1 Friday, 16th July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case IT-95-16-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
8 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and
9 Vladimir Santic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. Counsel
11 Radovic -- first of all, you can continue sitting. It
12 is probably better for you.
13 May I ask you to do us a favour? Since we
14 may need to -- we had to yesterday, actually, redact
15 quite a few names. I wonder whether you could be so
16 kind as to refrain, when you mention a name, refrain
17 from saying whether he or she was a witness or will be
18 a witness so that we don't need to redact then
19 afterwards. Otherwise, I have to show a lot of
20 redactions. Thank you. Thank you.
21 MR. RADOVIC: I'll do my best not to mention
22 any names, Your Honour.
23 By looking at the transcript yesterday, we
24 saw that the description of the location where he met
25 the soldiers was not quite accurate in the transcript,
1so we will repeat that today.
2 WITNESS: ZORAN KUPRESKIC (Resumed)
3 Examined by Mr. Radovic:
4 Q. Good morning, Zoran. I hope you rested.
5 A. Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
6 everyone. Yes, I did.
7 Q. Very well. We will describe again for the
8 Trial Chamber how and where you met those soldiers.
9 A. My brother and I with our families went from
10 Niko Sakic's house to the Vrebac shelter, about five,
11 six, seven soldiers were there, that is, the ones that
12 I saw, on that road when we went around Anto Pudza's
13 house, so it was somewhere along the way towards Anto
14 Pudza's house. All these houses are called Pudza's
15 houses. I saw these five, six, seven soldiers, that
16 is, on that road, there were about that number of
17 soldiers. They were coming over this way. There were
18 other soldiers coming. So there were five or six
19 soldiers there, there were five or six soldiers coming
20 towards the road from the lateral road, and I don't
21 know how many more there were. In my judgement, there
22 were about that many soldiers there. There may have
23 been others there because they kept coming from that
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone to the counsel,
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Microphone, please.
3 MR. RADOVIC:
4 Q. You described what types of uniforms these
5 soldiers were wearing and what types of belts some of
6 them had. Did you also notice any insignia or markings
7 on their uniforms or one of their sleeves?
8 A. I could notice that there was some insignia
9 there, it was some kind of a triangle, but it was dusk,
10 and I could not notice anything else except that there
11 was an insignia. There were some white belts, and I
12 also saw several pistol holsters there.
13 Q. Yesterday we said that you had heard about
14 some deaths. First you heard of the death of a friend
15 of yours and Mirjan's, and later on, you also heard
16 that there were some other people who were killed.
17 Could you, on the basis of the information you had
18 received on that morning of the 16th of April, create a
19 picture of what actually was taking place?
20 A. On the way back from visiting our wives and
21 families and looking down towards the main road, we
22 could see some houses on fire, and based on the
23 locations, it seemed as if these were Muslim houses. I
24 did not see any Croat houses burning. What we saw down
25 there, we were not sure whether there were any Croatian
1houses among them, but we inferred that these were
2 Muslim houses.
3 We could see some smoke rising in the
4 direction where our houses were, but we could not see
5 whether these were my house and the house of my brother
6 and father. Later we learned that, in fact, these were
7 not our houses which were on fire but some Muslim
8 houses that were next to ours.
9 Q. This you learned on the first day, that is,
10 on the 16th of April?
11 A. When Ivica and Nikola Omazic brought the body
12 of Mirjan Santic, we asked Ivica whether my and
13 Mirjan's houses were burned down, and he said that they
14 were not. He said that all Muslim houses around our
15 houses were on fire.
16 That afternoon, when we were going in the
17 direction of Zume, you could see down near the road
18 where I had first mentioned that there were additional
19 houses there on fire, you could see more smoke, and as
20 you looked towards the cemetery, in that part, which is
21 also a Muslim part of the village, that's where the
22 smoke was rising from as well as from the houses around
23 us, so that's when you could gain the impression that
24 the Muslims had been driven out of there, and there
25 were also dead bodies around the road, but we had at
1that time believed that everybody had fled and I did
2 not know anything else.
3 Q. Could you place this in time? When did you
4 learn about this?
5 A. The second time we went in the direction of
6 Zume, it was about 4.00 or 5.00 in the afternoon, and
7 when we were coming back -- so on the way back, that's
8 when I learned about what I have just said.
9 Q. You said that you had heard shooting. In
10 addition to shooting, did you hear any other sounds or
12 A. I recall that before we first left the
13 depression to go towards Zume, we heard some screams
14 somewhere ahead of us, that is, in the area behind our
15 houses or somewhere around the Sutra warehouse, in that
16 direction, but I cannot -- you could hear the mooing of
17 cows, there was more shooting, and it was very
18 confusing and ...
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone to the counsel,
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Again, could you, please?
22 MR. RADOVIC:
23 Q. Did you hear any moans, any cries for help?
24 A. I could not hear any cries for help, but I
25 did hear some screams and moans, not one or two. I
1heard some women's voices.
2 Q. What did you construe this scream to mean?
3 Did it feel like this person was somehow threatened in
4 any way?
5 A. Yes. That was a scream of fear, perhaps even
6 of somebody being wounded.
7 Q. When you heard this scream which you
8 construed to be as somebody being threatened in some
9 way, why did you not go to try to assist this person?
10 A. This was coming from the direction where the
11 shooting was coming from, and the shooting continued.
12 Even if I had started out in that direction, I don't
13 know where I was to go, and I feared that I could lose
14 my life or something. I didn't have enough courage to
15 go over there.
16 Q. If I understood you correctly, you feared to
17 go over there for fear of losing your own life or
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. You said something about Ivica Kupreskic and
21 his arrival and about how it was he who informed you
22 that it was not your houses which had been set on
23 fire. Could you describe his coming? Where was he
24 going? What did he say? What was the time when all
25 this happened?
1A. When we came back from Zume, my brother and
2 I, that is, the first time when we were there in the
3 morning, somewhere between 9.00 and 10.00 perhaps, as
4 well as Mirko Sakic, near the house of Niko Sakic we
5 met Niko Omazic, who, in my mind, was completely
6 inebriated, he had alcohol on his breath, and he was
7 going towards the depression and he said that Mirjan
8 Santic had been killed. We rejoined those who were
9 there in this depression and he then left and none of
10 us dared to go -- he said that he and Ivica were going
11 to try to somehow bring Mirjan over to where we were.
12 At that time, the shooting had sort of
13 subsided, there were very few scattered shots, and
14 shortly thereafter, they brought Mirjan down to us on a
15 ladder, and then the four of us picked him up and took
16 him to Miko Sakic's house and left him in the shed
17 there, and we only managed to ask Ivica about the
18 houses at that time, and he said that it was not ours
19 that were burning but someone else's.
20 Q. Tell me about the late Mirjan Santic, did you
21 see the body?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. How was he dressed?
24 A. Mirjan was wearing a camouflage uniform. He
25 had a white belt. He had the insignia of the military
1police and a light blue ribbon which was about 15 to 20
2 centimetres in length.
3 Q. Could you again try to estimate the time when
4 Mirjan Santic was brought to you or when you took
5 Mirjan Santic to where you then deposited him?
6 A. This was after we had come back from Zume, I
7 cannot say exactly, but it was somewhere before
8 11.00 a.m.
9 Q. Could you now describe what happened next on
10 that day? In other words, you took Mirjan Santic's
11 body there, and what happened after that?
12 A. We returned to the depression, and later,
13 Niko Sakic, who came over several times to us, he said
14 that Mirjan was taken, I don't know, by either his
15 father or by some relative in one of the houses near
16 Niko Sakic's house.
17 Sometime around noon, perhaps, some half an
18 hour to an hour later, we heard the tanks. At that
19 time, there was no shooting, so we again moved a little
20 bit up towards our own houses. We were still in the
21 forest, and at the top of that depression, the forest
22 is a bit narrower, so you could see through all the way
23 clear to the Sutra warehouse. I saw two tanks. They
24 were UNPROFOR tanks. One was going towards Upper
25 Ahmici and the other one towards our own houses, and
1then I lost sight of them and I couldn't see them any
3 While they were there, there was practically
4 no shooting whatsoever. However, they may have stayed
5 there for about an hour, I don't know if it was any
6 longer than that, and then when they left, the shooting
7 resumed again. Perhaps it was a bit more distance than
8 it had been before.
9 Q. Did the area where the shooting was going on
10 change or was the shooting moving in space, so to
11 speak, and in which direction, if it did?
12 A. I said that the shooting could be heard a bit
13 farther off, and it was still coming from the direction
14 of the cemetery and near the road, except when the
15 UNPROFOR tanks left, the shooting was less intense than
16 it had been that morning.
17 Q. Can you tell me, did anything significant
18 happen in the area in which you were moving that
19 afternoon, something that you may have noticed and
20 something that you believe you should tell the Court
22 A. I still remember that Ivica Rajic sometime,
23 perhaps around the time when the UNPROFOR tanks were
24 still around, he was carrying some food for the
25 children and women. We talked a little bit in more
1detail about how it was not our houses which were
2 burning but rather the houses of our neighbours,
3 Muslims, and according to him, most of those houses
4 were on fire. He also said that he had seen there at
5 my brother and father's house about ten soldiers, that
6 two had brought Mirjan there and identified themselves
7 to him as being Jokers.
8 After our second return from Zume, from then
9 until the nightfall, you could hear sporadic fire, as I
10 said, less intense. We were at the top of this
11 depression, and so if the shooting would intensify, we
12 would slip down another 20, 30 metres, and if not, we
13 would go all the way to the top of the depression to
14 peek out, and this is how we stayed until the
16 Q. What happened just before dusk or at dusk?
17 A. It had already become dark, and when around
18 the lower mosque near the school, you could hear
19 intense fire, I assumed that there was some fierce
20 fighting going on there, and it went on for about half
21 an hour, and then a loud explosion could be heard, and
22 after that explosion, we could see, again from the top
23 of this depression and through the woods, that the
24 minaret of the mosque was destroyed, that there was
25 fire. You could see incendiary bullets. At that time,
1it gets dark between 7.30 and 8.00, so that must have
2 been in that period of time when we saw this.
3 Q. After the minaret of that mosque was
4 destroyed and after that, did anything happen?
5 A. We spent the night. After this shooting and
6 after the mosque was destroyed, the shooting subsided.
7 We spent the night behind the stables of my uncle, Ivo
8 Kupreskic, but we were on a path where we could see the
9 slope going above us, and we could see if somebody
10 would be getting closer to us. We could see this in
11 the moonlight. Whoever felt cold could go to the
12 stables to get warmer, but we weren't very cold that
14 We heard some noise somewhere behind my
15 uncle's house, we didn't see what was going on, and
16 during that night, when Ivica came to join us and to
17 stand guard, he said that some soldiers from Novi
18 Travnik had come, that they were wearing helmets and
19 that they were allegedly supposed to take over from the
20 soldiers in the village, I don't know, something to
21 that effect, and we spent the entire night there
22 between the 16th and 17th.
23 Q. Tell me, while you were moving around, if I
24 understood you correctly, you spent a certain period of
25 time in the depression, then you went to see whether
1your family was okay, and then you went back to the
2 depression. Did I understand you well?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. At any rate, you were moving thereabouts;
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Tell me, did you carry a weapon all the time?
8 A. Yes, the rifle I got from Ivica was with me
9 all the time.
10 Q. As you were moving about on that day, the
11 16th, were there any changes in the shelter by Niko
12 Sakic's house?
13 A. Yes. Niko came to tell us that those who
14 were staying with him fled to the other shelter, the
15 Vidovic's. Dragan Vidovic was there with us, and his
16 family were staying in that shelter, so he thought that
17 he should know about it. Then Dragan Samija was also
18 supposed to know, and Mirko Vidovic, he was supposed to
19 know that his family was also staying at Niko Vidovic's
21 Q. Why did they move?
22 A. He says that some bullets had hit the facade
23 and the roof of the house, and they were frightened.
24 They were afraid that someone might get wounded, so
25 they tried to get away to this other shelter.
1Q. You know where Jozo Alilovic's house is. I
2 already asked you that yesterday. On that day, on the
3 16th of April, did you go to Jozo Alilovic's house at
4 any point in time?
5 A. I had no need to do so. I had no reason to
6 do so. I did not dare to go there. I could not go
7 there. I never went close to that house.
8 Q. This Jozo Alilovic, is he your age, your
9 generation or, for example, your father's generation?
10 A. That man is older than my father, and I can
11 recall that perhaps he came to see my father at his
12 house a few times, but he never came to see me.
13 Q. And you personally never went to his house?
14 A. No.
15 Q. On that day, as far as I understood, you were
16 afraid, you were afraid of the shooting; was that
18 A. Yes, exactly.
19 Q. Had you gone from the place where you were to
20 Jozo Alilovic's house, would you have had to pass
21 through the area where there was shooting?
22 A. I would have had to go through the places
23 where the shooting was the most intense, by my house,
24 by the mosque, by the road, by the cemetery.
25 Q. You said that during the night you did not
1hear anything that would be noteworthy, except that
2 Ivica Kupreskic said that a unit came to replace the
3 others; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, as compared to the 16th, a question will
6 be put: Why did you personally and the persons who
7 were with you and who were carrying weapons stay at the
8 position where you were? So could you please explain
9 that? Why were you there?
10 A. We were in this depression exclusively and
11 only for the following reason: If someone would come
12 by, and we had received information concerning an
13 attack by the Mujahedin or the Muslims, I don't know,
14 but if somebody would come up there, that we protect
15 this shelter, that we start shooting so that the women
16 and children could escape. That was the only and
17 exclusive reason why we were there, and from there
18 where we were, we could see 50 to 100 metres in front
19 of us because we would be moving back and forth.
20 Q. However, after this answer, there is an
21 inevitable question. You saw that the army, the
22 Croatian army, was moving in front of you. The
23 question is wasn't this sufficient security for your
25 A. How could we have known what would happen,
1who would attack who and who would win and where the
2 attack would be launched? If the attack comes from
3 Barin Gaj, and I saw five or six men and then another
4 five or six men, 20 men or so, what could we do at any
5 rate? But we had no idea. We knew that the women and
6 children were there. Let us be there. Honestly, I did
7 not expect anything to happen, as was the case before
8 that, but unfortunately, that did not turn out to be
9 the case.
10 Q. Do you have any anything else to say
11 concerning the 16th of April that I did not ask you
12 about or that you did not say or have we taken care of
13 the 16th of April altogether?
14 A. I don't know if this is important. My
15 brother and I, when we were in the shelter, my brother
16 with his wife and I with my wife and children, I heard
17 rumours that someone, Milutin Katica or some other
18 woman, because there were quite a few of them, that
19 they called relatives or friends, whoever they have, in
20 Mosunj, Vitez, Krizancevo Selo, et cetera, to see
21 whether they knew what was going on over there, and
22 they heard allegedly that there was shooting in Vitez,
23 that in Mosunj it was peaceful, that in Poculica there
24 was shooting, and that actually Croats had fled from
25 Poculica too to Krizancevo Selo, and then I realised
1that this was really a war, that it wasn't as harmless
2 as it might have seemed at first.
3 Q. All right. Let us move on to the 17th, and
4 at the end, we are going to make the necessary
5 markings. We don't want to interrupt you now.
6 Now tell me about the 17th. What happened on
7 the 17th?
8 A. In the morning, at daybreak on the 17th, I
9 don't remember whether this was immediately at daybreak
10 or half an hour or an hour after that, but at any rate,
11 in the morning, again there was shooting, but it could
12 not be heard from down there, from the road and the
13 cemetery, but from the middle part of Ahmici, and it
14 was not as intense as it was the previous day. There
15 would be shooting and then it would stop in the
17 We took turns going to see our families, to
18 see what the situation was like.
19 Q. As you went to see your families, did you
20 reach a place where there was a telephone, for example?
21 A. There was a telephone in Milutin Vidovic's
23 Q. And did the telephones work?
24 A. Well, yes. I already said that on the 16th,
25 some persons called from there, made telephone calls to
1Vitez and elsewhere.
2 Q. Was there a telephone in Niko Sakic's house?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was his telephone in order?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. On the 17th, did you personally make any
7 phone calls to anyone?
8 A. At one point, this was in the afternoon of
9 the 17th, perhaps it was even earlier, Niko told us
10 that he had been to the Vidovics' shelter, the one in
11 the middle, and that with the Croat women and children,
12 the Bilici from Strmonje were there too and there were
13 Muslims that were there who had fled and who were
14 hiding with them.
15 I think that he told Mirko that we should try
16 to establish contact. He knew that Mirko worked at the
17 IRC, and he thought that perhaps UNPROFOR could come
18 and help. I'm not sure. As far as I can remember, I
19 think he said that they also wanted to leave and that
20 they were afraid and that there were people who were
21 killed and that houses were being set fire to,
22 et cetera.
23 Q. You did not say which Mirko you were talking
25 A. I'm talking about Mirko Sakic, that is,
1Niko's son. Niko lived on the ground floor and he
2 lived on the first floor of this house.
3 So Niko and I went upstairs to his place, and
4 he made a telephone call. I was just present. He
5 called Ranka Gotovac, who worked in the IRC in Vitez.
6 It is some kind of a humanitarian organisation. She
7 spoke English, and he briefly told her what was going
8 on and asked her whether she could try and do
10 After that, I did not receive any
11 information. We heard that some UNPROFOR tanks had
12 come to Pican's cafe, but as far as I know, they did
13 not come all the way to these shelters in order to take
14 these people away.
15 Q. Tell me, these people who were staying in the
16 shelters with the Croats, did they stay alive?
17 A. As far as I heard, yes, that they were all
19 I tried to call when I was at Milutin's house
20 too. I tried to call Ivan Josipovic in Vitez to see
21 whether he knew anything.
22 Q. What did Ivan Josipovic do? Why did you call
23 him? Why did you think that you could get useful
24 information from him?
25 A. He was my friend. He worked in the same
1company that I worked in. I did not find him. I
2 called Zdravo Matkovic; he also worked with me. I
3 didn't find him either. His wife answered the
4 telephone, and she only confirmed to me what others
5 were saying the day before that, that is to say, my
6 wife and the others over there, that there was shooting
7 in Vitez as well, that there was shooting on that day
8 as well, that she heard that there were people who were
9 dead, that some Muslims were being taken away to the
10 cinema, and that some soldiers dressed in black were
11 coming in. I think that she said these were the PPNs.
12 I don't know how she knew about this.
13 Q. What does PPN mean?
14 A. These are some kind of units for special
15 purposes. I don't -- is it the Vitezovi or ...
16 Q. Let us define this. PPN is an abbreviation
17 for "special purpose units"; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Proceed.
20 A. I called Majda too. When Marica, Zdravo's
21 wife, told me that, I asked Majda also what was going
22 on, and she told me, frightened, things that were
23 similar to those that Marica had told me about, that
24 she was afraid, that she saw some soldiers who were
25 unknown to her. She would not have been afraid had she
1known these people. I can't remember whether she told
2 me that they came to her door as well, they came to
3 somebody else's door, and she heard that Muslims were
4 being taken away and that was it. I asked whether
5 there were any Croats nearby; perhaps they could go to
6 that apartment to seek shelter. As far as I can
7 remember, she also asked me about my family, where they
8 were, and I told her very briefly that they were at
9 Zume, that they were in shelter there, that I had fled,
10 that there was chaos here, and that I could not
11 understand what was going on, that it was terrible. So
12 we just had a short conversation. That was it.
13 I tried to phone some other people as well,
14 but I did not manage to get through, so we returned
15 after that.
16 Q. Tell me, did any of the people who were
17 staying with you in these shelters, were they moving
18 anywhere in that way, did they move in the direction of
19 Gornja Rovna, did anybody go anywhere?
20 A. On the 16th of April, in the evening, it got
21 dark, it was already 8.00 or 9.00, Mirko Sakic went to
22 Niko Vidovic's shelter to see his family, and when he
23 came back, he said to us that he did not find anyone
24 over there. I think that he only said that he saw
25 Pero, Pero Vidovic, an old man, perhaps 70 years old,
1and he said that everybody had fled to Gornja Rovna. I
2 don't know who came to say that the Muslims attacked
3 Krtina-Mahala, that is a place above Santici, perhaps
4 two or three kilometres to the north, towards
6 My brother and I were terrified and wondered
7 what happened to our own folks, and my wife and three
8 children, I wondered what she could do on her own, so
9 we went to see what was going on with them.
10 Q. What had happened to them?
11 A. I found my wife and children at Milutin's
12 house, and there were others that were with her there,
13 and they told us that they had started to flee as well,
14 but -- I am not sure whether it was Gordana Vidovic or
15 someone else had learnt that people, civilians,
16 elderly, women, and children from Mahala had fled and
17 had come to the Vrebac shelter, which was by then
18 already empty because the people who had been there had
19 fled to Rovna, and they said that there had been an
20 attack there, that some hay had been set on fire, but
21 that the people who were on the front had repelled the
22 attack, that it was halted, and my wife, Milutin's
23 wife, and Didaci, Milka Vidovic and Gordana Vidovic
24 came back and stayed in Milutin's house. We stayed
25 there briefly and then went back.
1Q. So as far as I understand, the 17th of April
2 was not an eventful one for you, you were more or less
3 mere observers; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, we watched, we kept guard, we kept
5 checking with our family to see how they were, then we
6 were inquiring to see what was happening. We could see
7 everything on fire. All the houses more or less around
8 the mosque and the mosque itself was on fire.
9 Q. On that day, in the area that you were moving
10 in and from which you were observing, did you see any
11 dead bodies on the 17th?
12 A. Apart from Mirjan Santic, I did not see
14 Q. So until the end of the 17th, you had seen
15 only that one killed Croatian soldier and you had heard
16 about some killed Muslims, but you yourself had not
17 seen anyone else; would that be correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Tell us now, what happened on the 18th or,
20 rather, the night between the 17th and the 18th and
21 then proceed with the 18th.
22 A. The night between the 17th and the 18th was
23 one that we spent more or less in the same place as we
24 had been the night before. It was possible to get some
25 sleep in the stable because we were all very exhausted,
1but we didn't sleep for long. So that is how we spent
2 the night until it dawned the next day.
3 Q. When dawn came on the 18th, was there any
5 A. On the 18th, we could hear shooting in Gornji
6 Pirici and Gornji Ahmici. It was further away than it
7 was on the 16th and the 17th, but we could still hear
8 it well.
9 Q. On that morning, the morning of the 18th, did
10 you muster the courage to go and see what had happened
11 to your house?
12 A. In the morning of the 18th, when there was a
13 lapse in the shooting, as on any other day, we found
14 time to visit our family and my brother went to Rovna
15 because he hadn't seen them that night, and I remember
16 that sometime around noon, we went to the house -- I
17 think it was about noon, I don't know exactly -- my
18 brother and myself and Vrebac, the two of them went to
19 see his house and I went to mine.
20 Q. How far did you go together?
21 A. As far as my father's and brother's house.
22 Then they stayed there, entered the house, and I went
23 on to my house, which is some 20 or 30 metres away from
25 I entered my house. The door was not
1damaged, it was intact. I entered. Nothing was wrong
2 with it except for a broken window in the bedroom and
3 the window facing northwards. Everything else was
4 normal. I spent a little time there and then I went
6 My brother --
7 Q. Wait a minute. Wait a minute, please. The
8 damage that you saw in your house, as no one had
9 entered the house, would you say that it was due to
10 some causes from the outside or from the inside?
11 A. I had double-glazed windows, and the window
12 in the bedroom was totally shattered, and the window on
13 the north, only the outside glass was broken, not the
14 inside glass. So the damage was caused from the
16 Q. What about the situation around your house or
17 on the stretch of land between your house and your
18 brother's house; did you see any traces of any soldiers
19 having passed by or undertaken any operations there?
20 A. I didn't stay long in my house. I reached my
21 brother's house and waited for them to come down
22 because they went upstairs to the first floor where he
23 lived, Zdravko and Mica, and I was able to see an
24 ammunition box that was empty outside the house. I
25 also saw some casings. That is what I was able to
1see. And I saw Muslim houses. I think two of those
2 houses were intact, as far as I was able to see; the
3 others were burnt.
4 Q. Did you go inside your brother's house or did
5 you wait for him outside, in front of the house?
6 A. I didn't go inside. I waited outside.
7 Q. When your brother came out of the house, what
8 did he tell you about the condition of his house?
9 A. I saw that the door upstairs, the entrance,
10 had been broken down, and he told me that. He also
11 said that inside, the fridge door had been broken, he
12 had found it in the middle of the kitchen or, rather,
13 the dining room, and that some things had been stolen,
14 I don't know, some jewellery and a jacket, and he and
15 Zdravko took the accordion, and we went back to the
16 stable. The two of them took the accordion. Zdravko
17 came to Niko Sakic's house by car, and I stayed on next
18 to the stable.
19 Q. After visiting your houses, where did you go?
20 A. I stayed in the stable, and the two of them
21 took the accordion to Niko Sakic's house. They got
22 into the car, and I don't know where they went.
23 Q. Did they come back?
24 A. Yes, my brother did come back.
25 Q. Did anyone appear who upset the rhythm of
1life that you had during the 16th, 17th, and part of
2 the 18th?
3 A. In the afternoon, maybe at dusk, maybe it was
4 around 4.00 or 5.00 in the afternoon, we were there
5 next to the stable when, from the valley, several
6 military policemen appeared, I think about four of
7 them, and with them a group of seven or eight men in
8 civilian clothes, some of whom I knew from Vitez. They
9 told us that we must go with them to Gornji Pirici
10 where a front line had been established and where
11 trenches had to be dug and so on.
12 Q. Did you do as they asked?
13 A. We had no choice. We had to go.
14 Q. These men, these military policemen from
15 Vitez, how were they dressed and were they armed?
16 A. As far as I can recollect, almost all of them
17 were in civilian clothes. I think they were all in
18 civilian clothes and that they had -- not all of them,
19 but four or five of them had rifles. There were some
20 without rifles too.
21 Q. And you set off. How did you move, in a
22 line, in a row? How?
23 A. In a line. The policemen went first, then
24 the people from Vitez, then us. At that moment when
25 they came, I was there, my brother, Dragan Vidovic,
1Mirko Sakic, Ivica Kupreskic, and I think Dragan Samija
2 too. I don't know whether there was anyone else.
3 Q. I assume you were moving one by one. What
4 position did you hold in that line of people?
5 A. Mirko Sakic and myself were at the end of the
6 line. He was the one but last; I was the last.
7 Q. The place where you were picked up by the
8 military policemen, how far is that place from the
9 place where you were taken? Of course, I don't expect
10 you to give us a precise estimate but a rough
12 A. It may have been 500 to 600 metres, maybe
13 even 700, roughly.
14 Q. Did you go along a path, across the fields?
15 What route did you take?
16 A. We passed the stable by Branko Kupreskic's
17 house. Then we reached Enver Sehic's house, our
19 Q. As you went along from the starting position
20 to the position where you ended up, did you see
21 anything? If so, tell us what.
22 A. At a distance perhaps of some ten metres from
23 Enver's house, in front of his house, I saw a body
24 covered with a blanket or a cover of some sort. Mirko
25 and I went up to see closer, and I recognised Enver.
1The house had been burnt down. I cast a glance through
2 the window of that house, and I was horrified by what I
3 saw inside that house.
4 Q. I know it's not easy to tell us about these
5 things. Do you need a rest?
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, exactly.
7 MR. RADOVIC: He is in a rather bad state,
8 and the memories are very terrible.
9 A. Your Honours, when that picture comes to my
10 mind, I start crying every time because that child used
11 to play with my older son, and my wife would feed him,
12 just like she fed my own son. The child was half
13 burnt, and I vomited.
14 Please, if I can have just five minutes to go
15 to the toilet.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. All right. Shall we
17 take a ten-minute break? Is that sufficient for you,
18 Mr. Kupreskic?
19 THE WITNESS: I think so, yes. Thank you.
20 MR. RADOVIC: Is ten minutes enough or shall
21 we ask Their Honours to have our regular break now?
22 THE WITNESS: No. Ten minutes will be
24 --- Break taken at 9.58 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 10.08 a.m.
1JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Kupreskic, do you feel
3 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honours. I
4 appreciate your gesture, and I apologise. I will try
5 to focus better, but this just came over me, and I
6 could not hold myself back.
7 MR. RADOVIC: We can continue now.
8 Q. Did you see anything else while taking that
10 A. I remember that Mirko told me, he said, "Who
11 knows what happened over there," and we could see
12 several more bodies. One was on the balcony of a house
13 adjoining Enver's house, which would have been about 50
14 metres away from us, and an additional two bodies in
15 between those two houses in the direction of Pirici,
16 which was also about 50 metres away from us.
17 Q. Did you see Sakib Ahmic's house on one of
18 those days?
19 A. Looking in the direction of Pirici, the
20 ground is rising, and when we turn around, we could see
21 the entire village, and it was terrible. Everything
22 was burned down. Everything was destroyed. You could
23 feel the smoke in the air. You could see Sakib's
24 house, but I did not approach that house at any time.
25 Q. But when you were near your house, could you
1see Sakib Ahmic's house from there?
2 A. Yes, I could see it from there. It had burnt
3 down, both the house and the barn.
4 Q. Did you approach his house at all?
5 A. No. I did not leave the vicinity of my house
6 at all.
7 Q. Now you came to the place where the military
8 policemen had taken you. Was anybody there at that
9 location or were you the first ones who were brought to
10 that location?
11 A. Some people were off to the left of us.
12 There was a Muslim cemetery in Upper Pirici. You could
13 hear somebody digging, and we were ordered to dig there
14 where we had been brought, which was -- there was some
15 kind of a fence, and about 20 to 30 metres up above
16 there was Gavro Vidovic's house. I know that Mirko
17 Sakic and I were there together on our knees and were
18 digging a trench from that position, and to the right
19 of us about 20 to 30 metres, there were another two
20 men, and so on.
21 Q. Did you dig your own trench or did somebody
22 dig it for you?
23 A. No, we dug it ourselves.
24 Q. Was there any exchange of fire at that
25 location between you and the Muslims?
1A. When we arrived up there, it was still light,
2 but about half an hour to an hour later, it had grown
3 dark. There was some sporadic fire coming from Barin
4 Gaj, there was a forest there, and from our side, a few
5 bullets were fired. We did not dare get up, so this is
6 why we were digging crouching.
7 Q. Did you see Muslim soldiers at all or you
8 just knew that they were there and that they were
9 firing occasionally?
10 A. I assume that the Muslims were up there
11 because I could hear shots being fired occasionally
12 from Barin Gaj, but I did not see any Muslim soldier,
13 either on the 16th or 17th or 18th or until the end of
14 the war personally. With my own eyes, I did not.
15 Q. In this location where you were, can you say
16 how long the military policemen who had brought you
17 there stayed in that location?
18 A. They were there. When they ordered us to
19 dig, they were lying in the grass behind us, and I
20 recall that the people from Zume started to go home to
21 bring something, and one of the policemen shot a burst
22 of fire over their heads, and these men became
23 frightened and turned around, came back.
24 Q. How many were you in that location?
25 A. I don't know how many we were in that
1location, but those of us who were down near the barn,
2 the ones that I have already mentioned, and the seven
3 or eight from Vitez, those were the ones who were
4 deployed near Gavro's house and to the right of that in
5 groups of twos or threes.
6 Q. Did the military policemen, in this location,
7 tell you who you were going to take commands from, in
8 other words, somebody who would be in charge, somebody
9 who would be your commanding officer, even if it was a
10 squad commander?
11 A. No, they did not say anything, but Slavko
12 Papic came around that night, and on the basis of how
13 he behaved and how he told us to dig and to take care
14 of ourselves, I assumed that he was some kind of a
15 commanding officer, but I did not know what kind.
16 Q. How many days did you stay in this location?
17 A. We were there perhaps two or three days
18 because Slavko kept telling us how we needed to move
19 off to the right, and we were afraid that if we moved
20 all the way to the right, we would come to an area just
21 above Upper Ahmici, and out of fear and uncertainty, we
22 didn't know what was there, we didn't know whether
23 there were any clearings, and we didn't want to go
24 there. However, after two or three days, we were made
25 to move over there, about 500, 600 metres to the right.
1Q. What did you do in that location?
2 A. The first night when we moved over there
3 under the cover of dark, we were all fully awake, and
4 we were around some trees, we had some type of a cover
5 there, and we were looking at the clearing in front of
6 us, and then during the day, we again dug trenches.
7 Q. In this new sector where you found yourselves
8 now, were there any offensive operations, either by the
9 Muslims or by you?
10 A. No. Except for some shots fired, there was
11 practically no fighting there.
12 Q. How long were you there in this location
14 A. I was there for about three to four months,
15 perhaps until August, July or August 1993.
16 Q. What happened with you there?
17 A. Vlatko Matosevic came looking for me, and by
18 this time, I knew that he was a commander of one sector
19 of this defence line because he had been there before,
20 and he told me that Anto Bertovic wanted to talk to me
21 and that I should come with him to the railroad
22 station. I went there, and he asked me to become the
23 commander of that sector of the front line.
24 Q. What was the size of the unit that you were
25 supposed to take command over?
1A. That was a company, and Anto Bertovic was a
2 battalion commander. I refused this. I did not want
3 to take on that. The commander was the late Ratko
4 Vidovic, Dragan Vidovic's brother, the Dragan whose
5 nickname was Dragance from Zume. Anto Bertovic
6 probably knew that I was a reserve commission officer
7 and that I perhaps could assist in fortifying the
8 positions and just to organise matters there. I only
9 said that I could help the late Ratko, but I did not
10 want to be a commander. He agreed with that, then he
11 called Ratko and said that I would be his deputy
13 After that, we had a command post in Zume, in
14 the house where the shelter had been, that Vinko
15 Vidovic's shelter had been organised. I took a list of
16 personnel from Ratko. We had a typewriter and I wanted
17 to type up a clean list of it. We also started writing
18 daily reports for the battalion, so I did that as well
19 and I continued to do it until the end of the war.
20 Q. If I understood you correctly, your duties as
21 the deputy commander consisted of keeping up the
22 administration and writing reports?
23 A. What happened after I left the trenches,
24 after three or four months, I replaced my rifle with
25 the typewriter, so to speak, so I was mostly involved
1in administrative work, and those were the duties I
2 carried out.
3 Q. Did you do that until the end of the war?
4 A. No, it wasn't until the end of the war.
5 Q. This is not relevant in terms of the
6 indictment, but please describe what you did until the
7 end of the war.
8 A. Ratko Vidovic, the commander, was killed in
9 September, and Ilija Azinovic replaced him, and I
10 remained the deputy commander, and then Josip Plavcic
11 replaced Ilija Azinovic and Ljuban Santic replaced me.
12 However, I remained behind with a company to do the
13 administrative work. And perhaps in January or
14 February 1994, Bertovic transferred me to the battalion
15 command staff, and then there was a woman who left to
16 go somewhere else, and I did the same thing that I did
17 in the company for the battalion, that is, I was at the
18 typewriter typing up administrative work.
19 Soon thereafter, the ceasefire came into
20 effect, and so I was very involved in compiling lists
21 and things like that.
22 Q. I am now going to ask you to make certain
23 markings on a copy of the aerial photograph.
24 It may be better if you try to do it on the
25 ELMO so that everybody could follow.
1THE REGISTRAR: D23/1.
2 MR. RADOVIC:
3 Q. Please first mark the path you took on
4 16 April, 1993, when you were evacuating your family
5 and, of course, you were there with your brother and
6 his family, so please, a full line, and the end point
7 should be Milutin Vidovic's house where your family was
9 A. (Marks)
10 Q. Please mark with number 1 Milutin Vidovic's
12 A. (Marks)
13 Q. You said that you encountered soldiers on
14 your way, so please, along this path, show the location
15 where you encountered the soldiers.
16 A. (Marks)
17 Q. Now please mark on this map the position
18 closest to your home which you reached on the 16th of
20 A. (Marks)
21 Q. Now please mark the path you took on 17 April
22 from the position where you were at the barn to the
23 location where you joined the front line.
24 A. (Marks)
25 Q. Please mark the final point, the point where
1you finally ended up, with number 5.
2 A. (Marks)
3 Q. Could you now please mark the position of
4 trenches on the front line and then where did you move
5 after that first position?
6 A. (Marks) I marked the positions at the first
7 location, and the second position is outside of what is
8 in the photograph.
9 Q. Very well. If that is outside, then just
10 leave it as it is.
11 Thank you, Mr. Usher.
12 On the 18th of April, you were taken to the
13 front line. At what moment do you think you became a
14 soldier, actually?
15 A. Practically from this 18th at dusk.
16 Q. Being taken away by the military police from
17 the positions where we were to the front line to dig
18 trenches, can that be considered an act of
19 mobilisation, so to speak?
20 A. It was a kind of -- although there are no
21 regulations to that effect, we were taken away.
22 Q. Tell me, had this been mobilisation according
23 to regulations, you would have reported there where you
24 had your war positions; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1Q. All right. So that was mobilisation but not
2 one according to regulations, but the fact was that you
3 were taken to the front line.
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. Tell me, how long did you stay in the army?
6 A. I went to work again sometime in May 1994.
7 Q. Tell me, you saw the sheets that the
8 Prosecutor showed us where it is mentioned how long you
9 stayed in the army.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. A different date is mentioned there. Is that
12 correct? Do you remember that?
13 A. '96?
14 MR. RADOVIC: Yes. Now I would like the
15 accused to be shown this document which will show
16 exactly on which date he was demobilised.
17 Would you please put it on the ELMO?
18 THE REGISTRAR: This document will be D24/1.
19 MR. RADOVIC:
20 Q. Could you please comment on this document?
21 It shows that your demobilisation was requested by your
22 company; is that correct?
23 A. That is correct. As soon as the ceasefire
24 was signed, I asked the battalion commander to
25 demobilise me so that I could go back to work, but he
1didn't let me until I found a replacement, someone who
2 would do what I did, so perhaps two months had gone by
3 until I managed to -- until I managed to find a person
4 who would do that, and then he agreed to demobilise me
5 and then I went to work.
6 Q. And then you continued to do the same thing
7 you did before the war; is that right?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. When you went back to work and when you were
10 demobilised, where did you live then with your family?
11 Did you stay in Ahmici, because your house remained
12 intact, or did you go to live elsewhere?
13 A. I lived in Vitez.
14 Q. Why did you not go back to Ahmici?
15 A. I could not after what had happened. I did
16 not spend a single night there. I don't know if I will
17 ever be able to. This affected me terribly. And after
18 the war, the refugees from Zenica came, stayed in the
19 house, and I remained in Vitez.
20 Q. Tell us, you already knew at that time what
21 had happened in Ahmici. What would you say today?
22 What is this that had happened in Ahmici?
23 A. A terrible crime had happened, and a sane
24 mind cannot justify it or understand it. I cannot
25 understand it. It was committed by animals. It was
1committed by demons. They're not men. I just don't
2 understand how they did it all. Simply a horrible
3 crime. It is sad that it's a crime committed by the
4 Croat people, the people I belong to. I'm ashamed to
5 belong to these people, but I believe that this shame
6 will be eliminated when the culprits are found and
7 sentenced. I live in the hope that I will live to see
8 that day.
9 Q. Did you participate in any way in that which
10 happened on the 16th of April?
11 A. I was thinking, my God, could I have done a
12 single thing, a single thing in addition to what I had
13 already done on that day? I was born there, I lived
14 there, always in peace and friendship with all people,
15 regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
16 Had I had any possibility, any small chance, I
17 certainly would have helped. Had I dreamt of what
18 would happen, what had happened, I would have helped.
19 However, this was a question of destiny, that I was
20 born in Ahmici, that I had to be there. I cannot find
21 any fault of my own. If I made any mistake in terms of
22 what I did, I'm prepared to answer for that.
23 Q. During the trial, you heard all the witnesses
24 that were heard, and you also heard that some of the
25 Muslim witnesses have mentioned you.
2 Q. What is your explanation for that?
3 A. My assumptions can only lead to the
4 following, that Muslims, our neighbours, heard shooting
5 from the Kupreskic houses. That was being said time
6 and again, "from the Kupreskic houses," "from the
7 Kupreskic houses," and since they did not know the
8 people who had done this, many of them had seen these
9 people but they did not recognise them, they
10 instinctively linked the houses and the people who
11 lived in those houses, and that's us. They did not say
12 our names straightaway, but as time went by, I mean,
13 how could there be indictments if you did not have any
14 names? So people linked this to our names and said
15 that's us. Zoran's house is Zoran, Mirjan's house is
16 Mirjan, et cetera. That is the only thing that I can
17 assume, that that is how we found ourselves in these
19 Q. When did you find out that you were indicted
20 by the International Tribunal in The Hague?
21 A. From the newspapers, I found out in 1995, and
22 after that, the Sarajevo Vecernje Novine, I believe
23 that's what they're called, wrote about the details of
24 the indictment.
25 Q. When you found out about the indictment,
1where were you at the time?
2 A. I was in Vitez.
3 Q. After you found out about the indictment, did
4 you go somewhere from Vitez? Did you hide or did you
5 remain at the very same position throughout, in the
6 company, at home, et cetera?
7 A. I worked in the company throughout, I stayed
8 at my apartment throughout, and I always stayed in
9 town. I never hid.
10 Q. When you heard about the indictment, did you
11 try to take action vis-a-vis those people who could do
12 something? Did you try to tell them that you were not
13 the one?
14 A. First of all, it was unbelievable to me. I
15 know where I was and I know what I did. How come I was
16 indicted? And then as time went by, we saw that this
17 was serious. First I thought it was a mistake and that
18 someone would realise that this was a mistake and that
19 after that, perhaps somebody would come and talk to
20 us. However, nothing came out of that. We were
21 prepared to talk to whoever wished to talk to us, just
22 so that our voice could be heard too.
23 Since we did not manage to get any further,
24 we talked to the president of the municipality, with
25 the president of the HDZ, with some other people in the
1municipality, and we said, "Well, here we are. Here we
2 are the way we are. What can we do? We are not
3 guilty. Can we talk to someone?" We wrote some
4 letters to that end about our own opinions, and how
5 much we knew, that's a different question. We wrote to
6 the representatives of the International Community, to
7 the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I think that we
8 also wrote to the Tribunal. We signed these papers,
9 and we sought ways and means of seeing someone, talking
10 to someone. We wanted to surrender, but how could we
11 surrender? To who? We'd be killed. We did not
12 succeed in achieving very much.
13 These letters that we sent to various
14 individuals, did they actually reach the addressees?
15 We were told that these letters had reached the
16 addressees, and whether they did, we don't know. We
17 also wrote to Alija Izetbegovic, to Kresimir Zubak, and
18 whoever was a member of the presidency of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina from among the Serb people at the
20 time, I don't know, but we wrote to him too. We were
21 told that these letters had reached their offices, but
22 we never received anything by way of reply from any one
23 of them, and in 1997, we came.
24 Q. Did you perhaps think of surrendering to
1A. When we heard that SFOR had killed a man when
2 an attempt was made to arrest him in Prijedor or
3 wherever this was, we didn't dare do that either. I
4 felt like an animal who was destined to be shot.
5 However, I did not hide. Many times, my child would
6 tell me, "Daddy, there's SFOR." My child already
7 understood from everything he heard. My wife tells me
8 that he's traumatised until the present day. That's
10 Q. Finally, what is the life that your family
11 leads nowadays?
12 A. My family lives from the aid it receives from
13 an office. There is an office in Mostar for social
14 aid, and I think our family gets 700 or 800 marks. I
15 don't know exactly. They also live from the help they
16 receive from my friends in Vitez who are involved in
17 business. However, this comes from time to time. You
18 do not have a permanent source of income. My mother is
19 on her own. She has the two of us, and both of us are
20 here. Her pension is 100 marks, and she lives in the
21 house in Ahmici until the present day.
22 Q. What about your father?
23 A. My father had a weak heart anyway, even
24 before, and at the end of September 1993, my brother
25 and I were in the trenches at the front line above
1Ahmici. I was deputy commander of a company, and I was
2 moved to a command post, and there was an attack at
3 Barin Gaj. There were men who were killed, and he was
4 wondering whether it was one of us, and his heart
5 couldn't take it any longer. He died.
6 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I have
7 concluded. Thank you. Perhaps now we could move on to
8 our customary break, and then my colleague,
9 Mrs. Glumac, will continue with the questions that I
10 did not put.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Thirty minutes
13 --- Recess taken at 10.47 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.17 a.m.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, please.
16 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, I should like to
17 tender these last exhibits into evidence, please, the
18 decision on demobilisation and the markings that have
19 been made.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. There's no objection
21 from the Prosecution. They are admitted into
22 evidence. Thank you.
23 Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
24 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
25 Mr. President.
1Examined by Ms. Slokovic-Glumac:
2 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, you said during your defence
3 that Mirjan Santic was a member of the military
4 police. Actually, you described his clothing, his
5 uniform. My question is do you know that he was a
6 member of the military police?
7 A. I do because I saw him at the checkpoint at
8 the railway station, which is about halfway from my
9 house to Vitez. I went to work by bus on a daily
10 basis, and he was there with some others at the
11 checkpoint, but they didn't stop the bus. We just
12 passed by.
13 Q. So he was in the traffic military police, as
14 far as you know, wasn't he?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I shall now show you a document which I would
17 like to ask you to look at, and I should like to tell
18 Their Honours that we were given this document by the
19 Prosecution. As far as I was able to understand, it is
20 one of the documents that was seized during the search
21 of the premises of the defence department in Vitez.
22 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit D25/1.
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
24 Q. Would you please look at the date? The date
25 is the 16th of April, 1993. According to your
1knowledge, is that date correct?
2 A. Yes, the 16th of April, 1993, in Ahmici.
3 Q. Then the place and manner of killing, it says
4 that Mirjan Santic was killed in Ahmici, in Vitez,
5 during an attack of the mosque at the defence line,
6 killed with a sniper round. According to your
7 knowledge, is this also correct?
8 A. I don't know how Mirjan was killed.
9 Q. I'm asking you about the place.
10 A. I know that he was killed.
11 Q. Do you know when his body was carried,
12 whether there were any traces of bullets or, rather,
13 were you able to see where he was shot?
14 A. Yes. As far as I can recollect, he had some
15 blood on his back, just below his shoulder blade. I
16 think that was how it was.
17 Q. Do you remember whether he had any mask on
18 his face, whether he had anything on his face that you
19 could remember?
20 A. No, he had nothing.
21 Q. In view of the fact that you said that you
22 were the deputy commander of a company in the Vitez
23 Brigade, are you familiar with these forms that were
24 filled in when somebody was killed, when a soldier was
25 killed? Are you familiar with this form?
1A. I personally wrote reports about killings,
2 but when I became deputy commander only, because until
3 then, nobody did that job.
4 Q. You said in your testimony, for the sake of
5 clarification, that throughout the war, from the 16th
6 of April, 1993, you did not see a single Muslim
7 soldier. Could you explain what you meant? How and
8 where were you during the war? I am not thinking of
9 the period when you were in the command but the first
10 part of the war, when you were near Pirici?
11 A. For the first three days, the 16th, 17th, and
12 18th, I was in such a position that I couldn't see.
13 I've already said that I couldn't even tell which house
14 was burning, never mind identify a person. And on the
15 18th, at Pirici, the distance between where I was and
16 Barin Gaj is about 200 or 300 metres and it's wooded
17 and, again, I couldn't see anyone. But when we moved
18 to Ahmici, the separation line was such that the
19 Muslims were in Barin Gaj and we were lower down, and
20 again I didn't see anyone. So that is why I said that
21 I never personally saw a Muslim soldier on the other
23 Q. They also had trenches in Barin Gaj, didn't
25 A. Yes. We could hear digging over there, just
1as we were digging over here.
2 Q. What was the distance separating the Muslim
3 and Croat positions?
4 A. It depended on the place. Sometimes the
5 distance was 50 to 60 metres and in some places it was
6 200 or 300 metres. Regarding where we were, in Ahmici,
7 the distance may have been about 200 metres because
8 there was a clearing and then a hill and a wood. They
9 were in the wood and we were on the other side.
10 Q. Could you please tell the Court whether those
11 lines shifted during the war?
12 A. In the part where we were, they did not.
13 Q. During the ceasefire, was the front line the
14 same as it was on the 18th?
15 A. Yes. Throughout the war, it was in the same
16 place, and when the ceasefire was signed, people were
17 demobilised from those front lines where we had been on
18 the 18th.
19 Q. Another point that I think is unclear in the
20 transcript, so could you please repeat it, and I am
21 referring to the point where you reached the Sehic
22 house on the 18th and saw that Elvir Sehic and his son
23 were dead there -- Enver, Enver Sehic and his son.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Tell us, please, what did Mirko Sakic say to
1you then? You said that you more or less had a nervous
2 breakdown, that you cried, and what did Mirko Sakic say
3 to you on that occasion?
4 A. He said I should keep quiet and not cry too
5 much. He spoke to me about the military police, he
6 said, "Can't you see them?" And probably intuitively
7 he linked them to this because we saw something like
8 that that morning, on the 16th, so he hurried me up to
9 follow them uphill just in case they might come back,
10 or I don't know what. In any case, he calmed me down
11 so that my crying would not be heard.
12 Q. Will you please look at another document
14 I would like the usher to assist me, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit D26/1.
16 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
17 Q. Have you looked at it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. This document, if we can call it that
20 conditionally, was drafted, according to the date, on
21 the 22nd of October, 1992. In the first part of your
22 testimony, you said that you think that it was on the
23 22nd, sometime around noon, that Fuad Berbic came to
24 see you?
25 A. Yes, and Muris.
1Q. And that you took Fuad Berbic and Muris Ahmic
2 to Nenad Santic's house; is that so?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Could you explain upon whose request you took
5 the two of them to Nenad Santic's house?
6 A. I have already recounted this, and as far as
7 I can remember, the aunt of Ivica Kupreskic said that
8 Nenad Santic had called and inquired about the
9 Kupreskics, where they were, that Fuad should come by
10 and that they should bring him over to see me.
11 After that, Fuad called up by phone, again,
12 the aunt, and I answered, and he said to me that he
13 needed to go and see Nenad and was it okay for him to
14 come? And I said, "Of course. Why not?" And he said
15 "I'm coming." And a little later he came, together
16 with Muris, and we went there.
17 Q. Who was with you? Who went with you?
18 A. Myself and Miroslav Pudza with the two of
20 Q. Do you remember whether Fuad Berbic and Muris
21 Ahmic had any weapons on them?
22 A. No, neither one of them.
23 Q. Who was next to Nenad Santic's house when you
24 got there?
25 A. As far as I can remember, there was Nenad,
1Zeljo Livancic, and Nenad's brother Vlado. I can't
2 remember anyone else being there.
3 Q. Were you in the house or next to the house;
4 do you remember?
5 A. In front of the house. There's a table
6 outside, and that is where we sat.
7 Q. What was discussed on that occasion?
8 A. I must say that I remembered that such a
9 meeting was held, but I forgot that any paper was
10 written, and when we were shown this paper by the
11 Prosecution, I remembered it because, anyway, I saw my
13 Q. We didn't get this paper from the
15 A. No. I'm thinking of the other one.
16 After that, I told my wife that she should
17 see with Vesna, Nenad's wife, whether there was
18 anything else, and then they found this other paper.
19 Q. My question was: What was discussed at that
21 A. Here it can be seen that I too had forgotten
22 that Sakib was there too, but I see from the document
23 that he was and I remember that he was. He's an
24 elderly man, a friend of my father's.
25 Q. It is not the Sakib Ahmic who is your
1neighbour, is it?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Very well. Will you please tell the Court
4 what was discussed? What did Fuad say on that
6 A. I can't recall verbatim, but I can tell you
7 as far as I can remember what was said in summary form.
8 I know that Fuad mentioned the fact that he
9 had received orders from Vitez, from Sefkija, to put up
10 a roadblock near the cemetery, but that he didn't want
11 to do that because he felt that this could cause
12 problems. And because he didn't want to do it, he was
13 replaced, and Muris Ahmic was appointed in his place as
14 commander. He carried out the order to set up a
16 Fuad then admitted that he didn't want to do
17 it, and he assumed that this could cause a problem, but
18 this young man didn't understand that, he simply
19 followed orders; and he admitted that they were to
20 blame for doing it, but that he had come to see if a
21 solution could be found, the situation could calm down,
22 and if people could go back to their homes. He hadn't
23 left his house, but the other people from Donji Ahmici
24 had fled on that day. That is what was discussed.
25 I know that Nenad also blamed the Muslims for
1this conflict and Fuad acknowledged it. Fuad also knew
2 that we, the local Croats, had not taken any part in
4 I said that I don't remember whether we went
5 there twice or once, but this first piece of paper was
6 written in my handwriting. I wrote ordinary minutes, a
7 record, on the basis of what people were saying, but I
8 see that it was interrupted because Muris had to go up
9 to the village to see who of the people who were
10 manning the barricade were ready to surrender their
11 weapons because the demand was that if they wanted to
12 come back to the village, they had to surrender their
14 Q. From these minutes, one can also see what
15 Sakib said, I mean Sakib Ahmic, when he says that what
16 had happened was foolish and that Kaknjo and Sefkija
17 needed to be called. Who was Kaknjo and what is his
18 full name?
19 A. I said earlier on that he was an electrical
20 engineer who worked in our company, and after the
21 elections, he was president of the executive board of
22 the municipality. The number 1 man was Ivan Santic
23 from the HDZ and number 2 was Fuad Kaknjo from the SDA,
24 and I remember that Sakib was embittered when he heard
25 Fuad explaining the situation and this order that was
1issued. Sakib lived near the road, and close to his
2 house, one house was set on fire on the 20th and
3 another house of Mehmed Ahmic's, and so Sakib was very
4 upset and indignant. I kept the minutes, and that is
5 why I took down what he said. I thought the meeting
6 would go on, and that is why I wanted to take notes
7 about it, but it was interrupted, obviously.
8 Q. Mention is also made here of a person called
9 Sefkija. What is his full name?
10 A. Dzidic. Sefkija Dzidic.
11 Q. Do you know what his position was in that
13 A. He was in the TO headquarters in Mahala, near
14 the fire brigade centre. He was commander or
15 something, I don't know exactly.
16 Q. According to this record, Sakib said that
17 those people need to be removed from their positions
18 because they're causing problems and we want to live
19 together. That is a direct quotation, isn't it?
20 A. Yes. I took down what he said.
21 Q. Muris Berbic said that he was going to the
22 village and whoever wanted to come, he would bring back
23 with them, that is, the people who would be ready to
24 come with their weapons. What did Muris actually mean
25 by saying this? How did you understand his meaning,
1because it's not very clear from these notes?
2 A. After this discussion which was mostly
3 between Nenad and Fuad, Nenad demanded that if those
4 people wanted to come back, they had to surrender their
5 weapons. As Fuad had been replaced the night before,
6 he didn't want to interfere, so he told Muris, "You go
7 up there and see. If people are ready to surrender
8 their weapons, then we can all go back home." And
9 Muris left.
10 I don't remember whether we stayed on to wait
11 or whether we also went back, but I think we stayed
13 Q. Can you recollect who signed this record?
14 Whose signature is this?
15 A. I'm not sure. I think it is Fuad Berbic's,
16 but I'm not sure.
17 Q. It is mentioned after that that this was
18 going to be done by 1400 hours. What happened after
20 A. I don't know whether Muris came back by 1400
21 hours, but Muris did come back and he came back alone.
22 He said that people refused to give weapons. And then
23 Fuad and Nenad agreed that a record be compiled, and
24 that was the second record which I was taking notes
1Q. The first record which was drafted, was this
2 the record which was dictated to you or did you draft
3 it yourself?
4 A. It was not dictated to me. I just took it
5 myself. And I believe that Fuad had said, "Just take
6 down notes of everything that we will be saying." I
7 may have done it also on my own.
8 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Could the witness
9 please be shown Prosecution Exhibit number 313,
11 This document was not admitted, but it had
12 been submitted by the Prosecution, actually, and if
13 necessary, we have a sufficient number of copies for
15 Q. Were you able to review the document?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. How was this document drafted; can you tell
18 us this?
19 A. When Nenad and Fuad agreed to what was going
20 to be said, then I was dictated what they said.
21 Q. In the first document which is marked D26/1,
22 in other words, the document which you said you drafted
23 yourself, the heading says that this was an agreement
24 between the representatives of the Croatian and Bosniak
25 Muslim side at Nenad's place.
1A. Yes, this is how I understood it, and that is
2 how I wrote it down.
3 Q. The second document which you drafted about
4 two hours later, it is stated that this was an
5 agreement between the Santici HVO and the
6 representatives of the Bosniak Muslim side in Ahmici.
7 The place and date are the same. Why was this change
8 put in? Why was it now that the representatives of the
9 Croatian side were replaced by the Santici HVO side?
10 What was the change about?
11 A. I don't know. It was just dictated to me
12 this way. I don't know whether Nenad had anything to
13 do with the local HVO government in Vitez, but I can
14 only assume that this was so.
15 Q. Did you sign this second document?
16 A. Yes, as a third person, where it states "for
17 the HVO."
18 Q. Was this document signed by the Muslims
19 mentioned here and in your presence?
20 A. I remember Muris Ahmic with certainty, and as
21 regards these three other documents, I cannot even
22 recall that anybody else was present at that meeting.
23 I cannot say with certainty, but I think that those
24 people were not present at the meeting. Perhaps they
25 signed it subsequently. Maybe it's not so, but I do
1not recall them being present there.
2 Q. You also said that Fuad Berbic was present at
3 the other meeting; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. How come he did not sign this record?
6 A. Fuad was upset with the situation, as it
7 turned out. It was as if he predicted -- but I don't
8 know what he meant. He was then relieved of his duty,
9 and he was upset, and so he said, "You sign it because
10 you are the commander."
11 Q. The record states that it is requested of the
12 Muslim population of Ahmici to turn over and surrender
13 their weapons to the HVO in the interests of preserving
14 peace in Santici and Ahmici. What was the reason for
15 the surrender of weapons on the basis of what was being
17 A. This sentence was written down on the basis
18 of the discussions which were conducted previously
19 between Nenad and Fuad when it became clear that the
20 Muslims were to blame for the conflict, that they were
21 responsible for setting up the barricade, as Fuad had
22 said, and then in order to ensure that this would not
23 be repeated, this type of agreement was reached.
24 Q. The Muslims who were present at the meeting,
25 primarily Muris Ahmic and Fuad Berbic, did they blame
1the Croats from the village for taking part in the
2 conflict in the village? Did they lodge any complaints
3 against the Croats in the village?
4 A. Fuad said that he knew that the soldiers from
5 Busovaca and Kiseljak were responsible, but he said
6 that no one among the Croats from the village had taken
7 part in this conflict.
8 Q. In the next sentence, it is stated that
9 Santici is guaranteeing the safety of Muslims in this
10 area. Who was it? Who was involved in the Santici HVO
11 at that time?
12 A. Again, I wrote this as dictated. It was
13 agreed between the two of them, and I don't know who
14 was in the Santici HVO at that time. I don't know
15 whether Nenad Santic had anything to do with it, being
16 the representative of the civilian government there. I
17 don't know if he had anything to do with it.
18 Q. It is also stated further that a joint
19 commission composed of the representatives of Muslim
20 and Croat people would be established in order to
21 prevent further conflicts, and it is also mentioned
22 that the aggressors who are being mentioned, are
23 specified, they are specified as being Chetniks.
24 A. At that time, the common enemy was the
25 Serbs. They were the enemies of both the Croats and
1Muslims, and they were on Mount Vlasic and Turbe. I
2 really liked the idea; however, it was never
4 Q. Further on, it is stated that this unit was
5 not going to be used in fighting against the Muslim
6 people or the Croatian people in any areas, so it's not
7 just limited to Ahmici and Santici?
8 A. Yes. On that day, there was a conflict in
9 Novi Travnik over some gas station between the Croats
10 and Muslims, and my assumption was that this was going
11 to be also applied to that situation, that it was going
12 to cover all areas.
13 Q. It is also mentioned that on the basis of
14 what was said, the return of refugees, both Muslim and
15 Croatian, to their own homes is also going to be
16 guaranteed. Can you say on that day, who were the
17 Croatian refugees in Santici and Ahmici at that time?
18 A. It was us, the Kupreskic families, and Dragan
19 Vidovic with his family. We were the only refugees.
20 Q. So both sides admitted at that time that
21 there were both Muslim and Croatian refugees in that
22 area; is that correct?
23 A. The only thing that I was directly involved
24 in, by my own account, was this because I was at that
25 time away from my house with my family and my brother's
1family, so I insisted that this be put in there because
2 I was not able to be in my house on those days.
3 Q. It is also mentioned here that both sides
4 would guarantee a peaceful coexistence between the
5 Muslims and the Croats.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you believe in such guarantees and did
8 you believe in the possibility of peaceful coexistence?
9 A. I absolutely believed in the possibility of
10 peaceful coexistence, as I believe that it is going to
11 be possible in the future, but whether anything else
12 was going to be realised, I did not know. I thought
13 that Nenad and Fuad were going to transmit all this to
14 someone in Vitez and that something would be done about
15 it, but I learned that nothing was accomplished, except
16 that the refugees were able to return to their homes.
17 Q. So this joint unit of Croatian and Muslim
18 people was never established?
19 A. That is correct.
20 Q. Do you know whether, on the basis of this
21 agreement, weapons were taken away from the Muslim
22 population in Ahmici?
23 A. At that time, I do not know that any weapons
24 were taken away from anyone, and in the subsequent
25 days, I learned, I believe it was from my brother, that
1Fahran told him, that the late Fahran said that he had
2 turned in his weapon and some other people who lived
3 alongside the road. I don't know how exactly these
4 people were, but I did not hear that anybody had
5 turned -- that people in the middle of Ahmici, the
6 Upper Ahmici people who lived around the mosque area,
7 I'm not aware of any one of those people having ever
8 turned in their weapons.
9 Q. Did you do anything, take any action, in
10 terms of trying to take any weapons from any of the
11 Muslims after this?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Do you know whether any steps were taken
14 against people who returned to the village and had not
15 turned in their weapons?
16 A. No steps were taken, nor did anyone have any
17 problems based on the fact that even though it was said
18 that they should turn in their weapons, they did not,
19 or at least I'm not aware of it.
20 Q. Regarding the persons who were known to have
21 taken part in this conflict from the Muslim side, did
22 they have any problems when they returned?
23 A. I do not know whether they had any problems.
24 I know that Zahid Ahmic, who was with the military
25 police and who lived down near the road, he was afraid
1for a while to come back, but after awhile, he also
2 came back, and he had no problems, because the word got
3 around that he was at the barricade, that he had taken
4 some four rifles from the soldiers who were supposed to
5 pass through there. I don't know if he had received
6 any threats, but eventually, after 15 or 20 days, he
7 came back.
8 Q. Can you say, after 22 October, 1992, did you
9 see any Muslims in the village carrying weapons?
10 A. Yes, I did, immediately afterwards. The
11 first checkpoint at the entrance to the village was a
12 joint one, and both sides had weapons. We also had
13 joint guards, and there were even more weapons at the
14 time. As I said, you could purchase some weapons, and
15 there was an influx of refugees from Western Bosnia to
16 Ahmici and in all of Central Bosnia, including Ahmici,
17 so all this sort of settled down, and people went about
18 their lives in, more or less, a normal way.
19 Q. Can you recall perhaps when this checkpoint
20 was placed at the entrance to Ahmici, what date that
21 was, or, rather, approximately how many days after
23 A. I cannot recall exactly, but perhaps four or
24 five days later, I returned home with my family, and a
25 few days afterwards, the checkpoint was placed, perhaps
1two or three days after I returned home, that is to
2 say, a total of seven, eight, or ten days. I can't say
4 Q. This checkpoint was placed during the day,
5 wasn't it, during daytime; is that right?
6 A. Yes, for a certain time.
7 Q. The Muslim and the Croat guards at that
8 checkpoint came there armed; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you recall whether, in addition to these
11 men at the checkpoint who came with weapons and the
12 Muslim patrols that you also encountered in the
13 village, and you saw that they were armed too, did you
14 see any larger group of Muslim soldiers with weapons at
15 that time in the area of Ahmici, of course?
16 A. After the conflict, for a few days, there
17 were no special movements. People were waiting to see
18 what this would be like. However, as the situation
19 calmed down, the Muslims rallied together in the
20 school. They had weapons too, and a bus came. They
21 established a unit, and then buses came that took them
22 to Cekrcici, to the front line against the Serbs, so
23 this was quite normal.
24 Q. Do you remember any situation when you
25 perhaps saw soldiers who went for reviews to Preocica,
1Vrhovine, and the other neighbouring villages?
2 A. I had the opportunity of seeing their
3 departure by my house towards Barin Gaj and Vrhovine.
4 How far they went, I don't know, but I was sitting at
5 the balcony, and my estimate was that 50, up to 70 men
6 passed by, partly wearing uniforms, partly armed,
7 partly they did have uniforms, partly they did not. I
8 cannot recall, but I think that Fuad was with them, and
9 usually they would have a review, and then they would
10 come back. This was the summer before the conflict,
11 and after the conflict, I did not see this, but rumour
12 had it that they did something similar, but they didn't
13 go by our house. They didn't go by my house. They
14 went in the other area, in Gornji Ahmici. I didn't see
15 this, but I heard about it. Perhaps this was a month
16 or two after the conflict.
17 Q. At the point when you wrote this agreement,
18 could you have assumed what would happen in Ahmici
19 within six months' time?
20 A. How could I? There was not a single
21 indicator showing that something like that would
22 happen. I could not have imagined anything like it.
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you. Thank you,
24 Mr. President. I have concluded. If necessary, I can
25 give further clarifications or explanations in relation
1to this document marked as D26/1. Indeed, we got it
2 from the wife of Nenad Santic, and we don't have the
4 JUDGE CASSESE: It now becomes D27/1, so it
5 is a Defence Exhibit. Any objection from the
6 Prosecution about this document?
7 MR. TERRIER: No.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: So they are all admitted into
10 I think when this was first produced by the
11 Prosecution, we could not verify whether or not the
12 signature, the third signature on the left-hand side,
13 was that of Zoran Kupreskic. Since now he has asserted
14 that this is his signature, I think we can admit it
15 into evidence.
16 We can now move to the Prosecution because I
17 assume there is no other Defence counsel prepared to
18 cross-examine Mr. Zoran Kupreskic. This was my
19 assumption. Maybe not.
20 MR. PAVKOVIC: Your assumption was right,
21 Mr. President. No other Defence attorneys are going to
22 question the witness.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Terrier?
24 MR. TERRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Before beginning and in accordance with the ruling of
1the Trial Chamber, I should request permission to refer
2 to four series of written documents, but in order to be
3 able to freely mention the documents I am referring to,
4 we need to go into private session.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Private session.
6 (Private session)
13 pages 11367-11378 redacted – private session
13 (Open session)
14 MR. TERRIER:
15 Q. Mr. Zoran Kupreskic, you said a moment ago,
16 this very morning, that what happened on the 16th of
17 April, 1993 in Ahmici was a horrible crime, atrocious.
18 This will perhaps facilitate many things. As we
19 continue with the cross-examination and this trial, I
20 should like you to be more precise in this connection,
21 and I'm asking you whether today, during this
22 testimony, you admit that the 16th of April, 1993, in
23 Ahmici, a large number, a very large number of Muslim
24 civilians, more than 100 Muslim civilians, including
25 women and children, were murdered; do you admit that?
1A. I have nothing to admit or not admit in that
2 regard. Everybody knows what happened in Ahmici, but
3 the information about that was received in different
4 ways, in five, seven, ten days, and as to the exact
5 proportions of the crime, I only learned about it here
6 at the Tribunal. I see it as a terrible crime, and I
7 said that my conscience will be laid to rest only when
8 the true perpetrators of this crime are brought to
9 justice, but I do not know what I am doing here.
10 Q. Mr. Witness, let us be quite clear. For the
11 moment, I'm not asking you about your personal
12 responsibility or about any links that may attach you
13 to that crime, that is not my intention, but in a
14 trial, one first has to establish the facts of the
15 crime before examining the responsibilities for that
16 crime, and I am talking about this first stage which I
17 should like to focus on for a few minutes.
18 In view of the fact of the charges made
19 against you, it is important to know whether you admit
20 that, in fact, a crime was committed today, in view of
21 all that you knew before coming to The Hague and what
22 you learnt after coming to The Hague. I'm also asking
23 you whether you admit that several Muslim inhabitants
24 of Ahmici were arrested and detained for several days
25 in the school in Dubravica.
1A. I have heard of it, but I did not see any of
2 that, that is, regarding the school in Dubravica. I
3 only heard about it.
4 Q. Are you contesting the fact that virtually
5 all the buildings and Muslim property in Ahmici was
6 destroyed on the 16th of April and the next day?
7 A. I am not denying that fact, but I don't know
8 whether almost all of the houses and properties were
9 destroyed. In fact, some were not.
10 Q. Do you admit that the two mosques in Ahmici,
11 as well as the school, were destroyed on the 16th of
12 April, 1993?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you admit that what has been referred to,
15 that is, the murders and the destruction, that they
16 were the results of an attack by the armed forces of
17 the HVO?
18 A. I can only tie this -- but I do not have the
19 real proof of it. If I did, I would gladly share it
20 here. The only thing I can say is that the soldiers
21 whom I saw that day and on three subsequent days, I
22 have, in my mind, tied to this event, but I cannot say
23 specifically who actually committed any of it.
24 Q. Do you admit today that the attack against
25 Ahmici was against a civilian population which was
1unable to defend itself, that the 16th of April, 1993
2 in Ahmici, there was no conflict between opposing armed
3 forces, and that in Ahmici, there was no legitimate
4 military target?
5 A. This is several questions rolled into one,
6 but I cannot admit to that or deny it because as I
7 experienced the morning of the 16th, and I'm talking
8 about the early morning, for me, it was like war.
9 There was shooting going on on both sides, and the
10 closest I came to an understanding of it was in the
11 evening of the 16th, because around the mosque by the
12 school, there was real fighting going on because
13 shooting was coming from both sides, and then the next
14 morning, it was coming on both sides. So I assumed,
15 and I think I was aware that there were soldiers in the
16 village, and so I cannot confirm what you have just
18 Q. When you're talking about a conflict on the
19 16th of April, 1993 in Ahmici, would you, nevertheless,
20 admit today that not a single [Realtime transcript read
21 in error "Muslim"] civilian living in Ahmici, Pirici,
22 or Santici was killed or wounded on the 16th of April,
24 A. I don't know if any Croatian civilians were
25 killed there. In other words, I am not aware of that
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Excuse me. There's an error
3 in the transcript. You spoke about Croats, Croatian
4 civilians, not Muslim.
5 MR. TERRIER: Yes, of course.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: We need to correct the
8 MR. TERRIER:
9 Q. Again, talking about the combat, would you
10 admit, Mr. Witness, that on the 16th of April, 1993,
11 not a single Croatian civilian was arrested and
13 A. I have not heard of any such case either.
14 Q. Do you admit that no Croatian property in
15 Ahmici, Santici, or Pirici was destroyed or looted on
16 the 16th of April, 1993?
17 A. I cannot say so because I do not know, but
18 there were some damaged houses on the Croatian side as
20 Q. Do you recognise that no religious Catholic
21 symbol was attacked on that day?
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
23 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, we asked the
24 witness at some point whether there was any Catholic
25 places of worship there, and he said that there wasn't
1any, so how can a Christian place of worship have been
2 damaged if it didn't exist? So I think that the whole
3 question is misplaced.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: No, but Mr. Radovic, I don't
5 agree with you. Allow me to disagree. Because there
6 are not just churches, there could be crosses,
7 cemeteries that were Catholic, as far as I know. So
8 the crosses, the tombs, could be destroyed. So I think
9 the question is absolutely relevant.
10 MR. TERRIER:
11 Q. Could you please answer the question,
13 A. There is no need for it to be repeated. I am
14 aware of the cemetery in Topola, near the road, but
15 whether it was damaged on that day, I do not know. But
16 I also do not know of any other religious structure in
17 that area.
18 Q. Could you be more specific on this occasion,
19 because I don't think it was ever mentioned what damage
20 was inflicted on that day to the Catholic cemetery?
21 A. I did not say that any damage was inflicted,
22 I said that I was not aware that any damage had been
23 done there.
24 Q. Very well. Finally, Mr. Witness, do you
25 admit that Ahmici, Santici, and Pirici, which were
1mixed villages until the 16th of April, 1993, became,
2 as of that day, a village that was 100 per cent Croat
3 and that 500 or 600 Muslim inhabitants who had resided
4 there before were forced to leave?
5 A. No Muslims stayed, as far as I know,
6 following the 16th. For several days, there were some
7 there, and some of them left of their own free will,
8 certainly fearing the future and so on.
9 Q. You said that some Muslims left Ahmici after
10 the 16th of April of their own free will. Could you be
11 more precise and give us some names or simply tell us
12 where they lived?
13 A. When I said this, I had in mind Ramo Bilic
14 and his family, the two Strmonja brothers, Miralen and
15 Nermin, who had taken shelter alongside the Croats in
16 Vinko Vidovic's house, and as Niko Santic told us
17 later, they, of their own free will, left for fear of
18 what was going to happen to them, and they're still
19 alive today. I'm not sure, but they may have come
21 Q. Would you know, please try and tell us, at
22 what point in time you became aware of the crimes that
23 have been described and of which you yourself admitted
24 were horrible crimes? Did this awareness come to you
25 gradually, did this awareness develop before you were
1brought to The Hague, or was it only in the course of
2 this trial? Could you explain that to us?
3 A. I can say that I was learning about this
4 crime step by step. If we talk about the first day,
5 16th of April, I had little information, and also
6 people who were with me in the depression also knew
7 very little. In the first hour, we only thought about
8 the combat that was going on, and there were bullets
9 flying through the trees and we could hear them in
10 branches and they were coming from the other side.
11 As the situation developed on that day and
12 subsequent days, we learned that houses were burned
13 down, that there were casualties. The first few
14 days -- in fact, the first three days before we went up
15 to Pirici, I did not see any burnt Croatian houses,
16 only Muslim, but I learned of the deaths of both
17 Muslims but also Mirjan Santic; and on the 18th, the
18 key event which stays in my mind and which made me
19 believe that crimes were committed was when I saw the
20 body of Enver and when I saw some other bodies there,
21 and the full extent of it, I learned, in fact, here.
22 Q. When you refer to Enver, you are referring to
23 Enver Sehic?
24 A. It is Sehic, my next-door neighbour.
25 Q. I apologise for mispronouncing the name. I
1should now like, Witness, for us to go back very
2 briefly to your biography. You told us that you did
3 your military service within the framework of the
4 national army of the former Yugoslavia and that your
5 specialisation was anti-chemical and nuclear warfare.
6 In the course of your military service, did
7 you have any special training also?
8 A. When I went to do my military service --
9 JUDGE CASSESE: I apologise. It was not
10 correctly translated, what you just said. Could you
11 repeat your last question, please?
12 MR. TERRIER: Yes, gladly, Mr. President.
13 Q. My question was as follows: During your
14 military service, did you have any training in direct
15 combat, foot soldier training?
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you explain the term
17 you used?
18 MR. TERRIER: What I mean by that term,
19 Mr. President, a ground soldier, a foot soldier who is
20 deployed on the ground, who is not in the air force or
21 a sailor, an infantry soldier.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: A foot soldier. Voila.
23 A. All my training in the JNA was the same kind
24 of training which is basic infantry training like any
25 other soldier but since I also was in the school for
1reserve officers, I was on practice, and my speciality
2 was the nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. But
3 for the most part, it was -- we were called dusters, as
4 it was called. It was protection from nuclear and
5 biological and chemical weapons, and in the class, we
6 also covered those types of warfare.
7 MR. TERRIER:
8 Q. Yes. But as a result, you also received
9 training using rifles, automatic rifles, like the AK47?
10 A. Of course. As I said, every single soldier
11 went through this training in using small arms weapons.
12 Q. You told us in the course of your testimony
13 that you acquired a rank, an officer's rank, in the
14 army. Could you tell us when and what rank it was?
15 A. Every person, when they left the JNA and had
16 trained as a reserve officer, I think that he is given
17 a rank which is either a sergeant first class or staff
18 sergeant. This is what you get sometimes at the time
19 when you are released and sometimes when you report
20 back into the defence department office.
21 Q. You personally, could you tell us the rank
22 that you acquired at the end of your military service?
23 A. Yes. It was either sergeant first class or
24 staff sergeant. It was a sergeant of sorts, I only
25 know that. I forget now.
1Q. Do you remember the year? What year was
3 A. I served in the JNA from 1982 to 1983, eleven
5 Q. Did you make any progress in rank either
6 within the JNA, such as it existed, or within the
7 framework of other units since then? I am talking up
8 to April 1993, not what happened after that.
9 A. During the first military exercise in which I
10 took part, and it was the only one after I left the
11 JNA, I received the rank of second lieutenant, and it
12 was an automatic practice. Whoever had finished the
13 school for reserve officers was accorded this rank
14 automatically afterwards, and so was I.
15 MR. TERRIER: Thank you. Mr. President, do
16 you wish to adjourn now.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: We will adjourn now until
18 Monday at 9.00. Next week, we will be sitting from
19 9.00 to 1.00, every day from 9.00 to 1.00. All right?
20 We stand adjourned.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
22 1.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
23 the 19th day of July, 1999, at 9.00 a.m.