1 Tuesday, 2nd March, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-16-T, the Prosecutor versus Zoran
8 Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago
9 Josipovic, Dragan Papic and Vladimir Santic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Good morning. We
11 may resume with the present witness.
12 Counsel Puliselic.
13 WITNESS: DRAGAN KVASINA (Resumed)
14 Examined by: Mr. Puliselic:
15 MR. BLAXILL: Excuse the interruption, but we
16 do appear to be short of some accused. I see Mr.
17 Vlatko Kupreskic just here, but Mr. Vladimir Santic is
18 not present. You may be concerned to commence
19 proceedings without one of the accused.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you so much for drawing
21 to our attention the absence of one accused. Well, I
22 wonder whether we could ask probably Defence counsel
23 whether they intend to proceed even if in the absence
24 of an accused. No, he's coming. All right. All
25 right. We may now proceed. Thank you, Prosecutor.
1 Counsel Puliselic?
2 MR. PULISELIC:
3 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kvasina.
4 A. Good morning.
5 Q. We left off at the question where you said
6 that you saw Dragan around the village, that he would
7 greet everyone, that he was always well-disposed, so
8 let me take you further with these questions.
9 Do you know whether Dragan Papic would be
10 outgoing to the people? Would he extend his assistance
11 to them? You mentioned something about wood and the
12 illegal wood cutting, but do you have any additional
13 knowledge in that regard?
14 A. Yes, I do. He helped me too. On one
15 occasion his car -- my car broke down and he came by
16 and fixed it for me.
17 Q. Did you ask that of him? Did he offer it
19 A. He just offered to do it himself. He said he
20 knew how to do it and he did it.
21 Q. What did you transport in this vehicle?
22 A. It was a van in which I bought some carpentry
23 supplies and he -- I was transporting that. He went
24 about fixing it and while I set out to find another
25 vehicle. However, by the time I found the second
1 vehicle he had already fixed the one that had broken
2 down. So he also helped me by driving the second car.
3 And when we arrive at my home he asked -- I asked, "How
4 much do I owe you?" He said, "Nothing."
5 Q. And you said he fined you when you illegally
6 cut wood?
7 A. Yes, he did. He fined me, but before that he
8 issued me several warnings.
9 Q. You also said that you saw Dragan in a
10 village in a store where you played cards, if I
11 understood you correctly, where you could also have a
12 drink or something?
13 A. Yes. There was a general store in the
14 village, and he would pass by there and he would stop
15 by, he would sit down with the locals, he would play
16 cards or just banter.
17 Q. Did you ever hear him in that group in Gornja
18 Veceriska discussing any political issues, that he was
19 sort of forcing certain political views or he was
20 speaking about Muslims on negative terms?
21 A. No. He never discussed politics. For the
22 most part he talked about women.
23 Q. Can you tell us how he dressed? What would
24 he wear when he would go about -- going around the
1 A. He would wear a forester's outfit, green
2 outfit, or sometimes in civilian clothes. Sometimes it
3 would be the -- that camouflage uniform jacket.
4 Q. That was a camouflage uniform jacket?
5 A. Yes, that was camouflage uniform jacket.
6 Q. Did you ever see him wearing -- carrying a
7 rifle, and if he did, why do you think he carried a
8 rifle if he did so?
9 A. Yes, he did carry a rifle, but it was in
10 wintertime when there was a lot of game around and
11 there were some dangerous wild animals. That's why, I
12 think, he felt he need today carry a gun.
13 Q. What do you know about these wild animals?
14 What type of game lived there?
15 A. There were bears, and boars and wolves,
16 especially lately there were -- there were -- there was
17 a lot of wolves. I think that it had to do with the
18 wars, when they came down from Slovenia or something
19 after the war had started. So it was dangerous there.
20 Q. Do you recall until about what period of time
21 you saw Dragan Papic in the Gornja Veceriska area?
22 A. I saw him there until the outbreak of war.
23 Q. How about later?
24 A. Later I saw him after the war ended.
25 Q. No, no, no. I'm only referring to the area
1 of Gornja Veceriska. Did you see him later?
2 A. Oh, no, no. I only saw him there until the
3 outbreak of war.
4 Q. Did he ever come by your house?
5 A. You mean before the outbreak of war?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. Yes. He and his wife came, oh, to my place,
8 but I wasn't there, and my mother later told me he
9 was -- that he had come by with his wife.
10 Q. So you said that you did not -- that you saw
11 him after -- before the war. Did you see something on
12 his face?
13 A. On his face. He had a beard. He was growing
14 a beard. I asked him, "Why are you growing a beard?"
15 He said, "Well, I don't want to shave any more."
16 Q. Does Dragan Papic still have a beard today
17 here in the courtroom?
18 A. Oh, this is nothing compared to what he used
19 to have. He had a much bigger beard before.
20 Q. I see. He had a bigger beard then?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When you talked to him did Dragan ever say --
23 tell something about himself, about his family, about
24 his wife?
25 A. He did not speak about himself. He was just
1 talking about how he would like that his wife gave
2 birth to a son, because she was pregnant at the time.
3 I cannot recall anything else.
4 Q. So he said that he would like to have a son?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you have any knowledge about him having
7 any conflicts with anyone?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did you ever notice that he was violent or
10 have you heard about him ever being violent?
11 A. No, no, I never heard that, and I never
12 noticed him being violent when we were in the company
13 of other people. From what I could notice, I could not
14 notice anything like that.
15 Q. So in closing, what could you say about
16 Papic, about his character, about his personality? If
17 you were to sum it up in just a couple of comments,
18 could you say that he was -- he had a positive
20 A. I could say that he associated with people,
21 he helped people as much as he could. He did not
22 distinguish between different people. He was
23 sociable. He didn't mistreat anyone, he always was the
24 first to greet people.
25 Q. You started to say something and I may have
1 interrupted you. You said that you saw him after the
3 A. Yes. I saw him in Vitez. I asked him,
4 "Where do you work now?" He said, "I work in
5 Impregnacija as a guard."
6 Q. So he no longer worked in Sumarija?
7 A. He couldn't have been because the forest had
8 disappeared. That is, the forests which he had guarded
9 were now under Muslim control. There were -- the
10 defence line was close by and the area was mined. You
11 couldn't pass through.
12 Q. So, in other words, he said that he -- he
13 said that he worked with another company. Do you
14 remember anything else?
15 A. I don't recall now. Maybe we talked about
16 something else but now I cannot recall.
17 MR. PULISELIC: Your Honours, this concludes
18 my questioning of this witness. Thank you.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
20 Counsel Pavkovic?
21 MR. PAVKOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
22 As far as I can see, there will be no further questions
23 by any other colleagues, of this witness.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you so much. So the
25 Prosecutor? Before Mr. Blaxill starts with the
1 cross-examination, I wonder whether I could raise an
3 On this particular point, I mean, in this
4 particular case, we -- the Defence counsel is harping
5 on so many minute details which may not be contested by
6 the Prosecution. For instance, what about the beard?
7 Is the Prosecution contesting that the accused had a
8 much longer, bigger beard in 1992/93? If the
9 Prosecutor is not contesting this particular point, I
10 wonder whether it is -- there's any point in
11 repeating -- I mean, going back to this particular
12 issue so many times. We have heard so far about five
13 or six witnesses who have testified about the beard of
14 the accused.
15 MR. BLAXILL: I think, Mr. President, I can
16 certainly confirm certain of these matters. The
17 Prosecution takes no issue with the fact that Mr. Papic
18 was clearly, as my learned colleague, Mr. Terrier, has
19 previously expressed about certain of the traits of the
20 accused, he has -- we have no indications of any bad
21 character in the past; on the contrary. His activities
22 mending motor cars and so forth are fully accepted.
23 The fact that he wore his camouflage coat is
24 not a matter of -- in dispute, and that it was in the
25 context at times with his forestry work, that he
1 carried a rifle as a forestry man, that he indeed had a
2 very full beard at the time. Again, that has been
3 evidenced, I think, in video evidence before Your
5 So we take no issue with those things, and I
6 think in reality the nature of my own cross-examination
7 will probably indicate that in the main the Prosecution
8 take have little issue with very little that he said
9 about the characters of the accused, as indeed my
10 colleague has previously indicated to the Chamber.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: You may now proceed.
12 MR. BLAXILL: I'm obliged to you. Thank you,
13 Mr. President.
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
15 Q. Mr. Kvasina, good morning to you. My name is
16 Michael Blaxill. I'm one of the Prosecutors in this
18 A. Good morning, sir.
19 Q. As a result of your evidence, I would like to
20 ask you a very few questions, and the first is that is
21 it true to say, isn't it, that the relations between
22 the Croat ethnic group and the Muslim ethnic group in
23 your area was, in fact, very friendly and very normal
24 at least until about the middle of 1992. Would that be
1 A. Yes. They were friendly. Because Muslims
2 would come -- from Donja Veceriska would come to visit
3 Croats in Gornja Veceriska. During the alerts, during
4 the overflights of aeroplanes, they came to Gornja
5 Veceriska because it was in a valley, in a bowl of
6 sorts, so they felt safer up there.
7 Q. So in fact if there was any enemy at all in
8 the horizon, you had the common enemy at the time, you
9 felt, of the Serbs, the Bosnian Serbs, who were
10 performing as you felt -- you know, aggression in the
11 area; is that correct?
12 You can just say yes or no.
13 A. Yes. That is correct.
14 Q. Thank you. And during that period, however,
15 you know, the politics started to set in; and isn't it
16 true that from what political developments went on, the
17 atmosphere began to change between the ethnic Croats
18 and the ethnic Muslims towards the later part of 1992?
19 A. Could you please clarify this question a
20 little bit?
21 Q. Well, we've been told in this Chamber before
22 that in a sense, nobody could help but be affected by
23 the changes that happened between the Muslims and the
24 Croats towards the end of 1992; the atmosphere affected
25 everybody. Would you say that was fair?
1 A. I cannot tell you specifically -- you mean
2 where I was, in my environment? That was a Croat
3 village. When I went to Vitez, and with whomever I
4 communicated, I behaved normally. At that time I was
5 building a house. So I did not really distinguish
6 between people. Perhaps there were some little
7 confrontations; I don't know.
8 Q. Were your contacts with Mr. Dragan Papic
9 mainly during -- mainly in your own village area?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And of course you've just said that that was
12 in fact a Croat village, so you were all Croats
13 together at that time, in that village?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So as regards the relationships of Mr. Papic
16 with Muslim people, is this what you've heard either
17 him say or other people say about him?
18 A. I heard from other people and from him, and
19 by people talking.
20 Q. I'm not disputing what you've said about him,
21 sir, because we accept that; it's just your own
22 personal experience, to put in context.
23 You said that he carried the weapon, of
24 course, his weapon, his rifle, because of the wild
25 animals present in the forests around your area; is
1 that right?
2 A. Yes, he carried the rifle because there was
3 strong -- there were severe winters, and it was a big
4 forest. So in my view, he had to be safe there.
5 Q. It may be a small point, Mr. Kvasina, but you
6 mentioned the presence of wolves which you felt had
7 perhaps become worse after the war started. Did you
8 have much of a problem for people in the forest with
9 wolves before the war?
10 A. What kind of problems are you referring to?
11 Q. A danger to anybody who would be walking in
12 the woods or working in the woods.
13 A. It was dangerous because there were -- wolves
14 appeared, in addition to the bears which had been there
15 before, so now there were wolves in addition.
16 Q. So in fact before the war it was still
17 prudent to carry the weapon because of the threat of
18 bears, and after the war started it was worse because
19 of wolves too; thank you.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Would you say that from your knowledge of
22 Mr. Papic, if he was a man who was placed under threat,
23 or a man who was ordered to serve in the military or
24 something like that, would you say he was also a
25 character who would stand up for himself?
1 A. I never heard that he threatened anyone, that
2 he said anything to anyone.
3 Q. No, I think maybe sir, I didn't express the
4 question for you to understand it properly. I'm saying
5 if it is the other way around, if Mr. Papic was man who
6 felt under threat, do you think he had a strong enough
7 personality that he would stand up for himself if he
8 had to?
9 A. No, he was always the same. He was always
10 smiling, he was always joyful. He had a good, cheerful
12 Q. Thank you very much.
13 MR. BLAXILL: I have no further questions
14 Your Honour.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Counsel
17 MR. PULISELIC: Thank you. Just a couple of
19 Q. Mr. Kvasina, my learned colleague Blaxill
20 asked about the presence of wolves. Would you please
21 say when did the presence of wolves intensify in the
22 area? I believe that you answered my questions -- my
23 question; 'when the war in Croatia started'.
24 A. Yes, that is when their presence intensified
25 in the forests.
1 Q. When answering the question by Mr. Blaxill,
2 it appeared as if you said that the presence of wolves
3 intensified after the war started in the Lasva Valley?
4 A. No, no, no, it was after it started in
5 Slovenia. So people were saying that somehow they
6 drifted down from there, that they were chased out of
7 there. Now they were are around, from where they came
8 I don't know.
9 Q. I just wanted to clear up that point. The
10 second question I have is what is -- who lived in Donja
11 Veceriska? You said that in Gornja Veceriska Croats
12 lived, but what about Donja Veceriska, lower Veceriska?
13 A. Both Croats and Muslims lived in Donja
14 Veceriska. About half and half. I don't know exactly
15 the numbers.
16 Q. Do you know whether Muslims, too, engaged in
17 illegal woodcutting?
18 A. Yes, Muslims did as well as the Serbs, in
19 addition to the Croat villagers.
20 Q. I see. Did the Muslims from Donja Veceriska
21 pass through Gornja Veceriska on the way to the forest?
22 A. Yes, they had to pass through because there
23 was no other way.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. PULISELIC: I have no further questions.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
2 Mr. Kvasina, thank you for giving evidence in
3 Court. You may now be released. Thank you.
4 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
5 (The witness withdrew).
6 JUDGE CASSESE: And we may now move on to the
7 first of the five witnesses to be called by Counsel
8 Radovic and Slokovic-Glumac. So Mr. Vidovic?
9 Does the Defence require any protective
10 measures for these five witnesses?
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: No, Mr. President, we
12 do not.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: None of them? Good. All
15 (The witness entered court).
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Mr. Vidovic.
17 Could you please make the solemn declaration.
18 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
19 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
23 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
24 WITNESS: MILUTIN VIDOVIC
25 Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
1 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
2 Mr. President.
3 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vidovic.
4 A. Good morning.
5 Q. Would you introduce yourself, please?
6 A. My name is Milutin Vidovic. I was born on
7 the 31st of January, 1961, in Vitez.
8 Q. Where do you reside?
9 A. I reside in Vitez.
10 Q. What schooling have you had?
11 A. I have completed secondary school, vocational
12 school, and I am a machinist by profession.
13 Q. In 1992, can you tell us where you were
15 A. In 1992, I was employed in the Slobodan
16 Princip Selo company, and I worked in the boiler room
17 there until March or April, when I was sent home and I
18 waited, but I was nonetheless registered as an
20 Q. Where did you work after that?
21 A. In April I worked with Ljuban Santic, my
22 neighbour, and I rented a cafe from Pican, and we ran
23 the cafe for three to four months.
24 Q. After that, did you change your job?
25 A. After that, I went to work at the market, the
1 vegetable market.
2 Q. Did you continue to work there until the
3 beginning of the war?
4 A. Yes, I worked there until the first and
5 second conflict. In the meantime, I went to Gornji
6 Vitez and opened a kiosk selling foodstuffs next to the
7 house of my sister, Marija.
8 Q. At that time, you have already told us where
9 you worked, but were you a member of the active
10 component of the HVO at the time?
11 A. No, I was not.
12 Q. Did you in any way take part in the war
13 against the Serbs that took place in 1992?
14 A. Yes. Yes, I went twice to the front line,
15 towards the Serbs. The first time was at Slatka Voda
16 above Novi Travnik. I went there for seven days. And
17 the second time I went to Vlasic, once again a
18 seven-day shift. On both occasions, I went
20 Q. Do you remember when that was in 1992? Was
21 it the beginning of the year, the middle of the year,
22 or the end of the year?
23 A. The first time I went to Slatka Voda, I think
24 it was the middle of the year. And at Vlasic, I think
25 that was at the end of the summer, around September. I
1 don't know exactly.
2 Q. I'm asking you this because you are on the
3 list of the active component of the HVO.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And we sent this list to the Trial Chamber.
6 Did you ever receive any remuneration from the HVO, a
7 salary of any kind?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did you in any way take part in any wartime
10 operations, apart from the two occasions that you
11 mentioned now, up until the 16th of April, 1993?
12 A. No.
13 Q. How come, then, that you are on the list? Is
14 it an exact fact?
15 A. I don't know. I don't think the data there
16 is exact, because I was never within the active
17 component of the HVO until the war and after the war.
18 Afterwards, we all moved over, up to the defence line.
19 Q. So up to the 16th of April, you were not
21 A. No.
22 Q. When you went on these two occasions to the
23 front line facing the Serbs, Slatka Voda and Vlasic,
24 did you receive weapons and a military uniform from
1 A. On both occasions I borrowed parts of a
2 uniform from Ante Vidovic Satko, I got a hat from him,
3 and from Ipaca I got some boots, and from Dragan Calic,
4 I got a rifle. And when I came back from the front, I
5 returned this clothing and the weapon to these people.
6 Q. Who are these people? Are they people from
7 the village, or where are they from?
8 A. Yes, they're from the village. Dragan Calic
9 is from Nadioci, and the other two are from Santici.
10 Q. You say that he gave you a rifle; that means
11 that you did not have a rifle?
12 A. No, I did not. I did not have a rifle up
13 until the fall of Jajce. When the wave of refugees
14 came into Vitez, a lot of weapons were bought and
15 that's where I bought myself an M-48 rifle.
16 Q. Tell us, how much did you pay for your
17 rifle? How expensive was it?
18 A. It cost me 150 Deutschmarks.
19 Q. Where did you buy the rifle? Where were
20 rifles bought and sold?
21 A. In the town itself. There was a wave of
22 refugees, there was a column of tractors, and heavy
23 duty things, and it was raining, and they asked to
24 spend the night there. The Croats stayed there. After
25 one or two days, they would move on and go further
1 towards Tomislavgrad and towards Croatia. The majority
2 of the Muslim refugees stayed in Vitez, because we
3 noticed afterwards that there were a lot of people we
4 didn't know, unknown people, in all the surrounding
5 villages and in the town itself.
6 Q. What about your own village?
7 A. In Santici, there were no people from Jajce.
8 There were a few Croats -- that is to say I know they
9 went on up to Busovaca, and the Muslims for the most
10 part were in Ahmici, where there were about 20 or 30
11 people put up in one house or in various apartments or
12 where they could. They went where they could.
13 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: May we now have
14 Prosecutor's Exhibit -- the big map of Ahmici,
15 Number 2, the aerial photograph of Ahmici, the
16 Prosecution Exhibit Number 2.
17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Vidovic, could you now
18 please, on this aerial photograph of Ahmici, indicate
19 the location of your house and the area of Santici.
20 A. My house is located here (indicating). The
21 general area of Santici is this area here which you
22 can't see on the map, and it goes this way up until
23 here, the stadium, and stretching along this way up to
24 the road and below the road, but that these sections --
25 this section here is called Gornja Zume and this area
1 is Donja Zume, where it is all the village of Santici
3 Q. So Zume are, in fact, part of Santici; is
4 that correct?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. This part which follows on from Santici and
7 which says "Ahmici" in the middle, is that the village
8 of Ahmici?
9 A. This? You mean this (indicating)? No. This
10 is Pirici, and Pirici borders on Santici, this way,
11 this part here right up until the road, towards Ahmici,
12 and Ahmici are this part here, Donja Ahmici, Gornja
13 Ahmici (indicating). And this is Pirici, the forest
14 and everything in that area (indicating).
15 Q. When you say Gornji Pirici, Upper Pirici,
16 what part of Pirici is that?
17 A. I said Upper Ahmici, Gornja Ahmici.
18 Q. But when they say Gornji Pirici, what area
19 does that refer to?
20 A. Those are these houses here along the forest
22 Q. Tell us, please, in the part that you
23 indicated where your own house is located, was that a
24 predominantly Muslim part or a Croat part?
25 A. This was a predominantly Croatian part, just
1 like Santici proper.
2 Q. Who were your next door neighbours, your
3 Muslim next door neighbours?
4 A. My nearest neighbour --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
6 A. -- he lived across the road here, (redacted),
7 and he lived here (indicating), and the neighbours on
8 the lower half of the road.
9 That means that it (redacted)
10 (redacted) up here (indicating).
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
12 Q. So they were your only neighbours?
13 A. Yes, my closest neighbours there.
14 Q. And on the upper part of the road; is that
16 A. Yes. Along the upper part of the road.
17 Q. That is to say, on the left-hand side if
18 you're going from Vitez; is that correct?
19 A. Yes, it is.
20 Q. Would you show us Pican's cafe, the location
21 of Pican's cafe?
22 A. Pican's cafe here right by the road
24 Q. In that part there is another cafe?
25 A. Yes, the cafe of Ivo Vidovic. It is located
1 some 20 metres away from the main road on this route
2 towards my house, on the right-hand side.
3 Q. So in fact, these two cafes are next to each
5 A. Yes. They are just divided by the road.
6 Q. Thank you. You can resume usual seat now.
7 Were there any village guards in your part of
8 the village in 1992?
9 A. Yes, there were.
10 Q. Do you recall when these village guards were
11 set up, when you started to set up the village guards?
12 A. We started establishing village guards after
13 the conflict with the Serbs. That is to say, from
15 People organised themselves. They would
16 leave their houses because they were afraid for their
17 families. It was rumoured that on several occasions,
18 in the Serbian village of Tolovici, a helicopter had
19 landed there, and there was a the lot of looting, cars
20 were being stolen. There were bands that went around
21 stealing cars and storming garages to steal the cars,
22 breaking into the garages.
23 Q. Were you a member of the village guard?
24 A. No, I was not.
25 Q. Up until the first conflict?
1 A. Up until the first conflict I was not on
2 guard duty.
3 Q. Why not?
4 A. Because I didn't have any weapons, and I
5 would spend the whole day working at the market, from
6 early in the morning until late at night.
7 Q. You said that the village guards were set up
8 in 1992. What part of 1992, the first half, the second
9 half? When were they formed?
10 A. At the end of the first half, that is to say
11 that in April and May of 1992 the village guards were
12 set up.
13 Q. How many people were included, according to
14 your knowledge, into the village guard in your part of
15 the village?
16 A. There were not many people that took part in
17 these watches because not everybody had weapons. The
18 people that had weapons would take part in the village
19 guards and there were about ten of these. They were
20 Croats. Afterwards, they were joined by the Muslims
21 from the lower pat of the village and the village
22 guards were manned jointly.
23 Q. Who of the Muslims stood guard with the
24 Croats in your part of the village? Did you see
25 Muslims going out to do guard duty?
1 A. Yes. The sons – (redacted)
2 (redacted) they would go with two Croats. I'm
3 quoting them as an example. Then there was Braco
4 Vrebac on one occasion, and he was with Ljuban Santic.
5 Then there were two members from(redacted).
6 There was Fahran Ahmic. He came from the lower part of
7 the village and they met up at Ivo's cafe somewhere. I
8 know that (redacted) was also included, as was his
9 brother-in-law Strmonja Miralem.
10 Q. (redacted) and Strmonja Miralem are Muslims,
11 are they not?
12 A. Yes, they are.
13 Q. Could you indicate on the map, please, which
14 route did you go when you went on guard duty?
15 A. We would go from the main road, taking this
16 route towards my own house, towards Zdravko Vrebac's
17 house, and on towards to Pirici to the Vrebac houses
18 below the forest -- no, that's a mistake. We went this
19 way (indicating). These are the houses. Then we would
20 go back towards Niko Sakic's house and Ramo's house.
21 This is the route we took for the most part
23 Q. So it means that you went from the road to
24 the left-hand side --
25 A. Up to my own house and then upwards towards
1 the Vrebac's houses. Then we would go back, go towards
2 Niko Sakic's house this way (indicating).
3 Q. Thank you very much.
4 When you became included into the village
5 watch -- you said that you became a member after the
6 first conflict?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was there an individual in your part of the
9 village who would organise these village guards?
10 A. No. Nobody existed. We would organise
11 ourselves, and, quite simply, I would replace the
12 people who had done guard duty. I would do that
13 several times to give the people a chance to rest and
14 to have a good night's sleep from time to time.
15 Q. How then did you make up the shifts and how
16 would you know who would be on guard duty the next
18 A. There were no schedules. It would be me
19 today, you tomorrow, somebody would replace somebody
20 else. So there was no real schedule or order in which
21 this was done.
22 Q. Were you in any way linked with people who
23 did guard duty in other parts of the village?
24 A. No. No, we were not linked up with them
25 because each part of the village would have its own
1 village watch around their own houses, protecting their
2 own families, their women and children who were
3 sleeping, their elderly folk, and their property.
4 Q. Let us now move on to the first conflict
5 which took place on the 19th of October, 1992. Where
6 were you on that particular day, that is to say, on
7 that particular night?
8 A. On the 19th of October, 1992, that day I went
9 to work in the marketplace, and as I always did, I came
10 home towards dusk. And I had a car, the make was a
11 Kadett. I left the goods I had at home, and then went
12 to Ivo Vidovic's cafe. This was sometime around 8.30
13 to 9.00.
14 I don't know who was there but there were
15 some 15 people, and somebody turned up from the
16 direction of Busovaca towards Vitez and told us that
17 the Muslims had placed a barricade near our cemetery at
18 Topala. In talking about this event, I and Anto
19 Vidovic, Pero Jelic, decided to go to the cemetery,
20 because we were previously told that the Muslims were
21 digging trenches on the left-hand side of the cemetery
22 and in the cemetery itself.
23 Fifteen days prior to that, I had erected a
24 monument to my late mother, and I wanted to see that
25 her tombstone had not fallen down perhaps, or that
1 something had happened that none of us would like to
2 see happening.
3 About 9.00 we started out along the main road
4 towards the cemetery, myself and Anto and Pero. We
5 arrived at the cemetery, we went into the cemetery and
6 we didn't find any Muslims there, nor did we notice
7 that any trench digging was going on in the cemetery
9 However, at the turning by the cemetery, two
10 hedgehog devices had been positioned and several
11 anti-tank mines, and on the other side we heard thuds,
12 as if something was being dug, and we could make out
13 the silhouettes, the contours. I couldn't see exactly
14 how many people were there, it was night-time, but we
15 could make out some silhouettes.
16 We didn't talk to anybody. We lit candles in
17 the church at the cemetery, and returned and went to
18 the road entering into -- which goes into Ahmici.
19 At the entrance to Ahmici itself, some ten
20 metres away there was another barricade that had been
21 set up, and it was made out of wooden logs,
22 horizontally placed logs, with two anti-tank mines.
23 We stopped there because we recognised some
24 local Muslims, (redacted), Pezer Ibrisim, his brother,
25 (redacted), the driver of the bus, and
1 there was the other Pezer. He's also a bus driver and
2 his nickname is Scene. I think his name was Nezir.
3 Yeah, it may be Nezir.
4 Q. Nezir Ahmic you mean?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You recognised these people, did you?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. At the barricade were there people whom you
9 didn't recognise?
10 A. Apart from them at the barricade there were
11 seven or eight other individuals that I didn't know.
12 And going back, there was Asim Ahmic's son at the
13 barricade, and he was going back with us. He was going
14 back towards his house, because his house was also in
15 the direction of Santici from this road going to
16 Ahmici, and he was accompanied by a tall young man.
17 I asked him, the young man, where he was from
18 because I didn't know this tall young man, and he just
19 mumbled something and said, "Well, I'm from these
20 parts," and didn't say anything else.
21 Then they separated and branched off going
22 towards their own house and we went back towards Ivo
23 Vidovic's cafe.
24 Q. The people that you saw up at the barricade,
25 did they have any weapons?
1 A. (redacted)
3 and a pistol, and he was dressed in a uniform -- a
4 guard uniform, because, in fact, he worked at the
5 Princip factory as a guard.
6 (redacted) had a machine gun but a new
7 type. It was the Serbian type of submachine gun.
8 Other people – (redacted) a hunting
9 carbine, and the tall young man had an automatic
11 Q. Were they wearing uniforms?
12 A. (redacted)
13 and all the other people whom I didn't know had
14 uniforms. (redacted)
15 Princip factory guard uniform, Ibrisim was wearing
16 civilian clothing and his brother was wearing civilian
18 Q. Did you notice what kind of uniforms they
19 were wearing? Were they camouflage uniforms, new
21 A. They were all camouflage uniforms.
22 Q. Did they have any insignia, any signs of any
23 kind on the uniforms, or didn't you notice?
24 A. I cannot remember exactly whether there were
25 any -- whether there were insignia. I know (redacted)
3 Q. What happened up at the barricade when you
4 turned up there? What was going on?
5 A. You mean the one in Ahmici?
6 Q. Yes?
7 A. Well, when we reached the barricade they were
8 behind the barricade, and there was a sort of bunker
9 made out of some blocks, towards the right-hand corner,
11 Q. Just one moment, please. When you say
12 "bunkers" you meant blockades by the road?
13 A. Blocks piled up one on top of another forming
14 a square.
15 Q. Please continue.
16 A. When we arrived in front of Ivo's cafe --
17 Q. I apologise, but just tell us what you talked
18 to them about.
19 A. Well, we talked about the information that we
20 had received, that our cemetery had been desecrated and
21 that trench digging was going on, and so that this
22 should not be done in -- during the course of the
23 night, (redacted) that this wouldn't happen
24 and we didn't want any conflict to break out because of
25 these things.
1 Q. Did you ask them why they were manning the
3 A. I asked – we asked(redacted) why they had these
4 barricades put up, and he said, "Well, I don't know."
5 He said that it was because some weapons had been
6 seized. I don't really know exactly.
7 Q. So it was a sort of retribution?
8 A. Something of the kind, yes.
9 Q. You went back to Ivo Danicin's cafe, did you
10 not, and what happened on that evening?
11 A. That evening we told them that the Muslims
12 were not digging trenches in our cemetery, that we had
13 talked to them and that there would be no problems
14 there. I went home to sleep, and in the morning, I was
15 woken up at about 4 a.m. by Dragan Vidovic, Nikica, my
16 next-door neighbour, and he told me to get up and said
17 the Muslims were blocking the road, and that they were
18 not allowing anybody to pass, and that we should be
20 So I got up --
21 Q. Just one moment. Dragan Vidovic is your
22 neighbour, is he?
23 A. Dragan Vidovic, Nikica's son. There are five
24 Dragan Vidovics. This was Nikica's Dragan.
25 Q. You mean in the village?
1 A. Yes, in the village.
2 Q. And this particular Dragan Vidovic, Nikica,
3 had a house in Santici; is that right?
4 A. Yes. It is across the road from (redacted)
5 house; that's where his house is.
6 Q. Thank you. You may continue.
7 A. I went with him to Anto Vidovic's house,
8 which is right next to the stadium at Zume. Satko also
9 got up. We were in his yard. There was fog that
10 morning. Sometime before 5.00, a burst of fire could
11 be heard somewhere in the direction of Ahmici. That's
12 where it came from. And at 5.00 in the morning, you
13 could hear some kind of music, which was very unusual
14 for me; I had not heard such music before. It was
15 coming from the mosque itself. They had powerful
17 And the announcement came: "Croats,
18 surrender. This is a holy war, a jihad. You are
19 surrounded. You stand no chance."
20 This was followed by an explosion, and this
21 music stopped, and this announcement. It was foggy, so
22 we couldn't see anything.
23 Sometime around 6.15, 6.20, I went to the
24 house of Mirko Sakic with Dragan. I found Mirko Sakic
25 there, Miro Pudja, Dragan Samija, Miro Samija, Miro
1 Vidovic, Anto Vrnada, Mirko Grgic, Pero Jelic. And
2 after us, other people came; Braco Vrebac Zdanko.
3 Q. Who are these people?
4 A. All these people were residents of Zume, of
5 that area, in Zume. Civilians, so to speak.
6 Q. In other words, your neighbours?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you please show to the Trial Chamber on
9 this aerial photograph where exactly you went, which
10 road you took to Mirko Sakic's house, and where that
11 house is located.
12 A. This house is Anto Vidovic Satko's house.
13 This is my house. I took this road here to his house.
14 From Satko's house, when I went with Dragan, I took
15 this road past Niko Vidovic's house, where a shelter
16 was, (redacted), to the house of Niko Sakic.
17 Q. This Niko Sacic's house; please point to
18 that, too.
19 A. (Indicating).
20 Q. Thank you. How far is it from the
21 Kupreskics' houses?
22 A. It is about 150 metres, maybe up to 200
23 metres from the Kupreskic houses. If you go to
24 Kupreskic houses, you have to take this road and arrive
25 to the houses.
1 Q. Thank you. So that's where your neighbours
2 were. You arrived, and what happened there? Could you
3 hear or see anything?
4 A. About 6.30, you could -- we heard shooting
5 from the lower part of Ahmici. Later we learned that
6 this shooting was around the cemetery itself, the
7 Croatian cemetery. Dragan Vidovic and Zdravko Vrebac
8 and I, since there were no Kupreskics around, went to
9 this depression, and from there peered to see around
10 and saw Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic, with their wives
11 and children, near Ivica's father's house.
12 We approached them. I helped Zoran and
13 Zdravko helped Mirjan to carry a child, because they
14 also had bags with things for children. We helped them
15 come to Mirko Sakic's house. They went on to the
16 shelter, and I stayed at Mirko's house.
17 Q. Do you know to which shelter they went?
18 A. We sent them in the direction of my house. I
19 know that Zoran's wife, Mira, was at my place, and
20 Mirjan's wife was at Zdravko Vrebac's house, in fact in
21 the basement of his sister's house. But she also came
22 to my house because they were one next to another.
23 Q. Did they go to their sister's?
24 A. They only stayed there very briefly. And
25 they then went to Santici, to Zoran and Mirjan's
2 Q. Where is their sister's house? What is their
3 sister's name? Can you say that?
4 A. Their sister is in Santici. It's -- Zorica
5 is her name, and it's Anto Rajic's house. You cannot
6 see their house on the map. It would be right here.
8 Q. So this is still Santici?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. After they took their wives and children to
11 the shelter, do you know, did they go to their sister
12 at that time, or later? Did they tell you this?
13 A. No, they did not.
14 Q. Did they come back to where you were?
15 A. Yes, they came to where we were, and we were
16 with us (sic) at Mirko's house all day.
17 Q. What happened in the village on that day?
18 You said that the shooting had started; and after that?
19 A. After that, the population -- that is, women
20 and children -- were moving to shelters. The ones who
21 were close by. You could hear intense fire there.
22 Q. Which part of Ahmici?
23 A. In lower Ahmici, near the cemetery, yes.
24 Q. This shooting, how long did it last? Was it
25 intense shooting, or sporadic?
1 A. While we were helping Zoran and Mirjan carry
2 their stuff, the shooting was intense. Later on it
3 quieted down, and it stopped sometime in the afternoon,
4 sometime around 4.00.
5 Q. Did you see where the shooting was going on,
6 who was taking part in fighting?
7 A. No, we could not see from the -- from the --
8 our vantage point, which was behind Sakic's house. It
9 was foggy, plus you couldn't see that area from the
10 trees, the forest. Later on I learned that a Croat was
11 killed there, and a Muslim; I think his name was Halid
12 Pezer. And Andzelko Vidovic, from some unit
13 in Busovaca -- from Busovaca, which was en route to
15 Q. Was this Halid Pezer a soldier? Do you know
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. How do you know this?
19 A. He was a military recruit. I know that he
20 was over 18 years of age. Muslims were sending their
21 people to near Sarajevo, to Cekrcici. This was just on
22 the eve of these events. I know that when they were
23 returning from Sarajevo, from Cekrcici, there was
24 shooting. People were shooting in the air, celebrating
25 their safe return.
1 Q. You saw this Halid Pezer, and that's how you
2 know he was a soldier? I don't quite understand what
3 you just said.
4 A. We saw them in uniforms when they were going
5 to Sarajevo, to Cekrcici. They were going in buses and
7 Q. So you were referring to the Muslims whom you
8 were seeing around at that time?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. On that day, did you see any houses burning?
11 A. On that day, we only noticed that there was
12 one fire in the lower part of the village, and later we
13 learned that Sudzuka's house had burned down, and a
14 barn, and Drago Josipovic's barn.
15 Q. Did you notice that the Muslim population was
16 leaving the village?
17 A. Yes, behind Mirko's house, in a forest, I
18 noticed a man and a woman leading a cow and going in
19 the direction of upper Ahmici. At that time, Mirko,
20 Dragan Vidovic -- I think Zoran was also with us -- and
21 I went to this depression, and there was like a cluster
22 of trees there, and we heard some voices around the
23 house of Rudo Vidovic. His house was unfinished at the
25 From this cluster of trees, I crawled over to
1 see who it was. In this shelter, I saw Goga Vidovic,
2 her mother, and I could also overhear some male
3 voices. I spent there about a minute or two, and then
4 I heard Goga addressing one of them by name. I
5 realised that they were Muslims.
6 Q. Were they hiding in this shelter?
7 A. Yes, they were in the shelter, all of them.
8 Down in this basement area.
9 Q. Could you please show on these aerial
10 photographs where Rudo Vidovic's unfinished house was?
11 A. This should be around here. We were here
12 (Indicating). It is like an island. You see there's,
13 like, all forest around. And see, this is the
14 depression (Indicating). Then we went -- from there I
15 went over to the house and then went back.
16 Q. Did Gordana Vidovic talk to these people in a
17 normal voice, like, the voices were not agitated or
19 A. Yes. Yes, she talked to them in a normal
21 Q. You may be seated again.
22 So you said that you heard shooting going on
23 until the afternoon, and then what happened after the
24 shooting stopped?
25 A. After the shooting stopped, we spent the rest
1 of the day -- I believe we also spent that whole night
2 at Mirko Sakic's house, in a shed where the wood was
3 kept. The next day and the following days I continued
4 to work on the market, while the Muslims who had worked
5 in the market did not show up for three or four days.
6 Q. Which Muslims are you referring to?
7 A. Only to the Muslims from Ahmici. For
8 instance, Alaga Ahmic, I can take him for example,
9 because he worked with me at the marketplace. And some
11 Q. Did all Muslims flee the village on the
12 20th? If you know.
13 A. From my part of the village, nobody left,
14 including (redacted) with his family, or Miralem
15 Strmonja, or (redacted). Only three or four sons,
16 one of them was quite young, so he stayed behind; only
17 those three or four went to Pirici, to Zeir's place,
18 because they were close with each other, and they would
19 occasionally spend a night there. So -- but none
20 others left.
21 Q. So you are saying that you kept -- you saw
22 your neighbours on the following days?
23 A. Yes. I saw them on the following days.
24 Q. Do you know whether Muslims fled from other
25 parts of the village?
1 A. I don't know that. I saw some going from the
2 lower part of the village to the upper part of the
3 village, but I don't know where, and I didn't see
4 anybody else leaving.
5 Q. Do you know whether any of the Muslims asked
6 that -- in other words, I'm just asking whether the
7 Croats asked the Muslims to turn in weapons.
8 A. I know that Croats had asked that some four
9 rifles be returned to them which had been taken away
10 from them at the barricade near the cemetery. And
11 other than that, I don't know of any other cases.
12 Q. Do you know who asked this?
13 A. I don't know.
14 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I would just like that
15 some of these positions be marked on the aerial
16 photographs. I think we will be -- we will be coming
17 to that in the future testimony, so if I may ask the
18 usher's assistance with that.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Document D82/2.
20 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
21 Q. Mr. Vidovic, will you please mark -- if you
22 can mark your own house with a circle. Where is your
23 house located?
24 A. (Marks)
25 Q. Will you now please mark the house of Mirko,
1 that is Niko Sakic's house?
2 A. (Marks)
3 Q. Will you please shade the path you took from
4 your house to Niko Sakic's house?
5 A. (Marks)
6 Q. And now from Niko Sakic's house could you
7 show which road you take to go to the Kupreskic
9 A. Shall I mark it?
10 Q. Yes. Use your magic marker to draw the
12 A. (Marks)
13 Q. Is this a path of some sort?
14 A. Yes, it's a footpath. There's no road
15 there. From Nicko's house on there's no road.
16 Q. Now, please mark the position -- the location
17 where you were on the 20th. What was that location
18 where you said that you arrived at Niko Sakic's house
19 and then went down into that depression?
20 A. This is Niko's house (marks). This is when I
21 helped Zoran and Mirjans' -- the family. Then I backed
22 up this way to Niko's house, and I remained there and
23 they continued on.
24 Q. Where were you on that day? Where did you --
25 A. Behind Niko's house to the edge of this
1 little fort, and then you can call this an island and I
2 was there, this cluster of trees (indicating)
3 Q. Does this depression have some kind of a
4 natural cover?
5 A. Yes, there is a forest and there is this
6 depression which is fairly deep, so you couldn't see
7 from it until you reached the very edge of it.
8 Q. Will you also please show where this
9 barricade was located by the cemetery and on that road
10 so that we can mark that too?
11 A. It was right here, at the beginning of this
12 curve, and then this is where the trenches were dug
13 (marks), and at this intersection to the -- of the road
14 to Ahmici (marks).
15 Q. So one barricade by the cemetery and the
16 other one where -- at the turn-off. And this trench
17 which you marked, did you see that trench later on?
18 A. Yes. I saw that trenches had been dug up,
19 and I later learned that that is where the fighting
20 took place, where Halid Pezer and Andjelko Vidovic were
21 killed. It is near this road.
22 Q. Very well. Thank you.
23 I think we can take a break right now and
24 then move to the second part of the testimony after the
25 break so that we keep it in one continuous whole.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. So we'll take a
3 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
5 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
6 Mr. President.
7 Q. Therefore, after that first conflict, what
8 were the relations like between the Muslims and Croats
9 in the village? Did you see any problems in that
11 A. After the first conflict the Croatian-Muslim
12 relations became more tense, and there was a certain
13 amount of mistrust, the one towards the others.
14 The village guards were separated. There
15 were separate Croat-Muslim guards and Muslim village
16 guards, and each separate group would stand guard in
17 front of their own houses. The people working with me
18 at the market I felt of a certain amount of distrust
19 towards me. You couldn't do any work together with
20 them as you could before the conflict.
21 Q. Were there any incidents of any kind in the
23 A. (No audible response)
24 Q. In your part of the village, were there any
25 problems with the Croats and the Muslims?
1 A. In my part of the village there were no
2 problems with the Croats and the Muslims either before
3 or after that first conflict.
4 Q. Did you notice that barricades were being set
5 up in the village, facing the Muslim section of the
7 A. On one particular evening after the first
8 conflict, some 30 days later, one of my friends, Mirko
9 Grgic, had a Mercedes motor car, and he had had
10 something to drink and I got in the car with him, it
11 was evening, around 21.30 hours, when he, with his car,
12 turned into Ahmici. I tried to convince him not to go
13 but he kept driving on, and he turned off by Vlatko
14 Kupreskic's house, moving towards Gornji or Upper
16 Just up above Vlatko Kupreskic's house there
17 was a Muslim barricade, and two what we call goat
18 devices were set up and a log across them, and there
19 were mines, and these trestles were put up and they
20 stopped us and our car. This was right by the house of
21 Sead Ahmic and his father Zuhdija.
22 At the barricade was Pezer Sesro, Pezer
24 Q. Were the people at the barricades armed?
25 A. Yes, they were armed. Zuhdija Ahmic came up
1 to Mirko on his side, he opened the window, and he told
2 him to go back, that he couldn't go on. Mirko went
3 back for several metres, turned the car around and we
4 went back the way we came.
5 I criticized him for the whole thing, because
6 in the evening hours, at that time, it wasn't a good
7 idea to go into other sections of the village which
8 were inhabited either by Muslims or by any other ethnic
10 Q. Were you frightened on the occasion?
11 A. Well, I was frightened on the occasion and
12 said that I would never enter a car with him again, and
13 I told him a couple of other things to boot, so that I
14 didn't go anywhere with him any more, especially not at
16 Q. On the 15th of April, 1993, that is to say,
17 one day before the conflict broke out in Vitez, where
18 were you and what were you doing?
19 A. On that day I went to work in the marketplace
20 as I usually do and -- at the kiosk in Gornji Vitez,
21 and at the market I saw a lot of Muslims. My friends
22 were there too, Mirko Grgic, Anto Vrnada. I saw my
23 brother there as well.
24 Q. What's your brother's name?
25 A. Zoran Vidovic. He was in the PZO but he was
1 in civilian clothes on that day, and he was in the
2 Lovac cafe with the boys from the marketplace who
3 worked there. He was with Slovenka and Ljilja and they
4 were sitting down at the same table together.
5 Q. You said your brother was a member of the
6 PZO. That is air defence; is that right?
7 A. Yes. That's right.
8 Q. Was this PZO part of the HVO?
9 A. No. The then PZO was a mixed defence corps.
10 There were Muslims and Croats there, and anti-aircraft
11 guns because of the Serbian planes that had previously
12 been bombing Busovaca and the factory in Vitez.
13 Q. At that time they were also guarding the SPS,
14 were they not?
15 A. Yes, they were.
16 Q. Did your brother give you any information, as
17 he was connected through the PZO with the HVO, that
18 something could take part -- place?
19 A. My brother conveyed nothing to me on that
20 day. He gave me no information whatsoever, and I don't
21 think he knew anything either, because he stayed there
22 that day drinking, and then he went off to Stari Vitez
23 to the fire brigade building there where he spent the
24 night in a Muslim house. And I don't know -- never
25 knew anything more about him and I don't to the present
2 Q. Do you know who took your brother away from
3 that Muslim house?
4 A. I know that Hodzic Safeta Sijo, Hodzic
5 Safeta, his brother-in-law was living in the house with
6 him, I don't know his exact name, Abdic Bugar, and his
7 nickname was Cicko, and two other policemen, and I
8 learnt this later on, that they were -- their native
9 village was Preocica, and they had been working in that
10 part of Vitez when the command was in the fire brigade
11 building there.
12 Q. The individuals that took your brother away,
13 were they members of the military police of the BH
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you find his body later?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Very well then. So you went home and you had
19 no information?
20 A. I had no information. I stayed at home with
21 my family, I went to bed and went to sleep, and in the
22 morning at around 4.00 a.m. I was woken up by Slavko
23 Papic, who told me to get up so that as many people
24 should be awakened up as possible because of the
25 possible unrest or conflict. I didn't really
1 understand him very well but something of that sort.
2 So I got dressed and I went out into the road
3 in front of my house and came to my brother's house. I
4 knocked at his door because I didn't know that my
5 brother had stayed up there. I thought that he had
6 come home to spend the night there.
7 So I banged on his door; nobody opened. Then
8 I started thinking, perhaps somebody had woken him up
9 earlier and he left earlier because he was in the PZO,
10 so maybe he had left earlier.
11 So I decided to go towards Niko Sakic's
12 house. On the road there --
13 Q. Would you please tell us whether you met
14 anybody on your way?
15 A. There were other people from the village, and
16 behind Slavko Papic's house I met Anto Vidovic Satko
17 and Ivica Vidovic, his brother. We talked a little bit
18 and we went to Niko Vidovic's house together, which was
19 where the shelter was, and they stayed out in the road
20 and I went up to Niko Sakic's house.
21 Q. Will you show us on the large map which way
22 you went when you met Ivo Vidovic? Which way were you
23 going when you met Vidovic and Satko? Where were they?
24 A. This is where I met Anto Vidovic Satko and
25 Ivica Vidovic, and we were moving towards this house
1 here, that is Niko Vidovic's house and their uncle's
2 house, and they stayed there whereas I went on towards
3 Niko Sakic's house (indicating).
4 Q. Did you have any weapons with you?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did you have an uniform?
7 A. No. All I had was a sort of multicoloured
8 jacket, just the top part.
9 Q. When Slavko Papic woke you up and told you to
10 go out, that there could be problems, did he tell you
11 exactly what was going to happen, and where you should
12 go and what you should do?
13 A. No. All he did was to wake me up. He told
14 me from the window; I stayed in the house. I didn't
15 meet him any more when I left the house. Quite simply,
16 I went towards Sakic's house instinctively, because in
17 the first conflict that's where we went, because there
18 was a sort of -- it was a sort of shelter. There was a
19 shelter by Niko Sakic's house.
20 Q. So you went to Niko Sakic's house; is that
22 A. Yes. This is where the house is
24 Q. Were there any people there already when you
25 turned up?
1 A. I met Pero Jelic there, Miro Vidovic was
2 there already, Miro Pudja, Dragan Samija, and the other
3 inhabitants came as well, Mirko Grgic, Anto Branada,
4 because his house is near Sakic's house. Those are the
5 houses there (indicating). So we sort of lost
6 ourselves en route, because nobody knew anything.
7 Nobody could give us the proper information.
8 Q. And the people you mentioned were people from
9 the surrounding houses, were they not?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. How long did you stay there?
12 A. I stayed there until the morning.
13 Q. Apart from the people that you have just
14 enumerated, the neighbours you mentioned a moment ago,
15 did you see anybody else?
16 A. About 5.00, from the direction of Sutrine
17 Kuce and the Kupreskic houses, Zoran, his wife, his
18 children, Mirjan with his wife and their children
19 turned up, and Mirjan's mother-in-law, and they stopped
20 by Mirko and me, and they stopped by Mirko's house. I
21 thought they would be going to my house, but Zoran,
22 with his wife, went to my house with his wife and
23 children. And his people stayed behind at my house,
24 whereas Mirjan and his children and his wife, they were
25 in the shelter right next to my own house. That is the
1 house here, right across from my house.
2 Q. Whose house is that?
3 A. That is Jozo Bredsa's (phoen) house, and his
4 son-in-law. He's a Macedonian, I think. The man never
5 lived there. He lived abroad somewhere.
6 Q. Thank you. You may sit down.
7 So you saw them taking away their families,
8 taking them towards Zume; is that right?
9 A. Yes. That is the route. It goes from Niko
10 Sakic's house towards my own house.
11 After their departure, a group of about 30
12 well-armed individuals came up. They were masked.
13 They had something black on their faces. It was still
14 morning, and rather dark; it wasn't clearly visible,
15 but they had some paint over their faces and were
16 wearing black uniforms. They had camouflage uniforms
17 as well.
18 Q. Continue, please.
19 A. They were armed with automatic rifles, and I
20 saw that they were very well armed, in fact.
21 Q. What weapons did they have?
22 A. They had automatic rifles. I think one of
23 them had a Heckler; that is a rifle with a rather long
24 barrel. And they also had RPGs on their backs; once
25 again, long barrels, wide barrels. And they were
1 wearing the belts for ammunition for automatic rifles.
2 Q. Just one moment, please. Would you tell us
3 what RPGs are?
4 A. They are hand-propelled rocket launchers.
5 Q. And the wraps you mentioned, what are they?
6 A. They are sort of bandoleers, with ammunition
7 for automatic rifles. In fact they are metal boxes,
8 metal boxes with the ammunition inside, and these can
9 be replaced.
10 Q. Where were they carrying these wraps?
11 A. They carried them in front. They were sort
12 of hung round their necks. And they were also
13 camouflage, like the uniforms themselves, the same
14 colour -- they matched the uniforms.
15 Q. Did they have anything on their heads?
16 A. They had helmets, and some sort of black
18 Q. Did you notice anything else on them?
19 A. They had white belts. I saw a couple of
20 rifle holders. They were -- and they had light blue
21 bands on their shoulders, sort of like some sort of
22 epaulet. They all had these light blue bands. Passing
23 by us, some of them asked for a match, matches. I'm
24 not a smoker, so I wasn't able to supply them with any
25 matches. I recognised Mirjan Santic as they passed by
1 us, who did not have black on, black paint on his face,
2 but he just had a scarf around his neck.
3 Q. How do you know Mirjan Santic?
4 A. Well, I've known Mirjan for a long time,
5 because Mirjan lives in the village of Santici; he
6 lives in the part of the village where Zoran and
7 Mirjan's sister lives, in the centre of Santici.
8 Q. So that means that he is a native of Santici,
9 and he also resides in Santici; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can his house be seen on the map?
12 A. I don't think so. Because it's in the lower
13 half. It's a newly constructed house, and his parents'
14 house is above his, and you can't even see their house
15 on the map.
16 Q. Did you see what unit they belonged to?
17 A. I saw on several of them the insignia of the
18 military police.
19 Q. You said that you had seen the white belts?
20 A. Yes, I saw white belts.
21 Q. What did you conclude from that fact?
22 A. I concluded that it was a military police
23 unit. I knew Mirjan from earlier on, and I knew that
24 he was a member of the military police, and therefore I
25 concluded that it was a military police unit.
1 Q. How do you -- did you feel when you saw them?
2 A. Well, we were frightened, all of us, because
3 suddenly out of the dark, a lot of well-armed
4 individuals confronted us. They were wearing black;
5 they looked like something out of a ninja film. And we
6 were petrified when we saw them. Mirko was standing
7 beside me, and we just looked at each other, and we
8 didn't know what to say. I was quite lost at that
10 Q. Can you show us the direction from which they
11 came to Niko Sakic's house? What direction?
12 A. Do you want me to point on the map, over
13 there, the big map, or on the ELMO?
14 Q. Please point to the location on the big map.
15 A. (Indicating) They appeared from this
16 direction, going towards Niko Sakic's house. It is the
17 same route that I took, and which Zoran and Mirjan had
18 taken away their wives and children. They went along
19 the same route.
20 Q. Where did this group of -- where was this
21 group of people going?
22 A. The group of people went towards this valley,
23 and we lost sight of them. They went towards the
24 Kupreskic houses.
25 Q. Could you hear any shooting at that time, or
1 was there nothing to be heard yet?
2 A. There was no shooting to be heard at that
3 precise moment. A little later, when they had left,
4 shooting was heard --
5 Q. Just one moment, please; let me ask you
6 something else. When they left, did you see the
7 Kupreskics anywhere around?
8 A. Well, when they left, several minutes after
9 them, Zoran and Mirjan turned up from this direction
10 and they went with Mirko Sakic and Dragan Vidovic,
11 Dragan Samija. They went off to this valley here,
12 following them; they went off after them.
13 Several minutes later -- and I stayed here
14 waiting for Mirko Grgic and Anto to turn up, and Zoran
15 Kupreskic came once again. And he had Didaks -- two
16 wives and four children who had been put up in the
17 house of Ivica's brother. They didn't want to leave
18 right away. They only left later, and Zoran went with
19 them in this direction. And I, together with Anto
20 Vrnada, Mirko Grgic, and Miro Pudja, as well as Miro
21 Samija, we went to Bijela Zemlja, up here, and we kept
22 guard over the shelter of Niko Vidovic by Niko Sakic's
23 house below Bijela Zemlja.
24 Q. You said that Mirko Sakic and Mirjan
25 Kupreskic -- and who else did you mention? That they
1 went to the valley, to the depression there. Who else
2 was with them?
3 A. Dragan Samija was with them. Dragan Vidovic.
4 Q. Which Dragan Vidovic is that?
5 A. Dragance, the one that woke me up. Niko's
6 Dragan. And some other young men.
7 Q. Did you see where they put up?
8 A. Well, they were located below this forest in
9 a depression there, a valley. And you can't see out of
10 that depression. You can't -- because it's surrounded
11 by forest, so it's a sort of natural depression
12 protected on all three sides.
13 Q. Is that the depression where you were in the
14 first conflict?
15 A. No, that's not that valley or depression.
16 That was another one. It went straight on from Niko
17 Sakic's house. That's where we were on the occasion of
18 the first conflict, whereas they went left now. And
19 that depression forms a sort of triangle.
20 Q. Is the depression situated in such a way that
21 it represents a natural shelter?
22 A. Yes, it is closed on all sides, and only a
23 mortar shell could fall there. But no bullets could
24 penetrate that area.
25 Q. Thank you very much. You may sit down again
2 When Zoran left with the refugees on the
3 second occasion --
4 A. Yes?
5 Q. -- at that time, that is to say, when did you
6 hear the first bout of shooting?
7 A. The first shooting could be heard before
8 Zoran passed by me with the Didak people from the lower
9 part of the village, around the mosque, in the lower
10 section. Then there was shooting from several
11 directions, and you couldn't tell where the shooting
12 was coming from. There were bullets flying by from all
14 Q. Where could shooting -- in what other parts
15 could the shooting be heard?
16 A. There was shooting by the Kupreskic houses
17 themselves, in the lower part of the village. Some
18 of it was a little further off around the cemetery, the
19 lower part of the village, and around the Kupreskic
20 houses, in the central part of Ahmici, thereabouts.
21 Q. Would you indicate on the map the position
22 where you saw Mirjan, and Vidovic, and Sakic, and where
23 you yourself were. Would you mark that in on the map,
25 A. On this same map, you mean?
1 Q. No, another one. We're going to hand you
2 another map, so that we don't get things mixed up.
3 THE REGISTRAR: D83/2.
4 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
5 Q. By using a Magic Marker, will you please put
6 a letter "A" at the spot where you saw that Mirjan
7 Kupreskic, and Vidovic, and Sakic were positioning
8 themselves. I cannot see it very well. What if you
9 use a black marker?
10 A. Perhaps another colour, yes. (Marks).
11 Q. So this is the area where there's no forest?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So when you said that you went to this area
14 which you called Bijela Zemlja, can you mark that area,
16 A. (Marks).
17 Q. Could you please mark it with the letter "B".
18 Was that area also somehow protected?
19 A. That area was somehow protected, because
20 again there was -- the ground was settling down,
21 because there used to be a mine in there; then the mine
22 was abandoned, and then it was starting to cave in, and
23 then sort of these depressions were formed in this
25 Q. Could you please again circle the house of
1 Niko Sakic, and mark it with the number "1".
2 A. (Marks).
3 Q. Do you know whether people came to take
4 shelter in Niko Sakic's house?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you know what people these were, from
7 which area they came?
8 A. These were people, men, women, children, who
9 lived around the Sakic houses; that is, the Grgic
10 families and the others took shelter in Niko Vidovic's
12 Q. Will you please mark Niko Vidovic's house
13 which was also used as shelter. And mark it with
14 number "2" please.
15 A. (Marks).
16 Q. So your house was also used by some people to
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Who was in your house?
20 A. In my house there were Mirja Kupreskic,
21 Zoran's wife, with her children; later on, the two
22 Didak women with four children also came there, my
23 wife, one of my children, Jasna Safradin and her child,
24 Kristina. And when I came home around 7.30, I saw
25 Mirjan's wife as well. She was working around the
1 stove. I guess she was preparing food for children. I
2 didn't stay long, five or ten minutes, and then went
4 Q. Will you please mark your house so that we
5 see where else the civilians were located. And mark it
6 with number "3"?
7 A. (Marks).
8 Q. Will you also mark the house of Jozo Vrebac;
9 that is, his son-in-law. And mark it with number "4"
11 A. (Marks).
12 Q. Do you know whether these local residents,
13 that is, women and children, were also sheltering in
14 that house?
15 A. Yes, there were a number of people in that
16 house, because the lower part of the house was dug into
17 the ground. Also there was more space than in my
18 house. So that there were many more women and children
19 there than at my place.
20 Q. In these four houses, were mostly women and
21 children from that area, that is, from Ahmici, Santici
22 and Pirici accommodated?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. The position which you chose, you said that
25 it was a natural -- some kind of -- it was some kind of
1 a depression due to the caving in, so it was a natural
3 A. Yes, and above us we had dense oak forest.
4 Q. Why did you go there? Did somebody tell you
5 to go to that place?
6 A. No, nobody told me to go there. We simply
7 went there up from those shelters, so the four or five
8 of us, Mirjan, Zoran, were there to protect a potential
9 advance of the Muslim forces towards the shelters.
10 Q. So during the day, did you go over to them?
11 A. I went over there a couple of times, to where
12 they had taken shelter in that depression, and so I saw
13 them all there. I talked to them. There was
14 shooting. There's a natural path around the area where
15 the old mine was, to where they were. You just went
16 through the thicket and you reached them. The distance
17 between myself and them was somewhere between 70 and
18 100 metres, as the crow flies.
19 Q. When you went there, who did you find there?
20 A. I saw Mirjan Kupreskic, Zoran Kupreskic,
21 Mirko Sakic, Dragan Vidovic, and Dragan Samija.
22 Q. Did you see whether they were shooting?
23 A. No, they were not shooting because you
24 couldn't even shoot from that position anywhere else
25 because it is a depression. You can only shoot up in
1 the air.
2 Q. Did you see what happened when you went over
3 to them? Did you see what was going on in the other
4 parts of the village?
5 A. In Ahmici you could still hear intense
6 shooting. You could see that houses were on fire. I
7 couldn't determine the exact positions, because they
8 were burning in the area of the Kupreskic houses and
9 then also in the lower sections of Ahmici.
10 Q. How did you see -- how did you recognise that
11 they were burning?
12 A. I saw the smoke, I heard crackling sounds,
13 and you see light and a large plume of smoke.
14 Q. In this part of the village where you were
15 between those two depressions, you also said that you
16 went back home; right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. On the way there and in the area where you
19 were moving, was there fighting going on there?
20 A. No. When I went home at 7.30, around that
21 time, as I was passing by Niko Vidovic's shelter, on
22 the road I met (redacted), his son-in-law Miralem
23 Strmonja, Anto Vidovic Satko, all four of them had
24 rifles and they were standing in the road.
25 Q. The two persons you just mentioned, Ramo
1 Bilic and Miralem Strmonja, were they Muslims or
3 A. They were Muslims. Their house is directly
4 across from the shelter of Niko Vidovic. And when I
5 reached them, they were also -- they had also just
6 arrived. Ivica and Anto were with them, and we said to
7 them, "Don't shoot. We're not going to shoot either."
8 So we -- they said, "So, neighbours, what is going
9 on?" And they didn't know either.
10 So Anto Vidovic said to the other two to move
11 their women and children to the shelter where our women
12 and children were, that is in Niko Vidovic's house. So
13 we talked a little bit and I went on, continued to my
15 On the way back I did not see them in the
16 road. I met Anto and he said that they were already in
17 the shelter, together with the women and children, that
18 even Zijad Bilic, Ramo's brother who was not on the
19 road at that time, that he and his wife and children
20 were also -- that they had also taken shelter in that
22 Q. And he was a Muslim?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And these people were all accommodated in
25 this Croatian house?
1 A. Yes, along with all the other Croatian women
2 and children who were there.
3 Q. Did anything happen to those people on that
4 day or did Croats protect them?
5 A. That day they were protected by local
6 Croatian residents and nothing bad happened to them. I
7 later learned, I didn't see this, that they were taken
8 to the railroad station where there were other Muslim
9 families and that they were transferred to Zenica.
10 Q. And they all survived?
11 A. Yes, they all survived, but only Zijad Bilic,
12 Ramo's brother, was killed, I learned later, during the
13 subsequent fighting at Buhine Kuce.
14 Q. So he was killed at Buhine Kuce. That was in
15 January of '94; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did something happen on that day in that part
18 of the village where you stayed, or was this a
19 situation the entire day?
20 A. This was the situation throughout the day.
21 We went back and forth trying to get some information.
22 We couldn't get any information. Nobody from outside
23 provided any information, so we just stayed in that
24 area. Some of us went to their homes to get some food
25 and would come back.
1 Q. On that first day, until what time could you
2 hear shooting?
3 A. On that first day it -- the shooting went on
4 until about the end of the day, till the dusk, and then
5 it stopped and it resumed the next morning.
6 Q. The second day, where did you go?
7 A. On the second day I remained in that same
8 area, and on that day I again went several times to
9 Sakic's, and Kupreskic's, and Grgic's and Dragan
10 Vidovic's. We commented but not having any real
11 information, we just realised that there was some
12 fierce fighting going on.
13 Q. Did you hear the shooting the second day
15 A. Yes. We could also hear shooting, but it had
16 already moved to the middle Ahmici, so you can't hear
17 it as much in the lower part of the village.
18 Q. Was there shooting -- could the shooting be
19 heard from the Upper Ahmici?
20 A. Yes, shooting could be heard from the Upper
21 Ahmici, but would I say from the other side near Krc.
22 There is an area around Nadoici going this way that is
23 called Krc, and some bullets even flew in our
24 direction. The distance between there was just about
25 four or five hundred metres.
1 Q. Did something happen to civilians, that is
2 the women and children who were in the shelters on that
3 second day? Did you have any -- do you know whether
4 they were moved to another shelter or somewhere?
5 A. I know that some of them moved. I don't know
6 who went from Niko Sakic's basement more towards Niko
7 Vidovic's house, but I don't know who was involved
8 there. I wasn't there.
9 Q. Do you know that women and children went to
11 A. No, I did not know that. Only later when I
12 came home I found my wife and child, Zoran's wife and
13 children, and they told me that somebody had said that
14 between Mahala and Krtina there is a creek there at
15 Mahala, and this area is part of Santici, that a group
16 of Muslims had passed by and that they should take
17 shelter, and that the majority of residents went to
18 Rovna, but my wife and Zoran's wife and children
19 remained in the house.
20 Q. The third day what happened?
21 A. On the third day three or four men came.
22 They were wearing uniforms. They didn't have any --
23 they didn't wear any paint or anything, but I didn't
24 know them. I know that they were military policemen.
25 I concluded that from their uniforms and insignia. And
1 it would be -- they told us to follow us -- to follow
2 them to Pirici, which we did, very reluctantly, because
3 from the area where we were there was an open area, and
4 there were some natural shelters, little depressions,
5 and we took shelter there. We sort of followed them
7 At about the area where Gavro Vidovic's
8 house, they stopped. We came and from -- downhill from
9 Gavro -- Barin Gaj. There was a lot of shooting, so we
10 were just looking for some kind of a shelter. There
11 was like a hedge and there was a -- was a natural
12 depression. It was seven or eight metres deep. It's
13 called Usijak. We again took shelter there
14 until the dusk came.
15 Just around dusk, about 15 civilians arrived
16 with two or three rifles, poorly dressed. I know
17 them. They were from Vitez. They were deployed
18 around -- along this depression, and Gavro Vidovic's
19 house to Strmonja's house and further up towards the
20 Upper Ahmici. So they just positioned us there,
21 arranged us there, and left us there. We felt like
22 lost children.
23 They left --
24 Q. Just a moment, please. This didn't -- this
25 didn't get into the record. Were these people from
1 Vitez which you said were poorly armed and poorly
2 dressed, did they come on their own or did somebody
3 bring them?
4 A. They were brought there. They were brought
5 there by the military police.
6 Q. And they were brought there on the third day
7 to --
8 A. Yes. They were brought there on the third
9 day to this defence line in Pirici.
10 Q. Could you just point on the map where this
11 line of defence was deployed, the one in Pirici? Where
12 is Barin Gaj?
13 A. This is Barin Gaj here (indicating). This is
14 the area of Zume (indicating). This is the natural
15 depression that opens to the left and right, and the
16 line of defence was put up here, and then here up to
17 Gavro Vidovic's house, through this orchard, down there
18 near Strmonja's house here, and here next to these
19 fields (indicating), and then later on. I don't know
20 how it was in the beginning.
21 Q. So the line was really in Pirici, not in
22 Barin Gaj?
23 A. That is correct. In Barin Gaj there were
24 Muslim forces.
25 Q. And the line of defence was below Barin Gaj?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. When you were brought to Barin Gaj and
3 deployed you there, from where were you shot at? You
4 said there was intense fire coming from there.
5 A. The shooting came from Barin Gaj in the
6 direction of Gavro Vidovic's house. So it is here,
7 from these fields here in this direction, and we were
8 here (indicating). So from here you could cover this
9 area and this area (indicating).
10 Q. Very well. Thank you.
11 If you can just mark on the map -- aerial
12 photograph of Ahmici, if you can just draw in or mark
13 the positions to which you were brought.
14 A. (Marks)
15 Q. Did the line remain like that with very few
16 movements until the end of the war?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. How long did you stay on this line of
20 A. Between three and three and a half months.
21 Q. You said -- sorry. Do you know, in the
22 days -- those three days when you went back home before
23 you were deployed at the line, whether the house of --
24 houses of your neighbours, and I'm talking about the
25 (redacted), were they intact or
1 were they burned down at that time?
2 A. They were all intact. (redacted)
3 was still intact, was never burned down.
4 Q. (redacted)
5 with you?
6 A. Yes. But (redacted) subsequently
7 burned down. I was told this by my late father, that
8 three young men whom he did not know, wearing military
9 police uniforms, came by and he overheard them saying
10 they would torch the Muslim house. He said, "Don't do
11 it, guys. You see, we have had a lot of refugees. We
12 don't have places to put up people. We can put Croats
13 in there, or refugees." They told him to shut up, that
14 they would just shoot him. So he withdrew, and they
15 proceeded to torch the lower floor of the house.
16 And when they left he -- my father said that
17 Jozo Vidovic, and Jozo Lovric and he tried to put out
18 the fire so that only the lower floor burned, the fire
19 didn't spread to the whole house.
20 Q. So these are Croats?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You also said that your father -- your
23 brother disappeared in Old Vitez, that is in Mahala?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And that in the area called Gornji Vitez or
1 Upper Vitez your sister also lived?
2 A. Yes. My sister has a house there. She
3 called me and miraculously the telephones were
4 working. She called my wife and she said that I should
5 come. I still had a kiosk up there and I had
6 merchandise there which she said I should take. When I
7 arrived there I saw that the yard was full. And they
8 had a warehouse there, and I saw a large number of
9 Muslims, men, women and children, about 30 persons were
10 put up in that storage space.
11 Q. How long did your sister take care of these
12 people there?
13 A. They stayed there for about a full month, and
14 then some of those who wanted to go to Travnik, my
15 brother-in-law Nikola Banic went with them to UNPROFOR
16 and he helped transport them to Stari Travnik, whereas
17 the two younger Muslim men, they were military fit,
18 UNPROFOR did not agree to take them to Stari Travnik,
19 Old Travnik. They said that they were taking women,
20 children and the wounded.
21 So Nikola brought them back to his house,
22 they slaughtered a chicken, they -- they bandaged an
23 arm and a head of one of them, they put blood on these
24 bandages, and so they pretended they were wounded and
25 UNPROFOR took them. And a family stayed with Nikola
1 about two and a half months. It was a husband, wife
2 and two children.
3 Q. Do you know the names of these families,
4 because these were two families.
5 A. Yes, one of them were called Alihodza. If I
6 can just --
7 Q. Was it Topcic?
8 A. Yes, Topcic. They were undertakers locally.
9 So there were two families, in fact. And also Blaz had
10 a shelter and another 20 or 30 Muslims were there.
11 Q. Just one more detail. Do you remember Zoran
12 Vidovic's wedding in Kruscica?
13 A. I do. I remember Zoran Vidovic's wedding.
14 He went -- he was from Kruscica but his wedding took
15 place at the Lovac hotel, and it is -- the byroad
16 doesn't go through Vitez, but is a byroad by the petrol
17 pump belonging to Kraocic.
18 Q. Tell us when the wedding took place?
19 A. The wedding took place sometime in December
20 1992, between the first and second conflict.
21 Q. Do you remember who played and sang at the
23 A. Nedzad Barucija sang.
24 Q. And what is Nedzad Barucija?
25 A. He is a Muslim. He's a Muslim. Fahran
1 Ahmic, another Muslim; Mirjan Kupreskic, you know that
2 he's a Croat; Zdravko Vrebac was a Croat; and there was
3 another Serb who played the guitar.
4 Q. That was the composition or group that Mirjan
5 Kupreskic used to sing and play with frequently?
6 A. Yes, this was a sort of band. Zoran would
7 play with them sometimes on larger occasions.
8 Q. Were there a lot of Muslims present at the
10 A. There were a lot of Muslims, Croats, and
11 Serbs, a couple of Serbs at the wedding. And those
12 Serbs still live in Vitez.
13 Q. What happened to Zoran Vidovic?
14 A. Zoran Vidovic was killed in his family
15 house. He died in his family house. On the first day,
16 a sniper hit him through the window. And all his
17 people had moved and are now in Croatia, somewhere near
19 Q. That means that he was killed in the house in
21 A. Yes, but the lower road towards Kruscica.
22 There are two roads leading into Kruscica. It was the
23 lower road that his house was situated on.
24 Q. I am now going to let you look at some data
25 pertaining to Zoran Vidovic to tell me if the data is
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Would the usher hand
3 the document round, please.
4 Q. Your brother is also Zoran Vidovic, isn't he?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you have a death certificate for your
8 A. No, but I can have it issued -- I can get it,
9 because I know that it exists.
10 Q. Here it states that it is Zoran Vidovic,
11 killed on the 16th of April, 1993, in Kruscica.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. His father was Ivica, and he was born in
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. When was your brother born?
17 A. On the 4th of November, 1963. And the father
18 is Anto.
19 Q. Very well. Thank you very much.
20 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: I have completed my
21 examination of the witness. And I should like these
22 exhibits to be tendered into evidence, and I don't have
23 any numbers for the exhibits.
24 THE REGISTRAR: The numbers are D82/2 to
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Any objection?
2 All right. They are admitted into evidence;
3 thank you.
4 Counsel Radovic? No?
5 And any cross-examination by other counsel?
6 Mr. Pavkovic, may I ask you whether any other Defence
7 counsel --
8 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, I have no
10 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. So we can then
11 move to the Prosecution: Mr. Blaxill?
12 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Mr. President, Your
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
15 MR. BLAXILL: Mr. Vidovic, good afternoon to
16 you. My name is Michael Blaxill. I am one of the
17 prosecutors here working on this particular case. I do
18 have a few questions I would like to put to you as a
19 result of your testimony here this morning.
20 Q. Firstly I would say that you stated you
21 served in the conflict against the Serbs on two
22 occasions in the front lines for the HVO. When you
23 completed those periods of duty, did you remain in the
24 reserve of the HVO, even if you were not in the active
1 A. When I completed the seven-day shift on both
2 the first and the second occasion, up at the front line
3 towards the Serbs, I was not in any kind of unit after
4 that. I had no weapons, I had no duties, no
5 assignments, nothing. So the clothing that I wore on
6 the occasion I returned because it was borrowed, and I
7 did likewise with the weapons.
8 Q. Had you in fact been a volunteer for those
9 two seven-day periods?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. When you returned back home after the second
12 one, did they say anything to you about whether you
13 could or should volunteer again, or would they call
14 upon you in the future? Were you left with any kind of
15 parting instructions?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Were you aware of any mechanism that the HVO
18 had to contact people and call them up to go and serve
19 in the ongoing conflict?
20 A. No.
21 Q. So you returned to, I should say, your normal
22 work; and in fact in the earlier stages of 1992, you
23 did not join the village guard. Is that right?
24 A. That's right.
25 Q. And when, about -- could you refresh my
1 memory: When, about, was it that you did join up with
2 the village guards to assist in that area?
3 A. After the fall of Jajce, when I got some
5 Q. And from that point forward, with your own
6 weapon -- which I believe was an M-48 rifle; is that
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. You then joined in with the local village
10 guard; is that so?
11 A. Yes. I joined them on several -- just
12 several occasions.
13 Q. On those occasions were they still
14 functioning as a joint guard between the Muslim and the
15 Croat members of the village community?
16 A. No.
17 Q. They had already separated into Croat and
18 Muslim guards in their own parts of the village? Is
19 that correct, then?
20 A. Yes. That's correct.
21 Q. It's true to say, is it not, sir, that there
22 were no incidents of tension or difficulty, were there,
23 between yourselves, as a Croat ethnic village guard,
24 and your Muslim ethnic village guard in the same
1 A. In this part of the village where I lived,
2 there weren't any problems. They stood guard around
3 their own houses; we stood guard around our own
5 Q. Were you aware of any kind of mechanism to
6 communicate with other village guards or other --
7 perhaps other Croat village guards in other parts of
8 the area? Saying something had happened, did you have
9 any lines of communication at all?
10 A. Well, only on the next day, if, for example,
11 I would meet somebody from another part of the village,
12 we could talk and discuss matters. But we didn't have
13 any lines of communication, no.
14 Q. Was there anybody else you could contact in
15 case something more serious happened, like a local HVO
16 representative, or an army commander? Was there
17 anybody like that in the neighbourhood whom you could
18 have spoken to?
19 A. No, there wasn't. Just the police, the
20 police station in Vitez.
21 Q. I see. Are you aware of a gentleman by the
22 name of Mr. Nenad Santic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is it true that Mr. Nenad Santic was in fact
25 a local figure within the HVO?
1 A. I don't know.
2 Q. Were you aware of the presence of Mr. Nenad
3 Santic in -- I'm jumping forward in time, but in fact
4 in Ahmici on the 16th of April, 1993?
5 A. I don't know. I didn't see him.
6 Q. Have you even ever heard that Mr. Nenad
7 Santic was in a position to give instructions to people
8 in the HVO locally, or in -- or even people who had
9 been in the village guard, to carry out certain
10 duties? Had you ever heard that?
11 A. He could not order them. He was not any kind
12 of commander.
13 Q. All right. Thank you, sir.
14 I can move on to October of 1992, where you
15 have indicated, I believe, that things were getting --
16 had already got difficult between Muslim and Croat
17 inhabitants in the region. Is that a fair comment,
19 A. You're asking about the first conflict, are
21 Q. I am indeed, yes.
22 A. Between us local inhabitants and the Muslims
23 from Ahmici, there were no conflicts at all then,
24 either. But I had heard that the Busovaca -- some kind
25 of Busovaca unit went to Jajce, and that the road was
1 blocked at our cemetery in Donji or lower Ahmici.
2 Q. I believe you have indicated there were
3 relatively few people manning this barricade; is that
4 correct? I think you've mentioned about 15 people. Is
5 that correct?
6 A. I mentioned that there were about 15 people
7 at the barricade at the entrance towards Ahmici.
8 Whereas down there, by our cemetery, I cannot give you
9 an exact figure, exactly how many men there were,
10 because I saw quite a number of silhouettes in the
11 course of the night, but I wasn't able to either count
12 them or see them.
13 Q. So you weren't able to see or count the
14 numbers, and you're not prepared to assess; that's very
15 fair. Thank you, sir.
16 So at the entrance to Ahmici, the particular
17 barricade you say had about 15 people?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Is it true in fact that the conflict as it
20 evolved, between members of the HVO and the people at
21 the respective barricades, involved HVO forces from
22 outside that were trying to travel through the region?
23 Is that correct?
24 A. Well, I know that there was a conflict
25 between the people who wanted to pass through and the
1 people who were at the barricades at our cemetery.
2 Q. Thank you. You also indicated, I believe,
3 that at both barricades you say there were anti-tank
4 mines present; is that right?
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. Had you in fact arrived -- or had daylight
7 arrived when you went to observe this? Or was it still
9 A. At the entrance to Ahmici, by the house on
10 the left-hand side, there was a light outside that was
11 burning, that was on. And at the entrance to the
12 cemetery, we passed right by the hedgehog devices and
13 the barricade, so we saw that on the road too.
14 Q. What sort of weather conditions did you have
15 at that time? Was it misty, was it raining, was it
17 A. In the morning it was foggy, when the first
18 conflict broke out. It was dense fog, and you couldn't
19 see anything much.
20 Q. You've given certain names of people whom
21 you've identified as local Muslims manning the
22 checkpoint or barricades. How close did you come to
23 those particular barricades, in order to recognise
24 these people?
25 A. Well, I stopped at the barricade in Ahmici,
1 and I talked to those people who were standing around
2 right by me, half a metre or a metre away from me. We
3 were standing around in a sort of circle.
4 Q. So, clearly, they were people you were close
5 to, you could see, and you could describe obviously how
6 they were armed and so forth, as you have done so.
7 May I --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. I believe you were asked about whether you
10 had -- saw any insignia, but you stated you couldn't
11 remember any insignia on the clothing worn by those
12 people. Is that right?
13 A. Possibly they had some insignia, but I'm
14 not -- I didn't really see them. We knew that they had
15 BH insignias, the Croats had.
16 Q. Were the people that you had named in
17 connection with being the Muslims manning, let's say,
18 the barricade at the entrance to Ahmici, were any of
19 those people local village guard people, that you
21 A. Well, I think they were, except (redacted),
22 whom I knew very well. He was in the police, the
23 Muslim police, which was stationed in Stari Vitez. But
24 his house is there, and so he was there, too.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Blaxill, I'm sorry; would
1 this be a convenient time for a break? A 15-minute
3 MR. BLAXILL: That's as convenient as any
4 time, Your Honour. Yes, indeed.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.15 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
8 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. Mr. Vidovic, if I may return, we were talking
10 about the night of the 19th to the 20th of October of
11 1992, and I believe that just before you went home to
12 bed you said that you spoke to the people at the
13 barricade, at the entrance to Ahmici, and they made
14 reference to retribution for some seized weapons. Did
15 you have any further idea as to what he was referring
17 A. No, I didn't.
18 Q. You went home to sleep and were awoken the
19 following morning, or later that morning at about 04.00
20 hours; is that correct?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. And you say another hour went by and then on
23 that foggy morning you heard a burst of fire at around
24 5.00 from the direction of Ahmici; is that so?
25 A. A little before 5.00.
1 Q. You then suggest that there was a broadcast
2 heard on a loudspeaker requesting surrender of Croats
3 and that you were "surrounded and you had no chance."
4 You say that that is so and that happened?
5 A. Yes, from the mosque. The loudspeakers were
6 on the mosque in Ahmici.
7 Q. Were those the only loudspeakers that were in
8 the village of Ahmici, the ones on the mosque?
9 A. I think they were, yes.
10 Q. You decided then clearly to seek appropriate
11 shelter for your family. If I may ask, what prompted
12 you to go across to Mr. Mirko Sakic's house to seek
13 such shelter when, from what you described, there were
14 other shelters, like Mr. Vrebac's shelter, much closer
15 to your home? Why would you go further away for that?
16 A. Before this second conflict I had a rifle --
17 are we talking about the first conflict?
18 Q. First conflict, yes.
19 A. I see. I went to Sakic's house with Dragan
20 Vidovic. I don't know why myself why, I just went
21 along that road because I knew that there were the
22 village guards there as well, and perhaps to inform
23 myself quite simply, to get some information as to the
24 events that were going on, although I don't -- I didn't
25 learn anything from anybody.
1 Q. I believe, unless I have made the note
2 wrongly, you did take your family with you and have
3 them shelter at Sakic's house, is that right, or not on
4 that occasion?
5 A. No, no. You took down the note wrongly.
6 Q. I see. So where were your wife and family at
7 that time when you went across to Sakic's house that
9 A. In my own house. They stayed in my house.
10 Q. On that particular day you did see, did you
11 not, Mr. Zoran Kupreskic and his family?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. , in fact, they went on back towards your
14 house from meeting you near Sakic's house?
15 A. No, by Ivica's father's house, because
16 Zdravko, and I, and Dragan Vidovic started off to meet
17 them, and they had still not -- the shooting had
18 started and they had still not come out of that part.
19 Q. I see. So you went, if you like, forward
20 towards the homes of the Kupreskic family and met them,
21 and then they came back, is that right, if I'm getting
22 the movement correctly?
23 A. Yes, and we met at his uncle's house.
24 Q. Thank you. Did you remain in that area
25 basically for the rest of the day, the 20th of
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you see either Mr. Zoran Kupreskic or,
4 indeed, Mr. Mirjan Kupreskic, for that matter, during
5 the course of the rest of that day?
6 A. Yes. They were there by -- at Niko Sakic's
7 house, together with the other group of locals.
8 Q. Were they, in fact, armed and sort of kind of
9 standing guard as one gains the impression you were
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did they remain in the same position or that
13 same location for the whole of the day, until the
14 shooting stopped?
15 A. The whole day we were around Niko Sakic's
16 house, and then we went down to that little island in
17 the middle of the depression down there, and I went to
18 Mirko's newly built house because I had heard voices.
19 Then I returned up to them -- to the island. So that
20 was the movement. The depression -- between the
21 depression and Niko Sakic's house, up and down and a
22 bit along the road by Niko's house. We sat there.
23 There was a sort of a woodshed there.
24 Q. Were you, however, in company with one
25 another, in their company for the whole of the day or
1 did you separate for periods of time?
2 A. Well, from time to time I would go home, they
3 were there, but for the most part we spent practically
4 the whole day all together. One of us would leave from
5 time to time but for a very brief period.
6 Q. Would you remember any particular time of day
7 when, say, Mr. Zoran Kupreskic left the little group of
8 you for any period? Can you recall any times of day
9 when that happened?
10 A. I think that Zoran left with some of the
11 Muslims to see about something, to Miro's. I think
12 that was in the afternoon sometime.
13 Q. You say that you yourself went back to your
14 home. Can you recall the kind of time of day you did
15 that? Was it late morning, afternoon? Can you give an
17 A. I don't know. It was sometime during the
18 course of the morning. I can't tell you the exact
20 Q. We come to the afternoon of the 20th of
21 October, 1992, and I believe you said that somewhere
22 around 4.00 the shooting ceased. Is that correct?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. Was there anything from where you were that
25 you could see of the participants in the exchange of
1 shooting? Could you see any of the forces involved
2 from where you were?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You have made reference to, on that day, the
5 house of a Sudzuka being on fire, and I believe that
6 that name is a nickname of a Mr. Mehmed Ahmic. Is that
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you actually see that house on fire that
10 day, or did you just see smoke or the appearance of
11 fire from the direction of that house?
12 A. I just saw smoke, and I thought that there
13 was burning coming from the direction of that house but
14 I couldn't actually see the house.
15 Q. Does the same thing apply in respect of your
16 reference to the barn of Mr. Drago Josipovic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, on the 21st of October, after this
19 incident, you, in fact, went back to work, as I believe
20 you said.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You said that the Muslims from the area
23 didn't turn up to work for a few days.
24 A. Yes, that's right.
25 Q. Maybe you heard this subsequently, but is it
1 true that a number of Muslims, a considerable number,
2 had actually left Ahmici on the date of the 20th when
3 that action took place? Were you subsequently aware of
5 A. I -- I got to know that they returned after a
6 few days as well.
7 Q. Do you know if there were any factors that
8 particularly influenced their return, any gestures by
9 the Croat population or authorities? Do you remember
10 anything about that?
11 A. I remember that in the school in Ahmici they
12 discussed some reconciliation and an easing of
13 tensions, because none of the local inhabitants on
14 either side had taken part in that first conflict.
15 Q. Do you recall anybody who, say, on the Croat
16 side was present at those discussions at the school?
17 A. I think Zoran Kupreskic was there and Niko
18 Sakic. I don't know about the others.
19 Q. Clearly from what you say, Mr. Vidovic, you
20 were not involved in those talks, so maybe you don't
21 have knowledge of this, but were you aware of any of
22 the terms that were then agreed at that meeting at the
23 school? Did this become in any way public knowledge or
24 knowledge amongst the community?
25 A. Well, it was rumoured that -- that some
1 rifles that had been taken which were to be returned,
2 taken away from some Croats. I think there were four
3 rifles, something like that.
4 Q. That's what you recall hearing, but if I can
5 put it this way to you, sir: The issue of returning
6 over some weaponry by Muslims to Croats clearly was
7 discussed at that meeting; is that correct?
8 A. Probably. I don't know.
9 Q. Did you, in fact, ever see any kind of
10 document in relation to that?
11 A. No.
12 Q. If I may just have one moment, I would like
13 to make an inquiry of my team regarding this particular
14 document for a second, Your Honours.
15 Thank you, I'm obliged for your indulgence,
16 Your Honours. Thank you.
17 Mr. Vidovic, are you familiar of the
18 signature of Mr. Zoran Kupreskic?
19 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I have
20 an objection to make with regard to the conduct of the
21 Prosecutor. He's quite obviously presenting a document
22 that was previously rejected, not accepted as evidence,
23 for which we do not have a source, and the witness who
24 brought the document and the testimony was not
25 adopted. That is to say, it was interrupted. That
1 paper which he wishes to present the witness with is
2 not an exhibit. So as this has not been accepted as
3 evidence, that it cannot be presented to this witness
5 MR. BLAXILL: Well, Your Honours, firstly, my
6 question about the signature was really, firstly, to
7 ascertain the propriety of even endeavouring to put a
8 certain document to a witness, because without a
9 certain foundation for that it is pointless to do so.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
11 MR. BLAXILL: The document is, in fact, I
12 see, marked as Exhibit 313 with the translation 313/A.
13 The issue, I believe, relates to a witness whose
14 evidence -- the evidence came in the case in-chief.
15 I'm not sure whether the person was protected. I'll
16 just have that checked before I mention a name, but I
17 understand that the statement had not been served
18 within the requisite period of time and was then either
19 rejected or withdrawn.
20 The document was a document that was
21 introduced in connection with that, and ---well, it's a
22 matter as to whether the document itself is acceptable
23 as an exhibit. If not, it would have to be properly
24 served in the course of putting documents in
25 cross-examination in another way.
1 I'm not referring to the testimony of the
2 person whose statement or whose testimony was withdrawn
3 or rejected, but simply one of the documents that was
4 put into court.
5 I am entirely to be guided by your ruling,
6 Your Honours.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: You may proceed with your
8 question about whether the witness is able to recognise
9 the signature. But it is a general question, and a
10 sort of preliminary question.
11 MR. BLAXILL: Indeed, because the whole issue
12 may be moot if the answer is a certain way.
13 Q. May I ask you that question again, sir: Do
14 you in fact recognise the signature of Mr. Zoran
16 A. No.
17 MR. BLAXILL: That answers our question, Your
19 Q. Now, sir, I believe you stated that the
20 situation with regard to relations between Muslims and
21 Croats in the community did become more tense and
22 worsened after that first conflict; is that so?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. So much so that, if I can use the expression,
25 it developed that certainly at night time it was wise
1 not to go to different parts of the villages?
2 A. That is correct, yes.
3 Q. Like your other unfortunate experience you
4 described with Mr. Grgic in his car?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You've also referred to a considerable
7 apparent increase in crimes, particularly to do with
8 car theft and so forth. Can you tell us anything more
9 about the types or groups of people who were doing
10 this? Were they by chance in any form of uniformed
11 groups? Were they Muslim groups, or Croat groups? Can
12 you give me some idea?
13 A. These were mixed groups: Simply put, men who
14 had no regard for peace, who had been involved in
15 criminal activities even before. In my view, they were
16 hiding behind uniforms and engaged in these things.
17 Q. So basically you're saying, sir, that these
18 people were, however, putting on uniforms; they were
19 going in uniformed groups, albeit performing basically
20 criminal activities?
21 A. No. No, there were civilians, too, who
22 performed these acts. But it was mixed. Some were in
23 uniforms; some were without uniforms. But they all
24 carried weapons.
25 Q. This obviously -- you say you obviously then
1 maintained your village guards to protect the local
2 population in those circumstances?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, on the 15th of April of 1993, you were,
5 I believe you said, at work and then went home in the
6 normal way?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You had -- I'm sorry; I didn't mean to talk
9 over your response.
10 You went to bed in the normal way; you had no
11 fears of impending war or anything like that when you
12 went to bed that night?
13 A. No. I did not think that something like that
14 would happen.
15 Q. Then Mr. Slavko Papic woke you up at 4.00 in
16 the morning; is that right?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. Are you -- you seem very positive about that
19 time, sir, at 04.00. I mean, how did you verify that
20 it was 4.00 in the morning?
21 A. I saw that it was still dark, and as I was
22 coming down, I passed through the kitchen, saw the
23 clock, and saw that it was around 4.00.
24 Q. Thank you. And what -- how had Mr. Papic
25 woken you? Had he telephoned, or had he knocked on the
1 door, or how did he wake you up?
2 A. He knocked on the door of my family home.
3 Q. Obviously he alerted you to take some action,
4 but do you remember more accurately what he actually
5 said? Did he say what was going to happen?
6 A. That night I'd slept on the top floor, and
7 when he knocked on the door, my window is above the
8 door. I looked, saw it was him. He told me to get up,
9 to come out, that we should be awake because of
10 potential trouble.
11 Q. So that was all he said to you, a potential
12 of trouble?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did you form any particular thought when he
15 said that? I mean, did that make you think of any
16 particular type of trouble, as to what it might be?
17 A. Bearing in mind the first conflict, I thought
18 that a conflict could break out between the Muslims and
19 us, because the Serbs at that time were more in the
20 area of Vlasic and in the direction of Sarajevo. They
21 were not in our area.
22 Q. So you formed a conclusion at that time; you
23 thought it might be a Croat/Muslim problem that would
24 be the trouble?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you, sir. Mr. Slavko Papic: Did he
2 have any particular connections with the HVO?
3 A. I don't know. I think he did not.
4 Q. You think not? I will just put one
5 suggestion to you that's been heard by this chamber,
6 that he was in fact locally the commander of the HVO
7 for Zume, for that small area. Does that ring any bell
8 with your memory? Or do you still say that you don't
9 recall that, or don't know?
10 A. No, he was not a local commander for Zume.
11 But during the war, he was appointed to that position.
12 Q. I see. By using the expression "during the
13 war," do you mean after the 16th of April, 1993?
14 A. Yes, after the 16th. In fact, I think it was
15 a month passed before Slavko was appointed commander.
16 I don't know exactly.
17 Q. Thank you for clearing that up for me, sir;
18 I'm obliged to you.
19 It was now at 4.00 in the morning; you get
20 up, presumably you woke your family, and you got
21 everybody dressed. Is that right?
22 A. Yes, that is correct.
23 Q. Did you then leave the house immediately that
24 you were up and ready? Or did you stay in your home
25 for a little while?
1 A. I got ready, took my rifle, M-48, and I went
2 out of the house. So I stayed in for about five or ten
3 minutes. My family stayed behind in the house, awake.
4 I went by my brother's house, knocked on the door; I
5 couldn't wake anybody up. Then I went to the Sakics'
7 Q. Let me just stop you there; thank you. What
8 time do you recall that you left the house?
9 A. I cannot say exactly. I believe it was
10 before 4.10, maybe around 10 past 4.00.
11 Q. And how long do you think it took to get to
12 your -- you say your brother-in-law's house?
13 A. Brother's house.
14 Q. Your brother's house; I'm sorry. What time
15 do you think you got there?
16 A. Those are houses one next to the other, 30
17 metres away, perhaps, in the direction towards Sakic's
18 house, not the other way.
19 Q. From there, would you say where you went
21 A. Then I took the road towards Niko Vidovic's
22 shelter, and then to Sakic's house. Along the way I
23 met Anto Vidovic and Nikica Vidovic, and I just
24 exchanged a couple of words with them. Then as we
25 walked together, we passed Niko Vidovic's shelter.
1 They went there, and I continued on to Sakic's house.
2 Q. What time do you recall arriving at Sakic's
4 A. Between 4.20 and 4.30; somewhere around
6 Q. How long did you remain at Sakic's house, at
7 that point?
8 A. I was not inside the house; I was in front of
9 the house. I don't know exactly. The shooting in
10 Ahmici had started, and then I went with the group to
11 Bijela Zemlja.
12 Q. At what time do you think then you arrived
13 there? Was this sometime after 5.00, say, 5.15?
14 Something like that?
15 A. Where?
16 Q. When you said you moved on from Sakic's
18 A. I did not say the exact time when I left
19 Sakic's house to Bijela Zemlja. That was later. The
20 shooting had already started in Ahmici. What time
21 exactly it was, I don't know.
22 Q. Was it shortly at around that time that you
23 then encountered Mr. Zoran and Mr. Mirjan Kupreskic
24 with their families?
25 A. No. After Zoran passed with the Didak
1 family, I was waiting. Anto Vrnada and Mirko -- and
2 Zoran passed as I was waiting. He was taking with him
3 the Didaks' family. And then we proceeded on to Bijela
5 Q. Do you recall when you got there, what time
6 you got there?
7 A. I don't know exactly. I did not have a
9 Q. Can you give any kind of guess as to how long
10 it took you? Was it five minutes, or ten minutes?
11 A. Before I went to Bijela Zemlja, or before?
12 Several minutes. Two or three minutes.
13 Q. Right. Do you recall how much later you
14 encountered the Kupreskic families, and they went to
15 seek shelter?
16 A. Around 5.00.
17 Q. You feel that it was around 5.00 that that
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Taking into account you weren't wearing a
21 watch, what made you think it was around 5.00, then,
23 A. The basis that -- time I spent at Sakic's
24 house, which was about half an hour; perhaps 40
1 Q. So from that location you described how the
2 families of Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic, if I have
3 understood the story correctly, sir, they made their
4 way down towards the shelters, closer to where you
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. If I'm -- just to be sure I have the version
8 correct, did Mr. Mirjan and Mr. Zoran Kupreskic
9 actually accompany their families to those places?
10 They went with them?
11 A. They passed by me, and they went on. I
12 didn't go with them so that I knew that they went all
13 the way. But I know that later on, they came back
14 together, and they walked -- came past us.
15 Q. Do you have any idea how long it was between
16 the time that you saw them with their families and the
17 time they came back? Do you know how long that was?
18 A. I think that about 10 to 15 minutes passed.
19 There's about half a kilometre to my house, in one
21 Q. And if I'm again getting my time correct, and
22 please correct me if I'm wrong, was it during the
23 period that they were away from you that you saw these
24 30-odd armed soldiers?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I'll ask you: Was it daylight at the time?
2 A. No. It was early in the morning and it was
3 still twilight. It had not dawned completely.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
5 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I believe that
6 some things cannot be asked. He is saying that -- he
7 is saying that it is the twilight. He is not making a
8 distinction between the morning twilight and the dawn,
9 the break of dawn. I think the witness should not be
10 confused here.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: I don't think the question
12 was confusing or misleading. It's just a question of
13 asking the witness to clarify the matter.
14 Mr. Blaxill, can you ask a question so that
15 the witness may clarify this point?
16 MR. BLAXILL:
17 Q. From your last response, Mr. Vidovic, you
18 appeared to indicate that it was not full daylight.
19 Was it light enough for you to see clearly at that
21 A. You could see clearly, but the darkness was
22 receding and the dawn was approaching.
23 Q. I don't know if I can elicit an any more
24 clear response on that, Your Honours. It's not going
25 to cause, I think, a problem for identification or
1 anything, far from it.
2 Mr. Vidovic, you say you saw on these people
3 that they were wearing white belts and you could
4 obviously see police insignia. You say you saw
5 military police insignia. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And would that be HVO military police whom
8 you saw?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. These people then went out of your sight and
11 disappeared, yes?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And did you see any of that unit again that
15 A. No.
16 Q. Some time later -- I do apologise. Some
17 little time later you say that Mr. Zoran Kupreskic and
18 Mirjan Kupreskic returned and joined up with you, is
19 that right, at that spot?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you all, in fact, together with Dragan
22 Vidovic, Dragan Samija and, I think, Mirko Santic--
23 Sacic I'm sorry, go towards the same direction as that
24 group of people?
25 A. No.
1 Q. I thought at one point you said you followed
2 the group. Was I mistaken in noting that?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE MAY: No, you were right. That's what
5 he said. I have a note that he followed the unit.
6 Those were the words that were used. Whether he meant
7 they went in the same direction, I don't know.
8 MR. BLAXILL: I will clarify, Your Honour.
9 It's appropriate to do so. Thank you, sir.
10 Q. Yes. Did you and your companions, at that
11 point, go in the same direction that had been taken by
12 those soldiers, those military policemen?
13 A. Well, I didn't. I stayed at Niko Sakic's
14 house in the valley, the depression, and with the
15 soldiers it was Mirko Sakic who went off and Dragan
16 Vidovic, Grgic, Zoran, and Mirjan and Mirko Sakic.
17 Q. And you stayed in the depression?
18 A. No. I stayed on that part of the road near
19 Niko's house, on the asphalt.
20 Q. How long did you remain there?
21 A. Not long. I didn't stay at that part long.
22 Several minutes waiting for two others to get ready,
23 and then we went up to Bijela Zemlja.
24 Q. Can you give me a time of day for when you
25 did that, when you went there?
1 A. In Ahmici there was shooting going on
2 already. In the lower parts of the village it could be
3 heard, and near the Kupreskic houses as well. Zoran
4 came with the Didaks, and I saw them from the road and
5 they passed by us, and we went up there. I can't tell
6 you what time it was exactly.
7 Q. I think we've perhaps jumped back in time. I
8 got the impression that when you saw that group of
9 armed military policemen, that was after you had
10 encountered the Kupreskics for the first time near
11 Sakic's house. Is that correct?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. And then later Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic
14 returned and joined you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. At this time you were then, I believe, in the
17 vicinity of the house, I think you said, of Mr. Niko
18 Vidovic. Is that correct?
19 A. No, Sakic.
20 Q. Mr. Sakic. I'm sorry. But were you not
21 after that then guarding -- sorry. You then went to
22 the other location to guard the shelter of Mr. Niko
23 Vidovic. Did you say that?
24 A. Yes, because -- and I can show you on the
25 map. The place where I was at is somewhere between the
1 two shelters, towards Pirici.
2 Q. And how long did you remain in that
4 A. I stayed there for the first day, the second
5 day and a part of the third day, and afterwards, in the
6 afternoon hours, we went out to Pirici, Barin Gaj, up
8 Q. So you're saying that you remained, in fact,
9 in that location. Did you -- for the whole of the 16th
10 of April? Let's just deal with the 16th for now.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you tell --
13 A. I would go, from time to time, to them down
14 in the depression, because the natural path towards the
15 entrance to the mine leads right towards the Kupreskic
16 house in the valley, in the depression. So on two or
17 three occasions I went to them.
18 Q. So if I understand you correctly, you were in
19 a position of standing guard away from but near to the
20 depression in the ground; is that right? You were
21 somewhere close to it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. How many companions did you have with you
24 when you were in that position?
25 A. I can tell you the names. There was Miro
1 Pudza, there was Mirko Grgic, Pero Jelic, Anto Brnada
2 and Samija Miro, who afterwards went down to his own
4 Q. So you and that group basically stayed there
5 the whole day in that position with other people down
6 in the depression?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you remember at what time it was that
9 those people went into the depression, leaving you up
10 at the top? Was this at the very beginning?
11 A. I apologise. The people stayed. The ones I
12 enumerated stayed with me. They didn't go down to the
13 depression. There was another group down there. It
14 was Sakic, and Kupreskic and the others.
15 Q. Yes. I understood that to be the case.
16 The -- there was another group of people who were down
17 in the depression. That is correct, yes?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You were saying that Mr. Mirjan Kupreskic was
20 amongst that group. Is that so?
21 A. The group that was in the depression, yes,
22 that's true.
23 Q. And was Mr. Zoran Kupreskic in the group who
24 remained in the depression?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I believe you say that from time to time you
2 yourself went down there to check up on the people, to
3 see how they were.
4 A. Yes, and to exchange a few words because we
5 had no information.
6 Q. Can you tell me how many times in the course
7 of that morning, let us say before the hour of noon,
8 you went down into the depression to speak to the
10 A. I think I went twice in the course of the
12 Q. Can you give me any indication of the times
13 at which you may have done so?
14 A. The first time it was about 8.30, and the
15 second time a little before 12.00, between 11.00 and
16 12.00. I don't know exactly.
17 Q. During the course of the afternoon, after the
18 hour of 12.00, how many times did you go down into the
20 A. Only once, before dusk fell.
21 Q. Can you give us any indication at what time
22 of day dusk fell at that time of year?
23 A. About 7.00. I don't know exactly.
24 Q. So over the course of the day you say that
25 you made three visits to the depression.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I think you've given a description to the
3 Chamber that it was a very well-protected feature, had
4 a lot of trees and vegetation around it so you couldn't
5 see down into it. Is that right?
6 A. Yes. That's right.
7 Q. Likewise, therefore, people inside it would
8 not necessarily be in sight of you if you were around
9 it on guard with a group of people?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So for the majority of the day you and the
12 Kupreskics would not have been physically able to see
13 each other?
14 A. No. From one place and the other place, no.
15 Q. So you say that the shooting went on
16 basically for the rest of that day in and around
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You had already heard that there was shooting
20 in the vicinity of the Kupreskic houses, there had
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. And that there was obviously shooting from
24 other directions as well?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. If we try to estimate some time without being
2 too speculative, your group of people was in that
3 location near the depression from fairly early hours of
4 the morning. Would you say from before 6.00? Would
5 you think that is fair to say?
6 A. About 6.00. I can't tell you exactly.
7 Q. Presumably, if I understand you correctly,
8 that would place, you say, Mr. Zoran Kupreskic and
9 Mr. Mirjan Kupreskic in that depression somewhere
10 around 6.00, in the early hours of the morning?
11 A. About 6.00. I don't know exactly.
12 Q. If I interpret correctly what you have been
13 saying to us, the nature of that terrain was such that
14 you could not see them and they could not see you. So
15 if I suggest to you a possibility, you can give me an
16 answer if you will, sir. Someone could have left that
17 depression for a period of time, you would not have
18 seen them and not have known that they were absent from
19 that depression during that period; isn't that
21 A. That's correct, but had they left the
22 depression going towards my house using the road, then
23 I could have seen them up from above.
24 Q. Saying they had left the depression and gone
25 in the direction of Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic's or Mr. Zoran
1 Kupreskic's home, could someone have left the
2 depression and gone in that direction without being
3 observed by you?
4 A. I think so, but I don't know.
5 Q. One thing I would like to ask you, sir, is
6 what, in fact, had happened with respect to your own
7 family, because initially you say you left the house
8 and left them at your home. So what had happened to
10 A. My family remained, throughout the war, in my
11 house. They never moved from there.
12 Q. Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean for the
13 duration of war, I mean on that day. Did your family
14 seek shelter? Did you take them to a shelter?
15 A. They stayed in my family house.
16 Q. So throughout the events of the 16th of
17 April, in fact, your family just stayed in your own
19 A. Yes. My house is located right next to Jozo
20 Vrbac's shelter. It's about ten metres away.
21 Q. So from that I'm presuming, so you can
22 correct me if wrong, that you felt there was a shelter
23 close by if an emergency arose?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did your family, in fact, seek any shelter
1 there during the 16th of April?
2 A. No. They stayed in my family house together
3 with Zoran's family and Didak's family.
4 Q. Therefore, sir, if I can put it to you: Did
5 you consider, therefore, that the events of that day,
6 whatever they were, your family, in that location, was
7 safe enough from any harm?
8 A. We were not safe even in the centre of Vitez,
9 let alone in my family house, but the house is firmly
10 built, it has two floors, it has two concrete --
11 reinforced concrete plates, and in the -- it was
12 looking onto the main road, and so that I feel that
13 apart from the fact if the Muslims, for example,
14 stormed the village, unless they took the family out of
15 the house then they did not have any great need to go
16 to a shelter.
17 Q. So what you're saying, if -- I'm just trying
18 to get the full picture here. You say, obviously, if
19 the Muslims stormed the village, they could be taken
20 prisoner or something and may be safer in a shelter.
21 Is that what you're saying?
22 A. No. Even -- the same thing -- it would have
23 been the same had they been in the shelter just as if
24 they were in my house. So my house was built firmly
25 and was safe from shelling just as the shelter was. It
1 was just as safe.
2 Q. But did your house have any kind of
3 underground cellar, underground basement as these other
4 properties appeared to have had as their safety
6 A. No.
7 Q. So isn't it true to say, sir, that you,
8 Mr. Vidovic, did not fear that your family was in
9 sufficient danger on the 16th of April to warrant them
10 seeking shelter in an underground shelter like many
11 other Croat families?
12 A. My house, at the time, was 500 metres from
13 the fighting, and I didn't think it was necessary for
14 them to have to go into a house which was on the other
15 side and crowded with all the other inhabitants. My
16 wife decided to stay at home.
17 Q. Isn't it true it's because the very nature of
18 that action in Ahmici that day posed, in fact, no
19 danger to your family in the Croat area of the town --
20 or the village, I'm sorry, and bearing in mind the
21 target of the attacking troops? Is that true?
22 A. Would you repeat that question, please?
23 Q. Your family was located in a Croat area in
24 the -- in the town, predominantly, and you knew, did
25 you not, that the nature of the attack in Ahmici that
1 morning posed no immediate danger to your home and your
3 A. When I went from my house I didn't know what
4 was going to happen in Ahmici, so I couldn't foresee.
5 I couldn't tell my wife what to do. My wife decided on
6 her own to stay in the house. She decided to stay.
7 Q. Yet the -- you had obviously had a warning of
8 trouble because you were woken at 4.00, and it was
9 clear that sometime after 5.00 the shooting had
10 started, there were explosions. Did you not, at that
11 point, even think to get home and reassess the
12 situation, or did you still feel confident that they
13 were in no great danger?
14 A. I went home for the first time at about 7.30,
15 and they were still in the house, and they stayed
16 there. They didn't go anywhere.
17 Q. Thank you. I'd like a moment to confer if I
18 may, please, Your Honours.
19 I was just thinking at this particular point,
20 Your Honours, and noting the time, that it would be
21 perhaps a natural break point to stop. I don't think I
22 will be keeping this witness a very long time tomorrow
23 morning, or Your Honours, with my cross-examination. I
24 think it would be a little premature for me to cease
25 and conclude it immediately today.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. So we adjourn now
2 until tomorrow at 9.00.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
4 at 1.30 p.m., to be reconvened on
5 Wednesday, the 3rd day of March, 1999,
6 at 9:00 a.m.