1 Tuesday, 11 October 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.27 p.m.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's wait for the accused to come in and then we
5 can call the case.
6 [The accused entered court]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Registrar, good afternoon to you. Could
8 you call the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
10 IT-03-68-T, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and good afternoon to you.
12 Mr. Oric, can you follow the proceedings in your own language?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours, ladies
14 and gentlemen. Yes, I can.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
16 Any preliminaries -- but before, of course, representations.
17 Appearances for the Prosecution.
18 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you, Your Honour. Good afternoon, and also
19 good afternoon to my learned friends of the Defence. My name is Jan
20 Wubben, lead counsel for the Prosecution. I'm here together with
21 co-counsel, Ms. Patricia Sellers, Mr. Gramsci Di Fazio, and our case
22 manager, Ms. Donnica Henry-Frijlink.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I have often wondered whether the fact that you
24 stand up each time and remind me what your name is ever lends itself to a
25 suspicion that we may not be up to standard, that we need to be reminded
1 every day who is who.
2 Yes, Madam -- good afternoon to you, Mr. Wubben, to you and your
4 Appearances for Naser Oric.
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. I am
6 Vasvija Vidovic, together with Mr. John Jones, appearing on behalf of
7 Mr. Naser Oric. We have with us our legal assistant, Ms. Adisa Mehic, and
8 our CaseMap manager, Mr. Geoff Roberts.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Ms. Vidovic. I said what I said
10 especially because the only name we seem to remember every day and mention
11 is the name of the accused; otherwise, we ask you for your names. But any
12 preliminaries on your part?
13 MR. WUBBEN: Well, Your Honour, yesterday you requested to
14 reiterate the issue of the forensic examination.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, yeah, I'm coming to that.
16 MR. WUBBEN: Mr. Gramsci Di Fazio is prepared to do a speech.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Before hearing the Defence or after?
18 MR. WUBBEN: In response.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
20 So, Mr. Jones, I take it you are handling this. What is of major
21 interest to us is the kind of examination that this is going to -- the
22 nature of the examination, whether it involves just the usual photography
23 process or whether it involves also the chemical examination of papers,
24 ink, whether there is ink, whether the documents themselves are going to
25 be treated chemically, which would, of course, require us to act in a
1 special manner.
2 MR. JONES: It's simply the former. It's not a technique which
3 involves chemical treatment to determine, for example, the age of the
4 paper or anything of that nature. If I might respond a bit more broadly.
5 Firstly, yes, Dr. Bilic won't be using any technique which would endanger
6 the physical status or integrity of the documents, which is the express
7 concerned in paragraph 13 of the Prosecution response, and thus that may
8 go a long way to resolving any disputes. I might point out, in the letter
9 of Dr. Giles, who was the initial choice of the Defence, as you would have
10 seen from the response, the reasons for not engaging her subsequently, but
11 you would have seen in her letter there's a typical undertaking.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 MR. JONES: And our expert can give the same undertaking. I can
14 read it for the record, otherwise --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: You don't need to because it was as if it was
16 telepathic, because I asked my Legal Officer, who is not present here in
17 the courtroom at the moment, to have a look at that document because I
18 asked him to make sure that whatever draft he will be working upon will
19 have included an undertaking, kind of a guarantee similar to that or along
20 the lines -- it may be touched upon because I have done this several
21 times, as you can imagine, in my career, and I might touch a little bit
22 upon that undertaking.
23 MR. JONES: Yes.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: But of course it has to be there.
25 MR. JONES: Yes, and our expert --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: It goes without saying.
2 MR. JONES: Certainly. So our expert is willing to give an
3 undertaking in those terms.
4 Two other points: As regards the possible presence of an
5 investigator from the Prosecution, firstly I would venture to say --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Forget --
7 MR. JONES: -- is unheard of.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Forget the presence of the Office of the
9 Prosecution for that.
10 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour. I have submissions in that
11 regard if that were to be considered, but in light of what Your Honour
12 says, I'll just deal with the question of a Registry representative.
13 That, of course, we have no problem with. The Prosecution, in their
14 response at paragraph 12, sort of conditioned that possibility with it
15 being someone with forensic expertise in forensic document examination.
16 I'd ask that the Prosecution firstly to spell out what their concerns are
17 and why they want someone from the Registry with that experience, because
18 as far as -- as far as I understood it, the concern is the physical
19 integrity and security of the documents, and of course you don't need
20 someone who is an expert in forensic document examination simply to be the
21 guardian to ensure the documents are there and are handed over and are
22 handed back. And certainly we wouldn't want someone from the Registry to
23 be there to simply check up on what our expert is doing, and there's at
24 least a suggestion of that, that a forensic document examiner of the
25 Registry would be -- or a forensic document examiner, someone with that
1 experience, would be in one way or another be surveying what our expert is
2 doing. Again, that would be an inference with his professional task, the
3 confidentiality of that task, and in my submission also, unfairly casts
4 aspersions on his expertise because he's to be trusted to do his
5 examination as he deems appropriate.
6 Depending on what the concerns of the Prosecution and the extent
7 to which the Chamber shares those concerns, in the worst-case scenario,
8 then in my submission it's a matter of Defence counsel going along and
9 ensuring that the documents are handed over and handed back. Certainly in
10 the UK in a similar situation, if it were a question of a document of such
11 sensitivity or delicacy of the original of the Magna Carta or something of
12 that nature, then counsel ultimately is trusted to ensure that the
13 document is returned safely. So I don't see the need for someone from the
14 Registry who has such expertise, and I'm not even sure if anyone from the
15 Registry exists. So certainly someone from the Registry, but purely to
16 ensure the integrity and safety and security of the documents.
17 Unless I can assist you further, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think you can assist us further in just one
20 These two points you will need to address, Mr. Di Fazio. Last
21 point I think we will not need to address. We would like to have some
22 indication, prior indication, of how much time you think your expert will
23 take to conclude his forensic examination and final report. I don't know
24 if you are in a position to give us that information now, but perhaps you
25 can check with him and come back to us formally by handing, in other
1 words, a copy to the Defence and let us know before we had -- we are in a
2 position to hand down the decision.
3 MR. JONES: Yes. Yes, I think we need to consult with him because
4 there are two questions; one is how long will it take him once he has the
5 documents, and also how long from now, given his availability and whatnot.
6 We have an indication of a month. I'm not sure if that's a month from
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Please check. I'm not asking you to give us a reply
9 today if you are not in a position to do so.
10 Mr. -- I think for the time being that's it.
11 Mr. Di Fazio.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Your Honours --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's take them one by one. I mean, the first
14 aspect is that the Defence pretends now, or submits that there is no
15 further reason for you to show any concerns about the integrity of the
16 documents, the safekeeping, and the safe return of the documents for two
17 reasons: Namely, because there is not going to be any chemical treatment
18 of the document itself, just the usual photographic --
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: -- exercise, plus that the expert would be willing
21 to provide the usual guarantee or the guarantee that will -- that the
22 Trial Chamber will demand -- that it will -- yes, will make -- let's deal
23 with that first.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: All right. Well, that goes a long way to answering
25 the Prosecution's concerns but it doesn't entirely answer them. I want to
1 be as practical as I can about this: If the examination technique is
2 going to consist of photography of the documents, then we're almost
3 certainly not going to have a problem with that. But I don't know what
4 sort of photography is going to be involved, I don't know what sort of
5 light is going to be used, and we would like to know that one last detail.
6 Once we're over that hurdle, then I'm sure we can move swiftly and
7 smoothly. If the Defence - it's just a question of a phone call - can get
8 in touch with their expert and give us the technical nature of the
9 photography and how it's going to be conducted, then we would be
10 immediately in a position to find out whether we've got any concerns or
11 not. Assuming we don't, and I think it's likely that we won't have any
12 concerns, then we will be in a position to finally say, yes, that problem
13 has now been dealt with. It's that one last matter, and I suggest that it
14 could be dealt with overnight, in fact.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it can be dealt with rather quickly and it's
16 a fair demand or request --
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Sometimes intense light can be used.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes, I agree. I know enough about the subject
19 to be able to agree with you hands down.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: So that's --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones, you can check on this, whether it's
22 infrared spectrometry -- there's some special techniques that they use.
23 MR. JONES: Yes.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: From my knowledge, forensic knowledge from past
25 experience, it does not affect the ink that there may be and certainly
1 does not affect the printed section. All right. It's -- that is a
2 different kind of exercise. But with infrared spectrometry, on a certain
3 type of ink may leave an effect. Just check that for us and make sure
4 that we know exactly whether --
5 MR. JONES: We'll do that.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: That's number one that solves. With regard to the
7 presence, forget about -- I think I dare say that it would be expecting
8 too much, in our opinion, to have a representative of the Prosecution
9 present also during the testing. But what are your comments with regard
10 to the representative of the Registry, considering what Mr. Jones has
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, assuming that our fears concerning the
13 process itself are assuaged and taken care of, and I expect they will
14 be --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: -- assuming that's done, I don't think there would
17 be any substantial objection on the part of the Prosecution of there being
18 a Registry person on line, but only on condition that the Registry
19 undertake to observe the Prosecution's duties that it has under Rule 41.
20 Now, if that can be -- if that can be -- the order can be framed in such a
21 way that that is taken care of, then of course the Prosecution is not
22 going to be -- to dig its heels in over this particular point.
23 And of course the -- if I may add one other thing: Now that we
24 know what sort of forensic technique is going to be applied, the need for
25 someone from the OTP is much diminished. That doesn't take away our
1 responsibilities under Rule 41 --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: -- and they must be observed --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Definitely not.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: -- and we can't fulfil our obligations under Rule
6 41 unless either we have someone there or unless we have someone who is
7 undertaking to look after our interests and preserve the documents. And
8 it's preservation of these documents that's the essential matter that
9 we're concerned about. So if that can be taken care of, again I don't
10 think we'll have a problem with that.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: But -- Eva, can you please go to the witness. I
12 just want to make sure that he knows the reason he is waiting, he's kept
13 waiting, has got nothing to do with him. You told him that already.
14 That's what I wanted to make sure of.
15 Yeah, the thing is - and this is perfectly legal talk now - that
16 you know as much as I do, because we come from very similar jurisdictions,
17 that trust that has been mentioned by Mr. Jones plays a very important
18 role in these things.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Absolutely.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: That's number one. And secondly, that even an ex
21 parte expert, once he is authorised by the Court to conduct ex parte
22 expert examination on documents and is entrusted with the safe custody and
23 keeping and return of court documents, he is not just an ex parte expert
24 but he is also an officer of the Court from the moment he is entrusted
25 with this exercise. And as an officer of the Court, he has or she has got
1 legal responsibilities that know no limits. They have to be observed.
2 That's why I spoke earlier on of an undertaking that has to be made by the
4 And the last thing I want to mention is that unless I -- we hear
5 some kind of objection on the part of the Prosecution about the
6 trustworthiness or forensic expertise and abilities of this expert
7 suggested by the Defence as their ex parte expert, we have to work on the
8 assumption that he is trustworthy, ready to give an undertaking, and an
9 expert in his own right who is not being challenged by the Prosecution.
10 And his conclusions might be challenged later on and he may be questioned
11 later on. But at the time -- for the time being, at least --
12 MR. DI FAZIO: And his expertise, if Your Honours please, it may
13 be challenged later on.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but later on. He's not being challenged now.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Not for the purposes of this examination, but our
16 consenting and agreeing --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Does not prejudice your right --
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Does not prejudice our rights under Rule 94 bis --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, of course.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: -- and the whole issue whether or not this man is
21 an expert for the purposes of the law and so on. But as far as getting
22 the documents to him for his examination is concerned, then of course
23 we're prepared to treat him as the Defence expert for those purposes.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. But that we need to know, obviously, and
25 it does carry its proper weight with us, the fact that at the present
1 moment you reserve the right to question his expertise later on.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: But at the moment you're not questioning his
4 trustworthiness --
5 MR. DI FAZIO: We accept the undertaking that is given by the
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, that's important for us.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: We have no reservations --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: The rest, we are fully aware of your
10 responsibilities under the Rules for the safekeeping.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We also are fully aware, we want to make this very
13 clear, that the originals, these documents that will be handed to your
14 expert -- ex parte expert are the property of the Prosecution.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, other than the ones that have come into your
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but I'm talking about the originals,
18 basically, which are in your --
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Down in our evidence unit, yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And they will be treated accordingly by the Trial
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, anything else on this?
24 MR. JONES: Well, just a couple of points, really, and in terms of
25 of course the Prosecution are at liberty subsequently to challenge the
1 expertise of our expert.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course.
3 MR. JONES: Your Honours have seen his qualifications, and if he's
4 not an expert, then I'm sure the BH court and the state prosecutor will be
5 interested to hear that he's not an expert, but that's obviously a matter
6 for them.
7 As far as the legal framework within which we are operating,
8 obviously there's Rule 41 imposing a duty on the Prosecution, it's subject
9 to Rule 81, and Rule 81(C) allows the Trial Chamber to make an order
10 superseding that. So it would be wrong - and I'm not saying the
11 Prosecution is suggesting this - but it would be wrong to suggest that the
12 Prosecution has to stand next to these documents for the whole duration of
13 their lives. The Trial Chamber is allowed to step in and make other
14 orders for the retention and the physical security of documents. That's
15 just as far as the legal framework is concerned.
16 Thirdly, yes, it's just a general point, but the documents are in
17 the possession of the OTP, a lot of them are from archives in Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, and if the originals were still there we would have sought to
19 examine them there at source. So while we accept that the Prosecution is
20 a temporary custodian of these documents, in our submission they actually
21 ultimately belong to Bosnia and Herzegovina. I don't make any big point
22 of that, but I simply state it for the record.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So I think we are only awaiting this further
24 piece of information from you and then we should be in a position to
25 decide. All right. Okay.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: So that brings this matter to an end, or to a close
3 for the time being. Can we safely bring in this witness? You are going
4 to require six hours, I take it, to conduct and finish the
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, five to six hours.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Our estimate was four days.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: It was five days, actually --
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, it was.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: And four days, you are right.
12 And who is going -- who will be dealing with this witness?
13 MR. WUBBEN: Me, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: And how much time do you require?
15 MR. WUBBEN: Four to five.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Hours?
17 MR. WUBBEN: Yes.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Four to five hours. Yes, all right, but you will
19 not be allowed, either of you, to exceed six hours in your case and five
20 hours in your case. All right. We'll close down on either of you if you
21 try to exceed that, unless good reason is shown for -- because sometimes
22 we do realise that some witnesses keep beating around the bush and that
23 does influence on the time that is required by counsel to -- to conduct
24 and conclude his or her examination or cross-examination. Let's bring the
25 witness in.
1 Ms. Vidovic, you know this witness better than anyone else in this
2 courtroom. If at any time you notice that we need to stop, please draw
3 our attention straight away. Or I will also ask him. But I want to make
4 sure that he doesn't get too tired to proceed.
5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And as we said, we will have one break only today,
7 from 4.00 to 4.30.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Dedic, good afternoon to you.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I am the Presiding Judge in this Court. My name is
12 Carmel Agius, I come from the small Mediterranean island of Malta. I am
13 accompanied by two Judges. To my right I have Judge Hans Henrik
14 Brydensholt from the Kingdom of Denmark, and to my left, Judge Albin --
15 Professor Albin Eser, from Germany Eser. Together we preside over this
16 case, and on behalf of everyone here, we wish to welcome you to this
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I notice that there doesn't seem to be any problems
20 with interpretation for the moment. In the course of your testimony and
21 the course of these proceedings you will be receiving translation of what
22 is being said in English into your own language. If at any time there are
23 problems with the reception of the interpretation, you're not
24 understanding what is being said or if the level, sound level, is too low
25 or too loud, please give us a signal, draw our attention to that, and we
1 will rectify the problem.
2 You are about to start giving evidence, but before you do so, our
3 Rules require that you make a very solemn declaration which in several
4 domestic jurisdictions would be equivalent to an oath and since in the
5 course of your testimony you will be undertaking to testify the truth, the
6 whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The text of this solemn
7 declaration is contained on a piece of paper that Madam Usher is going to
8 hand to you now. Please take that paper in your hand, read out that
9 solemn declaration aloud, and that will be your solemn undertaking with us
10 that you will be testifying the truth.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
12 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Right. Please make yourself comfortable. I have
14 got a few other things to tell you before we start. Have you ever given
15 evidence in any court? Do you know what the procedure is?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I've never testified in court.
17 This is my very first time.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. That's good to know. I'll try and
19 explain to you briefly what's going to happen. You are a witness for the
20 Defence; in other words, you have been summoned here to give evidence by
21 the Defence for Mr. Oric. Madam Vidovic, who is lead counsel for
22 Mr. Oric, will be examining you first. Examining you means putting a
23 series of questions to you which you will be required to answer. My
24 recommendation to you, based on the experience of previous witnesses, is
25 that if you don't want to spend weeks here, you try to answer the
1 question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. Don't try to
2 give more information than is being sought from you, and don't try to
3 answer questions that are not put to you. And don't try to beat around
4 the bush, because otherwise you will be here for days. You are already
5 expected to be here for quite a few days. I think you will be here at the
6 end of the week, if not also the beginning of next week. So very much --
7 things very much depend on you.
8 When Madam Vidovic has finished with her examination-in-chief,
9 then Mr. Wubben, who is the lead counsel for the Prosecution in this case
10 - it's the first gentleman on your -- on your right - he will then
11 cross-examine you. And you're also to expect quite a lengthy
12 cross-examination. So again, Mr. Wubben has a duty to cross-examine you
13 and you equally have an obligation to answer all his questions in
14 conformity with the solemn undertaking that you have made a couple of
15 minutes ago.
16 Last thing I wanted to tell you is this: That here we try to do
17 our utmost to make all witnesses feel at ease and as comfortable as
18 possible while they are giving evidence. It is the practice of this Trial
19 Chamber but also of the Tribunal in general. If at any time you need a
20 rest, Mr. Dedic, or if you're not feeling well, please do not shy away
21 from telling us so. We will give you as many breaks as you require. And
22 particularly if you're not feeling well, please do tell us straight away.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I feel well.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no. I know that you feel well, otherwise we
25 wouldn't have started. I'm just telling you in case you're not feeling
1 well, not just today, it could be tomorrow or the day after. If at any
2 time you're not feeling well, please do draw our attention.
3 So I think there's nothing else that I needed to say, that I have
4 missed. Madam Vidovic can start with her examination-in-chief.
5 Madam Vidovic.
6 WITNESS: EJUB DEDIC
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examined by Ms. Vidovic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Dedic.
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 Q. Can you please state your full name to the Trial Chamber.
12 A. My name is Ejub Dedic.
13 Q. You were born on the 1st of March, 1957, in Skugrici, weren't you?
14 That is Vlasenica municipality?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. You completed your primary education at Cerska in 1972 and your
17 secondary education in Vlasenica back in 1976; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. After that, you went to a teacher training college in Tuzla,
20 specialising in chemistry and biology, and that was in 1978, wasn't it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In 1980, you started working as a biology teacher in Cikotska
23 Rijeka, where you continued to work until 1982. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes, indeed.
25 Q. After that, you started working at the Cerska primary school,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 where you continued to perform the same tasks as a teacher until the
2 beginning of the war. Is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You did your compulsory military service in Krusevac in 1979 in
5 the reserve officers' school, specialising in chemical, biological, and
6 nuclear warfare?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. You spent time in Cerska, Vlasenica municipality?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. After the war, you continued to work as a professional soldier in
11 the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina until you retired on
12 the 31st of May, 2004?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You're married, father of three grown children; two sons and one
15 daughter; isn't that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] This previous question, Your
18 Honours, my question was:
19 Q. You spent -- you spent all the time during the war in Cerska,
20 Vlasenica municipality, and in Srebrenica. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When Srebrenica fell, back in July 1995, two of your brothers were
23 killed, three of your wife's brothers, and at least 15 of your closest
25 A. Yes. In addition to that, the husband of one of my sisters and
1 the husband of my other sister also went missing, which is something that
2 I forgot to say.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness now please be shown
5 Defence Exhibit D706, which is a map.
6 Q. Witness, as concerns this map, could you just please use the
7 pointer to point out a number of localities that I will ask you about, to
8 the Trial Chamber. Later on we'll be moving on to a different map where
9 we will make some marks. This map is to the right of you. Could you
10 please have a look. This is D706. Can you please have a look at tell us:
11 Is this a map showing the Cerska area? Please have a look. Can you
12 please show the Trial Chamber the Cerska area.
13 A. Yes. I'm looking at this map and I can see Cerska, which is part
14 of Vlasenica municipality.
15 Q. Thank you. Just another question in relation to this: Prior to
16 the war, was Cerska a local commune that was part of Vlasenica
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Please tell the Trial Chamber, what was the ethnic make-up of the
20 Cerska area? I'm talking about Cerska itself.
21 A. As for Cerska itself, almost the entire population was Muslim.
22 Q. What about the Vlasenica municipality itself? Are you aware of
23 its ethnic make-up prior to the war?
24 A. The municipality of Vlasenica had about 55 per cent Muslim
25 population before the war, 42 per cent Serbs, and about 3 per cent of
1 other ethnic groups.
2 Q. Can you please show the Muslim villages only, looking from the
3 direction of Vlasenica in the direction of Cerska. Please try first to
4 show Vlasenica on the map.
5 A. Yes. On this map you can see the town of Vlasenica itself
6 clearly. It's the seat of the municipality. Next you can see the Muslim
7 villages of Drum, Drakovici [phoen], Gradina, Beros, Alihodzici,
8 Kuljancici, Dzemat, Mrsici, Pijuci, Dragasi, Durici, Sabici, Nedjeljiste
9 and Hajdarevici.
10 Q. Can you please now, using the same map, show the village of
12 A. Yes. Milici is right here, straddling the road between Vlasenica
13 -- the road from Vlasenica at about a distance of about 10 kilometres
14 from Vlasenica. I'm pointing at it on the map.
15 Q. Thank you. You've just shown us the road. Can you now please
16 show another major Muslim village that straddles the same road.
17 A. We're talking about the Vlasenica-Milici road, and there's a major
18 Muslim village along the road. The name of the village is Zaklopaca.
19 Q. Thank you. Can you show it on the map.
20 A. Yes, I'm pointing at it right now.
21 Q. Thank you. I have another question for you now about some
22 circumstances prior to the outbreak of the war, just briefly. Did you at
23 any point in time in 1992 notice that people were arming themselves in
24 your vicinity?
25 A. Yes, I did notice that Serbs from the surrounding villages were
1 arming themselves between the month of February and the month of March of
3 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us what exactly you noticed in the
4 surrounding Serb villages.
5 A. At that time, I noticed the arrival of military lorries in the
6 following villages: Vandzici, Metaljka, and Nedjeljiste. I recognised
7 these military lorries because of their colour. They were olive-drab,
8 covered by tarpaulin.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, before we continue, I
10 would like the witness to be shown a different map now on which he will
11 mark the villages that he has just mentioned plus a number of other
12 villages in addition.
13 Q. We will go back to what you started telling us about.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wish to show the
15 witness an excerpt from a topographic map of Zvornik, 477. The scale is
16 1:100.000. It was published in 1967 by the Military and Geographical
17 Institute in Belgrade.
18 Q. Witness, I believe you have the excerpt in front of you now. Can
19 you please use the excerpt. There's a clearer image of the Cerska area on
20 this one. So can you please use this to show the Trial Chamber the Cerska
21 area itself. I mean Cerska including its Muslim hamlets, those that were
22 later to become the Cerska enclave all the way until the fall of Cerska
24 A. Yes. On the map that I have in front of me, I see clearly the
25 following Muslim settlements --
1 Q. Hold on a minute, Witness, please.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] If the witness could please now be
3 given a pen or something that the witness can use to mark the villages on
4 the map. Thank you.
5 Q. Can you please first mark Cerska.
6 A. Yes. This is the area that I'm pointing at now. The area
7 comprises a number of different settlements.
8 Q. Very well.
9 A. Cerska -- should I underline the name? It's what I'm pointing at
10 right now.
11 Q. Please do so but do mark it.
12 A. Yes, I'm marking it.
13 Q. What would be the other Muslim hamlets inside the area?
14 A. The following would be Muslim hamlets within the area: Budograj,
15 Mustajbasici, Hasanovici, Hakalasi, Hajdarevici, Djeliovici [phoen],
16 Selodjici [phoen], Amidici [phoen], Rogaci, Turnadzici, Raseva, Cehajici,
17 Macesi, Tumace, Rogosija, Skugrici, including the following hamlets and
18 minor settlements: Sadikovici, Pobudjaci -- this is the area that was
19 defined as the Cerska enclave during the war.
20 Q. Can you now please show and mark for us the nearby Serb villages
21 which you started talking about a while ago.
22 A. Yes, I can. On this map that I have in front of me I can see the
23 Serb villages of Jasikovice, Rogosija, Nedjeljiste, Buljevici, Mandjici,
24 Metajlka, Raskovici, Duvnica [phoen], Vuksici.
25 Q. Can you please show the villages near Milici.
1 A. All the villages that I've mentioned now are all in the general
2 Milici area, and then we have the villages near Drinjaca, the village of
3 Lijesanj specifically.
4 Q. Can you circle that one, too, please.
5 A. Yes, I just have. It's a major village that is opposite from the
6 Muslim village of Raseva.
7 Q. Can you show Gostijerevo?
8 A. Yes, I can. It's near the Drinjaca river.
9 Q. Please circle Drinjaca itself too.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you very much.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may the witness please
13 put his signature in the lower corner of this map.
14 Q. Just place your initials there.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] And can the map please be assigned a
17 Q. Witness, please keep this map, because we'll be using it in the
18 further course of your testimony.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: So this map which the witness has just affixed his
20 signature, or his initials, is being tendered, received, and marked as
21 Defence Exhibit D814. Thank you.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Witness, you mentioned a while ago that at one time in 1992, I
24 believe you said February or March, you noticed that military lorries were
25 arriving in Serb villages. Can you specify the time, please.
1 A. That was in late February and early March of 1992.
2 Q. Can you please describe to the Trial Chamber what exactly you saw
3 and where you were watching from.
4 A. Yes. The place where I resided is at a slightly higher altitude
5 in relation to the villages of Metaljka, Vandici, and Nedjeljiste. From
6 where I lived, you can see these villages very clearly. Therefore,
7 whenever men or vehicles arrived in these settlements it could be seen
8 from where I was with the naked eye and rather clearly.
9 Q. Just tell us, please, where exactly were you residing at the
11 A. At Skugrici.
12 Q. At one point you mentioned that you could see this both with the
13 naked eye and with a pair of binoculars. Did you have a pair yourself?
14 A. No, I didn't. I was given it by a hunter who lived in my village.
15 Q. Do you remember the hunter's name?
16 A. Yes, his name is Sahim Dedic.
17 Q. Can you please tell us what exactly you saw in late February and
18 early March 1992.
19 A. After the military trucks left from the mentioned Serb villages,
20 very soon I noticed, only a few days later, that the local Serbs were
21 wearing olive-grey uniforms that were worn by the soldiers of the former
22 Yugoslav People's Army. I also noticed that they were arming themselves
23 and that they were carrying weapons that they did not have before. That
24 is to say that they had automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
25 Q. Please, from February 1992 onwards did you notice anything else
1 that you link up to the arming of the Serbs?
2 A. Yes. Very often after those particular days, firing was heard
3 from automatic rifles and it was particularly intensive during the night.
4 Q. Do you remember when these armed men came and when there was
5 gunfire at night, did all of that cause anxiety among the Muslim
6 population in the area?
7 A. Absolutely, yes. There was quite a bit of unrest among people.
8 There was general fear, general unrest, general panic.
9 Q. Can you remember whether during March 1992, whether you personally
10 travelled to Belgrade?
11 A. Yes, I remember. It was exactly on the 10th of March, 1992. I
12 went to visit my son, who had been operated on. He had a brain tumor and
13 he was operated at the hospital in Zemun and it was being treated there.
14 Q. Did you see something as you travelled to Belgrade and back to the
15 area of Cerska?
16 A. Yes. When I returned from Belgrade, which was on the afternoon of
17 the same day, in front of the bridge linking up the then-Republic of
18 Serbia and the then-Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I noticed about
19 100 Serb soldiers with weapons and wearing uniforms. I noticed a lot of
20 small white sacks, probably full of sand. And also I noticed about ten
21 artillery pieces and armoured vehicles that were in front of the bridge
22 linking the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 Q. Do you recall seeing anything in the area of Divici?
24 A. Yes. In Divic there is a small motel called Vidikovac. On the
25 plateau in front of that hotel, my estimate was that there were at least
1 30 men there in uniform, armed, and I also noticed that most of them had
2 red berets on their heads. As I travelled on from the Vidikovac hotel
3 towards my home, at the hydroelectric power plant and the dam there which
4 is near Divic, I also observed three artillery pieces positioned there. I
5 think they were cannons.
6 Q. All right. Please, can you remember the beginning of April 1992
7 and whether in your village, Skugric, there was any kind of incident?
8 A. Yes. One that I will certainly never forget occurred on the 4th,
9 I believe, or the 5th or the 6th of April. I will never forget the
10 incident, but it was the Muslim holiday of Bajram. During the night, Serb
11 neighbours from the village of Metaljka were not provoked at all, but for
12 several hours they were firing bursts of gunfire at the village where I
14 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber and indicate on the map
15 the distance between Metaljka and Skugric as the crow flies?
16 A. Metaljka is about 200 to 300 metres away as the crow flies. That
17 is the first Serb village in the neighbourhood of Skugric.
18 Q. Please, what was the reaction of the local Muslim population to
19 this? Did they complain to the municipal authorities?
20 A. Yes. After the general panic, general fear, general unrest, we
21 tried to seek protection from the municipal authorities in Milici. I
22 remember very well that a few days later a youngish man came to see us,
23 Savic was his last name. He tried to deal with the situation to make it
24 tolerable. He even promised us that such incidents would not happen
1 Q. What about Mr. Savic; is he is Serb or a Muslim?
2 A. Mr. Savic is a Serb, and I think by his last name, since I lived
3 there for a long time, I think he's from the area around Milici.
4 Q. Thank you. So you said that he had promised that the Serbs would
5 not attack the Muslims. Was that promise kept?
6 A. Unfortunately, no. After that, even worse things started to
7 happen. Very soon, only a few days later, as for the villages of
8 Vandjici, Metaljka, and Nedjeljiste, vehicles that can only be used for
9 military purposes were brought in yet again. From the village of Skugrici
10 I saw very well through binoculars that in the village of Vandjici, on the
11 road coming from Milici, there were two mortars. And in the village of
12 Metaljka there were two more mortars and one armoured personnel carrier.
13 There is an elementary school there at the village, and every day from
14 then on there were about 30 soldiers there, and three APCs were positioned
15 there as well.
16 Q. Very well. Thank you.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would now like to ask the usher to
18 show the witness Defence Exhibit D413. For the record, this is a document
19 from the public security station in Milici from the 4th of January, 1993,
20 and its number is 01785307. The signatory is the head of the public
21 security station in Milici, Radomir Eglemovic.
22 Q. Witness, this document shows what happened from the 20th of May
23 onwards. I'm not going to ask you to look at the entire document, but
24 only part of it. Please look at page 1 now, where it says: "The public
25 security station in Milici was established on the 20th of May, 1992, and
1 prior to that it existed as a branch station of the Vlasenica SJB."
2 Then I'm going to quote another section to you, which is on page
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is page 2 in
5 English as well.
6 Q. It's the first paragraph on page 2, and it reads as follows: "On
7 the 15th of April, 1992, I consulted Serb members of the Vlasenica public
8 security station regarding the division of the public security station
9 into Serb and Muslim SJBs, and the prevailing opinion was that we should
10 not do this publicly. This opinion was accepted."
11 Witness, please, before we deal with this. Do you agree that in
12 Milici at that time there was a Serb public security station, not a Muslim
13 station or of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. "On the 16th of April, 1992, a meeting was held of all the
16 employees of the Vlasenica public security station, at which a conclusion
17 was adopted not to divide the public security station. Later events
18 proved this to be an extremely wise political move.
19 "On the 20th of April, 1992, a telex was sent to the then-chief
20 of the Tuzla centre of security stations in Tuzla to stop the work of the
21 Vlasenica SJB. The reason for this was of no significance for the work of
22 the SJB (three Muslim policemen left the station), but stopping the work
23 was one of the decisive conditions for the Serb armed forces to enter
24 Vlasenica on the 21st of April, 1992, and establish order without
25 suffering any casualties.
1 "As the Serb forces entered Vlasenica, there were five policemen
2 in the SJB, three of whom were Muslims and two Serbs, with clear-cut
3 tasks. The other Serb policemen were tasked to be on the alert in places
4 previously established.
5 "On the 21st of April, 1992, a Serb government and Serb Police
6 Station were established in Vlasenica.
7 "There were no major difficulties during the takeover of power in
8 Vlasenica municipality, with the exception of the village of Nova Kasaba,
9 where of the 29 policemen (two active-duty and 27 reservists), 21 were
10 Muslims and eight were Serbs, who, following the fall of Vlasenica, did
11 not want to go to work in Nova Kasaba. Policeman Munib Avdic, a Muslim
12 extremist who was trained to be a policeman in 40 days in Rijeka, took
13 over command at this station. He came to Vlasenica on the orders of Avdo
14 Hebib and worked as a policeman, although he was never registered at the
15 Pension and Disability Assurance Association or on the list of policemen
16 employed at the Vlasenica SJB."
17 And just a bit more.
18 "The takeover of power in Nova Kasaba by the Serb police resulted
19 in the liquidation of Munib Avdic, who together with people who shared his
20 beliefs, offered armed resistance which was crushed swiftly and
22 Witness, my question to you is the following: To the best of your
23 knowledge, does this document reflect the actual situation on the ground;
24 that is, that the Serb forces took over Vlasenica practically without any
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you know Munib Abdic and have you heard of his death?
3 A. Yes. I personally knew Munib Abdic. Later on, I heard that he
4 was killed late in April or the beginning of May from an ambush that was
5 actually organised by the Serbs.
6 Q. To the best of your knowledge, was Mr. Abdic an extremist?
7 A. No. As far as I know, he was a very decent young man, very young.
8 He had no problems whatsoever, either where he worked or where he lived.
9 Q. To your knowledge, is it correct that the Muslims of Vlasenica
10 agreed to all the Serb conditions just in order to avoid war?
11 A. Yes. I learned about that from most of the people who were
12 expelled later to the area of Cerska. They accepted everything just in
13 order to avoid a war.
14 Q. Did you talk to someone, for instance, who worked in the municipal
16 A. Yes. I talked to Mr. Becir Mekanic, who arrived in Cerska in the
17 summer of 1992.
18 Q. Please, did he work in the municipality of Vlasenica before the
20 A. Yes. He was very well-versed as far as the situation in Vlasenica
21 was concerned because for a while he was head of the municipality itself.
22 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber what happened
23 after the Serbs took over the municipality of Vlasenica around the 20th of
24 April, 1992.
25 A. Immediately after the takeover by the Serb forces in the town of
1 Vlasenica, there was general chaos. And most people - men, women,
2 children - were trying to leave town. So the situation was very complex,
3 very tense, and people had already started fleeing towards the
4 Muslim-populated areas.
5 Q. Please, were you in touch with these refugees? What did they tell
6 you? Were they attacked after this 20th of April or not?
7 A. Yes. Their stories were terrible. After the takeover, men were
8 immediately taken away, especially intellectuals, from the town of
9 Vlasenica. They said that most of them had been liquidated. However, a
10 large number of men from the town of Vlasenica and the surrounding
11 villages that are near the town of Vlasenica were taken to a camp. Later
12 on I found out that this camp was established in Vlasenica in Susica.
13 Q. What happened to women, old men, children?
14 A. Women, children, and the elderly were mostly forced to leave the
15 places where they had lived before. They were taken towards Kladanj.
16 Most tried to flee themselves to places where they felt they'd be safer,
17 like Cerska, whereas men were either liquidated or taken to the camp in
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could D722 please be
21 shown to the witness.
22 Q. Just before you look at this document, could you tell me the
23 following: Have you heard of rapes of women, the torching of Muslim
25 A. Yes. From the refugees that arrived after these things happened
1 in Vlasenica, I heard of rapes, mistreatments, and I could see smoke
2 myself very well, because these torchings were a frequent occurrence and
3 it could be seen every day for the Muslim villages that were on fire.
4 Q. Thank you. Please look at this document. It is a document from
5 the brigade -- the command of the brigade of the Serbian army in Birac.
6 It was signed by Major Svetozar Andric, commander, and I am going to quote
7 paragraph 6 of this document. And it reads as follows. Please look at
8 it. "The moving out of the Muslim population must be organised and
9 coordinated with the municipalities through which the moving is carried
10 out. Only women and children can move out, while men fit for military
11 service are to be placed in camps for exchange."
12 Please, you told us that you contacted refugees from Vlasenica and
13 its Muslim villages. To your knowledge, persecutions, rapes, torchings,
14 killings of the Muslim population, were they linked to the Serb
16 A. Absolutely, yes. Most of them said that in all these activities a
17 significant role was played by armed local Serbs and the police, that they
18 carried lists in their hands and went from door to door, to apartments and
19 houses, arrested people, and took them to camps. They also killed a
20 number of persons.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
22 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour, perhaps my learned friend can also
23 address the linkage between Vlasenica and Zvornik, as this document
24 concentrates on Zvornik and she was dealing with an issue regarding
25 refugees from Vlasenica.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Vidovic. What's your comment on that?
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Witness, first of all --
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, please, if the
5 Prosecutor, before they make an objection, could first go through the
6 document closely. It states very clearly here: "The commander of the
7 Birac Brigade, Sekovici, Birac," so this is in reference to Sekovici, this
8 is Vlasenica municipality, and I believe they could at this stage of the
9 trial be aware of that already. I would, however, like to ask the witness
10 the following question:
11 Q. Is Sekovici part of Vlasenica municipality?
12 A. Before the war, Sekovici was a separate municipality. But if you
13 look at item 6, which you have just read out, these expulsions and people
14 leaving their homes is something that is still very clear in my head,
15 because I witnessed these myself.
16 Q. Was Vlasenica part of the Birac area?
17 A. Yes.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honours, but my
19 line of thinking is being interrupted without --
20 Q. Please, Witness, based on what you saw, you talked a while ago
21 about the killings of intellectuals. Can you please tell us how they
22 obtained information, based on what you know who these intellectuals were,
23 to begin with.
24 A. All these people, both Serbs and Muslims, lived in the town of
25 Vlasenica for a long time and they knew each other very well.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
2 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour, I apologise. I still fail to
3 understand the linkage between Zvornik -- the addressing to Zvornik TO and
4 Vlasenica village as such, the refugees coming from that.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: But then you ask any question you like on
6 cross-examination. Basically, what -- the reaction of Ms. Vidovic seems
7 to be that you shouldn't look at that paragraph 3 -- number 3 that refers
8 particularly to Zvornik only, but you should look at the entirety of --
9 entire document which comes from Birac command, which included Vlasenica.
10 And she was asking question with relation -- in relation to paragraph 6,
11 that doesn't seem to be limited to Zvornik. That's her position. If you
12 don't accept it, then, please, you will have all the opportunity to put
13 the questions on cross-examination.
14 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: But that's how I understood Ms. Vidovic's position.
16 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Precisely, Your Honour. Thank you
17 for this intervention.
18 If the witness can please be shown the following document. It's a
19 Biraca Brigade command document, and the date is the 17th of June, 1992.
20 It's a document produced by the Biraca Brigade, it was sent to the command
21 of the East Bosnian Corps and was signed by Commander Major Svetozar
22 Andric. The number is 04337554.
23 Q. Witness, do you have that in front of you?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I will quote to you item 2 of the document. It reads: "It is
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 necessary for you to urgently resolve the issue of the prisoner camp. At
2 the moment we have 640 prisoners in Vlasenica, which is why the town's
3 security is jeopardised."
4 Could you please look at item 3 as well towards the end of the
5 document, reading: "Air force needs to step in and act against the
6 following facilities and directions..." 3.1 reads -- 3.3 reads: "Cerska,
7 Udrc, Konjevic Polje."
8 Can you please tell us whether you heard of any Muslim prisoners
9 in Vlasenica. Did anyone you talked to tell you about this?
10 A. Yes. I heard that several hundreds of prisoners were there. They
11 were men from the town of Vlasenica itself and the surrounding Muslim
12 villages. They were subjected to horrendous torture, and a number of the
13 prisoners had been killed.
14 Q. What about the Serb attacks in the spring of 1992? Were those,
15 too, directed against Cerska, including the use of their air forces, which
16 is referenced in this document?
17 A. Yes. It was springtime and the attacks were intense. The air
18 forces, too, were being used.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can we please have a
21 number for this document?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. This document which has ERN 04337554 to 7555,
23 consisting of two pages in both the B/C/S and the English versions, is
24 being tendered, received, and marked as Defence Exhibit D815. Thank you.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can the witness now
1 please be shown Defence Exhibit D408. For the transcript, this is a
2 report of the duty operations officer in the Milici public security
3 station, dated the 28th of May, 1992. The number is 01782455. The report
4 was submitted by Milovan Kljestan.
5 Q. Witness, can you see this public security station report in front
6 of you, the one from Milici?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can you please have a look at the portion where it says "vehicles,
9 report, patrol," and vehicles is part 3. "All the vehicles were used to
10 cleanse the terrain in the area of Milica Brdo, Koprivno."
11 And further down: "Note: Two police squads that were cleansing
12 the area in Koprivno and providing support to the population of the area,
13 led by head R. Bjelanovic and commander R. Pantic returned to Milici by
14 6.30 p.m."
15 Mr. Dedic, based on what you heard from the local Muslims who you
16 said had fled to the Cerska area, what about the Milica Brdo-Koprivno
17 area? Is it true that terrain was cleansed there, as the document states?
18 A. Yes. In late May 1992, there were the Muslim villages of
19 Sebiocina and Vrsinje and a large portion of these villages' populations
20 had left their homes and fled to the woods somewhere in the area of Milica
21 Brdo. Based on their accounts, it was in the Milica Brdo area that the
22 police cleansed the terrain. Many of those people were killed but many
23 succeeded in breaking through and eventually reaching Cerska.
24 Q. Thank you. Likewise, were these cleansings of the terrain, in a
25 manner of speaking, done in late May and early June of 1992 also in the
1 general Cerska area or not?
2 A. Yes, that was the case. This activity continued and was carried
3 out in most of the Muslim-populated areas. The same applied to the area
4 around the bauxite mine, and the population was also driven out towards
6 Q. Please, can you remember how many people arrived in the Cerska
7 area at that point in time - I'm referring to late May and early June 1992
8 - and where did these people eventually end up?
9 A. In early June 1992, I went to the Cerska elementary school.
10 Outside the school there were several thousands of men, women, and
11 children. They were crying. They were listless, standing there in the
12 open, waiting for somebody to come along and help them and offer them some
13 form of accommodation.
14 Q. Can you please remember if the Muslims of the area - I'm referring
15 to the Cerska area - on the 2nd of June, 1992, attacked the surrounding
16 Serb villages, including Metaljka, or not?
17 A. It's an absurd question. We were entirely desperate. There was a
18 chaos that was reigning, with all these thousands of people who ended up
19 in the area with nowhere to go. On the contrary, the activity of the Serb
20 troops were stepped up in the period.
21 Q. Were you yourself personally involved in any attack against, for
22 example, the Serb village of Metaljka in early June 1992?
23 A. No. As I said a while ago, in early June and over the following
24 days, I tried, to the extent that was possible, to have as many of these
25 people as possible accommodated in the elementary school building in
1 Cerska, the people who arrived in the area.
2 Q. What if someone were to put to you that you were in fact
3 recognised during an attack on Metaljka; would that be true?
4 A. No. I'll say this again: My sole task at the time in early June
5 was to deal with this problem. I had an employee of the elementary school
6 Alija Trnadic [phoen] come to see me, as well as a local teacher, Hasan
7 Joglic [phoen], and another teacher called Esad Rastoder. For a long time
8 before the war I used to be principal of the elementary school and we
9 tried to preserve the seals, all the records, the files of the school and
10 have them put away somewhere to a safe place.
11 Q. I have to come back to this. When you talked to these Muslims,
12 did you in fact talk to any of these thousands of Muslim refugees, people
13 who had fled the Vlasenica area?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And I wish to go back to this document that we discussed a while
16 ago. According to the accounts of the local population, had the police
17 taken part in the ethnic cleansing of the Vlasenica villages and the area
18 near Cerska, in Koprivno?
19 A. Yes. At every point in time there was police involvement in these
20 activities; that's what they said.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can I please have the usher's
22 assistance now. I would like to show the witness the following document.
23 This is Defence Exhibit D684.
24 For the sake of the transcript, Your Honours, this is a report on
25 human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. It was prepared
1 by Mr. Mazowiecki, dated the 10th of February, 1993. I would like to
2 point out that the original report is in English; therefore, if the usher
3 could please give the witness a translation of the relevant portion. I'm
4 quoting paragraph 37 of the report, paragraph 37, which reads: "Zaklopaca
5 is a village near the town of Vlasenica in Eastern Bosnia which had a
6 mainly Muslim population of about 150 prior to the conflict. Reports
7 state that on the 16th of May, 1992, at least 83 Muslim men, women, and
8 children were arbitrarily executed by Serb forces there. Surviving
9 eyewitnesses have provided the names of 83 of the victims, but one witness
10 reportedly counted 105 bodies, including ten members of one family, eight
11 members of another, and seven members of a third. Witnesses were
12 returning from the fields at about 5.00 p.m. when the first seven or eight
13 cars carrying Serb forces arrived. One car reportedly had the word
14 'pokolj' - 'massacre' - written on it."
15 Mr. Dedic, my question about this is: Did you hear about the mass
16 killings of the population of the Muslim villages of the Vlasenica area,
17 including Zaklopaca?
18 A. Yes. I don't think there's a single surviving Muslim who hasn't
19 heard about this massacre that occurred in late May of 1992. A young man
20 arrived in Skugrici, his last name was Hamidovic. I remember him clearly
21 because he had a rather large scar on the left side of his face. He told
22 me that he had been watching from the nearby woods what was going on in
23 the village of Zaklopaca. The information stated in the document is
24 consistent with his account. Among those killed was his own father.
25 Q. Thank you. Did he say if he actually saw who the perpetrators
1 were of that crime?
2 A. Yes. He told me that he had noticed clearly that the Vlasenica
3 and Milici police had been involved in this massacre.
4 Q. Thank you. Did you hear about any other mass killings that
5 occurred in some of the surrounding Muslim villages near Cerska?
6 A. Yes. I heard about the mass killings at the village of Mrsici,
7 where Serb forces, the local Serb police, rather, killed nearly the entire
8 population of the village. The village was torched and completely
9 destroyed. Also, there were other expulsions, persecutions, and torchings
10 in other Muslim villages around the area.
11 Q. Did you in fact, when talking to these refugees, find out whether
12 the Muslim inhabitants of Vlasenica and the surrounding villages had tried
13 to organise themselves in order to defend themselves? A while ago you
14 mentioned while testifying that a lot of the Muslim population were to be
15 found in refugee centres. Am I right in claiming that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did they try to organise themselves in order to defend the Muslim
18 population, these refugee centres?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What exactly did you hear?
21 A. I remember exactly when Mr. Mekanic arrived in Cerska in the
22 summer of 1992. He told me that he had had a group of armed men who tried
23 to resist the Serb forces in the Suceska village area. Also, he told me
24 that in the area of Stedar and Vrsinje there had been another group, led
25 by Fadil. However, both groups were small and poorly armed. The result
1 of their resistance was negligible.
2 Q. Did he perhaps tell you whether those forces had engaged the Serbs
3 in the area on their own or whether they were in fact led by a group from
4 Srebrenica or one from Suceska perhaps?
5 A. No. They were entirely independent. Even Mr. Mekanic's group and
6 Mr. Fadil Turkovic's group were acting in isolation.
7 Q. In isolation?
8 A. I mean on their own, independently, they were not coordinated.
9 Q. Just another question before the break. What was the population
10 of Cerska before the war?
11 A. I don't think I can give you the exact figure, but I'm certain
12 that the figure must have been between 5.000 and 6.000 inhabitants.
13 Q. You mean the Cerska area itself, not the broader area?
14 A. Yes, Cerska itself.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this may be a
16 convenient time. I'm not sure if this is a good time for a break. I'm
17 not sure what time exactly you had indicated.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Eser would like to put a question to the
20 witness, or to you maybe.
21 JUDGE ESER: Just for the matter of clarification, Mr. Dedic, I
22 would have a question to you. When you speak of Cerska and this
23 population - how much did you say? 5.000 and 6.000 - and if you take a
24 look to the map, could you indicate in which area this is, because Cerska
25 is written in a long way and we have all these villages. Now, when you
1 speak of 5 to 6.000 inhabitants, do you also include the Muslim villages
2 which you had mentioned before, or where would you locate these 5 to 6.000
3 inhabitants, in which area exactly?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 5.000 to 6.000 inhabitants I said,
5 and these were living in the Cerska area, the Rovasi area, as well as the
6 villages comprised in the area, with the exception of Skugrici which was
7 part of the enclave during the war.
8 JUDGE ESER: So could you perhaps indicate on the map. Could you
9 show it on the map.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The figure that I gave, between
11 5.000 and 6.000 inhabitants, includes the following villages: Raziste,
12 Tumace, Sejmenovici, Hakalisi, Hasanovici, Mustajbasici, Delici, Rovasi,
13 Trnadzic, Cehajici, and Raseva.
14 JUDGE ESER: So Skugrici was independent from the Cerska village,
15 so to say?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Skugrici, prior to the war, yes.
17 Skugrici was a local commune which, according to my information, had about
18 1.300 inhabitants.
19 JUDGE ESER: Thank you.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you, Judge Eser, for clarifying that.
21 I think we can have a break of 30 minutes, as agreed, starting from now.
22 That means we will reconvene at 4.33, 4.33. Thank you.
23 --- Recess taken at 4.00 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.35 p.m.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Vidovic.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, before I continue my
2 examination, I have two minor issues. I was showing the witness the
3 translation of our D684, which had an English original. I would like to
4 also tender the Bosnian translation and to be assigned a number like D684A
5 or B or something like that, for ease of handling. That's one thing.
6 The other thing was I would like the witness to confirm something.
7 I seem to have noticed before we started again that he circled the village
8 of Rogac on the map. I'm not sure if I noticed that correctly.
9 Q. Is my observation correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. That's all I wanted to have confirmed. There's just one other
12 thing --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment -- all right, finish the other thing.
14 But we need to mark this one, this translation of that into B/C/S. This
15 document, which is effectively a translation of the relevant part from
16 D684 from English into B/C/S is being tendered -- and which consists of
17 three pages, the last page of which incorporates paragraph 37, which was
18 read out to the witness, is being tendered and received and marked as
19 Defence Exhibit D684.1.
20 THE REGISTRAR: D684B, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: You wanted B? All right. 684B. 684 is the entire
22 document, this is only an extract.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour, but this is a translation.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. 684B. The important thing is to
25 keep you happy.
1 Let's continue.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have observed
3 something else. Prior to the start of our session, the witness marked the
4 village of Rogac on the map, which the witness has subsequently confirmed.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. All right.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] You see that on the map?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There's just one thing I would like
9 to ask:
10 Q. Why did you mark the village, Witness?
11 A. This is a village that I shall remember until the day I die, so it
12 was no accident.
13 Q. Thank you, Witness. Can you please also mark this at our request
14 now while we're sitting and not during the break.
15 A. Thank you. I apologise. I am sure that I will not make this
16 mistake again.
17 Q. Thank you. I would like to go back to what we talked about before
18 the break. We talked about Cerska's population before the war. According
19 to your own estimate, Witness, how many refugees arrived in Cerska in the
20 spring and summer of 1992?
21 A. In the spring and summer of 1992, according to my estimate, about
22 5.000 refugees arrived in Cerska. It is a fact that in the Cerska area no
23 one kept any accurate records on the number of refugees, but this is my
25 Q. As concerns the accounts of these refugees, about rape, torture,
1 and torching, how did these accounts affect Cerska's population?
2 A. The refugees who arrived brought their stories which caused an
3 enormous amount of panic among Cerska's population. A state of chaos
4 ensued and people felt unsafe. As a result, the situation throughout the
5 territory was chaotic.
6 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber what happened during the
7 spring and summer of 1992 in Cerska itself. What were conditions like in
9 A. In the spring and summer of 1992, Cerska looked like a football
10 pitch with an important game being played. The whole area was
11 overcrowded. There were too many people in the area. In every house that
12 could be used for housing, there was several families. There was an
13 additional problem, namely a number of houses which offered possible
14 accommodation were exposed to direct artillery fire, and this is why they
15 could not be used for this purpose. For example, the last time I spent a
16 night at my own house was mid-April, 1992, and as I say, that was the last
17 time. I never spent a night there again.
18 Q. You just referred to artillery fire. Can you please tell the
19 Trial Chamber whether Cerska was being subjected to artillery attacks
20 throughout this period or not.
21 A. I can't remember a single day that there were no artillery attacks
22 on Cerska. On some days a smaller number of missiles were fired and on
23 some more, but I can't remember a single day without artillery fire
24 throughout the period.
25 Q. How did this affect the people of Cerska?
1 A. The result of these shellings were disastrous, especially so for
2 people who had been wounded in the process. There were lots of people
3 there who were dying even as a result of injuries that at first might have
4 seemed innocuous. The fact is we were in no situation to offer them any
5 medical assistance whatsoever.
6 Q. Did you in fact have a doctor in Cerska?
7 A. No, no. Since the beginning of the spring and summer of 1992, and
8 all the way until the fall of Cerska in March of 1993, no doctor was
9 present throughout this period. There were a number of paramedics. One
10 of them, as a matter of fact, was my own brother who used to work for the
11 health centre in Vlasenica before the war. There was several ladies who
12 were hastily trained to work as nurses. There were several people there
13 who had to do the job although they had no previous experience of the job.
14 If I may be allowed to add, a local tailor would stitch up the wounds of
15 the people who were wounded, without any painkillers whatsoever. No
16 painkillers were available. There was no doctor, therefore no major
17 surgery was performed; however, arms and legs were amputated on a number
18 of occasions. I remember one particular young man whose name was Jupi, a
19 paramedic named Huso had to cut off his right upper arm and the patient
20 himself had no choice but to watch what was being done to his arm.
21 Fortunately, this young man is still alive. He has survived.
22 Q. You told us, Witness, that Cerska had been shelled. Where was the
23 Cerska area being shelled from? Can you please show that on the map.
24 A. Yes. Before I point it out on the map, I would like to say this:
25 That Cerska area was a relatively small area. It was like a box, as it
1 were, a box surrounded by Serb artillery on all sides. A while ago I
2 pointed at Rogac. I'm pointing at it again now. This is a facility that
3 overlooks the entire Cerska area. From the beginning of the war to the
4 fall of Cerska, this facility was used incessantly to shell the entire
6 Also, there was another place called Milica Brdo which overlooks
7 the village of Milici. This position, too, was used throughout the war to
8 shell the Cerska area.
9 Q. Can you please mark that on the map.
10 A. Yes, I'm pointing at it right now. This is the hill above Milici
11 called Milica Brdo.
12 Q. Maybe you have a pen handy, if you can just please mark it for us.
13 A. Yes, sure, I'll mark it. I'll draw a circle around it, if that's
14 all right.
15 Q. Yes, thank you. Can you also please show all the other positions
16 that you know artillery fire was coming from.
17 A. Further, artillery fire kept coming from the Serb village of
18 Nedjeljiste, I'm circling it. Nedjeljiste is at the edge of the map which
19 I have in front of me. Also there was artillery fire coming from
20 Rogosija, which is near Nedjeljiste. I just circled it. Also from
21 Ivanjesta [phoen], which I've circled, Bujista [phoen], which I'm in the
22 process of circling. From Metaljka, which I've just circled; from
23 Drinjaca, which is near the Drinjaca river, which I'm circling now; and --
24 just a minute -- Lijesanj, I'm trying to find it, the village of
25 Lijesanj. I'm circling it. This is above the Muslim village of Raseva.
1 It overlooks the Muslim village of Raseva. These were Serb artillery
2 positions that, as I mentioned a while ago, were being used from the
3 spring and summer of 1992 to the fall of the entire area, when the entire
4 area was occupied.
5 Q. Let me ask you this: How do you know that there was shelling
6 coming from these areas precisely?
7 A. No one who was in the area at the time could have failed to see
8 this. Even the women and children who were there at the time who knew
9 nothing about these issues. All these places that I've mentioned are
10 elevations, as it were, and they are at a higher altitude in relation to
11 the Muslim villages. I could see these villages clearly. You could even
12 see armoured vehicles and tanks with the naked eye. If you were using
13 binoculars, you could see them crystal clear. If I may add, the Muslim
14 villages, as a matter of fact, are very close to these firing positions.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we now show the witness D189,
16 Defence Exhibit D189. This is a list of salaries for June 1992 in
17 relation to the 2nd Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade.
18 Q. Witness, could you please look at page 01776956, which says:
19 "List of mortars Drinjaca-Lijesanj squad." It's the same page in the
20 original and in the English version. There's a list of 11 names, people
21 who were members of the mortar squad. Did you personally have any direct
22 knowledge of the existence of such a mortar squad in Lijesanj?
23 A. Yes. I couldn't confirm with sure and certain knowledge whether
24 it was a squad, but I know that there was artillery being used, mortars
25 being used, from Lijesanj on a daily basis, very frequently. It was being
1 used in the first days of the summer to target the Muslim village of
2 Raseva. I remember clearly that in a single day there were as many as
3 about ten casualties, civilians, from the village of Raseva that were
4 wounded as a result of shelling from Lijesanj. They had been wounded and
5 transferred to the health station in Raseva where my brother was working.
6 That's why I'm familiar with this particular situation.
7 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber whether during the spring
8 and summer the Cerska area was subjected to any infantry attacks; if so,
9 along which axis. Please use the map to demonstrate the situation for the
10 benefit of the Trial Chamber.
11 A. Yes. Almost throughout the spring and summer of 1992, the Cerska
12 area was subjected to both artillery and infantry attacks of variable
13 intensity. There was almost no direction that no attacks were coming
14 from. Most frequently attacks were launched from the villages of
15 Buljevici, Vandjici, Metaljka, or from the general direction of Smrsanj
16 and towards the village of Delici from the Lijesanj direction, towards the
17 village of Raseva, and from Milici. Also quite often these areas were
18 subjected to artillery attacks from Drinjaca and Siljkovici, near Kravica.
19 I remember clearly, if I may just add this, that one of the fiercest
20 infantry attacks that were launched occurred on the 4th of July, 1992,
21 another date which I will never forget. The 8th or 10th of August, 1992,
22 when as a result of a Serb artillery attack from Milici, my sister was
23 wounded and her two underage children were killed, one aged 12 and the
24 other 14.
25 Q. Just a minute, Witness, we'll get to that eventually.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can I have the usher's assistance
2 now, please. I would like to show the witness a Birac Brigade command
3 document dated the 21st of July, 1992. The document bears the following
4 title: "Daily Operations Report." It was signed by Lieutenant Colonel
5 Svetozar Andric, and sent to the command of the East Bosnian Corps. The
6 number of this document is 0433735.
7 Q. Witness, I will quote the relevant portion of the document to
8 you. That is item 7. It reads: "Since the enemy is surrounded in both
9 the Cerska and the Udrc sectors, it is assumed that they will try to break
10 through the line on the Kamenica-Leving Brdo-Gromilica [phoen] in order to
11 link up with their own forces. For this reason, we have been reinforcing
12 our own units at that line and laying mines."
13 What about the truthfulness of what's stated in the title of this
14 document, namely that in the second half of July 1992 Cerska had already
15 been surrounded and besieged by the Serb forces?
16 A. Yes, that is true. I am aware of attempts that were made by a
17 number of people to leave the enclave on account of dreadful living
18 conditions. They wanted to leave for Kladanj or for Srebrenica, but most
19 of them never reached their destination. They were either killed along
20 the road or were seriously wounded by mines that had been laid along the
22 Q. Mount Udrc, which is referred to in this document, this is
23 something that I would like you to show us on the map. Can you show that
24 elevation on the map, and please tell us if there were any Muslims there.
25 A. Yes, I will use my pen to circle Mount Udrc on the map for you.
1 The height is 1.041 metres. This mountain overlooks the Cerska area. It
2 is a forested area. I spent a long time working at the Cerska elementary
3 school, and before the war I had taken trips to this mountain several
4 times. I know that it has two natural caves which can be used to hold
5 hundreds of people. There was a refugee centre holding at least a
6 thousand people, in my estimate. During the shelling, people took refuge
7 in these caves in the mountainside. Also, I'm familiar with the fact that
8 several thousand grenades were launched into the area of Mount Udrc, and
9 you can still see the results on the local vegetation.
10 Q. Thank you. Did you know about the minefields that were laid
11 around Cerska?
12 A. Yes. As I said a while ago, the Serb forces were monitoring these
13 attempts that people were making to leave the enclave and go to Kladanj,
14 Tuzla, or Srebrenica throughout. Consequently, they mined these areas and
15 the circle was becoming tighter and tighter around the area by the day.
16 Q. Another question in relation to this document: In late July 1992,
17 did you actually feel this circle around Cerska tightening in terms of
18 Serbs reinforcing their units?
19 A. Yes, in late July, and this applied to August of 1992 as well,
20 those were months out of hell, as it were, for the area. All day long and
21 all night long you could hear electric chain saws being used in the
22 woodlands around the area. We had no idea what was happening, but we soon
23 noticed that the Serbs were clearing paths through the forest in order to
24 bring their artillery to these clearings, to these areas that had been
25 cleared. If I may be allowed to continue. At the same time, they were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 building access roads, new access roads, which they used for supplies and
2 to bring in reinforcements in terms of manpower which they were to use
3 later on.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we can please have
5 a number for this document.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, certainly, Madam Vidovic. This document which
7 has ERN number 04337375 to 76 in the B/C/S language, consisting of two
8 pages, therefore, plus the corresponding translation of English into one
9 page is being tendered and marked as Defence Exhibit D816.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Witness, if you look at the situation from the end of July 1992
12 onwards, did it worsen or not? For the population of Cerska, that is.
13 A. Every day from the spring into the summer and up to the autumn was
14 harder and harder. There were more and more wounded persons. There were
15 less and less houses for people to stay at because they were being
16 destroyed, torched with inflammatory ammunition. There was a shortage of
17 food, so the living conditions were increasingly difficult.
18 Q. Thank you. Do you remember what happened in the second half of
19 September in the broader area which affected the situation in Cerska?
20 A. Yes. I remember very well. In that period the Serbs took some
21 other areas that had been populated by the Muslims until then. These are
22 some areas around Visegrad and others around Zepa. From these areas, in
23 my estimate, again thousands of refugees came to Cerska and Konjevic
24 Polje. Truth to tell, some of them did stay in Konjevic Polje, but many
25 of them came to Cerska as well. And that made the already-difficult
1 situation even harder.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could the witness
4 please be shown D415, please. This is a document of the armed forces of
5 Bratunac, Konjevic Polje, dated the 20th of September, 1992. It is a
6 report, and it says: "Since the beginning of the aggression against
7 sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina and the 156th day of the aggression
8 against Konjevic Polje and Cerska, local residents have recently
9 experienced the most difficult time in the history of this area. Food and
10 medicine is simply not available and thousands are hungry and exhausted.
11 These tormented people have received no help to forestall their slow
12 deaths from disease and hunger. More than 3.000 refugees from the areas
13 of Zepa, Visegrad, and Srebrenica have arrived in this area over the last
14 few days. Most of them have been driven out of their homes."
15 Q. Witness, please, does this document reflect the actual situation
16 in Cerska at the end of September 1992?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Please, do you recall what happened during the month of October
19 1992? Do you remember? A few moments ago you started talking about some
20 things that were happening in the beginning of October 1992.
21 A. Yes, I remember very well. The month of July 1992, the month of
22 August, and the month of October were months of very intensive attacks by
23 the Serbs against the entire area of Cerska.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please show the
25 witness another document now. It is document -- a document of the forward
1 command post of the Bircanska Brigade, dated the 10th of October, 1992.
2 This is a document of Lieutenant Colonel Svetozar Andric, commander, sent
3 to Colonel Sibalic [phoen]. The document number is 04358009.
4 Q. I will quote the document to you. Do you see the document?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. "Seeing that we are about to conquer Cerska, you must do the
7 following: Set up strong ambushes in order to stop fresh forces from
8 coming from Srebrenica; launch attacks along the axis that we planned
9 previously; connect to communication links according to the plan for
10 action that we have sent to Kravica; submit to me a report on the line
11 reached in Kravica in the direction of Konjevic Polje; engage the air
12 force in view of monitoring and attacking their forces from Srebrenica."
13 And in relation to this, I'm going to ask you the following: On
14 the 10th of October, 1992, the commander of the Birac Brigade says that
15 the Serbs are about to take Cerska. What was it that was going on on the
16 10th of October in 1992, do you remember?
17 A. Yes. At the beginning of October, including the 10th of October,
18 the strongest attacks took place in the area of Skugrici and Cerska, with
19 the largest concentration of Serb forces from Vandici and Metaljka. It is
20 also a well-known fact that around mid-October 1992 the air force was
21 active in the area.
22 Q. Please, in paragraphs 3 and 4, it says here: "Connect to
23 communication links according to the plan for action that we have sent to
25 My question in relation to this is the following: Did you have
1 any knowledge at that time in Cerska that there were Serb forces in
3 A. Yes, absolutely. Yes. And several times from Tumace, which is
4 within Cerska --
5 Q. Could you please indicate Tumace on the map.
6 A. Would you like me to put a circle around Tumace?
7 Q. You can underline Tumace, as you did before.
8 A. I think that I'll -- well, it was underlined, so now I'm going to
9 put a circle around the village of Tumace.
10 Q. All right.
11 A. It dominates the area of Konjevic Polje and the entire Kravica
12 river valley, from which there is an excellent view of this terrain. From
13 this position, there is an excellent view of projectiles being fired from
14 Kravica and the surrounding hills on Konjevic Polje and the area.
15 Q. Do you recall a particular event that has to do with this firing
16 from Kravica?
17 A. Yes. I remember one very well, and I shall certainly never forget
18 it. It happened on St. Vitus Day, a Serb holiday, which is on the 28th of
19 June. Then from Kravica --
20 Q. I'm sorry, Witness. The 28th of June, what was the year?
21 A. 1992. I'm sorry. The 28th of June is St. Vitus Day any year, but
22 this year it was 1992. So I was at Tumace with a young man. We were
23 looking through binoculars at the Kravica river and Konjevic Polje, and
24 then he counted the shells that were fired from the surrounding hills.
25 And the number was 1500.
1 Q. Please, on the basis of what you saw and heard and observed from
2 Tumace, did you have the impression that the Serb forces from Kravica were
3 linked up to the other forces in the area or not?
4 A. The answer is: Yes, absolutely. These forces were always linked
5 up. Their action was always synchronised because the attacks came against
6 Konjevic Polje whenever Cerska was attacked from other directions.
7 Q. Is that what you noticed on the 10th of October in 1992 as well,
8 as indicated in this document?
9 A. Yes, I noticed it on that day, too.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Please, could the -- or rather, Your
11 Honours, could this document please be admitted into evidence?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I don't think it's been tendered
14 until now.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Not yet. This document which, consists of one page
16 in B/C/S with ERN 04358009 and a corresponding translation into English on
17 one page is being tendered and received and marked as Defence Exhibit
19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please show D76 to
20 the witness now. This is a directive of the General Staff of the Army of
21 Republika Srpska. The date is the 19th of November, 1992, signed by
22 Lieutenant Colonel General Ratko Mladic, commander of the Serb army.
23 Q. Witness, could you please look at page 6 in the Bosnian language.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in English the page
25 number is 5, paragraph D.
1 Q. I'm going to quote a very brief part of this document. Can you
2 see this, Witness?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. It has to do with the Drina Corps. It says: "The Drina Corps,
5 from its present positions its main forces shall persistently defend
6 Visegrad, Zvornik, and the corridor while the rest of its forces in the
7 wider Podrinje region shall exhaust the enemy, inflict the largest
8 possible losses on him, force him to leave the Birac, Zepa, and Gorazde
9 areas, together with the Muslim population. First, offer the able-bodied
10 and armed men to surrender, and if they refuse, destroy them. After that,
11 unblock and repair the Konjevic Polje-Zvornik road, make it fit for
12 traffic, and stand by for intensive combat against infiltrated sabotage
13 terrorists, surprise and ambush attacks and paramilitary groups. Set up a
14 command post in Vlasenica and a forward command post as decided by the
15 corps commander."
16 In relation to this I have a question for you. Please, in the
17 second half of November in 1992, was -- did the pressure of the Serb
18 forces go up against you in Cerska for you to leave the area?
19 A. Yes. That was my very own impression, that this was the last of
20 our stay in the area.
21 Q. Please, what about you, the Muslims of Cerska? Were you aware of
22 the fact that there was a threat that you would be destroyed in the area
23 of Podrinje?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What did this part of the order mean for Cerska, "deblock and get
1 the Konjevic Polje-Milici-Zvornik road repaired"? You can use a map, if
2 you wish, to explain this. What would that mean for the people of Cerska?
3 A. Yes. If a deblockade were to be carried out, as it says here, of
4 the Vlasenica-Milici-Konjevic Polje-Zvornik road, the area of Cerska would
5 remain totally isolated. Quite simply put, it would remain cut off, as if
6 in a box. Because there would be in communication with Konjevic Polje
7 either. Until then, in spite of the risks involved, we did manage to
8 communicate with Konjevic Polje until then.
9 Q. Thank you. You mentioned that you were in a position to
10 communicate with Konjevic Polje in spite of the risks involved. Could you
11 explain what you meant by that.
12 A. Yes. What I meant by this was that often people tried to go from
13 Cerska to Konjevic Polje or from Konjevic Polje to Cerska in order to get
14 food, to see friends, to attend funerals of persons who were killed, et
15 cetera. But what happened very often was that those who went from
16 Konjevic Polje to Cerska either got killed or seriously wounded because
17 the crossroads here that I'm indicating now is perfectly visible from the
18 artillery positions, the Serb artillery positions. And it was always
19 exposed to shelling.
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would now like to ask the usher to
22 show another document to the witness, please. The number of this document
23 is 04358150. This is a document of the command of the Drina Corps, dated
24 the 19th of November, 1992, and it is called an order to cut off the
25 corridor between Srebrenica and Cerska. This is a document signed by
1 Lieutenant Colonel Milenko Zivanovic, sent to the command of the Birac
2 Brigade and the Bratunac Brigade.
3 Q. Witness, I'm going to quote part of the document to you. Have you
4 got it before you?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. "In order to prevent passage of the enemy from Srebrenica to
7 Cerska and back and to create favourable conditions in this way for the
8 final liberation of those areas, I hereby order:
9 "Cut off the Srebrenica-Cerska corridor and along the general axis
10 Kravica village-Rogac village.
11 "For the execution of this task, carry out all preparations and
12 engage adequate forces and equipment.
13 "The commanders of the Birac PBR and the Bratunac LPBR are to
14 organise a direct and full coordination and work out a plan of coordinated
16 You've already seen the order of the Main Staff of the Army of
17 Republika Srpska with the same date, and you said that you felt this
18 increased pressure of the Serb forces in Cerska. Did you have any
19 knowledge or did you not have any knowledge about the Serb forces coming
20 from a broader area and acting in concert against your entire area? Could
21 you please just briefly pause between my question and your answer.
22 A. Could you please repeat your question. I didn't quite understand
24 Q. You saw the order of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika
25 Srpska, and you told us that from that day onwards, that is to say the
1 19th of November, 1992, that you felt that the Serb forces were
2 intensifying their pressure against the Cerska area. In this connection,
3 I am asking you the following: Whether you did have knowledge or you did
4 not have knowledge about the Serb forces coming from a broader area and
5 acting in concert in terms of attacking the entire area of Cerska. Did
6 you understand me now?
7 A. Yes. The period that this document pertains to is a period of
8 very difficult moments throughout Cerska. That is when attacks were
9 intensified practically from all directions against this area. If you
10 remember, I've already mentioned that at certain points we were very close
11 to the Serb positions. And when they were involved in all of this they
12 were often saying loudly, The people from Kravica have come, from
13 Bijeljina, et cetera, now you're going to see what they're like. So we
14 knew very well that there was a grouping and concentration of Serb forces
16 Q. Thank you. What about in the vicinity of Skugrici; were Serb
17 soldiers being killed in combat as you were fighting them?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you see what they looked like, what they wore, what weapons
20 they had?
21 A. Yes. They all had uniforms, they all had weapons, and very often
22 during counter-attacks by our own armed groups the weapons would be left
23 behind. These were automatic weapons. A certain number of those who were
24 killed or fled in panic left behind their own personal documents. There
25 were people there from Kravica, Milici, and a number of other places, too.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we please have a
3 number assigned to this document?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, certainly, Ms. Vidovic. This document, which
5 consists of one page in the B/C/S language and one page in the
6 corresponding translation into English, with ERN 04358150, is being
7 tendered, received, and marked as Defence Exhibit D818.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can the usher please now show the
9 witness a new document. This is a document produced by the Bratunac
10 Brigade command. The date is the 3rd of December, 1992. And it reads:
11 "Decision to attack." It was signed by Borivoje Tesic.
12 Q. Witness, I will just read the beginning of this document to you.
13 It reads: "Decision to attack." Item 4: "I have decided to regroup and
14 bring in some of the brigade forces along the Bratunac-Kravica-Banjevici
15 village axis and then from an initial position to the right: Sopotnik
16 village left excluding the group of houses in Gornja Brana village, move
17 to attack by grouping the main forces on the following axis ..." and so on
18 and so forth.
19 If you could please turn to page 3 of the document and look at
20 item 9 which I'm about to read out because I believe it is a relevant
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is page 2 in the
24 Q. I will quote: "Tactical artillery group comprising: An
25 82-millimetre mortar platoon, a 120-millimetre mortar detachment; two ZIS,
1 two self-propelled guns, one self-propelled anti-aircraft gun.
2 "Commander: BrAg."
3 Witness, do you know what this abbreviation stands for?
4 A. Yes. This abbreviation means brigade artillery squad, or
5 artillery group.
6 Q. And after that, it says: "VPo in the Siljkovici sector (ZIS,
7 self-propelled gun), and then VPo in the Lupoglava sector (ZIS,
8 self-propelled gun, Praga)." Can you please just tell the Trial Chamber
9 what the VPo abbreviation stands for.
10 A. This abbreviation VPo means firing position of the piece. The
11 reference here is to artillery.
12 Q. Did you notice that it reads here: "The firing position of a
13 piece in the Siljkovici sector, self-propelled gun, ZIS"?
14 A. Yes, I noticed that.
15 Q. In the brackets it reads: "ZIS, self-propelled gun." Can you
16 please explain the nature of this weapon to the Trial Chamber. What sort
17 of weapon is that?
18 A. ZIS is a long-range artillery piece produced in Russia. The
19 calibre is 76 millimetres. It can target -- it can target locations
20 directly and indirectly.
21 Q. Can you please explain what that means, to target something
22 directly or indirectly.
23 A. Yes, I can. Direct targeting is when you target aims that can't
24 be seen, that are not in the line of sight; indirect targeting is when you
25 target facilities or points that are visible.
1 Q. Did I understand you correctly when you said that after the war
2 you spent four years working as a professional soldier, and this is why
3 you know so much about all these artillery pieces and weapons?
4 A. Yes, that's true. I remained a professional soldier until the
5 31st of May, 2004.
6 Q. Thank you very much. Reference is made here to artillery pieces
7 positioned at Siljkovici, a self-propelled gun, and another self-propelled
8 weapon. Are these the pieces that you referred to, the ones that you said
9 you had seen firing on Cerska and Konjevic Polje, are these the same
11 A. Yes.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have a number for this
13 Defence Exhibit?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, this Defence Exhibit, Ms. Vidovic, which
15 consists of four pages in B/C/S and two pages being the English
16 translation thereof, is with ERN in B/C/S starting at 04361553 up to and
17 inclusive of 04361556, is being tendered and marked as Defence Exhibit
19 One very minor thing. It's probably a typing error. In paragraph
20 9 that we have been looking at, Ms. Vidovic, the fifth line that you've
21 just referred the witness to, you have VP here - at least on what I have
22 here - it's P, VPP. The previous line is VPo. Is there any difference or
23 is it just a typing error? I'm asking you.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, to be quite frank, I
25 really can't say. I think the witness probably knows --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right --
2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] -- whether there's another
3 abbreviation that reads VPP, or is that just a typo that needs to be
4 corrected and should read VPo instead.
5 Q. Do you perhaps have an explanation for that?
6 A. By your leave, VPP in this contest, as far as I can tell, makes no
7 sense. I think it's a typo.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. That's important to know. So this will
9 be D819. I think I said that much already. Did I? Yes. Then let's
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can I have the usher's assistance,
12 please. I would like to show the witness the following document: It's a
13 Drina Corps document, a Drina Corps command document, dated the 8th of
14 December, 1992. The number -- the title is: "Decision to liberate
15 Pobudje, Konjevic Polje, and Cerska." Signed by commander Colonel Milenko
16 Zivanovic. The document bears the following number: 04293174 through
17 04293180. I shall now quote the relevant part, and the relevant portion
18 is on page 2. If you could please turn to page 2 immediately. The number
19 is 04293175. I'm talking about items 2 and 3. In the English
20 translation, this is page 2.
21 It reads: "Decision.
22 "I have decided: To overrun the Pobudje and Glogova Planina
23 sectors, as well as the Nova Kasaba-Drinjaca road with the main forces,
24 and defend the Milici bauxite mine and liberate Cerska and Kamenica with
25 the auxiliary forces."
1 In relation to this, I wish to ask you the following: Were the
2 Serb forces attacking Cerska and Konjevic Polje as described in this
3 document? The date I'm referring to is on or around the 8th of December,
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I will now quote to you item 3, which reads: "Main forces for the
7 Glogova Planina sector composition: Reinforced batallion of the Bratunac
8 Brigade and the Banja Luka Motorised Battalion with the line of advance:
9 Pusine village - Oglavak - Banjevici village - and the attack on the
10 general axis: Banjevici village - Drenjak - Gradina - Milovan."
11 Throughout December 1992 and early in January 1993, did you in
12 Cerska have any knowledge of the fact that Muslim groups were in the
13 Glogova-Planina area?
14 A. Yes. At the time Kadir Hamidovic arrived in Cerska. He had come
15 from Glogova where his sister lived. She was married to someone from that
16 village, the village in which I resided. He told us that in the
17 Glogova-Planina area there were a large number of persons, women and
18 children, who were freezing because they had no clothes and no food, who
19 were being subjected to permanent attacks by the Serb forces, especially
20 from the Kravica area. Furthermore, he indicated that a number of people
21 from the village of Glogova itself were now in the village of Cizmici.
22 People like Ejub Golic, who was there with an armed group.
23 Q. Can you now please look at page 3, item B. It reads: "For the
24 Pobudje sector, composition, the Vlasenica assault detachment and the
25 Drvar Motorised Brigade."
1 How far was Pobudje, the Muslim village of Pobudje, from where you
3 A. The Muslim village of Pobudje was about 300 to 400 metres, as the
4 crow flies, from where I resided. There is a point from which you can see
5 crystal clear every single house and every single hamlet in the Pobudje
7 Q. Did you know that Pobudje was shelled in December 1992?
8 A. Yes. I knew that very well and I could see for myself. The
9 reason being that the entire area was subjected to intense shelling and
10 you could see red smoke -- or rather, red dust rising from the rooms that
11 had been shattered by shells. Also, due to intense artillery attacks
12 against this area, there were many refugees that had left the area and set
13 out for Konjevic Polje and Cerska at that time.
14 Q. Can you please now look at page 4 of this document, item B in the
15 English, where it says: "Birac Brigade forces: Battalions: Papraca,
16 Vlasenica and the Milici Light Batallion will move from the current
17 redeployment sector and start an attack along the general
18 Rogosija-Petrovici-Amidzici village axis.
19 "Objective: Shatter enemy forces along the axis of attack and
20 seize control of Cerska and Rovasi."
21 Witness, it was mentioned that the Papraca, Vlasenica, Milici
22 battalions were about to move to another area, the
23 Rogosija-Petrovic-Amidzici area. Do you remember that you, throughout
24 December 1992, or rather the Cerska area, throughout December 1992 was
25 ever attacked along these axes referred to in the document?
1 A. Yes. Throughout the period you've just mentioned, this area was
2 being subjected to intense shelling. You could see the entire territory;
3 it looked very much like a check board. It was being shelled so often
4 that the smoke had not even dispersed. Also, from the village of Hamidici
5 there was snow on the ground and no leaves on the trees. The visibility
6 was very high and you could see an unheard of concentration of Serb forces
7 in the area. Such a concentration of Serb forces had never been seen up
8 to that point.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Just one moment. Sorry to interrupt you, but I
10 think we need to get this right. For the record, the transcript seems to
11 refer to this paragraph as paragraph B. In the English version, this is
12 the first part of paragraph C on page 3 of the English translation. In
13 the original document it is on page 4 and it is indicated with a V in
14 brackets five, six, seven, eight lines from the top of the page.
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I did this so that later on, when we are referring,
17 we can follow. Because otherwise, if we go to B, we cannot find it. Now
18 we can find it, but later on we would never be able to do so. Yes, go
19 ahead, and my apologies for the interruption.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Q. Can you please now go to item 4 on page 4 of the original. That
22 is page 4 in the English as well. Item 4 on page 4, please. I quote:
23 "Item 4, firing support, a) artillery, KAG 1 will provide support ..."
24 First of all, please, can you explain the abbreviation, KAG. What
25 does that stand for?
1 A. I will be glad to do that. This abbreviation KAG stands for corps
2 artillery group.
3 Q. Therefore, KAG 1 will provide support from the firing positions in
4 the Milica Brdo and Vlasenica areas. It will provide support to our
5 forces along the axis of area. Milica Brdo-Pobudje-Konjevic Polje by
6 firing at the following ... and so on and so forth.
7 In relation to this, Witness, these infantry attacks that you
8 mentioned as taking place in the Cerska and Rogosija area, were they
9 receiving artillery support, as stated by this document?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, if you could please go to page 6 of the same document. Item
12 6 on page 6.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is page 5 in the
15 Q. I quote: "In order to coordinate the combat operations of all
16 units taking part in this task, organise a forward command post in the
17 Rogac sector. TT 7."
18 Can you please explain to the Trial Chamber what a forward command
19 post is.
20 A. Yes. The abbreviation we use is IKM; this means forward command
22 Q. At one point a while ago you told us that you would never be able
23 to forget Rogac. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber what sort of
24 significance for you and the people of Cerska Rogac had.
25 A. Yes. Rogac - this is something that I wish to reiterate - is an
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 elevation overlooking the Cerska area. And based on all the activities
2 carried out by the Serb forces in the area, it is well-known that all
3 these activities and support for all these activities had been coordinated
4 from Rogac itself. All the activities were receiving support from this
5 elevation known as Rogac.
6 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber what sort of support really.
7 A. Needless to say, I'm talking about artillery support.
8 Q. Did you at any point learn from anyone that there was in fact a
9 Serb command post at Rogac?
10 A. Yes. I learned there was a Serb army command post at Rogac. I
11 found out about this when I was in Konjevic Polje. I was told by this
12 Sabic [phoen], Fadil, Nebic [phoen], and some other people. They knew
13 from the very beginning that there were artillery positions, or rather a
14 forward command post.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we have a number
17 for this document, please. I am done with it.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. This document, which consists of seven pages
19 in the B/C/S version and six pages in the English translation thereof, ERN
20 number for the original being 04293174 to 180 is being tendered, received,
21 and marked as Defence Exhibit D820.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I hope we have more luck with the
23 video now. Can we play the video, please. It's part of an OTP exhibit.
24 The exhibit is P317. The video is one of the two videos 39 and 37. If we
25 can please have the portion starting at 45.39 and going on until 48.26.
1 This is footage of the establishment of the Bratunac Brigade, dated the
2 15th of November, 1992.
3 Q. Witness, can you please follow closely.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] And if the usher can please
5 distribute the relevant transcript to everyone in the courtroom --
6 actually, my apologies, Your Honour. We have the transcript already.
7 It's part of the file that we distributed. So if the usher could please
8 just submit to you the relevant portion of the transcript.
9 [Videotape played]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. I think we better stop this until we
11 get the transcript because it's no use trying to follow in the Bosnian
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] This is part of the evidence
15 already. The number assigned at the time was D38.1, D38.1. We'll run a
16 check on this.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: If perhaps -- let me have a look at this.
19 Ms. Vidovic, this is -- yes, we have two pages in English.
20 Basically, we're a page and a bit. I suppose the best way to go about it,
21 because we can't follow the video on the screen and the text at the same
22 time, is to hand this document to the interpreters, and we'll need two
23 copies, one for the interpretation into English, or you make a copy of it,
24 and they will translate to us as we roll -- I'm sorry about that, Madam
25 Usher, but I think that's the best way. We do have a copy --
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours -- Your Honours, I
2 believe we've had the copies distributed to the booths already.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, I see. That's easier.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, they have it.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I mean, the problem is not us, because we do have a
6 copy of it. The problem is I want to make sure whoever is following the
7 proceedings is in a position to follow, too, because otherwise it doesn't
8 make sense. So have I made myself understood with the interpreters? I
9 think -- okay, all right, I see you have understood me. All right. So
10 let's start with this video.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Journalist: ... a huge contribution
13 in the Bircanska Brigade. Could we say that this is going to be the case
14 with the Bratunac Brigade?
15 "Jovan Nikolic: Well, we from Kravica, are bound by tradition,
16 and I think it is going to remain the same. Kravica has so far sacrificed
17 over 30 dead fighters, and the same number of civilians, a total of 55
18 wounded. The territory that we are holding is an area totalling 60 square
19 kilometres, and so far we did not yield an inch of our territory. We
20 shall be successful in preserving our territory, that is for sure.
21 "As far as the Bircanska Brigade is concerned, and I would like
22 to say that the same tradition applies to the 6th East Bosnian Assault
23 Brigade. Due to the circumstances, the headquarters of that brigade is in
24 Sekovici, and we have for our commander Andric.
25 "And we are lucky to have him. He came to the area on time and
1 he's our savior. We came from Kravica, we love Zekic, he's one of our
2 commanders, but Andric stayed in our hearts, everybody loves him, and he
3 has become a local legend.
4 "That is why I am glad that everything is finished here. Next to
5 him is Colonel Zivanovic. I was fortunate to meet him often at Rogac. We
6 would meet him very often at Rogac and we would talk to him. I think what
7 is happening tonight to our people is a window on the future of the
8 Serbian army in Bosnian.
9 "Specifically, we keep repeating that: Colonel Zivanovic,
10 Lieutenant Colonel Andric, Lieutenant Colonel Tesic, and you have just
11 introduced to us Captain Vaso. These are the men who saved us. We trust
12 that the Serb people have accepted them as their own, and I'm sure that if
13 they lead us, we can win the battle.
14 "Journalist: Does that mean that the Bratunac Brigade is going
15 to pick up where the Bircanska Brigade left off?"
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Your microphone, please.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies.
18 Q. Witness, you still have this -- the face of this person on the
19 screen. Are you familiar with this face?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Who is this?
22 A. The person I see on the screen in front of me is one of my former
23 colleagues from before the war. The name is Jovan Nikolic, better known
24 as Jole. He used to work at the Kravica primary school. He taught
25 Serbo-Croatian. I know that for a while he was principal of the school.
1 Q. Did you know about his role at Kravica; you, the people of Cerska?
2 A. Yes. I knew that right from the beginning of the war he occupied
3 one of the leading positions in the Serbian Democratic Party. He had an
4 important role to play in everything that went on during the war,
5 especially in 1992, in the area under consideration.
6 Q. Did you hear that on the recording he said that he was lucky to
7 meet Colonel Rogac on several occasions at Rogac -- Colonel Zivanovic at
8 Rogac. Did you know who Colonel Zivanovic was?
9 A. Yes. I didn't know he was a colonel, but I knew that he was the
10 Drina Corps commander.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher to put
13 a new document before the witness of the Bratunac Brigade command, dated
14 the 15th of December, 1992. This is a Bratunac Brigade command document
15 dated the 15th of December, 1992. The title is "Response to telegram to
16 be forwarded to the Drina Corps commander by Lieutenant Colonel Borivoje
17 Tesic." The document number is 04361565. It is a short document, and I
18 will read it out in full.
19 "This is to inform you that in order to ensure the link-up of
20 combat dispositions of units along the Koprivno village, Manovici village,
21 Brezanci village, Siljkovici village axis, officer Jovan Nikolic, aka
22 Jole, went to Manovici village to discuss the matter with an officer from
24 "The task was executed only partially because of the situation in
25 the territory. This line will be occupied during the night and tomorrow."
1 If one is to take a look at the document, would you agree with me
2 that the task of linking up of combat disposition of units from Koprivno
3 to Siljkovici is mentioned there, and it is also stated that Officer
4 Nikolic was at Manovici village to discuss the matter with an officer from
5 Milici. Do you remember that portion of the document?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Jovan Nikolic, aka Jole, is that the person from Kravica, or
8 rather, is there another Jovan Nikolic, Jole, in Kravica as far as you
10 A. As far as I know, there is no such person, or there is no other
12 Q. Hence he's the only Jovan Nikolic, Jole, in Kravica?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Siljkovici, is it a part of Kravica you mentioned as a location
15 from which Konjevic Polje and Cerska were shelled from?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In your knowledge, on the 15th of December, 1992, from the
18 direction of Koprivno, Manovici, Brezanci and Siljkovici, was there an
19 attack launched against the Muslims in your area, in your village?
20 A. Yes. I remember the 15th of December, 1992, very well. That day
21 we saw an intensive attack against the villages of Pobudje, and as I
22 mentioned earlier, one could clearly see it from where I was. I remember
23 that very well because at that time a relative of mine, Sabo Dedic, was
24 seriously injured and he later died because of that.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please assign an exhibit
2 number to this document, Your Honour?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, certainly, Ms. Vidovic. This document, which
4 consists of two pages, one in B/C/S, with ERN 04361565 and the one in
5 English being the corresponding translation thereof, is being marked as
6 Defence Exhibit D821.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies.
9 I would kindly ask the usher to put P2 in front of the witness.
11 Q. It is --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Okay.
13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. It is an alleged order of the subregional armed forces staff,
15 dated 11 December, 1992. So this document is dated 11 December, 1992.
16 The number is 030992. I will quote. "On 14 December 1992 carry out a
17 frontal attack on the Dolijani-Grabovska-Donje Brane axis, with forces to
18 attack in the Brana-Bacici-Krusik direction. Main forces in the core of
19 the attack are to be directed at Dolijani."
20 The word used in B/C/S is "gornjinu," which basically means
21 nothing, but that's what is stated in the document.
22 "After seizing your territories, mount constant guards until the
23 next order. I hereby appoint Semso Salihovic the commander of units
24 participating in this operation."
25 The third paragraph mentions a frontal attack on Siljkovici on the
1 14th of December, 1992.
2 In paragraph 4, it states: "The coordinators of both attacks
3 shall be Semso Salihovic and Ferid Hodzic, chief of subregional armed
4 forces staff."
5 The first question I have in relation to this document is the
6 following: Do you know Semso Salihovic and Ferid Hodzic?
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. Have you ever seen this order or have you heard of this order
9 before I showed it to you?
10 A. Of course not.
11 Q. Did Ferid and Semso take their men to carry out a frontal attack
12 in Dolijani, Bacici and Krusik on the 14th of December, 1992, as was
13 ordered by this document? That is, what really did take place on the 14th
14 of December, 1992, in the area? Could you explain it for the Chamber.
15 A. Yes. As I mentioned a minute ago, the period mentioned in the --
16 this so-called order was the period of intensive Serb attacks against our
17 areas. And another thing, one would have to be crazy to take his men in
18 December in deep snow to a frontal attack. That would be certain death
19 for them.
20 Q. The attack as described here, has it ever been carried out as
22 A. Such an attack described in this alleged order in my knowledge has
23 never been carried out. I want to reiterate that we were under siege and
24 under continuous attacks.
25 Q. Do you remember whether anyone ever mentioned such an order in
2 A. No, I don't remember that, as far as I know.
3 Q. Were the Cerska -- did the Cerska forces attack Siljkovici on the
4 14th of December, 1992?
5 A. Could you please repeat the question.
6 Q. Did the people from Cerska attack Siljkovici on the 14th of
7 December, 1992?
8 A. No, certainly not. This was the period when we had such grave
9 issues, problems, because we were under the siege and we couldn't attack
11 Q. Would you agree with me that Semso Salihovic and Ferid Hodzic are
12 people from Cerska?
13 A. Yes, because they were in that area all the way up until the fall
14 of Cerska.
15 Q. Hence, in your knowledge, the contents of this document, are they
17 A. No.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher to put
20 P164 in front of the witness. This is an alleged subregion armed forces
21 staff document, dated the 11th of December, 1992. I wanted to read out
22 items 1 and 2. It states the following: "Prepare all members of the
23 armed forces assigned to the Cerska, Kamenica, and Konjevic Polje units
24 who are originally from Glogova, both the armed and unarmed ones, and
25 deploy them in the region of Glogova on the 12th of December, 1992."
1 Item 2: "Immediately mobilise all able-bodied manpower in the
2 area of Cerska, Kamenica and Konjevic Polje and assign them to the armed
3 forces units in these territories."
4 Q. Pertaining to this I have the following question: Were you quite
5 familiar with the people from the area of Cerska, particularly those who
6 were armed?
7 A. Yes. I was very familiar with almost the entire population of
8 Cerska because I used to work there. I worked there for a decade at the
9 elementary school before the war.
10 Q. Do you have any knowledge as to whether the armed groups in Cerska
11 that we are to discuss later, but I'm interested in something else at this
12 moment, do you have any knowledge that people originally from Glogova were
13 deployed to Cerska?
14 A. To respond to your question, firstly, I never heard that anyone
15 deployed any people anywhere, neither in Cerska nor anywhere else,
16 including those from Cerska. As for Glogova, none of the people from
17 there were ever members of any armed groups in Cerska.
18 Q. Was there any sort of order for mobilisation sent to Cerska in
19 December 1992 in your knowledge?
20 A. Never, not at that time or later. There was no mobilisation order
21 sent to Cerska.
22 Q. In your estimate, the contents of this document, are they correct?
23 A. No.
24 Q. I will stay with this document for a bit longer and I wanted to
25 read out item 3. "Take all security measures and be on the
1 Sandici-Mackovac-Kamenica-Provila line. Be prepared to take on the enemy
3 Would you agree that in the last sentence what it really says here
4 is that -- is: Be prepared to take on the enemy attack?
5 A. Yes, I agree.
6 Q. All of the items I read out from this document, but in particular
7 item 3 and the sentence "Be prepared to take on the enemy attack," could
8 that be interpreted in the following way, and I will now read out the
9 translation of the original text in Dutch.
10 "The leader of the enclave announces mobilisation to prepare an
11 attack on the Serbian settlements."
12 I read out the Bosnian document carefully to you. The sentence in
13 Dutch, is it in any way related to the contents of the documents or has it
14 been completely mistranslated, does it mean something completely opposite?
15 A. Yes. The translation runs completely counter to the text that you
16 read out a minute ago.
17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this was just to help
18 you understand that the sentence in Dutch does not correspond with the
19 rest of the document.
20 Q. Thank you, Witness.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, should we stop with
22 this examination-in-chief? If I understood correctly, we were supposed to
23 work until quarter past 6.00 today.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, we started a little bit late. Let's work
25 another 10 minutes and then we'll stop just to recover some lost
1 territory. Minus, plus, I mean, it's -- you are just -- yourself,
2 according to the number of questions or the areas that you would like to
3 cover. But more or less we've got about another 10 minutes to go.
4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Your Honour. I can
5 ask a couple additional questions.
6 Q. I will now move on to a different topic. Up until now you've been
7 describing a line of Serb attacks. I wanted to ask you to describe for us
8 now how the Muslims in Cerska organised themselves for defence of Cerska.
9 And could you please start with May of 1992. Before that I wanted to ask
10 you this, though: Did the Serbs manage to enter Cerska and issue an
11 ultimatum to the people of Cerska the way they did in the other areas of
13 A. No. They didn't succeed in that.
14 Q. The Muslim population of Cerska, were they armed at all, if you
15 could tell the Chamber?
16 A. Yes. The Muslim population of Cerska had some hunting rifles,
17 since a number of people were hunters. There were also a few pistols,
18 guns, licensed guns purchased before the war. Some people also had
19 makeshift or homemade guns. And often to make them they used several
20 various barrels from various automotive parts, and I also wanted to say
21 that a number of people were killed by such weapons. A lot of weapons
22 after the war began was seized by -- from the Serb forces during our
23 counter-attacks. I also wanted to state that a number of people purchased
24 their weapons prior to the war, because in the settlement of Nova Kasaba,
25 which is to be found, if you can follow it on the map, from Milici towards
1 Konjevic Polje -- here it is, where the pointer is. In the settlement of
2 Nova Kasaba before the war there were a number of Roma citizens and they
3 produced ammunition. The relative of mine I mentioned who was killed on
4 the 15th of December purchased a rifle from them.
5 Q. Could I ask you how many people purchased such weapons?
6 A. Not too many, a few. And if I may add, I also wanted to say that
7 a number of people purchased their rifles from a Serb by the same of
8 Gacic. They told us they bought their guns, their rifles, from him.
9 Q. Were there any reserve policemen amongst the Muslims?
10 A. Yes. As far as I know there were about 30 of them. They all
11 possessed weapons. They were issued with weapons as reserve policemen.
12 And these were mainly semi-automatic rifles. I also remember a guy who
13 had a machine-gun, the M-53 machine-gun.
14 Q. Thank you. Apart from that, you mentioned that you also seized
15 some weapons in combat in fighting with the Serbs. Did you manage to get
16 any weapons from the Serbs in any other way during the war?
17 A. Yes. There was an interesting case when a group of boys -- of men
18 from Cerska went to the Serb territory. They stole an 82-millimetre
19 mortar as well as several shells and they carried it over to our
21 Q. Were you able to use it?
22 A. Unfortunately not, because we didn't have anyone who could operate
24 Q. Could you tell the Chamber what happened with the mortar. What
25 did you do with it?
1 A. Yes. We tried for several days to find someone who could train us
2 to operate it. A guy came by the name of Hasib, I don't know his last
3 name, and he said that he can operate it very well. We stood next to him,
4 quite close, and after some preparation, he inserted a shell. It went
5 far, far from where we were and we couldn't even hear its impact. When we
6 asked him to try to target what we wanted him to target, we showed some
7 bushes 3 to 400 metres away, he said, No problem. He raised the barrel
8 almost at the angle of 90 degrees, and I never saw a mortar being operated
9 before that, but I asked him to put it under a different angle because I
10 thought it would come back on our heads, but he kept saying that he knew
11 what he was doing. When he fired it, the shell landed 10 metres away from
12 us and it knocked all of us down. There was lots of dust and stone.
13 Fortunately, no one got wounded. We asked him what happened and he said,
14 I was not being careful. And then the Serbs used that to locate our
15 position, and they started shelling.
16 Q. In other words, even if you'd had a weapon like that, you didn't
17 in fact have anything else that you would have needed to use it?
18 A. That's right. Unfortunately, there was not a single professional
19 soldier among us. We had no manuals, no -- nothing to guide us. We
20 learned by example, and unfortunately there was a huge loss of life as a
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to break
23 now and then move on to a different topic tomorrow, if that's all right.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Certainly, Madam Vidovic.
25 Mr. Dedic, we are going to stop here for today and give you a
1 rest. I forgot to tell you something very important in the beginning.
2 Between now and tomorrow and after tomorrow between each sitting until you
3 finish your testimony, you are not to communicate with anyone or allow
4 anyone to communicate with you and talk or discuss the subject matter of
5 -- subject matter about which you are testifying. It doesn't mean to say
6 that you cannot communicate with your family -- your family or close
7 friends to say hello, but not to discuss with them or with anyone else the
8 contents or the subject -- substance of your testimony or the events that
9 you are testifying about. All right. Okay.
10 We will reconvene tomorrow at 2.15 in the afternoon.
11 There's one thing that I wanted to mention that occurred to me
12 sometime back and reoccurred to me during the testimony: We have come
13 across, as we have been going along these last months, several acronyms
14 and several abbreviations relating to either to -- weaponry mostly. If
15 you could identify one single document, which I know exists, one can find
16 it even on the Internet, actually, which gives a list of all weaponry,
17 ammunition, and armoury and whatever that was in use in the territory of
18 ex-Yugoslavia at the time with the relative abbreviations or acronyms and
19 you agree on it, perhaps it could be tendered in evidence or kept in the
20 records of the case and we may be able to facilitate our role.
21 In the meantime, you can escort the witness out, Madam Usher.
22 Yes, Mr. Wubben.
23 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, may the Prosecution take the initiate
24 and to contact in that respect the Defence in order to provide an agreed
1 JUDGE AGIUS: There is, for example, already an exhibit of various
2 kinds of rifles and mortars, et cetera. But I know from my own knowledge
3 that there is more.
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: But I also know as a Judge that I should only look
6 at what is in the records and not what I may come across on my own. There
7 is definitely something available, which I'm sure you could agree upon.
8 All right.
9 Yes, Madam Vidovic.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I'm sure that the
11 Office of the Prosecutor, since during a long part of my career I
12 cooperated with the Office of the Prosecutor of this Tribunal, I know that
13 when I worked for the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina we submitted
14 these abbreviations to them and also synonyms and various expressions from
15 the former JNA. In the Krajisnik and Milosevic cases, I am sure that
16 there are such documents, those that have to do with the JNA. But I will
17 look into the matter as well. We can discuss it amongst ourselves.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I know that such a document exists. But anyway, it
19 will be much easier for us to have it in the records, following an
20 agreement between the parties. All right. I thank you for your
22 MR. WUBBEN: But, Your Honour --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I thank you, Mr. Wubben.
24 MR. WUBBEN: I have an additional limited issue.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
1 MR. WUBBEN: It's about the order by tomorrow. Can I take it, and
2 this is also a question for the Defence, that they will finalise by
3 tomorrow in order to plan the start by me, and I'm happy to do so by
4 Thursday morning.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: What's the position? Do you think you will finish?
6 I see you have advanced -- at least according to the list of documents,
7 you have advanced quite a bit, Ms. Vidovic.
8 [Defence counsel confer]
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I think the safest approach is definitely to mark
10 Thursday morning as the target for the beginning of the examination -- of
11 the cross-examination. Now, whether that means that she has to finish --
12 that Madam Vidovic has to finish by tomorrow or whether she could have
13 some more time on Thursday remains in limbo. I mean, I would rather not
14 commit myself on that now. So that if things go wrong tomorrow and ...
15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely, Your Honour. I
16 think -- or rather, I've been moving a bit slower than I thought I would.
17 It's hard for me to tell. Sometimes things go differently when compared
18 to the preparatory period. So I'm sure I need about six hours. If I need
19 time part of Thursday, it won't be more than one session, but I'll do my
20 best to finish as soon as possible.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: But I think it's clear enough: Be prepared to start
22 on Thursday. Whether you start at 9.00 in the morning or at noon, I can't
23 promise you, but you're going to start on Thursday morning.
24 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you, Your Honour. We'll do so.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. And good evening.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.23 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 12th day of
3 October, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.