1 Wednesday, 31 August 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Registrar, could you call the case,
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-03-68, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Oric, can you follow the proceedings
10 in your own language?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours,
12 gentlemen. Yes, I can follow the proceedings in my mother tongue.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you and good morning to you. You may sit
15 Appearances for the Prosecution.
16 MS. RICHARDSON: Good morning, Your Honour, my name is Joanne
17 Richardson. On behalf of the Prosecution, good morning to members of the
18 Defence team and good morning to Your Honours. Your Honour, I will be
19 joined shortly by Mr. Di Fazio as well as Ms. Sellers.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you and good morning to you.
21 Appearances for Naser Oric?
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. I am
23 Vasvija Vidovic, representing, together with Mr. John Jones, Mr. Oric.
24 And we have our legal assistant, Ms. Jasmina Cosic, with us as well as our
25 CaseMap manager, Mr. Geoff Roberts.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you and good morning to you and your team.
2 MS. RICHARDSON: Your Honour, I'm sorry, I neglected to
3 introduce -- as well I'm joined by our case manager, Ms. Donnica
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So, thank you and good morning to you too.
6 So any preliminaries?
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
8 MS. RICHARDSON: No, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: One thing and this is in the wake of a note or a
10 copy of a memorandum that I received -- I found on my desk this morning.
11 And it's a memorandum from the Defence to the CLSS asking for the
12 verification of the taped record and a corresponding correction in two
13 places relating to the testimony of the last witness on Monday, 29th
14 August. Please whoever is responsible give this matter due attention and
15 please make sure that the Trial Chamber is informed promptly, as soon as
16 the corrections have been effected and the manner in which they have been
17 effected, particularly the last correction. I remember it was one of the
18 things that I had in mind when the witness -- when I saw the transcript.
19 It is definitely the opposite of what the witness said.
20 So let's proceed. Let's bring the witness in.
21 Do you plan to take the whole morning on -- the whole did -- I
22 mean do you -- in other words do you think you will finish with this
23 witness this morning.
24 MR. JONES: Yes, I'll certainly finish today. I might finish a
25 bit before the end of the day, two and a half, three hours, estimate.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thought so. This is why I'm asking you any way.
2 Ms. Richardson, if we finish early do you intend to start your
3 cross-examination today?
4 MS. RICHARDSON: No, Your Honour, I intended to start tomorrow.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Should be an easy witness, without --
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Madam Kolenovic.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal. Before I proceed any
10 further, I want to make sure that you are receiving in your own language
11 interpretation of what I am saying in English. All right. If you have
12 problems with the volume and you want it to be adjusted, tell us and we
13 will do it now.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: And if at any time during the course of your
16 testimony here, you have problems with receiving interpretation, in other
17 words, either it's not reaching you or you are not happy with the volume,
18 please let us know straight away and we will make the necessary
20 So welcome once more. You are -- you have been summoned by the
21 Defence in this case against Naser Oric to give evidence here, testimony.
22 And very soon you will be sitting down and start answering the questions
23 that will be put to you. Our Rules require that before you start giving
24 evidence, you enter a solemn declaration equivalent to an oath in several
25 national domestic jurisdictions to the effect that in the course of your
1 testimony, you will be speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
2 but the truth. The next is contained in a piece of paper which the
3 gentleman, our usher, is going to hand to you now. Please take that text
4 in your hand and read it out loud and that will be your solemn undertaking
5 with this Tribunal that you will be testifying the truth.
6 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
7 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 WITNESS: SABRA KOLENOVIC
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam. Please hand it back to the
11 usher. Please make yourself comfortable. The important thing -- yes
12 exactly -- that the microphones are near enough.
13 So let me explain very briefly what's going to happen. I want you
14 to remain calm and feel at ease throughout the whole of this exercise. It
15 won't take long. Today, you will be asked questions by Mr. Jones, who is
16 co-counsel in the Defence of Mr. Oric, whom you've met already, Mr. Jones.
17 And then we will adjourn until tomorrow and tomorrow you will be asked
18 questions by Ms. Richardson, who is one of the lawyers dealing with the
20 What I would like you to do is to make sure that your answers are
21 as short as possible but also that they are as precise as possible.
22 Please don't try to give more information than you are asked. In other
23 words, please try to answer the question, the whole question and nothing
24 but the question. That will ensure that you will be back home this
1 In other words, we plan to finish with your testimony tomorrow,
2 which is Thursday, and after that I'm sure that arrangements would have
3 already been made to facilitate your return back home.
4 Last thing I want to tell you is that you will be -- the fact that
5 you are being produced as a witness by the Defence does not entitle you to
6 think that you are here to testify in favour of the accused. You are here
7 to testify the truth. So please answer all the questions that are put to
8 you. And don't try to distinguish between questions coming from the
9 Defence and questions coming from the Prosecution. Your responsibility in
10 terms of your solemn declaration is to answer every question irrespective
11 of who is putting it to you, truthfully. All right? Did I make myself
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So welcome. We are soon going to start,
15 and if at any time you need a break or anything like that or you're
16 feeling tired, please let us know. My name is Carmel Agius, I am the
17 presiding Judge. To my right I have Judge Hendrik Brydensholt from the
18 Kingdom of Denmark. To my left I should normally have Judge Eser from
19 Germany but due to some urgent personal matters, he cannot be with us
20 today and, in fact, we are sitting today, continuing to sit, pursuant to
21 Rule 15 bis(A). And we will continue to sit like that also tomorrow. And
22 then hopefully next week, the situation will change, hopefully to the
23 better. So Mr. Jones she is in your hands.
24 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Examined by Mr. Jones:
1 Q. Good morning from me, firstly, Ms. Kolenovic.
2 A. Good morning.
3 Q. Could you start by giving the Court your full name, please?
4 A. I am Sabra Kolenovic.
5 Q. Right. And if you could confirm for us, please, the following
6 details you were born on the 13th of June, 1958 in Srebrenica?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Your maiden name is Gluhic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You were married to Ramiz Kolenovic with whom you have two sons,
11 Amel and Elvis?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And Amel was born on the 21st of March, 1980?
14 A. No.
15 Q. When was Amel born, please?
16 A. In 1980, Amel.
17 Q. And Elvis, when was he born?
18 A. On the 10th of June, 1984.
19 Q. All right. Now, is it right that you're the secretary of the
20 association the women of Srebrenica?
21 A. Yes. But the correct name is the Association of the Mothers of
22 the Enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa.
23 Q. Fine, thank you. And finally, can you confirm that you graduated
24 from the economic high school, I think it's called, in 1978?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And then from 1978 you worked for an accounting service in
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, you were born in Srebrenica. Have you lived in Srebrenica
5 all your life?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What was your address where you lived?
8 A. Marsala Tita street.
9 Q. Is that the current name of that street in Srebrenica?
10 A. No. Today the name of the street is Karadzicava, after Radovan
12 Q. Your Honours we have a set of photographs?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I've seen them.
14 MR. JONES: I'm proposing to tender them as one exhibit the ten
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I see. Not the ones we have here in our --
17 MR. JONES: Yes the same ones I think it might be more convenient
18 to have one exhibit number and I might even for the sake of convenience,
19 provided there had is no objection, ask for an exhibit number now for
20 these ten photographs and then I can go through them. They are numbered
21 on the back.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
23 Yes, Ms. Richardson.
24 MS. RICHARDSON: I would only inquire as to the source of these
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Probably from you.
2 MR. JONES: I'm going to clarify that with the witness.
3 MS. RICHARDSON: Yes.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
5 What will be the number, please?
6 THE REGISTRAR: D725, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones, this will be D725.
8 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Ms. Kolenovic, you'll see some photographs which are being put in
10 front of you. Did you provide those photographs to us?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And how did they come to be in your possession?
13 A. On the 10th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica and since the
14 genocide, we were given these photographs, some people, some foreigners
15 brought them to our office, I don't know who.
16 Q. And do you know when they were taken?
17 A. In 1993.
18 Q. Thank you. If we can start with the first photograph and, as I
19 say they, are numbered on the reverse side, I'm going to ask if you could
20 look at that photograph on the ELMO and firstly tell us if you recognise
21 the street there?
22 A. Your Honours, excuse me, but can I just take my glasses from my
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones, while she is doing that, let's -- they
25 may be marked on the back, the ones that she has but the ones I have are
1 not. So if perhaps you would show me the photo from -- oh, I see, all
2 right. Okay. All right. Okay. It's the small handwritten number.
3 MR. JONES: Yes.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: On the right-hand side, top right corner.
5 MR. JONES: Yes, precisely.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: So we are talking of photo number 1.
7 MR. JONES: Yes, this is photo number 1 in the series.
8 Q. Do you have your glasses with you now, Ms. Kolenovic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And do you recognise this street?
11 A. Yes. That's my street and the building where I lived until 1995.
12 Q. All right. Now, I'm not sure if it's on the ELMO but if it could
13 be placed on the ELMO?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: It was yes, it is on the ELMO.
15 MR. JONES:
16 Q. Could you Ms. Kolenovic just point to where -- well, firstly do
17 you see your apartment on this photograph?
18 A. Yes. Not all of it, though.
19 Q. Could you please point to it with the pointer you're being handed?
20 A. That's the balcony of my apartment.
21 Q. Okay.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: So do you want her to mark the photo or not? Or
23 will you be using them with others?
24 MR. JONES: I may or may not be using it with others but I don't
25 think it's necessary for her to mark it.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, but for the record, the witness has pointed to
2 the open veranda on the right-hand corner of the photo, which is the
3 highest, yes.
4 MR. JONES: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Since we can't see all of your apartment there, can you tell us
6 what floor it was on and whether it was on the top floor or whether there
7 were floors above it?
8 A. It was on the top floor, the sixth floor, and there were no other
9 apartments above. There was just a flat roof above.
10 Q. And you mentioned that your apartment had a terrace. What sort of
11 a view do you have from the terrace?
12 A. I could see the bus station from my balcony, as well as the
13 neighbouring buildings. I could also see in the direction of the
14 secondary and the elementary schools so I had a view of the whole town
15 from the balcony of the children's room. That used to be the children's
16 room. It used to be the bedroom.
17 Q. And could you also see the hospital and the PTT building or not?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, you mentioned that your apartment was on the top floor. Were
20 you able to access the roof of the apartment building from your apartment?
21 A. Yes, because I was using a storage space or a room up on the roof.
22 Q. And what sort of view did you have from there of the town of
24 A. I had a better view than the one from the terrace and the room,
25 once I got up on the roof. I could see a wider area and I could see what
1 was going on in the town.
2 Q. Thank you. Now I'm going to take you to 1992. Were you living in
3 this apartment in 1992?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did there come a time when a number of inhabitants of Srebrenica
6 left the town in 1992?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And when was that?
9 A. This was in April, mid-April. I don't remember the exact date.
10 Q. Do you know what caused people to leave Srebrenica?
11 A. You could sense it beforehand. There were stories going around
12 already in 1991 when the war started in Croatia. Some Serbs came and they
13 talked about the war there, how they were leaving. I never believed it.
14 The only time I believed it was when I was watching television and could
15 see a building being destroyed in Croatia and the balcony was hanging off
16 and I was just wondering what kind of a force was it that could damage a
17 building in that way and make the balcony hang like that.
18 Q. When inhabitants left Srebrenica in April, mid-April 1992, were
19 many educated or qualified people left in the town? Among the Muslims,
20 I'm talking about.
21 A. Practically none. The only people who remained were people with a
22 secondary school education. All the intellectuals had left Srebrenica.
23 Q. Now, it's not in dispute, I take it, that in April 1992,
24 Srebrenica was taken over by the Serbs. Were you in Srebrenica when it
25 was taken over?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What, if anything, signalled to you that the takeover of the town
3 had taken place? Did you see anything in particular?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you tell us what you saw?
6 A. The Serb families, the women and children, were the first to leave
7 Srebrenica. After them, the Muslims from Srebrenica started to leave, and
8 the news spread very quickly that they had gone to negotiations in
9 Bratunac. Dr. Sabih Sehomerovic -- and when they came back, they said
10 that they couldn't reach any kind of agreement with the Serbs and they
11 left Srebrenica. And that was that.
12 Q. And then did you actually see anything which signalled to you that
13 the Serbs had actually taken over Srebrenica?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: You can, I think, Mr. Di Fazio and Ms. Richardson,
15 he can lead on this.
16 MS. RICHARDSON: Yes, Your Honour, we have no objection.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Please.
18 MR. JONES: Thank you, yes.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not something that is in dispute, actually.
20 MR. JONES: All right. Thank you, Your Honour, and thank you to
21 the Prosecution.
22 Q. Did you at some point see a procession of Serbs going through
23 Srebrenica with a flag indicating that the town had actually been taken
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you recognise anyone in that procession?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And who? Who did you recognise?
4 A. Goran Zekic. I recognised him. His nickname was Zmiro, Milisav
5 Gavric. I recognised many other of my neighbours. I don't want to
6 mention all of their names. Perhaps I'll make a mistake with the last
7 name. There were also people from other places whom I knew from the
8 Bratunac municipality. There were people from Skelani.
9 Q. And for Goran Zekic, was he armed or unarmed when you saw him?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Yes, he was armed or he was unarmed?
12 A. He was armed.
13 Q. Now, when Srebrenica was taken over by the Serbs, did you continue
14 to live in your apartment or did you go elsewhere?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Sorry, you have to say whether you continued to live in your
17 apartment or whether you went somewhere else.
18 A. I continued to live in my apartment.
19 Q. And were your sons with you in that period?
20 A. Yes, they were.
21 Q. And how about your husband?
22 A. My husband left to the Petrica street where my family used to
23 live, and he went to see how my parents and the rest of my family were and
24 he never came back.
25 Q. All right. Are you saying he never came back, you never saw him
1 again, or he didn't come back for a particular period of time?
2 A. He did not come back over a certain period of time.
3 Q. Now, when, in fact -- where in fact did your parents and the rest
4 of your family and your husband go during that period, do you know?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Do you know roughly whether they went to the woods or whether they
7 went to other houses or some other location?
8 A. Upon my husband's return, well, then I could talk about it, but
9 for the whole period that they were away, I did not know where they were.
10 Q. Right. So you later found out where your husband and your
11 relatives had been. And where had they been?
12 A. Yes. They were in the neighbouring forests, behind every street,
13 behind every house. In the Petrica street there is a forest, so they were
14 hiding in the forest.
15 Q. All right. Now, sticking with you and your apartment, how long
16 roughly were you and your sons in your apartment before the Serbs left
18 A. More than 20 days.
19 Q. And why didn't you escape to the woods?
20 A. Because I was unable to. I would certainly have fled had I been
21 able to but whenever I tried to get out, my neighbour, Bosko Oric,
22 prevented me from leaving the apartment building. He always sent me back
23 to my flat and he said, "Close the shutters and don't look out of the
25 Q. Did you in fact at any stage during this 20-day period look out
1 and see what was happening in the town?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can you explain --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones, was this neighbour a Serb or a Muslim?
5 MR. JONES: Yes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: That was stopping her from --
7 MR. JONES:
8 Q. Yes, Ms. Kolenovic you heard the question, if you could answer
9 His Honour's question, please.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Bosko Oric, or whatever his name is that used to
11 stop you. He used to send you back to your apartment. Was he a Serb or a
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was a Serb.
14 MR. JONES:
15 Q. Now, you were telling us that you did actually see some at least
16 of what happened in the town of Srebrenica during this 20 days that you
17 were in your apartment. Can you just explain briefly what you saw?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you -- what I mean by that, apologies if I wasn't clear --
20 explain if you saw any activities of the Serbs in Srebrenica, if you saw
21 what they were doing, if anything?
22 A. I don't understand your question. Can you please repeat?
23 Q. Let me put it this way. During this period that you were in your
24 apartment, you've told us that you at some stage at least looked out over
25 the town and you could see the town. Did you see anything unusual in was
1 there anything which struck you when you looked out over the town?
2 A. Yes. On a daily basis, for a number of days, close to my
3 apartment building in Bato's house, there would be people arriving from
4 everywhere. Our locals, our neighbours, I mean from Bratunac, Kravica,
5 Skelani, because I heard them shout, "the Skelani people have arrived,"
6 "the Kravica have arrived," "the people from Sase have arrived," et
7 cetera. That's where they gathered.
8 Q. All right. Now, during -- you told us how you and your sons were
9 in your apartment during the Serb takeover of the town. Did any Serbs
10 ever come into your flat? By that I mean actually entering your flat
11 during that period.
12 A. Yes. On several occasions.
13 Q. Can you describe for us what happened on those occasions?
14 A. I asked for help on a number of occasions, I asked Bosko Oric to
15 at least allow me to go into the woods somewhere and he never allowed me.
16 He always swore at me or used bad language, and he used to warn me that I
17 was not to leave the flat at any time.
18 Q. Right. And leaving Bosko aside, did anyone else, any other Serbs,
19 ever come into our apartment?
20 A. Yes. 12 people from Skelani did come and they broke into the
21 apartment. They broke the door by kicking the door, and the door had been
22 locked but it just was broken and my sons were with me in my flat and they
23 asked me where Bosko's weapon was, who was -- there was a person who was
24 from Skelani who used to live on the fifth floor and I said that I did not
25 know who had what in their flats and why they were asking me about it.
1 And following that answer from me, he hit my son Amel. When he hit Amel I
2 tried to protect my child and then he started hitting Elvis.
3 Q. Sorry, I'll give you a moment to recover your composure, if you
4 can. Are you all right to continue, Ms. Kolenovic?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm taking over for a while, Mr. Jones.
6 Madam Kolenovic, do you want a short break? Because I don't like
7 this, let's have a short break. We will be outside. As soon as -- the
8 important thing is I don't want any cameras on at this moment from now on.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could I just have a Kleenex, please?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, they are over there. Help her, usher, please.
11 Let's break for a few minutes. When you think we can continue, please
12 tell me.
13 MR. JONES: I'll indicate it to Your Honours, thank you.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We are waiting outside but we will wait as long as
16 MR. JONES: Yes, thank you, Your Honour. I'm obliged.
17 --- Break taken at 9.40 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 9.57 a.m.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones. I certainly don't want you to
20 misunderstand me.
21 MR. JONES: May I anticipate what Your Honour might say.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you are anticipating, so I won't in -- I
23 will leave it in your hands.
24 MR. JONES: Right. If I might just say that there is a direct and
25 specific relevance of the --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm not contesting that.
2 MR. JONES: Yes, of the sons, of the treatment of the sons.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: That's why I was literally trying to be extremely
4 careful the way I put it because I see the relevance, too. I'm not saying
5 that there's no relevance --
6 MR. JONES: Yes, it's actually --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: -- but if we can avoid as much as possible putting
8 the witness in a position where we will have a repetition.
9 MR. JONES: Yes, absolutely.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I rely on you. I think you have enough experience
11 to deal with this. I don't think you need any lectures from me.
12 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. What I propose to do Ms. Kolenovic is -- I'm not going to stick
14 with this subject we were discussing any more at present. I don't want to
15 upset you. I may need to come back to it later on but for the moment we
16 are going to move to another subject area altogether, if that's clear.
18 Now, you've told us how during the Serb takeover of Srebrenica,
19 you were in your apartment for about 20 days. Did you emerge at some
20 point and actually leave your apartment and go into the streets?
21 A. No.
22 Q. When you say no, are you referring to the 20 days that you were in
23 Srebrenica or are you saying you never -- I take it you're not saying you
24 never left your apartment. What I'm interested in is, after the 20 days,
25 did you leave your apartment?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And when you left your apartment and went out into Srebrenica,
3 was -- did the town appear -- did the town appear to you as it was before
4 this 20 day period when you were in your apartment or was it different in
5 any way?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you can go direct on this, unless I hear an
7 objection from Ms. Richardson.
8 MS. RICHARDSON: No, Your Honour.
9 MR. JONES:
10 Q. Okay. Let me put it this way, Ms. Kolenovic: Did you see
11 evidence that houses had been burnt when you left -- when you went out
12 into the streets of Srebrenica?
13 A. Your Honour, I do apologise, but I would prefer you to first of
14 all get done with this matter of my sons, and not talk about how I left or
15 did not leave after they entered my apartment.
16 Q. If you're okay, if you're in a fit state to finish talking about
17 what happened to your sons during this 20 day period, then please do tell
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead, Madam Kolenovic.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When they entered my apartment, the
21 people who entered were from Skelani and they asked me about the weapon
22 and where it was that supposedly belonged to - and I've mentioned his name
23 before, the neighbour who used to live on the fifth floor - and I said I
24 did not know what stuff anyone had in their apartments, and the guy said
25 that there was a weapon downstairs and I reiterated my answer, and I said
1 I didn't know anything about it. And then he started hitting my son Elvis
2 and he hit Amel and he pulled some of his hair out and he actually started
3 bleeding, it was so rough, and I tried to protect my children. I was
4 unable to help them. And then they beat me up as well. They kicked me
5 and they used rifles and they took turns, and when we were lying on the
6 ground, they were jumping on us and they beat us all up, all three of us,
7 and then they left the apartment and we were still lying in the corridor
8 and something could be heard from downstairs, the fifth floor. They were
9 ransacking the apartment presumably, and after a few minutes they came
10 back to our floor. We did not move. And one of them was holding a rifle.
11 This was the first time I had set my eyes upon this rifle that they called
12 "the sniper," and I will never be able to forget it as long as I live.
13 And he threw the rifle in the air and then he caught it again and then he
14 said to me, you are Balinkura. Thanks to this rifle, you and your
15 children stayed alive. Had we not found the rifle we would have
16 slaughtered you.
17 Q. You mentioned this word Balinkura. What does that mean?
18 A. I do not know.
19 Q. Okay. Do you know someone called Ciro Jovanovic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did he ever come to your apartment?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Ms. Kolenovic I don't want to ask you anything more about your
24 sons if it's going to upset you. So please let me know whether it's okay
25 to move to this subject otherwise I'll move to a different subject.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. I can talk.
2 Q. Can you just explain what Ciro, what, if anything, Ciro Jovanovic
3 did when he came to your apartment?
4 A. Ciro Jovanovic asked where my son-in-law was because my
5 brother-in-law supposedly was -- because they were best friends. My
6 brother-in-law's name was Safet Suljanovic and he asked me where he was
7 and I said I didn't know. I said he had left Srebrenica and I didn't know
8 about his whereabouts and I didn't know where his family was either. And
9 Ciro, from that day, for 20 days running, came and took my children and
10 took them somewhere in town, I don't know where, but every morning when he
11 came, I appealed to him, and I offered him to take all of my property,
12 everything I had in my flat, and to spare my children but he would come to
13 collect my children every day and in the morning when he came for the
14 first time he said he was going to take them and I asked him just not to
15 kill them because they were young children. Elvis was only 7 and Amel was
16 only 12. On the day after, when he came again, he would just fire some
17 bullets and they knew that they had to go downstairs, that it was him.
18 And so as not to have too much time to talk about it and I mean it is very
19 difficult for me to talk about my children. I find it extremely hard.
20 Your Honours, I do apologise but I don't want to interrupt proceedings
21 again, but this is something that is extremely difficult and it's
22 something I can't talk about without breaking down and without crying, and
23 in the evenings, when children came home, they were always exhausted and
24 dirty and they had been beaten, and --
25 Q. Ms. Kolenovic I don't want you to be upset.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I would suggest, Madam Kolenovic, I know this is
2 important for you --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise but I
4 must say all this to you. I'm here because I want to tell you the truth,
5 nothing but the truth.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Just try to answer because this is not
7 an investigative procedure. This is -- you happen to be in a courtroom
8 where there is one individual who is standing trial, and the evidence that
9 the Defence requires is evidence that is related to their client's case.
10 I know these are very tragic events, very sad events, and I hope to God
11 that no one has to pass through these events again in life. However,
12 please, and I'm appealing to Mr. Jones as well, let's try and concentrate
13 on what is strictly relevant to Mr. Oric, without, of course, interfering
14 with what is relevant because you know what is relevant more than we do.
15 MR. JONES: Yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And I am appealing to you, Madam Kolenovic, to
17 understand that not every bit of information of what happened in
18 Srebrenica during this time is important for this case. There are many
19 events that happened that are important and there are many events that
20 happened, some of them personal, that may not be that important. I know
21 they may be very important for you, but they may be completely irrelevant
22 or not that important for Mr. Oric. And who is standing trial here is not
23 the Serbian people or Mr. Jovanovic or the other person from Skelani but
24 Mr. Oric.
25 MR. JONES: Well, Your Honour, that's clear.
1 Q. The question -- as you will see, the relevance --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: It's up to you, of course. I mean, I'm not in any
3 way interfering because --
4 MR. JONES: It will become clear that the trauma suffered by her
5 son is directly relevant to the charges in Kravica. I won't say any more
6 at this point.
7 Q. But, Ms. Kolenovic, I do want to move on because we do need to
8 make progress. We've heard about mistreatment of your sons and I do need
9 to ask you about houses burning in Srebrenica, briefly. When you were in
10 your apartment, did you see any houses burning in Srebrenica?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: During the 20 days?
12 MR. JONES: Yes, during the 20-day period.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: During the 20 days.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 MR. JONES:
16 Q. All right. Where in the town were these houses burning? Were you
17 able to see?
18 A. In the very centre.
19 MR. JONES: I ask if the witness could be shown photograph number
21 Q. Do you recognise this street?
22 A. I do.
23 Q. What street is it?
24 A. The street of Reufa Selmanagica.
25 Q. Right. We see in this picture that evidently there are some
1 houses which have suffered damage. Do you know when that occurred?
2 A. All that happened during the period of time that Serbs stayed in
3 Srebrenica, in April, that is.
4 Q. Did you actually yourself ever -- after this 20-day period, did
5 you see Reufa Selmanagica street?
6 A. I haven't quite understood what you meant.
7 Q. When you left your apartment after the 20 days, did you see Reufa
8 Selmanagica street?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was it in this state or was it in some other state?
11 A. It was even worse than this.
12 Q. Can you just give us a brief indication of what parts of
13 Srebrenica, to your knowledge, were burnt after the Serbs had occupied the
15 A. The only thing you can see here is just a small part, some of the
16 houses which had been burnt down but in the centre of town, all Muslim
17 houses had been burnt down and all Muslim businesses as well. Next to the
18 supermarket and that's not too far from the mosque - you can't see it from
19 here - there used to be an apartment building there, a two-storey building
20 with two entries and only Muslims lived there. That building was set on
21 fire and the people inside were trapped in there. Esad "Sumar" Fazlic and
22 his wife, they were burnt to death in that apartment building, and near to
23 the supermarket, Redzip's house, was also burnt down, and he himself was
24 also burnt to death. And then Jelkic -- I can't remember his first name,
25 and his wife, who was -- and then also the director of the public
1 utilities company and his wife, and then again, behind the supermarket,
2 not far from the mosque, another house, and that's where somebody else was
3 burnt to death. It was in the area called Hrid, behind the mosque. All
4 this is in the centre of town. Whoever stayed in their houses, they were
5 all torched, burnt alive.
6 Q. You mentioned Petrica before in your testimony. Were any houses
7 burnt in Petrica?
8 A. Yes. Some houses were burnt and they were at the end of that
9 street more or less, and were close to the forest. My neighbour, Salko
10 Jusic, his house was set on fire, and he tried to get out, and as he was
11 coming out, he was killed on the stairs of his own house.
12 Q. Did you actually see his body?
13 A. I did.
14 Q. Do you know an area called Crvena Rijeka in Srebrenica?
15 A. I do.
16 Q. Were any houses burnt in that part of Srebrenica?
17 A. Yes. The entire street was burnt in that area and the houses were
18 burnt facing the Domavija hotel.
19 Q. And in total, and in -- I'm asking on the basis of what you
20 yourself saw, put it this way: How many houses in Srebrenica, private
21 houses, were not burnt?
22 A. Very few. If I may, Your Honours, I would just like to clarify
23 this. When I left my flat for the first time, and I went in the direction
24 of Petrica, my elderly parents were there and the rest of my family was
25 there, and any able-bodied men had fled to the forests, and I had never
1 seen anything more horrific in my whole life. It was a ghost city. It
2 was a horror city. And it looked like a total waste land, and as I went
3 from my flat to my parents' place, it's about one kilometre away, I was
4 frightened so much that I couldn't even walk straight. I kept turning
5 around because I felt I was being stalked or something by this horror, by
6 the sheer horror of the situation, and I just could not comprehend how
7 anyone could have done anything like that. I'd never seen anything more
8 horrific. I had never -- actually I didn't see or meet anyone except a
9 couple of dogs, stray dogs, who were running around, and there was a lot
10 of rubbish in the streets, papers, people's belongings, some vehicles had
11 been set on fire. Others had just been damaged. The town looked worse
12 than what we had seen in some horror films, and when I went in the
13 direction of Petrici, there is a building called the miner's building
14 there, and the doors were gaping open and I could see a woman and three
15 small children in the corridor and actually I could see their dead bodies
16 because they had been killed.
17 Q. Now, I'm going to move ahead from this period after the 20 days
18 that you spent in your apartment, when you came out into Srebrenica again.
19 Firstly, do you know why or when the Serbs left Srebrenica?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. When was it, roughly?
22 A. I was in my apartment. It was in May, the beginning of May. I
23 don't know exactly what date it was. I can't really give you an exact
24 date but it was when Goran Zekic was killed. There was such a fuss about
25 it in town and then they simply disappeared, and what I've told you
1 before - just in order to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings,
2 Your Honours - when Goran Zekic was killed, I went to Petrica and I saw
3 the way the city was, and throughout that period I had been in my flat.
4 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, this is in May 1992. I'm going to
5 move forward into the summer of 1992 and, again, I take it's not in
6 dispute that there was -- that subsequently refugees came into Srebrenica
7 and that precipitated a refugee crisis. Now -- so I'd simply ask you a
8 few specific questions about your experience of refugees coming into
9 Srebrenica. Firstly, do you know roughly which or how many municipalities
10 people came from into Srebrenica?
11 A. I do know because I'm involved in the search for missing persons
12 so I know exactly that people came from nine different municipalities, and
13 they were arriving gradually in the course of the summer, and it was
14 mostly rural population.
15 Q. Now, do you know roughly - you spent your whole life in
16 Srebrenica - how many of the original inhabitants of Srebrenica actually
17 remained or who were still in Srebrenica in the summer of 1992?
18 A. In town, well only 370 locals remained in town, because I myself
19 did not know about that before the city had been deserted and they had all
20 taken to the woods or gone to the surrounding locations and when the Serbs
21 left Srebrenica, only 370 locals stayed in Srebrenica.
22 Q. And that's out of a pre-war population of how many?
23 A. In the city itself, there were 5.600 people in town.
24 Q. Turning to the refugees, let's say by the end of the summer of
25 1992, roughly how many refugees would you estimate were in Srebrenica?
1 It's not necessary to have an exact figure, but just roughly.
2 A. At that time, there was nobody there who could organise a
3 consensus of any kind -- a census, sorry, of any kind, and they kept
4 arriving and throughout 1992 and 1993, people kept arriving from all sorts
5 of places, so perhaps 50.000, roughly speaking. Some estimates point out
6 to 50, other 40.000, I really wouldn't be able to tell you.
7 Q. Thank you. But then -- I take it, then, that in that period in
8 1992, there were thousands of people who you didn't know. Would that be
9 correct? In Srebrenica, obviously.
10 A. No.
11 MS. RICHARDSON: Your Honour, if I may, I believe that the witness
12 answered to -- with respect to the amount of refugees, it happened over a
13 period of time. So I'm not sure that counsel should be asking if there
14 were thousands of people that she knew in the summer of 1993. Perhaps we
15 can get an approximate number for the summer, but I believe her testimony
16 as to the 50.000 covers 1992 and 1993, so that we are clear.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Mr. Jones, if you could address this, I
18 mean --
19 MR. JONES: I think I can approach it differently.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I think so. Basically I think it would be even
21 better for everyone if you did.
22 MR. JONES:
23 Q. Ms. Kolenovic -- Ms. Kolenovic, over here. Let's take, say June
24 1992 or July 1992. As you walked around the town of Srebrenica, did you
25 see a lot of people you knew or did you see a lot of people who you didn't
1 know? You could just explain how that was.
2 A. I saw mostly people I did not know and there were thousands of
3 them. I've already mentioned that, in 1992, refugees kept arriving from
4 all of Eastern Bosnia, nine municipalities in all, and people kept coming
5 into town and into some of the outlying Muslim villages, in the vicinity
6 of Srebrenica. And in 1993, people kept coming. Some people were also
7 leaving to go to Zepa. Those were coming from Zepa. So in case I didn't
8 make myself clear, I simply wanted to say I don't know exactly what the
9 number of people was.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, did you personally have any problems or
11 difficulties with refugees who were coming into Srebrenica in the summer
12 of 1992?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Could you just give us an idea of some of those problems?
15 A. We were in our apartment, and all of a sudden, it was like
16 floodgates breaking and the refugees starting -- getting into those two
17 buildings, and they opened the doors to my apartment and I wasn't counting
18 them but there were certainly more than 30 of them, and we were so scared
19 that the four of us just huddled in a corner. My husband and my two
20 children and myself, we just didn't know what was going on. We were
21 scared. And they went into the rooms and the kitchen and the corridor,
22 and they kept saying, this is ours. And they -- some of them had some
23 bags, others didn't. And they spent several days in our apartment. And
24 we were not allowed to tell them anything at all because they had been
25 driven out of their homes and each and every one of them had something
1 really bad, some terrible experience to tell us about, so my husband and I
2 simply did not dare tell them and explain to them that it was our
3 apartment, that they had to leave, that several of them perhaps could
4 stay, that we were happy to help, and so it was a period that lasted for
5 about five or six days where we tried to put it to them gently that it
6 would be better for them to leave, that there are other vacant areas, and
7 to get at least some of them to leave my apartment.
8 Q. Why couldn't you have them ejected by calling on the police or
9 local authorities if such existed?
10 A. What police?
11 Q. Thank you. I take it from that that there was no police force
12 that you were aware of at that time?
13 A. I mean, I've told you what the situation was like in Srebrenica,
14 and nothing whatsoever existed there. No local authority or anything like
15 that. That had existed before the war, but afterwards, nothing.
16 Q. When did these refugees come into your apartment?
17 A. In April -- no, sorry, in May. It was in May.
18 Q. And the year, please, just for the record?
19 A. 1992.
20 Q. Yes. And do you know where some of these people were from?
21 A. Yes, I do. They told me. They were Roma from Orlica.
22 MR. JONES: I was about to use a map but I see the time, although
23 we did have a short break.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We did have 17 minutes. Of course, that is
25 not enough. I was going to suggest that we go on for the time being and,
1 of course, we will have a proper break and have the break when Madam needs
2 it, most actually. I think if we can proceed for a few more minutes.
3 MR. JONES: Yes, certainly.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: When you are moving to some other area or you
5 require a break yourself, then we will have another break. I want to make
6 sure that you can -- that the break that we have had does not disrupt
7 your --
8 MR. JONES: Thank you. I'm obliged, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Your programme of finishing with this witness,
11 MR. JONES: Yes, I'm still confident I can finish today. So we
12 have copies of a map. In fact, it's the same map that was used with
13 Ms. Hotic but we have clean copies because that one was marked up.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Incidentally while we are at this -- what I have
15 just said is subject to requirements from the technical equipe and the
16 interpreters. If you think you require a break now, then we will have it
17 now. It's up to you. We will be having a break in any case. So please
18 let us know what your preference is.
19 THE INTERPRETER: We can continue, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
21 MR. JONES:
22 Q. Now, Ms. Kolenovic, you'll be receiving a map --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Are we going to give this a number?
24 MR. JONES: Yes, please, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So this will be D726.
1 MR. JONES: Yes, that's correct.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Is that correct?
3 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
5 MR. JONES:
6 Q. Now, if you could just look to your right, Ms. Kolenovic, and see
7 if you can locate, first of all, Srebrenica on that map. We need to pull
8 back a bit.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, there is no need to mark Srebrenica but if you can locate
11 Orlica on that map, that would also be helpful. If you look to your
12 right, actually, Ms. Kolenovic, if you use the map.
13 A. Excuse me.
14 Q. You see Srebrenica to the left, Drina to the right, and only if
15 you know where Orlica is and can locate it. I'm assuming there won't be
16 any great objections on this matter. Do you see where it's
17 written, "Drina," in blue on the right-hand side?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Can --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise.
20 MR. JONES:
21 Q. There you go, Drina. You see where the words are
22 written, "Drina"? And then take -- there we go. In fact, I will ask you
23 if you could circle Orlica, please, with a pen.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, the witness has pointed to the towns
25 of Srebrenica, the town of Srebrenica, and the village of Orlica, which
1 she has encircled on Defence Exhibit D726. Yes.
2 MR. JONES: Or is about to. Thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Also, Srebrenica --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours, but my
5 glasses are not that good.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And could you also encircle, please, Srebrenica, for
8 MR. JONES: Yes, Ms. Kolenovic, if you could just take the pen and
9 circle Srebrenica with a nice, round figure. Thank you.
10 Q. Now, did you have conversations with these people from Orlica?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did they tell you how they came to be in Srebrenica?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And how came they to be in Srebrenica?
15 A. All of them had their own particular story, that they had to
16 leave, that there was shooting there, that some villages were burned, that
17 it was actually then that I got information about what was going on in
18 Bratunac, that many people there were separated, that families were
19 divided. In my apartment, the people who came also, they were not
20 complete families. Some of them were hiding in the woods, some stayed in
21 the houses, so that families were separated and whole families did not
22 reach Srebrenica. A grandmother came with two children while the mother
23 and father were somewhere else, and they never found out -- I don't know.
24 Q. Just a couple more questions before the break. I want to ask you
25 about the food situation in Srebrenica, and, again, I take it it's not in
1 dispute that there was a crisis in 1992-93. But I would ask you if you
2 could describe the appearance of your sons, firstly, in that period, if
3 you can do so without getting too upset. Just briefly, how did they
4 appear? Did they appear as they did before the war or what? I think this
5 might have been a mistake in the interpretation. The appearance of your
6 sons is what I'm asking about. The physical appearance, in 1992.
7 A. I was living in my apartment. There was a large supermarket in my
8 building. At the beginning, when the Serbs came, they first looted the
9 whole of Srebrenica, all of the food was taken away from Srebrenica. I
10 didn't have any need in the apartment to have food stocks, to have a
11 reserve because I was used to going to town and buying whatever I needed.
12 Every day I would buy one or two loaves of bread. I would do that every
13 day so I didn't have too much extra food in the beginning so that right
14 away, we were hungry and as Srebrenica was looted. I described the state
15 that the Serbs left Srebrenica in. All that they could take that was
16 valuable, they took. What was left, they set on fire. My car in front of
17 the building was also driven away.
18 Q. One matter of clarification, when you say "every day I would buy
19 bread," you're speaking about before the war, I take it?
20 A. Yes, I'm talking about the period before the war.
21 Q. And what was -- during the war, what was the longest period that
22 you and your sons went without any food?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you rephrase the question? It's --
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 20 -- 21 days.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Because this is what has happened. She has not
1 understood your question. Before the war, you were asking?
2 MR. JONES: No, sorry, I meant --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: That's how it is in the transcript.
4 MR. JONES:
5 Q. No I said during the war what was the longest period you and your
6 sons went without food, and she replied 21 days.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
8 MR. JONES:
9 Q. And when was that, finally?
10 A. This was in 1992, late 1992.
11 Q. Yes. I think that's -- I did have one more question because I
12 think it's best to finish this theme and then have a break. Did your --
13 I'm going to lead. Did your sons ever get in fights with each other over
15 A. Yes. This happened on a day when they were very exhausted. I
16 cannot explain to you how people behaved during that time. These were no
17 longer people who could control themselves. There was such exhaustion
18 because of the lack of food and people no longer behaved in a normal way.
19 I myself didn't behave in a normal way. Neither did my children. My son
20 Elvis was going from apartment house from apartment house, from house to
21 house, looking for a way to save himself, to find a scrap of bread, if
22 anybody had any bread, not white bread but wheat bread. He had luck and
23 he received a morsal. I found out later what happened between my sons.
24 And he told Amel how he ate that small piece of bread. Amel knocked him
25 down on his back, stepped on his stomach, and he had to throw up, and then
1 when he threw up, he hit him, he kicked him in the nose and Elvis came
2 home. He was all bloodied and crying. Amel was with him. And then I
3 asked them "What happened?" I wanted them to explain why Elvis was
4 bloodied, and then Amel said that Elvis ate this little piece of bread and
5 that he didn't want to give any to him and that he did that to Elvis
6 because Elvis ate the bread. I couldn't believe at the time what was
7 happening with my children, why Amel, who loved his brother so much, why
8 he would do something like that to him. My son Amel, who was older, was
9 behaving in a strange way because he too was hungry and I, as a mother,
10 couldn't help them in any way. I couldn't influence my children in any
11 way to encourage them, to imbue them with some hope that things will be
12 better, because I felt the same way. I was hungry, and I couldn't look
13 for anything. So I didn't really condemn them because of what happened.
14 It was just not a normal situation any longer. People were losing their
15 humanity. It was an extraordinary situation. I really am not able to
16 explain it any better.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. JONES: I would like to take the break at that point.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We will have a 25-minute break. That
20 would not impede with your schedule?
21 MR. JONES: No, thank you.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.42 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.10 a.m.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones.
1 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Now, Ms. Kolenovic, before the break, you were telling us this
3 story about your sons' behaviour and you said they were acting, or at
4 least Amel was acting abnormally at the time. At this time, late 1992,
5 early 1993, I think you said it was, was it just your children who were
6 acting abnormally or were there other people in Srebrenica acting
8 A. Yes. My children behaved like that, and all the other people too,
9 children, women, all of the population.
10 Q. And at that time, and when I say that time, let's say December
11 1992, January 1993, was it uncommon to see people who looked emaciated,
12 who looked like they hadn't eaten for a long time?
13 A. Yes. They had been deprived of food for a long time.
14 Q. Yes. My question was, was that a common or an uncommon sight, to
15 see people who looked like they had been deprived of food for a long time?
16 A. Yes. For people who hadn't eaten for a long time.
17 Q. Could you just describe how the people, people you saw in
18 Srebrenica in December 1992, how they looked? Describe -- give some
20 A. Yes. They looked quite strange. These were no longer ordinary,
21 normal people. People behaved like hungry beasts, like hyenas. I behaved
22 like that, too. My children did. Everybody did. I was most afraid when
23 this happened in 1992, when these were really no longer normal people.
24 People simply turned into animals, even those people whom I knew, they no
25 longer greeted each other, no longer asked each other, "How are you?
1 Where are you?" Nothing. They would simply pass by you. They would
2 either be making noises like cows, they would be making noises like
3 barking dogs or roosters. I was very, very afraid. In those days, I
4 didn't even dare move out of my apartment because a large number of people
5 were walking up and down the streets. They themselves didn't know where
6 they were going. I would always stop my ears so that I wouldn't hear
7 these awful noises. This period actually put me into a situation where I
8 was even more disturbed and affected, and I was even more afraid about
9 what was going on with these people. So I didn't dare leave my apartment
10 or I didn't allow my children to go anywhere either.
11 Q. You said people were making animal noises. Do you know why they
12 were making animal noises?
13 A. Yes. They did that because they were hungry. They were very
15 Q. And what was the physical appearance of these people who you
16 describe making these noises and walking the streets?
17 A. They no longer looked like people. They no longer looked the way
18 they looked before, the way they looked a few months before that.
19 Everybody was very thin, just skin and bone. Those people whom I knew,
20 when I met them, I would turn away so that I wouldn't see them. My
21 children were like that too. My sons were so thin that their skin even
22 had become thin. They were just skin and bone. It seemed to me that my
23 son was just half a metre, he was so skinny. I had 48 kilos then, and now
24 I weigh 62. And you can imagine, I had 20 kilograms less than I do now,
25 so you can imagine how I looked.
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpret's correction "42 kilos, I weighed."
2 MR. JONES: Also there might be a correction too. "My son was
3 just a half a metre"? Did you refer to your son's neck when you were
4 talking about his appearance?
5 A. Yes, yes. I was talking about the neck. I would like to ask the
6 Defence to understand what I'm saying. I already said that his neck
7 looked as if it was half a metre long, so please don't confuse me.
8 Q. Not at all. I wouldn't want to do that. It was just to correct
9 the transcript.
10 Now, you've -- we've looked at some photographs today and you told
11 us that was during demilitarisation. Was the situation, as far as people
12 getting food, was that better or worse or the same during
13 demilitarisation? Had anything changed?
14 A. A little bit.
15 Q. Were people getting more food during demilitarisation than they
16 were during 1992?
17 A. I didn't understand the question.
18 Q. Well, I'll lead on air drops. Were there air drops of food in
19 early 1993, to your knowledge?
20 A. Yes. The question is clear now.
21 Q. Let me put it this way. It may be put to you that some of the
22 people in these photographs don't look so terrible, they don't look so
23 thin. Do you have any explanation in light of what you've been telling us
24 for why some of these people don't look incredibly thin?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Richardson?
1 MS. RICHARDSON: I would object to the way this is not only a
2 leading question, but this is certainly going into almost a description of
3 the -- by Defence counsel himself and I think the question can be put to
4 the witness in another manner.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. It's no big deal, actually. I don't see any
6 harm in the way the question was put, but perhaps if you rephrase it,
7 you'll meet Ms. Richardson halfway. And I would suggest that you first
8 indicate the relevant photos to the witness, give her a chance to see them
9 one after the other, and then you can ask whatever question you like. I
10 don't see a harm, much harm, or any harm in the way you put it, basically.
11 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Technically Ms. Richardson is correct.
13 MR. JONES:
14 Q. Let's look at photograph 8. Yes. Now, Ms. Kolenovic, if you
15 would look at that photograph, the people there, you've been describing
16 the appearance of people in late 1992. Did they look like these people or
17 did they look in better shape or worse shape, if you could give us some
18 sort of comparison, that would be helpful.
19 A. They were worse looking. Your Honours, I would like to say
20 something. During the time that food was dropped from the air, I and my
21 children managed to get two lunch packets on two occasions. We really
22 couldn't get better or put on weight because of that. Some people were
23 more skilled in getting more food and going to other places to get food,
24 but I myself and my children only had two lunch packets each on two
25 occasions, and that was enough to live on for a day or two. But not
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 longer. This is something that I wanted to clarify, both to the Defence
2 and to you.
3 Q. Thank you. Now before air drops started did you actually go
4 outside Srebrenica to find food?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there an objection?
6 MS. RICHARDSON: Your Honour, actually, I must have not timed my
7 objection correctly but if counsel will be putting any more questions to
8 the witness with respect to a series of these pictures, I would at least
9 like counsel to establish when in 1993 it is alleged these photographs
10 were taken. We are hearing that they were given to the witness and I'd
11 like to at least determine whether or not we have a month in mind.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we would have had that cleared in the first
13 place, in the beginning of the sitting, will it been possible.
14 MR. JONES: Yes, she said during demilitarisation and that's -- if
15 the Prosecution considers that insufficient they can re-examine on that.
16 MS. RICHARDSON: Your Honour, these pictures were given during or
17 taken do you remember demilitarisation. I think those are two different
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All we know is these photos were given to her and we
20 have no further indication as to when they were taken. I think I got
21 that --
22 MR. JONES: No, they were given to her during the -- it's all in
23 the transcript. I don't know why the Prosecution is getting this wrong.
24 It was given to her on the 10th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica,
25 which is obviously not during demilitarisation, and they were taken during
2 JUDGE AGIUS: That's about it. That's all we know.
3 MS. RICHARDSON: And, Your Honour, just so that we are clear with
4 respect to laying the proper foundation and so that the photographs are
5 properly examined by Your Honours later on, is it the witness's testimony
6 that she was told they were taken? How do we know?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I think you can -- let's put it -- you either put
8 the question now or you leave it for Ms. Richardson to put on
10 MR. JONES: Yes, I'll leave it to Ms. Richardson.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: What I have understood is that these photos were
12 given to her or them, as explained by Mr. Jones earlier on, or and by the
13 witness, and that they are photos that, allegedly at least, the indication
14 is that they were taken pre-1995 and during therefore the
15 demilitarisation, but that's the only indication that we have. I don't
16 think there is an indication as to the month or week or date.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Unless I've got it wrong, I don't have the
18 transcript in front of me. I distinctly recall, Your Honour, that
19 Mr. Jones quite rightly asked the witness when they were taken and the
20 witness said in 1993. Now, that's my recollection of the evidence. I
21 don't know if it was January 1993 or June or --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: We can check that but the impression that I got
23 is --
24 MR. DI FAZIO: -- or November.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: -- that -- the impression that I have is that they
1 were given to her and that they were taken during the -- after
2 demilitarisation came into --
3 MS. RICHARDSON: I certainly have will have a series of questions
4 about these photographs during cross, so that's fine.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones, let's proceed.
6 MR. JONES: It couldn't be January 1993 because that's
7 pre-demilitarisation and the Prosecution should know when demilitarisation
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's not waste time on this.
10 MR. JONES: And may I also say, just for my purposes, I could have
11 a picture of a man from any period and say, "Did people look better or
12 worse?" For my purposes it doesn't matter.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Definitely, definitely.
14 MR. JONES:
15 Q. Now, did you -- I asked a question a while back whether you ever
16 went outside Srebrenica to search for food. Is that something you did in
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you mention some of the places which you went to, to find
21 A. I went on several occasions to all of the places where I would go
22 with the rest of the population. Thousands of us would go to these places
23 every day to look for food.
24 Q. Are you familiar with the term "torbari"?
25 A. Of course. I don't know -- somebody called us torbari but we all
1 had bags, torba.
2 Q. Would that refer to civilians who went to get food at this period?
3 A. Yes. Everybody went to look for food.
4 Q. Now, I want to ask in general terms based on your expeditions to
5 get food, did you observe whether the torbari went into actions -- sorry,
6 went into villages before actions began or during actions or after
7 actions? Can you provide us with some comment?
8 MS. RICHARDSON: Your Honour, I think we are getting into an area
9 now where it's certainly contested issues, and I would ask counsel not to
10 lead and have the witness -- put non-leading questions to the witness.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mrs. Richardson.
12 MR. JONES: I take it that wasn't a suggestion that that question
13 was leading.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't take it as leading but in other words,
15 you're being put on the alert that there will be objections if you put
16 leading questions.
17 MS. RICHARDSON: Indeed, Your Honour, that was my point.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: That's how I understood it because otherwise the
19 question is perfectly legitimate. I would split it because I think it
20 contains too much in one sentence, but that's up to you.
21 MR. JONES:
22 Q. Ms. Kolenovic, did torbari go in search of food purely on their
23 own or were they sometimes searching for food in the course of an action?
24 A. They would go on their own.
25 Q. Okay. I'm going to revisit that theme but I want to go to
1 somewhere specific. Do you know a place called Fakovici?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you ever go there or try to go there in 1992?
4 A. Tried to.
5 Q. And when was that, if you could tell us the month and the year --
6 or the month?
7 A. This was in late 1992.
8 Q. All right. Do you know the month when it occurred? Or sorry,
9 when you went there?
10 A. Perhaps it was September.
11 Q. You're sure of the month? Or do you not know?
12 A. I don't know the month.
13 Your Honours, I just wanted to clarify, there is no place around
14 Srebrenica where Muslim or Serb villages were, that the population did not
15 go to in search of food. Before the war, I never left Srebrenica. I was
16 not familiar with the villages around Srebrenica. But everything I went
17 through in 1992 and there were some terrible things, all of that is mixed
18 up for me now. I don't know which month. I don't know the dates. Even
19 now I still don't know my son's name, well, thank God that I'm still
20 normal enough to be able to speak with people in a normal way.
21 So I would like you to take into account what I am saying, that we
22 don't go into too many details when this was. I really did go to Fakovici
23 with the other people. There were quite a few of us. There were
24 thousands of us. And nobody counted these people. And nobody could ever
25 say exactly how many people there were. Wherever we would go, there would
1 always be thousands of us, not 1.000 but thousands of us.
2 Q. Now, you said earlier that you tried to go to Fakovici. Do I
3 understand that you didn't actually reach Fakovici?
4 A. Yes -- no.
5 Q. And why -- why did you not actually reach Fakovici itself?
6 A. I got to one village, and that's where I heard the name of that
7 village, but the shelling was very intense, and the shooting from
8 Fakovici. People were coming back and some were passing by. Some were
9 wounded or carrying the dead. There was shooting in all directions.
10 Thousands of people were on the move. Some of them were going there, some
11 were coming back. It was such a state of chaos that it's very difficult
12 to describe. Why such numbers of people would be going in the direction
13 of the shooting. But some people were going in that direction and some
14 were returning from there.
15 Q. What led to you being en route for Fakovici in the first place?
16 Why were you trying to go there or how did you know to go there?
17 A. I would kindly like to ask the Defence counsel -- well, I didn't
18 go anywhere just for no reason. I only went in search of food. I wasn't
19 thinking about my own life. I wasn't thinking about the shelling. I
20 didn't think that I might get killed or trip on a mine or that I wouldn't
21 bring something back. All I had in front of me was that I would go there
22 and bring something back for my children. So, please, if you can, don't
23 ask me about that too much. I'm only here to tell the truth. And,
24 Your Honours, I would like to ask you also to know that I am here out of
25 my best intentions, and I'm only here to tell the truth. I never went
1 anywhere other than to look for food. I did that as well as the rest of
2 the population.
3 Q. Yes, Ms. Kolenovic, there might have been a misunderstanding. I'm
4 certainly not suggesting anything other than that you're here to tell the
5 truth. That's plain.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's cut it short, I think if you don't mind,
7 Mr. Jones.
8 MR. JONES: Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: You want to stop a little bit, Madam Kolenovic, or
10 shall we continue? It's up to you.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We can continue.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Just -- and we will close on this. How come that,
13 out of all places you decided to go, and others decided to go to Fakovici?
14 How come it was Fakovici and not somewhere else? This is what Mr. Jones
15 tried to make you answer. Am I correct, Mr. Jones? Because it's --
16 MR. JONES: Yes.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: -- if I'm not interpreting your question.
18 MR. JONES: That's precisely it.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Please.
20 MR. JONES: I'm not going to pursue it if the witness --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay, but if she can answer the
22 question, she can answer it. If she can't answer the question, then we
23 will move to something different, because Fakovici was quite a distance
24 away. I mean, it's not getting out of Srebrenica and it's around the
25 corner. It's quite a few kilometres away. So how come you -- the rest of
1 you decided to go there?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The entire population that
3 originated from various municipalities around Srebrenica knew where Serb
4 villages were, and they knew that it was the only source of food, and that
5 was the only thing that we could do for our survival. So we went to all
6 those Serb villages. I myself went to some Muslim villages as well, and I
7 was forced to steal food. I would sneak into a garden and actually steal
8 food to take back home to my children, and I used to do that in Muslim
9 villages as well. I mean, I would have stolen stuff from my own father
10 had I had to, to give to my children.
11 MR. JONES:
12 Q. I just have one further question on Fakovici. You said that
13 people were coming back from Fakovici and there were wounded and some were
14 carrying the dead, there was shooting in all directions. Did people say
15 anything about the shooting, about where it was coming from?
16 A. From the houses in Fakovici.
17 Q. Okay. Now, did you ever go to the Bjelovac area in 1992?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you ever go to Sase in 1992?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And when was that?
22 A. It was by the end, it was winter.
23 Q. Is that before or after this -- before or after you went to
25 A. It was before.
1 Q. You went to Sase, then Fakovici. Did you return to Sase after
3 A. I only went to Sase once.
4 Q. All right. Can you -- can you describe what happened when you
5 went to Sase?
6 A. I can. I set off like every other time, with other people. There
7 were women, children, and whoever was able to walk. Some elderly women as
8 well who were strong enough to walk. There were thousands and thousands
9 of us. I can't tell you how many thousands. And wherever we went looking
10 for food -- I mean, I can't really specify but we are talking about at
11 least 20.000 people on the move. And I got to Sase and there was horrible
12 shooting. I could hear it coming from Sase. And I paid no heed to that
13 and the others didn't either. We were like hungry hyenas. We were so
14 starved and we gathered up all our strength simply to get our hands on
15 some food. The other refugees -- I mean, I myself was in a slightly
16 better situation because I was in my own home and I had my own bed to
17 sleep in and I had my own crockery, my own sheets, and all that, but there
18 were people who were much worse off; the refugees, I mean, they had
19 nothing at all. What was important to them was to get into a house, any
20 house, no matter whether it was a Serb or a Muslim house, they needed to
21 get their hands on some clothes, maybe get some pants, because they had no
22 property at all. They couldn't even change their children's clothes.
23 Now, I myself did not need any of that. All I needed was some food.
24 Q. Thank you for that. But if you could focus on Sase and --
25 firstly, you've told us how you would go looking for food. Did you find
1 any food in Sase?
2 A. First of all, when I entered Sase, I was surprised. I saw depots
3 such as you wouldn't believe. Today, looking back, if I think of that, I
4 simply can't help wondering how anyone managed to stay alive in Srebrenica
5 since we saw so many casing and cartridges et cetera, and they had
6 antiaircraft machine-guns and guns and those are these weapons that they
7 called PAMs, and I kept wondering throughout the war how powerful a weapon
8 it had to be, but when I got up to Sase I was really surprised to see how
9 many lethal weapons must have been used. There were piles of these
10 casings and cartridges, and it was only from that one single village that
11 all of that had been fired.
12 Q. Right. Thank you. And then in terms of food, did you find any
13 food or did you see any refugees finding food? What happened in that
14 respect, please?
15 A. Yes. It is a bit of a sad story, even though it might have a
16 funny side as well. A pig came along from I don't know where. About
17 2.000 or 3.000 of us refugees basically chased that pig. And we were so
18 exhausted because the pig was running around from one hill to another and
19 it was just running to and fro until the pig itself was exhausted. And
20 something else that I find simply unbelievable but that's what happened,
21 was that people fell upon the pig and they actually killed it with their
22 bare hands and they took the meat, there were hundreds of people
23 clamouring for this meat and they dismembered the pig with their bare
24 hands. And I myself got into the fray and tried to get my hands on
25 anything I could, just a little bit of that pig, and people were walking
1 all over me, they were jumping over me, and so I got hurt, in fact, and
2 for a while I found it impossible to get up.
3 And as I was lying on the ground, some left and there was snow all
4 over but snow had melted and there was -- you could see the ground, and
5 some blood on the ground as well. And some of those people, and there
6 were children there, and they were licking the blood of the pig.
7 I myself did not manage to find any food at Sase. I don't know
8 how I can put this into words, how I can explain to you how those people
9 behaved. I can't help wondering even now. I mean, how did they find it in
10 themselves to actually dismember a pig with their bare hands?
11 Q. Now, that day that you were in Sase, do you know where your
12 husband was?
13 A. Yes. He was in Bjelovac.
14 Q. Do you know what he was doing in Bjelovac?
15 A. He was with other people, fighters and civilians. I would have
16 gone to Bjelovac to look for food as well but there was horrific shelling
17 then and we could see dead and wounded, a lot of dead people who were
18 being brought back and the wounded coming back so I didn't dare.
19 Q. Was your husband among the wounded or was he -- was he not wounded
20 on that day?
21 A. Yes. When my husband came home, I found out that he had been
23 Q. And do you know how he came to be wounded?
24 A. He was wounded by a shot from a house in Bjelovaci and a bullet
25 went through his shoulder. So his bone is damaged, so this bit here. And
1 I barely managed to get his shirt off because it was stuck because of
2 dried blood, and you could see the bone as well. So his shirt and his
3 vest were all soaked in blood.
4 Q. Did he tell you anything else of what had happened or what had
5 been going on in Bjelovac that day?
6 A. He did.
7 Q. Tell us, please.
8 A. He told me everything. He told me that in Bjelovac, in every Serb
9 house in Bjelovac, there was a lot of weaponry, and I had forgotten to say
10 before, and so I'm going to say it now, that he himself brought back a
11 rifle. I can't remember which one it was, because I don't really like to
12 talk about arms, but I think it was an automatic rifle. And so he had
13 found a rifle as well in one of the Serb houses, and he said that people
14 were shooting at them from inside the houses, and he was wounded, as I
15 said, in his shoulder, and he also said that there were lots of civilians,
16 too many civilians, women and children, who were being killed and there
17 were too many wounded, and the way he told the story to me was that there
18 were hundreds and hundreds of them, and that all hell broke loose and
19 there was a lot of noise, the screaming, the shooting, and they themselves
20 didn't know what to do. They didn't know how to help. They didn't dare
21 return the fire because there were too many civilians in their way. So
22 they simply could not save them. They couldn't defend them. And he also
23 told me that planes were dropping bombs on those civilians and that quite
24 a few civilians, women and children, and men as well, and quite a few of
25 them were wounded as a result of that air raid. And I myself saw, when I
1 was in Sase, I saw a green plane, it was a green-coloured plane.
2 Q. When you mentioned planes dropping bombs on civilians, are you
3 talking about Serb civilians, Muslim civilians, what precisely? And this
4 is obviously what your husband told you.
5 A. Yes. I'm talking about Muslim civilians here.
6 Q. One thing which you can perhaps help us with: You said in Sase
7 that there was some snow but it had melted or something of that nature.
8 Was there snow on the ground that day or not? What precisely was the
10 A. There was snow on the ground.
11 Q. Do you remember - only help us if you do - when snow first fell in
13 A. You're asking a lot.
14 Q. Roughly, roughly when in the year, what month?
15 A. I don't know whether it was November, December or January.
16 Q. Now, you've described earlier being in Fakovici. Was there snow
17 on the ground when you were in Fakovici?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, I want to ask you about a place called
20 Kravica. Are you familiar with Kravica?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you -- did you go to Kravica at some point to find food?
23 A. I did.
24 Q. And can you help us with when that was, the month and year?
25 A. It was in the beginning of 1993.
1 Q. Are you able to be more specific about the date or is that the
2 most that you recall?
3 A. The 8th.
4 Q. The 8th of which month?
5 A. The 8th of January.
6 Q. So you were in Kravica on the 8th of January; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, obviously you were living in Srebrenica at the time. When
9 did you leave Srebrenica to go to Kravica?
10 A. Yes. On the 7th.
11 Q. Can you tell us, please, where you went on the 7th of January?
12 A. I went together with all the other people, I can't remember how
13 many exactly but several thousands, as I said.
14 Q. Do you remember which -- which place you -- well, let me put it
15 this way: Where did you spend the evening of the 7th of January?
16 A. I think -- well, I said I'm not really familiar with the area but
17 I think it was Jaglici.
18 Q. Okay. And where did you actually stay in that place, if it was
19 Jaglici, what sort of accommodation did you stay in? In a building or in
20 the open air?
21 A. Well, there was only one house there and it was a mill.
22 Q. So you spent the night there and then you've told us that the next
23 day you were in Kravica.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now, were you able to enter Kravica without any difficulty on the
1 8th of January? Or did you encounter any obstacles?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Sorry, yes, you had difficulties entering Kravica or you were able
4 to go in without any problem?
5 A. I could not enter Kravica, not just I myself but the rest of us.
6 I don't know whether there were fighters but there were some people
7 wearing civilian clothes, they were men. And they were preventing us from
8 going into Kravica. They were telling us not to go and they even pointed
9 their guns at us and they said we'll shoot you, turn back. But there was
10 no possibility of stopping us from going. Nobody could stand in my way
11 because my only intention was to get food. I focused on that only because
12 that was the only source of food in Kravica because we knew that there
13 were Serbs living there and we knew that that was the only last source of
14 food that was still left and that was the only way we could ensure our
16 Q. Now, these people who tried to stop you, were they Muslims or
17 Serbs, to your knowledge?
18 A. Muslims, of course, not Serbs.
19 Q. And they tried to turn you back, to stop you going, but I take it
20 they didn't stop you or they weren't able to?
21 A. Well, they were trying. They were doing their best in order to
22 try and stop us. They were threatening us, they were shooting into the
23 air. Some of them even pointed their guns and rifles at us and they were
24 swearing at us but there is no one who can stand in the way of a crowd, of
25 a hungry, starved crowd of people. There is nothing that can stop that
1 flood of people. The only thing we could have done would have been to
2 start fighting amongst ourselves. I would have attacked even my own
3 father, even whoever. I mean, I didn't allow anyone to stand in my way.
4 All I could see in my mind's eye was food down there and nothing more. I
5 mean, I do apologise for getting a bit emotional, but I don't know how to
6 say it in any other way. But this is just to say that everything I could
7 think of at that time was just food, nothing else.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, you've told us you went into Kravica on the 8th
9 of January. At that time, was there any sign of any military activity or
10 was it completely quiet?
11 A. We could hear shooting, shelling. We could feel that it was
12 coming from some areas but I can't tell you exactly. I can't specify
13 where from.
14 Q. Okay. Now, I want to ask you about your family members on that
15 day. First of all, your husband, was he -- was he with you on the 7th of
16 January or was he elsewhere?
17 A. No, he wasn't with me.
18 Q. Do you know where he was on the 7th of January?
19 A. He was in Kravica.
20 Q. Did he tell you anything about what he saw or observed on that
22 A. He did.
23 Q. What did he tell you, briefly?
24 A. He criticised the civilians, in fact. He said why did they have
25 to create so much chaos in Kravica? They entered and I myself would do
1 that wherever I went looking for food. In order to frighten the Serbs and
2 get them to leave their houses, let's say five or six or 10.000 of us
3 would enter the village but I can guarantee that in Kravica, well, perhaps
4 5.000 could have gone to Kravica. The entire population of Srebrenica
5 must have been in Kravica on that day. It is unspeakable. I mean, it's
6 like some kind of film. People were crying, screaming, banging pots and
7 pans. They were driven in a way which was totally frightening.
8 Q. One point in the transcript. In English, and please, I'm
9 correcting something in the English, I'm not questioning your answer. But
10 it says in English, perhaps 5.000 could have gone to Kravica. Was that
11 what you said, that it was about 5.000 people who went to Kravica? Or did
12 you give a different figure?
13 A. No. What I meant was that perhaps around 5.000 people had stayed
14 behind and all the others went to Kravica. The entire population, only
15 the ones who were sick and bed-ridden stayed behind and all the others
16 went to Kravica.
17 Q. All right. Now, I want to ask you about your sons. I'll start
18 with Amel. Was Amel -- did you see Amel on the 7th or 8th of January or
19 did he -- was he elsewhere?
20 A. Unfortunately I saw him in Kravica. And I had left him behind at
22 MR. JONES: Your Honour, can I go into private session?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, by all means, Mr. Jones. Let's go into private
24 session for a while, please.
25 [Private session]
11 Page 10104 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 10105 redacted. Private session.
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session now.
22 MR. JONES: Thank you.
23 Q. Now, you've mentioned how your son was in Kravica with a group of
24 boys, a large group of boys. At that time, this is January 1993, but I
25 want your answer -- when you answer, to include late 1992 as well, if you
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 can. Was it common or uncommon in Srebrenica to see groups of children
2 going around unsupervised?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Yes, it was common or it was uncommon?
5 A. It was uncommon.
6 Q. Let me ask you this: Were there many -- or were there, to your
7 knowledge, orphans in Srebrenica in late 1992?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you just tell us what -- during -- leaving aside Kravica for
10 the moment, your sons, during the day, were you -- were you supervising
11 them or were they left to their own devices?
12 A. They were left to their own devices. Your Honours, if I may just
13 say this, there was a child without parents staying with me at my
14 apartment for about five or six months, until he found out where the rest
15 of his family was. His parents were killed.
16 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, did you -- you've told us you were in
17 Kravica on the 8th of January 1993. Now, and you've told us that your --
18 I'll withdraw that. Did you on the 8th of January 1993 see any houses
19 which had been burnt or damaged by fire?
20 A. No. I just saw a lot of smoke, smoke from shells. That's when
21 there was a burning, there was fire in the houses.
22 Q. All right. What time of day were you in Kravica on the 8th of
24 A. I don't know exactly. Perhaps it was in the morning.
25 Q. Now --
1 A. Not early in the morning but it was in the morning hours.
2 Q. And do you know what part of Kravica you were in on that day?
3 A. Somewhere near the school, not right next to the school but not
4 far from the school.
5 MR. JONES: I'm going to ask if the witness can be shown one of the
6 photographs which is part of P400 and the ERN number is 01087912. It's
7 just one of those photographs. In fact, if it assists, I can provide my
8 own copy but it has writing on it, that's true. 7912.
9 Q. Now, Ms. Kolenovic, if you could look at that photograph, firstly,
10 and tell me whether you recognise what it depicts.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And what does it show?
13 A. That's the school.
14 Q. All right. Now, on the 8th of January 1993, was it in the state
15 that you see it in that photograph or was it in some other state?
16 A. Yes. It looked different.
17 Q. How different? In what way?
18 A. I see here that the school is damaged. Then, when I was there on
19 the 8th, it didn't look like that.
20 Q. Right. Was it damaged when you saw it on the 8th of January?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, did you -- after the 8th of January, did you ever
23 go back to Kravica?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. When was that?
1 A. I can't really say how many days later, three or four.
2 Q. Okay. Three or four days later, so the 11th or 12th of January?
3 A. Yes, more or less.
4 Q. And why did you go to Kravica on that day?
5 A. Because, again, we didn't have any food, and I definitely set out
6 for Tuzla with the children. It was the only hope I had of getting out of
7 the hell that I was in with the children. And I went with the intention
8 of reaching the free territory, not thinking of where I was going.
9 MR. JONES: If we could go into private session for one moment,
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go into private session for a while,
13 [Private session]
8 [Open session]
9 MR. JONES: Thank you.
10 Q. What time of day was that on the 11th or 12th of January? Was it
11 morning, afternoon, evening?
12 A. We left in the evening because we were expecting the Serbs to
13 shell and to return to the hills around Kravica, that they were coming
14 from the direction of Bratunac because that was their territory.
15 Q. Thank you. You said you were expecting Serbs to shell. Did you
16 actually come across any shelling on that day?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And could you see where the shelling was coming from and where the
19 shells were landing?
20 A. I can't tell you precisely. From the direction of Bratunac,
21 behind the school, there is a hill, and there were loud detonations and
22 shelling from behind that hill that was falling on that part of Kravica
23 towards Jaglici.
24 Q. Did that present any difficulties or danger to you at the time, to
25 you and your sons? Or were you out of the way of the danger?
1 A. No. I wasn't thinking about the danger. I expected that. I just
2 went with the intention of whatever, whether we would get killed or
3 whether we managed to cross into free territory. I went towards death,
4 and if we managed to survive, very well, but this wasn't something that
5 surprised me.
6 Q. Right. So is it right that you didn't have to hide from shelling
7 or take cover? You were able to just pass through Kravica?
8 A. No, that's not true.
9 Q. So what is the truth, please?
10 A. This is why I said that that's not true. An airplane of a green
11 colour went -- it sensed, I don't know, I can't really say exactly how
12 many there were, perhaps there were over 500 women and children, there
13 were entire families there. There were also those who were wounded in
14 this column that I went in with my children. And then suddenly, behind
15 the hill, a plane appeared. It was green. And it was flying very low.
16 So that I could see it when I looked up. First of all I could hear the
17 sound. You kind of sense the sound that something is coming towards you
18 and then the plane appeared behind the hill. The plane was open and it
19 was so low that I could see two soldiers with -- because I know what a
20 machine-gun is. I asked my husband about it during the war because at the
21 beginning of the war, I saw when the Serbs entered Srebrenica that they
22 were carrying these cartridge belts with bullets and I knew that these
23 were machine-guns. They were carrying them. And they were shooting at us
24 from these machine-guns, and they were flying very low and we were trying
25 to flee.
1 Some people, several people, were killed there. A woman was
2 killed, her baby was wounded. And suddenly, this plane then disappeared.
3 We ran into the houses and sought shelter there. The plane left. It went
4 back behind the hill. And then we set off again. And then when we set
5 off again, again we heard the sound of the airplane, and it was very close
6 to us again immediately and it just dropped some kind of white powder and
7 because of this white powder my son, Elvis, fainted. It wasn't -- this
8 was an asphalt road, a street. There was no bridge or anything there,
9 just some small crossing there. There is a creek there. We reached the
10 creek. One young man took my son and put him in the water and then Elvis
11 came to. And then we were crouching underneath that bridge when the plane
12 went behind the hill again.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you. And when the plane flew over and was shooting
14 at you on the ground, where were you?
15 A. On the street. We were going straight through Kravica towards
16 Konjevic Polje. We were going straight down the street. We didn't go
17 over the hills or anywhere else. We were going straight down the street.
18 Q. Now, I want to ask you a question or two about Amel. You told us
19 before, a story about how he fought with his younger brother and was
20 behaving abnormally. Had he, in addition to that mental abnormality, did
21 he suffer any physical injuries when he was in Srebrenica?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And what caused those injuries?
24 A. In 1992, they were mistreated on a daily basis, and beaten when
25 Ciro was taking him and Elvis out every day.
1 Q. You've told us about that. I mean, aside from those incidents,
2 was he injured in any other way?
3 A. Amel was, yes. In 1992, also, there were green planes flying
4 over, and there was some apparatus on them, they looked like water
5 heaters. They had nails and some things wrapped up. I don't even know
6 how to describe that. It just looked like a water heater. And they were
7 throwing those down. At that time, my Amel was at the playground and
8 there were a lot of refugees there in the elementary and the secondary
9 school, and sometimes Amel, for a moment -- well in 1992, from 1992 to
10 1993, I cannot remember whether there was one second at the time that the
11 town was quiet and that there was no shooting, and he wasn't always able
12 to be in the apartment or in some closed space or in the woods. So Amel
13 went to the playground over there, and he was at the playground when they
14 threw this kind of water heater thing from the plane, and one young man
15 took him because of the bombing of the MiGs, the elementary school, the
16 gymnasium had been damaged, there was no glass in the windows or anything,
17 and then this young man took Amel and threw him on the first floor and
18 that's when Amel was seriously wounded.
19 Q. All right. Thank you. I don't want to cut you off, but just so
20 that we can make some progress. In sum, was Amel injured as a result of
21 bombs or some water heater, rather, being dropped from airplanes on
22 Srebrenica? Would that summarise what you told us?
23 A. No. I was just about to say that Amel was wounded the second
24 time. This is another time, when the MiGs were bombing Srebrenica. Amel
25 was between the two detonations, these very heavy bombs. He was in
1 between them and he was hurt quite seriously. He has 16 scars on his body
2 because of it.
3 Q. All right. Thank you, and that was in 1992 you told us, by MiGs.
4 Do you know, happen to know, have any information, where the MiGs were
5 flying from?
6 A. From Serbia.
7 Q. All right. Now, did Amel stay in Srebrenica until the fall of
8 Srebrenica or did he leave before then?
9 A. Before the fall.
10 Q. And I am exploring this because it does have relevance. Can you
11 explain how he left Srebrenica?
12 A. Once more we were hungry. The situation was becoming more and
13 more tense. The first convoy that came -- I had terrible problems with
14 Amel. He was under a lot of stress because of the bombing. He was in the
15 hospital for three days. And he wouldn't speak at all. He would just
16 look. Of course, I as a mother went through it quite well. Amel was
17 always saying that he was going to jump from the sixth floor, that he
18 really couldn't take it any more. And I had to tie him to my hand with a
19 rope. He would always be jumping up and saying, planes, planes.
20 Sometimes he would go down to the fourth floor, he would pull me behind
21 him during the night, when he would say, "Planes, planes." He was
22 stronger than I was. He would take me down from the sixth floor to the
23 fourth floor, and I had to have so much strength and patience. I was
24 already worn out trying to convince my child, who was suffering from
25 trauma and from stress, I was always afraid that he would jump because he
1 was always saying to me, "I'm going to jump. I'm going to kill myself. I
2 can't stand this anymore."
3 Q. And how did it actually come about that he left Srebrenica?
4 A. The first food convoy, when it arrived in Srebrenica, he told me
5 himself, when this convoy arrived, "I'm going to escape, mom. I'm going
6 to go somewhere. But, please, I'm asking you, let us go. We should
7 leave." The whole population had come out to meet those four or five
8 trucks, to try to get on and to try to save themselves. I was talking to
9 my husband, and -- because we were both very worried about the children,
10 and I decided that I had to at least get the children on to those trucks,
11 if I managed to do that.
12 In that war, sometimes they would say -- I apologise,
13 Your Honours, if I can tell all of this. They used to talk about World
14 War II and people throwing their children and I just thought about it and
15 I was thinking, what kind of a parent would it be to be able to throw
16 their child like that? But I myself, unfortunately, had to experience
17 this in this dirty war. I was talking to my husband, it was sometime
18 before dawn, it was still dark, the trucks were getting ready to leave
19 Srebrenica, and almost the entire population wanted to get on to those
20 four or five trucks. I don't know exactly how many of them there were.
21 My husband asked some men to help them to throw the children on to the
22 truck because the truck was overcrowded already, perhaps even 500 people
23 had climbed onto the trucks. There were women and children there.
24 Everybody was trying to grab on to the trucks. They were throwing them
25 five or six times. They would throw them and then they would fall off
1 again and then we would have to find the child and then this would happen
3 Q. Just to break this down a bit, firstly, when was this, roughly?
4 A. This happened in 1993.
5 Q. And the month, roughly, if you're able to tell us.
6 A. It was perhaps in April.
7 Q. You've described the situation. Were the authorities, if there
8 were such, controlling the situation or trying to control the situation,
9 trying to stop people getting on the trucks?
10 A. What authorities are you talking about?
11 Q. So do I take it from that that there was nobody controlling the
12 situation or trying to exercise control?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the situation that was
15 impossible to get under control. No one, absolutely no one, would have
16 been able to do that. There was not a single person in Srebrenica who
17 might have brought things under control. I've told you before, people
18 acted in an extreme way. It was a fight for survival. That's what I did
19 with my children as well. My husband could not stop me from doing what I
20 wanted. I had problems with my own husband. He kept telling me, don't
21 go, otherwise you'll get killed. And sometimes he asked us to leave. He
22 said, "You go and save your lives and this doesn't matter what happens to
24 MS. RICHARDSON: Your Honour, I'll withdraw what I was going to
25 say, thank you.
1 MR. JONES: Thank you.
2 Q. And just to finalise that topic, did your sons leave on those
3 trucks and go to Tuzla?
4 A. Yes. They got their -- I found out after six months that they got
5 to Tuzla.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's make this clear. Both of them, in other
7 words, both your sons, both Amel and Elvis?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
10 MR. JONES: I'm leaving your sons completely -- we finished
11 discussing your sons. I want to move on to a completely different area
12 and if you're able to continue, we will conclude shortly, in about five or
13 ten minutes.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Can we -- are you all right? Can we proceed? Or do
15 you want another break?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We can proceed.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
18 MR. JONES:
19 Q. I just have a couple of areas which I want to ask you about.
20 You've described problems particularly for the refugees in getting hold of
21 clothes. Now, did people ever actually make clothes themselves? Did they
22 manufacture clothes in Srebrenica in 1992, early 1993?
23 A. Yes. I said that I was in a slightly better position than the
24 people who had been driven out of their houses. Those people who came as
25 refugees only had the clothes they had on their backs. They couldn't last
1 like that for three years. It wasn't really important for them to have a
2 really comfortable bed to sleep on or whatever. All the couches,
3 curtains, everything had been used in order to make clothes. Sometimes I
4 found it both sad and ridiculous at the same time, if you could, for
5 example, saw a man coming down the street wearing pink or flowered
6 trousers, et cetera. So as I said it was extremely sad but ridiculous at
7 the same time. They used whatever they could find in order to make
8 clothes for themselves.
9 Q. Would that include sheets? Did people use sheets to make clothes?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Is that something you yourself saw?
12 A. Yeah. That was slightly more appropriate for making clothes.
13 Q. Right. And did you see that yourself? Did you see people wearing
14 clothes made from sheets?
15 A. Yes. If I may, Your Honour, I'd like to clarify. In Srebrenica,
16 there was a clothes factory, in fact, and a man who used to work there, I
17 think he was the boss there, he managed to get out a number of sewing
18 machines before the Serbs plundered everything and we had a fair amount of
19 thread so it wasn't just a huge problem to make clothes. I mean some
20 people did have problems but others didn't. So they would go and see him
21 and ask him to give them that thread. Just so -- in order to clarify how
22 come it was possible for us to get our hands on thread in such a
23 situation. That's how we got it. And I myself was in a similar
24 situation, sometimes. And I asked him to give me some thread and needles.
25 Q. You agreed you saw people wearing clothes made from sheets. Would
1 these be coloured sheets or white sheets or black sheets? What did you
3 A. It depended on what they had. Some were white, others were
4 multi-coloured. And I saw one man from Crvena Rijeka whom I knew. He
5 said to me, I asked him, oh, you're wearing some new clothes. And he
6 said, "This is made of a Duvet." And it was grey on one side and the
7 other side was multi-coloured with some kinds of green flowers and leaves,
8 a flowery pattern. So that's what he had on and he looked okay.
9 Q. You told us how you were in Kravica on the 8th of January 1993.
10 On that occasion, did you see among the people you saw anyone wearing
11 clothes made from sheets?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What colours?
14 A. White, multi-coloured. People used to make clothes out of
15 traditional Muslim dress for women, those white trousers.
16 Q. All right. I want to explore one more aspect of the use of
17 materials. And only answer this if you can help us with this, but did you
18 see firstly people who had been injured in Srebrenica in 1992?
19 A. It's a bit difficult to talk about it but I'm here to tell the
20 truth, and that's what I should do. My flat was close to the hospital,
21 and it would take me longer to descend the stairs from the sixth floor
22 than to, you know, look in the direction of the hospital. All those who
23 were wounded, women, children, the entire population, whoever was wounded,
24 I couldn't help seeing them.
25 Q. Well I have a specific question in that regard. Was anything done
1 to treat people who had blood -- blood flowing? Was there anything used
2 to stop people from bleeding whether they were injured, if you saw that?
3 A. Yes. My husband, whenever he went into action and when we all
4 went somewhere together, he always had some bandages stuffed in his
5 pockets, and I asked him why. And he said, "In case I get hurt." And he
6 said, You silly woman, so as not to bleed to death." Even a small wound
7 can be dangerous if it bleeds too much and so it is important to have a
8 tight bandage so as to stop the bleeding.
9 Q. I'm not sure if bandage is necessarily the best translation. Are
10 we talking about a tourniquet, something used to stop bleeding?
11 A. Yes. There were strips of cloth and I would cut them out for him
12 using sheets or any other type of cloth. Well, once I had to rip up a
13 flowery skirt of mine and I would sometimes give it to other people. Let
14 me tell you once again I was in a somewhat better situation than the
15 refugees who had to flee their homes with nothing but the clothes on their
17 Q. Thank you. And as far as you know, and only answer if you can,
18 was it your husband alone who would go into action with bits of cloth to
19 use as a tourniquet or did you see that being done by other men?
20 A. Others did that too.
21 Q. All right. Can I just -- sorry, do you wish to add something?
22 A. Even a slight wound could lead to death. There was nothing at all
23 in Srebrenica. The hospital had been completely plundered in 1992. There
24 wasn't a single tablet, let alone any other medical supplies or equipment.
25 I was present when people's limbs were being amputated in a very rough
1 fashion. People would tend to die even of a very small wound. So they
2 had to somehow look out for themselves.
3 Q. Now, just two -- two last areas. Did you come across scabies or
4 fleas or lice in 1992, late 1992, early 1993, in Srebrenica?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. How common was it to find -- to come across people with scabies or
7 fleas or lice? Was it common? Uncommon?
8 A. Let me try and clarify this in the following fashion. We all had
9 fleas in our apartments because, as you walk down the street, and then you
10 came back and you took your clothes off and you shook them, everything was
11 black. You were unable to walk down the street without bringing back
12 fleas and whoever came to your apartment would leave at least ten fleas,
13 and if you ever had even a single flea in your bed, it would be impossible
14 to go to sleep.
15 May I just add something else, Your Honours?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We used to be a civilised people
18 before, but in the beginning of 1992, we were thrown back 500 years. I
19 was a city dweller. I had all the amenities and then all of a sudden I
20 found myself in a situation in which for a number of days I couldn't get
21 any soap, any washing powder, any food, nothing, and imagine what it must
22 have been like for those people who had already been wandering around the
23 woods and forests for months. And they had nothing. They had no clothes,
24 no shoes, nothing.
25 Q. I want to clarify one last matter. Do you know what I'm referring
1 to if I refer to scabies?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. Were there people in Srebrenica who had scabies in late 1992,
4 early 1993, who you saw?
5 A. Thousands.
6 Q. Can you just describe what someone who was suffering from scabies,
7 who you saw, what it did to their appearance, what they looked like, what
8 it did to their physical appearance?
9 A. They were scratching themselves all the time and that led to
10 scratches and wounds all over the body, all over the face.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, a final subject. You've referred to
12 demilitarisation so I'm going to ask you just about -- briefly about that
14 Once there was demilitarisation in Srebrenica, was that the end of
15 Srebrenica's problems, as you've described them? Or was the situation
16 still difficult?
17 A. Yes. As far as I myself was concerned, I can say that I was
18 convinced it was the end and that it was the end of the war. But the
19 situation remained exactly the same.
20 Q. Were there any shelling incidents during demilitarisation that you
22 A. Yes. Not in the same way as in 1992, before demilitarisation but
23 there was.
24 Q. Was your apartment ever damaged by any such incident?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And just describe for us what happened to your apartment and what
2 caused it.
3 A. It was in the beginning of 1995. My husband and I went to bed,
4 and there was a young man sleeping in our living-room, the two of us were
5 sleeping in the bedroom, and at some point before dawn, I can tell you
6 that it was before dawn because several hours had elapsed, and then it
7 happened in the early morning, and we went to sleep and all of a sudden
8 there was a loud bang and it was coming in the direction of my flat. And
9 at that point, neither I myself nor my husband knew what it was but
10 something exploded in our flat and when things calmed down a little bit,
11 and then that is again followed by something horrible. My husband pushed
12 me into the bathroom and covered me with a duvet and I almost broke the
13 bathtub out of fear because I was looking for some kind of shelter because
14 I felt as if every single bullet was meant for me. And it was a shell. I
15 didn't know that it was a shell called Zolja, and we only found out the
16 day after. My living room was destroyed. There was a lot of shrapnel
17 shards, smoke, everything in the living-room had been damaged and
18 destroyed, and, the day after, at least the three to four thousand people
19 came by to see my flat, and every day I went to UNPROFOR and I asked the
20 officials to come up and see what had happened but they never did.
21 Q. Just to clarify this, the damage you described to your apartment,
22 you said, "I didn't know that it was a shell called Zolja," you found out
23 the day after. Was this damage caused by a single shell or by more than
24 one shell, to your knowledge?
25 A. Just one.
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. At first, they launched that Zolja shell and then the attack went
3 on for about 15 minutes. I thought that they were aiming at the hospital
4 because the hospital is just below our building but it was probably too
5 low and then they used machine guns. They were not even 50 metres away as
6 the crow flies, I mean the Serbs that came down, and then they were firing
7 machine-guns at my building.
8 Q. Thank you. And are you aware of any other shelling incidents
9 which occurred during the demilitarisation period?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What was that?
12 A. It was in front of the school, primary and the secondary school,
13 where there were quite a few refugees that were housed there, and we were
14 a little bit more relaxed because we felt that the UNPROFOR people, the
15 European monitors were there so we relaxed a little bit and men went out
16 to play soccer. And of course I also felt the desire to relax a little
17 bit and to watch the game because we had had enough of war and shooting
18 already and then all of a sudden, two shells landed there, and a woman who
19 was sitting next to me, I didn't know her, she just uttered the words, "My
20 sons." And those two shells killed in excess of 70 people, at least
21 that's what they said, and there were about 200 wounded.
22 Q. Do you know if there was an investigation by the local authorities
23 into this incident?
24 A. What local authorities?
25 Q. Okay.
1 A. I don't understand what you mean.
2 Q. You've answered the question. Thank you.
3 MR. JONES: No further questions.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you, Mr. Jones. I take it that
5 you'll start tomorrow.
6 MR. JONES: The witness has to sign the map before we finish.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Could you please give the witness Exhibit
8 D726. And could she please affix her signature at top, right-hand corner,
10 You will start your cross-examination tomorrow, I take it.
11 MS. RICHARDSON: Indeed, Your Honour.
12 MR. JONES: May I say --
13 MS. RICHARDSON: And also if Your Honour could just advise the
14 witness not to speak to anyone.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes, I will that. And you will finish
17 MS. RICHARDSON: Indeed, Your Honour, yes.
18 MR. JONES: May I say one thing, Your Honour? We notified a -- an
19 exhibit list and I think generally you will have noticed we use the
20 exhibits normally. This has been a rather extraordinary testimony in the
21 sense that I haven't had the time really to use the exhibits, and I just
22 want to say that it's generally if we notify the exhibits we are going to
23 use them and it's just exceptionally today that I decided during the
24 course of examination-in-chief not to use the exhibits. I apologise for
25 any inconvenience to anyone.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. She's done it. Can I just -- let me see
2 if I can see it from -- I need you to focus -- move it in a way that I can
3 see the signature or bring the document here straight away. She hasn't
4 signed it yet? Okay, could you please, Madam, could you please sign that
5 map in the top right-hand corner, please?
6 [The witness complies]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. So look at me, please,
8 Madam Kolenovic. We are stopping here for today, also because Mr. Jones
9 has finished with his examination-in-chief. Now, I'd like you to go back
10 to your hotel and relax, try to unwind a little bit, because this has been
11 obviously, evidently stressful. Tomorrow you are going to be
12 cross-examined by Ms. Richardson, and you've heard me asking her whether
13 she would finish tomorrow and she will certainly finish tomorrow. After
14 that, you will be free to go back home. All right? Thank you.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: We stand adjourned to tomorrow. And it's a
17 different courtroom if I remember well tomorrow. Courtroom III, Courtroom
18 III, 9.00 in the morning. All right?
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.25 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Thursday, 1 September 2005, at
21 9.00 a.m.