1 Thursday, 22nd 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: Thank you. Mr. Terrier?
11 MR. TERRIER: Good morning, Your Honours.
12 WITNESS: MIRJAN KUPRESKIC (Resumed)
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Terrier:
14 Q. Good morning, Witness.
15 A. Good morning. Good morning, Your Honours.
16 Good morning to everyone.
17 Q. Could you tell us what you understand? An
18 attack by the Mujahedins, you told us that you had been
19 warned that there would be an imminent attack by the
20 Mujahedins and that is the reason why you left your
21 house. What do you mean by that, by that attack by the
22 Mujahedin? What do you have in mind specifically when
23 you speak about that?
24 A. Let me tell you, at that time, if we were to
25 be afraid of anything at that time, it was an attack by
1 Mujahedin. We knew that there were some foreign
2 mercenaries who were prepared for anything. They could
3 kill or slit throats. So the very thought made us very
4 scared. Also, we knew about something that had
5 happened in Dusina and in some surrounding places at
6 the time.
7 Q. Therefore, Witness, when mention is made to
8 you of an attack by the Mujahedin, you think of
9 barbarians who are going to attack the Croatian houses
10 and going to kill the Croatian civilians. Is that what
11 you had in mind then?
12 A. Something along those lines.
13 Q. Still, how can you account for the fact that
14 only those Croats living close to the Muslims were
15 evacuated? How do you account for the fact that only
16 the Kupreskic houses were evacuated and not the Zume
17 houses, not either those houses occupied by the Sakic
18 family? It would have been logical to have all these
19 houses evacuated if the attack by the Mujahedin was to
20 come from the north. Isn't that a view you would share
21 with me?
22 A. I don't know why those and other homes did
23 not evacuate. I only know what I was told that
24 morning, what information I received. Even earlier,
25 when I had been moving to take shelter, in fact, my
1 brother's house and my own house were the closest to
2 the Muslim ones, and so myself and my family, we had to
3 move out of there because I was scared. I feared that
4 I had to do it.
5 Q. However, if you fear some attack by the
6 Mujahedins from the north, you would agree with me to
7 say that Zume and the Zume houses are the most exposed
8 to such an attack?
9 A. I agree that Zume was also exposed to attack,
10 but we didn't know where else to go. I mean, believe
11 me, there was no where else to go.
12 Q. So you don't know where the attack is going
13 to happen; however, Zume and the Zume houses are
14 exposed to this attack that is feared, and still you
15 don't take any steps, for instance, to have protection
16 of the shelters?
17 A. Let me tell you, in the area where we went
18 after we had left our families in the shelter, near
19 Niko Sakic's house, there were some people there, so
20 that was one shelter. Near Niko Vidovic's house, there
21 were also people. Later, I learned that there were
22 some, but at first I didn't know. I didn't know about
23 any shooting. The Vrebac shelter was in the middle of
24 the Croat-inhabited area, so you had to go through this
25 area to reach it.
1 Q. So you fear an attack by the Mujahedin, you
2 think that they're going to attack the Croat houses,
3 and still you remained in that depression, on the
4 eastern edge of that depression, watching what might
5 happen in the Muslim part of the village. Isn't this
6 totally illogical?
7 A. We weren't there to observe what was going to
8 happen in the Muslim section of the village. I said,
9 when the shooting started, we ran into this
10 depression. Perhaps it was stupid for us to have done
11 so. Because on one side, we were hiding ourselves, and
12 on the other side, we were still looking to be close
13 enough to the shelters where our families were and
14 where Niko Sakic's house was. We also had control of
15 the path where some soldiers or some other people with
16 bad intentions may come from so that we could protect
17 whatever we could protect if that happened.
18 Q. Do you know today how many people died in
19 Grabovi and how many houses were torched? Do you have
20 any idea about it?
21 A. Today, from hindsight and through this trial,
22 I now have learned how much we did not know. On the
23 16th, 17th, and 18th, I learned very gradually, and
24 then from stories. A month later, I learned some other
25 things. I did not know until I came here the scope of
1 the tragedy. I knew that the village had been burnt, I
2 knew that the property had been destroyed, and I saw
3 the ghost-like landscape, but I didn't know that until
4 today. Now I can tell about the number of casualties,
5 which I learned here, and I don't know to date whether
6 this is the definitive number.
7 Q. When you returned in the morning of the 18th
8 of April towards your houses, did you go to see what
9 had happened around your houses in Grabovi or did you
10 only go to your house?
11 A. On that day, I managed to get to my house. I
12 never attempted to go anywhere beyond that. When I was
13 approaching the house then, I could see the area around
14 my house and the other houses which were burnt down,
15 and I had no need, I had no desire to go anywhere
16 beyond that. This was very brief, and I described how
17 I went over there and how I went back.
18 Q. You spoke about your house, saying that it
19 was devastated, that it was broken into. Was the
20 damage noticed officially in some way or another,
21 through repair bills or through statements to have
22 compensation? Is there any such document establishing
23 how much damage was done?
24 A. There is no document, nor did I seek to get
25 one. I would have been -- I wish almost that it had
1 burned down because now I don't feel like I ever wanted
2 to have anything to do with it.
3 Q. When did you return into that house to live
5 A. Ten or fifteen days later, that is, after
6 those events, I managed to move my family to Vitez to
7 my wife's sister's, who did not live in her house
8 because she was living in Switzerland at the time.
9 Until 10 June, they lived there, until a shell fell in,
10 and then this shell fell and hit about ten children.
11 Shrapnel hit my mother-in-law; she held my one small
12 child in her lap. Then after that, I moved my family
13 back and I moved them back to the house in Ahmici.
14 After the cessation of hostilities, I tried
15 to find an apartment, and I managed to get a contract.
16 I got a contract for eight years, and I'm still paying
17 300 to 350 marks a month, and thank God that I have
18 dealt with reasonable people now because I'm not paying
19 currently. This has been very traumatic for both
20 myself and my family. I cannot just allow myself to
21 live over there in that area right now any longer.
22 Q. Simply tell us when exactly you returned to
23 live in your house in Ahmici. You said after the war,
24 but could you be more specific as to the date?
25 A. As far as I know, on 10 June, 1993, this
1 shell fell in Vitez and killed ten children. My
2 decision then was, I don't know if it was a day or two
3 later, but this was the reason for my moving them back
4 from Vitez.
5 Q. What about your parents? Where did they live
6 after the 16th of April, 1993?
7 A. My parents were in Rovna, together with my
8 family, for a few days, and then they moved back into
9 Josip Vrebac's house. His daughter owned a house where
10 the shelter was, and they stayed there 15 to 20 days.
11 Occasionally, they would visit the house, my mother
12 kept some chickens there, and so after 15 or 20 days,
13 they went back home.
14 Q. You told us during the examination-in-chief
15 that in the afternoon of the 18th of April, together
16 with other people, you were taken to Pirici where you
17 had to dig trenches. Then, later on, after digging
18 trenches for a few days, you were transferred to Upper
19 Ahmici where you stayed until the end of the war.
20 Could you be more specific as to the meaning of that?
21 You said that you stayed there until the end of the
22 war, but I suppose that you could go back to Vitez to
23 see your family; is that so?
24 A. Yes. On the 18th, when we arrived in Pirici,
25 we spent two or three days there, I'm not sure how
1 many, and then we were transferred to this part of
2 Ahmici. At that time, this line of defence, or
3 whatever it was called, was established there. So we
4 dug ourselves in, that is where the trenches were dug,
5 and this is where I spent the rest of the wartime.
6 Occasionally, there were shifts and I was relieved. It
7 was getting more and more difficult because there were
8 fewer and fewer people to man the lines, so 10, 15 days
9 would pass before you were relieved. But occasionally
10 I would come back, and I would even sleep in the house
11 and spend some time with my family.
12 Q. Throughout that period, did you participate
13 in any fighting?
14 A. There were very few attacks at this sector of
15 the defence line. I was in a trench all this time. I
16 was not taking part in any attacks; I was defending
17 from possible attacks. This particular area was not
19 Q. You showed us a demobilisation certificate,
20 Exhibit D112. Do you also have your military service
21 book, you know, this booklet showing your service and
22 the various assignments you were entrusted with? This
23 is the kind of book you find in any country. Do you
24 have that military booklet?
25 A. There should be a military booklet extant. I
1 don't know where it is. I can ask my wife to look for
2 it. It should be around somewhere.
3 Q. So you looked for the demobilisation
4 certificate, but you were not able to hand over to us
5 that military book, as was the case with your brother
7 Let us move on to the relations you had with
8 Suhret Ahmic's family. Prior to April 1993, what kind
9 of terms were you on with the members of that family,
10 and more specifically, with Suhret?
11 A. You mean Sukrija?
12 Q. Yes, I have Sukrija in my -- Suhret or
13 Sukrija is the name.
14 A. I said that out of Sakib Ahmic's family I was
15 closest with Naser, who was my peer. As regards
16 Sukrija, we were very different generations. We would
17 just greet each other, but we had no particular
18 relations. We did not visit each other's house. I
19 never visited his, and perhaps, when he was small, he
20 may have visited mine with his parents, but I never
21 went to his.
22 Q. So you didn't know the house as such, the
23 inside of the house, but were you familiar with the
24 workshop where Sukrija would repair the cars?
25 A. I was never in his house and never in front
1 of his house. I know that Sukrija was working on cars,
2 because I saw near Zoran's house there was -- he was
3 discarding body parts, auto-body parts, so I knew that
4 he was an auto mechanic, but I never entered the
6 Q. We're now in open session, so please do not
7 mention any family name, any surname, but I shall ask
8 you, as I asked your brother Zoran, what you thought,
9 what your feelings were when you heard the testimony of
10 Witness H. Do you see who I mean? Or would you like
11 me to show you the name of that witness?
12 A. I'm not sure of that.
13 MR. TERRIER: Will you allow me, Your
15 Q. Witness, what did you think of -- how did you
16 feel when you heard the testimony by Witness H as to
17 the circumstances under which her father died, and her,
18 her little sister, and her mother were forced to leave
19 the house?
20 A. Let me tell you, it was very hard for me.
21 You cannot even imagine what type of situation you can
22 find yourself in when you know for sure that you did
23 nothing, that you wanted everything best for them. I
24 do not doubt that any of this happened to these
25 people. I do not doubt what the child said, except it
1 had nothing to do with me. I couldn't have been
2 there. I wasn't there. It is -- I also want to point
3 out that for six months I was not even mentioned, and
4 then, for reasons unknown to me, somehow I found myself
5 on some kind of a list. At first I was not even
6 mentioned, and that points to this search for names,
7 for then our cursed houses were mentioned, and the only
8 reason I can come up with now is that; no other
10 Q. But could you say that the witness had
11 specific reasons to resent you, you or your family?
12 A. I cannot say whether she had particular
13 reasons to be angry, to be upset. The relations were
14 not bad so that that would create a basis for this.
15 Q. The witness we are speaking about made a
16 statement in September 1993. This is marked D1, an
17 exhibit suggested by the Defence. During this
18 statement, the witness mentioned you. You remember
19 that, don't you? The witness stated your name to the
20 investigating magistrates in Zenica. She described how
21 things happened, in words that very much resemble those
22 used in the Court, and this happened on the 17th of
23 December, 1993. This girl was then 12 or 13 years
24 old. So we may think that if she made that statement
25 on the 17th of December, 1993, just because she was
1 then interviewed, if she had been interviewed any
2 earlier, we might believe that she would have said
3 exactly the same thing. Would you doubt that she would
4 have said the same things?
5 A. I have every reason to doubt it, because if
6 you look at the statements given by her mother, you can
7 see what the mother said. And everybody should have
8 some doubts about it, not just myself. The mother said
9 what she had told to her mother, and I was never
11 Q. I think it's the opposite, but never mind.
12 Do you remember what the young girl said in
13 December 1993 to the investigating magistrate in
14 Zenica, but also here, last year, in this court, as to
15 you being in the house, armed and in uniform, and as to
16 the very short exchange you had with your brother
17 Zoran? Do you remember that part of his testimony?
18 A. I repeat, I was not there. I had no
19 conversation with my brother, nor was my brother with
20 me in that house. I said where we were, and I said
21 what I think about that statement.
22 Q. In that written statement -- I can't remember
23 whether she said that again in court, but she said in
24 her written statement that she kneeled down in front of
25 you to beg you to save her life. Are you familiar with
1 her statement?
2 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I need
3 to raise an objection. The witness answered the
4 question. He told what his position is, what he thinks
5 about the statement of this witness, and now I believe
6 that it is inappropriate to mention every single bit of
7 the statement. It is just torturing of the witness.
8 He can go down the list and repeat every single detail,
9 whereas the witness has stated his position on the
10 veracity of the entire --
11 MR. TERRIER: I heard in my French
12 translation I was torturing the witness. I do object
13 to that notion of torture, but I'm glad to move on to
14 another question.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: I don't know whether you
16 meant torturing the witness, but that is a bit
17 exaggerated, I think. The Prosecutor is not torturing
18 the witness.
19 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: My apologies. It
20 wasn't meant to sound as drastic as it did.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
22 Mr. Terrier, please move on to another
24 MR. TERRIER: Yes, I will.
25 Q. Witness, you also heard the testimony of
1 [redacted] when he said what happened in his house and
2 he spoke about the circumstances under which the four
3 people living with him in that house died. Among the
4 four people were two children. As I put the question
5 to Zoran, I'm going to put the question to you. What
6 did you think, what was your reaction, and do you have
7 any explanation following such testimony?
8 A. I can repeat how I felt while the first
9 witness testified, and as regards to this witness, I
10 felt even worse. I never experienced such a trauma.
11 It's terrible. Imagine when somebody charges you, and
12 you didn't even try to -- charge you with anything --
13 you didn't even try to do anything bad, I mean, they
14 charge you with the baby of three months. Those
15 children played with my own children; those children
16 lived with my own. If those children came to my store,
17 if I gave a piece of chocolate to my child, I would
18 give some to them as well. You know what that means.
19 Q. I understand that if you are innocent, it was
20 very hard to hear such a testimony. What I'd like to
21 hear from you now is some explanation. After all, you
22 are charged with a very abominable crime. I mean, if
23 you are an innocent, of course, it would be something
24 diabolical, and I think this requires an explanation.
25 Do you have such an explanation?
1 A. If you have statements, four or five
2 statements in which I'm never mentioned, and then a
3 year later it seems that I was the one, and after --
4 and a year later, somebody says that it could have been
5 me, how can one trust such statements? I do not
6 question that event, that it happened, that people
7 experienced traumas and trouble, but it is not my
8 fault. I was not there. Had they been sure that it
9 was me, they would have said that it was me right at
10 the start. But five statements were made, and I am
11 never there. On various tapes, when they give their
12 statements, also, my name never figures.
13 Q. I'd like to know something else. When you
14 heard [redacted] testimony, did you doubt the fact
15 that [redacted] was indeed witness to the murder of
16 his family?
17 A. I cannot comment on that. I do not know
18 where [redacted] was, whether he was inside the house,
19 whether he saw all that. I cannot comment on that. As
20 I said, I do not question that it all happened, but how
21 it did happen, I do not know. All I know is that I
22 have nothing to do with that crime. I have nothing to
23 do with it.
24 Q. Were you familiar with Sakib Ahmic's house?
25 Had you been in the house before?
1 A. As a child, with my parents, we visited with
2 [redacted], when I played as a young boy with Naser.
3 I already said that we were peers. When I came out of
4 the elementary school and went to Trstenik, I never
5 once again went, either with my parents, nor was I
6 anywhere near the house, because life just -- I just
7 took another path, and I led a completely different
9 Q. Did you know where [redacted], in which room
10 he lived in that house in April 1993? Did you know
11 whether he lived upstairs, or the ground floor, or in
12 the cellar, in the basement? Did you know that?
13 A. I already said that I was friends with Naser
14 and that he had a cobbler's shop at the station. When
15 he would close for the day, he would come to see me
16 there at the wholesale unit. From conversations with
17 Naser, I knew that [redacted] lived with him. I knew that
18 he had trouble with all his children, that Naser had
19 taken him into his house, that he was living with him.
20 I knew that Naser had a small child -- that is, a
21 three-month-old baby; I believe it was three months old
22 -- and I think he treated me to a drink when the baby
23 was born. But which room [redacted] occupied, I really
24 don't know that.
25 MR. TERRIER: Thank you. I have no further
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Terrier.
3 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac, you have the floor.
4 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you,
5 Mr. President. If we may go into private session for
6 just a few moments?
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
8 (Private session)
13 page 11719 redacted – private session
13 page 11720 redacted – private session
12 (Open session)
13 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
14 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, can you tell us, to clarify
15 the transcript, you answered some questions about the
16 roadblock in Ahmici that was set up after the conflict
17 of the 20th of October, 1992 when you were the first
18 person and Ivica Kupreskic manned the checkpoint from
19 the Croat side. Will you please tell us who were the
20 Muslims at that checkpoint? Do not mention the name of
21 the witness. Give us just the pseudonym and the name
22 of the other person who was with him.
23 A. On the Croat side, Ivica and I were there,
24 and on the Muslim side was this witness, but I do not
25 know his pseudonym, really --
1 Q. Witness Z?
2 A. I see. Witness Z and Sidik Ahmic, so two
3 Croats and two Muslims.
4 Q. So Sidik and Witness Z, did they have any
6 A. They did.
7 Q. Is it common in Bosnia, when you told us
8 about the automatic rifle, did you mean an automatic
9 rifle which is called AK-47?
10 A. I heard about it for the first time here.
11 Q. So what did you call an automatic rifle?
12 A. We called it Kalashnikov or we called it
13 Gypsy girl. That was the vernacular that we used.
14 Q. Tell us, do you remember Witness C? Do you
15 know who that is? (redacted)
17 A. I do, yes.
18 Q. Were you on good terms with his parents or is
19 it your parents who were friends of his parents?
20 A. Yesterday, I said that my parents were on
21 good terms with most of their Muslim neighbours and
22 most people who were of the same generation, and the
23 same holds true of the parents of that witness. I'm
24 simply not of that generation, and like all those other
25 people who were older, I mean, I had the same attitude
1 to them. We would meet, we would greet one another,
2 and that would be it.
3 Q. Were you on good terms with -- you told us
4 that you knew the daughter from that family; is that
6 A. Well, I knew those people and those
8 Q. You also said that you were not sure if you
9 would recognise that witness at the time and said it is
10 that particular child.
11 A. Yes, I said that if I would come across a
12 group of children, and if you asked me to identify that
13 particular child, no, I wouldn't have been certain.
14 Q. Do you remember if you had any contact with
15 him? After you saw him there, did you have any contact
16 with him? Did you communicate with him? Were you at a
17 party together? Were you at a ceremony somewhere?
18 A. Well, it was a 12-year-old child. There was
19 nothing that would bring me to contact with him, nor
20 could we appear at the same party together. Only
21 perhaps I played music at some of the parties, and then
22 he would be among the audience or something like that,
23 but otherwise ...
24 Q. When this witness testified here, he couldn't
25 remember your name. Do you remember that?
1 A. I do, yes.
2 Q. Also, do you remember that he could not
3 distinguish between Mirjan and Zoran Kupreskic, he
4 couldn't recognise both of you?
5 A. Yes, I do remember it very well.
6 Q. So can you explain it now, that he is very
7 precise when he tells the investigator who were the
8 persons that he saw at Jozo Alilovic's?
9 A. Well, how he could quote precisely those
10 names, whether somebody told him which names to say or
11 whether the boy was simply mixed up, I just don't
12 know. But I said it yesterday, if I may add, I was
13 never in my life with such a group of people as
14 described by you. I mean, he mentioned two other
15 people also and said that I was with them, but I was
16 never with those two people.
17 Q. How do you explain the fact that he describes
18 you quite differently from other witnesses who
19 incriminate you here, that is, Witness K says that you
20 had a black uniform, [redacted] says that you had a
21 black uniform, and that boy says he saw you in a
22 camouflage uniform with your face clean, and these
23 witnesses say that your face was painted. Can you
24 explain these discrepancies?
25 A. It is just another proof that it was not me,
1 that it had nothing to do with me. I never had a black
2 uniform in my life, nor did I have a camouflage
3 uniform, except during the war. As I said, at times, I
4 would use my brother's jacket.
5 Q. In relation to these testimonies, very
6 briefly, I shall ask you, [redacted] told the
7 investigating judge in Zenica on the 3rd of December,
8 1993 that two persons entered his house who looked like
9 Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic.
10 A. That is what I said. After a couple of
11 statements, we began to look alike.
12 Q. Witness H, on the 17th of December, 1993,
13 mentioned you here for the first time, even though her
14 mother affirmed that she had mentioned you, just one
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. But not in all statements?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. After that, Witness H's mother made a
20 statement on the 20th of December, 1993, that is, three
21 days after Witness H, and she too mentioned your name
22 for the first time, and it is one in the same family.
23 What would you say to that? What is your conclusion?
24 A. I think that the mother's statements are
25 highly telling. There are three statements where I'm
1 not mentioned, and then in the fourth statement, I'm
2 mentioned, that I had been seen, that I had been
3 walking around the village and mounting guard. But two
4 other relatives of mine and my brother also mentioned
5 in the same light, and only in the fifth statement it
6 is the two of us who were in that house, who had been
7 in that house and done that, that is, only in the fifth
8 or even in the sixth statement. I've forgotten how
9 many of them there were.
10 Q. How would you comment on the fact that they
11 are people from one in the same family? You said that
12 you had absolutely -- that those people had no reason
13 to bear any grudge against you. So why would this
14 family say this about you?
15 A. I do not know why that family. All I know is
16 that it is one in the same family, and I said that we
17 had been here together, my brother and I, for two years
18 and that we've been asking ourselves and wondering and
19 trying to understand, and the only reason could be
20 those houses of ours.
21 There were pressures against those people,
22 "Tell us names. Tell us names." People didn't know
23 what it was about. After awhile, with all this
24 pressure to come up with some names, then they began to
25 mention our houses, and they, of course, associated us
1 with those houses. In the beginning, nobody mentioned
2 my name because it was in combination with Ivica,
3 whether Ivica was in Germany or where, so let's put
4 Mirjan there and let him account for that.
5 Q. Does it seem to you that perhaps the idea
6 behind it was that a Croat had to account for all of
8 A. Somebody needs to account for those crimes, I
9 mean, there is no question about that, because a crime
10 was committed and somebody needs to be brought to
11 justice. But if it was committed by Croats, then not
12 all Croats need to be imprisoned, not all Croats need
13 to account for it, because there are people who are not
14 guilty of that. There is no question about the crime
15 being committed.
16 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, let us see about something
17 else which arose during the cross-examination. Tell
18 me, please, after the 20th of October, 1992, when you
19 left your home after hearing the report that the
20 Muslims, the Mujahedin might attack your houses, where
21 would you go then?
22 A. Every time when we received such reports, we
23 would use that same path and go to Vrebac's shelter.
24 Q. Right. Did you, on any prior occasion, go to
25 Rovna or to Vitez and shelter your family there?
1 A. I said that every time when we left, we used
2 that same path and went to Vrebac's shelter. We never
3 once went to Rovna, to Vitez, or any other place.
4 Q. Tell us, ever since the attack of the Serbian
5 aviation in April 1992, when they attacked Vitez, were
6 any shelters planned, envisaged for your part of the
8 A. For our part of the village, no, no shelters
9 were envisaged, and people had hid wherever they
10 could. In that place, that part in Zume, yes, there
11 was that shelter envisaged.
12 Q. At that time, did you go to the shelter in
14 A. No, not at that time.
15 Q. Why didn't you? Why did you stay?
16 A. We stayed there in one cellar or another, in
17 a cellar which was safer, better, if it was worse, but
18 it wasn't all that frequent. I mean, bombing sometimes
19 would come closer, and that was on one or two
21 Q. In the Muslim part of the village, if you can
22 tell us, in that lower part of the village which is
23 below your houses, did you ever see the Muslim army by
24 night or Muslim soldiers before the 16th of April,
1 A. I said that between the 19th and the 20th, as
2 some military passed through and stayed in the school,
3 and I said that from Ivica's terrace, we could see. I
4 described their outlines, their silhouettes.
5 Q. Were you certain that in that part of the
6 village, there were no Muslim military on the 16th of
8 A. How could we be certain about that? I wasn't
9 certain about that and I didn't know if there were any
10 soldiers of that kind down there. We simply did not
11 use that road for those reasons, because we saw the
12 military then, but we were not certain and we did not
13 use that part of the road. We only used the upper road
14 under those circumstances.
15 Q. Under those circumstances, you felt safer in
16 the Croat part of the village; is that so?
17 A. Yes, of course.
18 Q. Between your houses and Niko Sakic's house,
19 and we spoke about that, will you tell us, which was
20 the principal reason for you to go there? Was the
21 chief reason that you went there to watch, to be able
22 to see something, to be able to observe the situation
23 in your part of the village, in Ahmici, or was there
24 some other reason for it?
25 A. The chief reason was to be in the vicinity of
1 that shelter so if any group headed there, towards that
2 shelter, to try to protect it, and that is why we were
3 there. We had a view of that road which led from our
4 houses to that depression and to that shelter and Niko
5 Sakic's house. That was the chief reason. We had no
6 other reason. Perhaps it was stupid at the time, but
7 we were there.
8 Q. Which one of you made that choice?
9 A. Well, nobody made that particular choice.
10 There was gunfire, and we scuttled into that
11 depression. First, we hid from the gunfire. Of
12 course, we were hiding there all the time, but then
13 instinctively, we simply thought that if anyone would
14 come near, that they would have to use that road, that
15 path. We had no other choice, and the gunfire was the
16 nearest to our houses.
17 Q. After that, you were at war and you spent a
18 year in the trenches. Of course, you had more
19 experience than -- you were more seasoned than you were
20 on the 16th of April, 1993. Was it, militarily
21 speaking, a well-chosen position? Was it a position at
23 A. It was no position. It was simply saving
24 ourselves, our lives. Perish the thought if anyone
25 came near us because they would have got one after the
1 other. It wasn't simply a military position. It may
2 have been very stupid, but we were there.
3 Q. Were you ready? Were you prepared to fire
4 that day?
5 A. Well, had anyone started towards the shelter
6 and children, I would have defended them for all I was
8 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Will the usher please
9 show you these photographs?
10 THE REGISTRAR: This is Exhibit D115/2.
11 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC:
12 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, could you please take a look?
13 What can you see on photographs 3-5 and 3-6, on the
14 last page? What is this? Which path is this and where
15 does it lead from?
16 A. Picture number 3 is the house of Mirko
17 Vidovic, and that is the road that leads to our houses
18 from the main road. That is where the Sutre warehouse
19 was at the time. This path leads this way. It is
20 below the forest that we called Stipanova forest. This
21 path leads from the Sutre warehouse towards the house
22 of Niko Sakic.
23 Q. Please take a look at photographs 5 and 6?
24 A. Here it goes into part of the forest, and
25 this is where Niko Sakic's house is. So this path here
1 leads to this one and leads all the way to Niko Sakic's
3 Q. And number 6, please?
4 A. Number 6 was taken from Niko Sakic's shed and
5 garage, that is to say, this is where Niko Sakic's
6 house, this is where Niko Sakic's shed and garage are,
7 so you can see the path here that leads to the Sutre
8 warehouse, and the other path would fork off this side
9 towards the depression where we were, there
11 Q. Please take a look at photographs 1 and 2 as
12 well, and where does that path lead from?
13 A. Here (indicating), this is Mirko Vidovic's
14 house, this path leads to the road, and this is the
15 road up here, and this is the Sutre warehouse. This is
16 where this path would be up here. Up here, it would go
17 up to this road.
18 Q. Very well. Thank you. Down here, on
19 photograph number 2, you can see this path from the
20 houses to --
21 A. This is the path that goes back to Niko
22 Sakic's, and it goes out here.
23 Q. Yes, we can see it. Mr. Kupreskic, you
24 showed this to us. What's important for me for you to
25 say is that the path that you spoke of yesterday that
1 leads from the main road, this main road that leads
2 through Ahmici then passes by Dragan Vidovic's house
3 and goes down to the depression -- no, not the
4 depression, to Niko Sakic's house, rather, that is this
5 other road, isn't it?
6 A. This is one of the paths, but then there's
7 this other road that I spoke of that goes by Dragan
8 Vidovic's house. That is a road -- that's a big road.
9 You can take a car along that road. From Dragan
10 Vidovic's house, it also came to this road, towards
11 Zume. So Zume was completely linked to it in this way,
12 the lower part of the Zume, that is.
13 Q. This path that leads from Niko Sakic's house
14 to the right-hand side where Dragan Vidovic is or,
15 rather, where Dragan Vidovic's house is, that road was
16 also being used, wasn't it?
17 A. Part of the Pudze houses used it when -- that
18 is to say, from the Pudze houses by Niko Sakic's house,
19 by Mirko Vidovic's house to that road that leads to the
20 upper part of Ahmici and then down to the road and to
21 the warehouse.
22 Q. That road comes out by Niko Sakic's house; is
23 that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Tell me, how many people were in the
1 depression on that day, as far as the Croats are
2 concerned, I mean?
3 A. With me in the depression on that day were
4 Mirko Sakic, Dragan Vidovic, Dragan Samija, Drago
5 Grgic, and my brother, Zoran Kupreskic.
6 Q. Is five people enough to do anything in a
7 military sense?
8 A. Five men is not enough at all to do something
9 from a military point of view. Five men would fight if
10 something would happen and if their families would be
11 threatened, and our families were nearby.
12 Q. Tell me, please, did you know on the 16th,
13 17th, and 18th that the Muslims, Ramo Bilic and his
14 family and the Strmonja families, were in the Vidovic
16 A. On the 17th, we found out that all these
17 families were in the Vidovic shelter.
18 Q. Did you pass by on the 18th, 17th, and 16th,
19 that is to say, did you pass by their houses?
20 A. Yes. Every time I went to see my family,
21 every time we would try to get to the shelter, we would
22 always pass by those houses and by that shelter.
23 Q. Were the houses whole?
24 A. The houses remained intact until the present
25 day, and I think that these people have returned to
1 live in their own homes.
2 Q. Tell me, do you know and did you receive any
3 information as to the following: When the dead bodies
4 were taken out of Sakib Ahmic's house?
5 A. I heard perhaps a month later that UNPROFOR
6 had taken the human remains out of the house of Sakib
7 Ahmic. How many persons were concerned, that, I did
8 not know until I arrived here.
9 Q. Do you remember approximately when this
10 happened? Can you say how much later or do you not
11 remember, I mean, how much after the crime in Ahmici
12 had taken place? Can you determine the date?
13 A. I said that I heard about it approximately a
14 month after the crime had been committed. I heard that
15 UNPROFOR had taken them out, but when this exactly
16 occurred, that, I do not know.
17 Q. You said that you found out about the
18 indictment in 1997, I think, or in 1996.
19 A. The end of 1995 and the beginning of 1996,
20 that is to say, as soon as the indictment appeared.
21 Q. You also said that at first you did not take
22 the indictment seriously because you thought that it
23 could not have been something that serious; is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. As time went by, you changed your view,
2 didn't you; is that correct?
3 A. Well, let me tell you, it's not that I did
4 not take the indictment seriously. I could not have
5 thought how I would be connected to this indictment. I
6 could not believe that I was the one who was in the
7 indictment. I thought that it was some kind of a
8 mistake or something like that. That's what I meant
9 when I said what I said.
10 Q. After that, for two years, you lived in great
11 uncertainty, and finally you surrendered yourself to
12 the court. Tell me, why did you not surrender yourself
13 earlier, since you did things connected to surrender,
14 you wrote to people you thought you should write to in
15 this connection?
16 A. During those two years, we wrote to various
17 addresses and we contacted various people. We wanted
18 to talk about this, and we said that we were available
19 for such discussions, that we wanted to see what was
20 going on. We were available to discuss this. We are
21 small people. We did not know how to get here. We
22 tried to do our best. It was very dangerous to live
23 under such circumstances. Everybody tried to take
24 advantage of you. Of course we were afraid. I said we
25 were small; we did not know how to do this and how to
1 report here and how to come here. That is the main
2 reason why we remained for that year and a half waiting
3 to come here.
4 Q. Please tell us, in conclusion, the Prosecutor
5 asked you something very similar, and I'm going to put
6 the same question to you. After having been here for
7 two years, and after having participated in this trial
8 for two years, and after having listened for a year,
9 and after having listened to all these witnesses, what
10 is your reaction to all of this, and how have you been
11 living through all of this, you and your family?
12 A. I can say that four years of my life have
13 been totally ruined. It is only God who gives me the
14 strength to endure that which I endured during those
15 first two years and that which I have been enduring for
16 these past two years.
17 I never feared coming here. From the very
18 outset, I tried to come here and to prove my
19 innocence. Under such circumstances, in Vitez, I did
20 not hide at all. I lived in Vitez throughout, although
21 it was very dangerous. My family was traumatised. My
22 son, Marko, is receiving assistance from a psychologist
23 now. He is the only child in Vitez to be receiving
24 assistance from a child psychologist, and he could not
25 even finish the first grade properly. And my daughter,
1 Marija, she stutters, and these are major traumas. My
2 child, Marko, he is invariably afraid of SFOR, and both
3 of them wear glasses, and they have to change their
4 glasses every two months. These are major expenses,
5 and my wife doesn't have a job, and my family needs
7 My mother is the only mother in the world who
8 has two war criminals. The media never said
9 "suspects;" they invariably say "war criminals." This
10 is a terrible blemish which perhaps we will never be
11 able to rid our name of. I never wished any evil on
12 anyone, let alone my neighbours. I was brought up in a
13 Christian way. My mother did her best to bring us up
14 properly. I was simply born there. I lived there. I
15 lived there through no choice of my own. I did not
16 have any choice.
17 I'm absolutely not guilty. I had nothing to
18 do with this crime. Had somebody else been in my place
19 on that day, perhaps he would have been more courageous
20 than me; perhaps he would have done something. But I
21 could not have done anything. I could not have saved
22 anyone. The only things I did are the things I told
23 you about.
24 Q. Thank you very much.
25 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Thank you. I have
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel
4 Mr. Kupreskic, I would have a few questions
5 for you, but you look tired. If you would prefer, I
6 can refrain from asking questions. Tell me. I don't
7 want to -- to torture you.
8 Would you be prepared to answer questions, or
9 would you like to have a rest now, and to retire? And
10 I should add that of course, your mother is right, you
11 are not a war criminal, it goes without saying. You
12 are only accused, and you enjoy a very fundamental
13 right, namely, the presumption of innocence. The Court
14 is there exactly to deal with this matter.
15 Well, if you don't refuse to answer this
16 question, I'll tell you, Mr. Kupreskic, there is one
17 matter which troubles me a lot, and this is the
18 testimony of that little girl, Witness H, you know, who
19 was 13. Now, you deny having met that girl on the 16th
20 of April, 1993, but she said here in court that she saw
21 you, you know where, and you know what she said, I
22 mean, because you were here in court.
23 She said that actually she saw you with a
24 weapon, and she knelt down in front of you and asked
25 you to save her life. And actually she is not accusing
1 you of murder, of killing. She is saying that
2 actually, you didn't do anything. You didn't shoot,
3 you didn't kill her. Actually, she is alive; she came
5 So I wonder why she should have lied. Do you
6 have an explanation? Can you think of any reason why
7 she should have said all that here in court about your
8 behaviour that day, the 16th of April, 1993?
9 A. Your Honour, the only reason I can find, I
10 said that these pressures and these agreements that
11 were reached in the end, when they were trying to find
12 who had done this, everybody tried to get names, and
13 names were unknown. These combinations were made, and
14 it was said that shooting came from our houses. That
15 is the only thing I can connect it to. I do not see
16 any other reason.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Mr. Kupreskic.
18 Thank you so much, also, for giving evidence in court.
19 You may now be released. Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour. Thank
21 you very much.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Radovic?
23 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, Your Honours,
24 after the testimony of the Kupreskic brothers,
25 Mrs. Slokovic-Glumac and I would like to make a
1 proposal, namely, these days, the Prosecutor of this
2 court stayed in Zagreb and talked to the Croatian
3 Minister of Justice, and during that visit, the
4 following topic was raised, that some accused could be
5 released and could defend themselves freely. I believe
6 that we have firmly proven before this Court that the
7 Kupreskic brothers are not so-called warlords, and they
8 did not take part in any political decision-making that
9 led to a Croat-Muslim war, and evidence with regard to
10 some of the other counts in the indictment of the
11 Prosecutor will be assessed.
12 We would kindly ask the Court, in view of the
13 fact that this trial has been going on for so long, and
14 in view of the fact that there will be a recess in the
15 court, and also in this trial, for about two months,
16 and bearing in mind the specific qualities of the two
17 accused -- and I shall not elaborate on that now,
18 because this will be referred to in the closing
19 arguments -- we kindly ask the Trial Chamber to look
20 into the possibility of releasing the accused
22 Of course, the Trial Chamber can present the
23 conditions for this, perhaps giving bail, or something,
24 which would be a guarantee that the accused would come
25 back for the continuation of their trial. Of course
1 they will be put at the disposal of this Court if the
2 Court wants them back in the detention unit.
3 We don't want the Prosecutor to state his
4 views right now, but could he please consult the
5 Prosecutor, Ms. Arbour? And we think that if anyone
6 could defend themselves from freedom, we think that it
7 is our clients, honestly. Thank you.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Thank you,
9 Counsel Radovic. You know, of course, that we have a
10 Rule, Rule 65, on provisional release. Under this
11 Rule, release may be ordered by a Trial Chamber only in
12 exceptional circumstances, after hearing the host
13 country, and only if it is satisfied that the accused
14 will appear for trial, and if released, will not pose a
15 danger to any victim, witness, or other person.
16 Now, under this Rule, it is for you to file a
17 motion to the Trial Chamber, and then we will of course
18 request also the Prosecution to comment on your motion,
19 and we will duly decide on the motion.
20 All right. So we now may release Mr. Mirjan
21 Kupreskic. Again, thank you, Mr. Kupreskic.
22 Yes, Counsel Slokovic-Glumac?
23 MS. SLOKOVIC-GLUMAC: Mr. President, I'm
24 sorry, I would just like to tender into evidence
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
2 No objection? All right. It is admitted
3 into evidence.
4 Counsel Radovic?
5 (The witness withdrew)
6 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, today I decided
7 on this oral presentation because a ruling was passed
8 that oral presentations could be made in applications,
9 rather than submissions in writing, in order to
10 expedite proceedings. Of course, if you wish, it is no
11 problem for me to present this in writing as well, so
12 it is really up to you to say.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, you're right. You're
14 right. Of course, we decided, in agreement with the
15 President and at the request of the registrar, to try
16 to prompt parties to make oral presentations, oral
17 motions, so as to avoid wasting time and having a lot
18 of paperwork.
19 However, I, for one, would feel that in this
20 particular case, you would have to set out the special
21 reasons which, in your view, would justify the
22 provisional release of the two accused. As I said
23 before, under Rule 65, there must be exceptional
24 circumstances, so it would be for you to prove what
25 particular exceptional circumstances would warrant the
1 provisional release of the accused in question. So
2 therefore, I would think it will be proper for you to
3 file a written motion.
4 (Trial Chamber confers)
5 JUDGE CASSESE: But, of course, this could be
6 filed at right away, I mean, today, and we promise that
7 we would ask the Prosecution to submit, maybe, oral
8 argument -- I mean, I wonder whether you could, to save
9 time, whether you could try to respond orally, because
10 I do understand why Counsel Radovic is very keen to
11 request the Trial Chamber to pass on this matter as
12 soon as possible.
13 Mr. Terrier?
14 MR. TERRIER: Yes, Mr. President, we're quite
15 ready to answer verbally, tomorrow, if you wish, or
16 perhaps even now. But as you have said, we are needing
17 to comply with Rule 65 of the Rules and not some other
18 statements which we read about in the press. Counsel
19 Radovic and Counsel Slokovic-Glumac need to inform the
20 Trial Chamber about those exceptional circumstances
21 before the decision is taken. So far, I have not heard
22 from Mr. Radovic about any exceptional circumstances.
23 All I heard is that we shall have a two-month
24 interruption. I heard about that, but nothing apart
25 from that, nothing that would indicate that there are
1 any exceptional circumstances.
2 So I'm at your disposal fully, of course. I
3 shall be quite ready to respond whenever the Trial
4 Chamber wishes me to do so. But we have not heard any
5 argument presented to support this request.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, quite, and that is why I
7 asked Mr. Radovic to put down in writing those
8 exceptional circumstances which would be justifying our
9 decision on their possible provisional release.
10 Mr. Radovic, will you please put down on
11 paper the list of all these reasons, and then we can
12 decide on that.
13 Mr. Radovic, do you wish the floor?
14 MR. RADOVIC: I'm afraid I cannot do it today
15 because I need to draft it well and then have it
16 translated, but I will have it tomorrow, certainly.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
18 I wonder if we should take a break now, and
19 then -- yes, now. All right, so we'll take a break
20 now, a 30-minute break, and then when we resume our
21 hearing, I think Counsel Krajina will call, I assume,
22 Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic? Good. So that we can probably
23 finish by tomorrow afternoon.
24 MR. KRAJINA: Yes, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: We'll take a 30-minute
2 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic, good
5 morning. Would you please make the solemn
7 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Mr. President,
8 Your Honours. I solemnly declare that I will speak the
9 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
12 Counsel Krajina?
13 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 WITNESS: VLATKO KUPRESKIC
15 Examined by Mr. Krajina:
16 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, good morning to you.
17 A. Good morning.
18 Q. Are you ready to testify today?
19 A. By all means.
20 Q. Will you please state your full name for the
21 transcript, your date of birth, and your residence?
22 A. My name is Vlatko Kupreskic. My father's
23 name is Franjo, mother of Marija, born Jonjic. I was
24 born on 1 January, 1958 in the elementary school
25 building in Ahmici, in Pirici, in the municipality of
1 Vitez, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have lived in
2 Pirici all my life, that is, in Ahmici.
3 Q. Can you describe your family a little bit for
4 us? What were the circumstances of your family?
5 A. I come from a multi-ethnic family. My cousin
6 Zdenka Jonjic, who was uncle's daughter, married a
7 Muslim, Nusret Bajric in Zenica. My other cousin,
8 whose name is Marija Kupreskic and is my uncle's
9 daughter, married a Serb, Cedo Lalic. My own sister,
10 Jelina, also married a Muslim in Travnik, (redacted)
13 Q. Could you please give us some very brief
14 description of your life up until now?
15 A. Let me just describe my family further. I
16 was born in the elementary school in Ahmici. He had
17 seven children altogether, so we were a family of
18 nine. My older brother died, he had a heart condition,
19 and also one of my sisters died. I myself also was
20 born with a heart condition, congenital heart
21 condition, and I am now the only male sibling. I have
22 four sisters.
23 I married Ljubica Kupreskic, and I have a
24 daughter Milena who was born in 1982. I have a son
25 Igor who was born in 1986. In 1993, I had
1 semi-grown-up children. In April 1993, my daughter was
2 fully 11 and my son, Igor, was fully 7 years of age.
3 When I said that I also took care of the family, that
4 means that I also took care of my parents because they
5 were left without any incomes in 1989, and I continue
6 to financially support them to date.
7 I should also point out that I also
8 financially supported an elderly woman who was without
9 and childless. She was alone in the village. I took
10 her into my house and adapted the house for her use.
11 She lived with us for 18 years until she died, and then
12 I also put a gravestone on her grave.
13 Q. What kind of schools did you go to?
14 A. I went to a school in Ahmici, then another
15 four years in Dubravica. Then I went to Travnik for
16 the secondary school training, and then I went and
17 studied economy, and I graduated in Sarajevo in 1981 as
18 an economist.
19 Q. Can you now briefly describe how your
20 professional career evolved after you graduated?
21 A. After I graduated, I had a scholarship from
22 the SPS, and so seven days after my graduation, I
23 started working for that company in Vitez, and I worked
24 there until 1991. But I want to point out that in
25 1983, I also worked as a teacher. I taught economics
1 in the secondary school in Vitez. Then I also played
2 music. This is something that I did in my secondary
3 school and during my studies, and I supported my
4 studies, my own studies and the studies of my sisters,
5 by playing music.
6 Then I went to work for the SPS. I went into
7 the investments department, and after about four
8 months, I was promoted to the position of manager in
9 this department. I think that I stayed in this job
10 until about 1988. It may be interesting to point out
11 that I was involved in the two largest investments of
12 this company with the Czech Republic and the USSR for
13 rocket fuel and another one with a company in Dallas,
14 Texas, so I successfully completed those two investment
15 transactions. Then I wanted to move on and ahead, and
16 I went into the finance department where I stayed until
17 about September of 1991, and then of my own will, I
18 left the company.
19 Q. We will come back to that at some point. But
20 you said that you had a congenital heart condition.
21 What has your health condition been and what is it
23 A. Until I had heart surgery in the military
24 hospital in Belgrade in 1966, the physicians predicted
25 that I may die, just like my two other siblings did, in
1 other words, my condition was not very good. But
2 following this surgery, it improved, but it is not
3 perfect to date. Because it is a congenital condition,
4 I must not undergo much stress and I need to avoid
5 conflictual situations. I have perspirations
6 occasionally, and these are some of the symptoms that
7 still persist.
8 Q. I want to take you to the period of
9 1991/1992. This was the period when the first
10 democratic elections took place and the establishment
11 of the HDZ and the HVO in Bosnia-Herzegovina. What did
12 you do at that time? What type of activities were you
13 involved in?
14 A. At that time, I was with the SPS company in
15 the financial department, and I was the head of the
16 finance department. The economic crisis had deepened
17 by that time, there was a recession, and the HDZ was
18 established in the Republic of Croatia.
19 However, I saw that the problems were growing
20 in this company, that it was very difficult to go on
21 working, that there was less and less money around,
22 that the responsibilities were growing, and I had no
23 interest in staying there, so I made a decision to
24 leave it, and this took place sometime around September
1 Q. After you left the company, what did you do,
2 when you left the SPS company?
3 A. After leaving the SPS company, I think I did
4 not work anywhere for about two months, and then Ivica
5 Kupreskic, my cousin, invited me to work with him in
6 his company, since I had some economic expertise and he
7 had nobody of that profile. So sometime in November
8 1991, I moved to the company which was called
9 Stefani-Bosna. I later reregistered it myself and
10 renamed it Sutre.
11 As I was used to working and working in my
12 field, and sometimes also I was involved in music, in
13 addition, for awhile, temporarily I worked at the
14 police station. The head of the police at that time,
15 Mirko Samija, asked me to compile an inventory at the
16 police station, and this was in the latter part of
17 December 1992, and I was involved in that until about
18 25 February, 1993.
19 Q. Very well. Can you now tell me, after these
20 ethnic-based parties were established, what was your
21 position in relation to them, and how did you relate to
22 the creation of the HVO?
23 A. I travelled a lot. I moved around a lot. I
24 followed the media, and I saw that in the Republic of
25 Croatia, when the ethnic-based HDZ party won, it took
1 over the power. And as we all know, shortly
2 thereafter, the war broke out. Even then I had a
3 negative position against the ethnic-based parties, and
4 even to date I view them in a negative way, and I was
5 proven right, later, that they all lead to war. All I
6 could see was that this was going to lead to war.
7 This was another reason why I left the
8 company. These were great responsibilities. I thought
9 that I would run into problems with certain
10 regulations. I did not want to be sanctioned by
11 anyone, because I was never criminally involved in
12 anything. I did not want to be in a position to have
13 to violate any laws.
14 Q. Just briefly, how did you interpret these
15 events and the rise of the ethnic-based parties? What
16 were the goals of these parties, and of Herceg-Bosna?
17 A. To me, these events meant turmoil and danger
18 because in Bosnia and Herzegovina, three ethnic-based
19 parties emerged, each representing one ethnic group and
20 pursuing their interests exclusively. I never could
21 justify that, but this is what happened. These
22 ethnic-based parties won. They took over the power in
23 their own territories. First they took over executive,
24 then later on military power, and then soon serious
25 problems developed from that.
1 Q. From what you have just told us, what would
2 you say? Did you support their goals?
3 A. I've told you, ever since the war broke out
4 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, my attitude was
5 completely negative towards all of them, the HDZ, SDA,
6 and SDS. You saw what happened in Bosnia. After 40
7 years of political blindness in the former Yugoslavia,
8 all of a sudden those political parties emerged
9 overnight, and people were not used to that, especially
10 to national -- to ethnic parties.
11 We live in Bosnia, and I told you that my
12 family is a multi-ethnic one, and I was fully aware
13 that it was impossible to reach an agreement. It was
14 impossible to achieve peace. Don't you see how, to
15 this day, we have problems down there, and I don't
16 think we shall be able to get rid of these problems
17 until we get rid of ethnic parties.
18 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, at that time, in any way
19 whatsoever, were you politically active?
20 A. No, never, in any way whatsoever, was I
21 politically active. Nobody even offered me, neither my
22 Muslim neighbours nor my Croat neighbours, and I do not
23 think that anyone said this. I never even came near a
24 meeting, let alone attended a meeting, precisely
25 because I did not really think much of those meetings.
1 Q. You told us that at the time that we are
2 talking about, you were in your private business, that
3 is, first in Ivica Kupreskic's company and then that
4 you founded your own company. That is so, isn't it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you now tell us briefly, what did Ivica
7 Kupreskic's company do, and what was your specific duty
9 A. Sutre company was a trading company and
10 nothing else, throughout that time -- that is, before
11 the war and even, in part, during the war and after the
12 war -- and it mostly traded in foodstuffs or, rather,
13 consumer goods and foodstuffs for the population.
14 Q. And what did you do in that company?
15 A. I was a professional there. I was mostly in
16 charge of documentation, and I also dealt with all the
17 commercial deals because I had tremendous experience in
18 negotiating about special-purpose equipment while I
19 still worked for the SPS -- again, while I still worked
20 for the SPS.
21 Q. And did this company procure for the army or
22 for the HVO?
23 A. No, our company never purchased anything,
24 either foodstuffs or anything else, for the military.
25 It was impossible at the time, because the army had its
1 own logistics, and they had their own procurement
3 Q. Will you tell us, please, on what terms were
4 you with your cousins, Zoran and Mirjan Kupreskic? I
5 mean privately, on what terms were you with them? Did
6 you often see one another? Did you call on one
7 another? Will you please tell us something about that?
8 A. Well, we were always on good terms.
9 Naturally, we were related, and we called on one
10 another. But as I really was very busy -- at times, I
11 would work at three places in one day -- even my own
12 people, my own household family members saw me rarely,
13 let alone others. But we did, of course, go to one
14 another's houses. That was the tradition, that was the
15 custom, at annual holidays, we would do, such as
16 Christmas, Easter, birthdays, somebody's death, and
18 Q. And Mirjan and Zoran, what did they do at
19 that time? I'm asking you that because the indictment
20 claims that, together with the two of them, you were a
21 member of the HVO, and that you had a joint company
22 with Zoran Kupreskic. What will you say to that?
23 A. That is not true. Zoran Kupreskic never
24 worked in our company. His profession is completely
25 different, and I don't mean this as an offence, but he
1 is absolutely contraindicated for any kind of trade.
2 He has no gift whatsoever for that. And as for me, I
3 was never a member of the HVO. I have been relieved of
4 military duty because I'm 100 per cent disabled.
5 Q. Right. Will you now tell us, at that time,
6 that is, 1991, 1992, on what terms were you with your
7 Muslim neighbours or your business partners who were
8 Muslims? Could you tell us something about that?
9 A. Well, since I was brought up in that kind of
10 family, so that since my earliest childhood, I was on
11 very good terms with my Muslim neighbours and everybody
12 else, and all other people. Very good terms. All the
13 more so as I had -- and that was the only shop -- I
14 mean, in the Muslim part of the village, mine was the
15 only shop there. And if nothing else, I was bound to
16 be interested in maintaining good terms with
17 everybody. There is also documentation to that effect,
18 but we do not wish to burden this Court with that.
19 I would give merchandise on tick, not only to
20 my Muslim neighbours, but to Muslims and Serbs
21 throughout Central Bosnia. When the war broke out, I
22 must say that I had considerable claims on all of
23 them. And after the war ended, I continued to do
24 business in the same way, even with my Muslim
25 neighbours and with everybody else, with all other
1 people, regardless of their ethnic origin.
2 Q. And your good relations with Muslims, did
3 they change, rather, did they deteriorate at some
4 intervals of time, or were they always the same
5 level -- I mean, during that period of time?
6 A. Well, that period of time, until practically
7 on the 16th of April, 1993, these relations between us
8 did not change or, rather, they did not deteriorate,
9 because my behaviour, my attitude, my conduct, never
10 gave any reason to them to change their attitude to
11 me. In particular, I had no reason to change my
12 attitude to them because I wasn't in anything. I did
13 not take part in anything.
14 Let me give you just one information. I
15 never hoisted a flag on my shop, even though it was my
16 duty to do so. But I was very careful so as not to, in
17 a manner, undermine my trustworthiness, my
18 authenticity, and my relations with Muslims.
19 Q. Now let us try to be more specific. On what
20 terms were you with Pezers, who were your neighbours?
21 Will you tell us that?
22 A. Well, as with all the other neighbours. The
23 relations were outstanding, and that includes the Pezer
24 family. His two younger daughters regularly were with
25 my sisters, and until the very last day, that is, the
1 16th of April, all the neighbours would greet me every
2 time, and my whole family. My mother, since Fata Pezer
3 was a sick woman, an ill woman, she would always go to
4 take her offerings. I also went there to take her rice
5 and chicken meat, because I think she was a diabetic,
6 so that she needed special food.
7 Q. What were your relations with Sakib Ahmic and
8 his family?
9 A. As for Sakib Ahmic, he is my father's
10 generation, and they paid calls on one another, and
11 they socialised. Yes, they did have some problems
12 about that boundary, but believe me, he was in trouble
13 about that boundary with everybody, because to the
14 south he bounded on Croat property and on the other
15 side on the Muslim property, and there was no neighbour
16 with whom he hadn't got into some trouble. I mean, he
17 was really a short-tempered man, and even his own
18 children had trouble with him. But I didn't have any
19 trouble with him, and I never bore any grudge against
20 him. I was on particularly good terms with his
21 children because his children were quite good people,
22 and they embraced modern ideas, a modern way of
23 thinking, like I did, so that we were on really good
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kupreskic. Let us now go to
1 the 20th of October, 1992, that is, the time of the
2 first conflict, as we call it here, the first conflict
3 between Muslims and Croats. Could you please tell us,
4 what do you know about that conflict? Where were you
5 on that day, on the 20th of October, 1992, and will you
6 briefly tell us what you remember about that?
7 A. On the 20th of October, 1992 -- that means
8 the night before, the eve of that -- I was sleeping. I
9 was asleep at home. My family, we were all there.
10 Early in the morning we were woken up by a detonation,
11 and we got up, tried to see what was going on, what it
12 was all about. But after that, no gunfire, no shooting
13 ensued, so that we could hear nothing or see nothing,
14 but we nevertheless went down to the garage, which is
15 in the lower part of my house. After that, the gunfire
16 started around 8.00 or 9.00, the gunfire began, and we
17 were in this garage.
18 Around 10.00 or 11.00, as there were two
19 small windows just to let air in, I could see an
20 occasional neighbour, a Muslim, from the lower village,
21 how they would move or, rather, how they were fleeing
22 towards the upper part of the village. After that, the
23 gunfire stopped, and there was no more gunfire. But
24 then around 2.00 or 3.00, the Muslim neighbours who
25 lived in the lower part and down by the main road, near
1 the cemetery, they began passing by my house, and I
2 remember quite well the Zec family.
3 I also remember Mujo Ahmic's family, and he
4 was my school fellow or, rather, his father, who was
5 even leading a cow. I went out to ask what it was all
6 about, because I didn't know anything, and they told me
7 that their houses were under gunfire and that they had
8 left their houses. After that, the gunfire continued,
9 and we dispersed, that is, we parted company, rather.
10 I went to the garage, and they went on towards the
11 village, and that is how the day ended.
12 Q. Now, will you tell us, what do you think of
13 that event of the 20th of October? What did you think
14 of it?
15 A. Later on, at the time when there was no
16 gunfire, I tried, of course, to find out what was going
17 on, so I called my cousin Ivica. I thought that
18 perhaps he had managed to get to the company premises,
19 but I didn't find him there, he was at home, and he
20 seemed to be better informed and told me that it was a
21 clash between two armies at a checkpoint near the
23 As I learned that it was a clash between two
24 armies, of course, I was worried about that, but after
25 that, I heard that none of our neighbours had taken
1 part in it and it encouraged me, in a way. But,
2 naturally, when I heard that men had been killed, both
3 a Muslim and a Croat had been killed, then, of course,
4 I took a negative attitude to that event.
5 Q. After that event of the 20th of October,
6 1992, did you expect any new conflicts between Croats
7 and Muslims? Did the relations aggravate between them?
8 A. As for the relations in the village of
9 Ahmici, after that, I did not notice any
10 deterioration. I'm saying, as far as I was informed,
11 all my neighbours regularly came to my shop, and
12 everybody greeted my family regularly on the road until
13 that day, until the 16th of April, 1993. But when one
14 travelled through Central Bosnia through checkpoints
15 and roadblocks, I could see that the situation was
16 growing more complex, because at those roadblocks, the
17 first thing I could see there was that their number was
18 increasing and that they were manned by ever more
19 people and that those people manning the barricades
20 were ever better armed. Also from the media,
21 especially as to the events in east and west Bosnia,
22 this situation was getting more complex.
23 Q. Did your behaviour and your attitude change
24 after that event?
25 A. No, I absolutely did not change my attitude,
1 particularly to my neighbours, because I did not take
2 any part whatsoever in the first conflict. There was
3 no reason for it. So we just resumed normal life.
4 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, at that time or perhaps a
5 little bit earlier, village guards were organised, and
6 we heard a great deal about that here and I do not want
7 to ask you to tell us exactly about that, but will you
8 please tell me if you took part in mounting those
10 A. No, I never took part in this guard duty.
11 Q. But weren't you asked to join those guards,
12 and what can you tell us about that?
13 A. Yes. I had a meeting with Zoran Kupreskic
14 once, and he told me that they intended or they were
15 intending on mounting those guards, and I said that I
16 respected their intentions and that I appreciated their
17 opinion as regards those guards but that I did not want
18 to participate in that and that I would be very happy
19 if they respected my decision, and that's what
20 happened. Because Zoran knows that I never served in
21 the army, I was not trained to use weapons, and I had
22 no time for that because I was busy. I told you I
23 worked at two places at once practically, and, besides,
24 I was the only member of my family -- I was the
25 patriarch, so I was the one who was the provider for
1 the whole family, the only one.
2 Q. Right. Thank you. Now we are moving on to
3 the time of the eve of the conflict which took place on
4 the 16th of April, 1993, and I should like us to focus
5 on the days immediately preceding the conflict, that
6 is, the 14th and the 15th of April, 1993. Could you
7 tell us, briefly tell us, exactly where were you on
8 those days and what did you do on those days?
9 A. I was regularly working for my company.
10 However, on the 14th, in the evening, Ivica's wife,
11 Ankica Kupreskic, was to arrive from Germany. She had
12 been in Germany for more than a year. Then Ivica and I
13 agreed, naturally, to go and fetch her but also to
14 seize that opportunity and do it also as a kind of a
15 business trip so as to negotiate and bring in some
16 merchandise, and that's how it was.
17 We wrote the order for the business trip on
18 the 13th of April, but on the basis of that travel
19 order, we could not move about, and we needed to get
20 such a permit from the army, from the HVO. We were
21 issued that travel permit on the 14th of April, 1993,
22 and that morning, on the 14th of April, early in the
23 morning, we left to Split.
24 Q. How did you travel and which way did you go?
25 Which road did you take and what time did you leave?
1 A. We left on the 14th of April, 1993, early in
2 the morning. I think it was 3.00 or 4.00 in the
3 morning. We took Ivica's Yugo 45 car, and we set off
4 from Vitez via Novi Travnik, Metkovic, to Split.
5 Q. When did you arrive in Split, at what time
6 approximately, if you remember?
7 A. Well, let me just mention one thing, one
8 thing that is very important: En route to the border
9 crossing at Metkovic, at Pocitelj, we met a person who
10 testified here before this Court on the 6th of May,
11 1999 under the pseudonym Witness DE, that is to say,
12 that we encountered that person on the 14th of April,
13 1993 in the town of Pocitelj. Then we proceeded to the
14 Metkovic border crossing.
15 Q. Excuse me. Did you spend some time there
16 with this person, and what was this person doing? Do
17 you remember that?
18 A. At this gasoline station, we were buying
19 fuel, and that's where we met this person. We spent
20 about 15 minutes there with him. We talked about some
21 very basic matters. We said where we were going and we
22 were asking him where he was coming from, and he said
23 that he was coming from Split, and we saw his truck
24 where there had been a lot of big packages, and we
25 didn't really discuss anything else. Then we moved to
1 Metkovic, to the border crossing there.
2 Q. What happened then?
3 A. Then we came to Split, approximately around
4 12.00, because we were supposed to see someone at the
5 Koteks company. We were supposed to purchase some salt
6 there. Then we bought some textile goods. We did all
7 of that. We put it into the car and we went to the
8 Split airport, which is about 15 kilometres away from
9 the town of Split, and in the evening, around 9.00
10 p.m., that is where we met Ivica Kupreskic's wife,
11 Ankica Kupreskic.
12 Q. Excuse me. Do you remember what kind of
13 goods were concerned, and how much did you have?
14 A. Well, we wanted to cover the costs of the
15 trip, so we got some blue jeans, Levi's, 501s, and then
16 we also obtained some underwear and 20 pairs of
17 sneakers for children.
18 Q. All right. You said that you met Ankica.
19 Where did you go then?
20 A. Since it was late, we left the airport and
21 proceeded to Baska Voda. We came to Baska Voda to our
22 friend Radoslav Simovic's place, and that's where we
23 spent the night. We spent the night after the 14th of
24 April there. In the morning of the 15th of April,
25 1993, early in the morning, I think around 6.00, we set
1 out for Vitez.
2 Q. So who was travelling, the three of you;
4 A. Yes. Yes, Ivica, his wife Ankica, and I.
5 Q. When did you arrive home approximately?
6 A. Well, we arrived home rather late. The road
7 via Mostar had been closed, so we were told to take a
8 different road, so we had to make a longer trip via
9 Mount Vran, and we arrived home on the 15th of April,
10 1993, around 7.00 p.m. We arrived in Ahmici.
11 Q. What did you do then?
12 A. First when we arrived, we unloaded these
13 textiles and our other goods in the garage. Then
14 Ankica and Ivica said that they wanted to go to
15 Ankica's family in Krcevina, so after we unloaded the
16 goods, they left and I remained home with my family.
17 Q. Did you go out somewhere that evening?
18 A. That evening, I did not go out at all because
19 I was very tired, and, on the other hand, we also had
20 to prepare the goods for our buyer from Travnik. That
21 is the kind of agreement that we had reached, that on
22 the next day, the 16th of April, 1993, by 8.00, I'd
23 send the goods to the buyer. We were packing these
24 goods, we were preparing the bills, et cetera, so we
25 did not leave the house at all.
1 Q. Very well. When you returned from Split,
2 when you returned home on the evening of the 15th of
3 April, did you see any soldiers by your house and by
4 your shop when you arrived back from Split?
5 A. When the three of us returned from Split, I
6 did not see any soldiers, either in the shop or in the
7 house or in front of the house. The shop was open
8 until 6.00 p.m. and then it was closed, and in the
9 house and around the house, absolutely not, I did not
10 see any soldiers, nor did my wife tell me about this.
11 Q. So things looked usual, did they?
12 A. Everything was normal and usual, just like
13 any other day. I could not notice any difference, even
14 more so because I had asked the children how things
15 went at school. At that time, they attended school
17 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, in your interview with the
18 Prosecutor of the Tribunal, you said that you went to
19 Split on the 13th of April, 1993 and that you spent the
20 night in Split at a lady's place. Please, how do you
21 explain that? How do you explain the difference
22 between that statement that you made to the Prosecutor
23 and what you are saying about it today?
24 A. Well, this is how I explain it: When I made
25 that statement, in front of me was, like today, so you
1 can have a look at this, I had this travel order for a
2 business trip. In the upper corner, there was this
3 date of the 13th of April, 1993. So that is a travel
4 order of the Sutre company, and then when I talked
5 about that part, and you can listen to the cassette
6 too, I did not think that this was an important piece
7 of information. Now I am saying with full
8 responsibility that we left on this trip on the 14th of
9 April, 1993 because we could not get out of Vitez at --
10 we could not pass the checkpoint with this order only;
11 we could only have a military order too in order to get
12 out. So it was a mistake.
13 Q. All right. So it was a slip of the tongue
14 that you made; right?
15 A. Yes, and the interview had been taking place
16 for quite some time, and I was quite tired as well.
17 Q. Now let us move on to the actual date of the
18 conflict, and that is the 16th of April, 1993. Please,
19 could you try, as precisely and as briefly as possible,
20 to say what you did on that day, what you experienced
21 on that day, what you did, and who you were with.
22 A. I'm just going to mention that when I arrived
23 on the 15th of April, 1993, in the evening, I informed
24 this person, whose pseudonym is DF, that on the next
25 day, by the morning hours, I would bring him the
1 required goods.
2 After having packed the goods and after
3 having prepared the bills, we went to bed. I slept
4 until 5.00. I did not wake up at all because I was
5 really very tired. But around 5.00 in the morning, my
6 wife, Ljubica, woke me up, and she said that I should
7 answer the phone, which is what I did. When I answered
8 the phone, an unknown voice said to me, "Vlatko, what
9 are you waiting for? Go to the shelter." And this
10 person hung up. I did not take this seriously because,
11 even until then, there had been similar situations.
12 So as I was so tired, I went back to bed.
13 However, only a few minutes later, the phone rang
14 again. My wife Ljubica answered the phone again and
15 said that Ivica was calling. I answered the phone, and
16 Ivica said to me, "Vlatko, what are you waiting for?
17 Go to the shelter. Everybody's already left." And he
18 hung up. After that, I really got worried. I realised
19 that something was wrong. I was particularly confused
20 by what he had said, that everybody had left, and also
21 I wondered why he had hung up immediately.
22 After that, my wife, Ljubica, said to me,
23 "Well, something really must be wrong because somebody
24 called last night around 3.00. I didn't want to wake
25 you up because I know you're tired." Then we realised
1 that we had to go to the shelter very quickly, which is
2 exactly what we did. I went downstairs to my parents,
3 I informed them, and after that, I went to help with
4 the children, and we went downstairs to pick up my
5 parents. However, my mother was ready but my father
6 said, "Vlatko, I'm an elderly man. I don't want to
8 At that point in time, the first thing that I
9 thought of doing was to go to Ivica Kupreskic's house
10 to see what was going on, so we proceeded to Ivica
11 Kupreskic's house --
12 Q. Excuse me. So who left?
13 A. My wife, my two children, my mother, and I,
14 the five of us. When we arrived at Ivica Kupreskic's
15 house, we did not find anyone there, we did not see
16 anyone there, and, therefore, we panicked even more.
17 So we left quickly in the direction of the forest. We
18 passed through the forest, and we came to the house of
19 Niko Sakic, and about 50 metres after that is an
20 asphalt road. In the yard in front of Niko Sakic's
21 house, we met Niko Sakic, and on the right-hand side,
22 also in the yard of the house of Dragan Samija, we met
23 Dragan Samija. We proceeded further down towards the
24 shelter, and about 50 metres after that point, we met
25 Milan Samija and his wife Mara Samija.
1 We proceeded further towards the shelter
2 until we came to the end of the sports grounds in Zume,
3 and then we heard terrible detonations, strong
4 detonations, that is to say, that it is heavy fire that
5 was heard first, shells, and we were terrified, and we
6 hurried towards the shelter even faster.
7 When we arrived in front of the shelter, we
8 found a few people there. I know that I saw Ivo
9 Vidovic and I know that I saw Jozo Vrebac. Then we
10 went into the shelter and went downstairs to the lower
11 floor of that shelter, and we all stayed in a room that
12 was on the left-hand side, that is to say, to the left
13 of the staircase.
14 Q. We shall continue, but could you please
15 clarify another point for us? Why did you go to the
16 shelter of Jozo Vrebac specifically?
17 A. When the first shelling of Vitez and Busovaca
18 took place by the aircraft of the Yugoslav People's
19 Army, we sought shelter there. That was actually a
20 house that, in our opinion, was the safest place for us
21 to seek shelter.
22 Q. So you went there earlier; right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Just another additional question. On the way
25 between your house and the shelter, did you encounter
1 any soldiers?
2 A. No.
3 Q. You did not see anyone?
4 A. No. No, we did not see any soldiers.
5 Q. All right. Now you're in the shelter.
6 Approximately when did you arrive at the shelter? Can
7 you remember?
8 A. Later on, and I also heard about this here, I
9 was the last one to get out there to the shelter, so we
10 must have arrived around 6.00.
11 Q. So how much time did you spend in the
12 shelter? Until when did you stay in the shelter?
13 A. I stayed in the shelter until approximately
14 10.00. There was intensive shooting. Although we were
15 inside, the shooting could, indeed, be heard. I really
16 became nervous. I heard all this shooting and I
17 realised that this was a conflict, so I was really
18 troubled. I even had a guilty conscience. I wanted to
19 go and see what was happening to my father because he
20 had remained at home. So I kept thinking how, but the
21 shooting was still so intense. But around 9.30 or
22 10.00, I had a feeling that the shooting had subsided a
23 bit. Even earlier, I had proposed to my wife, Ljubica,
24 that I go out and try to see what was going on with my
25 father; however, she had opposed that. She said,
1 "That's impossible. You're going to get killed."
2 However, later, I said at one point, when I
3 simply couldn't take it any longer, I said, "Ljubica, I
4 have to go. It seems to me that there are people who
5 are wounded there, and I have to go and help the
6 wounded." So I simply went out of the shelter.
7 Q. Why did you say this about wounded people?
8 Why did you tell your wife that?
9 A. Well, at that point in time, it occurred to
10 me because I thought that, in that way, I'm going to
11 pacify her and convince her of what I'm supposed to
13 Q. All right. Please proceed.
14 A. So when I got out to the road by this
15 shelter, I saw Jozo Vrebac. He said, "Where are you
16 going?" And I said, "Jozo, it's almost 10.00. I have
17 to see my father." So I just went on, and that is how
18 I took shortcuts. I was hiding, so I didn't take the
19 main road where there was shooting, so I went from one
20 point where I would feel protected to another. I came
21 to the forest that was about 50 metres in front of Niko
22 Sakic's house. When I got out of this forest, that is
23 to say, when I reached the area where Niko Sakic's
24 house was, Niko Sakic caught sight of me and said,
25 "Vlatko, run this way." Since I noticed him too, I
1 ran towards him, and he took me directly to his doorway
2 and we went into his kitchen.
3 As the shooting went on continuously, I was
4 in Niko Sakic's kitchen with him expecting to see
5 whether I would get an opportunity to go over to my
6 house. But when I came close, I saw that around my
7 house, there was terrible shooting going on in that
8 area. He asked me, "What are you doing here? Where
9 are you going?" And I said that I was going to see
10 what happened to my father because he stayed in the
11 house, and I said, "Well, Niko, do you know what is
12 going on here? What is happening? This is a real war
13 here." And he said, "Vlatko, I don't know, but this
14 morning I saw some HVO soldiers going in the direction
15 of your house."
16 So I stayed in this kitchen sometime until
17 perhaps 12.30, I don't know, but I know that in that
18 period of time, the shooting died down, sometime after
19 12.00. In fact, around 12.30, there was no more
20 shooting, so I concluded that if there is no shooting,
21 there is no shooting at all and there hasn't been any
22 for the last 15 minutes, I thought that perhaps I could
23 go home because there was no shooting. I thought that
24 it had stopped.
25 As I felt pressured to see what had happened
1 to my father, I just left Niko Sakic's house and
2 started out alongside the lower edge of the forest
3 towards the house.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina, may I
5 suggest that we take a 15-minute break? Is it fine?
6 Because we will go on until 1.30.
7 Good. 15 minutes.
8 --- Recess taken at 12.05 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 12.20 p.m.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Before asking Counsel Krajina
11 to resume with the examination-in-chief, I would like
12 to report on a decision we have made over the coffee
13 break. On reflection, we thought that Counsel Radovic
14 could probably submit his motion orally tomorrow
15 morning. We thought we should speed up matters and
16 avoid red tape.
17 So in spite of what we had said before, I
18 think it's better for you, if you wish to do so, to
19 avoid writing a motion, filing a motion, and you could
20 set out all the various reasons, so we will use the
21 transcript of your oral motion as a sort of document on
22 which we will base ourselves. And of course we would
23 then immediately ask the Prosecutor, if possible, to
24 react and to say whether or not he objects to your
25 motion. This could be done tomorrow morning, maybe
1 first thing tomorrow morning, if this is suitable. All
3 Good. So we -- yes, Counsel Radovic.
4 MR. RADOVIC: Mr. President, then, as you
5 just suggested, I am going to submit my arguments for
6 the motion for provisional release tomorrow morning.
7 Thank you.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
9 Counsel Krajina?
10 MR. KRAJINA: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Mr. Kupreskic, let's resume. Are you ready,
12 sir? We left off at the point where you came to Niko
13 Sakic's house. Please go on with your account now.
14 A. So I left Niko Sakic's house, and I passed
15 the garage, skirting the lower edge of the forest
16 towards my house. So I arrived at this road leading
17 towards Zoran and Ivica Kupreskic's houses, and then
18 from there continued on towards my old house. When I
19 arrived in the area between my shed and the old house,
20 I could see the entrance to the new house, and I looked
21 at the first floor.
22 At that entrance, by the facade, against the
23 facade, I saw a soldier who was moving around, and I
24 saw that he was observing the southern and northern
25 sides. I was surprised, and I raised my arms, and I
1 said "I am Vlatko Kupreskic." He noticed me. He
2 trained his rifle on me, and he said, "What do you
3 want?" And I said, "I live in this house. I came to
4 get my father."
5 He said, "Approach." I approached. I came
6 to the entrance, and he said, "Follow me." We went
7 upstairs to the first floor, the top floor of my
8 house. He led the way; I followed. He first entered
9 the hallway, because from the hallway, on the
10 right-hand side, there are two good-sized rooms, and he
11 opened the door to the first, and he said, "This one
12 came to get his father."
13 When I entered, in both of these rooms, there
14 were a number of soldiers; I believe somewhere around
15 seven or eight soldiers. At the table, I saw my
16 father; he was sitting in a chair. I approached him.
17 I hugged him. He started crying and whispered in my
18 ear, "Vlatko, calm down," because I was shaking. I had
19 been frightened.
20 So I sat down. I was still scared. I looked
21 around at these men, the soldiers, and avoided their
22 eyes at the same time. I was afraid that I or my
23 father might be killed. And even downstairs, as I was
24 entering the house, the door had been broken in, and
25 the door upstairs almost was not around. Everything
1 had been ransacked. The merchandise which I had
2 arranged was all thrown around. The soil which was in
3 the flowerpots, that earth, that soil, had been spilled
4 around the carpeting. So everything was completely
5 turned upside down.
6 Q. Later on we will come back to that period
7 when you were in the house, but now just tell me, how
8 long did you spend in the house, and then where did you
9 go? Where did you go afterwards?
10 A. It seemed so long to me, because I didn't
11 dare ask or say anything. I kept silent. But at that
12 moment, one of the soldiers was using a Motorola to
13 communicate with someone, and a couple of moments
14 later, somebody said, he said, "Attack." They all fell
15 to the ground, and my father and I stayed in our
16 chairs. Then one of them pulled me down to the ground
17 too. I didn't know why, but after a while, I heard the
18 sound of tanks.
19 One of them made a couple of movements and
20 raised his head a little bit. Because the door of my
21 balcony was almost all glass, he peeked out, and he
22 said, "They're coming towards us."
23 So we were on this floor, but the tanks did
24 not stop. They just went by my store and went towards
25 the school building. Just judging by the noise, when
1 they were somewhere around the school building, one of
2 them said, "Get up." They all got up. I kept silent,
3 but I was upset and angry. It is hard for me to
4 describe this. One of them seemed to have noticed
5 that. Later on, it turned out that they had completely
6 robbed and looted the house.
7 So one of them said to me, "Come over here,"
8 and he took me down through the same hallway to the
9 small terrace near the entrance, and "What do you
10 want?" he said. "Is this what you would want?" And he
11 pointed at the house of Suhreta Ahmic, which was on
12 fire. I just kept silent, because now I was even more
13 scared. Then he said, "Scram. Come and get your
14 father later."
15 So I quickly ran downstairs, and again using
16 the same path between the shed and the old house, went
17 back to Niko Sakic's house.
18 Q. Very well. Will you now describe what your
19 movements after that were?
20 A. When I emerged from this large forest near
21 the smaller forest, I met Drago Grgic, and another
22 soldier in camouflage uniform, and Anto Vidovic, whose
23 nickname was Satko. Drago asked me, "Vlatko, what are
24 you doing? Where are you coming from?" I said that I
25 had gone to get my father.
1 We stayed there very briefly because the
2 shooting resumed again. We all fled that spot, and
3 myself and Drago Grgic, because Niko Samija was in
4 front of his house, he said, "Come over here." Anto
5 Vidovic, called Satko, and this soldier went on in the
6 direction of the shelter. Later on I learned that in
7 fact Anto Vidovic's family was in the shelter of this
8 Niko Vidovic. So I also went inside Nikola Samija's
9 house, into the basement, where there was a small
10 window, and I stayed there until about 4 p.m.
11 Q. What did you do next?
12 A. I was still very concerned throughout this
13 time because the shooting was still going on, and then
14 I kept asking myself why was there not -- I understood
15 that it was because of UNPROFOR that the shooting had
16 stopped, but now I was wondering why did the shooting
17 resume. So when the UNPROFOR vehicles had left the
18 village, the combat had resumed. So I was very
19 concerned about the situation and everything that I had
20 seen and experienced, but again, I had the same
21 problem, that I could not go to the shelter to inform
22 my family, to report to my wife and my mother that I
23 was alive and also that my father was alive.
24 Also, in this basement at Nikola Samija's
25 house, I again was looking for an opportunity to go
1 over to the shelter. So sometime around 4.00 p.m., the
2 shooting again subsided, and again I found a way to get
3 over to the shelter, and I informed my mother and my
4 wife that my father was still alive. I did not want to
5 tell them anything else.
6 Q. Very well. We will continue with your
7 movements following that point in time, but I just want
8 to take you back to that period when you went back to
9 your house and you found seven or eight soldiers
10 there. Now, can you be very specific when answering
11 this question? Did you recognise any of the soldiers
12 there? If you can just describe these soldiers, what
13 they were wearing and how they behaved, and did you
14 recognise anyone?
15 A. When I sat down in this chair, even though I
16 was very frightened, I was 20, 30 centimetres, half a
17 metre, one metre away from these people. They all had
18 their faces painted. Most of them were wearing
19 camouflage uniforms, but two of them definitely had
20 black uniforms on, and some of them even had helmets.
21 On their left shoulders, they had ribbons. I remember
22 that very well because I had never seen that before
23 until then. They were all well-armed, and I could not
24 recognise anyone. Those were all persons unknown to
1 Q. While you were there in your house where
2 those soldiers were, was there any conversation? Did
3 any conversation take place about the shooting,
4 wounding, or anything?
5 A. No. It was a very short period. I did not
6 overhear any kind of conversation.
7 Q. Let me take you back to the shelter. You
8 said that you went back to the shelter, so how long did
9 you stay there and what did you do next?
10 A. I stayed in Josip Vrebac's shelter until
11 about 6.00 p.m., when I judged that I could go over to
12 my father's. So I did this, I went over to the house,
13 and I found my father there but no soldiers. There
14 were no soldiers either inside or around the house. He
15 was very scared. He didn't expect me to come to get
16 him. So my father got ready, I took some good from the
17 refrigerator, I put it in a plastic bag, and slowly we
18 went over to Jozo Vrebac's shelter. My father did not
19 move well.
20 Q. Why?
21 A. He had broken his hip once, and so with
22 crutches, he was able to move, he was able to walk.
23 Around 7.00 or so, we arrived at the shelter,
24 perhaps even 7.30, I don't know, but it took us awhile
25 to get there. I just remember that when my father
1 finally settled down in the shelter, that a terrible
2 explosion could be heard. I again got out of the
3 shelter to see what had happened now, and later on, we
4 learned that this explosion, in fact, was the blowing
5 up of the mosque.
6 Q. Very well. Can you now tell me what your
7 father, Franjo, told you about what he experienced on
8 that day, the 16th of April, in his house? What did he
9 see? What went on in Ahmici? Can you say something
10 about that?
11 A. Of course I can because I talked to him about
12 it and I asked him how he fared on that day, what
13 happened. He said that he would never forget this as
14 long as he lived because that morning, soldiers had
15 burst inside the house. At the start of this big
16 shooting and shelling, he had taken shelter in the
17 bathroom because the bathroom had been sort of dug in.
18 That northern side of the house is completely submerged
19 and it's under the ground.
20 Then the soldiers found him in the bathroom
21 and asked him who he was. He said that he was Franjo
22 Kupreskic, but they did not believe him. In fact, he
23 even had to go around and search for his personal ID
24 and show it to them, and after that, he was left
1 Q. Did he say anything, whether the soldiers had
2 shot from the house?
3 A. Yes. He said that they had shot both from
4 the house and from around the house. I myself, later
5 on when I first came inside the house, I saw bullet
6 casings and soil and the black residue from the gun
8 Q. Did your father describe to you what happened
9 to his neighbours, the Pezers? On that day, did he
10 hear anything?
11 A. Yes. On that day, he saw, I believe it was,
12 Cazim Ahmic's wife. He told me that he helped Cazim to
13 provide assistance to his wife.
14 Q. In what way did he assist him?
15 A. When he saw him carrying his wife, he tried
16 to help but the soldiers wouldn't let him. So if my
17 recollection is correct, he somehow asked them to help
18 him, so they gave him permission. He gave him a
19 blanket and an axe, and Cazim then made sort of a
20 stretcher of sorts, an improvised stretcher.
21 Q. Very well. But did he tell you anything
22 about the Pezers' predicament, anything of them?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Can you tell me, after the 16th, on the
25 evening of the 16th when you were reunited with your
1 father, Franjo, in this shelter, how long did you stay
2 in this shelter, and where did you go from there?
3 A. I stayed in the shelter until the 17th of
4 April, until the evening, until 20.00 or 21.00 when
5 information again reached us from the -- that a kind of
6 a new attack was being expected from a neighbouring
7 Muslim village, so that I believe everybody left the
8 shelter, and so did I with my family, and we went to
9 Donja Rovna.
10 Q. How long did you stay there?
11 A. We stayed in Donja Rovna some 10 or 15 days
12 at the most, but since accommodation was very poor, I
13 then moved my family to Vitez, to Niko Kristo's house.
14 Q. How long did you stay there with your family?
15 A. In Niko Kristo's house, we stayed until --
16 well, almost until July, and it was only as late as
17 July that we went back to our house in Ahmici.
18 Q. Right. Mr. Kupreskic, let us now move on to
19 another subject. Will you please tell us if you were
20 called up, if you were mobilised, and when, if so?
21 Will you please be very accurate?
22 A. Well, as I'm not able-bodied, but, yes, the
23 military police used to come to Gornja Rovna and
24 control all the males there, and I always carried that
25 military booklet with me, and, besides, my scar is big
1 enough to show them that I'm not really able-bodied to
2 do any military service.
3 So then later on in Vitez, I managed to
4 somehow avoid being mobilised or that kind of
5 commitment. However, sometime in September 1993, even
6 that was of no avail any more, and the military police
7 took me into custody and directly took me to the
8 office. I believe it was called the defence office.
9 Q. Then what happened?
10 A. Then when I was brought to the defence
11 office, in a room there, I found Witness DA/5, who
12 testified here on the 20th of January, 1999, and Zoran
14 Q. Did they work there? Were they employed
16 A. Yes. Yes, they worked there. I immediately
17 gave my military booklet to this lady, and she
18 remarked -- that is, I said that I was disabled 100 per
19 cent, and she remarked, "Why are you bringing me
20 those? I mean, who are you bringing me here?" I did
21 not know her before, that was the first time I saw her,
22 but Zoran Drmic I did know from before. And she said,
23 "I don't know what to do with you," and as I had
24 already had problems with my cars before, because I too
25 had a Yugo 45 and I also had a Mercedes 123, which is
1 quite a powerful car, and I had trouble before because
2 they wanted to requisition it, to confiscate it. Then
3 I remembered and I suggested to that person to be a
4 driver, seeing that I had that car. And she said,
5 "Right. Fine," and called somebody by telephone and
6 told me to report to Mr. Bertovic at the Impregnacija,
7 and that is how I went, got my car, and in that car,
8 that is, a Mercedes, white, 123, I went and reported to
9 Mr. Bertovic.
10 I had never been to that man, nor did I know
11 that man before, but I said that this person had sent
12 me, and they must have been in touch, so he assigned
13 me. He told me to report to the outpatient facility in
14 Zume and to become the medical driver at this
15 outpatient unit at Zume, and that is what I did. I
16 went there, I found that medical unit, and I reported
17 to the commander of that unit. It was Mrs. Finka
19 Q. Go on.
20 A. So I was, therefore, mobilised with that
21 medical unit. Not far from that, and I did not know
22 that, there was the command of the so-called 3rd
23 Company, and the commander of that company called me
24 through my boss, Finka Vidovic, and said that I could
25 not drive for the medical unit alone, and then since
1 there was a shortage of both men and cars, I should
2 also be at the disposal of that company. Naturally, I
3 did that and I drove for them, drove the car for them.
4 Q. How long did you stay with the medical corps?
5 A. I was the driver with the medical corps until
6 about the 20th of April, 1994, and then I was
7 demobilised verbally, orally, and that was the end of
8 my duty with that medical corps.
9 Q. Did you remain in Ahmici, and what did you do
11 A. Well, we tried straight away, and that is
12 what we did, both Ivica and I, to reanimate the
13 company. We resumed our work at the Sutre company, and
14 I was there until 1995, when I founded with -- my wife
15 and I founded our own company, called Modus.
16 Q. Right. So now let us please move on to a new
17 subject. Will you tell us, when was it that you
18 learned about the indictment, that you were indicted?
19 A. I remember that very well. One day, two
20 people I did not know came to my house. One introduced
21 himself as Sliskovic, and the other one said his name
22 was -- I think Matosevic. As my house was my office --
23 I mean, my house was also my office, and many people
24 came to me; all sorts of people came there. I didn't
25 know what it was all about. They said they came from
1 the information service, from SIS, and they said that
2 they had heard that I had been indicted, and those are
3 the people who were on that first indictment.
4 Q. Was it a military service of a kind?
5 A. I can't say what kind of a service they
6 were. They only used the acronym. They said, "We come
7 from SIS." But what it meant, really, I don't know.
8 Q. How do you see it now, I mean, that
9 communication, that information, that knowledge that
10 you had been charged? What did you do, if anything?
11 A. How did I see it? How did I feel? Well, at
12 the beginning -- and I'm just now describing only how I
13 felt -- at first I thought it funny, and then strange,
14 because it defies common sense. Me, to be indicted for
15 Ahmici? I, who had absolutely nothing to do with it?
16 I thought somebody was pulling my leg. It's difficult
17 to explain.
18 But then, when I learned from media, both
19 newspapers and television, really heard it with my own
20 ears, then I realised that that was indeed an
21 accusation. It was charges. But still, at that time,
22 I again thought it was a big, a major mistake, a really
23 very big error, and that it would be redressed in no
24 time at all. However, the situation grew more complex,
25 and I eventually realised that it was very serious, and
1 I began to do something for my defence in June 1996.
2 Q. So what did you do? Did you do something --
3 did you approach somebody, or what?
4 A. Well, yes, yes. First I communicated to
5 those people who were in that first indictment. I
6 called them. I'd never seen Marinko Katava in my
7 life. I didn't have the slightest who he was. Vlado
8 Santic, I only met him here in the detention unit, but
9 I had heard about him.
10 So I called my relatives. We met. We were
11 all taken aback and wondered what we should do. But
12 then, again, I repeat, I thought that it might bring
13 fruit and we thought it might be a good idea to write
14 letters both to international institutions and
15 individuals who worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina on
16 behalf of the international community.
17 What struck me most was that Stipo Alilovic
18 was in the same indictment, because I knew that man.
19 His wife, Dragica, worked with me, and I knew that the
20 man had left back in 1992, I mean, went abroad. I
21 moved about. As far as I knew, that man never came
22 back down there. I never saw him again there.
23 So I really thought that those letters would
24 bear some fruit. I signed them and sent them, and in
25 all those letters, we wrote the following: That it was
1 a very big mistake, that those indictments were very
2 sudden, that that was an oversight, that there were
3 people who had nothing do with it, that we were ready
4 to cooperate, that we were willing even to report even
5 to The Hague, that we condemned those crimes.
6 And yet we never received a single answer to
7 any one of those letters. I was quite unhappy about
8 that, and my wife and myself, of course, wrote again,
9 personally, on the 23rd of November, we wrote to this
10 Tribunal. We wrote --
11 Q. Briefly, 1997, was it?
12 A. Yes, it was 1997. There we described our
13 problems, and yet nobody replied even to that letter,
14 nor any form of co-operation.
15 Q. Could you please give us -- how do you
16 explain, why didn't you surrender as was requested, and
17 were you planning, were you intending to surrender?
18 Were you hiding?
19 A. I did not turn myself in, I did not come here
20 with these people, for several reasons -- at least,
21 that is how I explain that. First, because I am
22 remarkably innocent. I am not guilty of what I'm being
23 charged with.
24 Secondly, I'm a sick man, and I thought that
25 I will not be able to stand the detention until this is
1 clarified, this is cleared up.
2 The third reason I did not turn myself in is
3 because -- and there were some suggestions to that
4 effect, to surrender, to turn ourselves in to the
5 Republic of Croatia. But knowing the experience of
6 Zlatko Aleksovski and Pero Skopljak, who were detained
7 in the Republic of Croatia, as a sick man, I simply did
8 not dare do that.
9 Q. And whose idea was that?
10 A. Well, that was the idea suggested to me by
11 some people from Croatia, some people who came, and at
12 that time already they were preparing the defence. But
13 I simply did not venture -- I did not dare do that at
14 the time.
15 The fourth reason is that I always thought
16 that I would get a reply, that the whole thing would be
17 cleared up. But in view of my legal obligation towards
18 my company, and I had -- on the 31st of December every
19 year, I had to draw up the annual sheet of balance, so
20 that at that time, when those people came to me, I
21 simply could not -- I did not plan to turn myself in.
22 Q. But did you think of doing that at all?
23 A. Yes, I did, and Dr. Krajina, you know that I
24 retained you in November 1997, and that we agreed, and
25 that you were the mediator for this letter of
1 November 1997 which was sent through the Tribunal's
2 office in Sarajevo. You know that we agreed that I
3 should surrender in Sarajevo, to the UNPROFOR, sometime
4 in March 1998.
5 Q. During that time, did you go into hiding?
6 How did you live?
7 A. Well, those people here know that, and I have
8 countless witness -- both the Muslims, my neighbours,
9 and Croats, too -- that I never hid. Everybody was
10 surprised by that, but I'm not guilty of what I'm being
11 accused of. I have nothing to do with it. Those were
12 the only ideas and the truth which guided me.
13 UNPROFOR came regularly to my place, since I
14 have two business units with my company, both in Ahmici
15 and in Vitez, in the centre of the town. Every day
16 people from UNPROFOR came, bought things from me,
17 bought foodstuffs.
18 Q. Would they see you personally?
19 A. On that day, on the 17th of December, 1997,
20 that day, we met twice, at around 9.00 and around 5.00
21 in the afternoon that day, on the 17th of December.
22 That night, between the 17th and 18th, is when I was
24 Q. So will you tell us, as briefly as possible,
25 will you please tell us, will you recount those things
1 about your arrest. Were you hiding, and how did that
3 A. Well, I thought -- I thought -- let me put it
4 that way, that if I manage somehow until March 1997,
5 until -- if anyone is interested and really wants to
6 take me into custody, that they can do it at any given
7 moment, because I was with those people day in and day
8 out. I simply thought that they would ask for my ID,
9 like any other police, and I would simply take my seat
10 in the car and come here. However, this was done in a
11 very brutal way.
12 On that 17th of December, I had some guests,
13 and we were up until midnight. Then we went to sleep,
14 and so these first hours, between 1.00 and half past
15 1.00 in the morning, we heard some detonations. The
16 house was full of smoke. Chaos. You know, this is
17 first sleep, a heavy sleep, and I thought I was
18 dreaming that it was war again.
19 But then my wife got up first, and she said,
20 "Hey, Vlatko, we've got thieves in the house." And
21 for the first time in my life I had obtained a rifle,
22 because of these thieves, because of burglars, because
23 of robberies in January 1995, and at the request of my
24 wife. She passed the rifle on to me, because I thought
25 that those were burglars. I wanted to fire, but I
1 didn't know how, and that scared me even more, because
2 I didn't know how to fire a bullet from that.
3 Somehow I did fire a bullet or two, and at
4 that moment, through that big balcony door, those men
5 appeared. When I saw those people, when I realised
6 that they were not burglars but that they were people
7 who were super-equipped, I just dropped my rifle in
8 front of them and sat down. I kneeled, raised my arms,
9 and those men really came to me and immediately
10 extended first aid to me on my couch. They behaved
11 very correctly until they turned me over here in The
13 Q. What kind of aid? What are you saying? Were
14 you hurt or what?
15 A. I can never forget that. I can't really
16 remember -- I believe I fainted at the time, but I came
17 to on the couch, and then I saw that I had been
19 Q. Where were you wounded?
20 A. I was wounded in the armpit, in my arm.
21 Q. You also explained where you got that rifle
22 from; right?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. I would now like to ask you, Mr. Kupreskic,
25 to comment on some evidence and the counts in the
1 indictment that pertain to you. We shall start briefly
2 with the indictment. Are you aware of all the things
3 that you have been indicted for?
4 A. Yes, I am aware of all the things that I have
5 been indicted for.
6 Q. You said that -- when you first appeared
7 before this Court, you said that you did not plead
8 guilty with regard to any one of the counts, so I would
9 like to ask you for more extensive comments on this,
10 first of all, from the content of the indictment. That
11 is to say, in point 9, it says that you aided and
12 abetted the attacks on the civilians of Ahmici and
13 Santici, that you participated in military training,
14 and that you were arming yourselves. Is that correct?
15 A. I was never a soldier. I never had weapons
16 until after the war. I never participated in any
17 military formations or in political events. I did not
18 help or instigate.
19 Q. Is it true that you evacuated Bosnian Croats
20 the night before the attack on the 16th? Is that
22 A. That is absolutely incorrect, because the
23 night between the 15th and 16th of April, I was asleep,
24 and I did not wake up at all and that goes for my
25 entire family. It is not correct, because I did not
1 move my family away, my own father, and that is telling
2 proof in itself.
3 Q. The indictment also says that you organised
4 the HVO soldiers' ammunition and weapons in and around
5 the village of Ahmici/Santici; is that correct?
6 A. That is absolutely incorrect. I have nothing
7 to do with the army. I never had any weapons. I never
8 had any ammunition. I did not participate in this. I
9 never attended a military or political gathering. That
10 is not correct.
11 Q. Furthermore, that you prepared your home and
12 the homes of your relatives as staging areas and firing
13 locations for the attack on the 16th of April, 1993; is
14 that correct?
15 A. That is absolutely wrong. You could hear
16 also that I was the last one to be woken up and
17 informed on the morning of the 16th of April, 1993. So
18 this is absolutely wrong, that I was even preparing the
19 house of my other Croat neighbours and my own house.
20 Not at all.
21 Q. So how come the military was in your house?
22 A. The military, according to the statement of
23 my father, and I also on that day, the 16th of April,
24 1993, I could see for myself that the military had
25 entered the house violently. They barged through the
1 door. They smashed it open. They took hold of my
2 house, and they used it as a strategic point.
3 Q. All right. So what do you think, why is it
4 precisely your house that was occupied in that way, and
5 why were military operations conducted from it?
6 A. Well, you've seen it, and we've seen a lot of
7 it here, so I don't have to point it out once again.
8 My house is the last Croat house in that part of
9 Ahmici, the last Croat house. It is the last house,
10 and also it is at the highest point, and it stands out
11 from the other houses. From the house, the soldiers
12 probably had a good vantage point in terms of viewing
13 this entire part of Ahmici. So it was probably
14 strategically a very good point for them, and they took
15 advantage of it.
16 Q. Furthermore, in this count of the indictment,
17 it is stated that you concealed from the other
18 residents that an attack was imminent on the 16th of
19 April, 1993; is that correct?
20 A. I repeat once again, this is not correct.
21 First of all, I did not evacuate my father, because I
22 was not aware of any conflict or any problems.
23 Secondly, I was the last one to be informed
24 by Ivica Kupreskic, and five hours later, at that.
25 Q. Please, in points 12, 13, and 14 of the
1 indictment, it is mentioned that you, together with
2 Zoran Kupreskic, and we discussed this a bit earlier
3 on, that you, before the war, had a joint company with
4 him and that you were an HVO soldier in Ahmici. What
5 do you say to that?
6 A. I already said what I have to say. This just
7 shows how this indictment was written, in such haste.
8 I don't know with which objectives in mind, but it is
9 not correct. I never had a company with Zoran and I
10 was never an HVO soldier.
11 Q. Very well. In the part of the indictment,
12 number 1, that is to say, persecution, count 1, in 21,
13 it says, please follow this carefully, that in the
14 period from October 1992 until April 1993, you took
15 part in the persecution of the Bosnian Muslim
16 inhabitants of Santici, Ahmici, and its environs on
17 political, racial, and religious grounds, and that you
18 took part in the deliberate and systematic killing of
19 Bosnian Muslim civilians, in the comprehensive
20 destruction of their homes and property, and the
21 organised detention and expulsion of Bosnian Muslims
22 from Ahmici, Santici, and its environs. So could you
23 please say whether that is correct, and what do you
24 have to say to that?
25 A. I never participated in or persecuted my
1 Bosnian Muslim neighbours on religious or other
2 grounds. I never killed anyone. I never harmed
3 anyone. I never put anyone's house on fire. I never
4 hurt anyone. I did not take anyone's property or I,
5 through my own actions and behaviour, not at a single
6 point in time could I have indicated such a thing. So
7 I did not take part in such things that are recounted
8 in that part of the indictment.
9 Q. Thank you. In points 12 through 15 of the
10 indictment, we are talking about the Pezer family, it
11 is being mentioned once again, and I would like you to
12 listen to this very carefully. In point 28, it says
13 that before the attack on the 16th of April, 1993, HVO
14 soldiers, armed with automatic rifles, congregated at
15 your house in Ahmici, and when the attack commenced,
16 several HVO units used your residence as a staging
17 area. Other soldiers shot at Bosnian Muslim civilians
18 from your house throughout the attack. Please,
19 briefly, what do you say to this?
20 A. That is not correct. At the time that is
21 mentioned there, notably, the 16th of April, 1993, I
22 was in the shelter of Jozo Vrebac, almost two
23 kilometres away from the place where these events were
24 unfolding. I was not in front of the house or in the
25 house, and I could not, in any way, participate with
1 the soldiers in the killing and wounding of the Pezer
3 Q. If you listen to me carefully, the question
4 was related to whether soldiers, before the attack that
5 is described here in the indictment, did they
6 congregate in your house? Were there several units
7 there, several HVO units, and did they use your house,
8 et cetera? You already mentioned this, but please --
9 A. No. On the 15th of April, there were no
10 soldiers near my house, let alone in the house. That
11 is not correct, and on the day of the 16th of April, I
12 was almost two kilometres away from these events.
13 Q. What about the 16th of April?
14 A. Yes. On the 16th, that is the only thing
15 that is correct there, on the 16th of April, the
16 soldiers were there throughout the day.
17 Q. And were they shooting?
18 A. They were shooting in the house and around
19 the house.
20 Q. Paragraph 30, subparagraph 30, rather, under
21 the same count in the indictment, it says that you, on
22 the 16th of April, 1993, together with HVO soldiers, in
23 front of your house in Ahmici, took part in the
24 wounding of Dzenana Pezer and another woman and in the
25 killing of Fata Pezer. Is that correct, and what do
1 you say to these charges in the indictment?
2 A. This absolutely is not correct. On that day,
3 at that time, I was not there at all. The first time I
4 came home was around 13.00 on the 16th of April, 1993.
5 I did not shoot, I was not there, I did not kill
6 anyone, and I did not wound anyone. Doesn't this speak
7 for itself, the thing that you said, that I am being
8 accused of the wounding of a woman? The Prosecutor
9 never said who this woman was. Not a single witness
10 here, out of the 14 members of the family who were
11 moving around, said that they had seen such a woman
12 wounded, and this just shows how loose the indictment
14 Q. What do you think then? Who could have been
15 this woman that the indictment mentions, the woman
16 being wounded, and nobody knows who this is? What do
17 you think? Who is this? Who else was wounded then in
18 this situation? You remember, we heard about it here.
19 A. Only if such a degree of confusion was
20 created, then only it could look like this witness, the
21 Muslim witness who was wounded on that day, who
22 testified before this Court on the 31st of May, 1995
23 under the pseudonym CF. Well, you saw that this
24 witness is a Muslim, a victim, and he came here to
25 testify as a Defence witness for me. He is probably
1 that woman.
2 Q. Very well. Thank you. Mr. Kupreskic, now I
3 would like to ask you to look at some of the evidence
4 that has been presented during the trial before this
5 Court and also to look at some of the witness
6 statements. Let us look at Prosecutor's Exhibit P329.
7 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, could the
8 registrar please have Prosecutor's Exhibit P329 shown
9 to the witness?
10 Q. Have you had a look at this, Mr. Kupreskic?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So this is a certificate, isn't it,
13 concerning your alleged participation in the war.
14 Could you please comment on this a bit? Where does
15 this certificate come from and is the information given
16 in it correct?
17 A. The information given in this certificate is
18 absolutely incorrect. First of all, the time is not
19 correct because I was mobilised only on the 15th of
20 September, 1993. Secondly, the duty that is mentioned
21 here that I performed, it is not correct. I was a
22 driver for the medical corps.
23 Q. Can you explain how did this certificate come
24 about? This was presented by the Prosecutor, if you
1 A. Yes. I never saw this certificate until the
2 Prosecutor presented it, and it is of a dubious nature,
3 to me. I never signed such a document that I was
4 taking this over. I first saw this document here.
5 MR. KRAJINA: Very well. Please now let us
6 have a look at another document, and then we can
7 probably adjourn for the day, that is, Prosecutor's
8 Exhibit P335.
9 Q. Have you had a look at this document,
10 Mr. Kupreskic?
11 A. Yes. Yes, I've seen it. I've seen it here
12 so many times.
13 Q. If you look at number 107, you can see your
14 name. Could you please comment on that?
15 A. I can comment on this document in the
16 following way: This is a plain list of male persons.
17 It was probably made on this day, the 16th of April,
18 because we heard here that there are some persons on
19 this list who are not military-able men. There are
20 some persons who are not even in the territory of the
21 municipality of Vitez. So I consider this document to
22 be a plain list of male persons who were supposed to be
23 engaged as of the 16th of April until the 27th of
24 April, probably at the front line, or that they should
25 be mobilised.
1 There is another fact that speaks in favour
2 of this even more, and that is that I did not appear in
3 any other document, the following documents that the
4 Prosecutor presented here.
5 Q. So are you denying what this list says, that
6 is to say, that on the 16th of April, 1993, you were
8 A. This is absolutely incorrect. I was not
9 mobilised on that day. I was mobilised only
10 approximately on the 15th of September, 1993.
11 Q. So this is not correct.
12 MR. KRAJINA: Mr. President, since I will
13 have another sequence of questions that will follow,
14 and our time is almost up for the day, I suggest that
15 we adjourn for the day. I believe that tomorrow, by
16 the time the break comes, we will have concluded our
18 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Before we
19 adjourn, however, let me ask the Prosecutor whether the
20 Prosecution is ready to hand in their list of rebuttal
21 witnesses for September, October, whether you have a
22 rough idea. Also, I would like to turn to Counsel
23 Puliselic, Pavkovic, and Susak and ask them to confirm
24 whether or not they have decided about their clients.
25 Is it now for sure that the three accused will not give
1 evidence in court? Again, this is for the purpose of
2 doing some planning for the September hearings.
3 MR. TERRIER: This afternoon, Mr. President,
4 we shall submit a document, and it will show what we
5 are planning for this stage. Yes, we do have a rather
6 precise idea.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: I just wanted to ask Counsel
8 Puliselic, Pavkovic, and Susak whether it is now for
9 sure that their three clients will not give evidence in
10 court, will not be called by them, just a
11 confirmation. Counsel Puliselic?
12 MR. PULISELIC: Mr. President, not at a
13 single point in time did I say that Papic would not
14 testify. I said that I did not know about this. I
15 think that he will testify.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: So this will be in September
18 MR. PULISELIC: Yes.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Pavkovic?
20 MR. PAVKOVIC: Mr. President, I have already
21 stated my position concerning this matter, so I think I
22 can only reiterate it now, that my client decided not
23 to avail himself of his right to testify.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
25 MR. PAVKOVIC: Thank you.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Susak?
2 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, I also believe
3 that Drago Josipovic, for the time being, has not
4 decided to testify in this particular trial, that he
5 would not testify, that is.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: So it's not a question mark;
7 it's a no. So he will not?
8 MR. SUSAK: No. No. No.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: So the only one who will then
10 testify is Dragan Papic, and this will happen in
11 September when we resume.
12 All right. We will adjourn now until
13 tomorrow at 9.00.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
15 1.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
16 the 23rd day of July, 1999, at 9.00 a.m.