1 Tuesday, 30 August 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Good morning, Madam Registrar. Could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-03-68-T, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Mr. Oric, good morning to you. Can
10 you follow the proceedings in your own language?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I can
12 follow the proceedings in my own language.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, you maybe seated.
14 Appearances for the Prosecution.
15 MS. SELLERS: Good morning, Your Honours, I'm Patricia Sellers
16 with the Office of the Prosecutor. With me is co-counsel
17 Mr. Gramsci di Fazio, Ms. Joanne Richardson, and Ms. Donnica
18 Henry-Frijlink is our case manager for today.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: How is Mr. Wubben?
20 MS. SELLERS: Mr. Wubben is still ill at this point and he hopes
21 to return to the office on Thursday, I believe.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
23 Appearances for Naser Oric.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I'm
25 Vasvija Vidovic. Together with Mr. John Jones, I represent
1 Mr. Naser Oric. We are assisted by our legal assistant, Ms. Adisa Mehic,
2 and our case manager, Mr. Geoff Roberts.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Vidovic and good morning to you
4 and your team.
5 So a few housekeeping matters.
6 Now, tomorrow, Wednesday, we will be sitting in Courtroom II, all
7 right? And the day after, Thursday, we will be sitting in Courtroom III.
8 The time is as today, 9.00 in the morning, but that's something that I
9 wanted to alert you to.
10 Second, there is -- we have received a copy of the Defence motion
11 for the admission of the witness statement of Avdo Huseinovic, pursuant to
12 Rule 92 bis. I suppose you know about it already.
13 MS. SELLERS: Yes, we do, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Having heard what Mr. Wubben had stated some time
15 back, I take it that you are going to oppose this.
16 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour. We are studying it and we will
17 probably intend to have some opposition.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Exactly. When will we have the response?
19 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, we anticipate to file that early next
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Then we are not going to shorten the
22 time limit, but please try to file it early next week.
23 MS. SELLERS: Certainly.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
25 Yes. This covers that. This covers this. And this covers that.
1 This is superseded by the other one.
2 Any preliminaries on your part?
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Just one matter regards the mechanics of this
4 morning. Firstly, I apologise if I jump around from topic to topic in my
6 JUDGE AGIUS: That's not unusual.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: It's not unusual, and perhaps forced a little by
8 circumstances. Secondly, you've been very generous in allowing us
9 changing the times. Should it -- for the morning breaks -- should I get
10 to a point this morning where I need to confer with other members of the
11 team and where shortly before a break I might ask for a somewhat early
12 adjournment to enable me to do that. But other than that I expect things
13 to do smoothly.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: That wouldn't be any problems at all with that,
15 Mr. Di Fazio.
16 Any other preliminaries from the Defence? Nothing?
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So let's bring the witness in and we
19 take it up from where we left it yesterday.
20 For the record, we are today once more sitting pursuant to Rule 15
21 bis(A). And the reason being the same as it was yesterday, namely a
22 legitimate impediment being an urgent personal reason of Judge Eser and
23 the decision is taken because the remaining two judges, Judge Brydensholt
24 and myself are satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to
25 continue sitting without Judge Eser being present.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Mr. Ramic.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Welcome back.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: We are going to start with the cross-examination and
7 hope we will be able to finish with you today and send you home. So,
8 please, make yourself comfortable. May I remind you that you are still
9 testifying under oath in terms of the solemn declaration rather that you
10 made yesterday, and please try to answer all the questions that are put to
11 you as briefly as possible, in a truthful manner and to the best of your
12 ability. Okay. Thank you may be seated.
13 WITNESS: OMER RAMIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Di Fazio.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank, Your Honour.
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
18 Q. Mr. Ramic, my name is Di Fazio. I have a few questions for you on
19 behalf of the Prosecution. Do you know Mr. Oric, Mr. Naser Oric?
20 A. I met Naser Oric following the demilitarisation of Srebrenica.
21 Q. Had you heard of him prior to the demilitarisation?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Under what circumstances did you meet him following
24 demilitarisation? How did you come to meet him?
25 A. I did not actually meet him. I did not know him from before. But
1 when I went down to Srebrenica, I saw that it was him on the basis of what
2 people were saying. But I did not get in touch with him in any way, and I
3 do know that Mr. Naser had not even known about me until yesterday.
4 Q. Sure, sure. Okay. So it's clear that you heard about him through
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. From your friends and acquaintances in Srebrenica? That's from
8 whom you heard about him?
9 A. Well, I heard it from the people present, the people I talked to,
10 and in their stories they used to mention that he was a good fighter but
11 nothing more than that.
12 Q. Yes. So you heard his name mentioned by many people in Srebrenica
13 when you went there following demilitarisation and always in the context
14 of his being a good fighter?
15 A. I just heard those stories from some of my friends but I did not
16 actually meet him in person. So I'm not able to make any more extensive
17 comments. I've told you that it was the first time I set eyes on him but
18 I was not in any contact with him and I never talked to him myself. So
19 what I knew is what I've told you.
20 Q. Yes. By the time demilitarisation came about, there had been a
21 lot of fighting between Bosniak or -- the people besieged in the
22 Srebrenica area and the Serbs, hadn't there?
23 A. I wouldn't actually go along with the statement that there had
24 been a lot of fighting. There was a lot of chasing of the Muslim
25 population away from some locations.
1 Q. All right.
2 A. I'm not really familiar with the idea of a direct battles being
3 waged between the Serbs and the Muslims because in that case we would have
4 had to have brigade and corps in order to be able to engage in battle with
5 the Serb army.
6 Q. Let me put it another way, would you agree that in the time up to
7 demilitarisation in March of 1993, the Muslim people in the Srebrenica
8 area had shown a heroic resistance to Serb forces? Would you agree with
9 that proposition, at least?
10 A. Well, yesterday I did say that in my area, where I myself lived in
11 the area of Poznanovici I said that in the beginning of the war and during
12 the summer, we were surrounded and I know exactly what went on in that
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. But anything else -- well, I can only conclude that the situation
16 is much the same in other places. We were fighting for survival
18 Q. Right. Okay. You were fighting for survival and there would be a
19 lot of people involved in that fighting for survival in the period of time
20 leading up to demilitarisation of 1993, correct? A lot of men.
21 A. I would rather disagree. There were quite a few homeless and the
22 refugees as well who were fighting for their survival because they had
23 been turned away from their homes and villages so the only way they could
24 survive was to go back to those villages and look for food.
25 Q. I'm not asking you about starvation. I'm not asking you about the
1 bad conditions in Srebrenica. I'm not asking you about the homeless
2 people. I'm not asking you anything about those things. It's a very,
3 very simple question. Up until the point of demilitarisation, there had
4 been many people who had been fighting, men who had been fighting, to
5 resist the Serb forces, correct?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Vidovic?
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it would be good if the
8 Prosecutor could specify what area he means because he's confusing the
9 witness. The witness has replied that he know that is they were
10 surrounded and he knows what happened in that particular area, and so he
11 might be confused now. It would be better to specify.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think there is room for confusion. To me it
13 has been clear throughout that we are talking about the Srebrenica area.
14 So the witness, please, restrict his answer to the Srebrenica area.
15 MR. DI FAZIO:
16 Q. Sir, my question was up until the point of demilitarisation, there
17 had been many people who had been fighting, men who had been fighting the
18 Serbs, resisting the Serbs, you would have to agree with that, surely.
19 It's a very simple proposition.
20 A. I've talked -- well, yesterday I remember I said that in
21 Poznanovici we were surrounded and that there was a group.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Forget Poznanovici, Mr. Ramic, have you never heard
23 about resistance in Srebrenica and its environs. It's also being put to
24 you not only having heard of resistance in Srebrenica but heroic
25 resistance in and around Srebrenica. Have you never heard of heroic
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 resistance in and around Srebrenica during the relevant time, that is up
2 to demilitarisation?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, later on I heard that there
4 were those groups that offered resistance to the Serb forces but I
5 disagree with the point being made by the Prosecution, Your Honour, in
6 that there were supposed to be very many people offering resistance.
7 There were many people but they had no weapons. We did not have any
8 structures, brigades, corps, whatever. If only we had that we wouldn't
9 have had the experience we had to go through.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Now you've given me the impression that you have
11 moved from absolute ignorance the events in Srebrenica because you were
12 sort of cut off and restricted to your area only, to knowing also that
13 there weren't that many resistance people involved in resistance and also
14 that they were mostly unarmed. Now, please decide what you know and what
15 you don't.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: All right.
17 Q. Let me approach it --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones.
19 MR. JONES: Your Honour, the witness clarified he found that out
20 later. Firstly, he's talking about what he knew in Poznanovici, then he
21 said --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, no, this is not what he found out later.
23 This is -- well, I mean I've been --
24 MR. JONES: Yes, he says, "Well, later on I heard that there were
25 those groups that offered resistance." So he's clarified that later on he
1 did learn. Your Honour is showing an animosity towards our witness which
2 is not called for.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no. I'm showing that he suddenly moved from
4 absolute ignorance to knowing a little bit more than I thought he knew.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Perhaps I can make the job a little easier for the
7 Q. Okay. Let's say there weren't many resistance fighters. Let's
8 say there was only a few. You'd have to agree that there was a heroic
9 resistance by a few fighters, just a few. Would you agree with that
10 proposition, at least?
11 A. There seems to be a misunderstanding here. I did say that I found
12 out certain things after demilitarisation and there were some fighters, of
13 course. It is only logical. Of course there were those groups. As we
14 had a group in my village, Poznanovici - we got organised amongst
15 ourselves - so in many other places there were similar groups which got
16 organised in order to defend the defenceless people. So it can't be ruled
17 out. And I simply can't agree with the fact that it was all
18 well-organised and that there were very many people who were able to offer
19 resistance in that way. That's what I disagree with.
20 Q. Your position that there was no organised resistance is abundantly
21 clear, okay. I understand that so please don't fret about my
22 understanding then. My -- the point that I want to make is this: That
23 there were quite a large number -- there were numbers of fighters who were
24 resisting the Serbs, yet you, who didn't know Mr. Oric, heard about him in
25 the context of being one of the -- a good fighter. Is that correct?
1 A. As to whether it was correct or not, I did tell you that I did not
2 know him in person. But I did hear that story, yes. I can't confirm the
3 truth of the story because I did not know him but I heard that story.
4 Q. You've never met him, have you?
5 A. Never.
6 Q. No. Did the stories that you heard in Srebrenica following
7 demilitarisation simply say that he was a good fighter? Or did they refer
8 to him in any other capacity. For example, being a good leader? A good
10 A. I've already said that I did not know him, so I was never in any
11 contact with him. So I heard those stories according to which he was a
12 good fighter and once again I can't confirm it and I did not hear any
13 thing else really.
14 Q. What other good fighters did you hear about following
15 demilitarisation? Can you give us some names?
16 A. I can't really remember about any other good fighters at the
17 moment, Your Honour, because it is -- well it was a long time ago and so I
18 can really remember any other names.
19 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you were asked some questions about a place
20 called Bajramovici. You recall those questions asked by Madam Vidovic?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Sorry, would Your Honours just bear with me? I apologise for this
23 paper shuffling.
24 And you said yesterday that you weren't informed of the meeting at
25 Bajramovici. Do you recall that evidence?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you in fact went further than that, not only that you hadn't
3 heard of it but that it wouldn't have occurred. You were asked by
4 Madam Vidovic this question and you gave this answer: "Were any of you
5 present" -- question: "Were any of you present at this meeting? Did you
6 ever hear about it?" I'm just quoting from --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Let him quote. Provided you quote --
8 MR. DI FAZIO: This is the transcript I've got. Question: "Were
9 any of you present at this meeting? Did you ever hear about it?" Answer:
10 "No, nobody attended it. We would or I would have known about it."
11 So, would you agree with me that your position on any meeting at
12 Bajramovici is this: That certainly you never heard about it but more
13 than that, it couldn't have happened because otherwise you would have
14 known about it. Now, that's what you said yesterday.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Let him answer the question, Madam Vidovic.
16 MR. DI FAZIO:
17 Q. Do you recall that?
18 A. Yes. I remember the question.
19 Q. Okay. And you remember your answer, don't you, "no, nobody
20 attended it, we would have -- we would or I would have known about it."
21 You remember that, your answer, more importantly?
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: I see Madam Vidovic, if Your Honours please.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but I want him to answer your question first,
25 Mr. Di Fazio.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I think he has.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: No, I don't think he has. He just keeps repeating
3 that he remembers his question and answer yesterday. But hasn't answered
4 your question. Your question was --
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Oh, yes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Would you agree with me --
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: -- that in terms -- according to what you said
9 yesterday, would you agree with me that your position on any meeting at
10 Bajramovici is this: That certainly you never heard about it but more
11 than that, it couldn't have happened because otherwise you would have
12 known about it.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Right.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Is that your position? If I'm not clear I will
15 repeat the question. I will repeat the question. No, I want him to
16 answer first, Madam Vidovic, because I think he can answer the question
17 without any problem.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please repeat the
19 question? Your Honour, could you please repeat the question?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. One moment.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Bear with me a little bit. So let's go further up
23 again because this disappears. Now, Mr. Di Fazio reminded you that
24 yesterday during the examination-in-chief, you were asked by Madam Vidovic
25 the following question: You were reminded about the meeting supposedly
1 that took place in Bajramovici. And you were asked by Madam Vidovic,
2 "Were any of you present at this meeting? Did you ever hear about it?"
3 And then, according to the transcript that you have, you answered, "No,
4 nobody attended it. We would or I would have known about it."
5 Now, Mr. Di Fazio wants you to explain whether or if in giving
6 this answer you are stating that according to you, this meeting in
7 Bajramovici never took place because if it had taken place, you would have
8 known about it beforehand. Or you would have heard about it.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Or afterwards.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Or even afterwards, yeah. It's a very clear
11 question, I mean, and I think you can answer it. This is why I told
12 Madam Vidovic not to stand up because -- so that we can have an
13 explanation from you without any prompting from the Defence. Yes.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Allow me to explain. As to whether
15 the meeting was held or not, I cannot know that 100 per cent, but I know
16 that we did not attend, that nobody attended and that we would have known.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Your answer therefore is that the fact that you did
18 not know about it, the fact that no one of your group attended, it does
19 not necessarily, does not necessarily follow that the meeting in
20 Bajramovici to which you were referred to yesterday did not actually take
21 place. This is your position, in other words? It's a syllogistic
22 process, basically. I mean, it's pure syllogism.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Perhaps I can ask the witness this --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think you need to. I think -- his answer --
25 I mean, I think it is satisfactory, there is a satisfactory explanation.
1 This is how it is. He confirms that he didn't know about it. He
2 confirmed that no one attended it from his group, obviously because they
3 had not been alerted or given notice of it, but at the same time he's not
4 saying that therefore it follows that it never took place.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Fine.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So --
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay. Thank you.
8 Q. Well, in that case I can move on to.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I think so. I do recognise that it was important to
10 clear up, but I think it has been cleared up.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, there is just one more matter that I want to
12 raise about the matter, about the issue.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
14 MR. DI FAZIO:
15 Q. Your position now is that there could have been a meeting at
16 Bajramovici but you certainly didn't know about it and your grouping, the
17 people in your area, certainly didn't know about it. Would you agree with
18 that? That's now your position, correct?
19 A. I said that I didn't know about it, and as to whether it was held
20 or not, I really cannot agree. All I know is that we didn't know whether
21 the meeting was held or not or whether I agree or don't agree. It's not
22 something that I can agree about or not agree about. I don't know if the
23 meeting was held --
24 Q. Sure.
25 A. -- or not.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's clear this up because it may or may not have a
2 bearing, but -- and I may have -- he may have stated it yesterday and I
3 would have missed it.
4 Your village - let's restrict ourselves to Poznanovici - formed
5 part of which commune?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Ratkovici local commune.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Ratkovici formed part of which province? Or I'm
8 calling it province. It could be county or I don't know because --
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Municipality, I suppose.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Municipality, yeah.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Srebrenica.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Of Srebrenica. Okay.
13 MR. DI FAZIO:
14 Q. Okay, well --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: The thing is this. You have to acknowledge, both
16 you and the Defence, that assuming -- because of course I'm not at this
17 stage I definitely we definitely cannot attach to exhibit P73 a definitive
18 credibility. So it's always subject to the probative value that we will
19 eventually give to this document but the thing is that it's restricted to
20 the area of Potocari, the town of Srebrenica itself, the area of Suceska,
21 in Bajramovici, Bojna, Suceska again, and Skelani. And there were many
22 other areas in the municipality of Srebrenica that could have been
23 included and do not figure in. So -- all right? Do keep that in mind.
24 So I'm not surprised at all even though the witness says that he would
25 have known about it, I am -- given the circumstances in which they were
1 living at the time I'm not surprised at all that he wasn't.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: With respect, I'm not surprised either.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm not suggesting that we should be. That's not
5 my point. I think -- just permit me to ask one more question on the
6 topic. Perhaps my point might also emerge.
7 Q. Yesterday, though, yesterday when you were answering questions
8 from Madam Vidovic, your answer wasn't, Look I just don't know about any
9 meeting at Bajramovici, it might have happened, I don't know if it
10 happened or not. Your answer was very clear: Nobody attended it. I
11 would have known about it.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones.
13 MR. JONES: I think Your Honour that's why it was so important to
14 clarify what the witness did say, and to then suggest now that he said
15 something different.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: That's why I stopped. He's not saying anything
18 MR. JONES: If I may, just to be crystal clear, Your Honour. The
19 question was: "Were you informed about the meeting in Bajramovici."
20 "No." "Were any of you present? You, your group in Poznanovici present?
21 Did you ever hear about it?" "No, nobody attended it."
22 Now, "nobody," he's being asked about his group. "None of our
23 group attended it otherwise I would have known about it." So to suggest
24 he's saying something different, he's telling a terrible lie --.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: He's not saying --
1 MR. JONES: -- is ridiculous.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: He's not saying anything different, and that's why I
3 stopped Madam Vidovic from intervening because I knew why Mr. Di Fazio was
4 putting the question and it was a very legitimate question. I would have
5 put it myself.
6 MR. JONES: Yes, but now it's clarified.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: It's clarified enough.
8 I think I would move to something else Mr. Di Fazio.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm happy to do that, if Your Honours please.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Unless --
11 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: No, no.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's clear, absolutely.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
14 Q. You were asked questions yesterday about P -- Exhibit P73, which
15 relates to this meeting at Bajramovici and, now I know you don't know
16 anything about it, but you were asked about the content of the document
17 and in particular you were asked about a fellow called Ahmo Tihic, and
18 essentially your evidence was that the -- the document is wrong in one
19 respect at least, because it describes this fellow Tihic as an activist
20 and an organiser in armed -- outstanding activist in armed resistance
21 against the aggressor in the area of Skelani, and you say -- you said
22 yesterday that's quite wrong he wasn't known at all. Would you -- do you
23 recall that evidence, the effect of that evidence?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: He didn't really say he wasn't known at all because
25 the fact that he was in a position to give you answers -- not give you,
1 give Madam Vidovic answers on Ahmo Tihic shows that he knew enough about
2 him to be able to give the answers that he gave.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: All right. Well, I'll quote.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: So if you want, you're free to rephrase your
6 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll rephrase it, if Your Honours please.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: What he contested to this document is the alleged or
8 pretended role of an outstanding activist in armed resistance against the
9 aggressor in the area of Skelani on the basis that in the area of Skelani
10 there was no resistance at all. There was no leadership role assumed by
11 Ahmo Tihic and the Muslim population just flew.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Fine.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Escaped. That's what I understood yesterday and
14 part of it was an answer to my question, too.
15 MR. DI FAZIO:
16 Q. Yes. Did you just hear what His Honour had to say and do you now
17 recall your evidence regarding Mr. Tihic from yesterday?
18 A. Yes. That is exactly what I meant. He didn't put up resistance
19 and he was not an organiser of the resistance in the villages in Skelani,
20 because they were cleansed. Whether he led a group later or not --
21 Q. Thank you.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Perhaps you can answer this question now. If he was
23 not an organiser, if there was no armed resistance, why would you -- I
24 think -- Madam Usher, please, it's only fair that he's given -- he's shown
25 P73 again. Why would we have stated in this document -- why would he --
1 we have his name in the first place, out of all the people in the Skelani
2 area? Why him and not someone else? And secondly, why would he be
3 described as an outstanding activist in armed resistance against the
4 aggressor in the area of Skelani when according to you, and I have no
5 reason to doubt your word, there was no resistance there and he was not an
6 outstanding activist?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I said that he wasn't an
8 organiser of the resistance. As to what is here on paper, I'm not sure
9 who drafted this paper. It's possible that in late August, a group was
10 formed and perhaps Ahmo Tihic was a leader of that group and that's why
11 there was stated. But about -- as for the period I was talking about in
12 April, it's not true that he was one of the organisers, the villages
13 wouldn't have gone without resistance. This is what I was explaining
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
17 Q. What group was it possible -- was possibly formed in late August?
18 A. In late August -- I didn't say he wasn't a leader of any group,
19 that he formed a group of Muslims and led the group. This is
20 indisputable. But at the time, I really don't know -- I didn't know what
21 this group was. Later, when I came to Srebrenica, I found out that he had
22 formed a group and he was a leader of a group in Srebrenica.
23 Q. Thank you. All right. Look, I want to show you -- I'll withdraw
24 that question.
25 Do you know --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Just one moment.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just one correction
3 for the transcript. He said that he found out in Srebrenica that Ahmo
4 Tihic had a group but not that Tihic had a group in Srebrenica. Is this
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: That's important, yeah. Thank you.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you for that clarification.
9 Q. Do you know an author named Nijaz Masic, author of a book called
10 "Srebrenica: Aggression, Resistance, Treason, Genocide," written in July
11 of 1999?
12 A. Yes. I heard of that author. I have heard of him.
13 Q. Okay. I want to show you an extract from the book.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, we will be -- I'll be
15 seeking to tender this into evidence. It's been disclosed to the
17 If you want the full book tendered or if the Defence do, we can do
18 so in due course but at the moment I only have an extract that I want to
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have a position on this, Madam Vidovic?
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, no, I have not,
22 because we only were informed this morning that an excerpt from the book
23 will be used today in the cross-examination.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: That doesn't answer my question. Whether you
25 want -- you're satisfied with only this excerpt being in the records or
1 whether you require the entire book to be exhibited.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] The excerpt for now, Your Honour. I
3 haven't seen the book yet.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
5 MR. DI FAZIO:
6 Q. Now, thank you. It's on Sanction, if Your Honours please, the
7 computer. Okay. Now, look I don't need to take you through this chapter
8 and verse but if you look at the B/C/S version there in your language,
9 you'll see at the top right-hand page -- top right-hand portion of the
10 page there is a long number and the B/C/S version should end with the
11 number 657. Do you see that? I'll be grateful if Madam -- Ms. Usher
12 could assist by pointing out the --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. Good. All right. Now, if you turn over the page to the
15 part 661 and then turn it over once again to the part 662, please?
16 MR. DI FAZIO: And Your Honours will see that you've got a
17 corresponding English with the same number, English translation. All
19 Q. Now, this author says that there is a number of people who
20 assisted him. It's about midway down the page. And he expresses special
21 gratitude to a number of people, presumably for writing his book and just
22 cast your eye down the list of people there. Now, do you recognise some
23 of the names of people who assisted him in the writing of the book?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Di Fazio. Is there a reason why
25 some of the names are in bold and the rest aren't?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Not that I'm aware of. I don't think it
2 corresponds with the -- oh, no, no. You can see in the B/C/S version they
3 are in bold too.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but do you know of any reason?
5 MR. DI FAZIO: No, I don't. I don't know of any reason. None
6 that springs to mind anyway. I certainly don't know of any reason.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
8 MR. DI FAZIO:
9 Q. All right. Now, my question is -- you recognise some of those
10 names there, of the people who helped him write the book?
11 A. Yes. I do know some of the names, and I will explain it here now.
12 The book was written by -- well, actually a number of people wrote books
13 and everybody felt certain sympathies towards some people and they wanted
14 to perhaps glorify or commend somebody. But I know exactly what happened
15 out in the field and perhaps Mr. Masic wanted to say something like that.
16 For example, I know Mr. Malkic, Dzevad. He's from Poznanovici.
17 Q. Fine.
18 A. And Rahman also. So I know these names.
19 Q. Okay. Would you agree with me that some of the people here,
20 mentioned here, are extremely well-placed to provide a history of events
21 in 1992 in the Srebrenica area? Because they were there. You'd have to
22 agree with that, wouldn't you?
23 A. I would say that each one was in a position to present some
24 situation from the conflict, but I know exactly what happened out in the
25 field and what happened as for Nijaz Masic, I don't know whether the
1 people provided these explanations to him or not. That's something that I
2 don't know. Mr. Masic could have put the names in the book regardless of
3 whether he spoke to them or not. For example, I mentioned Malkic, Dzevad
4 and Rahman Malkic. These are people that I know but I know nor a fact
5 that he was actually never in that area. He never came there in order to
6 be able to describe a situation in the same way that I could describe it.
7 Because I was there and I saw it with my own eyes.
8 Q. No. Okay. But you would agree that whether they could speak
9 about all of the events in Srebrenica or some of the events, these people
10 who are listed here are people who are well-placed to speak about aspects,
11 at the very least, of what happened in Srebrenica in 1992 and early 1993?
12 That's all. Not whether Mr. Masic did go out and speak with him, not
13 whether he held conferences with them. Not asking that. A very simple
14 question. You would agree that these people are in a good position to
15 speak to him about aspects of events in Srebrenica?
16 MR. JONES: Sorry, is that all the people, the 50 names or
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I was going to pass a comment on this, to remark to
19 Mr. Di Fazio but.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Look, I'll --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: It is predicated on the fact that he knows each and
22 every one of them and their knowledge of the events and their presence or
23 their being able to --
24 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll move on. Thank you, Your Honours. I take
25 your point. I'll withdraw my question.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Because even if he said yes, I would rather take it
2 with a pinch of salt.
3 MR. DI FAZIO:
4 Q. Dzevad Malkic halfway down the list there's a man there, Dzevad
5 Malkic, right next to the name Abdurahman -- Abdurahman Malkic. Now,
6 that's the gentleman who was -- you mentioned yesterday in evidence. Do
7 you remember his name? Dzevad Malkic. Right. Now I think you'd agree
8 that he at least is in a good position -- you'd agree, wouldn't you, that
9 he's in a good position to be able to describe events in your area in 1992
10 to the author. Not whether he did, but that he's in a good position to
11 describe the events to the author?
12 A. Perhaps he was in the position. All of those who were out in the
13 field, perhaps they were able to tell the author about what happened.
14 Whether he did that or not, I don't know, Your Honours.
15 Q. All right. Thank you. Thank you for that answer. Now, would you
16 move on, please, to turn over the pages of the B/C/S and you'll get to the
17 text of the -- of the book itself, or, rather, a selection, and if you
18 look for that familiar number at the top right-hand page you'll see it
19 ends in the number 744 and it's talking about Osmace. Do you see that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Yes, okay. All right. Could I ask you, please, to -- to read
22 from about halfway down the first page, where it begins with the
23 words, "We could breathe easier when the Skelani unit led by Ahmo Tihic
24 was formed in the end of May 1992." Do you see that portion?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: It's the paragraph --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I do.
2 MR. DI FAZIO:
3 Q. Okay. Perhaps if you just cast your eye over what the author says
4 about Skelani and Mr. Tihic and Poznanovici and those villages that you
5 can see mentioned there, thereunder. Just read it. Read it carefully
6 because then I have some questions about it for you. Okay. Have you --
7 you've had a chance to look at it and read it.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. Well, firstly, the author says that we, presumably the
10 Bosniak population, could breathe easier when Skelani, the Skelani unit
11 led by Ahmo Tihic was formed in the end of May 1992. Firstly, my first
12 question is this: Have you ever heard of such an event or do you have any
13 knowledge of such an event, the formation of a Skelani unit formed end of
14 May 1992, led by Ahmo Tihic? I'm sure you could answer that with a yes or
15 a no.
16 A. At that stage, I did not know about the setting up of that unit by
17 the end of May. I said that I found out after the demilitarisation of
18 Srebrenica that that group had been formed and that he was leader of that
19 group, the group of Muslims.
20 Q. How far is Skelani from Poznanovici?
21 A. More than 20 kilometres.
22 Q. All right. Okay. Further, you go down, and it says that soldiers
23 from Osmace Kragljivoda, Biljeg, Skenderovici, and Stari Grad helped in
24 the destruction of Chetnik strongholds in Ratkovici, and it mentions these
25 hamlets, Polinci, Ducici, Dvorista, and Brdjani.
1 My first question is: Are you aware of any soldiers from those
2 places mentioned there helping in the destruction of Chetnik strongholds
3 in the Ratkovici area? This combination of soldiers from all of those
4 areas? Did you ever hear of any such event?
5 A. No. I'm not familiar with that. I said that there was no
6 coordination here. There wasn't a situation of a number of units acting
7 together. I said that it was a spontaneous response to what we went
8 through at those times in our area and we had -- very many refugees.
9 Q. Yes. I heard -- I know what you said yesterday. I'm not -- I --
10 and I heard it. But if there had been a -- if there had been a -- what's
11 the word -- coming together of soldiers from Osmace, Kragljivoda, Biljeg,
12 Skenderovici, and Stari Grad to assist in the destruction of a Chetnik
13 stronghold in Ratkovici on the 21st of June 1992, you'd have to agree
14 wouldn't you that you'd be in a mighty fine position to be able to tell
15 the Trial Chamber about it? You'd have to agree with that, wouldn't you?
16 A. I don't agree that there was coordination of units, that there was
17 concerted effort. We did have refugees from a number of different
18 villages. That means from Voljavica, Zaluzje, Abdulici, Zanjevo, Skelani,
19 et cetera. All those were people who were refugees. They were in the
20 woods. And it was a spontaneous attack and those people just came along
21 and I'm not arguing against the fact that there were people from many
22 different places but there was no coordination. If only we could have had
23 that coordination, if only we could have had the situation like that, we
24 would not have experienced the horrific things that we had experienced
25 like people having to live outdoors for 10 days and the fight for sheer
1 life. And it was a matter of hours in which it was decided whether you
2 were going to live or not. So it was a simple response to what had
4 Q. Okay. Just before I -- before I return to this issue, you just
5 said something that interests me. You said that if -- you said that you
6 didn't have that coordination and that if only we could have had that
7 coordination, if only we could have had a situation like that, we would
8 not have experienced the horrific things that we experienced.
9 I'm right, aren't I, that based on what you experienced in 1992,
10 coordination would have assisted greatly in resisting Serb forces? Would
11 you agree with that? That's what you're saying, isn't it?
12 A. I don't understand what you mean about the Serb forces. Could you
13 please repeat your question once again?
14 Q. I'm not really asking you about Serb forces. I'm asking you about
15 what you said a few seconds ago. You said that there was no coordination.
16 "If only we could have had that coordination, if only we could have had
17 the situation like that, we would not have experienced the horrific things
18 that we experienced."
19 So you're saying, aren't you, that coordination between different
20 groupings of fighters or soldiers, as this book seems to be talking about,
21 that sort of coordination, that sort of acting together, would really have
22 helped you in the situation that you faced in those months in 1992?
23 A. Yes. So what I'm saying is that there was no coordination and I
24 did say that that attack came about in a spontaneous way due to the
25 situation that we were in. So I can confirm that, yes.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Di Fazio.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the Judge.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I hate interrupting you but I think reading this
4 paragraph, I would draw a distinction between coordination, which arises
5 out of the reply that he gave, and collaboration. That seems to be the
6 appropriate description of what you have alleged in this paragraph. The
7 fact that you have --
8 MR. DI FAZIO: All right, I'm happy --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: -- the soldiers from Osmace, Kragljivoda, Biljeg,
10 Skenderovici, helped in the destruction of Chetnik stronghold, does not
11 necessarily involve coordination but it does certainly involve
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Right? So what is more important, I think, to know,
15 is whether he agrees that on the 21st of June 1992, when this fighting
16 described here allegedly took place, he is aware that there were soldiers,
17 and this is not refugees that the book is talking about, but soldiers from
18 Osmace, Kragljivoda, Biljeg, Skenderovici and Stari Grad helping in the
19 destruction of the Chetnik strongholds in Ratkovici. That is all he needs
20 to confirm or reject.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Certainly. Certainly I agree with you but my last
22 question was really based on -- purely and simply on the answer that he
24 JUDGE AGIUS: It's up to you. I mean, I'm not interfering and I'm
25 pointing this out because when he mentioned refugees giving a hand
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 spontaneously, it so happens that they are described as coming from other
2 places, completely different places to these. So this is why I'm asking
3 you or I'm pointing these out because it's not fair to ask the question to
4 the witness whether there was coordination or organised coordination. I
5 mean, coordination implies organised coordination. He never said that
6 there was organised coordination. And neither does the book, at least
7 that's the way I read it.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay I'll ask the question Your Honour proposed.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm not asking the witness a question myself. I'm
10 just pointing out --
11 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll put it nice and simple, really easy.
12 Q. Do you know -- do you know, did you see, are you aware of, any
13 soldiers -- I mean soldier, that's what the book says, I use the word
14 soldier, from those places, Osmace, Biljeg, Skenderovici, Stari Grad, et
15 cetera, helping in the destruction of the Chetnik strong hold in Ratkovici
16 on the 21st of June, 1992. That's simplicity itself, I think. So are you
17 aware of that?
18 A. No, I'm not aware of that. I said that there were thousands of
19 refugees and amongst those refugees -- well, we can't rule out the fact
20 that there may have been individuals amongst them who participated in all
22 Q. Okay. The author then -- sorry, the last question the one that I
23 should ask you is: Okay. Now that I've led you to what this author has
24 to say about the issue, does that affect your evidence in any way? Or in
25 other words, does that change your mind about what you've said, and bear
1 in mind you don't have to change your mind because of what someone wrote
2 in a book. But now that I've taken you to a section and you've thought
3 about it and you've seen what this fellow has to say about it, does that
4 alter your evidence in any respect?
5 A. Your Honour, I need the Prosecutor to repeat the question because
6 it is unclear.
7 Q. All right. Look. I'm just trying to be fair to you. What I'm
8 asking you is this: I've showed you this little bit in the book, all
9 right? About what happened in Ratkovici on the 21st of June and about
10 these other fighters from these other places. That's what the book says,
11 and we've heard what you've had to say about the issue. All I'm asking
12 you is simply this: Now that I've taken you to the book, showed you what
13 this author says, do you want to change your evidence regarding who
14 participated in events at Ratkovici? By that, I mean soldiers. Or do you
15 stand firm with your evidence from yesterday?
16 A. I stand firm to what I said yesterday.
17 Q. Fair enough. Read on, please.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because you have to be fair. I'm not
19 saying that you're being unfair, but don't misread me. But having read
20 this, I know that you have told us that you were not aware of any soldiers
21 from Osmace, Kragljivoda, Biljeg, Skenderovici helping in the destruction,
22 et cetera. Do you exclude the possibility or would you agree that it
23 could have possibly happened but you are not aware of it?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I mentioned thousands
25 and thousands of refugees, and amongst all those people, it can't really
1 be ruled out that such people were there and that they went in search for
2 food and so on. But I'm not aware of it.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Because the way the question was framed and the
4 answer given, would have excluded this statement that he has just made.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: I think we are all clear now and the witness's
6 position is clear.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I think so.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: He's not denying that this ever happened.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: No, no.
11 MR. JONES: Sorry, Your Honour, he's not denying that the people
12 from those places may be present. He certainly.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: As refugees.
14 MR. JONES: And with regard to the destruction of the Chetnik
15 stronghold in Ratkovici he certainly hasn't allowed that possibility.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm not dealing with that, Mr. Jones. We are
17 dealing -- because the question seemed to have put in contrast his
18 testimony with what is written here and in actual fact it is not in
19 contrast or not necessarily in contrast. Let's put it like that.
20 MR. JONES: Yes. For the destruction he's spoken he has ruled
21 that out, that's for sure.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
23 MR. DI FAZIO:
24 Q. All right. --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you ready with this document?
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Just one more aspect of it and then I'll tender it.
2 Q. Just read on. The author then goes to describe the inner
3 liberation of this island in Poznanovici was finished on the 30th of June
4 during the fight for the destruction of the Chetnik stronghold in Brezani,
5 and how -- goes on to describe how the Chetniks from president any were
6 harming passengers through the forest - that might mean travellers -
7 between the island where Bosniaks from Osmace, Poznanovici, Skenderovici
8 and so on were squeezed. And it goes on to say that all formed combat
9 units are participating in the combats due to the strength of the Chetnik
10 stronghold. The fights are personally led by Srebrenica TO commander
11 Naser Oric. Do you see that? That portion of the book.
12 A. I do.
13 Q. All right. You agree, don't you, that Osmace --
14 A. I disagree because there was no proper line of command there in
15 the beginning of 1992, and until the end of that year.
16 Q. All right. My question is simply this: The author is clearly
17 talking about fighting in this area up to the period of June, 30th of June
18 1992 and he says, the author says that the fights are personally led by
19 Mr. Oric. Now, in the time that you were in the area in 1992, did you see
20 or did you become aware of Mr. Oric ever personally leading these fights?
21 A. I never witnessed that myself, Naser leading any combat
22 activities, nor did I hear from anyone that there was any formal command
23 either in the beginning of 1992 or during the summer, that there was any
24 command as such.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I seek to tender that into
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. What's the next number?
4 THE REGISTRAR: It will be P566, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So this will become Prosecution Exhibit P566. Thank
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Could I seek your indulgence at this point, if
8 Your Honours please? It's 20 past. It would help me at this stage
9 because I'm waiting some other information and that will help me
10 streamline matters for later in the morning.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Would 25 minutes be enough?
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, in fact, I want -- yes, I certainly wouldn't
13 want it any longer. I need the time. Thanks.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So we will have a 25-minute break
15 starting from now. Thank you.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.19 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.50 a.m.
18 [Technical difficulty]
19 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Vidovic?
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, before my colleague
3 Di Fazio continues, I would just like to state for the transcript the
4 following. I just had the opportunity to look at the section of the book
5 and the translation of that part provided to us by the Prosecutor and that
6 is the reason why I talked about this with the Prosecution this morning.
7 We don't want to receive translations like this. There are some very
8 serious mistakes in the translation. I can -- which could lead the Trial
9 Chamber to a completely different conclusion about the facts that are
10 stated here.
11 For example, I've noticed now that on page 93 of this part of the
12 book, the Prosecutor used this morning, referring to Osmace, this part
13 which the Prosecutor used saying it was easier to breathe in the end of
14 May 1992, the third sentence in the Bosnian says, "In the fight for the
15 liquidation of Chetnik strongholds in Ratkovici," but as it is translated
16 it says "the soldiers from Osmace, Kragljivoda, Skenderovici and Stari
17 Grad helped in the destruction of the Chetnik strongholds." In our
18 language and I think in the English too the word "liquidation of
19 strongholds" has a completely different meaning. Liquidation can mean to
20 neutralise, to drive away, to -- so, to liquidate a stronghold does not
21 mean to destroy or demolish it. So I would like the witness to clarify
22 that, and am I right when I say this? And I would ask that in future we
23 do not receive translations in the middle of the proceedings because then
24 we cannot really be monitoring the proceedings and looking for things that
25 could be of help to our client.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I take it that the witness was not reading the
2 English version and was reading the B/C/S version so there is no question
3 of he being at least misled or having the problem of confusing
4 "destruction" with "liquidation."
5 MR. JONES: May I just add something as an English speaker,
6 because it was something which I pointed out and discussed with my
7 colleague. The indictment obviously charges among other things
8 destruction of Ratkovici. This translation refers to Ratkovici being
9 destroyed when in the Bosnian we say it's a different word, it's
10 "liquidation" or "elimination." That's why obviously it's of paramount
11 importance to us that it be corrected. That's the point, really.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, we've had "liquidation" and now "elimination"
13 as well. Perhaps the Defence can make up their mind. But in any event,
14 I'm not going to quibble over a word like liquidation. Liquidation suits
15 me just fine.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: The thing is that the witness had in front of him
17 the original.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: The B/C/S.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: The B/C/S, yes, which says [B/C/S spoken] so I
20 don't see where the confusion arises because that's what he had. We were
21 using the word "destruction" because that's what we had in the translation
22 and I acknowledge that the word "destruction" has a different connotation
23 from "liquidation."
24 MR. JONES: I think the Prosecution agrees "liquidation." Let's
25 just correct the English translation.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm not agreeing anything. The only people who can
2 tell you what the meaning of the word is are the people in the booth.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I would move ahead, Mr. Jones, because basically
4 what we have here is a book. The author is not here giving evidence.
5 It's Mr. Ramic who is giving evidence.
6 MR. JONES: Precisely, thank you.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: And he had the word liquidation in his -- in front
8 of him, not destruction. So -- at the end of the day what we are going to
9 look at is not the really the book but at his evidence.
10 MR. JONES: Yes, that's helpful.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio. Let's move ahead.
12 MR. JONES: Thank you.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: And please try to finish by quarter to 2.00.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: I will do my level best.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I know that you can do it, if necessary by kangaroo
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. I just want to turn to another topic Mr. Ramic. I just want to
19 remind you of some of your evidence from yesterday concerning the issue of
20 weaponry. You recall, don't you, that you -- your position was that, at
21 least in I think April or May of 1992, you people in Poznanovici only had
22 about five or six hunting rifles and pistols. Do you remember that
23 evidence? All I'm asking you is do you remember it? I'm sure you can
24 answer it yes or no.
25 A. Yes. I remember.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: He also said that there were also a number -- there
2 was also a number of homemade --
3 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll get to that.
4 Q. In addition so bad was your situation vis-a-vis weaponry that the
5 man Blagoje Prodanovic drunkenly when he was affected by alcohol, tried to
6 give you an automatic weapon out of some sort of sympathy at your position
7 because of the lack of weaponry. Do you remember that evidence?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Right. And furthermore, other points that you made in your
10 evidence yesterday were that you yourself only had a pistol, a legal --
11 legally held pistol, and some of your fellow villagers were so pressed by
12 this lack of weaponry that they had to manufacture crude rifles which were
13 so bad they shot backwards on some occasions. Do you agree with those
14 two -- did you recall those two features of your evidence, your pistol and
15 being forced to manufacture crude rifles?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. In addition, you said when you were asked about your -- about you
18 and Mr. Dzevad Malkic, that -- whether you were a military unit, according
19 to what you know about military units, and you went on to say you didn't
20 have adequate weapons, uniforms, and no ammunition. I want to be fair to
21 you. Were you saying yesterday that you, you the people yourself,
22 Mr. Malkic and the villagers from your village, had no ammunition
23 whatsoever or were you really meaning to say, look, you had very little
25 A. We had a small amount of ammunition for the small number of
1 weaponry. These were very small quantities of ammunition.
2 Q. Sure. Thank you for that clarification. Now, there was no other
3 way for any ammunition or weaponry to get to you because of the isolation
4 of the various Muslim villages, not only isolation from each other but
5 isolation from Srebrenica. Do you agree with that?
6 A. Talking about Poznanovici, Podkorjen, Dedici, and Karici, we were
7 these four villages, small hamlets, actually; we were not isolated.
8 Q. Okay. Apart from those, you drew a map yesterday. I don't know
9 if I need to show it to you but you remember drawing a map and circling
10 all the villages. You circled some in a dark blue and some in a dark
11 green. Do you remember that? Do you remember doing that?
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 Q. All right. I don't need to show it to the witness but your
14 purpose yesterday was to show that those villages which you circled which
15 you identified as Muslim villages, your purpose -- not your purpose but
16 what you said was that those were isolated from each other and certainly
17 from Srebrenica. Do you recall that evidence? I think you said --
18 A. Yes, yes, I do.
19 Q. All right. So you'd have to agree, wouldn't you, that there was
20 no way that weaponry could be brought into your areas, into those areas of
21 those Muslim villages?
22 A. There was no way.
23 Q. Right. So you were left with very small amount of weaponry, with
24 virtually no ammunition, correct?
25 A. Small quantities of ammunition.
1 Q. And throughout the months of May, June, July, August, September,
2 is it your position that the same situation applied, namely no source of
3 weaponry coming to you from other Bosniak-held areas?
4 A. I said that on the 8th of June, the attack on Podkorjen, we
5 captured an automatic rifle and ammunition. This was on the 8th of June
7 Q. One? One automatic rifle? Is that what you're saying?
8 A. Yes, one automatic rifle.
9 Q. Thank you. Just turn to another topic briefly. You -- is it your
10 position that your villages around Poznanovici, the Muslim villages, were
11 being shelled prior to the 8th of June?
12 A. Yes. They were shelled before the 8th of June.
13 Q. You said yesterday that the Serbs cut off the electricity on the
14 8th of June. You were specific about that date. Did the Serbs permit the
15 supply of electricity to come through to you whilst they were shelling
17 A. I said that the electricity was cut on the 8th of June. Until the
18 8th of June we did have electricity.
19 Q. Thank you. I understood you and you've just confirmed that I
20 understood you correctly. I'm not quibbling with what you said and that's
21 what you said yesterday. So you had a supply of electricity to the -- up
22 until the 8th of June when it was cut, and you were being shelled by the
23 Serbs prior to the 8th of June. You must agree, therefore, don't you,
24 that the Serbs did not cut or at least permitted the supply of electricity
25 to reach your villages as they were shelling you?
1 A. I said that we had electricity up until the 8th of June but there
2 was shelling, yes there was shelling.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: That's clear enough, I think.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, let's move on. I agree, Your Honour.
5 Q. I want you now to turn to the events of the 8th of June, and you
6 gave evidence about that yesterday, describing it. Essentially what
7 happened was this: If -- and you correct me if I'm wrong. On the 8th of
8 June, those young boys that you had up on that hill, that elevation, can't
9 remember the name, saw Serb army movements and they reported it to people
10 in your village. Am I correct in that?
11 A. Yes. That's how it was.
12 Q. All right. Your conclusion was that there was an imminent Serb
13 attack. Am I correct in that?
14 A. Confirming the killing of our people on the road.
15 Q. Yeah. But what I'm -- I understood your evidence from yesterday
16 to be quite apart from killings on the road, I'm not asking you about that
17 but I understood your evidence to be that the boys up on the hill or the
18 elevation saw the Serbs, Serb army, and reported -- reported to you that
19 fact, from which you concluded there was an attack about to take place.
20 Now, is that fair enough? Is that what you said yesterday?
21 A. We did know because they tried several times to carry out infantry
22 attacks against us before the 8th of June. That is how we concluded and
23 knew that they would attack us, because the shelling was on a daily basis.
24 Q. I suspect the interpreters may want to raise a matter or --
25 THE INTERPRETER: It was just that His Honour left his microphone
1 on. That was all.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay. Thank you.
3 Q. Okay. Now I'm not asking you about attacks prior to the 8th of
4 June. I'm asking you about the 8th of June because you gave lots of
5 evidence about that yesterday. So let's stick to the 8th of June. Let's
6 focus on the 8th of June. You said - all I'm asking you is recapping what
7 you said and I don't want to misquote you, I don't want to put words in
8 your mouth. All I'm trying to say is the essence of what you said
9 yesterday is this: The boys are up on the higher elevation, it's the 8th
10 of June, they see the Serbs, they report that fact. You men in your
11 village concluded with that report from the boys, well, the Serbs, they
12 are going to attack us. Is that fair or not?
13 A. No. That is not correct. How could they conclude that? We
14 didn't know what they were thinking. We could just assume that perhaps
15 there would be an attack. But we didn't know. It was logical that we
16 didn't know.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just bear with me?
18 Q. Okay. I'll just read out your evidence to you from yesterday.
19 Page 51. Question by Madam Vidovic: "Do you remember specifically any
20 one of those observers that you talked to, any one of the people who were
21 looking at it? Yes, I do remember a boy called Hamid" - I can't read the
22 surname - "who informed us that the Serb army was moving from the
23 direction of Fakovici, Ratkovici, and Ducici, and they had already come as
24 far as" -- and I -- again the transcript is not clear. My memory is that
25 it's some odd-sounding name like Metaljka. Do you remember that evidence?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: He said it was 700 metres away.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: That's right.
3 Q. That's all I'm asking about.
4 A. Yes, I remember.
5 Q. All right. So you concluded that there was an attack imminent?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, he -- he has answered that question. He said
7 that you -- they thought about it but they did not conclude it.
8 MR. DI FAZIO:
9 Q. Okay. You decided to do something about it, didn't you, because
10 you took action, didn't you? Moving the population up into the woods for
11 safety, one of the first moves that you made. Correct?
12 A. No. We didn't take the population to the woods. They always did
13 that spontaneously on their own. We couldn't move the population
14 somewhere else. There were thousands of them. How could I have done
15 that? It always happened spontaneously, when the shelling happened, with
16 all the shells, and then after the killing, I don't want to mention the
17 names of the people. After that we decided to put up a resistance so that
18 they wouldn't enter the village. That was the whole point of it.
19 Q. Okay, then. Did the boys go around telling the rest of the
20 population that were gathered there of the Serb movements?
21 A. I said that the population spontaneously went to the woods, and
22 when the firing stopped, then some people would go and cross over and ask
23 what had happened, ask the refugees. Our boys just actually monitored
24 every day the movements of the Serbian soldiers, but they didn't
25 coordinate the movements of the refugees because that was something that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 you couldn't control.
2 Q. Do you have any idea, can you tell the Trial Chamber, how the
3 civilians decided upon going up to take refuge in the woods?
4 A. Do I have any idea? Well, fear and everything that others in
5 other villages experienced before them was sufficient for them to run to
6 the woods. They weren't going to wait to be slaughtered and raped and so
8 Q. Right. But in order to avoid being slaughtered and raped, so on,
9 they had to know that the Serbs were coming to slaughter and rape them,
10 correct? And the only way they could know that would have been from the
11 boys telling them or someone who had been told from the -- by the boys
12 telling them of the imminent arrival of the Serb forces and the danger of
13 slaughter and rape. Would you agree with that?
14 A. No. The citizens had contacts with the refugees, which were
15 spread out from Voljavica to Skelani. There were thousands of them and
16 those people talked. They found out. They knew what was going on. They
17 knew who was expelled from each village. There was no need for them to
18 receive information from any boys or scouts. People just knew. The Serb
19 army always started with the artillery first, that's how they would
20 cleanse the terrain, and then they would attack so that a sign for the
21 refugees to leave during the shelling and to expect an attack was that.
22 It happened countless of times that there would be shelling. Perhaps it
23 wasn't an infantry attack but they would be sleeping in the woods. They
24 got sick because they stayed in the woods because they didn't dare to
25 sleep in the villages.
1 Q. Okay. Let's move on to another aspect of the --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Before you move to another aspect, if the -- as you
3 said, the information given to you by the boy -- this boy Hamid or other
4 boys that were with him, namely that the Serb forces had arrived already
5 up to Metaljka which you described was only 700 metres away, would the
6 population in your village have been able to see the Serb forces with the
7 naked eyes at that distance?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The village -- well, let me explain.
9 You couldn't see it from the village because that part -- actually the
10 area of Metaljka that I was describing is under the -- under trees now.
11 It's forested.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. That eliminates the possibility of them
13 having actually seen the forces at Metaljka. Okay. You can move to
14 another --
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Thanks.
16 Q. Let's go to Metaljka itself. Your position from yesterday, as I
17 understand your evidence, was that the boys came and informed you of this
18 imminent Serb -- well, I won't use those words again. The boys came and
19 informed you of the Serb movement. You had a meeting and you decided to
20 meet the Serbs at the point described as Metaljka and to offer resistance.
21 Do you remember that evidence?
22 A. We decided to put up a resistance in order to save the people.
23 Actually, after the killing of two of our men on the road to Podkorjen.
24 They were killed and we decided to put up a resistance so that they could
25 not enter further into the village.
1 Q. So who made that decision? The decision to offer resistance and
2 the decision to offer that resistance at the point called Metaljka.
3 A. I said already we had a group of volunteers, and after these
4 events, in talks with those men who were there, the young men who were
5 there, the decision was made right then and there to go after Metaljka. I
6 participated directly in those talks there, when the agreement was
7 reached. There was no special order. Simply the events that were
8 unfolding, that these people were killed and that they would go to the
9 village, then those of us who had some weapons, we came out and what
10 happened, happened.
11 Q. Yes. Okay. But it's very -- I understand what you're saying but
12 all I want to know is this: Was there a commander who decided to offer
13 resistance and was there a commander who decided to offer resistance at
14 the point called Metaljka? Or was that just the subject of a discussion
15 amongst the men and eventually you reached agreement?
16 A. No, no commander. There was no word of any kind of commander. I
17 was there all the time, and this boy was telling me, he was giving me
18 information, and I and a group of our men made this decision. There was
19 nobody particular ordering or who could issue such an order, simply those
20 who wanted to go went in an effort to save people. Nobody could issue
21 orders to anyone else.
22 Q. Thank you. It was -- I'm sure you can answer this with a yes or a
23 no. Was Dzevad Malkic present at this discussion?
24 A. Yes, he was present. Dzevad Malkic and some other young men.
25 Q. Did anyone come up with an alternative approach to the problem?
1 For example, retreating, fleeing, offering a resistance at a place
2 different from Metaljka? Did anyone have any other view about the matter?
3 A. I said that this happened spontaneously, and there wasn't much
4 time to think. There were no alternatives, simply the area of Podkorjen
5 was there and it was about 7 to 8 kilometres away from Serbian villages,
6 from Ratkovici, so there was no need to go.
7 Q. Okay. Yesterday you answering questions from Madam Vidovic about
8 this episode, and you answered, page 53, "Well, we resolved to get
9 organised, to organise the weapons that we had and to go out to Metaljka,
10 to wait for the Serb forces, in order to give the opportunity to the
11 inhabitants, that is, to flee to the woods." Madam Vidovic asked you,
12 "Right, and what happened after that?" You answered, "Well, the
13 population managed to get to the woods and we managed to surprise the
14 Serbs by going out to meet them at Metaljka. And there was fierce
15 fighting there. And the Serbs were somewhat surprised. The Serb military
16 were surprised. And they had to withdraw again in the direction of
17 Ratkovici and a number of other villages in the direction of Fakovici."
18 And you went on to say there was hand-to-hand fighting. Close quarters
19 anyway. So do I understand your evidence correctly that the Metaljka
20 point was selected in order to provide the people with the best means of
21 taking refuge up in the -- up in the woods?
22 A. That road led to the village of Podkorjen. And that's why the
23 objective was to stop the Serbian soldiers or the Serbian army there,
24 because if they passed that place, they would practically be entering the
1 Q. But you're not aware of anyone telling or informing the Serbs --
2 sorry, the civilians who were with you, to flee to the woods while we
3 fighters maintain a hold -- an action -- a holding action at Metaljka in
4 order to prevent them from getting to you, to prevent the Serbs from
5 getting to you?
6 A. Could you please repeat the question? I didn't understand it.
7 Q. No, I won't. I'll withdraw the question.
8 The Serbs that you went out to meet at the point at Metaljka were
9 armed, you said, with automatic rifles, machine-guns and a machine-gun
10 with a calibre 84, which was the first time that you'd seen such a weapon.
11 Do you recall that evidence?
12 A. Yes. Yes. I mentioned that that was the first time that I saw an
13 84-calibre machine-gun, yes.
14 Q. All right. Pardon my ignorance but is that a somewhat more
15 powerful machine-gun, quite a bigger, more effective weapon than a usual
16 machine-gun, say a Kalashnikov or something like that?
17 A. Yes. It's a much more lethal weapon than a Kalashnikov.
18 Q. Right. And furthermore, following the events on the 8th of June,
19 when you went out and searched the area where the fighting had been, you
20 came across a gentleman who you knew as -- I don't know his full name. I
21 can't tell from the transcript but I think his surname was Markovic and he
22 was also called Bato. You remember describing that man, you found his
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. All right. Now, he -- okay. He was a Serb, first of all, wasn't
1 he, killed in the fighting?
2 A. That's right.
3 Q. Now, he was really impressively armed, wasn't he? He --
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. He had -- let's go through what he had. He had camouflage uniform
6 a bullet proof vest, automatic rifle, quite a few bombs, ammunition,
7 incendiaries, and fragmentation ammunition. Do you remember all of that?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Did you see quite a number of other Serb fighters also as
10 impressively and heavily armed as Mr. -- as this fellow Bato?
11 A. I said that I saw an 84. They had machine-guns, they had
12 automatic weapons, most of them.
13 Q. Right. Now, you managed to defeat those Serbs armed with your
14 weapons, didn't you? That's your evidence to this Trial Chamber. At
15 least on that day, in that encounter. That's what I'm talking about.
16 A. Your Honours, the Prosecutor is saying to defeat them. I don't
17 recall saying that we defeated anyone. One Serb fighter was killed and
18 they withdrew. They were surprised and there was a withdrawal, but I
19 don't know about defeating them. I'm sure that there were some fighters
20 who did stay in that area.
21 Q. You said -- you said yesterday that the Serbs were somewhat
22 surprised, the Serb military were surprised, and they had to withdraw
23 again in the direction of Ratkovici. Is it your position that upon
24 encountering resistance from you, which caused the surprise, they simply
25 turned around and got out of the places as best they could? Out of the
1 area where this action was taking place.
2 A. Well, they didn't leave. They actually ran off. They fled.
3 Q. Dropping their ammunition and weapons as they went, which you
4 later collected from the field, correct?
5 A. Yes. That's correct. We found a lot of ammunition, anti-infantry
6 grenades, well, I don't need to list them all.
7 Q. Tell me, did you go into this action armed with a pistol that you
8 possessed, the legally held pistol, the one that you told us about
10 A. Yes. I had a pistol, and I went with this pistol.
11 Q. You didn't have anything else matching what the Serbs had on that
12 particular day, automatic rifles, this big machine-gun with the 84-calibre
13 machine-gun? You didn't have that, did you?
14 A. Unfortunately, we did not.
15 Q. No. Did the Serbs manage to use their 84-calibre machine-gun in
16 the hand-to-hand or close-quarter fighting?
17 A. Yes, they did. They used it for a long time in the course of
18 their withdrawal. They were covering themselves during the withdrawal.
19 Q. And were the rifles that sometimes shot out backwards, were they
20 used during this particular encounter on the 8th of June?
21 A. Your Honours, I don't understand the question. Could you please
23 Q. I can clarify it for the witness.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
25 MR. DI FAZIO:
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. You told us about weapons that, the paucity of weapons and how you
2 were forced or some people were forced in your area to construct crude
3 rifles that sometimes blew -- sorry, shot backwards. My question is this:
4 On the 8th of June at this encounter that we are talking about, were those
5 rifles that shot -- occasionally shot backwards used?
6 A. Yes. Those rifles were used, pistols, the homemade weapons were
7 used, yes. Had we had better ones, we wouldn't have had to use those
9 Q. Were any Serbs taken prisoner on that day, that you saw or are
10 aware of?
11 A. No. Nobody was captured.
12 Q. Would you agree with me that -- I'll withdraw that.
13 The Serbs, not only had on that particular -- in that particular
14 encounter the sort of weaponry that we have been talking about, the
15 84-calibre machine-gun and machine-guns and automatic rifles, but they
16 also had to use horses to transport heavy weaponry. What sort of heavy
17 weaponry was being transported on the horses on that day, and did they --
18 were they able to use that heavy weaponry in the fight?
19 A. They had those 84 machine-guns which are quite heavy and they
20 needed the horses for those machine-guns and mortars. All their
21 logistical support, ammunition, I suppose. I said that there was a
22 distance of 16 kilometres to Fakovici so it was a certain distance to be
23 reckoned with.
24 Q. Okay. Let's leave the 8th of June and move to the 12th of June.
25 All I want to do is once again just remind you of your evidence. You said
1 yesterday, didn't you, that on the 12th of June - that's about four days
2 later - the Serbs attacked and destroyed a good part of Poznanovici. Do
3 you agree?
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. Thank you. And that caused the population in your village and
6 neighbouring villages to take -- to take to the forests, take to the
7 woods, for -- presumably for safety, where they remained until the 21st of
8 June. That's what you said yesterday, and do you agree with that now?
9 A. I do.
10 Q. And so -- and that was -- I think you went on to give some
11 detailed evidence about how that was an unpleasant period of time because
12 of being forced out into the open and all of the things that happened to
13 the people in that period of time. You recall that evidence?
14 A. I do.
15 Q. All right. On the -- on the 21st of May -- of June, you once
16 again saw Serb forces approaching you; do you remember that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And so from your position -- I mean your position personally and
19 the civilians, and any of the men who had weapons up in the forests, from
20 that position, you decided to -- people amongst you decided that you had
21 no more choice and now was the time to go and confront the Serbs; is that
23 A. Save the people at all costs.
24 Q. Right. So that's what I want to know. So it was -- the people
25 are gathered up in the woods, somehow the Serbs are seen approaching, and
1 from that place in the woods, the people decide to go and confront the
2 approaching Serb forces. Is that a fair summary?
3 A. When we set off to save the people, the civilians realised that
4 the time had come to do something, that we could no longer continue as we
5 were, and they followed us.
6 Q. Right. And they followed you and they were carrying axes and
7 saws, they were crazed, it was a terrible sight, and they were banging on
8 pots and pans. Now, from what you could see and observe, that's what a
9 Serb soldier or one of the members of the Serb armed forces that were
10 advancing towards you, that's what he or -- he would have seen, a mass of
11 people carrying axes, saws, banging on pots and pans. Is that your
13 A. As to whether it's correct or not, I wouldn't say that, but yes,
14 it could have been seen.
15 Q. Okay. What was the purpose of the banging of the pots and the
17 A. I said that people were crazed. They were almost out of their
18 minds altogether. They had spent 10 days outdoors in the woods. I don't
19 want to go into that description once again because I find it really hard,
20 but they said it was all or nothing at that stage, the lack of food, the
21 constant shelling, the wounds, the murders. People were out of their
22 minds. And they could simply not carry on under that much pressure on a
23 daily basis and there was no way out. And I really don't like talking
24 about this because I find it really hard.
25 Q. All right. I understand.
1 A. Because as I said my children were there as well.
2 Q. I understand that. I understand that. And I'm not taking issue
3 with the bad conditions that you've been talking about. My question is
4 simply this: It's the banging of the pots and pans. Do you have any
5 idea why that was occurring?
6 A. I said that it all started in a spontaneous manner. After
7 everything that people had experienced in the period prior to that, they
8 just rose up and nobody actually gave any pots and pans to anyone to bang
9 them together or give them any other implements that could have been used
10 as weapons because there was no time for that. But it was simply not the
11 time where we had the opportunity to give advice to anyone. It was all
12 very spontaneous.
13 Q. If I suggested to you that the banging of pots and pans was
14 certainly not to alert the Serb forces as to your presence, would you
15 agree with me? And furthermore, would you agree with me that the banging
16 of pots and pans was something intended to scare the Serbs and coordinated
17 with the men who had guns? Would you agree with me?
18 A. I disagree. It wasn't coordinated with any group of fighters.
19 There was no coordination whatsoever because we actually tried to get them
20 to come back, not to go. But to keep thousands of homeless and hungry
21 people under control was simply impossible. The only thing we could have
22 done was shoot them as well.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
24 MR. JONES: Your Honour, the objection is that this -- that was a
25 compound question which guaranteed to get a confused answer, and my
1 concern is that it might look like the witness was not answering the
2 question about whether it was intended to scare the Serbs. If the witness
3 can just be asked was the banging of pots and pans intended to scare the
4 Serbs, I think the answer is pretty obvious. But he slipped in whether it
5 was coordinated, and of course the witness answered that.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: That was the only question I would have put in the
7 first place or I would have put it in the first place before --
8 MR. DI FAZIO: All right okay.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go direct and put the question because if you
10 ask him whether they were banging to alert the Serbs as to their presence,
11 I mean, come on.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: No, no. Well, I respectfully agree with what
13 Your Honour observes. I will just be clear about this.
14 Q. The banging of the pots and pans was not designed to alert the
15 Serbs as to your position, was it?
16 A. No. It was not designed to alert them. It just rose up
17 spontaneously, and as to what happened later, most probably there was just
18 too much fear on the part of a whole -- especially when they saw this mass
19 of people, and that frightened them and that's why they started to
21 Q. That's the next issue that I want to -- your evidence was that the
22 Serb soldiers -- you saw the Serb soldiers approaching and -- sorry, the
23 Serb soldiers saw the people approaching and they simply started to
24 withdraw, to run away and to throw down their weapons. Do you remember
25 that evidence?
1 A. I do.
2 Q. Could you see the Serb soldiers taking out their weapons, fleeing
3 into the distance?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were any shots fired? Did they, for instance, try to shoot the
6 people who were banging on the pots and pans or fire bullets at the people
7 who were banging on the pots and pans or indeed any of the men who may
8 have been lucky enough to have --
9 A. Yes.
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear what the witness has
11 just said.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you need to repeat the question and the
13 witness needs to repeat his answer because the interpreters didn't catch
14 what you answered, actually. So please repeat the question for the
15 benefit of the witness.
16 MR. DI FAZIO:
17 Q. Did the Serb forces try and shoot at the people who were banging
18 on the pots and pans or any of the men amongst those people who were lucky
19 enough to be armed?
20 A. Of course they did, but as this mass of people came closer, they
21 realised that they were advancing anyway, and then they started to run
22 away and throw their weapons and all that.
23 Q. So what numbers of people were mown down by the Serbs, if any?
24 A. Well, there were quite a few wounded and quite a few people killed
25 but this whole mass of people paid no heed. They just decided to continue
1 to the bitter end and, as I said, it was very difficult to keep thousands
2 and thousands of refugees under control. The situation was such as to
3 prevent that.
4 Q. Okay. I don't want to spend too much more time on this. Let's
5 move along. Just one more thing could you confirm for me the Serbs not
6 only turned and ran but they didn't take their weapons with them, they
7 threw them on the ground, or at least some of them did? Is that your
9 A. It's not an opinion on my part. I just saw some people dropping
10 their weapons. Of course they did not throw any light weapons away but if
11 you have a heavy weapon, it is not easy to run carrying that weapon. So
12 it wasn't always the same. I mean some of the Serb soldiers did drop
13 their weapons and others didn't. But I did see some of them do so.
14 Q. So do I take it from that answer that the Serbs had some heavy
15 weaponry with which they could confront this mass of civilians?
16 A. Yes. They had machine-guns and mortars, and entire infantry
17 weapons as well. So they did have heavy weaponry.
18 Q. How many guns would you say, rifles, would you say were amongst --
19 were possessed by the mass of people advancing on these Serbs? How many
20 weapons? Have you got any idea?
21 A. I know of my group. We had about ten rifles within our group.
22 That's a rough assessment. Well, it was quite some time ago, Your Honour,
23 so almost 13 years ago, and it is a bit difficult to remember every single
24 detail, but we must have had about ten rifles.
25 Q. Thank you. Okay. Anyway, the -- you also said that the next
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 stage in events on that day was that you managed to get down to Gornji
2 Ratkovici and that there was some resistance from the Serbs in the houses
3 but that they eventually withdrew back towards Fakovici. You remember
4 that evidence?
5 A. Yes. I do remember that.
6 Q. Okay. So was there house-to-house fighting in Fakovici?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it Fakovici or --
8 MR. DI FAZIO: My apologies, thank you, Your Honour. I misled the
9 witness and my apologies for that.
10 Q. I misled you. Was there house-to-house fighting in Gornji
12 A. I said that I got to Gornji Ratkovici and the Serb army was firing
13 from the houses, so there was a fight and then the Serb forces withdrew.
14 Whether it was out of fear before this mass of refugees after a certain
15 period of time they withdrew. But I did see that they were firing from
16 the houses, from the barns and stables, from the village itself, and
17 around the village, there were some trenches there at about 15 metres away
18 from the village.
19 Q. The result is the Serbs leave the village, the Bosniak or Muslim
20 fighters make their way into the village, which has been vacated, correct?
21 A. Yes. Later, the people went into the village and this group of
22 fighters simply went in very fast and then they got out quite quickly.
23 Q. Right. We'll get on it that in a moment but the fact of the
24 matter is, isn't it, that you were able to drive out these Serbs from
25 Gornji Ratkovici with some house to house fighting without the place
1 burning down, correct? Or suffering large fire damage? I'm not asking
2 you about what happened later with the bombing. I'm talking about that
3 early part. Okay?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: This house-to-house fighting that you are
5 mentioning, I don't -- reading the transcript and following what the
6 witness has said, he's said that there was shooting from the houses but at
7 no time did he say, at least to my recollection, that there was
8 house-to-house fighting.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: All right. I'll just -- I'll deal with that then.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I mean, you can deal with it because there may have
11 been, I don't know that but I don't recollect the witness saying that
12 there was house-to-house fighting. I recollect you, of course, mentioning
13 it but ...
14 MR. DI FAZIO: All right.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Perhaps you can clear this up.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: I will.
17 Q. Yesterday you were asked questions by Madam Vidovic about this,
18 precisely this, and she asked you, "And how far did you get to?" And you
19 answered, "I got to Gornji Ratkovici close to Gornji Ratkovici. At that
20 point I couldn't continue because there was fire from a machine-gun from
21 the houses. Automatic weapons fire from the houses. So we couldn't
22 approach the village -- villages. They were firing at us. We were firing
23 at them. I said that I had a pistol with me at the time. At the time we
24 just couldn't get any closer. They were firing mostly from the houses.
25 There were also some trenches but it was from the trenches that were about
1 15 metres from the houses."
2 Now, by that answer, did you mean that there was house-to-house
3 fighting or simply that the Serbs resisted from inside Gornji Ratkovici
4 and then suddenly vacated it without any house-to-house fighting? What --
5 A. Yes. There was withdrawal. As to whether there was any fighting
6 from the distance that I was at, I can't tell very accurately. I wasn't
7 able to tell whether there was actually house-to-house fighting as such,
8 but as to the fact that there was fighting from where I was, I did see
9 their action, their machine-guns in action, and I could see them firing,
10 and afterwards, I saw that they withdrew and as to there was actual
11 house-to-house fighting, I could not say with 100 per cent certainty
12 because I myself did not participate in any house-to-house fighting.
13 Q. Okay. Anyway, one thing is clear. You Muslim Bosniak fighters
14 wanted to get into Ratkovici, Gornji Ratkovici, and the Serbs who were in
15 Gornji Ratkovici wanted to keep you out. Would you agree with that?
16 A. Of course.
17 Q. All right.
18 A. That's what they tried.
19 Q. Thanks. Now, in the course of that, and up until the time the
20 Serbs finally left Gornji Ratkovici, Gornji Ratkovici did not catch fire.
21 Is that your position? Is that what you say happened?
22 A. Yes, there was no fire. I mentioned in my statement that I saw a
23 barn on fire.
24 Q. All right. Yes. Now, can you tell the Trial Chamber what the
25 purpose was in going into Gornji Ratkovici, engaging in this fighting to
1 get into Gornji Ratkovici, bearing in mind your earlier evidence that this
2 whole action on the 21st of June was just a spontaneous reaction to
3 approaching Serb forces? Do you -- do you know how -- why was that part
4 of your spontaneous reaction, to go into Gornji Ratkovici? Or did it just
5 happen that way?
6 A. Our top priority was to get food. The people were starving, and
7 also, because there were quite a few of us who were homeless, we thought
8 that it would be very handy for some of them to move into those houses.
9 Q. But you see, you've told us, you told the Trial Chamber this
10 morning that -- and yesterday, that all these events on the 21st of June
11 1992, all of what happened, all the fighting that you're talking about,
12 was a spontaneous thing that suddenly occurred when these -- this mass of
13 unfortunate people saw the oncoming Serbs. It was just a spontaneous
14 thing. There was no planning to it, was there? Do you agree?
15 A. Yes. I said that it was a spontaneous thing.
16 Q. Sure.
17 A. That fight, I mean.
18 Q. Okay. Yes. All right. Now, if it was a spontaneous fight, was
19 the entrance, the fighting, to get into Gornji Ratkovici, part of that
20 spontaneous reaction or was it something that was decided upon at some
21 other point in time?
22 A. It was a part of that spontaneous action, the entry into the
23 village was part of that spontaneous action.
24 Q. What about the issue of it being handy for you to move into those
25 houses? Was that discussed on the 21st of June amongst the fighters? Or
1 amongst -- sorry, I won't use that word. Amongst the Muslim men who were
2 armed and who were engaged in this action at Gornji Ratkovici?
3 A. Later, later on, there were talks after the 21st of July [as
4 interpreted] that those homeless people could be moved into those houses,
5 that that could be used as accommodation, and on the 21st of June, in
6 fact, I said that everything was spontaneous. We didn't have time to deal
7 with that. So our entering the village was a part of that spontaneous
9 Q. Okay. You were asked about -- I'll move to another topic.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Is there a problem Madam Vidovic?
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a part of the answer
12 did not enter the transcript. He said the 21st of June. We did not have
13 time for that. And actually --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I heard the interpretation for sure.
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did say that.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: But it is there. It is there. It's line 23 and 24.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We apologise, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: It is there. Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: All right. Okay.
21 Q. Just while we are on the issue of -- withdraw that.
22 You were asked by Madam Vidovic yesterday this question. You gave
23 this answer. Page 66. "Did you, the people from the villages, Podkorjen
24 and Poznanovici have any interest in setting these houses on fire? Did
25 you have an interest in doing something like that, Mr. Ramic?" And you
1 answered: "No, we had no interest in torching those houses because we had
2 so many people without homes whom we wanted to accommodate in those homes.
3 And Dzevad always said not to destroy this property, that we were not like
4 the Serbs." Now, do you remember that answer -- that question and answer?
5 A. Yes, I do. I remember.
6 Q. When would Dzevad say to you, not to destroy property, not to
7 destroy Serb homes? When would he say such matters -- such things? What
8 sort of occasions?
9 A. In our mutual talks, since I knew Dzevad from the very beginning,
10 from the start of the aggression, from the start of the war in May, June,
11 1992, always, in these contacts, he used to say that we should not destroy
12 property, that it was needed, and we all agreed with what he said.
13 Q. All right. So he wasn't giving you any orders or instructions, he
14 was just raising it as a topic and we all agreed, to quote you.
15 A. Yes. It was just a statement.
16 Q. So to whom did he say these -- these things about not destroying
17 property? I'm only interested in the groupings. Did he give speeches to
18 civilians or was this in conversation with the Muslim or Bosniak men who
19 were armed, such as yourself with your pistol?
20 A. I'm speaking now about contacts between myself and Dzevad, and
21 consultations of that group of ours, the group that -- I mean, you could
22 consider it to be a group of fighters, and I don't know if he spoke with
23 civilians or not. That's a difficult question, and it's hard to give you
24 an answer because it was something that you really couldn't control. If
25 somebody came from Skelani and if Dzevad spoke to some civilians from
1 Potkozeli [phoen] he's not from Skelani, he's not from Voljavica. His
2 house was set on fire from Skelani so he came and he was pretty enraged so
3 in such situations you didn't have the opportunity of -- Dzevad couldn't
4 do it, nor could anybody else, to issue any kind of orders or to control
5 anything that happened later. It would be difficult to control something
6 like that.
7 Q. I want to understand you. Am I correct that from what you've said
8 in your answer, that there was an ongoing problem with Serb homes being
9 torched, being burnt down, in your area at least? An ongoing problem that
10 caused Dzevad to talk to you about it from time to time?
11 A. Talking about much later, when there were cases when people --
12 when they went looking for food, would set one house on fire. I'm not
13 ruling out the possibility, but I cannot confirm that. I didn't see it
14 for myself, and I was always against things like that, I myself.
15 Q. I put it to, Mr. Ramic, that on the 21st of June 1992, Muslim or
16 Bosniak fighters deliberately and carefully attacked Ratkovici and that,
17 with the help of civilians, the place was looted and burned on that day.
18 Now, I'm just providing you with an opportunity to agree or disagree with
19 me. What do you say?
20 A. No. That is not true.
21 Q. Okay. Let's go now to the events a little bit later in the day.
22 You said yesterday, and I don't think I'm misquoting you, you said that
23 following the -- your entry into Gornji Ratkovici, you -- sorry. Just
24 bear with me. That you had to leave the area of Gornji Ratkovici and get
25 back to your positions because you expected a Serb counterattack. Do you
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 recall that evidence?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. A counterattack in response to your attack; is that correct? Your
4 attack on Ratkovici.
5 A. We were afraid because they were constantly attacking us, since
6 1992, and we were afraid that we would be attacked on that occasion as
7 well. There were several attacks.
8 Q. Okay. All right. Anyway, but you had to get out of the area and
9 get back to your positions because of the expected counterattack, right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Leaving the civilians to go through the town or -- sorry, not
12 town, that's the wrong word. The village, hamlet of Gornji Ratkovici, am
13 I correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And what about other hamlets clustered nearby? Were the civilians
16 also going through those hamlets and villages, for example, the --
17 Ratkovici itself, not just Gornji Ratkovici?
18 A. I didn't see it but I assume that the civilians went everywhere
19 after the Serbs withdrew. They would be going there. But there was no
20 control. There was nobody monitoring these movements.
21 Q. Right. And indeed the Serb counterattack took place, according to
22 you, when artillery was fired that day, that afternoon, resulting in the
23 destruction of Ratkovici from Serb bombs and the killing of many -- the
24 indiscriminate killing of many civilians in the area, who were in
25 Ratkovici. That's your position, isn't it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber why you did not warn the civilians
3 to evacuate the area and get to safer positions, if you expected a Serb
4 counterattack because you were, after all, motivated to save them, to help
5 them as much as you could?
6 A. I said already that we were not able to control thousands of
7 refugees who were out looking for food. We didn't have anywhere to take
8 them to, to protect them, to give them shelter. We didn't have any
9 possibility to do that.
10 Q. All right. I've heard at length your evidence about the hardships
11 under which you -- you and the people with you -- lived in at that time.
12 I'm not asking you about that, and I accept that. You're pushing on an
13 open door if you think that I don't accept that. But what I'm interested
14 in is this: You say that you were concerned about saving the lives of
15 these civilians. You've conducted this action at Gornji Ratkovici and you
16 expect -- you expect an imminent Serb counterattack such that you leave
17 the area and quickly go and take up your positions. That must of
18 necessity left these civilians, these helpless civilians, according to
19 your evidence, exposed to there Serb counterattack, whatever form it might
20 take, infantry attacks or bombing. Do you agree?
21 A. I said that we returned quickly in order to prevent an infantry
22 breakthrough, if there was such an attack by the Serbs in our area, but of
23 course we couldn't get the civilians back to return so quickly. Of course
24 we wanted to have them return and we told them they shouldn't go in the
25 first place. But at that point in time, it wasn't possible to control the
1 situation because a person who didn't have anything to eat and who went
2 out looking for food, you couldn't do much. The option they were facing
3 was to die in one way or another. That was the reason why people had to
4 go. If they didn't go, they would die of hunger, and if they did go and
5 were not killed during the excursion, then they would be able to bring
6 back something to eat so there would be the possibility that they would
7 then survive.
8 Q. The Serb civilians who stayed in the area of Ratkovici were able
9 to stay for quite a while in the area, scouring the area and seeing what
10 they could collect. Would you -- do you agree or not?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not the Serb civilians.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Sorry, my apologies.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: The Muslim civilians.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: I've got -- I'm grateful to you for that.
15 Q. I hope you understood what I meant. I apologise. I'm talking
16 about the Muslim, Bosniak civilians. They were able to stay in the area
17 and scour the area for materials and so on?
18 A. Yes. They stayed to scour the area, to look for food, and, much
19 later, they would go also to look for food and then they would return.
20 Q. You also said in your evidence yesterday that after the attack,
21 you noticed them coming back to your village, to the village - to the
22 village, I don't know which village, but the village - carrying building
23 materials, windows, doors and food. Now, I suggest to you that in order
24 for them to be able to get --
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Okay. I suggest to you that in order for them to get this
2 material, that sort of material, windows, doors and so on, required some
3 dismantling and that they must have been able to stay in the area to
4 secure these materials for some time, quite some time. Would you agree
5 with me?
6 A. Let's say that they were there for some time but I don't know.
7 Your Honour, what does the Prosecutor mean when he says that time is
8 required? You don't really need a lot of time to take a window, or
9 dismantle a window from a house.
10 Q. Fine. I'll be clearer. Let me ask you this: When did the Serb
11 bombardment start which caused death of all those -- of those civilians in
12 the area of Ratkovici? What time did it start on the 21st of June? This
13 is the expected counterattack.
14 A. Could you please repeat the question so that I can understand it
16 Q. Sure.
17 A. I need to know the date.
18 Q. Sure. I'm still talking to you about this episode that -- in
19 Ratkovici and Gornji Ratkovici and the area on the 21st of June. You
20 already told us how you left immediately to go and take up your positions
21 for the expected counterattack and you've testified that, yes, there was a
22 counterattack, yes it was artillery, and that a number of Muslim civilians
23 were killed. What time did this artillery counterattack occur, what time
24 of the day?
25 A. You mean the counterattack?
1 Q. Yes, yes, the Serb bombing.
2 A. That took place in the afternoon. I don't know the exact time or
3 the hour, but it was after.
4 Q. All right.
5 A. It was in the afternoon, afternoon, after 12.00.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please. May I suggest a somewhat
7 shorter break? I can then consolidate and also hopefully leave the time
8 for some re-examination.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I am noticing the witness is getting tired. That's
10 number one. It is quite evident actually, visually evident.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We have been sitting for an hour and a half.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We had the previous break because of the technical
15 problems that we had extended from half an hour -- 25 minutes to exactly
16 one hour. So I don't know how much more you have left, how much time you
18 MR. DI FAZIO: I will finish today, easily. I would hope that I
19 would have no more than about 20 minutes or so.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: So what I would suggest is --
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Perhaps half an hour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Half and hour. Okay.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: I better say half an hour.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's play it safe because I suppose there might be
25 re-examination on your part?
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: You require how much time?
3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I think about 15 minutes, 20 minutes
4 at the most.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Can we -- yeah, but I was going to suggest that we
6 try not to stay beyond the time that we have allocated. Could I ask
7 everyone to agree that we will have a ten-minute break only for the time
9 MR. DI FAZIO: That's fine with me.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I know it's fine with you but I want to know if it's
11 fine with everyone who are working with us, the technicians, interpreters,
12 and then we should be able to finish at quarter to 2.00, 1.45.
13 THE INTERPRETER: That's fine, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: That's fine. Okay, let's break and restart sharp in
15 ten-minutes' time. In the meantime, make sure the witness is given a
16 coffee or something, that he's given an opportunity to rest a little bit.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.51 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 1.05 p.m.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Incidentally before you continue, I mean just to
20 inform you, I hope you agree with this, but you know that when we had the
21 technical problem and we happened to be in private session, we were
22 discussing that matter informally at the time because we were going to
23 raise it properly later on. I've been asked whether we want it in the
24 transcript, incorporated. I think we can leave it and we will deal with
25 it again tomorrow, all right?
1 MR. DI FAZIO: That suits the Prosecution.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please and Mr. Ramic as well, I've
4 really got one topic left and I won't take up the whole half hour --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: That's better.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: -- I hope.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: That's better. I hope Madam Vidovic will copy you.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
9 Q. Do you know a fellow called Zulfo Tursunovic?
10 A. I have heard of Zulfo Tursunovic.
11 Q. Do I take it from your answer that you've never met him, you're
12 not an acquaintance or friend of his, not now and not back in 1992?
13 A. I've never met him, then or now. And he doesn't know me.
14 Q. Sure. What about a gentleman named Akif Ustic? Have you ever --
15 do you know him?
16 A. I knew him because he was a teacher, but we didn't really know
17 each other personally.
18 Q. You testified yesterday that -- did he die in Fakovici?
19 A. Could you please repeat the question so that I know exactly who
20 you are referring to?
21 Q. My apologies. Did -- Akif Ustic, was he killed in Fakovici on or
22 around -- on the 5th of October 1992?
23 A. I don't know.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think so, actually. What -- anyway,
25 that's -- he's giving evidence. He was killed but --
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay.
2 Q. Well, sorry, to clarify that: Are you saying that you don't know
3 in Akif Ustic was killed in Fakovici or you don't know he was killed. I
4 assume you do know he died, he was killed during the war.
5 A. I heard that he was killed but I don't know where he was killed.
6 Q. All right. Okay. Now, you know where Suceska is, don't you, a
7 place called Suceska?
8 A. I have heard of it but I've never been there.
9 Q. And you know, don't you, that it's to the west of Srebrenica,
10 quite some distance from the villages that you've been -- that you
11 described today and yesterday, down Poznanovici and those places? You
12 know that, don't you?
13 A. Yes. I know how far it is from our villages.
14 Q. And it's certainly -- I mean I'm looking at a map here. I don't
15 want to mislead you. It's clearly further away from you than Srebrenica
16 is. You'd have to agree with that, wouldn't you? And if you --
17 A. Yes. It's twice the distance, if Srebrenica is 20 kilometres away
18 then Suceska is another 20 kilometres, a total of 40 kilometres away.
19 Q. I remind you of your evidence that -- yesterday that you couldn't
20 even communicate with other villages in your area. Do you recall that
21 evidence? At least some of them, not all of them, but some of them you
22 couldn't even communicate with, the Muslim villages, I mean.
23 A. Yes. I remember saying that I couldn't communicate, and I know
24 exactly which period I was referring to. I mentioned it. It was up until
25 sometime in the summer. I think that's what it says there. I don't know.
1 Q. And furthermore, communication was non-existent, you say, don't
2 you, with Srebrenica?
3 A. In the March, April, May, June period, yes.
4 Q. And yesterday in your evidence you also touched upon an event that
5 occurred at Fakovici some days later -- or some time later, in 1992. Do
6 you remember talking about that? And you said that you'd actually -- you
7 were there, you went there on -- in fact you had the date on this, I
8 recall, incorrectly. You had the 5th of October but you didn't actually
9 go into Fakovici itself on that date. Do you recall that evidence?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. Were you fighting at Fakovici on that day, on the 5th of October?
12 A. No. I said exactly where I went. I wasn't in Fakovici, not in
13 Fakovici itself. I was in Gornji Fakovici, a distance away, and from
14 there, you can see with the naked eye, and of course with the binoculars,
15 you can see Fakovici. I know Fakovici very well because I went to school
17 Q. Okay. And did you see Mr. Akif Ustic on that -- well, I withdraw
18 that question.
19 I think I'm safe in saying, aren't I, that you didn't see Zulfo
20 Tursunovic or Akif Ustic in Fakovici on that day; isn't that right?
21 A. No, I didn't see them.
22 Q. Would you have been surprised to have seen fighters or men from
23 Suceska in Fakovici on the 5th of October 1992, engaged in fighting
24 against Serb forces?
25 A. I said that I never went to Suceska and that I knew very few
1 people from there. I didn't know Zulfo, and even if somebody was there,
2 it would be safe to assume that it was because of food.
3 Q. But your evidence is that communications between these small
4 villages, Muslim-held -- Muslim villages in your area was extremely
5 problematical or non-existent, and as far as communication with places
6 further away, such as Srebrenica, impossible. So would you agree that, if
7 what you say is correct, it would not have been possible or feasible for
8 fighters to go from a place called Suceska to Fakovici on the 5th of
9 October? That's my question.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment before you answer.
11 Yes, Mr. Jones.
12 MR. JONES: The witness answered very clearly that the
13 non-existence or difficulty with communication with those Muslim villages
14 was up to June 1992, that's what his answer was directed to. And so
15 obviously it shouldn't be suggested that he gave that answer in relation
16 to October 1992. He was very clear about the period he was referring to
17 and the places he was referring to. So as long as those two aren't run
18 together then that's fine.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I think that's a very valid objection and you either
20 rephrase your question to inquire what the position -- whether the
21 position remained the same after June or whether it changed.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm very grateful to Mr. Jones and he's quite
24 JUDGE AGIUS: He is, definitely. Incidentally, Akif Ustic, I
25 checked, he died in Zaluzje when he tried to take -- and that was June,
1 Zaluzje or something like that. But forget it. It's certainly not
2 Fakovici in October.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Sure. Okay.
4 Q. Well, I mean -- was the situation as regards communication between
5 the Muslim-held villages in your area and communication with Srebrenica
6 different following June of 1992? In other words, did it improve?
7 A. I said that after June, at some point in July, there was a certain
8 amount of improvement in terms of communications but I said earlier on the
9 communication between Suceska, Srebrenica, Poznanovici, that is to say
10 Fakovici, we are talking about more than 40 kilometres so I leave it up to
11 you to judge what kind of communication could have taken place there, and
12 how long it would take for any news to get to Fakovici.
13 Q. Mr. Ramic, if you don't know, just please tell us, but don't leave
14 it up to me to judge because you're in a far better position than I was --
15 I am. Are you aware of any improvement in communication facilities as
16 between the Muslim villages in your area and Srebrenica?
17 A. I said that in the course of the month of July, that is to say
18 much, much later, it was possible to have some kind of communication, at a
19 certain point, but as to whether anyone was actually able to get to
20 Fakovici from Suceska, I don't believe so, because it was just too far.
21 Your Honour, in those times, there were no vehicles available. You had to
22 travel on foot.
23 Q. All right. Thank you. That's interesting evidence that you tell
24 us of. If Your Honours please, I want to show a clip from the interview
25 with Mr. Oric?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: And I -- unfortunately I think I need to know the
3 Exhibit number.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Either 318 or 319.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Your Honour has it at your fingertips. That's for
6 the purposes of the transcript. Perhaps while the case manager
7 investigates that I'll continue and, on the other hand, I need --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: It's either 318 or 319 or both.
9 THE REGISTRAR: It's 348 and 349.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: 348 and 349, or 328 or 329.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm told it's P329.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: 328 and 329. Okay. P329.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: I don't know which one this clip is from. I'll
14 look into it and -- sorry, I can now be clear. This clip is from Exhibit
16 JUDGE AGIUS: 329. Okay.
17 MR. DI FAZIO:
18 Q. Okay, Mr. Ramic, I want to show you very brief, very brief indeed,
19 and as you look at it you'll understand it, okay?
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Your Honours can follow the transcript at the
22 JUDGE AGIUS: If it's correct.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: If it's correct, of course.
24 [Videotape played]
25 "I told that Sefik Mandic died that day. The commander of the
1 [unintelligible] TO. That's what I do know.
2 "Were there any other soldiers of this Territorial Defence during
3 the advance of [unintelligible].
4 "And I also know that some of his soldiers were killed by a cannon
5 when the shelling started. When they were collecting food, a couple of
6 them were killed there.
7 "Zulfo's men were the ones that took the village of Fakovici?
8 "Yeah. Zulfo's and Akif's and the Territorial Defences of Biljeg
9 and [unintelligible]. The biggest stronghold was by this camp. The main
10 fighting that there was, was here."
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay, thanks.
12 Q. Now, Mr. Oric was there talking about a gentleman named Zulfo
13 taking -- being involved in an action at Fakovici. Bearing in mind what
14 you've just seen of the clip, bearing in mind everything that you know of
15 events in 1992, and bearing in mind your knowledge of the geography in the
16 area of 1992, would you agree that a man such as Mr. Zulfo Tursunovic
17 could make it from an area of Suceska with fighters to go and fight in
18 Fakovici in October of 1992? That's all I'm asking you. I'm not asking
19 you if it happened, if it's true. I'm just asking you: Could he have
20 managed that?
21 A. [No interpretation]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Can we have interpretation or could you repeat your
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters did not hear anything at all.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ramic, can I ask you to repeat your answer,
1 please? You said [B/C/S spoken] something.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He could not.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: He could not.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Mr. Ramic. I have no further questions.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you, Mr. Di Fazio.
6 Do you need sometime for consultation?
7 Yes. Yes, Madam Vidovic, re-examination.
8 Re-examined by Ms. Vidovic:
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Ramic, I'm going to make sure I'm as brief as possible. Good
11 day to you again. Have I understood you correctly in that you said today
12 that you heard about Mr. Oric only as late as after the demilitarisation?
13 A. Yes, correct.
14 Q. Did you in the period of time prior to the demilitarisation and
15 prior to the fall of your village, Poznanovici and the surrounding small
16 villages, Dedici, Podkorjen, and Kakarici [phoen], did you ever hear from
17 anyone who was familiar with the situation there that Oric was leading the
18 attack at Ratkovici?
19 A. I did not hear that and I had never seen Mr. Oric, and I myself
20 was there on the spot. I would have seen him, I suppose.
21 Q. Thank you. Could we just go back to this book for a moment, the
22 book that my learned friend from the Prosecution asked you about? A part
23 of the book by Nijaz Masic. First of all did you ever meet Mr. Nijaz
25 A. Well, not as such, not in person. I knew of him.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Did you hear of the fact that Mr. Nijaz Masic, after the fall of
2 Srebrenica, fell ill and that he spent a long time in treatment due to
3 psychiatric problems?
4 A. Yes, I did hear that.
5 Q. I would like to ask, Your Honours, if you don't mind, to show the
6 witness the excerpt from this book Srebrenica, and I would like to ask
7 you, sir -- I can't remember the Exhibit number now I do apologise, but at
8 any rate, Mr. Ramic, I'd like you to take a look at the preface and could
9 you look at the list of people, the list of names, indicated as people
10 providing source materials for the book written by Mr. Masic? Could you
11 look at the first page which it says "Srebrenica: The Aggression, the
12 Resistance, Treason, Genocide," et cetera, and you've got the date when
13 the book was published, July 1999. Can you see that?
14 A. I haven't seen it. I haven't found it.
15 Q. It's the cover page before the introduction. It's the title of
16 the book, Srebrenica, and can you see that it says July 1999?
17 A. Yes, right.
18 Q. Shall we go back to the introduction now where we've got the long
19 list of people who provided source materials for the book, and could you
20 just run through the list, and yesterday we talked about Vekaz Husic, for
21 example. Can you read this list carefully? Did -- I mean, these people,
22 such as, for example, Vekaz Husic, did they ever get out of Srebrenica
23 alive, and after the events of 1995, would have -- would they have been in
24 a position to talk to Mr. Masic?
25 A. No, no. I don't think so because quite a few of them are not
2 Q. Right. In this respect, let me ask you the following question.
3 Have you ever heard of Mr. Masic having ever been in touch with
4 Mr. Malkic? Yesterday you said that you are close to Mr. Dzevad Malkic.
5 Have you ever heard of him talking about list war-time experiences to
6 Mr. Masic?
7 A. No, I never heard that.
8 Q. Do you know whether Naser Oric or anyone else on this list for
9 that matter ever talked about their experiences to Mr. Masic?
10 A. I have not heard of that.
11 Q. Thank you. Let me just go back to this bit that we referred to
12 earlier on with regard to the translation, the liquidation of Chetnik
13 strongholds. Could you just tell us once again in our own language does
14 "liquidation" mean the same thing as "destruction"?
15 A. Of course not.
16 Q. Thank you. And another point now. The reference is made here to
17 Osmace, Kragljivoda, Stari Grad fighters, and so on. In the period of
18 time of June 1992, or on that day, on the 21st of June 1992, did you get
19 in touch with fighters from those units, Kragljivoda, Osata [phoen], et
20 cetera, at all?
21 A. No, we did not because I said that there was no possibility to get
22 in touch with anyone. It was impossible.
23 Q. Right. When you talked about the event that took place on the 8th
24 of June 1992, the Prosecutor asked you whether the refugees were able to
25 see the Serbs and then run off into the woods. In relation to this I'm
1 going to put the following question to you: Do you remember that you told
2 us in some detail yesterday, and you mentioned it today, that is to say
3 the killing of two Muslims on their way to Podkorjen?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, let me ask you this: Did the refugees -- I mean was this
6 mass of people able to hear the shots, the -- fired on that occasion?
7 A. Yes, of course. It was nearby. Everybody could hear it.
8 Q. Right. Let me ask you something in relation to the 21st of June.
9 You said that you saw masses of people behind you when you turned to look.
10 You said that yesterday and you said it again today in reply to a question
11 put to you by the Prosecutor. Do you remember whether you saw anyone that
12 you would be able to describe as a soldier in this mass of refugees?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did you on that occasion, looking at that mass of people, see
15 anything that you could describe as a military unit, something that would
16 be described as a military unit from some of the other villages, not from
17 your area?
18 A. No, no, I did say they were all civilians.
19 Q. Thank you very much and let me just dwell on the matter of
20 Mr. Dzevad Malkic for a moment. The Prosecutor asked whether
21 Mr. Dzevad Malkic issued orders or instructions to you to the effect that
22 no property should be destroyed. He also asked whether it was a usual
23 phenomenon at the time. And my question is this: Prior to these events,
24 on the 21st of June 1992, that is, had you ever heard or seen anything
25 about any destruction of any Serb property in your surroundings?
1 A. No, I had not.
2 Q. As to these instructions and orders, in June 1992 --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: That was just an accidental nudging of a button
5 here. It certainly wasn't intended to sabotage.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: But I didn't realise what was happening and I think
7 no one did except, of course, Mr. Di Fazio.
8 So can I ask you, Madam Vidovic, to repeat your question please,
9 and my apologies to the witness.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Di Fazio is trying to confuse
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, no, it's just a joke.
14 Q. Now, Witness, I've mentioned that the Prosecutor asked you about
15 these instructions and orders issued by Mr. Mandic in this period -
16 Malkic, sorry, I do apologies - in this period of time, June 1992, and in
17 this respect, I'm going to ask you the following question: In May and
18 June 1992, did Mr. Malkic issue any orders or instructions? Was he in a
19 position to issue any orders or instructions in such a situation? Could
20 you explain that to the Trial Chamber?
21 A. No, he was not in a position to issue any orders because quite
22 simply as I mentioned, this was a group of volunteers and nobody at the
23 time was in a position to order anything. People were volunteers so there
24 was no possibility to issue any orders, quite simply.
25 Q. Thank you. And something else now. Mr. Ramic, as to these talks
1 about the torching of Serb property and so on, are you able to answer this
2 question? Do you know anything about it? Was it a matter of him simply
3 explaining his opinion as to how the Muslims should act, if they should
4 behave in the same way as Serbs or not? What was the matter there?
5 A. Well, I said that he simply made these statements and he said to
6 us what he thought and some of us embraced that attitude. But there were
7 no orders there.
8 Q. In other words, Mr. Ramic, let me put this to you in this way:
9 The fact that he made those statements or talked about his views on the
10 torching, did he do it because he knew of anything like that having taken
11 place or was he simply giving you advice as to what you should do with
12 regard to other people's property?
13 A. He simply was of the view that we should not be doing that, that
14 we were not the same as Serbs, and he was simply a wise man, a good man,
15 and that was it.
16 Q. Right. You were asked a whole series of questions here about
17 whether it was possible or not, and that at a later stage in October 1992,
18 whether it was possible or not to get from Suceska to Fakovici. Do you
19 know whether Tursunovic was there or not?
20 A. I don't know that. I'm not aware of it.
21 Q. And do you know in what way Oric would have received that
22 information in case he had received it at all?
23 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, that's neither a
24 clarification of anything that I raised in evidence and from all the
25 evidence this witness has given he would be the last person who could tell
1 you that. He didn't even meet Mr. Oric. He's never met Mr. Oric, and
2 he's given you evidence about the --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I think the objection has to be sustained.
4 You need to rephrase your question and perhaps you can ask the witness to
5 explain how Mr. Oric, according to that interview, would have given that
6 particular description of events, if he can enlighten us on it, because if
7 obviously he cannot, then he will not give us any information, if you want
8 to persist in the question, of course, I mean.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will rephrase it.
10 Q. Witness, do you have any idea as to what Mr. Oric could and could
11 not have known?
12 A. Well, perhaps somebody could have reported some information, some
13 stories, to him. He could have received some information.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: This is speculation.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation].
16 Q. But you do not know that?
17 A. No.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
19 further questions.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, do you have -- yes, my colleague,
21 Judge Brydensholt, has got a question for you. Thank you.
22 Questioned by the Court:
23 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Yes, I'm going back to the 8th of June,
24 Metaljka, the fight there. Could you describe for me the Serbs who
25 arrived there, did they approach your village through a road and how was
1 that road? Could they have spread out if they so wanted? And how many do
2 you believe they were?
3 A. It's a bit of a comprehensive question. Could you just repeat it
4 once again, please?
5 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Yes. What way did the Serb soldiers come?
6 Was it on a road or was it in a free area, on a field or something?
7 A. It's not really a road. It's a forest path, a forest path.
8 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Would it have been possible for them to spread
9 out or should they stay, because there was only this path, together?
10 A. Since probably I was not able to see all of them, I suppose that
11 some individuals may have been scattered all over the area because, at a
12 later stage, when we searched the area, I did see that there were those
13 machine-guns in several places in the forest and we could see that they
14 were cutting down some trees which were in their way. So I don't think
15 they were all in one place. They must have been scattered around the
17 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: And could you tell us how many on your side
18 were? How many fighters in your group?
19 A. About ten, ten, perhaps.
20 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: And then on the 21st of June, when the Serb
21 soldiers approached you in the wood, how did they do that? Did they come
22 along a road or over fields or how did you see them?
23 A. Across the fields. Across the fields, and along the road as well.
24 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: And how would you describe the route the
25 civilians behind you took when they came out of the wood? Would they be
1 in a group or would they be in a long line or over several fields, or how
2 would they look?
3 A. You mean the civilians?
4 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Yes, the refugees and your own civilians.
5 A. Yes, well, the civilians were just going in as they best could, as
6 they felt would be best or safest. Some went in groups. Some went across
7 the fields. Others through the woods, and others along the road. It was
8 not really organised or controlled. They all made their own decisions as
9 to what to do, whether they were going to follow a group of people or just
10 to move on their own.
11 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: But could you describe to us, if you looked
12 back and saw them, would you see a line of several hundred metres of a
13 massive group of people or would it be more in a column, in that way
14 disciplined group that they followed each other. Or would they be spread
16 A. Yes. There were a number of columns spread around all over the
17 place. There were a number of separate columns without any sort of formal
18 organisation. They were just on their way.
19 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: And the last question: How many Serb soldiers
20 do you think were on their way approaching you?
21 A. It is a bit difficult to answer that because certainly I wasn't in
22 a position to see all Serb soldiers, but roughly 50.
23 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Thank you.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I've got two very short questions. And the second
25 one very much depends on what the answer to the first one will be. You
1 will recall, Mr. Ramic, that you were asked questions about that alleged
2 meeting in Bajramovici in May of 1992, and you said that you did not
3 attend it, no one from your group attended and you would have --
4 basically, you would have been informed. Who would have informed you of
5 the holding of such a meeting or similar meetings? Who would have
6 informed you?
7 A. I thought that if anyone had known, Dzevad Malkic would have known
8 because we considered him to be a kind of leader, and that's what I meant,
9 that he would have known, and that's why I said that nobody attended and
10 we didn't know about a meeting like that. So I had him in mind. In case
11 he had attended he would have at least told us so.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: But how would he have been approached and by whom,
13 to inform him of such a meeting or similar meetings?
14 A. Well, I said -- I mean, your question was whether I knew about
15 that meeting, and if he was at the meeting, he had no need for anyone to
16 tell him about it. He would have known. That's what I meant.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware of any other meetings that took place
18 around about the same time?
19 A. No, I'm not, no. I said that we were an enclave that was under
21 JUDGE AGIUS: This is precisely why I'm asking you, because you
22 said you would have been informed about it. How would it have been
23 possible to inform you or Mr. Malkic about such a meeting or similar
24 meetings roundabout the same time, if you were so cut off from the rest of
25 the -- let him answer the question first, please, Madam.
1 A. It wasn't possible. There was no way.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: That's fine. Okay. Yes, Madam Vidovic?
3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, now it's all right but
4 I would like to ask you, the witness was actually saying that there was no
5 way at any point in time of the witness mentioning anybody who would tell
6 them from outside Srebrenica. However, the witness said that himself.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: That's precisely why I asked him the question
8 because if we had left it where he had left it, namely I would have known
9 about it, it meant that there was a possibility of coming to know about
10 it, Madam Vidovic.
11 So that brings your testimony to an end, Mr. Ramic. And we've
12 done our utmost to make it possible for you to return home by tomorrow.
13 On behalf of the Tribunal and on behalf of the Trial Chamber of my
14 colleague, Judge Brydensholt, my colleague, Judge Eser, who couldn't be
15 with us, and also on my own behalf, I thank you for coming over to give
16 testimony. You will receive all the attention and assistance you require
17 now to facilitate your travel back home at the earliest possible
18 opportunity, and on behalf of everyone present here I wish you a safe
19 journey back home. Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I also wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge
22 publicly the cooperation of everyone today, like on many other previous
23 occasions, to make this possible. Because had I encountered resistance,
24 this witness wouldn't have finished his testimony today. So I thank the
25 technicians, the interpreters, Defence plus Prosecution, and our staff for
1 having cooperated. Thank you.
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.49 p.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Wednesday, 31 August 2005, at
5 9.00 a.m.