1 Tuesday, 29 August 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.32 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Madam Registrar, could you call the case,
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is the case
9 number IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, madam.
11 The accused, the same advisory as always. Any time you're not
12 receiving interpretation, please alert us straight away.
13 Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Excuse me. I failed to say it yesterday that our
15 legal assistant Ms. Verena Juebner is with us. Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. And welcome, madam.
17 Any further comments? I see you've got a member of your team
18 missing, Mr. McCloskey.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Ms. Soljan and Mr. Nicholls are out of the court
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So today we will have somewhat different
22 schedule. We will -- we need to finish at 6.30, so we'll have two breaks,
23 and I suggest that we will try to keep them as short as possible.
24 Yes. Any preliminaries? I see none.
25 Mr. Thayer.
1 One moment. Let me just welcome the witness and also remind him
2 about his obligations.
3 WITNESS: MEVLUDIN ORIC [Resumed]
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Oric, good afternoon to you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Welcome back. I hope you had a good rest. We are
8 going to proceed with the direct examination and then we'll start with the
9 series of cross-examinations.
10 Same recommendations to you as yesterday. Continue -- you've done
11 extremely well. Continue to keep your replies as brief and to the point
12 as possible. And secondly, please let me remind you that you are
13 testifying pursuant to a solemn declaration that you made yesterday. You
14 don't need to repeat it today. It still holds good. All right?
15 Mr. Thayer.
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you.
18 MR. THAYER: I had one preliminary matter at the Court's pleasure
19 we could take up at the conclusion of Mr. Oric's testimony prior to one of
20 breaks. It just concerns e-court matters, and I don't think we need to do
21 it now, but I do want to alert the Court to just one issue that has arisen
22 and what we're doing about it.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: How much time do you require for it?
24 MR. THAYER: I think it will just a couple of moments,
25 Your Honour, just to alert the Court to an issue we're trying to resolve.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Go ahead.
2 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
4 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
5 A. Good afternoon.
6 Q. When we ended yesterday, you had been describing for the Trial
7 Chamber your experiences while parked on a bus in front of the Vuk
8 Karadzic school. When we met last week, did I show you a sketch of
9 Bratunac which you drew for investigators in August of 1995?
10 A. You did.
11 Q. And last week did you identify for me on that sketch the locations
12 of the events which you've just described? Yesterday, that is.
13 A. Yes.
14 MR. THAYER: May we have Exhibit 2094 displayed on e-court,
16 Q. Sir, do you see an image on your screen in front of you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And can you tell the Trial Chamber without going in any specifics
19 just what that is that's being shown on the screen?
20 A. This is the school Vuk Karadzic, the buses where they were parked,
21 the place where I was supposed to be shot at and killed and the place
22 where I got off the bus. Also, the football pitch, some houses, and that
23 is that.
24 Q. Is this the sketch that you drew for investigators back in August
25 of 1995 that we reviewed last week, sir?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, looking at the sketch, do you see or can you identify where
3 you drew the Vuk Karadzic school?
4 A. The school is in front of the buses.
5 Q. Okay. I'm going to ask that with the assistance of the court
6 usher if you take -- there's a special pen connected to that computer, on
7 a cable, and you'll be shown how to use it. If you would just write a
8 number 1 above where you drew the Vuk Karadzic school on that sketch,
9 please, sir.
10 A. [Marks].
11 Q. Could I ask you to -- is it possible to erase an image? Okay. If
12 we could erase the image. And, sir, could you write the number 1 above,
13 above the school, please.
14 A. [Marks].
15 Q. Thank you. Now, would you please draw a number 2 where you drew
16 the entrance to the school, sir.
17 A. [Marks].
18 Q. Now, you testified that you also drew the buses as best you can
19 remember where they were parked. Would you please draw a number 3 to the
20 left of the bus you recall spending that night in.
21 A. [Marks].
22 Q. Now, it's a little cramped in the sketch, so I'm going to ask you
23 if you can please draw an arrow depicting where your seat on that bus was,
25 A. [Marks].
1 Q. And I note for the record that that is the lower right-hand corner
2 of the third rectangle away from the Vuk Karadzic school. It is in a
4 Now, would you please mark with an X where you recall the man with
5 some sort of mental disability being shot.
6 MR. KRGOVIC: I will object to that. It's obviously leading.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Why do you object, Mr. Krgovic?
9 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Because the Prosecutor said at the
10 place where he was killed.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: And the witness hasn't actually ever confirmed that
12 he saw that man being shot. He -- I think he ...
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: The objection is sustained, Mr. Krgovic.
15 The witness never said yesterday that he -- he assumes -- he
16 presumes, first, that this person was handicapped, because he doesn't know
17 himself. He was told that. And secondly, that he was shot. They are
18 both presumptions, so let's treat them as such and put questions which
19 would reflect his presumption, but not as a fact, not as an established
21 MR. THAYER: Yes, Your Honour. Understood, and I recall the --
22 the Court's concern about my question yesterday along the same lines.
23 I -- two things, Your Honour. One is I used the word "shot" not "killed"
24 in my question, and yesterday I believe Mr. Oric testified that he
25 observed this group of people around this man and that he recalls a burst
1 of fire and that his recollection is that was the sequence of events with
2 respect to this man. So I'm certainly not trying to imply that he saw who
3 shot the man, but I believe his testimony was clear that he saw -- his
4 conclusion was that the gunfire came from this group.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer. Do you see my -- what reaction you
7 Yes, Madam Fauveau.
8 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] On page 82, line 12.
9 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, the interpreter missed the first part
10 of Madam Fauveau's intervention.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Fauveau, I understood what you said but it is
12 completely missing from the transcript. If you could you repeat, please,
13 your indication and what -- your comment.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] The witness said yesterday, line
15 82 -- page 82, line 12, that he heard a shot. He never said that he saw
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Meek.
18 MR. MEEK: Mr. President, Your Honours, I object to the Prosecutor
19 summarising the evidence as he is. There was an objection made. You
20 sustained it, and instead of moving on now he's summarising the evidence,
21 and I believe that's improper.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Meek.
23 Any further remarks?
24 I suggest you comply with our ruling, Mr. Thayer, and not argue
25 about it. Please go ahead.
1 MR. THAYER: Very well, Your Honour. I'll move on.
2 Q. If you would, sir, do you recall the last area where you saw this
3 individual who you were told had mental disabilities before he was dragged
4 away towards the school? Can you mark that on the sketch, please, with an
6 A. [Marks].
7 Q. I see that you've drawn a mark on top of one of the rectangles.
8 A. Yes. I saw him at the door when they were dragging him out. That
9 was the last time I saw him. I did not actually see him being dragged on
10 the ground. The last time I saw him was as he was being dragged out of
11 the bus at the bus door.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Oric, do you understand any English?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very little.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Very well. But can you read English and understand
15 it, or at least a few words?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, no.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So if you look at that diagram that you have in
18 front of you, to the right of where you put that X, where you have another
19 box with the words "Kuc," there are some words in English there. Can you
20 read them and understand what they say?
21 THE WITNESS: "Streetlight."
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. What does "streetlight" mean?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: And above those words are other words. Can you read
25 those words?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm taking your word, and I close this chapter with
3 you here. However, it's not closed to the Prosecution.
4 MR. THAYER: Your Honour --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: With any other -- I think you know exactly where I'm
6 heading. With any other witness that could understand what there is
7 written in -- in -- in English over there, or it could be in any other
8 language or even his own language, that would be suggesting to the witness
9 the answer he's supposed to give once you indicate that particular spot to
10 him during the -- your examination, and we don't want that.
11 MR. THAYER: Mr. President --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I understand that this is his own diagram, but
13 certainly what is written in English is not his own making, not his own
14 doing. That's yours. So we -- you could have used a diagram which he
15 created himself without any additions and let him explain rather than have
16 one with ready-made or ready-prepared answers which, if not this one, some
17 other witness could follow.
18 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, you're absolutely correct. This
20 document is his own sketch. We reviewed it with him in his own language.
21 It was never my understanding that he understood any written English, but
22 it is his document. We understand the Court's concerned about
23 suggestivity about marks on documents whether they're maps or sketches,
24 but given that it was his sketch that's been shown to him before. He
25 identified it as such. We felt that this complies with the Court's
1 previously stated concern about doing that. We understand the Court's
2 concern, and we will certainly comply with that as we proceed.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: What I mean to say is, he's now marked an X in red,
4 or it shows up in red on our monitor. Previously on that diagram or on
5 that sketch there is already another X in black, and from that X there is
6 a line which then leads to the words "Retarded man shot." They are in
7 English. There is no corresponding words in Serbo-Croat there. So if
8 what he did was just a marking, he should have left it at that and not
9 put "Retarded man shot" now and face him with a simple question. I mean,
10 he didn't read out or pronounce "streetlight" in any different manner than
11 anyone who knows English would pronounce it.
12 Again, I'm not doubting his affirmation, but this should not be
13 the practice that you should be following. I mean, we are not taking this
14 matter any further because, as agreed, this is his own sketch. But again
15 there are indications which are just in English and not just the
16 translation of what he himself wrote, like "standena egrada," which is
17 translated apartment building, but this is something which he did not
19 MR. THAYER: That's understood, Your Honour. Unfortunately this
20 is the document he drew in August of 1995, and it is a very -- as we will
21 argue, is a very accurate drawing.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm not -- that's beside the point, Mr. Thayer.
23 That's beside the point. The practice should have been -- you should have
24 had two documents, one for your own purposes indicating the various sites,
25 and one being his original diagram, and anything else inserted or
1 included, added to what he himself drew up should be kept apart,
2 especially additions are indications of what is shown on the sketch
3 itself. But anyway, let's close at that.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's proceed. But I think you've got our
7 Yes, Mr. Meek.
8 MR. MEEK: Yes, Mr. President. For a point of clarification,
9 previously there was an arrow drawn by this witness which is now missing
10 from this exhibit, Exhibit 2094. There was an arrow drawn to -- when they
11 asked him which seat on the bus were you sitting in, and he had drawn an
12 arrow. It's now missing, okay?
13 Number two, my second point for clarification, we don't know who
14 yet has filled in these boxes. For example, the witness has testified
15 that he last saw this supposedly retarded man sitting inside the bus yet
16 the X is on the outside of the bus.
17 Three, we don't know, we are certain --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I think these are matters you can raise on
20 MR. MEEK: I will do that, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: Yes, Your Honour we did notice that arrow has
23 disappeared and --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Perhaps you can ask him to put it again.
25 MR. THAYER: Yes. We'll just ask him.
1 Q. Sir, if you would indicate again where you recall your seat being
2 located on that bus and if you would do that by drawing an arrow.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Actually, the arrow is still there, Mr. Thayer.
4 It's only the x superimposed part of it.
5 Let's proceed, please, because we're getting stuck here.
6 MR. THAYER: Very well, Your Honour. The-may I just ask whether
7 the arrow is in fact there because I can't see it on my screen. So if I
8 So if I could have some confirmation that the arrow is actually --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, there are two arrows now. One is the one that
10 Mr. Meek couldn't see any more, and it's still there. And the other one
11 is now towards the other end of the bus so that makes matters a little bit
12 more confused because if before we had an indication of where the rear of
13 the bus could be, now the bus has got two rears, one in front and one in
14 the rear.
15 MR. THAYER:
16 Q. Sir, you testified that there was a streetlight in the area of
17 your bus. Would you draw a circle in the area where you recall that
18 streetlight being located.
19 A. There were none either in front of my bus or around it. There was
20 streetlight behind the bus, somewhere around here, in this part.
21 Q. Thank you, sir.
22 Now, as I understand it, the e-court procedure is, as we've
23 finalised the changes that we need to save this somehow.
24 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Thayer.
25 MR. THAYER: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE KWON: I'm speaking for myself. I understand that this
2 diagram of his own drawing. That said, do we need to spend time to ask
3 him to mark on his own painting again?
4 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I understand that concern.
5 JUDGE KWON: We spent already half an hour.
6 MR. THAYER: The -- my intention was to move quickly through it so
7 that he would be able to explain the document and demonstrate to the Court
8 that his knowledge, his recollection is actually current and it's not just
9 something that he wrote back in August of 1995 and no longer recalls as
10 fresh recollection. That is why I wanted to actually go with him so he
11 could show the Court that he recalls from this diagram based on his memory
12 drawing this diagram and this is where the various events occurred, to
13 help place in a pictorial sense for the Court how these and where these
14 events occurred.
15 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
16 MR. THAYER: I didn't intend it to take this long. Had I known we
17 would have run into some of these obstacles I may have reconsidered that
18 decision but here we are.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Whose write is there in B/C/S, Skola Vuk Karadzic,
20 VK. Is this his writing or someone else's?
21 MR. THAYER:
22 Q. Sir, did you understand the question of His Honour? Where it is
23 written "Skola VK," whose handwriting is that?
24 A. Mine.
25 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: And while we were at this, what's in English, was it
2 put on the diagram in your presence at the time, and by whom?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was written in 1995 in Tuzla
4 during the interrogation that I underwent. I don't remember who was
5 present from the commission, but they were the ones who wrote it down in
7 JUDGE AGIUS: In your presence?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, in my presence, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
10 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
11 MR. THAYER:
12 Q. Sir, you testified that on the -- that you spent the night of 13
13 July on that bus. Did you sleep that night?
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what you recall happening first on
16 the morning of 14 July?
17 A. The first thing that happened was that one of the military
18 policemen came and told us that we would soon be heading off to Kladanj.
19 And this is what happened. Shortly we started for Kladanj to be exchanged
21 Q. And did your bus finally leave the Vuk Karadzic school, sir?
22 A. Yes, it did. The last bus started first, and mine was second in
23 the row when we were heading for Konjevic Polje. The others followed, the
24 remaining two buses followed.
25 Q. And on your way in the direction of Konjevic Polje, did you -- did
1 your bus make any stops?
2 A. We stopped at a parking lot of the Vihor company. There was on
3 the left a space called Rakovica. We stopped there, and they said that we
4 were waiting for UNPROFOR. We asked them if we could go out to go to the
5 toilet, to a canal, and they let us go one by one, and we were waiting for
6 UNPROFOR to come.
7 Q. Let me stop you there, sir. Do you recall what kind of company
8 was Vihor?
9 A. It is a company that operates buses and trucks, and this is --
10 this was where they placed the old trucks, garbage.
11 Q. Did you -- were you ever told during that period of time at the
12 Vihor company how many other vehicles there were in addition to your
14 A. When we went out, we saw that two other buses had come and four
15 trucks with canvasses that were parked behind us. I was not able to see
16 what was there because of the canvasses, if there were people, but they
17 were following us, these four trucks. So six buses and four trucks when
18 we headed for Konjevic Polje.
19 Q. Now, you've testified about these three military policemen who
20 stayed with you all the way from Konjevic Polje up until Vihor. Were they
21 replaced at some point?
22 A. Yes. Another smaller truck arrived, and armed men, armed soldiers
23 came out and replaced the military policemen. When they were replaced, an
24 APC arrived on the scene. They greeted each other, and then I was able to
25 see that these were not men from -- UNPROFOR men but Serbian soldiers,
1 because they greeted each other by holding up three fingers. They headed
2 first and then we followed. We were heading for Kladanj to be exchanged
4 Q. Was there anything about that APC that suggested to you that this
5 was, in fact, an UNPROFOR APC, sir?
6 A. Well, I can say that the UNPROFOR carrier is white with UN letters
7 written in black. And I was convinced that it was an UNPROFOR APC,
8 because I used to see them a lot for three years in Srebrenica. I'm a
9 hundred per cent sure that it was an UNPROFOR APC.
10 Q. And do you recall what these soldiers on the APC were wearing?
11 A. Blue flak jackets, UNPROFOR flak jackets. They also wore
12 camouflage uniforms.
13 Q. Did your convoy finally set off again from the Vihor garage?
14 A. Yes, it did. We will set off in the direction of Konjevic Polje.
15 Q. And you testified that the APC led the way. What direction did it
16 head as it travelled that Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road?
17 A. This direction leads through Glogova, Kravica, Sandici, Konjevic
19 Q. And when you reached the intersection at Konjevic Polje that you
20 testified about yesterday, what direction did your bus take?
21 A. When we arrived at the intersection, the APC turned right. This
22 is the road to Drinjaca and Zvornik. Of course, the buses followed the
23 APC as it turned.
24 Q. Now, had you --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Thayer. I just want to get this
1 clear in my mind at least.
2 The suggestion of witness is that this last group that arrived,
3 the APC, in other words, it was not UNPROFOR personnel in a UN APC but
4 Serb soldiers in an UNPROFOR APC.
5 MR. THAYER: That is correct, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right. I just wanted to make sure of
8 MR. THAYER:
9 Q. Now, based on your familiarity with the area and the routes, had
10 you -- had you actually been heading towards Kladanj for exchange, which
11 direction should you have turned at that intersection at Konjevic Polje?
12 A. If we were heading for Kladanj, we would have gone left to Kasaba,
13 Miljevici [phoen].
14 Q. Sir, I notice that the transcript said "Miljevici" a second ago.
15 Is that correct or was it some other town or location that you wish to
17 A. That is not correct. M-i-l-e-c-i [as interpreted].
18 Q. And can you pronounce that?
19 A. Milici.
20 Q. Can you describe for the Trial Chamber the route that the bus you
21 were in, in the convoy took?
22 And I would just note that I do plan to use a map with Mr. Oric to
23 assist the Court in demonstrating the route followed from Bratunac to
24 Zvornik. I will get there. He's going to describe it first and then
25 we'll use the map.
1 So, sir, will you describe where you recall the bus going once you
2 took that turn right at Konjevic Polje.
3 A. When we started towards Zvornik, from Konjevic Polje to Drinjaca
4 there is a place where there are rocks on either sides. At this spot we
5 were ordered to bow our hands in between our legs, to cover our eyes with
6 our hands, and not to watch in order not to see where we were being --
7 where we were being taken, and that's how we proceeded towards Zvornik.
8 Q. Were you able to see at all where the bus was going, sir, despite
9 that order?
10 A. Yes, I was. I saw everything. I peaked through my fingers. I
11 saw Drinjaca, Zvornik, Karakaj as we were passing by. We turned left
12 towards Kalesija to Karakaj.
13 Q. And then where did your bus head after that, sir?
14 A. In the direction Karakaj-Kalesija. We didn't travel for a long
15 time. The bus turned right again, and shortly after that the buses
16 stopped. As I was peeking through the fingers, we saw that we arrived in
17 a hamlet where there was a school and a monument in front of the school.
18 We turned there and they told us that we could raise our heads and to run
19 out of the bus and to run towards the school.
20 The first bus was emptied, and then we were told to run towards
21 the school, and that's what we did.
22 Q. Were you able to see anything else about that school during --
23 from the period of time your bus arrived at the school until the time you
24 ran off the bus?
25 A. I was able to see there was a monument in front of the school next
1 to the road, and I saw a football pitch that we ran across. There was
2 also -- there was a net which prevented the ball from being thrown out of
3 the pitch on the left and on the right side. I also saw there were
4 buildings around. This is what I was able to see as I was running towards
5 the school and while I was still seated on the bus.
6 Q. You referred to a football pitch, sir. What was that football
7 pitch made of?
8 A. Concrete. It was a concrete pitch.
9 Q. Did you also observe any vehicles in the area when your bus
11 A. There was only the APC, which led the way. It had parked on the
12 side, and one of the soldiers was sitting on top of it. And then I was
13 able to see also the convoy that had followed the APC and the buses.
14 Q. While you were running into the school, were you being guarded by
15 any soldiers?
16 A. There were soldiers on either side, on the left and on the right,
17 of the pitch.
18 Q. Were you allowed to bring anything into the school?
19 A. No, we weren't. It was very hot on the bus, so people took off
20 their coats or their sweaters and they held them in their hands. We had
21 to leave it. There was a small meadow on the right-hand side between the
22 school and the staircase, and that's where we had to leave our belongings.
23 People who had berets also had to take them off and throw them there, and
24 that's when we entered the gym.
25 Q. And were your belongings or your group's belongings were the first
1 items deposited there, or did there already appear to be items in that
3 A. There were other items that I was able to see.
4 MR. THAYER: Before we continue into the next events,
5 Mr. President, I'd like to review the map notice same manner that we did
6 yesterday, at the Court's suggestion. If I may hand this to the court
7 usher to place on the ELMO. This is map 5 of the map book.
8 Our focus is a little off. I don't know about everybody else.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think it's everybody's. I mean, that is
10 something that can be taken care of, I'm sure.
11 MR. THAYER: If we could please zoom in a little bit. I don't
12 know if that would help.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I think I would stop there for the time being so we
14 have Bratunac at the extreme right. And if we could perhaps improve a
15 little bit on the focusing. No, no. Focusing, not -- I mean, zoom out.
16 Zoom out. Stop there. Stop there. And it's the focusing that is not
18 MR. THAYER: May I ask if everyone has adequate focus at this
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Mine is out of focus anyway, but I don't know if I
21 am being understood. This is usually a problem that is easily solved.
22 I'm told this is the best they can do. Thank God for e-court,
23 because we would have had it better. I don't know what's happening.
24 Anyway, we can more or less distinguish the names, so let's not lose more
25 time. Let's proceed.
1 MR. THAYER:
2 Q. Sir, you -- you testified a moment ago that the route followed
3 Bratunac, you mentioned Glogova and Kravica. Do you see those landmarks
4 represented on this map?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, if I may. We're hearing music through
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So am I. It's gone. I was going to say, sad old
9 story again. Let's go ahead.
10 MR. THAYER:
11 Q. Can you trace by stating the name of the towns that you view on
12 this map your route as your bus left Bratunac, sir?
13 A. [Indicates].
14 Q. And would you just name the towns that are located on the town in
15 front of you in the order that you remember seeing them on your journey
16 from Bratunac to Zvornik.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Can we shorten it? Can he just indicate along the
18 map, and then I just make an entry for the record which route he has
19 indicated, whether it's the one which goes to Karakaj or whether it's the
20 one which goes to Kladanj or Milici? Let's -- go ahead. With the
21 pointer, follow the road that you went on that day.
22 A. [Indicates].
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We need now to lower down -- yes. Further
24 down, madam. A little bit further down. Yes. Stop.
25 We had arrive at Konjevic Polje. So if you could continue from
1 there, please.
2 THE WITNESS: [Indicates].
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So for the record, the witness pointed to the
4 road which from Bratunac leads first to Konjevic Polje, then to Karakaj,
5 and finally to Orahovac, and indicating also the following villages:
6 Glogova, Kravica, Sandici, Karakaj, and Orahovac. Konjevic Polje in the
8 Yes. Go ahead.
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. Returning to the school, sir, after you deposited the remaining
11 items that you had, where did you go?
12 A. We came to the hallway, and then we headed left towards the gym.
13 We entered in a small hall, small room, something resembling a locker
14 room, and then we entered the gym.
15 Q. And what, if anything, did you see when you entered the gym?
16 A. I saw a bigger group of people at the end of the hall which had
17 arrived prior to our arrival, and they were from the bus that was emptied
18 first. They were sitting at the rear.
19 Q. Can you estimate for the Trial Chamber approximately how many
20 people you saw in the gym when you arrived?
21 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Thayer. I hate to interrupt you
22 again, but in lines 11 and 12 he mentions a small hall. Now, this is
23 something which he certainly distinguishes from the gym, which he refers
24 to on page -- in line 13. Then you put a question which is, of course,
25 understandably the correct one, "What, if anything, did you see when you
1 enter the gym?" But then he doesn't say, "In the gym I saw the
2 following." He said, "I saw a bigger group of people at the end of the
4 MR. THAYER: Yes.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So I just want to make sure. I think he refers to
6 the gym, as I understand it. I just want to make sure that he does, and I
7 just don't want confusion with the hall in a hall, in other words, as from
8 the gym. If you could put the question to him, please. In which part of
9 the building did he see those others that had arrived previously.
10 MR. THAYER:
11 Q. Sir, when you entered the school, you testified that you saw a
12 group of individuals that you testified were taken off one of the prior
13 buses. What part of the building were those persons located in?
14 A. They were located in the gym or sports hall at the rear. They
15 were taken off first, and that's how we were seated in the sports hall, in
16 the gym, from the bottom towards the entrance. This was not -- they were
17 not from one bus. I think that they had arrived before. It was a
18 substantial group of people.
19 Q. Now, when you say bottom, do you mean from the far end of the hall
20 as you were facing it, sir?
21 A. At the far end of the gym.
22 Q. Now, how exactly were you instructed to position yourselves once
23 you were inside the gym?
24 A. As we were entering, we sat down. As the busloads of people
25 entered, the area became more and more crammed, so they ordered us to sit
1 tighter to each other, and if we didn't -- if we hadn't done that, they
2 would have shot at us. And they asked us to put our knees below our
3 chins. They ordered us to do that, and they said that if we didn't do
4 that they would shoot at us.
5 Q. Do you recall approximately how long prisoners continued to arrive
6 inside the gym?
7 A. This happened really fast, because we were running. One part of
8 the hall was not full at first, but maybe 10, 15, or 20 minutes later new
9 people started arriving, and -- and then the situation was crazy. We had
10 to push each other in order to all fit in. The room was completely full.
11 The hall was bursting at the edges.
12 Q. At some point were you instructed to reconfigure yourselves?
13 A. Yes. When a man came, I suppose he was and commander, he was
14 tall, had dark hair, had sunglasses, and he instructed us to face the
15 wall. The first four rows to face the wall, then the four rows to turn
16 right, the next four rows to turn left, and it went on like that. At the
17 end some of people were facing the walls. Some of the people had their
18 backs turned to the wall. Some were turned left. The others were turned
19 right. I was somewhere in the middle of the hall, and I was facing the
20 entrance into the sports hall, the door that we had come through. That's
21 how he regrouped us. That's how he reconfigured us.
22 Q. And can you estimate, sir, how many prisoners were placed in the
23 gym while you were there?
24 A. Judging by the size of the sports hall and by the way we were
25 seated, I would say that there were over 2.000 of us there.
1 Q. And do you recall approximately what time of day you arrived at
2 the gym?
3 A. I don't know. I didn't have a watch. I believe it was around
4 noon. This is when we arrived.
5 Q. And what was the temperature like inside the gym, sir?
6 A. It was terrible. It was hot outside. It was in July. So people
7 started fainting, the elderly particularly. Only there was no way to
8 fall. You just saw them hang with their heads hanging on their shoulders
9 and you knew that they had fainted. It happened to all the elderly
10 people, all those who were over 70. They were the ones who had fainted.
11 And nobody could help them. We didn't dare stand up to help them.
12 Q. And why was there no way to fall, sir?
13 A. Because we were all seated with our knees below our chins and
14 there was just no room to fall. We were all squeezed tight. There was
15 just no way for them to turn over, to lie down.
16 Q. Were there any boys being held in the gym, sir?
17 A. Yes. I saw some. I believe three or four. There may have been
18 even more. Later on, these boys would bring water to us. They had been
19 given buckets, and these children brought us water. I saw four of them.
20 I don't know how many there were.
21 Q. Was everyone able to get water, sir?
22 A. No, no. The far end of the sports hall could not get hold of
23 water because these boys, when they brought water they would reach only
24 the centre of the sports hall, then the buckets would be emptied. They
25 would return, they would start the process all over again. The far end of
1 the sports hall did not stand a chance. People were thirsty. And by the
2 time the boys reached the middle of the sports hall, all the water would
3 be gone.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer, we'll have a break in five minutes'
6 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
8 MR. THAYER:
9 Q. Could you describe the effect of the heat on you during your time
10 in that gym, sir?
11 A. Well, I almost fainted. My cousin Haris, who was with me all the
12 time, he was providing me with comfort. He was encouraging me. It -- I
13 was very little short of fainting myself, because the temperature and the
14 anxiety that reigned in the room was unbearable. It was very hard to
15 breathe because your knees were under your chin, and this prevented you
16 from breathing properly.
17 Q. During the entire time that you were in this gym, sir, was anyone
18 offered or given any medical attention?
19 A. No, nobody.
20 Q. How about food?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did you see any of the prisoners being removed from the gym, sir?
23 A. I saw one man who had lost it from the heat and from the -- from
24 people being squeezed. He stood up, although they had told us, "Don't
25 stand up, we'll shoot." And he still stood up and shouted, "Don't be
1 afraid, people. There is enough of us." The commander came, said, "Who
2 said that?" He wouldn't do that. And the commander said, "Push him out
3 or we'll shoot at you." So people pushed him out, and at the very exit
4 from the sports hall the guards shot at him and killed him, and they
5 dragged his body away. And then they shouted at us asking us, "Is there
6 anybody else who wants to say something like that?" And we all kept
7 quiet. We didn't dare say anything.
8 Q. Let me just stop you right there, and I'll have just a couple of
9 more questions on this issue before we break.
10 You testified a moment ago that the commander came and said, "Who
11 said that," and then the transcript indicates that you testified, "He
12 wouldn't do that." When you stated, "He wouldn't do that," can you
13 explain to the Trial Chamber what you meant, sir?
14 A. No. I said the commander who was in charge there, he issued
15 orders to the soldiers. He asked as follows: "Is there anybody else who
16 shares this man's opinion?" If that is what you're asking me. Was that
17 your question?
18 Q. No. Going back a few moments ago when you were describing exactly
19 what transpired once the commander, the person you identified as the
20 commander came in, the transcript indicates, "He wouldn't do that." When
21 you said, "He wouldn't do that," who is the "he" you're referring to?
22 A. No, I didn't say that. I said the commander entered the sports
23 hall and ordered us to push that person out, because after having been
24 ordered to come out himself, the man wouldn't do that. So the commander
25 ordered the rest of us to push him out or else he would shoot at all of
1 us, and that's why people pushed that man out, and that's where -- when
2 they shot at him and killed him.
3 MR. THAYER: I think this is our break time, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you so much, Mr. Thayer.
5 Mr. Oric, we will have a 20-minute break.
6 Please, everybody try to be as punctual as possible. Thank you.
7 --- Recess taken at 3.40 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 4.03 p.m.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Do you recall any high-level Serb officers arriving at the gym,
13 A. At one point I was talking to my cousin, and I heard somebody say,
14 "There's Mladic." I lifted my head, and we saw him in the corridor at
15 the entrance to the sports hall. He was talking to the man with the
16 sunglasses. He was observing what was going on in the sports hall. He
17 stayed there maybe a couple of minutes, or maybe three or four minutes,
18 and then left. He went away from that spot.
19 Q. What happened to you next, sir?
20 A. After some time, I don't know how long, the man with the
21 sunglasses, the commander who was there, told us to prepare ourselves to
22 leave because we were being taken to the Batkovici camp. He forbade us to
23 stand up. He told us to head towards the door on the right-hand side in
24 the seated position. And after the door there was a room, something like
25 a locker room, and there was an exit there, an exit that led outside.
1 There were some wooden grills there that must have been used in the sports
2 hall for training. We prepared ourselves, and we thought we would be
3 taken to the Batkovici camp.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Did the name "Batkovici camp" have any
5 significance to him at the time, or to the ones who were with him? At
6 least as far as location is concerned.
7 MR. THAYER:
8 Q. Did you understand the question, sir?
9 A. Your Honour, this is the Batkovici camp in Bijeljina, which was a
10 well-known camp.
11 Q. Sir, when you say "camp," what kind of camp are you describing?
12 A. A camp where detained Bosniaks were kept.
13 Q. What was your understanding of what the prisoners at this camp --
14 what eventually happened to them, if anything?
15 A. I'm afraid I didn't understand your question.
16 Q. What was your understanding of the purpose of this camp at
18 A. When we were told that we would be taken to the Batkovici came be,
19 we didn't think we would fare badly because that camp was a registered
20 camp, and from there we could be exchanged or something. However, when
21 they placed tables at the exit and when they brought some boxes and
22 buckets with water, the first people who went out were first blindfolded.
23 They were given a cup of water to drink, and then they were taken outside,
24 and this is how it kind. Then we started being suspicious. We didn't
25 know why their eyes were being blindfolded.
1 Q. Let me stop you right there, sir. Would you please describe for
2 the Trial Chamber the process by which yourself and the other prisoners in
3 that gym were removed from the gym.
4 A. When -- when these tables were placed outside, two men were taken
5 from the sports hall. I knew one of them. Mezir Gusic is his name. He
6 was the one who blindfolded the others. We were not allowed to stand up.
7 We crawled to at that place and then we were ordered to stand up. Then we
8 would be blindfolded, given a cup of water to drink and then we would be
9 taken to the truck and that's how it went on until my turn came with the
10 sixth group of people. Five groups came before me. I went with the sixth
11 group of people that were ordered to leave.
12 Q. Let me stop you there, sir.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Just for the record, to line 5 on page 29, is it
14 Mezir -- if he could repeat the name again, please, the person who was
15 blindfolding the others.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mezir Gusic,
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
19 MR. THAYER:
20 Q. And can you describe the area in which this blindfolding took
21 place? Was it part of the gym or was it a separate area, sir?
22 A. As I've already told you, this was a small room in the middle of
23 the hall to the right-hand side. It was something like a small locker
24 room separated from the sports hall, and this is where we were
25 blindfolded, and from there we were taken onto the trucks.
1 Q. In this locker room area, were there any other Serb soldiers,
3 A. Yes. In the left corner there was a woman, a young woman in a
4 camouflage uniform holding an automatic rifle ready to shoot, and there
5 were four or five other armed soldiers.
6 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Thayer.
7 MR. THAYER: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE KWON: If you could clarify with this witness the meaning of
9 soldiers. And also, I wonder whether the witness has described in detail
10 about the commander, except for the fact that he had dark hair and
11 sunglasses. So given his career, I think he should be familiar with
12 military things. So what he wore and what he looked like.
13 MR. THAYER: Gladly, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE KWON: Please.
15 MR. THAYER:
16 Q. Sir, with respect to the commander whom you described earlier who
17 appeared at the gym, can you offer the Court any more detail regarding his
18 appearance, any uniform or any other distinctive apparel that would
19 suggest his rank or detachment or any other information about -- about
21 A. Yes. The person whom I perceived as and commander did not enter
22 the sports hall. He stayed at the entrance to the sports hall. He was
23 about two metres tall. He wore a black uniform, not a camouflage uniform.
24 He had black sunglasses and dark hair. An oval face. I did not see his
25 patches or his rank because he did not come any closer to me. So I
1 wouldn't be able to tell you his rank. However, judging by the way he
2 commanded everybody else, he was in charge there. He issued orders to the
3 other Serb soldiers who were there. He told them what to do.
4 Q. And can you estimate approximately how far you were seated from
5 the entrance to the -- to the gym?
6 A. I was in the middle of the sports hall. I don't know how far that
7 is in metres from the entrance. I couldn't measure the sports hall, so I
8 wouldn't be able to tell you.
9 Q. Very well. Now, with respect to the soldiers whom you testified
10 were in this locker room area while you were being blindfolded, were you
11 able to distinguish any identifying information from their appearance with
12 respect to what unit, or brigade, or what element of the military they
13 were attached to?
14 A. I was not able to see that, and I can't tell you. As one stood
15 up, one would be blindfolded and taken to the truck. I didn't manage to
16 see anything, and I wouldn't be able to tell you what unit they belonged
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Coming back to Judge Kwon's question. On what basis
19 does he state that they were soldiers?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I didn't see the
21 patches, but they wore camouflage uniforms, and they wore arms. I didn't
22 see any markings of their belonging, what unit they belonged to, but
23 judging by the camouflage uniforms they wore and the weapons they carried,
24 they were soldiers.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Caps by any chance?
1 MR. THAYER:
2 Q. Were these people you identified as soldiers wearing any head-gear
3 of any kind?
4 A. No. They didn't have anything on their heads. I didn't see
6 Q. Now, can you describe for the Trial Chamber, please, your
7 experience as you were being blindfolded at the gym. What did you hear?
8 What did you observe?
9 A. They only told us not to push too much and that nobody should
10 stand up, and that was that. And if you're asking me what we were talking
11 about amongst each other, then I can tell you that we were discussing as
12 to whether we would really be taken to the camp or we would be killed. We
13 were really suspicious about those blindfolds. We were thinking if we
14 were being taken to the camp why were we blindfolded? I don't remember
15 anything else.
16 Q. Now, were the prisoners called up and kept in groups or was it
17 just one at a time?
18 A. One at a time. And as we approached the door, we went out. There
19 was no way for anybody from the rear to skip the file. We were not
20 allowed to stand up before our time came. And people were not called
21 either by names or by groups. We just left the sports hall single file.
22 Q. Can you estimate approximately how many other people -- how many
23 other prisoners were nearby you while you were waiting and blindfolded?
24 A. Close to me were my relatives and neighbours whom I knew. Next to
25 me was Nurif Hodzic. There was also Ehrem Hasanovic, Haris Hasanovic, my
1 relatives. There was also Hakija and Eso Malic, a father and son. And we
2 agreed if we were taken to Batkovici to stay together, not to separate.
3 We tried to exit in one group, and that's how we managed to exit the
4 sports hall together although some people were added to our group. In
5 any case, 12 or 13 people would be put on one truck. Then we waited for
6 the next truck to come. But the whole process was very fast, and the
7 lorries returned very fast, and we were not clear about that. We didn't
8 know how these lorries could return so fast if we were near Zvornik. It
9 was not near Bijeljina, so there was no way for these trucks to return so
11 Q. How do you know that these lorries were returning, sir, if you
12 were blindfolded?
13 A. Because -- I don't know. I gathered there could not be that many
14 lorries all together. We heard a lorry leaving and then another coming.
15 We could hear the lorries leaving and arriving and pulling away and
16 parking, and I gathered that. Their numbers was just very high.
17 Q. And by the way, do you recall who actually gave you your
19 A. Mezir Gusic was the one who blindfolded us. A native of Krizevci
20 in Srebrenica municipality. He blindfolded us. When I stood up, I asked
21 him, "What do you think? Where are we being taken?" My eyes were full of
22 tears [as interpreted], and he told me, "I don't know." He blindfolded
23 me. Somebody grabbed my arm. I stepped onto the lorry, and I could see
24 below my blindfold that there was a huge tyre on the lorry. I passed that
25 tyre. There were benches on both sides of the lorry. I sat down, and my
1 relatives came after me.
2 Q. Let me just stop you there, sir. The transcript indicates that
3 you asked Mr. Gusic, "What do you think? Where are we being taken?" And
4 your testimony was, "My eyes were full of tears." Is that a correct
5 statement, that your eyes were full of tears, sir?
6 A. No, his eyes. His eyes.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Yes, exactly.
8 MR. MEEK: Your Honour, I object. That question has been asked
9 and answered. It's repetitive and there's no reason for the Prosecutor to
10 ask that question again.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: His answer is sufficient proof that it was really
12 needed because it has clarified the previous transcript.
13 So let's move ahead, Mr. Thayer.
14 Thank you, Mr. Meek.
15 MR. THAYER:
16 Q. Do you recall exactly which of your relatives were next to you
17 inside this lorry, sir?
18 A. All those that I just mentioned. Haris Hasanovic, Edhem
19 Hasanovic, Esad Hakija, the father and son. Nurif Hodzic. They were
20 together with me and there were some other people who joined us, but I
21 didn't know them. They filled up our lorry with some more people whom I
22 didn't know.
23 Q. One you were inside the lorry, sir, did you have any interaction
24 with any of those relatives whom you just described?
25 A. In the sports hall my relative had an opportunity to -- to
1 exchange a few words with the Serb soldiers. I didn't see well. I
2 suppose that he was asking for a cigarette. But when we were in the
3 lorry, he told me, "Here, have a cigarette." He -- I suppose he lit the
4 cigarette in the lorry. He was going to give me the cigarette. I lifted
5 my blindfold to take the cigarette, and I saw that there was a red car
6 after us, and there was a Serb soldier with a rifle looking through the
7 window. He told me to return the blindfold. I did that. The tarpaulin
8 was open in the back so he could see me from the car. I replaced my
9 blindfold and that was that.
10 Q. And which relative did you have this interaction with concerning
11 the cigarette, sir?
12 A. Haris Hasanovic.
13 Q. Approximately how long did it take to arrive at your destination,
15 A. Approximately four or five minutes.
16 Q. And would you please describe for the Trial Chamber what happened
17 once you arrived.
18 A. When we arrived in that place, when the lorries pulled over, they
19 told us to jump out and to hurry up. We jumped out. The lorry was not
20 that high. It was a small tonne lorry. And when we jumped out I saw
21 under the blindfold I was jumping onto a meadow. My relative called me.
22 He jumped out of the lorry. I turned around, and then at the asked us to
23 line up. I suppose we were in one compact group. I took my relative by
24 the hand, and he told me, "They're going to kill us." I said, "No,
25 they're not. Don't fret." And that's when bursts of fire started. The
1 lorries left, and they started shooting at us.
2 My relative was killed immediately. He was screaming, and he was
3 squeezing my hand very tight. I pushed his hand, and I threw myself on
4 the ground. And he fell on me, on the lower side of my back, and from
5 that moment on I pretended I was dead. He was shaking. His body was
6 shaking on my body, and then he went stiff. He died on me. And the rest
7 of the group, maybe two or three of them, started wailing and screaming
8 because they were wounded, and these other men came and finished them off.
9 And that's how it continued. People were being brought there and
11 Q. Now, were you injured by the gunfire, sir?
12 A. No, I wasn't.
13 Q. You indicated that there were -- that it continued, that people
14 were brought and killed. How were you able to make at that conclusion,
15 sir, that that was going on?
16 A. I concluded by the arrival of the lorries and the same
17 words, "Line up," and then bursts of fire and then wounded people
18 screaming and being finished off. And this continued. This went on.
19 And -- and I could -- I could feel bullets flying above me. I was
20 afraid that one of them might hit me and injure me. And they lined these
21 people in front of our group, and people kept falling, and I could hear
22 all that.
23 Q. Did you hear the Serb soldiers saying anything during this
25 A. If somebody was wounded, they would call him by the name Zulfo,
1 and they would say, "There you have another Zulfo twirling and twisting,"
2 and I would hear shots after that. There were people who were asking
3 them, "Kill me." And then they would curse them, and they would
4 say, "Suffer some more, you Ustasha," or, "you Muslim." Sometimes they
5 would not finish those people off immediately but they would let them
6 suffer in agony for a while.
7 Q. Sir, was "Muslim" the word that they -- that they used, that you
8 heard them use, or was it another word?
9 A. "Zulfo" is a Muslim name, and they used that name the most. Zulfo
10 was the person who finished off the wounded. They would call him, this
11 Zulfo by name, and they would tell him, "Zulfo, there is another one who
12 is not dead."
13 Q. Other than the lorries that -- that you heard, did you hear any
14 other vehicles?
15 A. Yes. As I was lying on the ground, to my right-hand side I could
16 hear the engines that were in the middle of doing something. I could hear
17 the sound of these engines.
18 Q. Based on the sound of the engine did you have any idea of what
19 kind of engines you were hearing?
20 A. Judging by the sound, I could tell that those were bigger engines.
21 And when I stood up and when I looked at them, I saw that those were
22 construction machines that are used to excavate and load material onto
24 Q. Okay. And we'll get to that in a few minutes, sir. Can you
25 estimate for the Trial Chamber how long the process of the lorries
1 arriving and the shooting continued?
2 A. I remember up to the moment when some people started running away.
3 One tried to start away across the forest. They shot after him. And
4 another one jumped up behind their backs and ran away. They did not
5 manage to kill the latter one. They said that they would ambush him
6 somewhere and kill him.
7 One of them cursed God and said, "You did not do the job properly.
8 You have to finish them off by shooting in their heads," and that's what
9 they did. They went from one to the next. And when they came up to me,
10 this person shot into my relative's head. At that moment, I -- either I
11 had dozed off or I had fainted, but from that moment on I can't remember a
13 Q. Okay. Do you recall until approximately what time of day you
14 remember the executions lasting?
15 A. I can't tell you exactly, but this was sometime in the afternoon,
16 maybe around 1.00 or 2.00 in the afternoon. I don't know exactly. The
17 sun was high, so this may have been sometime in the afternoon, early
18 afternoon. Between 1.00 and 3.00, I would say.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think the answer is clear enough.
20 MR. THAYER: I understand, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
22 MR. THAYER: I'm going there.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: If the -- Mr. Thayer, I mean you're closer to the
24 witness. If he needs a short break, we'll give him a short break.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Just ask him.
2 MR. THAYER:
3 Q. Mr. Oric, please, at any time if you feel you need to take a
4 break, I'm sure the Trial Chamber will accommodate your request, but feel
5 free to let us know, and we will do that.
6 Are you ready to continue?
7 A. Yes, I am.
8 Q. Can you estimate for the Trial Chamber how long during the course
9 of that afternoon, during the course of at that day, you recall these
10 executions lasting while you were playing dead?
11 A. This took some time, maybe an hour or so. They kept on bringing
12 people, and then I fainted. From the moment I fell onto the ground and
13 started playing dead until the moment I fainted, I believe that this
14 lasted for an hour. And all that time we were bringing people there and
15 killing them. Maybe it lasted less than that. I don't know.
16 Q. You said that at some point you fainted. Can you tell the Trial
17 Chamber what you recall after that, sir?
18 A. It was already late afternoon when I woke up. There -- it was
19 raining. I was half naked. I didn't have a shirt on. It started
20 raining. I believe the rain woke me up. And then I took my blindfold
21 off. It was already. I could see lights. I was lit. I didn't dare lift
22 my head. I continued lying on the ground. They continued bringing people
23 in, but I could also hear people being taken off the trucks saying, "Don't
24 kill us. We are not guilty of anything." It was already dark when this
25 was going on.
1 Q. Were you able to tell what the source of the light was that shone
2 on you when you awoke?
3 A. Most probably those big machines that were working there shone
4 their lights on me. When I stood up, I saw a loader machine, an
5 excavator, and I suppose I had been shone by those machine. Maybe
6 previously there was something else that had its lights turned on and then
7 it left, but I did see an excavator with its lights on.
8 Q. Okay. Now, I just want to be clear. When you first came to in
9 the rain, you testified that you took your blindfold off. Did you stand
10 up at that point or at some other point?
11 A. When I took my blindfold off ever so slowly, I didn't dare lift my
12 head. I did not lift my head let alone stand up. I remained lying on the
13 ground, and I could see that I was lit up. That's why I didn't dare stand
14 up, because they would see me immediately.
15 Q. And would you please pick up with your recollection of what
16 happened after that point.
17 A. After that, the killing went on. I don't know for how long. At
18 one point I heard somebody saying -- first a vehicle came, and when that
19 vehicle could be heard, there was no killing. There was no shooting. And
20 then I heard somebody saying, "That's it. We've finished. We have to
21 leave somebody behind." And they started arguing amongst themselves and
22 saying that there is no need for anybody to stay on because we were all
23 dead, that they had to go somewhere and rest and that the following
24 morning they would throw our bodies into the grave. They turned the
25 engines off, and they -- then I heard them leaving.
1 I stayed on the ground for maybe 10 or 15 minutes more. I was
2 listening to see whether somebody had been left behind and that this was
3 not just some sort of tactic.
4 Q. Let me stop you right there, sir. During this -- these
5 conversations that you overheard, do you recall what words, if any, they
6 were using to describe the dead prisoners?
7 A. They used derogatory words. They were cursing. They said, "Fuck
8 them. They're all dead. There's no need for us to stay." This is what
9 they were saying amongst each other.
10 Q. And was there a particular derogatory word they were using to
11 refer to the dead prisoners, sir?
12 A. During the day while I was still conscious, they used the words
13 Turk to refer to us. They said fuck our Turk mothers, and they said we
14 were best off dead. A lot of things were being said while I was still
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I better interrupt you here because otherwise I'll
17 forget it. One thing that we've not heard from the witness is the
18 following: During the time when he was conscious and he was hearing the
19 arrival of lorries or trucks, the shooting, and then the departure of
20 lorries, fresh arrival, et cetera, can he be precise or as precise as
21 possible as to the frequency of arrivals? How often? You said it lasted
22 maybe one hour before you lost consciousness.
23 MR. THAYER: Do you understand the question, sir?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: During that hour that these lorries or trucks were
25 arriving or going, arriving or going, how frequently would one truck
1 follow the other?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes. Maybe every four
3 or five minutes. The same way I arrived the others arrived every four or
4 five minutes, and I'm claiming that they used two trucks. One would bring
5 people while the other was being loaded at the other end. So the whole
6 process was very fast. Every four or five minutes a truck would come,
7 people would get off, be killed, the lorry would return, and this
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I also understood you to say before that when you
10 regained consciousness, arrival of trucks and shooting continued to take
11 place. Is that correct?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that is correct.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: And did the arrival of trucks now in the late
14 evening -- was it having the same frequency as before? Were they arriving
15 every four or five minutes?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: And how long did that last before -- until you did
18 not hear any further shooting?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, again, this repeated
20 every four or five minutes, but this time round people already knew what
21 was going on, and people cried and begged not to be killed. And this
22 lasted for another hour or so, then then finally that vehicle appeared and
23 I could hear the words, "That's it. Finished."
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Sir, you testified that after you heard the soldiers leave the
2 area you waited a little while. Can you please pick up from that point
3 and tell the Trial Chamber what happened next.
4 A. After 10 or 15 minutes, I tried to move but my body was numb. So
5 first I tried to move my arms. Then I lifted myself to my knees. I
6 removed the body of my cousin off me. I stood up. It was partly clouded.
7 You could see the moonlight. And when I saw the meadow filled with
8 bodies, I was very much afraid, and I tried to -- and I started to cry. I
9 couldn't stop. Somebody asked me if I was wounded. I thought myself it's
10 either a ghost or a Serbian soldier. I didn't realise there was anybody
11 else alive there.
12 I saw the person was not shooting, so I concluded that it was
13 somebody who was alive, and I started -- I headed towards that person. It
14 was difficult to reach him because there was a lot of blood. It was very
15 slippery, and I had to walk over bodies.
16 I came up to him. I asked him if he was wounded. He replied that
17 he wasn't.
18 To our right side on the side, two other persons started crying
19 out and moaning in pain. I came up to them and I saw that both of them
20 were wounded. They were riddled with bullets, one of them in the stomach
21 area and the other one in the legs. One of them was -- didn't have his
22 shirt and said he was cold. So I took a shirt off a body and I put it on
23 him. I told them that I couldn't help them, that I couldn't carry them
24 because I could barely walk myself. So they said, "Okay, run away. If
25 you can't help us, run away."
1 He asked for a shoe which was under one of the bodies. And these
2 where we set off. We were going through a graveyard through a forest we
3 didn't know where we were going. There was a hill.
4 Q. Let me stop you, sir. You said he asked for a shoe. When you
5 say "he" asked for a shoe, to whom are you referring?
6 A. I'm talking about Hurem Suljic who is one of the survivors. He
7 told me that was his name. Hurem Suljic from Suceska.
8 Q. And is that the man you saw after you were able to stand up?
9 A. Yes, that's him.
10 Q. Now, before you and Mr. Suljic were able to leave the meadow did
11 you see anything on the meadow?
12 A. We saw the pit, the grave that was dug out, and behind we could
13 see the excavator and the loader. The excavator and the loader. They're
14 these two machines. And the grave was very deep. No one could get out.
15 I think it was more than five metres deep.
16 Q. Can you estimate how long that pit was, sir?
17 A. I wouldn't know. I think over 10 metres, maybe even more. I
18 don't know exactly.
19 Q. Sir, I want to ask you some questions about this machinery that
20 you saw next to the pit. As you were escaping the meadow, do you recall
21 whether the lights on the machinery at that time were on or off?
22 A. When -- when we were running out, running away, the lights were
23 turned off.
24 Q. Now, sir, do you remember drawing a sketch of those machines?
25 Are you okay, sir? Do you need a break, or are you okay to
2 A. I'm fine, thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer, we'll have break in less than 20
4 minutes' time, at ten past 5.00. I'm telling you this so he can hear it
5 as well. If he refers to have the break now, we can have the break now.
6 So it's up to you, Mr. Oric.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We can go on.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
9 Go ahead, Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. Do you remember drawing a sketch of the two machines that you
12 described previously for the Trial Chamber, drawing a sketch back in
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. And last week in my office do you remember reviewing that -- that
16 sketch with me?
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. THAYER: May we display Exhibit 2093 on e-court, please.
19 Q. Do you see an image on your screen, sir?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And may I just confirm that that screen is on everyone's screen?
22 I see nods yes.
23 Very well, sir. Is this the sketch that you drew for
24 investigators, sir, back in 1995?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And looking at the vehicle on the left, can you describe what that
2 vehicle is and what it does?
3 A. This vehicle on the left is a machine used in construction works,
4 which is used for digging very deep. So it digs out -- it digs out soil.
5 Q. And the vehicle on the right, what is that vehicle, sir? What
6 does that do?
7 A. The vehicle on the right is also a machine used in construction
8 works, which is used for loading. It has two functions. It can load the
9 soil or fill in.
10 Q. Now, when you drew this sketch back in 1995, did you know these
11 two vehicles by any manufacturer name?
12 A. I don't know about the manufacturer, but I know that they're used
13 in construction works and that they were probably manufactured in Serbia.
14 I don't know the exact make.
15 Q. Did you refer to those machines by any other term or general term,
17 A. The drawing on the right is referred to as ULT. It's an
18 abbreviation. The one on the left is an excavator. Of course, some
19 companies manufacture motor vehicles.
20 Q. I'm sorry, sir, the transcript is not picking up the last portion
21 of your answer, and I unfortunately didn't hear it either. You said that
22 some companies manufacture motor vehicles.
23 A. They manufacture engines and motor vehicles.
24 Q. And was ULT a term by which you understood that machine on the
25 right back in 1995?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And -- and how is it that you are familiar with these pieces of
3 machinery and their names and functions?
4 A. I know these machines because of a company, GP Radnik, which
5 operated in Srebrenica and which used these machines, and I was able to
6 see them in construction works on the coast and on -- in other
7 construction sites.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think we need to belabour this point any
9 further. I think everybody knows what an excavator and a bulldozer is.
10 Let's proceed.
11 MR. THAYER:
12 Q. Were you able to see the colour of either of those vehicles, sir?
13 A. They're usually manufactured in -- they come in yellow colours,
14 shades of yellow.
15 Q. That evening, sir, were you able to see what colour the vehicles
17 A. I don't recall. They were probably yellow.
18 Q. Now, as you and Mr. Suljic were escaping from the meadow, what
19 could you see of the surrounding area, sir?
20 A. As we were running away through the forest, we didn't see anything
21 in particular. We were running away. When we turned, we could see the
22 meadow. And when I was walking over the bodies, that was really horrible.
23 It was filled with dead bodies, the meadow. And as I stood up, I turned
24 around and I saw railway tracks, the embankment of the railway tracks.
25 Q. And along with Mr. Suljic --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Thayer, again. He hasn't told us so
2 far what time of the evening or night he finally decided to stand up and
3 together with Suljic took off.
4 MR. THAYER: Yes, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And the next question: When he decided to take off
6 with Suljic, were there any Serbs or any movement on the part of the Serbs
7 at the time? Because they decided even to talk amongst themselves in an
8 open space like that, even a whisper would be heard. So if you could
9 cover these.
10 MR. THAYER: Certainly, Your Honour.
11 Q. Sir, you testified that you waited for the people that you heard
12 talking amongst themselves leave until you decided to stand up. Did you
13 see, other than Mr. Suljic and the two wounded people that you saw, any
14 other living people before you decided to escape?
15 A. No, we didn't see anybody. Nobody was there. And there were no
16 Serb soldiers either. There were only the two of us, me and Suljic, and
17 two wounded people who were left behind.
18 Q. You testified that it was night, that it was cloudy but there was
19 still some moon that was shining. Do you have any idea what time of the
20 evening it was when you and Mr. Suljic finally made your way off of that
22 A. Judging by the cold, I can conclude that it was late, that it was
23 past midnight, because past midnight the night becomes very cold so I had
24 to put on my shirt. I was even cold once I had put on my shirt, and that
25 makes me conclude that it was very late.
1 I didn't see the time, but I can judge by these circumstances.
2 Q. Do you have any recollection how long it took for the sun to rise
3 after you and Mr. Suljic left the meadow?
4 A. When we came up to a torched house, we hid in the bushes. We went
5 to sleep. I don't know how late it was, but when we woke up in the bushes
6 the sun was already up there and it was already warm.
7 We came up to a hill. We could see villages around, inhabited
8 villages, Karakaj and others. I couldn't tell you what time it was when
9 we woke up, but when we came up the hill we heard someone crying out for
10 help. I don't know who it was. I couldn't see because of the forest, but
11 somebody said, "Where are you going?" And they cursed. And then we
12 started running away because we were very close to this spot.
13 We came to a pear tree. We stopped there. Hurem went up and
14 tried to pick some fruits, and then an elderly person came up to us. He
15 was in civilian clothes, covered in blood. He emerged in front us. I
16 asked him who he was, and he said that his name was Smajil Hodzic Cerski,
17 and I asked him what happened. And then he said there was a firing squad,
18 that there was shooting nearby, that he had survived and during the night
19 he was able to run away, because the lights did not lit him. And he was
20 somewhere in the corner, so that during the shooting he was able to run
21 away. He was close to the forest. He went through the forest. And he
22 entered a tunnel. He went through the tunnel, and then he was ambushed
23 near Kalesija, and then he came up to where we were, and then the three of
24 us set off together. We didn't know the way. We were just going.
25 Q. And did yourself and those two men eventually make your way to
1 free territory, sir?
2 A. Yes, we did. On the 21st of July, we came to Nezuk on the free
4 Q. Thank you, sir.
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I have no further questions at this
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Thayer.
8 We'll have a 20-minute break now, and then we start with the
9 cross-examination, Mr. Zivanovic. Thank you.
10 --- Recess taken at 5.08 p.m.
11 [The witness stands down]
12 --- On resuming at 5.32 p.m.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I've been informed that Madam Fauveau would like to
14 address the Chamber on a procedural matter. Madam Fauveau.
15 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, during the previous
16 session I completely by chance fell on an interview that -- the interview
17 of the witness that we have before you, the interview that was granted by
18 this person to a Bosniak newspaper. I cannot read the ERN number,
19 however, but this interview was never communicated to us. So this
20 document, we only have it in Serbo-Croatian for now, and I believe a lot
21 of my colleagues have not seen this document. I don't know if the accused
22 has seen it, but I would like to ask for my colleagues that will start the
23 cross-examination today, I would like to ask you to adjourn the
24 cross-examination for tomorrow so that we can all read this interview and
25 that the accused can also read this interview and know what it is all
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's hear the Prosecution first and then we
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: We have very good communication with Ms. Fauveau.
7 She has told us about her finding. We can't track it because of -- we
8 can't read the ERN, but we don't know about this document. We have done
9 thorough searches to find this kind of thing, and when we have newspaper
10 articles that are significant like interviews, we always turn them over.
11 So given it's late, given the witness is obviously getting tired and the
12 time estimates of cross and the next witness, I don't see that we lose too
13 much if we quit and put Mr. Ruez off for Wednesday, which I think is going
14 to happen anyway if we go -- the following Wednesday, because of --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. All right. Okay.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: So I think all in all we'll figure out where this
17 thing came from, no problem.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's have the problem or three-fourths of
19 the problem solved, and I thank you for the way you have approached it,
20 Mr. McCloskey. At the same time, it doesn't seem to be fully solved,
21 because you haven't been able to track this document so far.
22 And, Madam Fauveau, are you in possession of it? Because you seem
23 to know even the language, that it is solely in the Bosnian, Serbo-Croat
25 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have it in my
1 computer only. I looked at it very briefly. I did not read the entire
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And how come -- you have it on your computer as part
4 of the e-court filings or outside that? Is it part of the EDS?
5 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. It's part of the
6 EDS system, but it is not in the Srebrenica collection. It's in the
7 general collection. The general collection is a series of documents that
8 we usually do not consult.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. And can I make a suggestion, therefore.
10 If you perhaps can liaise. We will be adjourning. I suppose there is
11 no ...
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: The prevalent view here is that of course without
14 prejudice to addressing this matter fully and reserving the rights of each
15 and every Defence team to put relevant questions that we try not to lose
16 this hour, what's left of it. We try to proceed with -- with the
17 cross-examination -- with the first, at least, cross-examination and maybe
18 the second, with the understanding that of course if we manage to find
19 this document, and -- not, rather, we, if Prosecution finds this document,
20 makes it available to all Defence counsel, then both Mr. Zivanovic and
21 you, Mr. Meek, will be able to come back with further questions if at all
22 necessary. I mean, because it all depends also on the content of this.
23 In the meantime, Madam Fauveau, if you could perhaps liaise with
24 Mr. Thayer or Mr. McCloskey and give more specific details which would
25 enable them to find it, because if it's there in the EDS, they'll find it.
1 I mean, it's there for everyone.
2 Can I count on your cooperation, Madam Fauveau?
3 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's bring the witness, see what we can do for
5 today, and then tomorrow we'll take this up. In the meantime, please try
6 to locate this document, assuming it's the same person we're talking
7 about. I wouldn't imagine there are many Mevludin Orics.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon. Good afternoon to you, Mr. Oric,
10 once more.
11 Now, Mr. Zivanovic, who has just stood up, is counsel, lead
12 counsel, to accused Popovic, Vujadin Popovic, and he will be the first one
13 to cross-examine you. Then we continue tomorrow.
14 WITNESS: MEVLUDIN ORIC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Oric. My name is Zoran
18 Zivanovic, and I represent Vujadin Popovic in this case.
19 I would like to take you back to Bratunac on the 14th of July,
20 1995, at the time when the convoy of vehicles was formed in order to
21 transport you and other detainees towards Zvornik. Before that, you were
22 on one of the four buses parked in front of the Vuk Karadzic school in
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The four buses then moved in front of the Vihor garage.
1 A. This is not a garage.
2 Q. It's a parking lot.
3 A. Yes, it's the parking lot of the Vihor company for the vehicles
4 that were written off. This was not the main parking lot. There you
5 could see some written-off trailers, obsolete vehicles.
6 Q. Very well, then. Thank you. You waited for an APC, a white APC
7 bearing the marking of the United Nations that put itself at the head of
8 that convoy, and then you started moving after this APC towards Zvornik;
9 is that correct?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic and Mr. Oric, since you speak the same
12 language, please allow a very short pause between question and answer,
13 both of you.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Oric, you were mobilised into the BiH army?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. This happened after the war was declared by the government of
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And you were the commander of a unit there?
21 A. Yes. The commander of a squad.
22 Q. On the 12th of July, 1995, you found yourself in Susnjari?
23 A. It was on the 11th of July, rather.
24 Q. And on the 12th of July, in the morning, you were also in
25 Susnjari, weren't you?
1 A. On the 12th of July I was in Jaglici from where we headed off
2 towards Tuzla.
3 Q. Very well, then. Early in the morning on the 12th of July, you
4 were grouped into brigades?
5 A. This was on the 11th of July in the evening.
6 Q. Very well. You said something else previously, but let's skip
7 that. Your unit was given the task to be at the rear of that column that
8 had been formed?
9 A. My brigade and my neighbours belonged to the rear of the column.
10 Q. Did it have a certain task to maybe protect the rear of the
12 A. No. Our order was to move in single file and not to step out
13 because of the minefields, and there was another unit, a unit with weapons
14 who were at the very back of the column.
15 Q. They were behind you?
16 A. Yes, behind you [as interpreted].
17 Q. And their task was to protect the rear of the column?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. They were armed?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Since you didn't have enough weapons, you took turn holding the
22 weapons in combat. Those who would get tired would take a rest and the
23 others would take the weapons?
24 A. No.
25 Q. That didn't happen? On the front line didn't you say that the
1 weapons stayed there all the time and people took turns, but they were
2 shooting from the same rifles?
3 A. No.
4 Q. During the retreat with the column, did your unit suffer any
6 A. What retreat are you referring to?
7 Q. As you were leaving Susnjari and Jaglici towards Tuzla. I'm
8 referring to the convoy that was moving, and I'm asking you whether your
9 units -- unit came under fire and whether it suffered any losses.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you stay with your unit all the time until you surrendered?
12 A. No.
13 Q. You abandoned your unit?
14 A. No. The -- the unit just broke apart. Nobody knew where
15 everybody was. We split into groups.
16 Q. In the group that surrendered, those were not just people from
17 your unit, the group that surrendered together with you?
18 A. Yes, they were.
19 Q. Those were people from your unit?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Nobody was armed at the moment when you surrendered?
22 A. No.
23 Q. You probably remember having given certain statements to the
24 police of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was sometime around the 22nd of
25 July, and that was some week or so after the events.
1 A. To the MUP in Tuzla?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You remember? Did you say to them the same thing that you're
5 saying now?
6 A. I can't remember. I may have told them something less.
7 Q. But nothing different?
8 A. No, nothing different.
9 Q. You didn't tell them then that you were all civilians, nothing
10 else but civilians?
11 A. Yes, civilians without weapons.
12 Q. You said that you were civilians.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You didn't say that you had been given the order to start moving
15 by Ramiz Becirevic?
16 A. We did receive the order from Ramiz.
17 Q. But you didn't say that on the 22nd of July to the authorities of
19 A. They never asked me anything like that.
20 Q. They didn't ask you then. Very well, then.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I don't have any further questions.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you so much, Mr. Zivanovic. And as I said
23 earlier, if you wish to return to -- to the witness with your further
24 cross-examination tomorrow you will be able to do so, provided it's
25 limited to that document that Madam Fauveau has mentioned.
1 Mr. Meek. The same applies to you, of course.
2 MR. MEEK: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Oric, Mr. Meek is defending Mr. Beara.
4 Mr. Meek.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Meek:
6 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Oric. How are you?
7 A. Good afternoon. Thank you for asking. I'm well.
8 Q. I'd like to just clarify a few things about your service in the
9 various armies. As I understand it, you first served in -- with the JNA.
10 Is that correct, sir?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And that was for your mandatory service; correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. Subsequent to that -- and by the way, what year was that again?
15 A. 1988, on the 19th of December.
16 Q. The 19th of December, 1988 [Realtime transcript read in error,
17 "1998"], is the day you started your service or finished your service?
18 A. The day that I started.
19 Q. Do you recall the date you finished or completed that service,
21 A. I finished sometime in March.
22 Q. 1989?
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just to assist. We have the year of 1998 on page
24 58, line 12.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, it should be 1988, not 1998. Thank you,
1 Mr. Lazarevic.
2 MR. MEEK: Thank you, Mr. Lazarevic.
3 Q. So you began on December 19, 1988 and completed in March of 1989;
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you -- who was your commander?
7 A. Our commander was Hajrudin Grabovica. He was the commander of
8 that artillery unit. He was captain.
9 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Meek, sorry to interrupt. Was the mandatory
10 service for four months?
11 MR. MEEK: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I didn't --
12 Q. For four months? Was the mandatory service for four months, then,
13 at that point in time?
14 A. Your Honour, no. It should have been a year, but I did not
15 complete my service. When I first started my service, I was under age. I
16 was not even 18, so they sent me home to return four years later and to
17 complete my service.
18 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
19 MR. MEEK: Thank you.
20 Q. I take it that you had to fill out papers to join the JNA in 1988;
21 is that correct?
22 A. I didn't have to fill out anything. I was just recruited. The
23 papers arrived in Srebrenica. This was just the call-up paper asking me
24 to report to the JNA for my compulsory service.
25 Q. At the time that you were called up for your compulsory service
1 did you understand and realise that you were under age at the time, sir?
2 A. Yes. I appealed, but the appeal was not granted. I had to join.
3 Q. So that I understand this well, you informed the powers that be
4 that you were under age, but they said you must go into the army anyway,
5 and then four months later they released you; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I take it you never misrepresented your age to anybody to get into
8 the JNA?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Subsequent to that service, it's my understanding that you joined
11 the Croatian army; is that correct?
12 A. Not immediately.
13 Q. Okay. When did you join the Croatian army, sir?
14 A. In 1992. I joined the MUP, the MUP of Croatia, that is.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: That's what I was going to point out. He never said
16 he joined the Croatian army. He said he joined the police, the MUP in
17 Croatia, and that he moved to Zagreb.
18 MR. MEEK:
19 Q. Witness, thank you for that clarification. Subsequent -- and
20 apparently that was only for -- they both clarified it. Thank you both
21 for clarifying that.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I recognise Mr. Krgovic.
23 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I shall have to
24 intervene. The witness did mention having joined the HV. I believe we
25 should all refer to that part of his testimony, when he did mention
1 joining the HV eventually.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Anyway, let him explain what he did and what he
3 didn't. But yesterday, definitely he was referring to the MUP.
4 MR. MEEK:
5 Q. Mr. Oric, let me just ask you this: First, how long were you with
6 the MUP in Croatia?
7 A. Not even a month, and then I went to Zagreb.
8 Q. And during your one-month service with the MUP, what were your
9 duties, briefly?
10 A. We were there in Capljina. We were there to prevent any looting
11 of the houses there. During the combat activities, our order was to
12 prevent any looting of the houses. This was our task.
13 Q. Now, to clarify for the record, during the combat activities that
14 would have been between which side, the Serbian army and the Croatian
15 army, or the HVO?
16 A. The JNA were in the barracks, and on the other side there was all
17 sorts of troops. I don't know exactly what troops were there when this
18 combat was going on. I only know that people had moved out and that our
19 task was to protect the houses from looting. Most probably those troops
20 were HVO and the Croatian army, I suppose.
21 Q. Now, from the -- to clarify your last answer, were you protecting
22 the homes from looting, which looting was being done by the HVO and the
23 Croatian army? Is that your answer?
24 A. Anybody who intended to do the looting. There were a lot of
25 civilians who remained in town.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Meek, I'm being very patient.
2 MR. MEEK: I know you are, Judge.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: But what's the relevance of all this?
4 MR. MEEK: I'll move on, Judge.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay of the thank you.
6 MR. MEEK:
7 Q. What's your date of birth, very briefly.
8 A. 1st of February, 1970.
9 Q. After you were with the MUP and had gone to Zagreb, then you
10 joined the HVO in and around Capljina; is that correct?
11 A. No. When I arrived in Zagreb, I went to my uncle's place in
12 Kutina, and from there I wanted to go back to Tuzla.
13 Q. Did at some point in time you join the HVO in Capljina and/or
14 Mostar, sir?
15 A. No. I was in Orasje for a month. That's when I tried to go to
16 Tuzla. I was prevented from doing that. There were obstacles on the
17 road, and that's why I had to spend a month in Orasje.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, even though I don't know how relevant
19 this is going to be, but if you were born on the 1st of February, 1970,
20 and you were recruited in the JNA in December of 1988, how come that you
21 maintain you were not 18 years old as yet? Because you would have been
22 almost 19 years old, 19 years old less one month, or even less than a
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was two or three
25 months short of being 18. In February, 1989, I would have been 18.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: And I will not belabour this point, but ...
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE KWON: What's your birth year again? Is it 1970 or 1971?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, 1970, 7-0.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's not labour it any further. It's
6 back to you, Mr. Meek.
7 MR. MEEK:
8 Q. Witness, yesterday you testified on the transcript page 56, line
9 13, you answered a question put to you by the Prosecutor, and the answer
10 was: "Yes, he knew that I had gone to Croatia, that I was in HV for a
11 while, and he knew that I had also served in my own army." And that was,
12 I believe, speaking about your cousin Naser Oric. Do you recall that
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Please tell me how long you were in the HV and what were your
16 duties were.
17 A. I was not in the HV. I was with the MUP.
18 Q. Tell me, Mr. Oric, approximately when you finished your duties in
19 Capljina, when did you return to Bosnia, approximately the month and the
21 A. Sometime in May or thereabouts in 1992. That's when I arrived in
23 Q. Did you stay in Tuzla, or did you go on to some other location?
24 A. I stayed for a short while, and then I went to Srebrenica.
25 Q. Were you a member of any military group while you were in Tuzla
1 after May, 1992, and prior to moving on to Srebrenica?
2 A. Yes. It was Territorial Defence at that time. That's what it was
3 called, and I was a member thereof.
4 Q. Again, in Tuzla; correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. When you travelled from Tuzla to Srebrenica, did you go alone or
7 were you accompanied by other persons?
8 A. Yes. I went with a neighbour of mine and a guide, and there were
9 also some people from Zvornicka Kamenica. There were 40 or so, all of us
10 together, but I didn't know who they were. They moved on to go to
11 Zvornicka Kamenica and the three of us went to Srebrenica.
12 Q. Did you upon your arrival in Srebrenica did you immediately join
13 the ABiH army or any military organisation?
14 A. No. I took some time to rest.
15 Q. Approximately how much time did you take to rest, sir?
16 A. Ten days or so.
17 Q. I take it after 10 days you joined the ABiH army; correct?
18 A. Yes, that's when I joined.
19 Q. And what group or battalion did you join, sir?
20 A. 281st Division.
21 Q. How long did you stay in the 281st Division?
22 A. Until the arrival of UNPROFOR.
23 Q. And for the record, could you tell me approximately what month and
24 year that would have been?
25 A. Mid-April, 1993. I don't know the exact date, but it was sometime
1 in mid-April of 1993 when UNPROFOR arrived.
2 Q. Subsequent to mid-April of 1993, after UNPROFOR had arrived, you
3 again joined the ABiH army at some point. Am I correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And when would that have been, sir, and what unit or brigade were
6 you involved with?
7 A. The brigades were transferred into companies that patrolled the
8 lines that were between UNPROFOR and Zupa.
9 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, approximately what month and year would that
10 have been?
11 A. 1993.
12 Q. Do you recall the month, sir?
13 A. I believe sometime in May or June. The brigades were reorganised
14 into companies, and since there were a lot of incursions by Serb units, we
15 controlled the gaps between the lines.
16 Q. At some point you became the brigade commander of the 283rd
17 Brigade of the ABiH army; is that correct?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you become the commander of a brigade other than the 283rd
21 A. Yes, but it was a manoeuvre company.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. And when did you become the commander of that
23 manoeuvre company?
24 A. Sometime in June, as I've just told you. I can't remember
1 Q. And did you stay -- did you stay in that capacity as the commander
2 of the company until the 11th of July of 1995?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you -- how many -- how many soldiers were in your company?
5 A. There were nine soldiers and I was the tenth.
6 Q. And how many weapons did you have between you and your soldiers,
7 sir, during that period of time?
8 A. There was one set of rifles which stayed on the line. We didn't
9 take them home. We had only one rifle that we used to take home.
10 Q. Briefly, I want to clarify this. "A set of rifles." How many are
11 in a set when you say a set?
12 A. Ten.
13 Q. So you had 10 rifles that were always continuously being used by
14 your company. Is that what I understand, sir?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you had one rifle that you would take home, or each of your
17 company members would take a rifle home when they went home?
18 A. No. Only one rifle would be taken home.
19 Q. Now, again during this time period from 1993 up until July 11th of
20 1995, did most of the companies and brigades have these kind of rifles,
21 one per -- one rifle per one soldier, as you did?
22 A. I wouldn't know. I was not informed about that.
23 Q. Now, taking you to the 11th of July of 1995, I understand your
24 testimony to be that you learned of the fall of Srebrenica when you were
25 with -- went to see your sister; is that correct?
1 A. I arrived at the house where she lived, yes.
2 Q. And how -- what was the distance between that house, your sister's
3 house, and Susnjari?
4 A. She resided in Susnjari.
5 Q. Now, when you learned that Srebrenica had fallen, what was your
6 first step, sir? Where did you go?
7 A. I headed towards my home to see about my family and where they
8 would go, but before that I informed my people on the line that
9 Srebrenica had fallen and that we were supposed to withdraw.
10 Q. And where were you supposed to withdraw to?
11 A. To our houses, Susnjari, Lihovici. Try and find the command and
12 see what we can do.
13 Q. Who told you to withdraw to your houses?
14 A. Nobody told us. I said we should withdraw.
15 Q. So you told your company, the members of your company, to withdraw
16 to their houses; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And can you tell me and this Trial Chamber what happened to the 10
19 guns that you had when everybody started withdrawing to their homes on the
20 11th of July?
21 A. These rifles were used before the attack on Srebrenica. After
22 this, they were deployed along the line. That day we had come to assist
23 because UNPROFOR had withdrawn, so we came unarmed. We had this one
24 rifle, and we had some grenades, and the set of 10 rifles were used before
25 prior to the attack on Srebrenica. Afterwards, they were deployed along
1 the line, but there was also this gap where UNPROFOR were -- was placed,
2 and we were ordered to try to maintain this area where UNPROFOR was
4 Q. When you say that afterwards the 10 rifles were deployed along the
5 line, can you be more specific and tell me where that line was and who you
6 gave these 10 rifles to?
7 A. These 10 rifles were left behind at Buljim, because at the time we
8 were taking a rest. This was our shift. And then we were told that we
9 should maintain this line, and the weapons were left on the line. And we
10 came back from our homes to try to -- to keep the line, to maintain the
12 Q. Mr. Oric, if I understand you, at the time on July 11, 1995, you
13 and your company were on a rest. Am I correct so far?
14 A. No. It was a squad, not a company.
15 Q. Okay. Your squad. You were on a rest; correct?
16 A. Yes, that is correct.
17 Q. And is it a fair statement, sir, that when your squad would be on
18 a rest your 10 rifles would be used by 10 other ABiH soldiers? Is that
19 not a fact?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And isn't it true that this was a normal course of activity at
22 that location in and around that location in and around that time, that
23 being that when a squad or a company having 10 rifles like you did went on
24 a rest, those 10 rifles would be used by ABiH soldiers so they would
25 always be continuously in use?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: He just answered that question, Mr. Meek.
2 MR. MEEK:
3 Q. Now, in your some of your statements and even your testimony, I'd
4 like to know when you ceased being an ABiH soldier and when you became a
5 civilian, in 1995 specifically in the month of July.
6 A. I haven't understood your question.
7 Q. At the time that you were -- or that you surrendered in July of
8 1995, after the fall of Srebrenica, were you a soldier or were you a
10 A. I was a civilian wearing civilian clothes.
11 Q. Okay. Now, to take you back to the 11th of July, you've just
12 testified under oath that you were a soldier with the ABiH army and that
13 you were just on a rest. Your company was on a rest. Is that true?
14 A. My squad was on a rest.
15 Q. And you were a soldier and your squad was on a rest. Excuse me.
16 Is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And then you surrendered on the 12th of July, did you not?
19 A. [No interpretation].
20 Q. 13th of July?
21 A. No. I was captured on the 13th of July.
22 Q. Okay. Now, between the 11th of July when you were the commander
23 of your squad with 10 rifles, when did you resign being an ABiH soldier?
24 A. When I headed off from Jaglici towards Tuzla.
25 Q. So was there anything that you needed to do? For example, notify
1 your immediate commander that you were no longer an ABiH soldier?
2 A. No.
3 Q. I understand you, you just decided at one moment you wanted to
4 become a civilian and that's what you did?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And as a civilian, is it normal to carry one or two grenades with
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So is it normal as a civilian in Srebrenica, a Muslim civilian at
10 that time of -- between the ages of 16 and 70 or 60 to carry grenades and
11 be civilians?
12 A. No.
13 Q. So were you the exception to the rule, Mr. Oric, that would carry
14 grenades and be a civilian?
15 A. I carried it with me in the woods in case I had to defend myself
16 or to shoot myself, if needed.
17 Q. When you got to Susnjari there was a big rally. Do you recall
18 that, sir?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And around 10.00, maybe a little later, there had been a decision
21 made that everybody should head towards Tuzla. Is that your testimony
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Who made this decision, sir?
25 A. The command.
1 Q. And can you specifically name the command or commanders who made
2 that decision?
3 A. It was -- the decision was made by Becirevic.
4 Q. Becirevic was a military commander; correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Ramiz Becirevic or some other Becirevic?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was Ramiz
9 MR. MEEK:
10 Q. So at 10.00 on -- approximately 10.00 on the 11th of July, 1995,
11 you were still taking commands from a military commander in the ABiH army.
12 Isn't that true?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And isn't it true that you've estimated there were approximately
15 15.000 other people who took that same command?
16 A. All those who were armed, the soldiers had to take command from
17 our superiors, and the civilians were simply moving behind the army.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Meek, whenever it's convenient for you, we need
19 to stop in about two, three minutes' time maximum.
20 MR. MEEK:
21 Q. So you -- again, you've estimated -- yesterday, you testified that
22 you estimated there were possibly a total of 15.000 in this column that
23 headed towards Tuzla. Am I right about that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You being one of them, you were an ABiH soldier at that time you
1 took the command and started in the column towards Tuzla; correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And you will have to agree with me that the majority of the men in
4 that column were also ABiH soldiers who took that same command as you did
5 and started moving towards Tuzla; correct?
6 A. Yes. They received the same command, and we headed towards Tuzla,
7 but many of them were unarmed. They were unarmed soldiers.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Oric, for today, and I'm sure I will have a few
9 questions for you tomorrow.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you, Mr. Meek.
11 Mr. Oric, we are going to stop here today. We will resume
12 tomorrow afternoon, 2.15, like today.
13 In the meantime, try to sort out this unidentified document
15 Thank you, and have a nice evening.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.29 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 30th day
18 of August, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.