1 Monday, 5 February 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: So, good morning, Madam Registrar. Could you call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
9 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. All the accused are here. Defence
11 teams are full. Ms. Condon is back. Welcome.
12 Prosecution is Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Thayer. The witness is
13 already in the courtroom.
14 Yes, Mr. Thayer. Are you ready to go?
15 MR. THAYER: I'm just ready to go, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Before you start, Madam Fauveau, last
17 week you raised -- or not rather raised, you had sought admission of
18 5D173; and at a later stage, during the same sitting, an admission also of
19 transcript pages 3378 to 3381 from the Oric case. We have had time to go
20 through both your submissions during the previous sitting as well as the
21 transcripts from Oric, from the Oric case.
22 Our position is as follows: Unanimously, we decide not to admit
23 the Oric case transcript pages 3378 to 3381. These were not put to the
24 witness, and this is of course without prejudice, should you later on
25 decide to pursue this matter through witnesses.
1 As then as regards document 5D173, by majority judgement, Judge
2 Prost dissenting, we have decided to admit the document. That closes the
3 chapter on this document, and we can proceed with the testimony of Witness
5 WITNESS: WITNESS PW-155 [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, I also wish to thank those of you
8 who filed the documents relating to the objections that you wish to bring
9 forward to the intercepts. I thank you. We will be going through them,
10 and we will come back to you as we go along. And the Prosecution, also,
11 we thank you for your document on the estimated length of the Prosecution
13 Yes, Mr. Thayer. Good morning to you.
14 MR. THAYER: Good morning, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: You may proceed.
16 MR. THAYER: Good morning, Your Honours, everyone.
17 Examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
18 Q. Good morning, sir.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. When we left off last Thursday, you had just told the Trial
21 Chamber about some of the other buildings that had been struck by the
22 shelling that had killed your six-month-old son. Can you just tell the
23 Trial Chamber, was anyone else killed or injured in that shelling attack?
24 A. There were other wounded in that area, and there was another woman
25 who had been wounded earlier; and the second time when she was wounded,
1 she died. So she was finished off in this second shelling. I don't
2 know. I was busy in the area where I was, but perhaps there were some
3 other instances that I don't know.
4 Q. Now, sir, again, in this period in 1993, at some point while you
5 were living in Srebrenica, did something happen to the water-supply? And
6 if so, can you tell the Trial Chamber what?
7 A. In 1993, there was water when I came to Srebrenica. However --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, stop.
9 Mr. Krgovic.
10 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I object to this line
11 of questioning. What is -- why is it relevant what the conditions where
12 is in 1992 and 1993 and what the situation was with water. This is
13 outside of the time-frame of the indictment.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Krgovic.
15 Mr. Thayer.
16 MR. THAYER: Two points, Your Honour. One, it is within the
17 overall time period of the indictment, but specifically this is relevant
18 to the conditions that prevailed in 1995 with respect to the water
19 situation. I believe that the relevance of the witness's testimony will
20 become clear, and we expect it to be linked up with other evidence
21 concerning the situation of the water-supply as of 1995.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I will consult with my colleagues. One
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Go ahead, but please come to the point
1 quickly, Mr. Thayer, because we want to make sure that it is within the
2 relevance parameters.
3 MR. THAYER: Certainly, Your Honour.
4 Q. Sir, would you just briefly describe for the Trial Chamber what,
5 if anything, happened with respect to the water-supply in 1993 while you
6 were there?
7 A. The water was cut off before the line of the enclave was formed,
8 the Srebrenica enclave line. There was a reservoir in the free
9 territory. But when the enclave line formed, the reservoir or the main
10 source of supply remained outside of the enclave. I don't know if it was
11 mined or closed, but in any case there was no water.
12 Q. At some point in the spring of 1993, sir, did UNHCR trucks begin
13 delivering humanitarian aid in Srebrenica?
14 A. Yes. Sometime maybe in January or February one convoy passed, but
15 this was infrequent because humanitarian access was not permitted. There
16 was a crisis.
17 Q. Now, at the time that the convoys began arriving, did you make any
18 efforts to get your family out of the enclave at that time? And if you
19 did, would you just briefly describe how you did that or how you tried to
20 do that?
21 A. Since the -- the situation was terrible for different reasons,
22 hunger, the danger of shelling, there was chaos and at one point I wanted
23 to evacuate my family. It was allegedly said that the convoy would be
24 safe. However, the chaotic situation that ensued in which people rushed
25 to these trucks, I was afraid of -- that my small child that I was holding
1 would be suffocated in the crowd; so then I gave up and returned, and
2 that's why my family did not reach the Tuzla free territory. Should I say
4 Q. That's -- that's sufficient for now. Thank you, sir. And when
5 you refer to trucks, are you referring to the empty aid trucks?
6 A. Yes. Empty aid trucks that had brought in humanitarian aid. It
7 was amongst the first or perhaps it was the first delivery of humanitarian
8 aid. I don't remember exactly.
9 Q. And at some point thereafter in the spring, sir, was there a
10 shelling attack which stands out in your mind in which your daughter
11 played some role in -- in your mind?
12 A. Yes. Since a large number of people were living in the enclave,
13 about 40.000 in this small area, then the children, the young people,
14 organised a kind of tournament and at one point the shelling began. I
15 happened to be in my house at the time, and I was going to eat. There was
16 no water. I told my daughter to go and bring water. But then when the
17 shelling began, I was afraid for her and I ran out in a panic and I ran to
18 a small stream -- spring from which we brought water. And on the way I
19 saw wounded people, the dead, and all of that, but I continued to run in a
20 panic, calling out for my daughter.
21 On the way on the road, I saw a child with a canister. It was
22 lying on its stomach. I don't know if the child was dead, but it wasn't
23 moving. And a woman a bit farther down was sitting, and she was
24 immobile. She was leaning on some kind of fence or something along the
25 road; then I went back home and I was calling out...
1 Q. I just want to stop you right there, sir. Is it fair to say you
2 found your daughter safe?
3 A. Yes, yes. I called her and she responded, she said, "I'm here."
4 Q. And did you help with the wounded?
5 A. Later. Well, immediately I went back and there was a young man up
6 there with a kind of small tractor, and we picked up the wounded and we
7 took them to the hospital. The hospital was overcrowded and I was
8 standing there, and a doctor came by. And since I had been once in that
9 hospital when I was wounded, he asked me to help in dressing others'
10 wounds. I started to do that.
11 Q. Do you have any idea from being there how many people were killed
12 or were wounded in this shelling attack?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Fauveau.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I am really wondering
15 where is the relevance with regard to this line of questioning by the
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
18 MR. THAYER: There are two lines of relevance, Your Honour.
19 Again, it goes to the state of mind of this witness. At the time he had
20 to make decisions about whether he was going to leave the enclave of Zepa
21 and whether he was going to put his family on a convoy to leave Zepa or
22 whether they would remain in Zepa. It is relevant because it is
23 corroborative of the testimony of a previous witness who had similar
24 testimony, which I believe at the time was unique. I think it's
25 important --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop, stop. I don't think you should be saying this
2 in front of the witness. One moment. I need to consult with my
4 [Trial Chamber confers].
5 JUDGE AGIUS: We do see the relevance, of course, but I think it's
6 a long, winding road that you are taking. Perhaps you can simply put a
7 simple, straightforward question to the witness: What was your state of
8 mind at the time you decided to leave Zepa? That's all. Can you we take
9 it up from there?
10 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I will be happy to that, and I will try
11 to move-- continue to try to move things along.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Don't take it as a criticism. We are not
13 criticising your kind of examination-in-chief. In this trial, we are
14 blessed with a very high quality of lawyers on both sides, which has been
15 beneficial, so go ahead.
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Sir, the Trial Chamber has heard a significant amount of testimony
18 concerning the Dutch Battalion in Srebrenica. Was there also an UNPROFOR
19 presence in the Zepa enclave?
20 A. Yes. Yes, it was there. In 1993, they were there at the same
21 time when -- when the Srebrenica enclave was formed the Zepa protected
22 area was also formed.
23 Q. And where was the UNPROFOR base located in Zepa, sir?
24 A. In the centre of Zepa. I think it was in -- they were in premises
25 in or near the elementary school in Zepa, in the centre of Zepa.
1 Q. Did you have any contact with those UNPROFOR soldiers, sir?
2 A. Well, I did, I bought, I exchanged. I actually bought petrol from
3 them in order to be able to use my motor saw, in order to be able to
4 repair my fence. I was also constructing a small building to put the cows
5 in, so that's when I used it.
6 Q. And do you know what country these soldiers were from, sir?
7 A. I think they were Ukrainians.
8 Q. Now, did humanitarian aid begin arriving with some regularity in
9 the Zepa area between 1994 and 1995?
10 A. If you compared Zepa and Srebrenica, the humanitarian aid arrived
11 quite regularly in Zepa.
12 Q. And is it fair to say that you took part in distributing that aid
13 in and around your father's village?
14 A. Yes. I distributed the humanitarian aid in my father's village.
15 Q. Now, at some point in 1995, did something happen to the aid that
16 had been coming to Zepa?
17 A. About a month before Zepa fell, and I'm not quite sure about
18 the -- the time, the humanitarian aid was halted.
19 Q. And did it stop all of a sudden or did it -- was it reduced over a
20 period of time?
21 A. It reduced gradually over a period of time, but there were no
22 major difficulties; but then it completely stopped about a month before,
23 approximately a month before. I don't remember exactly which period, how
24 long before.
25 Q. And during this period of time, sir, did people from Srebrenica
1 begin arriving in your father's village? And if so, why were they going
3 A. Since the enclave of Zepa had a lot of arable land, people sort of
4 helped out by making or growing their own food and receiving humanitarian
5 aid. So they were in a somewhat better situation than the people in
6 Srebrenica. However, during the last two or three months, people kept
7 arriving constantly. Practically, they were begging; they were asking for
8 food from people from the Zepa enclave. They came to my father's
9 village. Also, they came to me, people from Srebrenica, people who knew
10 me and they were counting on my help. So I did help.
11 Q. Now, did something cause you to move your family yet again, this
12 time from your father's village to another location in or about this
13 period of time?
14 A. Yes. There was intense shelling and a great deal of insecurity in
15 the area where I lived, because some Chetnik check-points I was able to
16 see from my window with the naked eye. I could see the artillery, the
17 tanks, whatever it was. It was dangerous to remain in the village, so all
18 of us moved out except for maybe about a dozen people, and we all moved
19 into the woods in the mountains in the surrounding area.
20 Q. Okay. Mr. President, if we move into private session for just one
21 question and then...
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's do that.
23 [Private session]
13 [Open session]
14 MR. THAYER:
15 Q. Sir, after Srebrenica fell, did you participate in any way in the
16 defence of the Zepa enclave?
17 A. Yes. When there was this intense shelling and attacks on the
18 lines, then I also took part. I was at the Stublic check-point; and when
19 I was resting, I was actually monitoring the Drina canyon. I was
20 monitoring it to see whether Chetniks would go through the canyon and
21 enter the village and slaughter all the inhabitants.
22 Q. Now, at some point, sir, were you close to a Serb position?
23 A. Well, at that time when I was at the line, it was very close,
24 maybe 20 or 50 metres away. Chetniks were there. We could hear them.
25 They were singing, and they were taunting us, saying all kinds of
1 things: "We'll come to your village; we'll rape all your women; we will
2 kill you; you will have to look at us as we do all that, you Balijas;" and
3 so on.
4 Q. Now, at some point, did you receive information, sir, that the
5 women, children, and elderly would be taken out of Zepa? And if so, can
6 you tell the Trial Chamber what you heard.
7 A. My brother came back from the line and he asked me why I hadn't
8 taken our families to Zepa, because he had heard that there would be an
9 evacuation, that UNPROFOR would do that, or the Red Cross with the UNHCR;
10 and then I said that I hadn't heard anything about that, because this
11 village was a little bit further away from the other places. We did not
12 get any information. So my brother and I, we took our families and we
13 took them to Zepa, or rather to Stitkov Dol, which was the place where
14 we'd left our families.
15 Q. And to the best of your recollection, sir, at the time you and
16 your brother decided to take your families to Stitkov Dol, where were the
17 Serb forces by that time?
18 A. Well, the lines, the defence lines in the Zepa territory had been
19 broken through. The defences had been shattered. It was at night, and we
20 saw a village opposite Stitkov Dol in the direction of Bosanica. We saw
21 the that the village was already on fire. There was there huge fire
23 Q. And what was the name of that village, sir?
24 A. Vratar.
25 Q. And on your way to Stitkov Dol, sir, did you also encounter other
2 A. No. No, we -- actually, what happened is we caught up with them,
3 and we overtook them as we moved towards Stitkov Dol. There were some
4 elderly people, infirm. They couldn't move very fast. In Stitkov Dol, I
5 found a lot the people, a large number of people. I don't know the exact
6 number, but there were many people there. And I think that they were
7 there in Stitkov Dol because they were afraid what the security situation
8 was in Zepa because Vratar was not very far away from that area.
9 Q. Now, can you just briefly describe for the Trial Chamber where --
10 and I'll show you a map at the end of your testimony and we'll go through
11 some of these areas you have mentioned, but for the time being can you
12 just describe where Stitkov Dol is in reference to Zepa, directionally?
13 A. It's to the north of Zepa.
14 Q. Now, you have said that there were many people at Stitkov Dol
15 during the time you were there. Can you provide any estimate for the
16 Trial Chamber how many people you saw?
17 A. Well, there may have been about a thousand people; women,
18 children, the elderly. I can't give you an exact figure.
19 Q. And when you arrived there, sir, what was your state of mind?
20 A. Well, it was a tense situation. I was afraid of what would happen
21 to our families and to ourselves, to all of us who were already there. It
22 was quite clear already that there was this disaster looming. It was
23 dangerous because I had to leave my wife and children behind. I felt
24 terrible. It was very difficult, and it was very dangerous.
25 Q. Could you see what other people's emotional state was at that
1 time, sir?
2 A. Well, we all faced the same situation, and we all had the same
3 feelings. People were crying, the children were crying, women, I myself
4 was crying. I couldn't say anything to my children when we parted. I
5 just said to my wife, "Take care of them."
6 Q. Now, by this time, sir, had you spoken to people from Srebrenica?
7 Do you need a break, sir?
8 A. Yes, please.
9 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I think we may just need --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes.
11 MR. THAYER: -- a couple of minutes.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: It is very unfortunate when we have face
13 distortion. We can follow less. [Microphone not activated] So we will
14 have -- how much time -- witness, how much time do you need?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just a couple of minutes, if
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We will be out here; and as soon as the
18 VW section have given him coffee or water or whatever and we are in a
19 position to start again, let us know. But make sure you are feeling
20 comfortable. And any time you need a break, we'll -- we'll give you one.
21 --- Break taken at 9.40 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 9.48 a.m.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Are you better?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer, you may proceed.
1 MR. THAYER:
2 Q. Sir, by the time you arrived at Stitkov Dol, had you spoken to a
3 man named Salko Mustafic and another man named Mujo Rustanovic about their
4 experiences during the fall of Srebrenica?
5 A. Yes, I did talk about that. When Srebrenica fell, they were in
6 Srebrenica; and when it fell they, tried to reach the free territory but
7 they couldn't get through. They doubled back, and they told me about all
8 the terrible things they had been through; the fear, the journey. They
9 told me about this place on the route to Kaldrmica, and there was a hill
10 and there was a stream where there was an ambush.
11 A tree fell down, there was an explosion, a lot of people were
12 killed in that explosion, and then all of a sudden there was shooting from
13 all over the place. They couldn't even tell where the shooting was coming
14 from, and they survived by pure chance. (redacted)
16 (redacted) media telling them that Zepa had fallen
17 a long time ago and that Srebrenica itself would fall, that they should
18 surrender. So they stayed at my place.
19 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, out of an abundance of caution, I just
20 ask would for a redaction at page 14, line 11. There is a reference.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Correct. Let's redact that. Go ahead.
22 MR. THAYER:
23 Q. Sir, after leaving your family at Stitkov Dol, what did you do?
24 A. When we left our family in Stitkov Dol, we went back home, or
25 rather, to the house where I had been staying just before that. There
1 were many people there, and it was our plan to stay there for a while, or
2 rather not there, but to take shelter in the Drina canyon, because we
3 figured that smaller groups of less than ten people could perhaps pass
4 through the line or the siege line around the enclave because this had
5 already been broken through.
6 And I didn't even know where the lines were anymore, but we
7 figured that smaller groups of up to ten people could pass through
8 unnoticed. We took some food with us, we took the food to the Drina
9 canyon, and we stashed it there in some holes in the rock so that it would
10 be there for us when we decided that the time was right for us to move to
11 the free territory.
12 So I went back home from those rocks and krags to get some more
13 flour, and en route I encountered a school mate of mine. He was with my
14 cousin and some relatives of mine, and he told me he that wanted to move
15 to Macedonia through Serbia. I asked him if I could join him, and he said
16 no problem. But he said that before the war, before the occupation, he
17 used to work in Partizan Put in Serbia, that he knew the route well and
18 that it was possible to get to Macedonia undetected. That's why I decided
19 to do so.
20 I went back to the cave and I told my brothers, well, I decided to
21 go. I think we should split because maybe some of us would survive; and
22 if we all stuck together, then we would all be killed. So I went back to
23 the Drina canyon. We crossed the Drina at Crni Potok. We used some
24 rubber tubes that we had blown up to cross, and it was rainy. It was a
25 rainy night; it was dark. We had to build a small fire on the other side
1 to dry our clothes, and then we moved into Serbia.
2 We climb up a mountain there, and up there we took off our dirty
3 clothes. We changed into new clothes, because we figured that we would
4 not be so conspicuous. And if a car came our way, we could perhaps pay
5 the driver to take us down to Macedonia or wherever we could; but then one
6 morning --
7 Q. Let me just interrupt you right there, if I might. Let me just
8 take you back just for a couple of follow-up questions. You mentioned
9 being in a cave. Can you describe the terrain in which you were hiding,
10 first of all?
11 A. Well, the cave was in the Drina River canyon. It was very close
12 to Poljanice. It was called Sokolina. It's a cave that my father
13 actually used in the Second World War to hide from the Chetniks. The name
14 of the place is Tomodo, and there is a meadow up there. And there is a
15 small foot path used by hunters, and it has a water spring. There is a
16 water spring near the cave, and -- and below it were some -- was some
17 rugged terrain, some rocks that were, in fact, unpassable.
18 Q. Okay. Now, can you just briefly tell the Trial Chamber who else
19 was in this cave with you at the time you made the decision to try to head
20 out for free territory?
21 A. My brothers; my cousins, Salko Mustafic, Mujo Rustanovic, Halid
22 Osmanovic, about 50 people all told together with us. Those were all
23 people that we knew, mostly people that we knew and; and later on more
24 people gathered as my brother told me because groups were formed of about
25 ten people, so that many people who did not join any of the groups didn't
1 know what to do. And some people approached me because they knew that I
2 knew some routes leading into the free territory, and perhaps they thought
3 that I was capable of taking them all to the free territory. Yet what I
4 did is I actually went the other way.
5 Q. In coming to your decision to head to free territory, did you
6 consider any other alternatives?
7 A. Well, yes. I did consider -- this was a very difficult situation.
8 There was this great deal of tension. It was psychologically very
9 difficult. I was mulling over so many things. The first or second day,
10 it was so difficult for me. You just don't what to do. You cannot go up
11 in the heaven. You cannot go down into the ground. There was this great
12 fear of being captured, of torture. And sometimes I really thought I
13 really wanted to just commit suicide.
14 Q. Sir, do you recall the approximate date that you crossed the
15 Drina? And if you don't remember the actual date, can you estimate for
16 the Trial Chamber approximately how many days it was after you had left
17 Stitkov Dol?
18 A. Well, I think maybe three or four days before I was captured. I
19 left my family there. I think it was on the 25th. I think it was the
20 25th that I left my family; and then when I was captured, we had to put a
21 date on the statement that they took from us, and I think that the date
22 was the 2nd of August.
23 Q. Now, sir, I'd like to show you a map, and it is P02419.
24 MR. THAYER: Your Honours, this is basically an extension of map 8
25 that was in your map book. The original map 8 is of limited use to us
1 because we're talking about a region that's to the east, so we have
2 furnished -- I believe you all have hard copies and hard copies have been
3 distributed to Defence counsel. If I may ask the assistance of Madam
4 Usher for the ELMO. I'm not confident that we are going get the degree of
5 detail on e-court that we need, so I think we're going to have to resort
6 to the ELMO.
7 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you to identify on this map some of the
8 areas you have talked about. And, please, we are still in open session,
9 so I just want you to point out on the map certain features which, if you
10 can see them on the computer, great; if not, just work off the ELMO,
11 please. Sir, can you take a look at the image that's on your screen; that
12 may actually be more helpful. Can you read the locations that are on your
13 screen? Are they legible to you, or do you need it look at the ELMO?
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak up?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 MR. THAYER:
17 Q. Okay. You and I looked at this map a few days ago; is that
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And did you identify certain locations that you have testified
21 about today, and can you just review some of the locations that you see on
22 that map just by name?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Could we have --
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stublic and Poljanice.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Could we have a better focusing, please.
3 MR. THAYER: If you could move the map a little up, please?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my father's village.
5 Stitkov Dol and --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll just make sure that we redact that.
7 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Again, sir, without referring to the specific nature of these
9 areas, if you could just identify the names of some of these locations
10 that are highlighted on the map. You just pointed out one location.
11 Could you just state the names that you see on the map?
12 A. Yes, I can repeat the names. Zepa, Stitkov Dol, Poljanice, my
13 father's village, and here on the other side, Stublic.
14 MR. THAYER: And if we could just move the map so we can see
15 Stitkov Dol in relation to Zepa town?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. One moment, witness.
17 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
18 THE REGISTRAR: It wasn't, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: So I didn't think we need to redact that. All
20 right. Let's go ahead.
21 MR. THAYER:
22 Q. Sir, based on having reviewed this map, is it a fair and accurate
23 map from what you can see of the areas and territory as you recall it
25 A. Are you asking me?
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. The map is accurate.
3 Q. Now, I'd ask you could look at the screen because I'm going to ask
4 you to mark one area on the map on the screen.
5 MR. THAYER: And if we could scroll up just a touch, please, on --
6 on the e-court map.
7 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you if you could, with the continued help of
8 Madam Usher, just mark the -- the location as best as you can tell on the
9 map, where you crossed the Drina River?
10 A. The place is called Crni Potok; that's the location here.
11 Q. If you could take that pen and just mark an X.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Usher, I don't think where he is going to mark
13 is at the moment visible on the ELMO. Oh, I see. He is doing it on
14 e-court. Okay.
15 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
16 MR. THAYER:
17 Q. Sir, if you could just write mark PW-155 anywhere on the map and
18 then we can save it.
19 A. P...
20 Q. W-155.
21 A. [Marks]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: And the date, please.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Today's date?
24 MR. THAYER:
25 Q. Is 5 February.
1 A. [Marks]
2 Q. Thank you, sir. And we can save it now.
3 Now, sir, I believe you -- you just testified a few moments ago
4 that you recall being captured on August 2nd. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. And you recall that date because it's the date you had to sign a
7 statement; is that correct?
8 A. That's the day when I was captured, when I was tortured, and
9 statements were taken from us, personal information, and so on. We had to
10 write the date. I think that he told us, that person sitting at the desk,
11 he told us the date. I think he told us the date.
12 Q. Now, this was at a location called Sljivovica in Serbia; is that
14 A. No. The first statement was at a school that day, in a school.
15 Before we came to the Sljivovica camp, we came to the camp in the night.
16 We were transported to the Sljivovica camp during the night from that
17 village. From the school, we were transported in trucks to a construction
18 company where the camp was in Sljivovica.
19 Q. And, approximately, how long were you held in Sljivovica?
20 A. I was there about two days, according to my recollection. I
21 thought I was going to be executed when I was called out; however, I and
22 450 other people were called out. And during the night, we were
23 transferred to another camp called Mitrovo Polje.
24 Q. Now, is it fair to say in the time you were in Sljivovica, you
25 were beaten and abused.
1 MR. MEEK: I apologise, Mr. President, Your Honours. I object to
2 the relevancy of this testimony. He has now testified he is into Serbia.
3 He is now talking about some mistreatment by Serbian soldiers, and it is
4 absolutely irrelevant.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: What is the relevance of this? Do you wish to
6 comment on that, Mr. Thayer?
7 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, it is relevant in two respects. One, it
8 is one question to complete the picture of what this individual has gone
9 through as he sits here before the Court today. I think that's relevant
10 evidence. Again, it's one question, and then a similar question for the
11 second location and I intend to move on.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Let me consult with my colleagues.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We don't attach any relevance to these events for
15 the purpose of this case, Mr. Thayer. So please move to your next
16 relevant question.
17 MR. THAYER:
18 Q. Sir, when were you released from Mitrovo Polje?
19 A. On the 22nd of January, 1996. And we were not allowed to go back
20 to Bosnia and Herzegovina. We were told that we shouldn't even think
21 about it. They said we could go to a third country; and since we did fill
22 in some forms, I did not put down my wish, which country I wanted to go
23 to, but I just put down as soon as possible and as far as possible from
24 here. And a family replied -- they applied to be my sponsor. It was a
25 U.S. Family, and I left on the 22nd of January, 1996. I didn't go alone;
1 there was a group of 112 or 120 people. I'm not sure.
2 Q. At some point, sir, you were reunited with your family; is that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And did your wife tell you about her experience being transported
6 out of Zepa?
7 A. Yes. She did say that it was chaotic, that people were pushing,
8 that it was difficult to get on to the convoy, and that the convoy that
9 was there was a Chetnik convoy, and a people transport; that it was a long
10 road to Tisce, where they were disembarked from the buses and the trucks,
11 and they had to walk on foot for six or more kilometres in order
12 to reach the free territory.
13 She told me that in certain places they were stopped. They were
14 checked or searched in some places - I don't know the names - to see if
15 there were any militarily able -- or able-bodied men in the trucks and
16 buses, and the children were scared. The children also experienced
17 horrible situations when they were going from Tisce to the free territory,
18 because on the way there were Chetniks asking for money, stopping people,
19 searching some people. She said that people were disappearing along that
21 For example, there was a cafe on the road, and people were going
22 inside to drink water and they never returned. They disappeared there.
23 She told me that since it was dark she said that she went to sit. She was
24 carrying a little girl, and she was carrying some things and she was
25 tired. She went to take a rest, and she thought that this was -- a tree
1 stump on the road. And she wanted to sit there, but actually it was a
2 dead body that was covered over by the road; and then she moved away,
3 because she didn't want the children to see that.
4 Q. Okay. Sir, I just have a couple of final questions for you. Did
5 you and your family leave Zepa freely, sir?
6 A. No, no way. It was forcible departure. It was finishing up the
7 ethnic cleansing. Zepa was a protected zone, and the Chetniks burned the
8 surrounding villages and occupied the territory. There was no way that we
9 could stay. I don't think that any of those people, the women who were
10 transported, said anything about people asking them if they wanted to stay
11 or not. There was no question of that. There were a lot of people who
12 were killed. This was forcible transfer of those who had survived from
13 other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 Q. And, sir, why did you not stay with your wife and children at
15 Stitkov Dol?
16 A. I was afraid for my life because all the able-bodied men, even
17 children of age 14, were killed and taken off the convoy. There were
18 14-year-olds in the Rogatica camp, who looked older. I don't know. So it
19 didn't even occur to me. It would be like suicide to stay and to go with
20 my wife and children.
21 Q. Thank you, Witness. I have no further questions at this time.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
23 Mr. Zivanovic.
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness.
2 A. Good morning.
3 Q. You told us that on the 8th of April, 1992, you left the town
4 where you had been living until then. Can you just tell me how long you
5 had lived in that town before the 8th of April, 1992?
6 A. From 1998 [as interpreted] until the --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: From 1988 until the
8 8th of April, 1992. So it was from 1988 until 1992.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Thank you. And perhaps during the few months before your
11 departure, were you able to notice that the situation was deteriorating?
12 A. Yes, that is true. There was a military group that arrived from
13 Serbia to take the military documentation from the Bratunac municipality,
14 and it was a bit chaotic because --
15 Q. All right, thank you. What I'm interested in is the following:
16 You could conclude that also from the media and on the basis of the
17 general situation there that the situation was deteriorating?
18 A. Yes, that is correct. In 1991, two young men were killed.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Have you finished your answer?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to say that before that, in
21 Kravica, two young men were killed on the road, because even then those
22 secret Chetnik, illegal Chetnik guards were formed. And there was a
23 killing in Kragivoda as well, and the cleansing had started and the
24 collection of people and there was an ambush; and on that occasion
25 Bahrudin Osmanovic and another man, I don't remember his name.
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Thank you. Well, let's not go into all of these details right
3 now. I'm interested in something else?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Zivanovic and Witness, you speak the same
5 language and you're going too fast; particularly, Witness, you are not
6 allowing a short interval of time, a small pause, short pause, after
7 Mr. Zivanovic finishes his question, and that is creating difficulties for
8 the interpreters. The same applies to you, Mr. Zivanovic. Please allow a
9 short pause before you go on to your next question.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I understand.
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. My next question is about when you left the town where you were.
14 Did many other Muslims do the same?
15 A. Yes, even slightly before people were afraid. At the time it was
16 already a little bit chaotic. People who were afraid, and it was chaotic
17 and I...
18 Q. You knew that five days before that, the Presidency of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina had issued a general call-up? Did you know that?
20 A. No, I didn't know that. I didn't hear about that mobilisation,
21 no. Well, maybe it was the Serbian self-declared authorities.
22 Q. I'm talking about the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not
23 the authorities of Republika Srpska.
24 A. In March 1996, I --
25 Q. I didn't say March 1996.
1 A. April.
2 Q. I said a few days before your departure, or to be more specific it
3 was the 3rd of April, 1992.
4 A. I'm -- I'm not aware of that, no. I don't know about that.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you know that that day, when you left, I think --
6 or the day before, the imminent danger of war was proclaimed by the
7 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
8 A. I don't know about that.
9 Q. People who left the town where you lived at the same time as you
10 also didn't know anything about it?
11 A. I believe that they didn't.
12 Q. And when did you find out about it?
13 A. About the imminent danger of war?
14 Q. About the mobilisation and the imminent danger of war being
16 A. I sensed it when the Chetnik check-points were formed. When the
17 police changed uniforms in my town, that's when I sensed the danger and --
18 Q. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I didn't ask you about when you
19 sensed what, but when you found out that the Presidency of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina proclaimed a mobilisation or declared a mobilisation?
21 A. I never found about it. I never heard of it or found out about
23 Q. Amongst the people who left the town where you lived, at the same
24 time as you did, there were plenty of able-bodied men?
25 A. Those who left with me, my two or three brothers up in the
1 village, yes, it's true, that there were a lot of able-bodied men.
2 Q. At the time you were also obliged to respond to the call-up?
3 A. Yes. But it was my duty even before, but people refused. They
4 didn't want to because there was a war in Croatia at the time, and the
5 army of Yugoslavia was taking those people to the front. I had a
6 neighbour who escaped from Bihac who was supposed to go to Vukovar.
7 Q. I'm sorry. I'm not asking you about the mobilisation?
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Please slow down. I can sense the frustration in
9 the interpreter's voice.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. I'm not asking you about the mobilisation by the former Yugoslav
12 People's Army, and I'm not asking you about the mobilisation declared on
13 the part of the army of Republika Srpska and the organs of Republika
14 Srpska. I'm speaking quite specifically about the mobilisation declared
15 by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. You said that you didn't
16 know anything about that. Is that correct?
17 A. I definitely didn't know anything about it. I didn't know that
18 there was an army of Bosnia and Herzegovina at that time.
19 Q. Thank you. In June 1992, you were at a check-point in a village;
20 is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you tell me what was being done at that check-point?
23 A. We were guarding; we were on guard duty. They were so-called
24 village guards.
25 Q. I apologise. And were you able to do what you wanted at the
1 check-point, or did you have any kind of instructions about what to do in
2 specific situations?
3 A. The group of people -- out of that group of people, we were all
4 assigned to the -- a check-point at specific places or times. The guard
5 duty went on for 24 hours, and we made our own roster of guards.
6 Q. And my question, again, were you able to decide by yourselves what
7 you were going to do at the check-point? I'm speaking about you
8 personally, or you had some instructions from someone about what you were
9 supposed to do?
10 A. The group that I belonged to, the village guard's group, we had
11 Zuhrija. He was the head of the group or the commander of the group.
12 Q. Was he an able-bodied man?
13 A. Well, we were all able-bodied, I presume. There were also some
14 elderly men who were afraid that we would experience the same thing that
15 had happened in Bratunac.
16 Q. And this person that you say was the commander of the group, was
17 he perhaps an officer?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did he belong to the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
20 A. I don't know. Later he probably did, when it was organised as an
21 army, as the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 Q. Did you -- were you authorised at the check-point to let soldiers
23 of Republika Srpska or as you called them here, Chetniks, into the
25 A. Of course, we didn't dare let them in, because it was known that
1 they wanted to kill us.
2 Q. Does that mean that you would have stopped them with weapons, had
3 they tried to do that?
4 A. Well, it was just a -- a -- an obstacle to finishing off all the
5 people who had survived from Srebrenica and Bratunac. There were people
6 left over who had managed to escape from Srebrenica, and they were afraid
7 of what was going to happen.
8 Q. Thank you. You said that your family did not leave the enclave
9 when a considerable number of civilians left. Can you please tell me if
10 there was any obstacle after that to your family's leaving the obstacle --
11 leaving the enclave?
12 A. Yes. There was an obstacle; you just couldn't leave.
13 Q. And can you tell me if the Bosnian authorities permitted civilians
14 to leave the enclave?
15 A. Well, believe me, I don't know that. We were cut off, both in
16 terms of the media and in every other way. We were isolated, and I don't
17 know. As for that information, I don't believe hearing anything about
19 Q. And were you able to leave the enclave?
20 A. No, no.
21 Q. Did you need a permission from the BH authorities to do so?
22 A. Well, even if I could have gotten such an authorisation, where was
23 I supposed to pass? I couldn't dig my way out under ground.
24 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me, in light of the fact that
25 you lived for four years in the town where you lived before you left, I'm
1 sure that you knew quite a few people of Serbian ethnic background; is
2 that correct?
3 A. A lot of my very good friends, my former good friends.
4 Q. Thank you. Do you know if during the war any of those people from
5 this town and from the surrounding area were killed?
6 A. Well, I didn't really keep in touch all that much, and I don't
7 know about that.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: How much longer --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, but probably there were such
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] Your Honour, I just have one more
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead and we will have the break soon after.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. You told us about two of your friends who tried to move into the
16 free territory from Srebenica. You described the event involving the
17 tree, the fallen tree. Did they tell you how they managed to get out of
18 the situation? Or to be more precise, did they move through the woods all
19 the time?
20 A. They hid during the day; and during the night, they moved through
21 the woods and they would sneak up to the Muslim houses. For instance, in
22 Babunica [phoen], they took some food there. They found some flour and
23 were able to cook some food for them, and then they reached Luka.
24 Q. So there were some Muslim houses in those areas at that time?
25 A. Well, not all of them had been burned down. Some were still left
2 Q. And they wanted to get into the Muslim houses specifically?
3 A. Well, they moved along the routes that were familiar to them.
4 Those were not all Muslim villages, some of them were ethnically mixed
5 villages. But those were places where they could move through unnoticed,
6 because those villages had already been abandoned. People had been
7 expelled from those villages, and the villages were burnt down.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [In English] Your Honour, I have no more
9 questions, at this time.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Zivanovic. Witness, we are going
11 to have a 25-minute break now, and we will reconvene soon after.
12 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: So, I -- Mr. Meek.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Meek:
16 Q. Good morning, Witness. How are you this morning?
17 A. Good morning. I'm fine.
18 Q. Sir, can you tell me, were you ever a soldier at any time from
19 1992 to the end of 1995?
20 A. Well, you could not really call that a soldier. These were just
21 village guards in 1992, early 1992. When I was wounded, I no longer took
22 part in the guards at all; and in the army later on when the enclave of
23 Zepa fell, when all of us left to the lines, this was a voluntary effort
24 because we were all afraid that the place we were in would also fall. So
25 this is my answer to you.
1 Q. Thank you. And would you agree with me then that in 1992, in
2 Kamenica village and after that, you armed yourselves, you and your
3 colleagues, with rifles and pistols, and there were roughly 400 of you; is
4 that correct?
5 A. I don't understand the question.
6 Q. Well, you mentioned the village guard in 1992. My question is:
7 You were armed with hunting rifles and pistols and weapons of that nature,
9 A. In 1992, I was a village guard in (redacted), and I had a hunting
10 rifle that I used only while I was actually on guard duty.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And when --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop, stop. Mr. Thayer.
14 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, perhaps it would be safer just to be
15 in private session for this line of questioning.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's very wise. Let's go into private
17 session. Sorry for interrupting you like this, Mr. Meek, but I think we
18 all anticipated what was happening.
19 [Private session]
13 [Open session]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session now.
15 MR. MEEK: Thank you.
16 Q. Do you recall, sir, giving that statement and telling the Office
17 of the Prosecutor, concerning the time period of approximately the end of
18 June of 1992, that, "We started to organise village patrols when a certain
19 village was burned down. We armed ourselves with hunting rifles and
20 pistols." Do you recall that, sir?
21 A. I don't recall having said this in those terms. I remember that I
22 said that I was in village guards in (redacted), that we organised ourselves.
23 We did not arm ourselves because when I got to the guard post, I found a
24 hunting rifle there. It was handed over to me by my colleague who was
25 leaving the guard post, so the rifle was there all the time. People would
1 just hand it over to each other because there were -- there was not enough
3 Those were hunting rifles, weapons that were legally owned, before
4 the aggression started. Hunting rifles, pistols, things like that. And
5 later on people would use some pipes to make some makeshift weapons, and
6 that's all I have to say.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. I think we need to redact in line 8 of
8 this page, the name of the village. Is that the reason why you were
9 standing, Mr. Thayer?
10 MR. THAYER: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
12 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, sorry to interrupt. I think you will
13 find an earlier reference as well, which hasn't been redacted, to that
14 village a few moments ago, just before we went into private session.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Line 7 or 8, because they do not correspond.
16 Line 7 or 8. Line 9, actually. Page 34 anyway, wherever the name of the
17 village occurs. On one screen, it is line 8 --
18 MR. JOSSE: Sorry, Your Honour. It's page 32, line 19.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Line 19 on page 32, and line 8 or 9 on page
20 34. Thank you, Mr. Josse.
21 Yes. Mr. Meek, go ahead.
22 MR. MEEK: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Sir, today, this morning in your testimony, you used the term
24 "Chetnik" approximately ten or 11 times. Could you please tell me what
25 you mean by a Chetnik?
1 A. Well, I can tell you about that. I'm sorry to actually classify
2 all Serbs, Serbs that were in the Serbian army, as Chetniks. In fact, not
3 all of them were Serbs. Some Serbs underwent the same kind of torture.
4 And a neighbour of mine in Bratunac, whose name I will not mention for
5 reasons of safety, he was a locksmith, a metal worker in the mine. And he
6 was tortured because he helped some people flee to the free territory,
7 gave them shelter. And I know that there were some people in Sarajevo,
8 too, who were Serbs, quite a lot of them.
9 Q. Thank you, Witness. Briefly, Judge, could we go into private
10 session, so I could ask this witness one question based on his last
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's go into private session, please.
13 [Private session]
1 [Open session]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in -- not yet. We are now.
3 MR. MEEK:
4 Q. Sir, you actually never have described your definition of what you
5 have been calling Chetniks this morning. However, I put it to you that in
6 your answer you apologise and say you are sorry. Sir, is it true that you
7 are sorry because "Chetnik" is a derogatory term?
8 A. Well, how should I put it? That's a term for people -- well,
9 these are not people at all. It is a monstrous name as far as I am
10 concerned, in light of all that I have been through, and they were the
11 cause. I don't think that real Serbs deserve to be called by this name,
12 because by definition the entire Serb military -- well, not all of them
13 were Chetniks. I mean the ordinary people.
14 Q. Sir, earlier on in your testimony at page 23, line 24, in
15 answering a question put to you by the Prosecutor, you answered in regards
16 to leaving Zepa that, "This was forcible transfer of those who had
17 survived from the other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
18 Do you recall that testimony, sir?
19 A. I do. And it is true that this was forcible transfer of the
20 remnants of those people who, in early 1992, had been transported or
21 killed. And these people somehow managed to stay behind, so I'm sure it
22 was forcible.
23 Q. Sir, when you gave your statement which you have already told me
24 you have reviewed, that statement was given on the 11th, 12th, 3rd [sic]
25 of March 2002 to the OTP. Do you recall talking to them and telling them
1 about the 25th of July or around the 25th of July, 1995 in Zepa, that
2 there was a planned evacuation for the elderly, children, and certain age
3 of women. Do you remember that, telling them it was a planned evacuation?
4 A. I remember that I said that I remembered the date and that this
5 was an evacuation that was planned by the Chetniks. The cleansing of the
6 remaining areas in Eastern Bosnia, the enclaves in Srebrenica and in Zepa,
7 so this was the Chetnik plan to move these people out, to transfer them
8 forcibly out of these areas.
9 Q. Well, Witness, you never said that in your statement to the OTP
10 though, did you, back in March 2002?
11 A. In my statement, I said that it had been announced that there
12 would be an evacuation. The UNHCR and the Red Cross, that they would do
13 the evacuation, but this is not something that they did of their own free
14 will. I don't think that the plan was theirs, the plan for this
15 evacuation. It was a plan concocted by the Chetniks to do this forcible
16 evacuation, because they actually dictated the terms to everybody, to
17 UNPROFOR, to UNHCR in the field.
18 Q. Thank you, Witness. And I will agree that, in fact, you did tell
19 the OTP in 2002 that the evacuation, which had been planned, was planned
20 by UNPROFOR and the United Nations high command for refugees. Sir, would
21 you agree with me that you have no evidence, whatsoever, that this plans
22 was concocted by, as you say, the Chetniks and that that is just pure
24 A. Well, there is no speculation here. You know that all those
25 villages were burnt down. Well, there must be some reports by the Red
1 Cross, by the UNHCR and UNPROFOR about the situation in the enclaves and
2 the circumstances of the fall of the enclave. This is evidence; this is
3 proof. All the villages were burnt, and those people who were left behind
4 in the enclave after the fall, they were all killed. A lot of people were
5 killed. So it was a plan on the part of the Chetniks to kill and to
6 remove all the non-Serb population from the territory of Eastern Bosnia.
7 Q. Sir, what you have just talked about are -- strike that question.
8 Basically, sir, you still have no evidence other than certain events
9 happened and you believe again you said the Chetniks had this plan. But
10 you don't have any evidence personally, do you, sir? Other than what you
11 are speculating?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Move to the next question. He has already answered
13 that question. It's the same question phrased differently, but the answer
14 he has given to the previous question answers that question, too. So
15 let's move to the next question, Mr. Meek.
16 MR. MEEK: Your Honour, I have no further questions.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Meek. Who is next, Ms. Nikolic or
18 Mr. Bourgon?
19 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have no questions
20 for this witness because the events in Zepa do not concern our client.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Anybody from the Defence team of Mr. Borovcanin, Mr.
23 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, you testified today about the evacuation of
1 civilians from Srebrenica, and the event when your family was unable to
2 leave Srebrenica. Do you remember that?
3 A. I do.
4 Q. Could you please tell us when did this happen?
5 A. It was in 1993, approximately March or April, the spring. The
6 first convoy -- the first or the second convoy when the trucks with
7 humanitarian aid came in; that's when I was supposed to send my wife and
8 children to Tuzla. But because of the chaos that reined, it was very
9 difficult. People rushed in in panic. I wanted to just leave the --
10 people wanted to leave the chaos, and I was unable to put my wife and
11 children on that convoy so we went back home.
12 And there was a second attempt before that when it was announced
13 over the media, in the Serbian media in fact, that the corridor would be
14 opened towards Tuzla. I went -- I set off on foot with my wife and
15 children. There were some other families with us, down this road, and I
16 encountered some people who had already taken this so-called corridor, but
17 they had encountered an ambush on that route. Some people were killed,
18 some people fled. Among these people was my brother-in-law. In fact, he
19 was my wife's sister's husband. He -- he was there with his wife. His
20 wife actually came back the first day. He was there for five days with
21 his children. They told us that this was a dangerous route, so we went
22 back to Srebrenica. I think we stayed there until June 1993. And that's
24 Q. [No interpretation]
25 A. Well, the first attempt to leave the enclave was before the
1 Srebenica enclave was established, but I think --
2 MR. STOJANOVIC: [In English] Your Honour, may I repeat the
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Stojanovic, perhaps reason being that you are
5 overlapping, but your question did not show up in the transcript.
6 Mr. Thayer, is that the reason you were up?
7 MR. THAYER: Yes, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So perhaps you can repeat your question for the
9 purpose of the record; otherwise, we had heard it, but it's not on the
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. I would ask you to just make a small pause after I make my
13 question so that we can have everything interpreted.
14 So my question was whether this evacuation of your wife and
15 children that you were talking about, whether this happened after the
16 protected area in Srebrenica was already established?
17 A. Well, I'm not sure that it was already established, the enclave, I
18 mean. But at that time, I think that Morillon arrived, and the first
19 convoy that reached Srebrenica bringing food, that was the occasion. And
20 those were the trucks that I was supposed to put my family on and send
21 them on to Tuzla. So that was April, March, I'm not sure. I'm not sure
22 about the exact date, and that's all.
23 Q. Do you know that in this period, 1993, UN vehicles that brought in
24 humanitarian aid were used to take a total of 7.500 people from the
25 enclave of Srebrenica to Tuzla?
1 A. Yes. I know that women and children were taken there, quite a lot
2 of them, but I don't know the exact figure.
3 Q. Would you agree with me that this would be the approximate figure
4 for the women, children, and the elderly who went to Tuzla in this period?
5 A. Well, it may be so. It may be so. I don't know.
6 Q. And all of them were taken on UN vehicles in those convoys; in
7 other words, on those trucks and buses to Tuzla; is that so?
8 A. They were taken to Tuzla in trucks.
9 Q. Did the people who went to Tuzla want to go there?
10 A. Well, everybody wanted to leave peacefully and in safety because
11 it was not safe to live in Srebrenica, and it also swayed the people, made
12 them leave. And the people from the UNHCR allowed it because there was
13 this humanitarian disaster: No water, no power, no food, no
15 This huge mass of people in Srebrenica, about 40, 45.000 people.
16 So it's -- it's a great mass of people for a town that had less people
17 before the war. Even in normal conditions, it would be difficult to
18 handle this mass of people.
19 Q. Were there any Serbs in the population of Srebrenica before the
21 A. Yes. Naturally, until the war, there were Serbs living there;
22 Catholics, too; Muslims. In fact, I really don't have the figures, but of
23 course there were such people. My school mates, my friends, were Serbs.
24 In fact, in -- in that period, I didn't even look at people's names to
25 tell whether they were Serbs, Muslims, Catholics. I really couldn't tell
1 the difference between a Catholic and a Serb, for instance, because until
2 that time we were all the same. We -- in fact, that's how I looked at
4 Q. In 1993, when the evacuation of the people started, were there any
5 Serbs living in Srebrenica?
6 A. Well, I don't know. Please take my word for that.
7 Q. And let me conclude by asking you this: Did any -- did your
8 acquaintance and your school mate that you were telling us about, did he
9 tell you about -- did he tell you in 1995 that some men from Srebrenica
10 and Zepa actually managed to get to Macedonia and Serbia before these
12 A. Yes, I do know about that. In 1994, in early 1995, this is when
13 this happened. A lot of people from Srebrenica, forced by hunger and lack
14 of normal conditions and general uncertainty and lack of safety, they
15 tried to leave the enclave. A man by the name of Harbas was among them.
19 (redaction) Macedonia, but this was not true. He never
20 managed to get to Macedonia. He was captured and arrested and detained in
21 Serbia. I don't when he was released, but there were people who actually
22 managed to get to Macedonia.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Stojanovic. We have consulted
24 amongst us, and I think it's safer to redact line -- from line 20 and 21.
25 Just redact the name of the man, and then the next line, the four words in
1 the middle.
2 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes, we
3 did see that.
4 Q. And let me just ask you this: Do you know that the commander of
5 the 28th Division -- that the command of the 28th Division did everything
6 it could to prevent able-bodied men to leave the enclaves of Srebenica and
7 Zepa down this route, leading to Macedonia through Serbia?
8 A. I don't know about that, because not too many people left. There
9 was a case, in fact, my brother-in-law or son-in-law wanted to go to
10 Tuzla, but only one person survived out of this group. So they never
11 managed to reach the free territory. He had decided to go to Tuzla
12 though. I don't know about any efforts to prevent people from leaving.
13 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me just conclude
14 with one question, if we could move into private session.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: By all means. Let's move into private session,
17 [Private session]
14 [Open session]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau.
16 MR. JOSSE: It's been agreed, Your Honour, that I should go before
17 Madam Fauveau.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: By all means, Mr. Josse. Go ahead.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Josse:
20 Q. Witness, earlier today, you were asked by the prosecuting counsel
21 about whether you had any contact with those UNPROFOR soldiers; that's at
22 page 7, line 24. And you volunteered the fact that you actually bought
23 petrol from them in order to keep your motor saw going. Did you buy or
24 sell any other goods with UNPROFOR soldiers in Zepa?
25 A. Well, if you could call it buying; it was a trade. I have a very
1 nice orchard. My father's orchard in the village, and I made plum brandy,
2 which I exchanged for petrol with the UNPROFOR people. It was barter.
3 Plum brandy for petrol. I didn't sell anything. I mean, I used the
4 petrol for my own personal needs.
5 Q. And, presumably, some of the other inhabitants of Zepa did the
6 same; in other words, they entered into barters and exchanges with the
7 UNPROFOR troops; is that right?
8 A. I don't know about others. Probably they did, just like I did. I
9 heard from one person that you can exchange petrol for plum brandy, so I
10 would give two litres of plum brandy for five litres of petrol. That was
11 the exchange.
12 Q. Were you aware of any other commodity that the UNPROFOR troops
13 were selling or exchanging?
14 A. I don't know about the UNPROFOR, but there was a black market or
15 smuggling. I don't know how they -- these goods got there, but we would
16 be selling or -- sugar, coffee, tobacco, salt. I don't know how this got
17 in. I don't think that the UNPROFOR was involved in this. This was
18 outside on the lines with the Serbs. I don't know.
19 Q. When you say you would be "selling," these commodities, were you
20 selling to UNPROFOR or were they selling to you?
21 A. It wasn't selling. I brought plum brandy, gave it to them, and it
22 was in exchange for -- it was an exchange, not selling, for petrol, which
23 I used for my own needs at home to cut timber. I was making a small barn
24 for a cow and I was also making a fence, so I used that petrol to power
25 the saw to cut wood. That's it.
1 Q. I'll move on. The next matter I want to ask you about is this:
2 You described towards the end of your evidence in chief what your wife had
3 told you about her departure from the enclave. Did she also mention to
4 you that there was an UNPROFOR soldier on each and every bus that departed
5 the enclave?
6 A. She didn't mention that. She didn't say that there was one, no.
7 She didn't mention it. She didn't say it. That's right.
8 Q. So you weren't aware of that; is that correct?
9 A. She didn't say that there was an UNPROFOR soldier in the convoy.
10 In her convoy, there were no UNPROFOR soldiers. It was a Chetnik
11 evacuation escorted by the Chetniks.
12 Q. When the inhabitants of the enclave moved down from the hills and
13 mountains in order to leave, did they, as far as you are aware, destroy or
14 damage their own property in any way at all?
15 A. Definitely not. I know in my own case that it is hard to destroy
16 your own property, your own house, anything of yours; that doesn't make
17 sense. It was all destroyed later by the Chetnik army, plundered and
19 Q. I want to suggest to you that at least some of the destruction was
20 caused by departing Bosniaks, because they didn't want to leave their
21 property to be plundered by Serbs. What do you say to that?
22 A. I say that it's absolutely not true. My brother crossed over
23 after two months, and they had been hiding in the woods in the canyon
24 where I had gone to hide. That's where he was. None of them had burned
25 anything. The only chance they had was once it got dark is to go and dig
1 up some potatoes from where they were planted. That was it.
2 As for what was burned, they would see something burning or see
3 what had been burned when the night was over, and they passed by that way
4 the next day. They would see what had been set on fire. As for the
5 property, that was definitely destroyed by the Chetniks, including the
6 house of my parents.
7 Q. The next thing I want to ask you about is, in fact, your brothers,
8 and perhaps we should move into private session.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's do that. Private session, please.
10 [Private session]
11 Pages 6870-6879 redacted. Private session
1 [Open session]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
3 MR. JOSSE:
4 Q. So the last question I just asked you, Witness, you said you
5 didn't know anything about that agreement. When did you first learn of
6 that agreement, please?
7 A. Well, that's the first time that I heard about it, through your
8 question. I didn't know about any secret agreements, because we were
9 isolated. We didn't have any access to the media. We didn't get any
10 media reports that would make it possible for me to learn about that. It
11 may have been brought to the attention of the command in Zepa.
12 Q. When did you become aware that approximately 800 other men from
13 Zepa had crossed the Drina into Serbia?
14 A. Well, when I left the camp, we knew that there was a large number
15 on the basis of the information provided by UNPROFOR, UNHCR, and the Red
16 Cross. And when I came back, in fact, this is the information from the
17 UNHCR and the Red Cross. The report spoke about 950 people; 450 in the
18 camp where I was, and about 500 in the Sljivovica camp.
19 Q. And the fact of the matter is, Witness, that you, in common with
20 those 800 men, were, in fact, instructed via radio lines from Sarajevo to
21 make your way to Serbia. Isn't that right?
22 A. No. No, that's not right. That's ridiculous, as far as I am
23 concerned. What kind of instructions? Well, at that time all I wanted to
24 do was to commit suicide.
25 Q. And by the same token, were you not aware that on the 15th of July
1 Rasim Delic had issued an order to defend Zepa with all possible means?
2 Did you know about that?
3 A. No. No, I didn't know about that.
4 Q. In short, what I'm suggesting to you is that the movement across
5 the Drina was part of an organised military operation, a decision having
6 been made not to engage Serb forces in Zepa.
7 A. I don't know about that. I went to Zepa on my own initiative. In
8 fact, I wanted to leave the Zepa enclave and to move to Macedonia via
9 Serbia unnoticed. This idea never occurred to me until I met the school
10 mate of mine who told me that it was possible that we could pass through,
11 that he knew the terrain, that he worked in this company, Partizan Put, in
12 Serbia before the war, that he knew the roads very well, and that we
13 should get to Macedonia where we would be safe and where there would be
14 somebody to take us in. That was what prompted me to leave, to go to
15 Macedonia through Serbia.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. JOSSE: I have nothing else.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Josse.
19 Madam Fauveau.
20 Cross-examination by Ms. Fauveau:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, earlier on you said that you no longer had
22 water in 1993 in Srebrenica. Is it fair to say that you were not in
23 Srebrenica in 1995?
24 A. In 1995, no, I was not, but I was there from June 1992 until
25 approximately June 1993.
1 Q. Yes. But with regard to 1995, you cannot say whether there was
2 water-supply or not in Srebrenica, can you?
3 A. Well, there was water to the same degree that they had it when I
4 was in Srebrenica. There were some makeshift arrangements made for water
5 to be used from the old water-supply system that had been restored to
6 operation, and there were some small springs. They would be -- efforts
7 were made to improve them so that there would be more water from them.
8 But at any rate, there was in the enough water. People had to wait in
9 lines to get some; what I mean to say, is drinking water.
10 Q. Yes. But since you were not in Srebrenica in 1995, you could not
11 see that people were queuing for water?
12 A. I was there from 1992 and 1993, and I had to stand in those lines
13 and wait for my turn to get water. In 1993 and then -- actually, in early
14 1993, I felt the shortage of water myself.
15 Q. Sir, could we agree that with regard to 1995, you knew nothing
16 regarding water-supply in Srebrenica?
17 A. Well, people who came up to beg for food to the villages, they
18 said that nothing had changed, that the situation was in effect the same.
19 But the UNHCR and the Red Cross, those people said they created a new
20 village in Jadar to relieve the pressure in Srebrenica, moving some people
21 to Jadar.
22 I guess they had some water springs there. I think that the
23 situation was better there when the refugee camp was set up there. I
24 don't know how many people were there, but quite a few of them. And they
25 say -- they said that this village was really very nice, well appointed,
1 and all that. It was in Jadar.
2 Q. So you agree to say that the situation improved once you had left
4 A. When? I didn't understand your question. Well, it did improve
5 for me because I went to the Zepa enclave, to the village there. The
6 humanitarian aid was quite regular. I had my father there, and I had land
7 that I could work. I could raise crops. So in 1994 and 1995, I had my
8 own crops that I could use.
9 Q. And you would also receive humanitarian aid, besides the crops or
10 your produce, besides the food you could produce?
11 A. Well, oil, sugar, washing powder, that was mostly it; and clothes.
12 Q. Sir, you do indeed mention in your statements that you took care
13 of distributing humanitarian aid. Could you tell us how it was decided
14 who would benefit and what they would get from the humanitarian aid?
15 A. Well, it was distributed. The quantity of goods that was received
16 was then distributed to each of the inhabitants; and in this period when
17 the enclave was established, there were some civilian authorities
18 established there and they decided how the humanitarian aid should be
19 distributed. The quantity of goods that arrived would be divided equally
20 among the inhabitants, so everybody would receive the same -- the same
22 Q. Is it, therefore, fair to say that the people from Zepa and the
23 refugees who took refuge in Zepa would obtain the same quantity of
24 humanitarian aid?
25 A. Well, in the place where I was when I distributed the aid, that's
1 how it was.
2 Q. Is it fair to say that you would give part of the humanitarian aid
3 to the military unit stationed in your village?
4 A. Well, it was just distributed to the individuals in accordance
5 with the list of residents; nothing was set aside for this or that. The
6 goods were received and then they were distributed to people and you would
7 give it to such-and-such a person; first name, last name. Every person,
8 for instance, would get 3 or 400 grams of sugar. That's how I did it in
9 the place where I was.
10 Q. And when you say that each individual would receive that, that
11 would mean that the members of the military unit would also get the
12 humanitarian aid, as any other residents in the village?
13 A. Well, as civilians, but these were in effect civilians. They were
14 people who did not have any uniforms, nothing. That's how aid was
15 distributed. You did not make any distinction. I don't know that
16 anything was set aside for the military, at least not in my place.
17 When the humanitarian aid arrived, we would distribute it on the
18 basis of the number of people that were on the list -- or families, number
19 of families. You knew that if a family had five members, then the
20 humanitarian aid was distributed in accordance with this.
21 So, for instance, if you had one litre of oil, then you would get
22 one litre per person. Well, that was not the case, but I'm just giving
23 you an example. You would have an allocation, allotment of 200 grams per
24 person and that's how I handed it out.
25 Q. Sir, do you know whether the authorities in Zepa - so I mean Zepa,
1 not your village - whether the authorities would collect or would take
2 part of the humanitarian aid for the brigade that was stationed, that had
3 its headquarters in Zepa?
4 A. No, I don't know about that, because I was not there. I didn't
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I think we need a redaction. I
9 believe we're in open session, so just --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We are in open session.
11 MR. THAYER: -- page 63, line 6, please, and 7, sorry.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Page 63, line 6 and 7, please. Agreed. Thank you.
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Sir, previously, you speak about the Zepa Brigade and its
15 premises. Did I understand you correctly when you said that the premises
16 were close to the UNPROFOR premises in Zepa?
17 A. Well, in my opinion, it was the command. But without any weapons,
18 it was in effect a civilian type of structure. I -- it was like a
19 peacetime command.
20 Q. Sir, did you ever go to the premises of the Zepa Brigade
22 A. No, I never went there.
23 Q. Do you know where the premises were?
24 A. Well, down-town in the centre of Zepa.
25 Q. Could you tell me, if you know, what is the distance between the
1 brigade headquarters and the UNPROFOR premises?
2 A. Well, UNPROFOR, I think they were in the elementary school
3 building, and the brigade may have been in the outbuildings. I don't
4 really know the -- the layout of Zepa. I cannot remember it anymore, so I
5 couldn't give you a very specific answer.
6 Q. You were speaking about the auxiliary and the outbuildings. Are
7 these buildings that are part of the school?
8 A. I don't know what it belonged to, but there were some outbuildings
9 there where humanitarian aid was distributed and then there were some
10 other buildings further away. I don't know. I -- I'm now just telling
11 you this from my memory, but I'm not very, very accurate, I'm afraid.
12 Q. Fine. You spoke with a representative of the OTP last week, and
13 you told them that there was a black market in Zepa. Is that right?
14 A. Yes. Yes, there was the -- whatever you want to call it. We call
15 it the smuggling -- we call it smuggling.
16 Q. On the 30th of January, you stated that the goods sold on the
17 black market were sold by the Serbs. Did you mean to say that the Serbs
18 themselves would bring those goods to Zepa, would take them to Zepa?
19 A. I don't know the routes that those goods took to get to Zepa, but
20 there were some cases. I don't know about dates, but I know that there
21 were such activities going on, smuggling activities.
22 Q. Sir, you said to the OTP, and this is a statement, prior statement
23 I only have in English.
24 "[In English] There was a black market, but the goods were being
25 sold by Serbs."
1 [Interpretation] I want to know whether the Serbs did, indeed,
2 sell goods in Zepa.
3 A. Well, the goods that arrived in Zepa through the black market, the
4 smuggling activities, they came to Zepa from Serbs, but they didn't go
5 into Zepa to sell it. It was sold by those people who managed to get it
6 illegally from the Serbs by crossing the lines in some way. They managed
7 to get the goods across the lines.
8 Q. Today, you spoke about the evacuation of Zepa through which your
9 family were evacuated from Zepa. This is what I'm trying to understand:
10 When you abandoned, when you left your family behind in the village where
11 you left them behind before you took the road to Serbia, you did indeed
12 leave your family because you thought they would be safe there. Is that
14 A. Well, I think that 99 percent was actually the opposite of my
15 intention to put them somewhere safe, but it was simply not possible to do
16 anything else. I really took it hard, the fact that I had to leave them
17 behind, not knowing what would happen.
18 Q. Sir, you said that in 1993, you had an opportunity to let your
19 family go, to let them leave Srebrenica, and you did not take that
20 opportunity because you feared for your children. Is that right?
21 A. That's right. In 1993, I was afraid for my -- the lives of my
22 children, if they left.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau, how much more time do you require?
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Five to ten minutes, Mr. President.
25 We could have the break now, if you want to.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there -- is there going to be a cross-examination
2 by you, Mr. Haynes?
3 MR. HAYNES: There may be a couple of questions, but I can --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: We will have the break now. 25 minutes, please.
5 Thank you.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.29 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 1.00 p.m.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So, Madam Fauveau.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Witness, just before the break, I asked you a question regarding
11 the evacuation that took place in 1993 [sic], and you told me that you
12 were afraid that the life of your children would be threatened if they
13 left. Now, can we say that in 1993 [sic], when you left your family,
14 before you went to Serbia that you were absolutely certain that they would
15 be evacuated? Is that right?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
17 MR. THAYER: Just a date correction, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I don't think that he said to Serbia in 1993.
20 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Terribly sorry. I meant 1995.
21 Q. When you left your family in -- behind in 1995, before you left
22 for Serbia, were you absolutely certain and convinced that your family
23 would be evacuated?
24 A. To a certain extent I was convinced that they would be evacuated,
25 but I wasn't sure about their safety, 90 percent. The situation was such
1 that I was afraid for their lives, in view of the things that I heard were
2 happening in Srebrenica from people who survived Srebrenica. And in 1992
3 when there was the public call to the population to go to the stadium,
4 stories about what happened to them, the tortures and so on, I wasn't sure
5 that they would be safe.
6 I was sure about the evacuation because that was the Chetnik
7 desire, to capture the territory without the population, without anyone.
8 Q. Witness, you constantly talk about Chetniks. Can we say that when
9 you left to Serbia in 1995, that you would never have left your children
10 in the hand of those Chetniks, as you call them, right?
11 A. Perhaps, but the situation was such, it was taking a chance, if
12 you survived or not. I mean I wasn't sure that they would be safe. I
13 thought -- well, I believed that the evacuation would take place with the
14 assistance of the UNHCR and the Red Cross, but I wasn't sure, since
15 everything was under the control of the Chetniks; the UNHCR, the Red
16 Cross, the UNPROFOR, everything.
17 Q. Very well. But can we agree on the fact that at the time, and I'm
18 talking to you about the day you left your family behind, were you
19 absolutely certain that the international organisations such as the
20 UNPROFOR, the HCR, and other international organisations, that they would
21 be there and present?
22 A. Yes. I assumed that they would be there. Because the UNPROFOR
23 was in Zepa, I assumed that they would have the protection of the UNPROFOR
24 and the international organisations that were helping the population.
25 Q. And is it true to say that you left for Serbia before the
1 beginning of the evacuation?
2 A. No. It's not true, because I had decided to take the trip to
3 Macedonia through Serbia later.
4 Q. Sir, is it true to say that when the evacuation started you were
5 not present?
6 A. Absolutely. I did not dare to be there.
7 Q. So you were not able to see how the evacuation took place?
8 A. Correct. I didn't dare, because I might have been captured or
9 arrested immediately.
10 Q. Witness, did you know that some men, able-bodied men, were
11 evacuated through that same convoy?
12 A. My brother was in the first convoy. The first convoy was the one
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we need to redact line 15, please. Please
15 be careful, Witness. This is for your own protection. Avoid mentioning
16 names of relatives and places which are related to you, intimately related
17 to you, while we are in open session. We are going to redact what you
18 said anyway.
19 Yes, Madam Fauveau.
20 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Witness, during your testimony, you said that your wife told you
22 that she had to go on foot from Tisce to the territory that was under the
23 control of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but do you know that that portion of
24 the road that belonged, in fact, to no one, that this was a land that
25 wasn't controlled or that was controlled by no one, neither by the Serbs
1 and neither by the Muslims? It was a sort of a no-man's land.
2 A. My wife said that there were Chetniks along the road up until the
3 tunnel. There is a place where there is a tunnel. The Chetniks -- the
4 Chetnik army was there up until the tunnel. From the place where they
5 were disembarked from the buses until the free territory, so up until the
6 Tisce tunnel, the Chetnik army was present. They were asking some people
7 for money, and that's what she said.
8 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I have no further questions. Thank
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Fauveau.
11 Mr. Haynes.
12 MR. HAYNES: Upon reflection, we have no cross-examination.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Haynes.
14 Is there re-examination?
15 MR. THAYER: No, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: So there are no further questions for you, sir,
17 which means your testimony ends here. You will be assisted by our staff.
18 I wish to thank you for having come over to give evidence and also wish
19 you a safe journey back home.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, and I wish you a very
21 successful completion of your job.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
23 [The witness withdrew]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: So, Mr. Thayer.
25 MR. THAYER: Just three items, Your Honour, reflected on the
1 tender sheet, which I believe has been distributed to all parties. The
2 first one being under seal, and the next two being different versions of
3 the map shown to the witness, the second of which was marked by him today.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. One question. Let's go to private session
5 for a short while.
6 [Private session]
11 Page 6893 redacted. Private session
13 [Open session]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: So, for the record, while we were in private session
15 discussing tendering of documents exhibits, on the Prosecution side
16 P02401, P02419, and PIC00061 are being admitted. The first one of these
17 will be the pseudonym sheet. It will be kept under seal, and the Gvero
18 Defence team have tendered 6D24, 6D25, 6D26, and 6D27. They are all being
19 marked for identification, pending translation thereof, upon which they
20 will be admitted fully into evidence. 6D25 will remain under seal. Okay.
21 Do you have the next witness ready?
22 Yes, Madam Fauveau.
23 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Yes. Just before the witness comes
24 in, I'd like to tell the Chamber that I'm very worried by the testimony of
25 the witness, and I want to oppose to the two documents that are supposed
1 to be shown to the Court through this witness. These are P2428 and P2429.
2 There are several documents to be found in these two sets. They were not
3 on the 65 ter list, on the one hand; and on the other hand, these are
4 documents that are obviously from 1993 and 1994, that is outside the time
5 period for the indictment.
6 I am also worried because upon reading the witness's statements as
7 well as the information provided lately by the Prosecution, it appears
8 that most of this testimony will be devoted to the disappearance of the
9 spouse of this witness, and there is no mention in the indictment of any
10 disappearance or any murder. So this is clearly an event that is outside
11 the indictment. Of course, this is a very relevant witness for this case
12 because she lived in Zepa in 1995, but I'd like the part of her testimony
13 devoted to the fate of her husband to be excluded from the testimony; as
14 well as the two exhibits the Prosecution wanted to submit through this
15 witness. Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
17 Ms. Soljan. Let's take them one by one. Let's deal first with
18 the documents to which Madam Fauveau referred; namely, P2428 and P2429.
19 What do you have to say about those?
20 MS. SOLJAN: Yes, Your Honour. I respectfully disagree with what
21 the learned counsel says. Indeed, the documents P02428 and 2429 go
22 directly to the issue of intent in this case. As we can see even in the
23 indictment, as the Prosecution has stated, it's starting from paragraph
24 19, we discuss the six directives, rather, the six strategic objectives
25 that were actually printed out and published in 1992, which very clearly
1 demonstrate the intent to eliminate Drina as a border between Serbia and
2 put Serbia together -- or the Serb nation, Serb people together.
3 And, therefore, it goes directly to the events that therefore
4 occur in both Zepa and Srebrenica in 1995. The correspondent is not only
5 1993, 1994. There is also correspondence that take place in March of
6 1995. Again, it goes and very clearly demonstrates, as we intend to show,
7 that this intent that was already enunciated in 1992, in the six strategic
8 objectives, that they continued in directive 7 of in 1995, continues and
9 ends up in the result that we got in the fall of Srebrenica and the fall
10 of Zepa.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 MS. SOLJAN: Your Honours, if I can also further clarify. With
13 respect to the fact that these numbers did not have -- did not have 65 ter
14 or were not on the 65 ter list, we only received these documents from our
15 witness at the end of July of last year. We promptly disclosed them to
16 the Defence a week later, so they have had these documents. This is
17 nothing that's new to the Defence. That's the only reason they did not
18 make it in the 65 ter list. These are documents that represent
19 correspondence between the husband of our witness, Avdo Palic, and various
20 VRS officers, including General Palic, Kusic, and others, directly going
21 to the -- the attempt by the VRS to get the Muslim population out of Zepa.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
23 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. I would just like to,
24 underscore the fact that we have new documents. We now are being informed
25 that these documents have been received by the Prosecution last summer.
1 Now we'd like to have a ruling from the Trial Chamber whether they can
2 just pick documents like this, without even seeking applying for them to
3 be included on their list. The fact that they gave us those documents
4 this summer is not a reason for us to consider these documents as
5 documents that will be used with witnesses.
6 As a minimum, Mr. President, the Prosecution should make a formal
7 application to add these documents to its list. The Trial Chamber has
8 said what we considered to be a very low threshold standard for any
9 documents to be admitted on the list. We respectfully disagree with that
10 standard that has been sought. We asked for certification of that
11 decision; this has been denied to us. We are operating with this very
12 this low threshold standard. We are now going below again, where we are
13 going to take documents from the Prosecution for which they did not even
14 seek application. Thank you, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Soljan, on this do you wish --
16 Mr. Ostojic. Is it on the same score, same ground or not; or are
17 you going to mention something different?
18 MR. OSTOJIC: I'm going to mention something else, but it is
19 unrelated on this point, Your Honour. I want to join the motion, the oral
20 motion. But I would like to point to that, Mr. President, on January 25th
21 of this year, specifically on page 49, the Court said something. I want
22 to respectful refresh your recollection, and you said, "There are certain
23 rules that govern our procedure meant to protect the rights of our accused
24 that we would always protect. We feel, quite candidly, that these rules
25 are not only being bent at times, which we understand under certain
1 circumstances that it is coming close to being broken and that the
2 protection of the accused is not being seen, specifically with some of
3 these documents." And this may be a good time to highlight that with this
4 one, I strongly believe that they are being broken, these rules. Thank
5 you, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Fauveau.
7 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I really cannot say
8 when the Prosecutor received the documents. The fact of the matter is
9 that the witness's statements date back to April 1999; and during that
10 interview with the OTP, the witness did mention the documents, and I even
11 believe she brought copies of the documents with her. So I think she did
12 speak about those documents; in other words, the Prosecution has been
13 aware of the documents since April of 1999.
14 With regard to the document dated March 1995, no objection
15 whatsoever. However, all the documents dated back to 1993, 1994, I object
16 to them. And I don't want to use too strong terms, but I think it is
17 rather unbelievable that the Prosecutor should tell us now that the
18 indictment covers the period going back to 1992. I thought we believed it
19 was March 1995; and when we asked for Oric exhibit to be disclosed to us,
20 it was the Prosecutor who was against it, very firmly so, saying that
21 there was no connection in time between the two cases. So here I am
22 rather amazed to hear from the Prosecutor that the indictment should start
23 in 1992.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I notice Mr. McCloskey.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. It's -- I would invite
1 counsel to read the indictment. Clearly, we talk about, as Ms. Soljan
2 said, the plan of the Serbs to ethnically divide the state and we cite the
3 key documents, and that's been a part of the background of the
4 indictment. It's the same plan that goes into effect on March when we
5 speak of the 7.1, the famous Karadzic directive. We have chosen to start
6 this case formally with that directive. But clearly as this Court knows,
7 and as this Tribunal knows, this plan and this system to remove the
8 non-Serbs from Bosnia began before that; and began as we've laid out in
9 the background documents, and we have talked about.
10 We are not getting in depth in that. We don't want to go in
11 there. If we started this case in 1992, we would still be in 1992. It is
12 important for the Court to see that. The two documents we are talking
13 about here are letters. There is a letter in 1995 from commander Palic to
14 Kusic, the commander of the Rogatica Brigade, and the response. It is
15 unclear whether there are actual responses to each -- we probably don't
16 have all the correspondence, but they are very similar.
17 And there are very similar letters in 1993 on a similar subject
18 and a with similar kind of tone which you will recognise when you read the
19 letter. It talks about the Serbian state and the salvation of your
20 people, and this kind of thing. Trying to take 1993 out of 1995 in the
21 Bosnian war is absurd. We don't want to get into all the details and go
22 through everything.
23 But when a woman who has had her husband murdered, brings these
24 letters to us, we see the originals. We make a last-minute decision that
25 these things are important. In a perfect world, we would have recognized
1 them earlier and we would have applied to get them on a 65 ter list, but
2 we didn't because we have been in a mad rush to get witnesses here. We
3 got here, we saw this material, and so she will certainly talk about it.
4 And I am sure that once she starts talking about it, you would want the
5 letters themselves. So that's how that has come up.
6 But the absolute -- the relevance of 1993 and the state of mind as
7 it affects 1995, I mean is absolutely crucial. I mean nobody in 1995, as
8 you know, when they decided whether or not to leave their homes, is
9 thinking about on what happened in 1995. They're thinking about the war
10 and the fear and everything else that drove them out. So we don't want to
11 get into detail in all these other years, but some -- some big points, I
12 think you will want to hear from these two letters being -- or this one
13 letter from 1993, it's only one letter in 1993.
14 All the stuff about the investigation or the -- the -- into the
15 murder of her husband is something that we identified to them out of an
16 abundance of caution, but we are not asking her to get into nor are we
17 going to deal with any of those documents.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. McCloskey. Having addressed two of
19 the issues raised, one is the one raised by Madam Fauveau; namely, that
20 even going back to one of the earliest witness statements, reference was
21 made to these documents, and still it seems that they only came, according
22 to your statement, in the possession of the OTP in August of this year.
23 So question number one arises, why not before? And the second
24 thing is still, if they were available and you attach at least since
25 August of this year and you attach so much importance to them, as related
1 to this witness or maybe even unrelated to witness, why did you choose the
2 procedure of making your intention known to make use of them now without a
3 specific request to have them introduced in the 65 ter list?
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, the -- the documents I would -- I
5 believe Madam Fauveau, they're mentioned a long time ago. And we've had
6 them since -- since August. In a perfect world, I would recognize all my
7 exhibits and I would get them on a 65 ter list. The fact is until we
8 focused on what she brought with her and what she talked about before, we
9 hadn't made that decision. I have not been able to excruciatingly look in
10 every detail of every witness to determine what might or what might not be
11 a potential exhibit.
12 We have done a pretty darned good job, but we have failed in that
13 respect. It wasn't until Ms. Soljan met with the witness and outlined the
14 testimony that these documents obviously appeared relevant. These
15 documents have been known to the Defence. The witness has been on the
16 Defence list forever, so there is no surprise going on here.
17 The documents, they are not the most critical documents in the
18 world. They give you an idea of what's in the head of one of the brigade
19 commanders, the Rogatica commander, and what Avdo Palic had to deal with
20 as the commander of the Zepa Brigade. They are -- and, in fact, in that
21 regard I think you will be interested in, do they go directly to the key
22 issues of the case. You know, we can live without these documents, but
23 they are the kind of documents that I think would be helpful to the Court.
24 I wish I could have found them and identified them earlier, but we
25 didn't. If that's -- if that's the case, we certainly can live by your
1 decision. But that's the -- that's the situation we find her in. There
2 is no surprise whatsoever here. These have been around for a long time.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. But given -- one moment, Madam Fauveau.
4 Given -- or just for argument's sake that whatever you are submitting is
5 tenable, still why should we accept a procedure whereby you come here to
6 court and make it known that you plan to use these two documents with this
7 witness and not seek permission to include them in the 65 ter list in the
8 first place?
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: That should have been done, and I don't think you
10 should accept that procedure. And I -- I stand at fault for that, Your
11 Honour. I did not -- did not realise that was happening.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Madam Fauveau.
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I am more and more
14 worried, because frankly here I see no relevance whatsoever as to know
15 what was in the head of one of the commanders of one of the Rogatica
16 units, which has no link at all with one of the accused. There is no
17 subordination relationship with any of the accused. Now, how can the
18 intent of somebody who is not on trial here, how can that be of any
19 relevance of this case?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: That I understand was in relation to the Zepa group
22 Yes, Mr. Josse.
23 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, since this -- these submission have
24 expanded slightly, could I add this observation, which is as follows:
25 With respect, without teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, we would
1 contend this Trial Chamber needs to try and keep this case within as
2 narrow confines as possible. And if this sort of evidence is admitted, it
3 would, to some extent, at least allow the Defence, when our turn comes, to
4 introduce evidence to counter for example what was in the witness's head
5 and to try and counter-explain it.
6 If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander, excuse me,
7 twice using very colloquial expressions. Perhaps it is the best way I can
8 express my point. We would urge the Court to keep the case within as
9 narrow confines as possible, because otherwise the Defence will be allowed
10 surely to answer things which run counter to the defendants' interests.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: So, while Madam Usher will prepare the witness to
14 come in for the few minutes that are left, our position is as follows: I
15 think we have made it clear that barring some exceptional circumstances
16 when it happens that a witness will just take out of his or her pocket a
17 document, much to everybody's surprise, the procedure that we have
18 established; namely, that you should seek permission to have the documents
19 included in the 65 ter list before they are made use of, they are made use
20 during testimony or put to a witness, should be followed.
21 So we won't start with the testimony of this witness without
22 having first decided on this matter, and you are asked to file a proper
23 motion today. And, tomorrow, we will give the opportunities to parties to
24 make further submissions if it is the case, and then we will decide, we
25 will hand down our decision and proceed accordingly.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam, please make yourself comfortable.
3 By the way, this witness has no protective measures, no? No. No
4 protective measures.
5 Madam, good afternoon to you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, but there is a
8 procedural issue that has to be determined before you start giving
9 evidence. I wanted to apologise to you. We will start with your evidence
10 tomorrow morning, after we have decided on this matter.
11 In the meantime, perhaps you can be sworn in. Please stand up.
12 That is the text of a solemn declaration that you are required to make
13 before you start giving evidence. Could you read it out aloud, please,
14 and that will be your undertaking with this Tribunal that you will testify
15 the truth.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
18 WITNESS: ESMA PALIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Yes, Madam, please make yourself comfortable.
21 You will return again tomorrow morning, as I said, Ms. Palic, and we will
22 take it up from there. Thank you. In the meantime, even though you
23 haven't really started testifying as such, you are requested not to
24 discuss with anyone or let anyone discuss with you the subject matter of
25 your testimony. She has been sworn in.
1 Is that clear?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: We thank you, and we will see you again tomorrow
4 morning at 9.00. Thank you.
5 So, I think we have to leave it at that. I wouldn't like to keep
6 the next Trial Chamber waiting unduly. We stand adjourned until tomorrow
7 morning at 9.00. Thank you.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of
10 February, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.