1 Tuesday, 9th February, 1999
2 (Closed session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
4 (The accused entered court)
13 Pages 6504 to 6556 redacted in closed session
15 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.04 a.m.
17 (The accused entered court)
18 (Open session)
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning Mr. Papic.
20 Mr. Papic, yes. Good morning. Could you please make
21 the solemn declaration.
22 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
23 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac.
3 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
4 Mr. President.
5 WITNESS: Zeljko Papic
6 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
7 Q. Good day, Mr. Papic.
8 A. Good day to you.
9 Q. Could you please give us your particulars,
10 where you were born, when and where do you live?
11 A. My name is Zeljko Papic. I was born in Vitez
12 in 1963 and I reside in Poculica.
13 Q. Where do you live now?
14 A. I now live in Vitez.
15 Q. Where did you work in 1992 and 1993?
16 A. I worked at the Zenica waterworks, that is to
17 say by the Krusica spring that gives drinking water to
18 Zenica and Vitez.
19 Q. As you worked on this job, where did you go,
20 where did you go to in the Lasva River Valley?
21 A. From going from home to work, I would pass
22 through Dubravica, the railway station, Rijeka,
23 Krusica, and apart from Krusica, towards the mountain,
24 because this spring that gave drinking water to the two
25 towns I mentioned is about eight kilometres away from
1 the actual village of Krusica.
2 Q. So you often went to Krusica in '92, did you?
3 A. Yes. Yes. It was a kind of work duty for
5 Q. Did you work there too?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. During 1992 did the situation in Krusica
8 change in any way?
9 A. Yes. As I went to Krusica, I realised that
10 roadblocks were set up even because of the smallest of
11 incidents, so it was very difficult for me to reach my
12 place of work.
13 Q. Were roadblocks set up at the main road or
14 the road towards Krusica?
15 A. Yes, on the main road to and on the road
16 leading to Krusica as well.
17 Q. Please, could you look at this map and tell
18 us which way you went and where is Poculica and where
19 is Krusica and where was this waterworks. Could you
21 A. (Indicating) This is Krusica. This is the
22 village. And the waterworks could have been somewhere
23 up in the mountain by Zabrdje. So this is Rijeka and
25 Q. On the other side, on the other side of the
2 A. Yes. Yes. Krusica, Vitez.
3 Q. The map is placed a bit awkwardly and all the
4 witnesses are a bit confused when they see it.
5 A. Well, the north is in a different direction.
6 Vitez, Krusica and there are two roads that fork off
7 here. The upper road and the lower road leading
8 towards Krusica, towards Besici, and the upper part of
9 the road leading to Bobasi.
10 Q. Could you please show Poculica over here,
11 below Ahmici. So you passed from Poculica to
13 A. Vitez, Rijeka, Krusica.
14 Q. Where were the roadblocks usually set up on
15 that road in 1992 and who set them up?
16 A. The roadblocks were most often put up at
17 Rijeka. Some roadblocks were put up by Croats and
18 about 100 metres away from that roadblock were Muslim
20 Q. Were there any roadblocks at the entrance to
22 A. Yes. Yes, there were. Precisely at this
23 part of the upper road that I told you about, that
24 leads to Bobasi.
25 Q. Does this place have a local name?
1 A. Yes. It's called Fatina Vodica.
2 Q. Thank you. Thank you. Would you please sit
3 down again.
4 So you said there was a problem of access.
5 So how did you get to Krusica?
6 A. In 1990, when the war broke out, on the 6th
7 of April, 1992, we had special permits given by the MUP
8 during a certain period of time.
9 Q. The MUP is the police, right?
10 A. Yes. At that time it was actually called the
11 SUP, and then after that they did not allow us to enter
12 Muslim territory with those passes that we had. And we
13 had to seek passes from the Territorial Defence that
14 was at the school in Krusica.
15 Q. You sought permits from the Territorial
16 Defence in Krusica or in Vitez?
17 A. In Krusica.
18 Q. At the end of '92 and 1993, did the situation
19 change? Were those permits, those passes sufficient?
20 A. Yes, permits were sufficient. However, under
21 those conditions, namely, already in 1992, some time in
22 September, the security guards at the waterworks
23 actually belonged to the Territorial Defence, and every
24 five days they sent in a new shift of 25 to 30 men to
25 the waterworks building because we at the waterworks
1 building had a big building in the shape of a hotel
2 where our workers came for recreation purposes. And
3 that is where they stayed.
4 Q. That is to say that the members of the
5 Territorial Defence stayed at that building; is that
7 A. Yes. And I told you that the security guards
8 already in September were actually Territorial Defence
10 Q. When you went to work at the time, were you
11 escorted by certain forces?
12 A. Yes. Yes, from MUP, Vitez they took us to
13 Krusica, the mentioned school where they actually had
14 their barracks and their headquarters, and from the
15 school to my workplace we were taken there by the
16 Territorial Defence.
17 Q. The Territorial Defence at that time, did
18 they have uniforms, insignia?
19 A. Yes. All the men who were guarding the
20 waterworks building, all the Muslims wore camouflage
21 uniforms and they had automatic and semiautomatic
23 Q. Did they have any kind of insignia on their
25 A. Of course they did. I mentioned that they
1 were the Territorial Defence and they had Territorial
2 Defence insignia.
3 Q. Did you see any new buildings being built in
5 A. Well, how couldn't I, when every other day I
6 was in front of this school waiting to be transported
7 to my workplace. And then I noticed changes, that
8 there were lots of soldiers there and these were
9 unknown soldiers. And at that time I noticed that in
10 the upper part and the lower part of the school yard
11 they started building small houses for the guards, and
12 they also put wire all around the compound.
13 Q. Did you see a unit there at the time, at a
14 given point in time were there groups of armed
16 A. Yes, yes. I noticed this. If the smallest
17 incident occurred anywhere, there were more soldiers.
18 Q. Do you know whether they went to the
19 frontline? Did you notice that?
20 A. Yes. They went to Cekrcici. They took
21 buses. They wore uniforms and they had full military
23 Q. In October were there any incidents in
24 Krusica? Do you recall?
25 A. Yes, there were roadblocks. At that time I
1 was at my workplace and for five days I could not leave
2 the waterworks and I could not go home.
3 Q. Where were you at the time?
4 A. At the waterworks.
5 Q. Do you remember when this was? At the end of
6 October? Can you remember?
7 A. I think it was the end of October.
8 Q. Did you see the HVO in Krusica, HVO soldiers?
9 A. Yes, I did. Four or five soldiers in
10 Ribnjak, but I would just pass by. I was not in
11 contact with them. And I couldn't have either, because
12 I was being driven by a Territorial Defence vehicle.
13 Q. Do you know what was in Ribnjak?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you pass by Lovac?
16 A. Yes, but as I went to work Lovac was about
17 250 or 300 metres away from the road I actually took.
18 So I didn't really have access.
19 Q. What happened in Poculica in 1992 and 1993?
20 A. In Poculica the situation was more or less
21 normal, without any major incidents. Village guards
22 were organised at the initiative of the local
23 population because people feared for their property,
24 for themselves. At the beginning this was done
25 together with the Muslims, however, often they would
1 leave us on our own quite often, regardless of what
2 would happen, what kind of incident occurred. The very
3 instant anything would happen, they would leave and go
4 to Prnjavor. They would leave their own houses and go
5 to Prnjavor. And Prnjavor is within the local
6 community of Poculica. It has about 200 or 250
7 households, purely Muslim.
8 Q. Did you belong to the village guards?
9 A. Yes, but rarely because of the work duty I
10 had that everybody was aware of, and because of the
11 responsibilities entailed.
12 Q. (No translation).
13 A. Yes, I had a Czech Zbrojovka, a personal
14 pistol with all the proper documents issued by the then
15 SUP, and it was taken away from me when the conflict
16 broke out.
17 Q. In Poculica or in the other villages, you
18 said that Prnjavor was the closest village to you
19 and then Vrhovine, did you see over there, in 1992 or
20 1993 --
21 A. Yes, I did see, because my house is just
22 below the mosque and that is the only road leading to
23 Prnjavor. Whenever the army would come in or go out, I
24 could see it quite clearly.
25 Q. Which army was this coming and going?
1 A. That was the army that had Territorial
2 Defence insignia, MOS insignia, insignia unknown to me,
3 and I also saw soldiers who were wrapped up in
4 something, and I couldn't understand the way they
6 Q. Were there any places in Prnjavor where you
7 noticed larger numbers of soldiers?
8 A. Yes, because I know Prnjavor very well and
9 these soldiers were stationed near Efendija's house.
10 That's the largest house in the village, and it has a
11 big yard. The house is near the road that I took when
12 I was going to the shop. I could even notice that
13 there was a kitchen there too.
14 Q. You are trying to say an outdoor kitchen used
15 for preparing meals for the military?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you see these people wearing uniforms?
18 Did they have any weapons?
19 A. Yes. All of them wore uniforms and they had
20 full military gear. When I say "full military gear," I
21 am referring to automatic, semiautomatic weapons,
22 RAP's, masks, and even knives that they had around --
23 that were hanging on their belts.
24 Q. Did you see people equipped in this way in
25 Poculica itself?
1 A. Yes, I did, because whenever the soldiers
2 moved out of Prnjavor and whenever they went to any
3 village, they had to pass through Poculica. And in
4 Poculica I saw unknown soldiers too, soldiers unknown
5 to me that is. And my neighbours who were armed and
6 who wore uniforms.
7 Q. Did they go to the frontline?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Where to?
10 A. They went to Cekrcici as well. That is what
11 they said, at least.
12 Q. Could the witness please look at these aerial
14 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
16 THE WITNESS: I didn't understand what you
18 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
19 Q. Take a look at these aerial photographs and
20 tell us what they are. It is an aerial map of
21 Poculica; is it not?
22 A. This is an aerial map of Poculica, which is
23 where the national structure, like Poculica proper, was
24 in the ratio of 60 to 40. I say this approximately.
25 That is to say 60 per cent were Croats of the
1 population and 40 per cent were Muslims. The first
2 half of the village was a purely Croatian part.
3 Q. That's the lowest part of the village?
4 A. Yes, the lower part of the village.
5 Q. Would you show us on the map, on the ELMO,
7 A. This is the lower part of the village
8 (indicating), and the main road lies here. It is the
9 Vjetrenica, Zenica main road. The first part of the
10 village, as I say, was purely Croatian. The second
11 part of the village from the elementary school maybe to
12 the shop was mixed -- a mixed population. The area
13 below the mosque, as I say, below the mosque, which is
14 where my own house is situated, was predominantly
15 inhabited by Muslims, and about 15 per cent were
16 Croatian houses.
17 Q. Can you point out your house to us and draw a
18 circle around it.
19 A. (Indicating) Below the mosque.
20 Q. Where is the mosque? Would you point that
21 out to us, please.
22 A. The mosque was somewhere here, and that is
23 the road leading towards Prnjavor.
24 Q. Were there any trenches dug in the village,
25 and if so, who dug them?
1 A. Yes, there were. In 1992 by the Catholic
2 cemetery, Zvizda. The exact place is referred to as
3 Gajevi and it is right by Poculica from which a hill
4 which you can see Prnjavor from and part of Vrhovine.
5 Q. Who dug these trenches?
6 A. The trenches were dug by the Muslims.
7 Q. Were there any roadblocks in the village?
8 A. Yes, two. One manned by the Croats at
9 Ogrev at the entrance to the village of Poculica, and
10 the second roadblock was manned by the Muslims at
11 Vjetrenica. The exact name of the location was
12 Tabla. That's what this area was referred to. And
13 this was controlled from the direction of Zenica.
14 Q. What about Poculica itself? Were there any
15 major incidents in the course of 1993 before the
16 conflict broke out?
17 A. No.
18 Q. On the 15th of April, 1993, what were you
20 A. On the 15th of April, 1993, in the morning, I
21 had come back home from the nightshift, because I had
22 gone to work on the 14th at 7.00 a.m. in the morning.
23 And my work shift was 24 hours. And so I came at 7.00
25 Q. On the night between the 14th and the 15th,
1 were you in Krusica?
2 A. Yes, at the waterworks in Krusica.
3 Q. Did you notice anything unusual going on in
5 A. Yes, I did. When I returned in passing, I
6 noticed that there were more soldiers than usual.
7 Q. Did this frighten you?
8 A. Well, it didn't frighten me, but there was
9 always some doubt as to why, who and so on, because
10 there was general tension already.
11 Q. Do you know, in 1993, which unit had its
12 headquarters in Krusica in the school building there?
13 A. The 325th Mountain division, and I know some
14 people who were in the command itself, and the person I
15 know is Hakija Dzelilovic.
16 Q. You know him from before?
17 A. Yes, because he was in charge of the Plavac
18 motel where I used to pop in as a guest.
19 Q. Do you know when he joined the BH army?
20 A. Well, I don't know about the BH army, but I
21 do know that in 1992 already, he was in the TO.
22 Q. So you went home. Did you have any
23 information as to a possible conflict on the 15th?
24 A. No, I had no information of that kind.
25 Q. What happened on the 16th in the morning?
1 A. On the 16th of April, 1993 in the morning, it
2 was around 5.30 or 6.00 a.m., I was awoken by strong
3 explosions coming from the direction of Vitez. At that
4 moment, where my house was situated, I was not able to
5 ascertain exactly where the explosions came from, but
6 strong explosions could be heard from the overall area
7 around Vitez.
8 Q. You were in your own house?
9 A. Yes, I was in my house with my family, with
10 my father, my mother and my grandmother, and she was 80
11 years old.
12 Q. Was there any shooting in Poculica?
13 A. No. At that particular moment, in the early
14 hours of the morning there was no shooting.
15 Q. What happened? What did you do?
16 A. Well, I did what I usually do. That is to
17 say, as soon as the situation is tense, one becomes
18 very disturbed. And there were planes circling, and
19 there was a shelter. That is to say, there is a house
20 with a basement dug into the ground, and it belongs to
21 my uncle that house, and it is some 300 metres away
22 from my own house. So with my family, because we were
23 afraid that it would -- it could begin, that is to say
24 that the shelling could begin, we moved into the
25 shelter in this particular house.
1 Q. You said that because you were afraid of
2 planes circling. What was that? You mentioned that.
3 What was that? Do you mean in the war with Serbia or
4 any other time?
5 A. Yes. What I mean was when the Serbian planes
6 used to circle around us, and the basement was a sort
7 of shelter in case of air attack, which would provide
8 us with basic security.
9 Q. So in that part of the village how many
10 Croatian houses were there? What did you say?
11 A. I said there were about 15 houses belonging
12 to Croats.
13 Q. And where were the Croats from those houses?
14 A. The Croats from those houses were situated
15 predominantly in that particular basement.
16 Q. Was anything happening or how long was it
17 quiet in the village?
18 A. Well, up until 9.00 a.m. the situation was
19 calm, but I was able to note my Muslim neighbours going
20 out all the time with weapons, moving towards the
21 mosque and Gajevi, which is the place that they dug
22 trenches, which I mentioned a moment ago.
23 Q. In the other part of Poculica was there any
24 fighting going on, any war operations?
25 A. Yes. At 9.00 in the morning detonations
1 could be heard in the lower part of Poculica, and this
2 was inaccessible to me at the time.
3 Q. Was there any fighting in the lower part of
4 Poculica? Could you hear any fighting going on?
5 A. All I could hear were the explosions.
6 Q. And what happened next?
7 A. Sometime around noon, from the minaret, the
8 tower of the mosque, the Hodza from Poculica called
9 upon all the Croats to surrender themselves. "If you
10 fail to surrender yourselves, we shall not be held
11 responsible for you."
12 Q. And did you give yourselves up?
13 A. No, we were taken prisoner. When I say
14 "taken prisoner," let me explain what I mean. That
15 part of Poculica, that is to say from the shop towards
16 the mosque and the houses below the mosque, that is to
17 say the Croatian houses below the mosque, I was able to
18 notice already at the time that armed soldiers were
19 moving around in groups and that they were cleansing
20 the Croatian houses. I was able to -- I saw this going
21 on. They were clearing up the houses.
22 I was not able to see what was on fire, but
23 below the mosque itself, which is where the Croatian
24 houses were located, there was a large cloud of smoke
25 which means that something was already on fire.
1 At that moment uniformed soldiers of the
2 Muslim nationality, in groups of about five to six men,
3 there were quite a few groups made up of five to six
4 men, and they took control and surrounded the Croatian
5 houses. Their tactics were first to throw devices
6 which led to strong detonation. From these explosions
7 you could hear glass being shattered and things being
8 destroyed in the houses.
9 As I already mentioned, the Croats from that
10 part of the village and from these 15 houses were
11 already located in the basement shelter of my uncle's
12 house, so they came to the house very quickly.
13 Q. What happened in the house? Did the soldiers
14 enter the house?
15 A. As the basement of the house was on the -- in
16 the lower part of the house, below ground level, and
17 the door -- the front door to the house was up by the
18 road, the soldiers drew close to the house, they had
19 camouflage uniforms, they were armed, and the same
20 system that I described a moment ago was repeated.
21 They would throw these inflammatory devices and there
22 would be detonations and explosions.
23 We feared that something could happen.
24 Perhaps they didn't even know that we were there. My
25 uncle called out to them and said that there were only
1 civilians in the basement. When I say "civilians," I
2 mean that there were 75-year-old women, up to the age
3 of 80, and there were children of between 5 and 15.
4 There were women and men there as well and they were in
5 civilian clothes.
6 Q. Did anybody have any weapons in the house?
7 A. No, except for me. I had a pistol, which I
8 have already described, and I had a permit issued by
9 the SUP police station allowing me to carry the
11 Q. Did you shoot?
12 A. No. They were able to ascertain that the
13 barrel of the gun was quite clean and had not been
14 used, and they did, in fact, look and check to see that
15 that was so.
16 Q. You were taken prisoner then. What happened
17 to the other people?
18 A. When they called out to us to leave the
19 house, I saw five or six soldiers and they were painted
20 with war colours, war paint. So some of the soldiers
21 had black socks over their heads, but I recognised them
22 by their voices because, as I say, I grew up with these
24 When I called out to the man, he took the
25 mask off his face, off his head, and at that moment I
1 recognised him. He was Asim Bektas, and Muhamed
2 Kulbegovic. They were soldiers who had their faces --
3 I did not know the two soldiers who had their faces
4 uncovered, and I did not know what they were talking
6 Q. Where did they take you?
7 A. The first man, Asim Bektas, ordered us to
8 come out with our hands up in the air. Even the old
9 women, the 80-year-old women had to do this, and
10 unfortunately, the children as well.
11 At that moment he said that Muhamed
12 Kulbegovic was to take us in single file towards
13 Prnjavor, but that the four women aged between 75 and
14 80, and some of them were even over 80, should remain
15 there with my father in the basement where the
16 conditions were terrible. It was a basement made of
17 concrete and just earth on the ground, because it was
18 not a proper shelter nor was it equipped properly.
19 Q. Your grandmother remained there?
20 A. Yes. Her name was Andza Papic. She was born
21 in 1912.
22 Q. What happened to her?
23 A. On the 21st she died in that basement. I
24 asked the doctor to go and ascertain her death but he
25 refused. A woman of that age was not able to survive
1 that humidity and the cold in that basement, because
2 there -- and I think that the cause of death was an
3 influenza or something stronger.
4 Q. Where were the other civilians taken to, the
5 children and the men -- and the women, I'm sorry.
6 A. They went together with me to Prnjavor, in a
7 column. When they had gone to Prnjavor I saw that the
8 shed was on fire belonging to Franjo Jurcevic, and that
9 was the black cloud of smoke that I had seen previously
10 from the shelter.
11 Q. Would you show the Court please where
12 Prnjavor was located and where the house is that you
13 were put up? Would you use the ELMO to point it out to
14 us, please?
15 A. This is the part going towards Prnjavor and
16 Vrhovine, whereas the centre is at the crossroads of
17 the road -- the junction from Prnjavor to Vrhovine.
18 Q. Where is that?
19 A. It's behind my house, in the direction of
20 this road. Somewhere in this locality.
21 Q. What about the houses opposite your house,
22 whose houses are those?
23 A. Below my house are the Muslim houses
24 belonging to a family called Sivro, that is their
25 surname, and Bektas.
1 Q. Could you point out where the centre in
2 Prnjavor is? Can we see it on this map?
3 A. I can only see a section of the road, and the
4 centre -- the community centre was somewhere at the
5 junction, which means somewhere around here.
6 Q. So it is almost joined to Poculica?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Thank you. Who was put up in that community
10 A. May I also mention that while we were
11 marching in single file towards Prnjavor by Efendija's
12 house, and I already mentioned his house, were the
13 private houses belonging to Nasid. This private house
14 belonged to Nasid, and that's where they began to
15 separate the women and children, and they took them
16 towards the basement of his house, whereas us -- they
17 took us men towards the community centre in Prnjavor,
18 the community centre which was where dances were held
19 before the war.
20 Q. Who was in the community centre? How many
21 men were there?
22 A. Well, when I arrived at the community centre
23 I found several of my neighbours there already, but as
24 there was a mop-up operation in the village of
25 Poculica, they would bring men in from the village and
1 hold them prisoner there. There were about 30 men
3 Q. Where were the women? Where was your mother
4 and the others?
5 A. I've already said that by Efendija's house
6 they separated them from us and that they were put up
7 in the basements of the private houses there.
8 Q. Were they taken prisoner or were they allowed
9 to move around freely?
10 A. They were not allowed to move around freely,
11 they were prisoners. At least my mother was according
12 to what she told me, because I wasn't able to see it
13 because I was already a prisoner myself.
14 Q. In the -- how long did you spend in the
15 community centre?
16 A. Well, on the 17th we were taken to do trench
17 digging, and a group of people in the centre, that is
18 to say there were two large windows in the community
19 centre which were facing -- which faced Poculica, and
20 as there were just fields, arable land between Poculica
21 and Prnjavor, it is this lateral part -- may I point it
22 out on the map?
23 Q. Yes, please go ahead.
24 A. So this is the community centre, and in the
25 direction of Poculica there were two big windows from
1 which we could clearly see Poculica itself.
2 Q. And what did you see happening in Poculica?
3 Were houses on fire there?
4 A. Yes. I saw Stipan Ramljak's house in
5 flames. I also saw women and children moving around
6 and moving from the Croatian houses in Poculica, and
7 they were taking away Croatian property, and livestock
8 and everything that belonged to the Croats.
9 Q. Where were they taking this livestock?
10 A. They were taking them in the direction of
11 Prnjavor. And my Croat neighbours who were prisoners
12 in the community centre could clearly see, at that
13 moment, their own cows or horses. They could see them
14 being led off.
15 Q. And was anything else happening in the
17 A. Yes. On that particular day, the 17th, and I
18 did not know that at the time, but Bozo Kristo was
19 killed in front of the post office. And they were
20 killing pigs in the village. Not a single pig was left
21 alive, they were all killed. I was able to see this
22 for myself, because together with a group of prisoners
23 I went to dig -- to bury those pigs.
24 Q. When you said that you were taken trench
25 digging, where did you go to dig trenches and who took
1 you there? Who took you off to dig trenches?
2 A. We went trench digging to Sivrino Selo.
3 However, at the entrance to Sivrino Selo, myself and
4 two other men were set aside to dig a trench in Suhi
5 Hrastovi. That was a place which lies between
6 Dubravica and Sahadinove Kuce.
7 Q. Who took you away, the military or the
9 A. It depended. The army and the police.
10 Q. Were most of the people from the community
11 centre taken away?
12 A. Yes. The next day when we returned in the
13 evening, that is to say in the morning the next day a
14 group of 20 people were taken off to do work and to dig
15 trenches at Sivrino Selo.
16 According to the words of a soldier who had
17 come to the community centre and who distributed the
18 soldiers and said who would be going, he said that they
19 tried not to have a father and son go together or two
20 brothers going together, because if anything were to
21 happen, to have at least one family member alive.
22 Q. Did they say where they were taking the men
23 and what type of work they were supposed to do?
24 A. Yes. They said they were taken to Sivrino
25 Selo to do trench digging, and a portion of these
1 people should serve as a human shield towards the
2 cemetery at Sivrino Selo.
3 Q. Were the women in the community centre with
5 A. No, they were not women from Poculica, but on
6 the 22nd -- in the night between the 22nd and the 23rd,
7 in the evening hours of the 22nd, that is to say, at
8 6.00 p.m., some women were brought in, five women, in
9 fact, from the village of Putkovici. And when they
10 came to the community centre when, they were brought
11 there, we were told that they had been brought from
12 Preocica and that they were to be exchanged the next
14 Q. Putkovici is a Croatian village, is it the
16 A. Yes, it is a purely Croatian village which
17 had already been cleared up.
18 Q. On the 23rd in the morning, what happened
19 then, tell me, at the community centre?
20 A. Sometime in the morning, it was early, I
21 think it was around 9.00 in the morning, I did not have
22 a watch, and this was the third day that we were there
23 at the community centre, and they put wooden boards on
24 the windows because they realised we could see what
25 they were doing in the village. So it was already dark
1 in there.
2 And on the 23rd and on the 24th, 1993, I
3 heard something strange going on outside, and very
4 often -- and very soon this was confirmed. And gunfire
5 could be heard and then we could smell gunpowder.
6 There was this terrible stench all over. Then there
7 was blood all over. I saw that I was wounded in the
8 arm, hand, in the back, and I turned to -- and in the
9 neck too. Then I turned around and I saw Perica Papic,
10 my cousin, and he had been hit and was already dead.
11 He was born in 1962. And behind him his maternal
12 uncle, Jozo Vidovic, born in 1945, and Ivo Vidovic,
13 born in 1938.
14 In addition to myself, amongst the prisoners
15 there were three other men that were wounded, and these
16 three women who were supposed to be exchanged, but they
17 did not succeed in that.
18 Q. Who did the shooting and how?
19 A. Above the door there was a glass pane --
20 there used to be a glass pane, but then there were
21 short bursts of gunfire that broke it, and this went
22 through the door and through this small part of the
23 window, because there were two of them by the door.
24 On the right-hand side towards that part of
25 the wall it is only these two men who were there that
1 remained unwounded. Everybody else was wounded to a
2 larger or a lesser extent, and I already mentioned who
3 was killed.
4 Q. You said that Pero Papic was killed, but you
5 also mentioned Jozo Vidovic and Ivo Vidovic. Were they
7 A. Yes. Yes. I said that I saw them dead.
8 Q. Did they take you to the hospital then?
9 A. Not that very moment, because after the door
10 was opened, the door was broken down, and Safet Sivro
11 barged in. At that time he was the commander of that
12 particular branch of the BiH Army, Prnjavor, Poculica
13 and Vrhovine. He asked who had done this. No one said
14 a word to him. Before the shooting started, when I
15 mentioned that something was going on outside, I
16 recognised the voice of Bektas at the door, behind the
17 door. Not the Asim I already mentioned. This one had
18 a nickname of Lepina and he was working at the Zenica
19 mine and he was over 45 years old.
20 Q. Was he in military uniform?
21 A. During the first two days he wore civilian
22 clothes, but he was armed. He had an automatic rifle.
23 Q. Were you transferred to the hospital?
24 A. We were transferred to the hospital only
25 around 11.00, and before that an orderly came, his last
1 name was Haseljic. I know this young man very well,
2 but I only know his surname. I didn't know his first
3 name. He started bandaging people's wounds. He tried
4 to stop the bleeding of those who had already been
5 bleeding for quite some time, and he only had plain
6 bandages to use.
7 Q. So they took you to the hospital, right?
8 A. Yes. Yes, they did. At that moment they
9 took us to the hospital, towards Zenica. But before we
10 reached the hospital, they took us to the house of
11 corrections, and from the ambulance I only realised
12 that I was within the house of corrections compound and
13 I saw that something strange was going on. Again,
14 people were squabbling, as if in the marketplace,
15 whether they should leave us there or whether they
16 should take us to the hospital. And after a brief
17 quarrel amongst them, we were taken to the hospital in
18 Crkvica, to the traumology ward.
19 Q. How long did you stay there in the hospital?
20 A. We stayed in the hospital until the 13th of
21 May, 1993 until 6.30 p.m. That is when I was
23 Q. Were you heavily wounded?
24 A. Yes. After I left the hospital in Crkvica, I
25 continued my treatment in the hospital in Bila.
1 Q. Did you return to Poculica?
2 A. No, never, because Muslim refugees are living
3 in Croat houses there and 40 per cent of the houses
4 were burned down. Over 40 Croat houses in Poculica
5 were burned. Practically 70 per cent of this Croatian
6 part in the lower part of the village was burnt down,
7 so reconstruction hasn't started yet. But I already
8 went to Poculica twice, but I did not go to my own
9 home. I went to the cemetery. Our cemetery called
10 Zvizda to visit our dead. It's one of the older Croat
11 cemeteries. As we came to the cemetery, we realised
12 that all the tombstones were broken and that the chapel
13 was set fire to and that the crosses were all over the
15 Q. You did not go to see your house, what
16 condition it was in, and the house that you lived in?
17 A. My mother says that it was considerably
18 damaged, but refugees are living in it.
19 Q. And, tell me, who buried your grandmother
20 when she died in that basement?
21 A. Well, the already mentioned Safet Sivro came
22 on the 21st in the morning and he said that my
23 grandmother had died, and that I could bury her
24 straightaway in the garden of my uncle's house.
25 However, since we grew up together, since we were
1 actually friends too, we would go out in the evening
2 together and we were very close. And he allowed me to
3 bury her at the Zvizda cemetery that I mentioned a few
4 minutes ago. He actually did allow me to do so.
5 The late Perica Papic went with me, Franjo
6 Jurcevic and Josip Papic too, the four of us. We took
7 her to the cemetery and that is where we dug her grave
8 and we were accompanied by two guards. And as we were
9 labouring, the cemetery is about 15 metres away from
10 Franjo's house, there was no drinking water available.
11 However, we were not allowed to -- even to walk that
12 way, let alone have a drink of water.
13 Q. There's just one thing that we omitted. What
14 were the conditions like at this centre? Did you have
15 anything to eat or drink?
16 A. What they gave us, and they hardly gave us a
17 thing, and I shall explain this. On the first day I
18 remember well, some time during the night we got some
19 kind of rice that had already gone sour. As regards
20 conditions, I already mentioned that the floor was
21 concrete and the first two or three days we had only a
22 few blankets, which was not sufficient for 30 people.
23 There was a concrete floor and our main point was not
24 to lie on the concrete itself. So we put the blankets
25 down and then we would cover ourselves with the jackets
1 and the other clothes we had.
2 May I just finish my thought? Very often we
3 were provoked by soldiers in uniform and one day a
4 soldier in uniform walked into the hall where we
5 prisoners were and he started beating everyone in
6 sight. He lined us up and we had to repeat after him
7 Muslim prayers. But he never found it loud enough. So
8 we had to do it louder and louder. And people could
9 hear this all the way to Poculica. We did all of this
10 out of fear, because we were afraid.
11 Q. The other Croats who were imprisoned, do you
12 know when they were exchanged?
13 A. My parents say that they were exchanged on
14 the 1st of May, 1993.
15 Q. And my last question. The people you saw
16 while you managed to see through these windows, what
17 was going on in the village; were these people you
18 knew, people you did not know, and were they armed or
20 A. All of them armed, and I knew quite a few of
21 them and I didn't know even more of them.
22 Q. Were these Muslim soldiers, and with what
23 kind of insignia?
24 A. As far as I could see, most of them had MOS
25 insignia. That is to say the Muslim armed forces.
1 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you very much.
2 Thank you. I have concluded my questioning.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Before we take a
4 break, may I ask whether other Defence counsel are
5 willing to cross-examine this witness.
6 MR. PAVKOVIC: Your Honours, I only have one
7 question and the other defence attorneys do not wish to
8 question this witness. I don't know whether I should
9 do it now or after the break.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, if it is a short
11 question, right away, yes.
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Pavkovic:
13 Q. Witness, my name is Petar Pavkovic. I am
14 Defence counsel. I have just one question for you.
15 You said that you noticed, around the school in
16 Krusica, certain changes, that something was going on
17 there. You said that you saw them building some kind
18 of small house, and that they were putting up a fence
19 around this yard.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know what they used this for?
22 A. This was used for military purposes. This
23 was used for the guards.
24 Q. Are you sure that it was only used by the
25 guards or --
1 A. No, I mentioned here that there were these
2 little houses to be used by guards, and the building
3 that was built underneath the school made up of
4 different elements. It was not accessible to me. So
5 there was this new building built just below the
6 school, and the little houses that I saw, as I pointed
7 out, in the lower part and in the upper part of the
8 school yard within the fence were meant for military
9 purposes, for carrying out military duties.
10 Q. You do not know whether they brought some
11 Croats there, whether they locked them up or
12 something? Did you know anything of that nature?
13 A. No. At that point I did not know anything of
14 this nature.
15 MR. PAVKOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours. No
16 further questions.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We'll take a
18 15-minute break.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.15 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Blaxill.
22 MR. BLAXILL: Mr. President, thank you.
23 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
25 MR. SUSAK: I apologise.
1 THE INTERPRETER: I'm afraid I can't hear
3 MR. SUSAK: I apologise. I didn't want to
4 interrupt the Court, but I have two questions to ask
5 the witness, if I may.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Of course. So if you
7 don't mind, Mr. Blaxill, do you mind waiting for a few
9 Counsel Susak, please go ahead.
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Susak:
11 Q. Witness, my name is Luko Susak and I am
12 Defence counsel for Drago Josipovic. You said you were
13 in Crkvice in the hospital there. Where is Crkvice
15 A. It's a suburb of Zenica, within the
16 frameworks of the city of Zenica itself.
17 Q. Before you were taken to the hospital there,
18 did you receive any document saying you were a prisoner
19 -- saying you were arrested? Were documents of this
20 kind given to anybody else?
21 A. No, only what the Red Cross recorded.
22 Perhaps on the second day of our arrest, on the 17th or
23 18th, somewhere thereabouts, but no documents
24 certifying to our arrest existed.
25 Q. You said that you were not in the Zenica
1 house of correction before that, or were you taken
3 A. No, I was not taken to the prison itself, but
4 when I went to my company I passed by the KP centre,
5 that is to say the house of correction, and the head
6 office of my company was located in Zenica.
7 Q. Do you know who was held prisoner in the
9 A. No, I don't, but a lot of Croats came to
10 Vitez and they said that they were -- they spent a
11 month in the penitentiary.
12 Q. Do you know any other place where Croats were
13 held prisoner in Zenica itself?
14 A. Well, rumour had it that they were held in
15 the basement of the music school. And the music school
16 is situated near the former bank of Sarajevo, the
17 Prnjavor bank of Sarajevo.
18 Q. Do you know if there were any Mujahedins?
19 A. Yes, I even saw them. I saw them in Poculica
20 and in Prnjavor by Efendija's house. I have already
21 mentioned Efendija's house.
22 Q. How did you know they were Mujahedins?
23 A. Well, they didn't hide the fact. They had
24 the scarves that they wore. They did not understand
25 Serbo-Croatian and they were dark skinned, compared to
1 us that is. But, as I was born there, I knew, at least
2 by sight, all the locals, including Poculica and
3 Prnjavor, from Vrhovine and Vjetrenica and further
4 afield as well.
5 Q. Did they instill fear in the Croats?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In what way did they do this?
8 A. Well, they made us afraid of them because
9 when they would pass by our houses, they would very
10 frequently express their type of greeting, and other
11 forms of religious exclamations. So that part I
13 Q. You mentioned the school of music.
14 A. Yes. I mentioned the music school because
15 there were Croats who were detained there and ones that
16 I knew, and who came to Vitez to be exchanged. And one
17 of the people there was Anto Vrvilo, who complained of
18 his injuries and said he was beaten up every day and he
19 lost a lot of weight, 20 kilogrammes. And he is still
20 an unwell man today.
21 Q. You said there were two prisons, one located
22 in the music school and one in the penitentiary?
23 A. Yes, I said that I heard this from others.
24 Q. Do you know who detained the Croats in the
25 music school and who detained the Croats in the
1 penitentiary building?
2 A. Well, according to what I heard, the music
3 school was the MOS prison, that is belonging to the
4 Muslim armed forces, whereas the KP penitentiary
5 building was where the members of the army took people,
6 and they were visited by the Red Cross. Whereas those
7 detained in the music school were inaccessible to
8 anybody. Nobody was allowed to meet them, to visit
9 them, except for the ones that beat them up.
10 Q. Did the Red Cross have access to the
11 detainees in the music school?
12 A. I don't know. So I can't answer that
14 Q. You mentioned MOS. Will you tell us what MOS
16 A. MOS is an abbreviation for the Muslim armed
18 Q. Who composed these Muslim armed forces?
19 A. They were predominantly the extremists from
20 amongst the MOS Muslims.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry, Counsel Susak. You
22 said you would ask two questions, and specific
23 questions, I imagined. But you are now moving to
24 general questions. We have already heard a lot about
25 MOS and so on. Do you need to ask all these
1 questions? If you could be as concise as possible,
3 MR. SUSAK: Thank you, Your Honour. I will
4 try and be as brief as possible. But this was my
5 introduction to my brief questions.
6 Q. You said that these people were detained in
7 the music school and the penitentiary. Could you tell
8 us how the exchange was effected, who organised the
9 exchange, and where did it take place?
10 A. I don't know.
11 Q. Do you know that the Croats of Zenica were
12 exchanged for Muslims from Vitez?
13 A. Well, yes, there were exchanges.
14 Q. You already told us when. Will you tell us
15 who performed these exchanges, prisoner exchanges, and
16 where, if you know that.
17 A. I am not aware of that, but certain
18 localities were pinpointed. I don't know exactly. But
19 I do know that the exchange was done via the Red Cross.
20 Q. Who participated on the Croatian side?
21 A. I don't know. When I myself was exchanged, I
22 was not able to move. And when I was brought to the
23 Suhi Hrastovi locality, there was just the driver, his
24 name was Botic, and there was a doctor present, a
25 doctor working in our outpatient department.
1 MR. SUSAK: Thank you, Mr. President. I have
2 no further questions.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
5 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Mr. President, I'm
6 obliged to you.
7 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Witness. My name is
8 Michael Blaxill. I'm one of the Prosecutors working on
9 this particular case. I do have a few questions for
10 you but I hope mercifully to be as brief as I possibly
12 I believe in late 1992 there was an ongoing
13 conflict, was there not, with Serb forces not very far
14 from the Lasva Valley area; is that correct?
15 A. That's correct, in the Vlasic area.
16 Q. Thank you, sir. And I believe in Kruscica
17 (pronounced phonetically) -- Kruscica, I'm sorry, I
18 think that's a better pronunciation, you saw a build-up
19 of buildings and enclosure of what was perhaps -- was
20 it a TO military centre? Is that correct?
21 A. Yes. It belonged to TO but I didn't say
22 buildings, I said that a circle had been made around
23 the school, and huts were being built on the upper and
24 lower side of the courtyard near the school.
25 Q. So the enhancement of the installation was
1 taking place against the backdrop of an ongoing
2 conflict with the Serbs; is that right?
3 A. I see no reason for that because the Serbs
4 were far away from us, and I said that the Serbs were
5 located further up from Turbe. So I see no reason for
6 these huts to be built up around the school in
7 Kruscica. As far as the fighting with the Serbs is
8 concerned, there was no reason for this.
9 Q. But you also say, do you not, that you saw an
10 increased traffic of troops coming into the area and
11 then going out again, an increased traffic of troops
12 going through; is that correct?
13 A. I don't think I used the word "traffic," but
14 I said that in the morning when I passed by the school
15 in Kruscica that I saw larger numbers of soldiers.
16 Q. And at that time, am I right in saying that
17 there were no outbreaks of violence or difficulty
18 between the Croat and the Muslim populations in the
19 village of Poculica? Is that correct?
20 A. I don't know what period you have in mind.
21 Q. This would be, let us say, the beginning of
23 A. The beginning of 1993, up until the 16th of
24 April, in fact, yes, up until the beginning of the
25 conflict. On the 16th of April there were no
2 Q. Thank you. Now, you say you returned home at
3 07.00 on the 15th of April. Did you do anything in
4 particular that day in terms of your duties with the
5 village guard or not?
6 A. No. I was on holiday doing work in the
7 field, and I went to bed in the evening, up until the
8 moment in the morning between 5.30 and 6.00 a.m. when I
9 was woken by detonations from the direction of Vitez.
10 I did not have any assignments or anything else.
11 Q. So if I interpret you correctly, sir, you
12 clearly felt that there were no impending threats and
13 no potential outbreak of a conflict in terms of the
14 atmosphere in Poculica on the 15th?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, you say you heard
17 detonations from the vicinity -- or the direction, I'm
18 sorry, of Vitez on the early morning of the 16th of
19 April. That is correct, sir?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. And I believe you quoted the time as
22 somewhere around 05.30 to 6.00 in the morning, is that
24 A. That's what I said, yes.
25 Q. I think -- what -- sorry. I'll ask this
1 differently. What, in fact, did you do when you woke
2 and heard these explosions? Did you report for duty
3 somewhere or take any particular action?
4 A. The only action that I took was to save my
5 family and to place them in a shelter, and so I went
6 together with my family to the shelter.
7 Q. So did you -- you placed your family in the
8 shelter. Did you join your family in that shelter or
9 did you go elsewhere in the village?
10 A. No, I didn't go anywhere else. I was
11 non-stop near them, within five metres. I was always
12 together with them. I just went outside the house for
13 a moment but nothing else.
14 Q. And I believe you described the shelter as a
15 basement; is that correct?
16 A. Yes. It was the basement of the house that
17 was being -- that was still under construction. It had
18 a roof but nothing much else, and the basement was
19 three metres by four, dug into the ground, and the
20 house itself was a three-storey building.
21 Q. Did the basement have any kind of aperture to
22 the outside air or was it completely underground? In
23 other words, could you see out of the building at all?
24 A. The door was dug into the building and there
25 was a small window. That is to say, there was just an
1 ordinary opening. There was no window, it was just a
2 small opening one by one metre, for example, in the
3 basement, and it faced the Veseli Drug cafe and the
4 Muslim houses owned by the Sivro family. That was the
5 surname, Sivro.
6 Q. I'm sorry, I'm going to go back just briefly
7 to one point I recall you mentioning. You referred to
8 aeroplanes circling. Did you actually see aeroplanes
9 early that morning circling over the valley?
10 A. No, no. I didn't mean that morning, I meant
11 that the Serbian planes which had circled in 1992
12 around Princip in the town of Vitez. I didn't mean
13 that they were circling on that particular morning.
14 Apart from the detonations that I heard from the
15 direction of Vitez, nothing else.
16 Q. And I believe -- pardon me. You say that up
17 until about 09.00 that morning, certainly there was no
18 sound of any fighting or detonations or anything like
19 that within Poculica; is that correct?
20 A. That's correct. Apart from the Muslim army,
21 which could be noticed bearing weapons and in uniforms
22 was moving in the direction of the mosque and the
23 people digging trenches.
24 Q. And presumably did you observe these Muslim
25 soldiers through the one metre by one metre aperture in
1 this basement, is that correct, or is that something
2 you heard later?
3 A. No, I saw them.
4 Q. You remained, it seems, in that shelter until
5 about 12.00 or after 12.00 hours that day; is that
7 A. That is correct, yes. Until the Hodza from
8 the minaret of the mosque called to us to surrender,
9 and when the clearing up began and when they began to
10 encircle the Croatian houses, that is to say, the
12 Q. So your references to whatever had occurred
13 in Poculica as such, those references are to
14 detonations you heard whilst you were in the basement
15 of the building; is that right?
16 A. Yes. That's what I said a moment ago. I
17 said that I was able to go out of the basement from the
18 lower part of the house so that I would leave for brief
20 Q. So throughout -- but throughout that
21 particular period when you heard these detonations, for
22 the most part you could not identify who was firing at
23 who or from where, would that be correct?
24 A. I was not able to identify them, no. I just
25 heard detonations from the direction of Vitez, but I
1 did not know what was happening.
2 Q. And I'm referring now, sir, though to the
3 detonations you say you heard elsewhere in Poculica.
4 But you were, in fact, in a basement at the time of
5 hearing those; that is correct?
6 A. Yes, below the house. And I also heard those
7 detonations, as I have already said, between 5.30 and
8 6.00 a.m. when I was on my way to the shelter. I also
9 said that my uncle's house was approximately 3 to 400
10 metres away from my own house, and that's how I heard
12 Q. So at approximately 12.30 that day, you were
13 effectively captured by some soldiers you identified as
14 Muslims forces; is that correct?
15 A. That's right. And I recognised some of
16 them. Some of that group that circled our house and
17 that called to us to surrender, but only after they
18 heard cries from my relation, Perica who called out to
19 them to tell them not to shoot because they were
20 civilians there.
21 And we left the basement and then saw that
22 two of these solders had black socks over their heads.
23 Three of them had war paint, black war paint on their
24 face, and the third one was covered up. I didn't know
25 him and he didn't understand me either, and he was sort
1 of translating what was going on to some of the
3 Q. And you were then taken, I believe, to the
4 community centre by those troops, and you and your
5 family and others were placed in custody in a concrete
6 basement; is that correct? That's in Prnjavor.
7 A. That is correct, except for the four women,
8 including my grandmother who died in the basement. At
9 that particular moment, on orders from Asim Bektas,
10 they stayed in the basement, whereas all the rest of us
11 went in column, single file up to the basement. And I
12 also said that by Efendija's house they separated the
13 women from the men -- that is to say the women and
14 children, I apologise, the women and children were
15 separated from the men and we men were taken to the
16 community centre in Prnjavor.
17 Q. And when you were in custody at the community
18 centre, I believe that you say that you were taken on
19 the 17th of April to go trench digging. I believe
20 that's correct. Is that so?
21 A. That's correct, yes. And I was taken to dig
22 the pigs that they had killed in the village as well.
23 Q. And that was on the same day, sir?
24 A. That's right.
25 Q. Now, you then remained, I believe, in that
1 location until the 24th of April; is that right?
2 A. I didn't understand the question. Could you
3 repeat it, please?
4 Q. You were kept in custody at that location
5 until, I believe, the 24th of April; is that correct?
6 A. I was kept in custody in the community centre
7 up until the 23rd of April when I was injured and when
8 the people were killed that I mentioned.
9 Q. Now, you mentioned a particular person in
10 that connection. I think a nickname of Lepina or
11 something, is that right, a guard?
12 A. That's right. I said Asim Bektas, nicknamed
13 Lepina, who worked in the mine in Zenica, and he was
14 about 45 years of age. And you should not be surprised
15 by the fact that I mentioned the same name and surname
16 of the man that took me into custody and guarded me,
17 who has the same name and surname, in fact, because in
18 Prnjavor, there are 30 or maybe more houses with the
19 same surname, and very often the names are the same as
20 well, but they are usually referred to by their
21 nicknames. So the one at the door was nicknamed
23 Q. And I believe you said you heard a voice
24 at -- just before that appalling shooting incident
25 involving that room; is that correct?
1 A. That's right. I heard and recognised the
2 voice as being that of Lepina and Zejdin Tatarevic.
3 That is to say, people who were seen all the time and
4 whom I contacted with all the time. So it wasn't
5 difficult to recognise them.
6 Q. And you say that after this incident, I
7 believe the commander came in -- was it the commander
8 who came in?
9 A. Yes. And I also mentioned that Safet Sivro
10 was the commander of Poculica, the Muslim part, and
11 Prnjavor was purely Muslim and Vrhovine was purely
12 Muslim inhabited.
13 Q. What was his reaction when he came in and saw
14 what had happened?
15 A. Well, it was one of panic, I would say.
16 Q. And I believe you said he demanded to find
17 out who had done it; is that correct? He asked who had
18 done it?
19 A. That's what he said, and went outside and
20 didn't return.
21 Q. I just want to ask you a couple more
22 questions about timing if I may. I know it's an
23 element of repetition, but perhaps I can be forgiven
24 just for emphasis, but if I get the scenario correctly
25 for the 16th of April, you heard detonations in the
1 Vitez direction at about 05.30 or 06.00. You heard
2 other detonations at around 09.00 when you were in the
3 basement in the shelter, and the only contact you had
4 then with the military was when you were seized at
5 about 12.30 in the early afternoon. Is that roughly
6 the correct timing of the day?
7 A. That is correct. It is true I heard
8 detonations from 6.30 (sic) to 6.00 a.m. It is also
9 correct that I saw detonations in the lower part of
10 Poculica at around 9.00 a.m., and contacts with the
11 Muslim army I had at around 12.00, after the Hodza had
12 appealed from the minaret to us to surrender. Which
13 means that on that morning I was in contact with the
14 people who had held me in custody, which was the Muslim
15 armed forces.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Just for the record, I think
17 there was a mistranslation. Clearly in the answer he
18 said from -- probably he said from 5.30 to 6.00,
19 whereas in the transcript we see 6.30 to 6.00, which is
20 illogical. So we should put it straight.
21 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you. Obliged to you for
22 that, Mr. President. In fact, Your Honours, I have
23 concluded cross-examination. Thank you.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
25 Re-examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
1 Q. Mr. Papic, during your testimony you
2 mentioned a few names. You mentioned those two Asim
3 Bektas and Muhamed Kulbegovic?
4 A. Muhamed, Asim Bektas, Lepina and Zejdin
6 Q. Those are the people you recognised at that
7 point; is that correct?
8 A. Right.
9 Q. Can you tell us how they behaved before
10 that? What kind of people were they in relation to the
12 A. Well, in relation to the Croats, until the
13 elections they would say hello to us and vice versa.
14 But I would single out Asim Bektas, this MOS commander
15 who took me prisoner, from the elections onwards. One
16 could notice that he was a bit more of an extremist
17 than the other Muslims, because meetings were often
18 held between the Muslims and the Croats in Poculica and
19 various issues were being resolved in this way in order
20 to keep the war -- to keep peace and order.
21 And I remember that he said once, "I know
22 what I'm fighting for, and I'm fighting in the name of
23 Allah and I'm fighting a holy war, Jihad."
24 Q. You also said that you were engaged in the
25 village guards only from time to time?
1 A. That's right. I said from time to time,
2 because I already had this work duty and I carried it
3 out regularly. And due to my job description, I also
4 had to work during the night as well. So 24 hours of
5 my work were there. I had to work at night too. So I
6 really couldn't work round the clock, that is to say,
7 go on guard and also go to work, but it would happen
8 that I would go out for guard duty.
9 Q. You also said, during the cross-examination,
10 that you noticed that the army was going towards the
11 mosque and towards the area where the trenches were.
12 A. That's exactly what I said. And my
13 neighbours at that, in full military gear. I even
14 noticed a neighbour of mine carrying an M-53, a heavy
15 machine gun, and he did not even say hello, he simply
16 speeded by me and they left.
17 Q. So why were they going there? They did go
18 out to dig trenches? Because the transcript said that
19 they went out there to dig trenches, which is probably
20 a mistake.
21 A. No. I said that already in 1992 they had dug
22 trenches in the area of Gajevi, and I did not mention
23 that they went out to dig trenches on that day at all,
24 because why would they be digging trenches in full
25 military gear?
1 Q. And in Kruscica you actually had barracks --
2 a school that was transformed into barracks. Did you
3 notice any changes in that barracks in 1993? In
4 addition to building these little houses, did you
5 notice anything else, any other changes?
6 A. Well, there were all changes in terms of the
7 military setup.
8 Q. In what sense the military setup?
9 A. Well, very often they would often go to
10 Kujevac, which is in the mountains and there are big
11 meadows there. I used to go that way to work too, and
12 that is where they had training or something, I don't
13 know, but I would see them go up there in uniform and
14 with weapons.
15 Q. And did you notice them going out for
16 training or for reviews, military exercises? Did you
17 see anything of that nature?
18 A. Not in Kruscica but in Poculica, yes.
19 Q. And this last question, when you talked about
20 these detonations, these first detonations in the
21 morning, you said that they came from the direction of
22 Vitez. The other detonations that you heard later,
23 where were they coming from, or, rather, where were
24 these detonations taking place, can you tell?
25 A. I can, and I said that I heard these other
1 detonations around 9.00 a.m. in the lower part of
2 Poculica populated by Croats. I also heard gunfire
3 from Gajevi, and after that detonation in the lower
4 part of Poculica.
5 Q. How long did this detonation go on in the
6 lower part of Poculica? While you were still in the
7 village could you hear detonations then too?
8 A. Yes, yes, every now and then. But I already
9 said that around noon I was taken away, so --
10 Q. All right. Thank you. No further
11 questions. Thank you.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. No questions from
13 the Court.
14 Mr. Papic, thank you for testifying in
15 court. You may now be released. Thank you.
16 (The witness withdrew)
17 JUDGE CASSESE: I think we could -- we can't
18 afford to waste 25 minutes. I wonder whether we could
19 bring in the next witness, Mr. Vidovic. It's 25
20 minutes. It's a lot of time.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Any protective measures for
22 the next witness? No.
23 (The witness entered court)
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I am
25 sorry. Could I please tender into evidence this
1 Defence Exhibit D75/2 -- 4/2.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: No objection. Yes.
3 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you very much.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Mr. Vidovic.
5 Could you please make the solemn declaration.
6 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
7 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Please be seated. Counsel
12 WITNESS: Rudo Vidovic
13 Examined by Mr. Radovic:
14 Q. Witness, could you please introduce yourself
15 to the Court. Your name is?
16 A. My name is Rudo Vidovic, the son of Jozo and
18 Q. Could you please give us your date of birth.
19 A. I was born on the 5th of November, 1958 in
21 Q. Where exactly? Where were you exactly born?
22 A. I was born in Pirici, the local community of
24 Q. And where do you live now?
25 A. Now I live in Vitez, in the street Kralja
1 Petra Kresimira Street, No. 52.
2 Q. Tell me, what do you do now? What post do
3 you hold?
4 A. I now work in the telecommunications centre
5 and I am the director of the telecommunications centre
6 of Central Bosnia with its head office in Vitez.
7 Q. And tell me, what have you finished by way of
9 A. I have a higher education. I am called a
10 communications engineer.
11 Q. What is this post-secondary education imply?
12 A. Two-and-a-half years of schooling after
13 secondary school.
14 Q. Where did you attend secondary school?
15 A. I attended secondary school in Zenica. It
16 was an electrotechnical school.
17 Q. And, tell me, you were born in Pirici.
18 Please describe to the Court the position of Pirici as
19 related to the central part of Ahmici, so-to-speak.
20 A. Yes, I was born in Pirici. And my family
21 home is, until this very day, above the school in
22 Ahmici, on the left-hand side of the road that leads to
23 Ahmici. It is about 800 metres away from the main
25 Q. Tell us, this house of yours, is it in the
1 exclusively Croatian area or is it in a mixed
3 A. My family house is practically the first one
4 in the Croatian part, that is to say Zume, which is a
5 neighbourhood with a Croatian majority. That is on one
6 side. On the other side there is exclusively Muslims,
7 that is to say the Bosniak people.
8 Q. While you went to secondary school in Zenica,
9 did you live at home or did you live in Zenica?
10 A. I lived at home and I travelled to Zenica by
12 Q. What was your relationship like with your
13 Muslim neighbours, as well as that of your family? I
14 am talking about the period while you were still at
15 home, that is to say before you finished secondary
16 school and before you went onto Sarajevo to continue
17 your education?
18 A. Well, the members of my family and I,
19 throughout this period, had a good relationship with
20 our Muslim neighbours. I can say it was more than
21 good, as a matter of fact. These were good neighbourly
23 Q. Could you please describe these good
24 neighbourly relations to us.
25 A. We visited one another, we would have coffee
1 together, and we would help one another with the farm
2 work. Also, we did certain things for one another.
3 Q. You said that you graduated in 1979, and I
4 imagine that after graduation you did your military
5 service in the JNA, and then what did you do after your
6 JNA service? Where did you find a job?
7 A. Yes. I came from the JNA in December, 1980
8 and I first started working at the post office in
9 Travnik on the 15th of January, 1981, and I was a
10 trainee, an engineer trainee.
11 Q. Did you continue to live in Pirici at that
13 A. Yes. Yes. All that time I lived in Pirici
14 with my parents.
15 Q. Tell me, after you returned from the army,
16 were you a member of a political organisation, for
17 example, of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia? I
18 am again using abbreviations that only we are aware
20 A. Yes, I was a member of the League of
21 Communists of Yugoslavia.
22 Q. Tell me, while you lived with your parents in
23 Pirici, that is to say from 1980 until 1984, were you
24 actively involved in social political affairs in Pirici
25 or were you only a passive member of the League of
2 A. Well, at that time, from 1975 onwards until
3 1983, with the exception of '79, when I was in
4 Sarajevo, and '80, when I was in the army, I was
5 actively involved in the work of the local community.
6 Q. What did this active work consist of?
7 A. At that time an asphalt road was being
8 built. This was between the main road and the village
9 of Ahmici.
10 Q. What was your activity precisely?
11 A. I was a member of the organising committee
12 for building this road.
13 Q. Tell me, this local community, what are the
14 villages that it consisted of?
15 A. The local community of Ahmici consisted of
16 the villages of Ahmici, Pirici and Nadioci.
17 Q. Were these exclusively Croatian villages or
18 were they both Croatian and Muslim villages, or were
19 they mixed villages?
20 A. They were mixed villages with the exception
21 of upper Ahmici and upper Pirici.
22 Q. Who lived in upper Ahmici and upper Pirici?
23 A. In upper Ahmici and upper Pirici, that is
24 where Muslims lived.
25 Q. Tell me, where did the Muslims of Ahmici meet
1 their religious needs? Did they have a mosque in
2 Ahmici or did they have to leave Ahmici in order to
3 reach a mosque where they could pray?
4 A. In the early years, that is to say from 1970
5 until 1980, in upper Ahmici there was a house that they
6 called the Mejtef. They carried out their religious
8 Q. I'm sorry, did that building have a minaret
9 or not?
10 A. No. No. It was a small, old house.
11 Q. Did that old house ever get a minaret or not?
12 A. No. Never. Never.
13 Q. All right. Please continue, and I apologise
14 for having interrupted you.
15 A. From 1980 an initiative was launched to build
16 a new mosque.
17 Q. Who launched this initiative?
18 A. The local population of Gornja Ahmici. And
19 this mosque was built in Gornja Ahmici, I think in 1985
20 or something like that.
21 Q. Did that mosque have a minaret?
22 A. No.
23 Q. That one didn't have a minaret?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Never?
1 A. Never.
2 Q. Was there another mosque?
3 A. In 1989 my parents' next door neighbour,
4 Hazim Ahmic, built a private mosque.
5 Q. Tell me, generally speaking, was Ahmici
6 generally well-known for having this private mosque or
7 was it simply unusual? Did people talk about it a lot
8 for that reason or was it customary?
9 A. I think that that was the first private
10 mosque that was built at that time. It was precisely
11 in Ahmici.
12 Q. All right. We all know, according to
13 photographs, what this mosque, which had been
14 destroyed, looked like, but what was the attitude of
15 the Croats? That's what I am interested in. Because
16 this is in the lower part of the village where there
17 were quite a few Croats. What was the attitude they
18 took in relation to the building of this mosque, and
19 perhaps in passing you could also mention the role of
20 your late father in the building of this mosque?
21 A. All of us know about the disagreement between
22 the initiative of Gornja Ahmici and Donja Ahmici, as
23 far as the building of the mosque was concerned.
24 Namely, the villagers of Donja Ahmici did not agree
25 with this location of the mosque that was built in the
1 upper part. And, in a way, they supported Hazim to
2 build this mosque in Donja Ahmici.
3 Q. And why?
4 A. Well, probably because of their financial
5 interest, because --
6 Q. They didn't have to pay anything?
7 A. They didn't have to pay anything. May I
9 Q. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for interrupting.
10 A. However, at that time it was impossible to
11 build a private mosque without the approval of
12 neighbours, notably those of different ethnicity.
13 Without having received their consent in writing, that
14 is. My late father and a few more neighbours gave a
15 written statement that they would not mind having such
16 a religious building, namely, a mosque built. This
17 written statement was sufficient for obtaining the
18 necessary technical documents. And the mosque was
19 built. It was completed with a minaret in 1991.
20 Q. Tell me, your late father and this person,
21 Hazim Ahmic, were they in personal contact?
22 A. Well, yes, they were. They were good
24 Q. Was there an inaugural ceremony?
25 A. Yes, there was an inaugural ceremony.
1 Q. Were Croats present there?
2 A. Yes, they were. Croats were there too. And
3 perhaps even more Croats were there.
4 Q. Was your late father there?
5 A. My father did not attend the inauguration
6 because he died two-and-a-half years before that.
7 Q. But then you told me that your late father,
8 sometime before his death, was in touch with Hazim
9 Ahmic, and could you tell us what this was all about?
10 A. Yes. In June, 1989, the foundation was laid
11 for this mosque and there was a ceremony dedicated to
12 this, and Hazim and his wife, Celbija, went to the
13 Hodza after that and there was a big party to see them
14 off. At this party, in addition to many other Croat
15 neighbours, was my father. A month after that he died.
16 Q. Tell me, that is to say that Croats gave
17 their consent in writing for the building of this
18 mosque, and did Hazim do the Croats some kind of
19 favour, I mean in a material, financial sense?
20 A. Yes. At that time the Topolsko cemetery
21 became too small.
22 Q. This Topolsko cemetery, is that the cemetery
23 where the roadblock was on the 20th of October? Is
24 that that cemetery?
25 A. Yes, yes, it is.
1 Q. We just want to have a clear situation as to
2 where this cemetery actually is. Yes, please proceed.
3 It's a Catholic cemetery, is it?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. So then what did Hazim Ahmic do in this
7 A. The cemetery, the cemetery borders Hazim
8 Ahmic's land, 60 per cent of it as a matter of fact,
9 and Hazim gave part of his own land to expand the
11 Q. Did he give it away for free or did he charge
12 a price or was it a very low price?
13 A. He did charge a price, but it was a very low
14 price. And also he offered even more land at a very
15 low price, because at that time a church was supposed
16 to be built by this cemetery too. And, of course, it
17 never was built, nor did its construction ever begin.
18 Well, I can only imagine for what reason.
19 Q. What is the reason?
20 A. I don't know why the construction never
22 Q. Tell me, while you were in secondary school
23 and while you went to university, was there a cultural
24 society in Vitez that was involved in folk dancing?
25 A. Yes. Yes, there was. This cultural and arts
1 society of the SPS of Vitez, and there was a folklore
2 section and there was also a group that was involved in
3 music. And I was a member too.
4 Q. For how long were you a member of this
6 A. This was in 1982 and 1993 (sic).
7 Q. That is to say that you stopped this activity
8 in 1983; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Tell me, in view of your position in Pirici,
11 did you as a secondary school student and as a young
12 boy, did you know a person called Zoran Kupreskic, and
13 then in passing you can also tell us about Mirjan
14 Kupreskic, whether you know him too?
15 A. Yes, but of course we grew up together.
16 Q. Could you tell us approximately how far away
17 your house is from his house, as the crow flies, from
18 your house to their house -- to their houses? Well, I
19 mean, you don't have to give us the exact figure in
20 terms of metres, but you are just giving us an
21 approximation. But as the crow flies.
22 A. Four hundred and fifty metres.
23 MR. RADOVIC: Now I am moving onto a question
24 where I shall mention another neighbour and his son,
25 and I think that that part should be in closed
1 session. Since we have only a half a minute left, I
2 believe that there is no point in drawing the blinds
3 now and everything. So if you agree, I believe that I
4 may conclude at this point for today. Thank you.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
6 MR. BLAXILL: Could I interrupt for a
7 second. I believe lines 117 double dot 16 and 18,
8 there has been a translation problem. The first
9 question, I think, was to do with folk music, 1982 and
10 1993, and then it said stop the activity in 1983. So I
11 think it was just that "1993" is a mistranslation. It
12 should be 1983 at that line.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: '83.
14 MR. BLAXILL: One of those lines has a
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Blaxill. All
17 right. We adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9.00.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
19 1.30 p.m., to be reconvened on
20 Wednesday, the 10th day of January, 1999
21 at 9.00 a.m.