 Q. And were you involved in any humanitarian aid
11 tasks whilst you were in the village of Ahmici, and if
12 not before that as well?
13 A. Yes, I was. In my spare time I -- I engaged
14 in the distribution of humanitarian relief supplies and
15 food to refugees in that village, and after the return
16 there was more refugees, so that I distributed relief
17 aid to all of them in the village of Ahmici.
18 Q. Are you able to give a figure to the Court
19 about how many -- about how many refugees you gave aid
20 to in the village of Ahmici?
21 A. I cannot say what the exact number of
22 families was. The number changed, but it was sometimes
23 up to 150 people, sometimes more and sometimes less,
24 who were on the list for receiving humanitarian aid.
25 And the families sometimes united when they sought and
1 found accommodation, so that I cannot say what the
2 exact number of families was. They came from all
3 parts, from Karaula and other places from which people
4 fled in order to seek refugee in the village of Ahmici,
5 and to be put up with someone and to find protection
6 for themselves and for their lives there.
7 Q. Are you able to say what ethnic group these
8 refugees belonged to, if they belonged to one -- one
10 A. During my stay there, all the refugees were
11 Bosnian Muslims, during my stay in the village of
12 Ahmici, because -- and whether there were any others
13 before or after, I don't know.
14 Q. And about how many times did you deliver aid
15 to the village?
16 A. Well, I was only in charge of transporting
17 from the Merhamet Society, which was distributing,
18 doing the distributing. And I did that about once a
19 month, sometimes more, depending on when -- what
20 particular supplies arrived and could be distributed,
21 because it involved clothing and food, and they did not
22 all arrive at the same time. So one day we would be
23 distributing the flour, another day the sugar, on a
24 third day yet blankets. I cannot tell you exactly what
25 the number of times was, but we had one lot a month
1 which was distributed to the refugees.
2 Q. And was there one distribution point in the
4 A. Yes, there was one point. It was usually
5 done at the school, at a certain point, a certain hour,
6 and the people would get whatever was their allotted
7 portion depending on the -- their numbers. And it
8 would be distributed in equal parts -- into equal parts
9 to all the people in need in the village of Ahmici.
10 Q. And apart from that was the school used as a
11 school or was it used as something else?
12 A. The school was only used as a school and for
13 these distributions of humanitarian relief supplies.
14 Q. And before the 16th of April, how long had
15 you been living in the village of Ahmici?
16 A. Before the 16th of April, I had been there
17 for a month or a month and a half. Since -- from
18 February to April. I cannot tell you the exact date
19 when I moved from that previous village to this
20 village. It was February, that I'm sure of. Perhaps
21 mid-February. So I had been there for about 60 days
22 before that, in the village of Ahmici that is.
23 Q. If you can go back to the day before the 16th
24 of April, was there anything significant that happened
25 to you as you delivered humanitarian aid to the
2 A. I didn't catch the question, I'm sorry.
3 Well, as every day doing my duty, I had a horse and
4 cart, I went to fetch -- to get the humanitarian aid.
5 I could go freely, there were no searches, no
6 controls. Everything seemed to be quite in order,
7 provided that -- however, that particular morning, the
8 worst, the most tragic and most abominable things
10 Q. That -- this morning is now what I would like
11 to concentrate on.
12 Can you tell the Court, on the 16th of April,
13 in the morning, about what time did you hear something
15 A. I don't know the exact time, because these
16 were instances of the greatest excitement. It was the
17 time of prayer of the Bosnian Muslims, and all of a
18 sudden a strong blast could be heard, a strong
19 explosion which echoed so that I got up -- I sprang up
20 to see what was happening around me.
21 Q. Did you look out a window?
22 A. Yes, I did. I got up, I looked out the
23 window. Shooting could be heard. I didn't know from
24 where it was coming. It was coming from all quarters,
25 from all sides. Four lads, soldiers, armed, above my
1 village -- or, rather, above my house from the
2 neighbouring village were nearing us from up there.
3 They passed by my house towards a wood, through a wood,
4 which stretches to the store, to the shop, the Sutre,
5 wearing insignia and the white ribbon on their heads.
6 I was not aware -- I didn't know what was happening at
7 that moment. I couldn't see what was happening. I
8 could only see these lads, these men, these soldiers
9 with HVO insignia.
10 I waited. I waited to see whether somebody
11 would come to inform me -- tell me something, but
12 everybody was looking after themselves. People who
13 knew what was happening, they went out, and if they saw
14 somebody else they would also tell them to go.
15 So at that moment, not perhaps right away,
16 perhaps the shooting had died down a bit, I also set
17 out to go, to leave that house, that house which was
18 mine at that moment, for I could see that the other
19 people were also anxious to leave the houses, the
20 villagers, the locals in the village, so I also saw
21 that I had to go too.
22 Q. When you said that you saw the locals were
23 leaving the village or wanted to leave, or knew that
24 the locals wanted to leave the village, what did you,
25 in fact, see? Which direction did you see them leaving
1 the village or attempting to leave the village?
2 A. I was in a house which was just by the road.
3 Women and children were there. They were crying, they
4 were restless. They were leaving their homes, their
5 villages from the directions where they all were. They
6 all wanted to get to Gornji Ahmici, above the village,
7 to get to the free territory, if it was free. Some
8 people managed to reach it, others stayed there
9 forever, killed, expelled, whatever. Weapons were used
10 against them too. Most of these people were women and
11 children. There weren't any grown-up people there,
12 grown-up men, at least not while I was there.
13 Q. Just to give the Court a bit more of an
14 understanding of where you were, without referring to a
15 map at the moment, you were -- the house you were
16 staying at, that was along side of the road; is that
18 A. Yes, yes, yes.
19 Q. And that road led up to the Sutre store; is
20 that correct?
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. And the Sutre store is a place that you had
23 visited earlier; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, yes. I got supplies there, whatever I
1 Q. You said that when you heard the gunfire, you
2 looked out the window and you saw some HVO soldiers.
3 Which direction -- you said they were headed -- sorry.
4 You said they were heading toward the Sutre store; is
5 that correct?
6 A. Exactly.
7 Q. You also referred to women and children
8 trying to leave the village. Was that what you first
9 saw or did that happen shortly afterwards, after you
10 heard the gunfire?
11 A. No. This was happening after the shooting.
12 Nothing was happening before the shooting. It is the
13 early morning, between day and night. Everything
14 happened after the shooting that took place at
15 day-break on the 16th of April.
16 Q. Which direction were the women and children
17 heading towards?
18 A. The women and children were walking towards
19 the shop, towards the Sutre shop, through the valley,
20 along the road. I don't know. I saw the people who
21 were passing by my house, and I did not get to see
22 those who were passing on the other side. I wasn't
23 there, so I can't tell you about that.
24 Q. And what did you decide to do once you saw
25 all of this going on? What did you and your family
1 decide to do?
2 A. When I saw everybody leaving, going away, I
3 saw that there was pressure from the military that was
4 on. I realised that I could not defend myself. So
5 what was left to me? (redacted)
6 (redacted) I took her into my
7 arms, and I told the rest of my family members, "Follow
8 me and let us get out of this hell, this terrible thing
9 that has been taking place over here."
10 As we set out, I went out of the house first,
11 then the members of my family followed, two children,
12 my wife that is, my brother and my sister-in-law who
13 were there, they were visiting, and then the other
14 locals joined us. There was a bit of quiet as we were
15 leaving towards the Sutre shop. Panic still prevailed
16 though. Houses were burning, and they were torched.
17 Shooting could be heard.
18 We are trying to protect ourselves and to
19 find the best way to go, the safest way to go. We
20 crossed the main road, we came to a hill -- or rather,
21 two hills. We couldn't pass there. We were stopped.
22 Q. And -- sorry, go on.
23 A. We were stopped there. We thought that those
24 were soldiers or that they were civilians, and then we
25 heard shooting again. We sat down so that they
1 couldn't notice us that easily. There were some women
2 who were killed there and others were wounded.
3 At that moment Nadira was wounded, who stood
4 in front of me -- or, rather, sat in front of me, or
5 squatted in front of me. She was hit in the head. I
6 see that there was no way for me to go. I wasn't
7 familiar with the place. I hadn't lived there for a
8 long time. I went back again, because I realised that
9 I could not go ahead.
10 As I was going back, I was wounded in my left
11 arm, in the back of my left arm. My sister, whom I was
12 holding in my arms, was wounded a little bit. It was
13 just her sweatshirt that was cut a bit, but her body
14 was really defended by this so it was just scarred a
15 little bit. (redacted)
17 I was there with my family, went back again
18 taking the same route, going back to the same house. A
19 local woman, Smaila came back. (redacted)
20 (redacted), and we awaited
21 our fate, to see what our fate would be, whether we
22 could go ahead or whether the whole situation would
23 calm down. However, it did not. We waited for a
24 certain period of time. We didn't know where to go.
25 A woman came, a refugee. Her young son was
1 killed, as well as her husband, and she told us that we
2 should hide, because they were killing all males, all
3 males indiscriminately. And she said, "Hide even in a
4 mouse hole, but just hide."
5 And I knew there was a storage space, a
6 pantry, in the garage. My brother, my son and I walked
7 into the garage, and we hid in that pit, and we were
8 waiting to see what would happen next and what our fate
9 would be.
10 After a short while, I don't really know for
11 how long this went on, I didn't have a wristwatch or
12 anything, two soldiers came. They were shooting bursts
13 of gunfire at the door and they were shouting, "Get
14 out." There was no one to get out. There were only
15 civilians, women, children. So it was under this
16 pressure that they got out. I cannot say that anyone
17 was dragging them or something, but they did hold their
18 rifles though and they said, "Get out. Move on
20 And I stayed hidden in this pit. And then I
21 went back to the house, and no one found me for four or
22 five days. And I didn't know which way to go, where to
23 go, who I should surrender myself to, what I should do
24 with myself.
25 There were people who were collecting corpses
1 though, and that is when we decided to surrender
2 ourselves to them, and that is when we revealed
4 Q. Thank you for that. Just to provide the
5 Court a little more detail about what happened when you
6 were shot; the group that you were with just before you
7 were shot, about how big was that, the numbers?
8 A. As far as I know, this group consisted of
9 some 15 to 20 civilians who were there at that point in
10 time when we stopped there too. About 20 civilians
12 Q. And about how many of them were women and
13 children, to the best of your recollection?
14 A. I was there, (redacted)
16 (redacted)who was perhaps three or four years old at that time
18 (redacted)Most of them were women and children. It was only us, the
19 refugees, who were men,(redacted)
20 (redacted) All rest were women,
22 (redacted)but I
23 didn't know people whom I wasn't very close to.
24 Q. You said that you tried to leave the village
25 with these people and you headed up towards the Sutre
1 store along the road and then you said you got to the
2 main road; is that correct?
3 A. When I got to the main road, I crossed it,
4 and then I tried to reach the main road too, but I
5 didn't manage to do that as we were wounded, so then we
6 had to go back. We did cross the road, but we didn't
7 manage to continue along the road leading out of Donja
8 Ahmici and into Gornji Ahmici.
9 Q. Can you tell the Court, if it's possible,
10 which direction the shooting was coming from, from
11 which you were shot and the others in the group?
12 A. In my view, I stood at some point before the
13 Sutre shop and it was coming from up there. I saw
14 soldiers there too. And shooting was coming from other
15 sides, but I couldn't see the rest. I could hear it,
16 though, but as I was standing there at that point, I
17 could see the soldiers myself.
18 Q. About how far away were the soldiers to the
19 Sutre shop? Were they close or a long way away?
20 A. I couldn't really tell how close they were.
21 I don't even know how far away they were. Perhaps it's
22 two or three metres away, depending on who was where.
23 I couldn't really see it very well, you know, because
24 we were all so upset. We were trying to save our
25 lives, and I couldn't really see how far away people
1 were. There was shooting going on, there was a fire
2 all over the place, and, of course, a person has to be
3 frightened under such circumstances. You know, it is
4 so tragic, so you can't really notice all these things.
5 Q. Did you see soldiers in any other place near
6 the Sutre shop?
7 A. I did not see any other soldiers. I saw some
8 in passing as I was getting there but not at that point
9 in time because I was between two hills, so I couldn't
10 see from there. I could only see this open area from
12 Q. Could you recognise which military group
13 these soldiers belonged to?
14 A. I could recognise them because they passed by
15 my house; the same uniformed soldiers with HVO insignia
16 and with white ribbons on their heads.
17 Q. Can you tell the Court what happened to
18 Nadira? You said she was shot. Can you tell the Court
19 what happened to her. Did she live?
20 A. Nadira was sitting in front of me. She was
21 hit in the head. At that moment, she didn't say
22 anything. She lay on the right-hand side. She put her
23 hands together on the right-hand side. She was there
24 near me. My family members visited her -- she was
25 taken to the hospital. However, she died eventually.
1 She did not survive this because this bullet had hit
2 her in the head.
3 Q. Did Hajra also die?
4 A. Hajra also died. She was hit in the chest
5 and she died immediately. She died right there.
6 Q. How far away from you was she when she was
7 hit in the chest?
8 A. Hajra was two or three metres away from me
9 because we were all together in a group. I was going
10 back and passing by her, and I heard what she said. "I
11 was hit," she said. It was, I don't know, two or three
12 metres, but I heard her say, "I was hit." (redacted)
15 (redacted) I don't know how long they stayed, I
16 don't know who gave them first aid, I don't know
17 whether they went some place because I went back and
18 they stayed by their sister who was killed, that is the
19 mother, this other sister, and this wounded sister, and
20 (redacted) too. They all stayed behind.
21 Q. You said that you decided to go back to your
22 house where you were staying.
23 A. Yes.
6 (redacted) She left her son and husband behind,
7 (redacted)and she said that we should hide that
8 we would not survive either because they killed both
9 her son and her husband. (redacted)
12 redacted) and she heard people crying and moaning and she
13 joined them there and stayed there, and she went to
14 Travnik (redacted), and I, my brother, and my son
15 stayed at this house in Ahmici.
16 Q. This(redacted) lived in Ahmici, is that correct?
17 A. (redacted)came to Ahmici as a refugee, but she
18 lived with her husband in(redacted), so she was a refugee
19 in Ahmici. She settled down there, and I think that
20 that was her sister's house. She had an apartment in
21 Vitez. So they gave her the house, they let her stay
22 there so that she could have shelter.
23 Q. Can you tell the Court why it was that you
24 decided to go back to your house and not continue on to
25 Upper Ahmici?
1 A. My decision was made. I was wounded. If I
2 went further ahead, there would be more woundings, the
3 shooting wouldn't stop, so I tried to get out some
4 other way.
5 When I came back, the shooting still went on,
6 so I was really forced to go back to the house. I
7 didn't know where to go. I was unfamiliar with the
8 surroundings. I didn't know the terrain. I didn't
9 know which way I could pass and which way I could not
10 pass. So the only thing I could decide was to go back
11 to the house. You know, it was a question of life or
12 death. I didn't know whether another bullet would hit
13 me eventually, so I really had no other choice.
14 Q. After receiving the advice from (redacted), you
15 stated that you hid in the pit in a garage. Is that
16 garage next to the house?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You stated a short while later, some soldiers
19 came to the house and took your family away; is that
21 A. Yes, that is also correct. The garage that I
22 hid in was next to the house. It was a biggish garage,
23 there were two or three doors there, and I was at one
24 of these entrances. This is where I hid because I knew
25 that there was a kind of shelter there. I knew that
1 there was a pit there. That is where the person who
2 had lived in that house kept his fruit and vegetables
3 during the winter, so I decided to stay underground
4 because that is sometimes the best thing to do and, in
5 other situations, it's the worst thing to do.
6 It is true that two soldiers came and that
7 they took my family away, and from this house of mine,
8 they took out all electrical appliances, a video
9 recorder, TV set, a mini stereo line that was there,
10 and they took it out of the house and they torched the
11 house and it burned down. Only ashes were left. I saw
12 them leave too. I saw them when they came. I saw the
13 house on fire. The garage which was next to the house
14 was not on fire yet, so we stayed in this shelter.
15 In the morning, I don't know what time it
16 was, it seemed to me that a lot of time had gone by,
17 but perhaps it was very early in the morning, two
18 soldiers came. They took these things and put them
19 into a red car. They drove it away. They didn't touch
20 anything else.
21 A short while after they left, four armed
22 soldiers came to this house. They walked up to the
23 house which had burned down. They walked into the
24 garage. One of them wore civilian clothes. He had a
25 blue track suit on and he wore his cap backwards. He
1 was armed, he had a gun and a knife. They were talking
2 and they were wondering what to do with the rest. They
3 said, "Why not burn this down too? If nothing else is
4 left, why should this remain?"
8 (redacted) and they were saying, "Torch this. This
9 is paper and wooden board. It would burn better." I
10 heard all of that. I heard it. I couldn't see them,
11 though, because this soldier was standing above my head
12 and it was only the trap door to this pit that was
13 between us and it was covered with a wooden board and
14 paper. And he said, "Burn it." So the remaining part
15 of the garage, where I was still in this pit -- I don't
16 know. I had to make a decision. There were only two
17 ways out: either to burn alive or to get out and get
18 shot by a bullet.
19 I got out of this pit. I went into one of
20 the corners of the garage. As the soldiers were
21 shooting and catching chickens, we jumped out of the
22 garage, went by the burnt house, and stayed there for
23 about four or five days underneath a staircase because
24 that is the only thing that hadn't burned down because
25 it was made of concrete.
1 Q. If I could stop you there, Witness, just so
2 that the Court is clear about when things occurred?
3 You went into the pit on the 16th of April; that's
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The soldiers, two soldiers, came to your
7 house, or to the house opposite the pit, and took your
8 family away a few hours after going into the pit?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What military group were those soldiers from?
11 A. The soldiers belonged to the HVO group. They
12 had HVO insignia, they also had HVO patches, two
13 soldiers in camouflage uniforms.
14 Q. After your family was taken away, about how
15 long after did other soldiers or soldiers come to the
16 house and take the electrical equipment away or take it
17 out of the house?
18 A. After a short while -- I mean, I can't really
19 tell you because this was a very short period of time,
20 half an hour, an hour, the soldiers came back and took
21 the things away.
22 Q. Now, were they the same two soldiers that
23 arrested your family?
24 A. I think that they were the same two soldiers
25 who had arrested my family because I was watching all
1 of this through a small hole where a small window was,
2 so I cannot really say for sure. It was a very small
3 window, 20 by 20, but I think those were the same two
4 soldiers, those who had taken out these things from the
6 Q. They had taken the things out of the house,
7 and where did they put them?
8 A. They put them into this garage next to me,
9 which was the garage next to the house, and at that
10 point, the house was torched and it burned down.
11 Q. Was it those same two soldiers that set a
12 light to the house?
13 A. No, no.
14 Q. Who set a light to the house?
15 A. Those were the same two soldiers. I mean,
16 yes, that is true, those who took away the things and
17 those who set the house on fire, because they took the
18 things out and they set the house on fire on the 16th
19 of April and the things remained in the garage until
20 the 17th of April. The two soldiers who took these
21 things out of the house burned the house the same day,
22 (redacted)house, I mean, and other soldiers put the
23 garage on fire the next day. Those were not the same
25 Q. The following day, did someone come and pick
1 up the electrical equipment, on the 17th?
2 A. Yes, yes. These two same soldiers who
3 collected the things, the other things, they came the
4 next day and they took these things away in a red car.
5 I don't know what make it was. I can't remember.
6 Q. And then you mentioned that the place that
7 you were in was set alight sometime later that day; is
8 that correct?
9 A. Correct. I mean, the next day, because I
10 spent the night there in this shelter, I spent the
11 night in this shelter. And the next day, after these
12 soldiers left, those who had taken the things away, two
13 other soldiers came after a certain period of time or,
14 rather, four soldiers came after a certain period of
15 time. They walked up to the garage, they tried to find
16 certain things and, as I said, they came, they searched
17 the place. The garage was locked. They broke the door
18 down. I saw all of that. And then these other four
19 soldiers torched the garage that I was in.
20 Q. Are you able to say which military group
21 these soldiers that torched the garage, who they
22 belonged to?
23 A. Those soldiers belonged to the HVO group.
24 They wore HVO patches and I saw HVO insignia, and that
25 is probably the formations that they belonged to.
1 Q. And then you said you hid in the house for
2 four or five days, I think.
3 A. Yes. Yes, yes, I hid in the burned house.
4 When the garage was torched, I had to leave it.
5 Otherwise, I would have burned alive because the garage
6 had burned down too. So then we ran to the other
7 house, the burnt house. In that house, everything had
8 burned down except for this part --
9 Q. If I can show you --
10 A. -- that was going upstairs. I mean, I'm
11 talking about the concrete staircase, so we could hide
12 for four or five days underneath the concrete
14 MR. SMITH: Your Honours, I'd ask that the
15 witness be shown a map of the house and the shed -- or
16 the sheds in which he stayed in whilst these activities
17 were occurring.
18 THE REGISTRAR: The map is marked 213.
19 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
20 Q. Witness, looking at the map that's in front
21 of you, does that resemble the house and the shed or
22 larger garage area in which you stayed on the 16th and
23 17th and then for that four and five days after the
24 16th and 17th of April?
25 A. Yes. This is the house. It was a
1 four-roofed house. This is a shed, this is a house.
2 This is the house that burned down, the family house
3 that burned down, the family of(redacted). This
4 is the entrance into this house, from this side. All
5 of this was the kitchen. In this corner was the
6 garage -- the pantry, sorry. That is where they put
7 their things away. Here was one garage, here was
8 another garage, and then a third one and a fourth one.
9 All of this was underneath a single roof, but there
10 were different doors. And this is where I was
11 (indicating). Here, underneath the threshold, that is
12 where the pit I was telling you about is, and there is
13 a small window there, a very small window through which
14 I managed to see what was going on between this house
15 and this garage.
16 So this is the house, this is where the gate
17 is, so then you walk in through the gate and then you
18 can either walk into the house or go further on to this
19 garage where I had survived, where I was, and then over
20 here is the staircase where we took shelter afterwards,
21 and you take those stairs when you're going upstairs.
22 Q. Thank you. Can you mark with a red marker
23 with an X the place where the pit was where you stayed
24 on the 16th and 17th?
25 A. Yes, yes, fine. (Marks). This is it. Here,
1 this is the entrance and this is where the pit was and
2 here, underneath the threshold, was a small window
3 which was there really for ventilation. So this is
4 where the pit was. It was about one metre, one and a
5 half metres below.
6 Q. Thank you. After you left the pit and went
7 to the house, you said you stayed there for about four
8 or five days and you were with your son and your
9 brother; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, that is correct.
11 Q. Can you tell the Court or explain to the
12 Court how you survived for those four or five days?
13 A. Those four or five days, life was quite
14 difficult, hard. The shooting was still on. I didn't
15 know who was where, where the rest of my family members
17 The first two days, we were hungry, and we
18 tried to find something to eat there. We had water.
19 We had no fire. Underneath that staircase, we found
20 some sugar and there was some apple juice too. We took
21 it, we drank this apple juice and we ate sugar, and
22 that is how we lived in this particular shelter over
23 those four or five days.
24 Q. Now, the answer may be obvious to you, but
25 can you explain to the Court why you didn't leave that
1 house for that period of time?
2 A. I did not leave the house during that time
3 because I didn't know which way to go, how to get out,
4 how to save my life. The shooting was still on. There
5 was unrest, something strange was going on. I was
6 sitting there, standing there waiting and hoping that
7 someone would come from humanitarian organisations to
8 help these people, to make peace.
9 One day, we heard the sound of tanks. When
10 UNPROFOR came with their soldiers, they were collecting
11 corpses. They were looking for people who were dead
12 and alive. I saw through a small window which was in
13 this shelter where we were, from Gornji Ahmici, from
14 the upper mosque, that is, I saw two tanks pass by and
15 I saw them go in the direction of Vitez.
16 After a short while, when they went to Vitez,
17 four men came up -- I don't know if they were
18 soldiers. They weren't armed. They wore blue uniforms
19 and they had air masks on their faces and they were
20 looking to see what was in this burnt house. I thought
21 that they were soldiers of UNPROFOR and I revealed
22 myself to them. I walked out of the shelter. I
23 surrendered. I didn't know who they were.
24 One of these soldiers wore a first aid sign.
25 He asked, "Are you alive?" And I said, "Yes." He
1 said, "Get out." And I got out. "Are you wounded?"
2 "Yes, I am. These two aren't." I cannot say who this
3 soldier was because they were just saying, "Hey! Take
4 these four guys." This soldier walked up and I saw him
5 wearing HVO insignia, and they took us away into a
6 house at the collection centre. They brought us
7 there. So that is where we were.
8 We came to a house, one after the other. It
9 was -- I don't know whose house it was, a low house
10 with a balcony. I know that we went by the soccer
11 fields, but I don't know whose house this was.
12 Q. Witness U, if you would stop there for a
13 moment? The four men who came in the blue uniforms
14 with the gas masks, did they seem to be associated with
15 the soldier you referred to as an HVO soldier?
16 A. These four men, when they came, these four
17 lads, these four soldiers, they were wearing blue
18 uniforms, Civil Defence uniforms, and one of them had
19 the first aid emblem. They were not armed. The fifth
20 soldier, who was wearing a camouflage uniform with an
21 HVO insignia, that one was armed.
22 Q. And they were together?
23 A. Yes, and they were together. These four lads
24 were under the escort, they were escorted by this armed
1 Q. Did anyone in that group tell you they were
2 picking up dead bodies, or did you assume that?
3 A. Nobody told me that they were collecting
4 corpses, but as I was getting out to the gate, through
5 the gate of(redacted) house, I saw a dead body
6 by the gate post, and that is why I assumed that they
7 were collecting dead bodies.
8 Q. Who was that person? Who was that dead body?
9 A. In my opinion, as far as I could see,
10 (redacted). He could
11 have been that. You could recognise his face but only
12 ever so slightly because the face had already been
13 partly destroyed, but it seemed to me that indeed it
14 was (redacted).
15 Q. Can you say whether or not that body was
16 there previous to these four masked men and this
17 soldier arriving?
18 A. I didn't walk around. I didn't see it before
19 I came out and saw those four soldiers. I didn't see
20 that. I hadn't seen that dead body. It was at that
21 very moment when these four soldiers arrived, that is
22 when I saw the dead body lying by the gate through
23 which we had come out.
24 Q. Just to clear something up, the masks, they
25 were gas masks as opposed to disguises?
1 A. Yes, they were gas masks, protective masks,
2 protective masks which served to keep out poisons and
3 things like that. I'm not sure.
4 MR. SMITH: Your Honours, I have about
5 probably 15 more minutes with this witness.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thirty-minute break.
7 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: By the way, before you start,
10 I wonder whether you will provide -- you will hand over
11 to us the list of witnesses for the next week.
12 MR. SMITH: Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Maybe by lunch time?
14 MR. SMITH: We do have it with us now.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
16 MR. SMITH: I've just been told by
17 lunch time.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: We're planning to go on until
19 half past twelve, then have a one-hour break for lunch,
20 and then to resume at half past one until three.
21 MR. SMITH: I just have a few more questions
22 in open session, and then I would ask it to be closed
23 to clear up a few details.
24 (The witness entered court)
25 MR. SMITH:
1 Q. Good morning again.
2 A. Morning.
3 Q. We left off a moment ago when you told us
4 that after you stayed in the house for about five or
5 six days -- or about four or five days, sorry, you were
6 taken by a HVO soldier to a collection point, a house.
7 Can you tell the Court basically where that collection
8 point was?
9 A. That collection point, that house, was in the
10 area of Zume by the soccer playground, by the stadium.
11 MR. SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honour. I
12 actually didn't have the channel earpiece on. I just
13 wonder if that last answer could be repeated by the
15 THE INTERPRETER: That collection point, that
16 house, was in the area of Zume by the soccer
17 playground, by the stadium.
18 MR. SMITH:
19 Q. That house, was it in the Croat area of Zume
20 or the Muslim area?
21 A. That was in the Croatian section of Zume.
22 Q. How did you get there?
23 A. When we left this house, the soldier who was
24 escorting the patrol had us file in a column one after
25 another, and thus we were escorted by the soldier and
1 the HVO.
2 Q. Did you see any damaged houses on the way to
3 the collection area?
4 A. In the area where the Muslim population was
5 most of the houses were damaged, burnt down, and in the
6 section where the Croatian population was, not a single
7 house was damaged at that moment.
8 Q. Who was in charge of the collection area,
9 which military group?
10 A. The military group in charge was the HVO.
11 Q. And what type of people were collected there,
12 what ethnic group?
13 A. There were the Croatian people, the
14 Bosnian-Croatian people, who were there where the
15 collection centre was.
16 Q. How many Muslims were at the collection
18 A. I do not know. In that part of Zume only
19 three of us arrived, and I did not know the others. Or
20 perhaps they were hidden in shelters elsewhere, but it
21 was the three of us that had arrived. There were no
22 others then.
23 Q. And how many HVO soldiers were at the
24 collection area, at the house?
25 A. A number of soldiers, about ten of them, were
1 there, but not only soldiers were there, there were
2 also civilians sitting in front of the house.
3 We were there, we did not go into the house.
4 We gave our particulars, who we are, what we did, and
5 it was all, again -- and again under the control of the
6 HVO. We had to go on to the camp, to the so-called
7 camp of Dubravica.
8 Q. Other than yourselves, the three of you,
9 yourself, your brother, your son, were any other people
10 taken to that house in that arrested situation like
12 A. I don't know about that particular time -- I
13 know about that particular time, I don't know about
14 before it, because as I told you, I came to that house,
15 that collection centre, after three or four days, I'm
16 not quite sure. And whether anybody had been there or
17 taken to it prior to our arrival, I really don't know.
18 When we came, at that moment there was no one else of
19 the people that I knew.
20 Q. And you were taken to the Dubravica school;
21 is that correct?
22 A. Yes, to the Dubravica camp.
23 Q. And who was in charge of that camp, which
24 military group?
25 A. Here, again, it was the HVO that was in
2 Q. And how many civilians were at that camp,
3 other than yourselves, your brother, and your son and
4 yourself, or other people perhaps?
5 A. As for the exact number I can't say, because
6 there was a large number of civilians in that camp,
7 quite a few people in a hall in which we were. There
8 were between 150 and 200 people, sometimes more and
9 sometimes less, but that was not the only place where
10 people were accommodated. And how many people were in
11 the other section side, I didn't go there, I didn't
12 see. But in this particular room there were between
13 150 and 200 women, children and men.
14 Q. And from your time there, are you able to say
15 which ethnic group they belonged to?
16 A. The imprisoned people? Do you mean the
17 people who were in the camp, to which is the group they
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. The people there were all Bosnian Muslims,
21 belonged to the ethnic group of Bosnian Muslims, all of
22 those who were prisoners there then.
23 Q. And were you spoken to by anyone in charge of
24 the camp, or anyone associated with the control of the
25 camp? Were you interrogated there?
1 A. As soon as we got there there was a room, an
2 office, where we gave our names, when we came, when we
3 left, how we reached Ahmici, where we were, what we
4 were, what our intentions were. There were three
5 soldiers there. They wore HVO insignia. We had to
6 give all necessary information about our movements, et
7 cetera. Then we were taken into a larger room. I told
8 you that 150 or 200 women, and children and men.
9 Q. And you stayed at that camp for what period
10 of time?
11 A. I didn't stay there long. I stayed four to
12 five days -- six days, rather, to the best of my
13 recollection. Then the organisation for first-aid
14 came, the UNHCR, and they said that I was wounded, they
15 made sure, and I was taken to the hospital in Zenica.
16 And my brother and son stayed on for some 20 odd days.
17 Q. Can you tell the court where these people had
18 come from? These 150 to 200 civilians, what areas of
19 Vitez did they come from, or the municipality of
21 A. We talked. There were refugees who were in
22 Donja Dubravica, who were around the railway station,
23 around the road and these less populated areas too.
24 There were also women and children from Ahmici who
25 managed to get out. There were women and men who were
1 from the so-called railway station. This is an area of
2 Donji Vitez. You know, from all these parts there were
3 women, and children and men, but mostly there were men
4 from Donji Vitez, and there were less women.
5 Q. Were people free to leave that school of
6 their own volition?
7 A. No.
8 Q. After leaving the Dubravica school, did you
9 go to hospital in Zenica?
10 A. Then I went to the hospital.
11 Q. And you had an operation there and you stayed
12 in the hospital for four months?
13 A. They operated on me there, and then after --
14 actually, I had to stay in hospital for some time, and
15 then only they found the time to operate me, and then I
16 stayed on in the hospital. Altogether it was less than
17 four months.
18 Q. Can you briefly explain to the Court the
19 injury you received from being shot and the effect that
20 it's had on your arm since then?
21 A. At first it was a very small wound, but I
22 remained disabled as far as my left arm is concerned.
23 My nerve was broken, so I cannot control practically
24 all of my left arm.
25 Q. Is that still the case today?
1 A. That is still the case today. In addition to
2 certain attempts to operate, the situation has,
3 nevertheless, remained the same, and that arm remains
5 Q. When you left the village of Ahmici and were
6 taken to -- and was taken to the collection centre in
7 Zume, can you tell the Court whether there appeared to
8 be any other Muslim civilians still living in that part
9 of the village that you walked through?
10 A. I didn't see a single one. I believe -- I
11 think that all the Muslims from -- expelled from Ahmici
12 and from Zume -- have been expelled from Ahmici and
13 Zume. There I found some people who had lived in Zume,
14 but they had been banished, so that I believe that not
15 a single Muslim soul had remained in Zume.
16 MR. SMITH: I would ask that the Court go
17 into closed session now. I have just a few photographs
18 and a just a couple of names to ask.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. All right. We'll move
20 into closed session.
21 (Closed session)
13 Page 3034 redacted - in closed session
13 Page 3035 redacted - in closed session
13 Page 3036 redacted - in closed session
13 Page 3037 redacted - in closed session
13 Page 3038 redacted - in closed session
21 (Open session)
22 WITNESS: WITNESS V.
23 Examined by Mr. Moskowitz:
24 Q. Witness V, you have asked for some protection
25 measures, that is that your name and face be protected,
1 and those measures have been granted by the Tribunal,
2 so you can feel confident in providing full and
3 complete testimony here today.
4 If there comes a time during the course of
5 your testimony that we need to ask you questions about
6 information that might disclose your identity, we will
7 at that point ask the Tribunal to go into closed
8 session, and what that means is that your voice will
9 not leave this room and no one outside this room will
10 hear what you're saying, and during those occasions
11 when that becomes necessary, you can feel confident in
12 providing full and complete information and testimony
13 about those matters.
14 Do you understand what I've just said and do
15 you have any questions about what I've just said?
16 A. Yes. I have no questions.
17 Q. We will be referring to you from time to time
18 as Witness V.
19 Now, to begin, Witness V, could you tell us,
20 prior to April of 1993, where did you live?
21 A. I lived in Ahmici in my own home.
22 Q. Did you and do you have a family, and without
23 naming their names, tell us the composition of your
24 family back in 1993?
25 A. I have a wife and two sons, and during the
1 conflict, I had only one son, as far as my nuclear
2 family is concerned.
3 Q. Could you tell us in what year you were born
4 or how old you are?
5 A. Thirty-one.
6 Q. Now, you've mentioned the conflict, and the
7 conflict that I will be referring to at this time is
8 the conflict in April of 1993. Do you remember that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I want to focus your attention just briefly
12 now on the day before the day of the conflict. Do you
13 remember seeing anything during the course of that day,
14 the day before, that aroused some suspicion in your
15 mind about what might happen the next day?
16 A. Yes, I did. I was a bit suspicious. I came
17 into the village because I was going to visit my
18 mother-in-law, and as I was going back by car and I
19 passed a curve by Vlatko Kupreskic's, I saw from the
20 car a group of soldiers, perhaps ten of them
21 altogether, and two civilians in front of the house of
22 Zoran Kupreskic, on the cross-roads between Zoran's and
23 Ivica's place. That's where it was.
24 I saw that some people had gathered there and
25 that something was wrong.
1 Q. How did you know they were soldiers, these
2 people in front of Zoran Kupreskic's house?
3 A. Well, they wore camouflage uniforms and they
4 had weapons.
5 Q. Do you recall approximately what time of day
6 this was that you saw those soldiers in that -- near
7 that house, the Zoran Kupreskic house?
8 A. It was the afternoon, perhaps about 5.00 p.m.
9 Q. Now, you've mentioned Zoran Kupreskic. Prior
10 to the attack in '93, in the days or perhaps weeks
11 prior to that attack, did you have occasion to see
12 Zoran Kupreskic in or around Ahmici in a uniform?
13 A. Yes, yes. On one occasion, as I was passing
14 by in my car, I left my home and I was going towards
15 Vitez, and as I passed by the mosque in my car, I saw
16 him and his neighbour Dragan Vidovic. They both wore
17 uniforms and they both had weapons, and they were going
18 towards their house -- I mean, in the direction of
19 their houses.
20 This was just when the conflict was. I don't
21 know, either that day or the next day when the fighting
22 was going on in the village of Kovacevac, when
23 Kovacevac had fallen, when it was taken by the Croats.
24 That's when it was.
25 Q. Was this before the attack on Ahmici in April
1 of 1993?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. By the way, when you saw Zoran Kupreskic and
4 his neighbour Dragan Vidovic in uniform with weapons,
5 were these two men on foot or were they in an
7 A. They were on foot and I was in a car.
8 Q. Do you know Dragan Papic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In the days and weeks before the attack on
11 Ahmici, did you ever see him in a uniform?
12 A. Yes, I did, many times. In Ahmici, by his
13 house, or in town, in Vitez, I saw him in a black
14 uniform which he usually wore.
15 Q. Now, after having observed the day before the
16 attack these soldiers, did you notify anyone, tell
17 anyone, and if so, who and then was there any decision
18 taken about what you had seen?
19 A. After I had seen this, I talked to some
20 neighbours of mine, and I told them about this
21 gathering, and some other people had seen it too, and a
22 decision was made to reinforce these controls -- these
23 patrols, these guards, so that we could see what these
24 soldiers in front of the house would do.
25 Q. Did you go on patrol that night, the night
1 before the attack or the early morning of the attack?
2 A. Well, yes, yes. I went. I was there from
3 2.00 until 4.00. I even stayed until 4.30.
4 MR. MOSKOWITZ: Now, at this time, I'm going
5 to ask the witness to look at a map which may require
6 us -- I think will require us, with the permission of
7 the Court, to go into closed session.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Go into closed
1 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
2 Q. Witness V, for the next several questions,
3 we're still in open session, just to let you know.
4 If you could, with the pointer that you have
5 in your hand now, could you show us the house of Zoran
6 Kupreskic where you saw those soldiers?
7 A. I saw it over here, here, this cross-roads,
8 here between Ivica's house and Zoran's house, over here
9 (indicating). Yeah, here.
10 Q. Now, do you see the two houses across the
11 road from Ivica's house?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were the soldiers in between those two houses
14 or were they in front of one house or the other?
15 A. In front of these two houses. That's where
16 it was.
17 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, the witness had
18 already answered exactly, before that, the position of
19 the house and of the soldiers, and he said they were
20 between Zoran's and Ivica's house. Now when the
21 question is being put time and again by the Prosecutor,
22 now the Prosecutor is trying to place these soldiers in
23 front of my client's house, and I think that that is
24 wrong and I object to that.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
1 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, the
2 witness said very accurately that he saw these soldiers
3 at the cross-roads, so he already positioned them and
4 said exactly where they were. So the rest, I believe,
5 is mere repetition of a question that has already been
7 JUDGE CASSESE: I agree. Could you move on
8 to another question?
9 MR. MOSKOWITZ:
10 Q. Could you please place a mark where you
11 remember seeing those soldiers, using that crayon or
12 that marker in front of you?
13 A. (Marks). In this area here, so it's this
14 house and that house, in this direction, this way, on
15 the road. That is quite clear.
16 Q. Just for the record, you've placed a line
17 along that road that goes between those three houses,
18 Ivica, Zoran, and Mirjan Kupreskic's house; is that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, you also indicated that you had seen
22 Zoran Kupreskic in a uniform with his friend Dragan
23 Vidovic some time earlier. Could you turn around for
24 us and look at that big blow-up behind you, using your
25 pointer, could you show us where you recall seeing
1 Zoran and Dragan Vidovic that day? If you could turn
2 the other way, I think it's probably easier.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
4 MR. RADOVIC: I'm sorry, but he did not say
5 that -- I mean, the witness did not say what the
6 Prosecutor is saying now, that on that day, he saw
7 Zoran and Vidovic on the road. The witness said that
8 he saw Zoran and Vidovic on the road, but before that,
9 before that day, so not on that day, not on the 15th,
10 but when Kovacevac had fallen. I think this is a
11 different time completely.
12 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I think there is a
13 translation problem or a miscommunication. I did not
14 mean the same day he saw the soldiers in front of the
15 house of Zoran and -- he, I think, clearly said it was
16 an earlier time period during the fall of Kovacevac,
17 and that's what I'm referring to.
18 Q. Witness V, that day, the day you saw Dragan
19 and Zoran in uniform, could you point to the blow-up
20 map and show us where they were when you saw them that
22 A. I saw them exactly as Kovacevac had fallen.
23 This is the village of Donja Rovna and the village of
24 Kovacevac -- I don't know exactly where they are. On
25 the day of that conflict or a day after that conflict,
1 when fighting was on up there, I was passing by in my
2 car in this part where the mosque was. I was passing
3 by in my car, and they were going this way, this way
4 (indicating), towards their house. That's where I saw
6 Q. Now, there are two mosques in Ahmici. Which
7 mosque are you referring to, just for purposes of the
8 record? And perhaps you can refer to minaret, with and
9 without, might be a good way of making a distinction?
10 A. That's the mosque with the minaret, which is
11 in the lower part of the village, somewhere around here
13 Q. When you indicated with your pointer and said
14 that they were going "this way," could you be more
15 specific, just for the record? Which way were they
16 going? In which direction?
17 A. Well, they were going in the direction of
18 their houses, from that place. So from the direction
19 of Kovacevac towards their houses, from the main road
20 that leads to Vitez, and then when you turn off to
21 Ahmici, they were going towards their homes.
22 MR. MOSKOWITZ: I think, at this time, we
23 would request a closed session because we will ask for
24 some identifying information.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Can we go into a
1 closed session?
2 (Closed session)
13 Pages 3049 to 3140 redacted - in closed session
19 Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
20 3.35 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
21 the 28th day of September, 1998, at 8.30 a.m.