1 Monday, 30 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.22 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. President. Case
8 number IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 I'd like to greet everyone present, Prosecution, counsel, and the
11 accused. We'll be continuing with our work. We will be calling a witness
12 into the courtroom, but first I have two oral decisions that I would like
13 to render and also a request the Chamber would like to make.
14 As far as the oral decisions are concerned, the decision regarding
15 the admission into evidence of documents concerning witness Senada Basic.
16 The Chamber shall hereby state its position with regard to the
17 admissibility of documents that relate to witness Senada Basic who was
18 heard on the 25th of October, 2006. The Chamber shall admit into evidence
19 the following documents presented by the Prosecution, since they have a
20 certain probative and certain relevance: P 09711, P 07350. In addition,
21 the Chamber notes that the Defence hasn't requested any documents to be
22 admitted into evidence.
23 Second decision concerns admission into evidence of documents
24 relating to Witness BW. The Chamber will hereby render a decision with
25 regard to the admission into evidence of documents relating to the witness
1 BW who was heard on the 19th October 2006. The Chamber will admit into
2 evidence the following documents presented by the Prosecution as they have
3 certain probative value and certain relevance: IC 00058 under seal, IC
4 00059 under seal, IC 00060 under seal, P 01326, P 09152, P 09151, P 09153,
5 P 09154, P 09155, P 09163.
6 The Chamber will also admit the following documents presented by
7 the Defence given that they have certain probative value and certain
8 relevance: 3D 00472 under seal, P 01472 under seal, 3D 00454.
9 And now I will slowly read out the following decision, and I would
10 like the Prosecution to listen carefully, as well as the Defence, but the
11 Prosecution is particularly concerned by this: The title of the decision
12 is invitation of the parties to forward to the Chamber -- to submit to the
13 Chamber their arguments on the admission of documents into evidence.
14 The Chamber would like to draw the parties' attention to an
15 important procedural issue that concerns admission -- the admission of
16 documents into evidence. The Chamber would first of all like to point out
17 that pursuant to the decision on admission into evidence of documents
18 rendered on the 13th of July, 2006, a party that wishes to tender a
19 document into evidence should do so in principle through a witness who is
20 in a position to testify with regard to document's reliability, relevance,
21 and probative value. The document that is being tendered into evidence
22 must be shown to a witness called into the courtroom. According to this
23 same decision, the Chamber allows for an exception to this principle. The
24 Prosecution may file a written motion with the Chamber requesting that
25 documents that haven't been shown to a witness be admitted into evidence
1 provided that a certain number of strict conditions have been met. These
2 conditions are governed by guideline number 6 of this decision. One of
3 these conditions is the condition according to which these written motions
4 must be filed within an eight-day time limit or eight days subsequent to
5 the appearance of a witness who could have testified with regard to the
6 documents the Prosecution would -- is tendering into evidence. As a
7 result, the admission into evidence of a document via written submission
8 means that the Chamber must have heard a witness who testified with regard
9 to the circumstances that the document in question relates to.
10 Pursuant -- as part of the application of the 13th of July
11 decision, the Chamber would like to point out a number issues. First of
12 all, among the documents mentioned in the 65 ter list provided by the
13 Prosecution, there are also documents that are important and that could
14 clarify certain matters for the Chamber with regard to the chain of
15 command and with regard to the military structure of the HVO. The Chamber
16 also notes that on a number of occasions the Prosecution attempted to
17 present such documents through so-called crime base witnesses, witnesses
18 who were not the most appropriate ones to testify with regard to these
20 In addition, the Chamber notes that the Prosecution has never
21 filed any written motions pursuant to guideline number 6. As a result,
22 the Chamber would like to know whether in the interest of justice and
23 truth it might not be appropriate to modify somewhat the conditions
24 mentioned in guideline number 6. This could be done by allowing the
25 Prosecution to file, within certain limits, written motions requesting the
1 documents that do not relate to the testimony of witnesses be admitted.
2 The Chamber would like to point out that it is not its intention
3 to substantially depart from the 13th of July, 2006, decision. The
4 Chamber still subscribes to the basic principle governing the admission
5 into evidence through witnesses. This principle was mentioned in the
6 decision of the 13th of July.
7 The Chamber nevertheless would like to amend the current procedure
8 in order to sure that documents which are necessary for the case are
9 tendered and admitted into evidence. The Chamber therefore invites the
10 parties to submit their submissions, either written or oral submissions,
11 by the 6th of November, 2006, at the latest.
12 The Chamber would like to insist on the fact that the parties have
13 already been heard with regard to the applicable law relating to the
14 admissibility of documents into evidence, and this is not an issue that
15 will be debated again. The Chamber would only like to hear the position
16 of both parties with regard to the form and conditions that have to be met
17 by a written motion requesting that certain documents that were not
18 presented in the proceedings be admitted into evidence.
19 And finally, the Chamber draws the attention -- draws the
20 attention of the Prosecution to the fact that the Prosecution must select
21 documents that are strictly necessary to determine matters in dispute. As
22 a result, it is not possible to tender into evidence all documents
23 referred to in the 65 ter list.
24 So this is the invitation the Chamber is making to the parties.
25 We would like to hear what your positions are by the 6th of November,
1 2006. Very briefly, the purpose of this decision is as follows: There
2 are certain documents, for the moment the documents are Prosecution
3 documents but the time will come when the Defence will be in an identical
4 situation. There are documents that can be not be shown to a witness
5 because the witness is not here or cannot come, et cetera, et cetera, but
6 it's in the interest of justice for these documents to be admitted. As a
7 result, a party can submit or could submit a written motion requesting
8 that these documents be admitted into evidence in spite of the fact that
9 this is not being done through a witness. To be quite clear, since if one
10 wants to be clear it's best to put things clearly, this now concerns HVO
11 documents or documents that concern the HVO.
12 We've used up about a quarter of our time for these proceedings so
13 far, but not single member of the HVO military has appeared here. As a
14 result, the Prosecution when they want to present documents from the HVO
15 presented documents to witnesses who were not in a position to recognise
16 these documents. The situation might be similar for the Defence. If the
17 Defence wants to have ABiH documents presented but they haven't got any
18 witnesses from the ABiH at their disposal, they will be in a similar
19 situation. So we have a perfect balance between the parties, and this
20 would be in the interest of justice.
21 So please give some thought to the matter by the 6th of November
22 at the latest. Inform us of your positions.
23 Naturally, you should read the transcript very carefully again
24 since everything has been stated there.
25 Mr. Prlic.
1 THE ACCUSED PRLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is an issue
2 that has been heard in open session and in private sessions, too,
3 recently, and it could have certain consequences, negative consequences.
4 It concerns the general security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We
5 referred to this when we were trying to decide whether certain witnesses
6 should be granted protective measures.
7 I believe that the decisions have been quite cavalier sometimes.
8 I believe that the general security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is
9 not such that one should feel unsafe. In the last ten years much progress
10 has been made in this area. There are courts in -- that have been
11 integrated between Herceg-Bosna and Bosnia-Herzegovina. There are state
12 institutions. Staff has been trained in accordance with the highest
13 criteria and in accordance with UN bodies. The legal system has also been
14 amended under the auspices of the UN and under the IPTF.
15 Today in Bosnia-Herzegovina there are security and intelligence
16 agencies that have been functioning for a while, and police bodies,
17 throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ministry of Defence for Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina has been established. There is no reason to say that there
19 are no institutions that can guarantee security.
20 In 2001, I backed a study for the World Bank on obstacles to
21 investment in Bosnia-Herzegovina. At the time the security situation
22 wasn't mentioned as an obstacle for foreign investment.
23 I believe that we have good reason to believe that the security
24 situation is satisfactory. I don't want to say that there are no
25 problems, that there have been no terrorist acts, but property has been
1 returned to everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to all those who fled.
2 It's possible to speak freely in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 According to journalists, investigations as far as the freedom of
4 press is concerned, it's in the 18th position in the world. So Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina isn't the Wild West. And if we're discussing these matters
6 here, perhaps the media isn't covering this to a great extent, but
7 somebody is taking note and those who wonder whether to invest in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina will be informed of these notes. If there is no
9 foreign investment in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it can't survive economically.
10 This is why I think that the issue of general security should be set aside
11 and one shouldn't send negative messages from here to those who might want
12 to help Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 Thank you very much.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for your comments on
15 security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Perhaps the Prosecution
16 will respond a little later, because I believe, Mr. Scott, that you would
17 like to request protective measures for a witness.
18 Yes, Ms. Gillett.
19 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, I will be taking the witness today, and
20 indeed there is an application for protective measures. Would Your Honour
21 like me to address that application now?
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll move into private session,
23 and we'll lower the blinds so that we can call the witness into the
25 [Closed session]
11 Pages 9148-9152 redacted. Closed session.
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in open session,
10 Mr. President.
11 WITNESS: MUAMER TRKIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] For the needs of the proceeding
14 will you give me your first and last name and date of birth.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Muamer Trkic. I was born
16 on the 22nd of August, 1977, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You told me a moment ago, but
18 for the record what is your current occupation?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I work with metal. I am a welder by
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you testified before in an
22 international or national court of justice about the facts that occurred
23 that your country at the time when you were 16 or is this, for you, the
24 first time in a court of law?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is the first time for me to
1 testify in court. I have never done it before.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My second question: You were
3 heard in your country by an investigator of the Office of the Prosecutor.
4 Were you also interrogated by an investigator of your own country within
5 the framework of any proceedings conducted in your country?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, no. I think not.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Will you please read
8 the text that is going to be given to you by Madam Usher.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Please be seated. I
12 am going to give you some information, though I assume that the Prosecutor
13 has already told you about this during your meeting yesterday or this
15 You will be asked to answer questions that will be put to you by
16 Madam Gillett, who is going to have questions for you, and you will have
17 to answer those questions, and you will see a screen in front of you with
18 the text in English. So there is no point in looking at the screen if you
19 don't understand English. On the other hand, if you do, you can refer to
20 the screen.
21 Once this has been completed, the Prosecution has envisaged an
22 hour and a half, they may reduce this time. The Defence counsel, who are
23 numerous, but there's only one for each accused, will be asking you
24 questions as part of the cross-examination to -- this is to check the
25 reliability of what you have said or perhaps to ask you some questions
1 that are of particular interest to them in view of the facts alleged in
2 the indictment.
3 We are usually four Judges, but in application of 15 bis, we are
4 three today. The three Judges in front of you may at any point in time
5 ask you questions. As a rule, if the parties ask you the questions that
6 we had in mind, we don't need to ask you anything in addition to that, but
7 we might intervene to specify a particular point.
8 Should you have any kind of difficulty, please let us know. If
9 everything passes well, your testimony will be completed today, which
10 means you will be able to return home tomorrow at the latest.
11 We have some time left up until the break, so, Madam Gillett, I
12 give you the floor.
13 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Examination by Ms. Gillett:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. Witness, you understand what His Honour
16 the Judge said. You will be testifying in open, public session. You
17 understand that?
18 A. Yes, it's clear to me.
19 Q. Witness, if you could start off by answering these questions that
20 I'll put to you. Where were you born?
21 A. I was born in the municipality of Gornji Vakuf, the village of
23 Q. And where have you lived for most of your life?
24 A. I spent most of my life in Zdrimci.
25 Q. Now, just to give the Court an idea of where this village of
1 Zdrimci is, how far away is Zdrimci from the town of Gornji Vakuf?
2 A. Three kilometres between the place where I live, but up to the end
3 of the village it's four kilometres.
4 Q. And what's the name of the nearest village to Zdrimci?
5 A. The name of the village is Vrse. That is the closest village.
6 Q. And how far away -- how far away is the village of Vrse from the
7 village of Zdrimci?
8 A. As far as I know, a kilometre, maybe a kilometre and a half on the
10 Q. Now, to the best of your knowledge is your village, the village of
11 Zdrimci, the only village you know by that name in the municipality of
12 Gornji Vakuf?
13 A. As far as I know, it's the only village known by that name. I
14 don't know of any other.
15 Q. Before the war can you describe the ethnic composition of the
16 village of Zdrimci?
17 A. I'm afraid I don't quite understand your question. The
18 word "ethnic," could you explain that for me?
19 Q. Dealing with the period before 1993, what groups of people lived
20 in your village?
21 A. I really don't understand what you mean by "groups."
22 MR. KARNAVAS: What nations or nationalities. "Nations" would be
23 the most appropriate terminology.
24 MS. GILLETT: Thank you. I'm grateful for that.
25 Q. Witness, do you understand better if we use the terminology
1 of "nationality"? What nationalities were living in your village?
2 A. Muslims lived in the area I lived in, but the majority were
3 Croats. And when the war started, that is January, when the conflict
4 break out, then the Croats came, that is the HVO.
5 Q. Now, before we get into any further detail about what happened
6 during the war, are you able to say how many -- you say the Croats were in
7 the majority in your village. Are you able to say how many more Croats
8 than Muslims there were in the village?
9 A. I think there were two and a half times more Croats than Muslims
10 in Zdrimci.
11 Q. And did the Muslims and the Croats all live in the same part of
12 the village, or were they in different parts of the village?
13 A. At the entrance to the village are only Croats. To the left there
14 are a few Muslim houses but also some Croats, and then about a hundred
15 metres later Muslims again, and after that it's all Croat.
16 Q. Were these different areas that you've just described, did they
17 all fall under the name of the village of Zdrimci, or were there different
18 names given to these areas?
19 A. All of this is the village of Zdrimci, but there are various names
20 given to each part. Each part of the village has its name.
21 Q. And can you help us with what those names were?
22 A. As you enter the village there's a settlement inhabited by Croats,
23 and it is known as Perici. To the left there's a location called Polici
24 in which there may be 10 Muslim houses but there are also Croat houses.
25 And then straight on from Perici you come to Trkici. That is where I
1 live. Those are Muslims. And then when you pass Trkici, you have an area
2 inhabited by Croats mostly bearing the surname of Sekerija.
3 Q. Now, before the war what was the relationship like between the
4 Muslims and Croats living in your village?
5 A. As far as I know, I had cases when relations were super. They
6 couldn't be better. That is how those relations were.
7 Q. And did this relationship change at some point?
8 A. Yes. Several days before, maybe four or five days before, I went
9 to buy something in a shop in Perici. I was going to buy a drink, some
10 drinks, but they refused. They said there were no drinks for balijas.
11 Q. When you say several days before, when was this? What period of
12 time are we talking? The year and the month and the exact date if you can
14 A. I said this was before the 18th of January. Shall we say four or
15 five days before the shooting started.
16 Q. Now, you mention shooting started. On what date was this?
17 A. The 18th of January, at 6.00 in the morning.
18 Q. And where were you when the shooting started on the 18th of
20 A. I was in Munib Trkic's house. They had a basement. That is where
21 the women were. And above the basement there was a business area, and
22 that is where I was.
23 Q. And why were you in Munib Trkic's house?
24 A. I and my father and another five or six men from the neighbourhood
25 were there.
1 Q. Was there any reason that you were in Munib Trkic's house?
2 A. The reason was that soldiers could be seen coming from outside.
3 There are hills outside the village, and we could notice soldiers. So I
4 suppose we expected something to happen, and that is why we went there.
5 Q. Now, when you mention these soldiers, do you recall what these
6 soldiers were wearing?
7 A. Yes, I do. They were wearing camouflage uniform.
8 Q. Did you notice any badges or any insignia on the camouflage
10 A. Not straight away because there was a certain distance, but later
11 on when I was captured I did notice.
12 Q. Before we get to your capture, when you're describing what
13 happened on the 18th of January you describe shooting at 6.00 in the
14 morning. Which direction was the shooting coming from?
15 A. There's a small hill called Baba. I think it is to the south-west
16 of the village, and that is from where the shooting mostly came.
17 Q. Were you able to tell what kind of shots were being fired, what
18 was being used to fire the shots?
19 A. I didn't know what kind of weapons they were, as I was a minor,
20 but I heard from the people who were with me that these were
21 120-millimetre mortars and anti-aircraft guns.
22 Q. Did you see what was being shot at?
23 A. I saw that they were falling mostly on the village, on the houses.
24 That is where the shells mostly fell.
25 Q. And did you see any damage as a result of this?
1 A. Yes. The shells were falling and they hit houses, and several
2 houses fell down. They mostly fell on the houses.
3 Q. How long did this shooting last?
4 A. As far as I can remember, about two hours, roughly.
5 Q. And where were you throughout this period?
6 A. I was there in Munib Trkic's house.
7 Q. And where about in Munib Trkic's house were you?
8 A. I was above the basement, the floor above the basement, which was
9 used for business premises.
10 Q. And do you remember how many people were with you in -- on the
11 floor above the basement?
12 A. There were about six to eight men as far as I know.
13 Q. Do you know whether there were any shots fired back in response to
14 this shooting?
15 A. In response to the shooting there was no response because there
16 were only a couple of rifles. And while the shooting lasted, the people
17 who had houses close to Croat houses at a distance of some 50 metres, they
18 did respond, because during the shooting automatic rifles were fired from
19 Croat houses and set fire to barns. So maybe some ten bullets were fired
20 to allow them to release the cattle from the barns.
21 Q. And was that successful? Were the cattle released from the
23 A. Yes. There were those three barns on fire there, and they let all
24 the livestock out of them.
25 Q. Now, you mentioned that the shooting lasted for about two hours.
1 What happened next?
2 A. Well, after the shooting you could hear a megaphone. They spoke
3 through a megaphone. They said everyone should go out. Everyone should
4 the basement and should surrender.
5 Q. And did you or anyone else in the house do as they were asking?
6 Did you surrender?
7 A. No, we didn't leave immediately. We were afraid. We thought they
8 might start shooting again, so we didn't leave immediately. And then they
9 told us to leave. They said this through the megaphone again. They said
10 we should surrender and said that they would start shooting again if we
11 didn't surrender.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to speak up a
14 MS. GILLETT:
15 Q. I'm sorry, Witness. The interpreters are asking if you could
16 raise your voice a little bit. Perhaps sit a little closer to the
17 microphone so they can pick up what you're saying.
18 A. Fine.
19 Q. Now, you were saying that through the megaphone you were asked
20 again if you would surrender. What did you do then?
21 A. Well, no one went out again. As I have said, everyone was afraid.
22 No one had much experience. We all thought they would start shelling
23 again, so no one went out.
24 Q. And so what did they do when you refused to surrender?
25 A. Well, they started shelling again, just as they had done the
1 morning. At 6.00 in the morning, they continued shelling.
2 Q. At any point on that day did you come to leave the house?
3 A. No, no one left the house. Perhaps after an hour or so had passed
4 the shooting stopped, and we saw that there were, well, perhaps about ten
5 soldiers advancing. They had a Muslim man that they were escorting. I
6 knew him. So they approached. They came very close. No one opened fire
7 on them. They stood behind a house. They came close to us, and they said
8 if no one left the basement they would use a Zolja to fire on the
10 Q. Now, you say that you know this Muslim man that was with the group
11 of 10. Do you remember his name?
12 A. His surname is Catic. There are two brothers. One is called Kemo
13 and the other Hilmo. He was one of the two brothers. I can't remember
14 what his name was exactly, or I can't remember which one, but his surname
15 was Catic.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, you have just said that
17 they threatened to use a Zolja, a hand-held rocket launcher. What is a
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's a sort of weapon. I'm
20 really not very familiar with these weapons. I was quite young. I think
21 it's used to fire a sort of rocket. It's some sort of hand-held
23 MS. GILLETT:
24 Q. Witness, you mentioned with this person whom you've identified as
25 Catic were 10 soldiers. Which army were those soldiers from?
1 A. Well, the soldiers were from the HVO.
2 Q. Do you remember what those soldiers were wearing?
3 A. Well, yes. They were wearing camouflage uniforms, and they had
4 some sort of a sticker or badge on their shoulder on which it said "HVO."
5 Q. And did they have -- sorry. Did this group come into the house
6 where you were?
7 A. Well, yes. We immediately started leaving the basement. We all
8 went out to the road by the house.
9 Q. And do you remember how many there were in total? You mentioned
10 before there were around six or eight men with you on the ground floor.
11 Do you remember how many other people were there?
12 A. There were perhaps, as far as I can remember, 10 HVO soldiers
13 there, and then other HVO soldiers arrived.
14 Q. Do you remember how many people came out of the house that you had
15 been in?
16 A. About six men, six or seven men went out, and there were about 10
17 women there, too. They also went out.
18 Q. Now, once you were all outside the house, what happened to you all
20 A. They told us that no one should try to flee. If we did, they said
21 they would kill everyone. They said we should walk in front of them, and
22 we should tell them where there were other people -- where the other
23 people were, in which basements they were staying, and they wanted them to
24 come out too.
25 Q. And did they succeed in getting those people --
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, in response to a question
2 put to you by the Prosecution when asked whether there was any reaction,
3 whether anyone fired back when the houses were shelled, you said that
4 there was no reaction from your shelter but that there was certainly some
5 reaction from certain Croatian houses, if I have understood you correctly,
6 and now we realise that HVO soldiers entered the village and tried to get
7 you to come out. My question is as follows: The people who were in the
8 houses from which fire was opened in response to the attack, were these
9 people Muslims or Croats, and did they also come out with you in the
10 presence of HVO soldiers? The people who returned fire after having been
11 attacked by the HVO, did they also come out with you?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. We all came out, and we
13 all gathered at this one location with the women. We were all there.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you haven't answered
15 the question precisely. It's very important for us.
16 Were there TO members or ABiH members in your village who
17 protected you and who were armed, who protected you against the HVO?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there were only people from
19 the surrounding villages, from the neighbourhood. My uncle and father
20 were there, such people. They had a couple of rifles, and they returned
21 fire from the houses that were close to the barns that were on fire. And
22 they were the same location that I was at. And when they came to get us
23 out of the basement, they were there as well, and they were disarmed and
24 they also came out and went to the road.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There we are. That's a question
1 one should have put to you from the outset.
2 So you are telling us that there were men in your village who had
3 rifles, and they returned fire. They opened fire on the HVO. And when
4 the HVO entered the village, the HVO disarmed them. That's what you're
5 telling us.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did your father have a rifle?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. He had a rifle. An M-48
9 rifle, that's what he had.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So did he buy this M-48? Was it
11 given to him? How did he get this rifle?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He bought that rifle with his own
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But why did your father buy a
15 rifle? Was it to hunt birds or rabbits? Why did he have an M-48?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, as I said at the beginning,
17 you could feel the presence of troops for a few days, so he bought this
18 rifle and some other people -- several other people from the neighbourhood
19 also bought rifles.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How many rifles were there in
21 total, if you know? If you don't, just say that you don't know. How many
22 rifles were there, approximately?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there were between three or
24 four rifles, approximately. Where I was at least. As far as other places
25 are concern, I really don't know.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And were you under the
2 impression that there was a leader? Was anyone in command?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No. There were no commanders.
4 They were all ordinary people.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Gillett.
6 MS. GILLETT:
7 Q. Witness, you mentioned that people were gathered and brought out
8 of the houses. Once this occurred, did you all remain together in one big
10 A. We were in a group when we went out. When we went to the next
11 basement, they also came out of the next basement. They asked them to
12 come out of the second basement, and the third and the fourth basement, as
13 far as I know. And then we were all assembled in the village and -- and
14 the men were then separated from the women.
15 Q. And having been through this process and been to -- I think you
16 mention at least four basements, do you remember how many people were in
17 that group when you were gathered, having been to those four basements?
18 A. I know that there were about 35 men, perhaps 40. I don't know
19 exactly, but there were about 30 or 35 men. I really don't know how many
20 women there were though.
21 Q. Are you able to say whether there were more women than men?
22 A. Well, yes. There were more women than men.
23 Q. Now, you said that the men were separated. Were you in that group
24 of men that were separated off from the women?
25 A. Yes. I was there with the men.
1 Q. And what happened to you and the other men at that point?
2 A. There were HVO soldiers in front of us and behind us, and they
3 said that we should set off in a certain direction. There was a garage
4 that we arrived at, and they placed us in the garage.
5 Q. And I believe you mentioned Sekerija. Whereabouts was Sekerija?
6 A. When you pass through these Muslim houses that I lived in, 300
7 metres later, you have an area that is called Sekerija. It's called
8 Sekerija because there are Croats who have that surname who live there.
9 Q. Now, this garage that you arrived at, do you recall how big the
10 garage was?
11 A. Well, it was four metres wide and 12 metres long as far as I can
12 remember, roughly speaking. I don't know how large it was exactly.
13 Q. And what was on the floor of the garage?
14 A. There was nothing, just concrete. There was a concrete floor, and
15 the ceiling was made of concrete too. There were some planks that had
16 been put together, so when they locked us in, we put these planks on the
17 ground and sat down on these planks.
18 Q. Now, you mentioned that you were locked in. How were you locked
19 into the garage?
20 A. They closed the door, locked it and, naturally, put a chain on the
21 door as well and locked it again.
22 Q. Now, when you say "they," how many people is "they," and who were
23 these people?
24 A. I don't know how many of them there were exactly, but they were
25 all HVO soldiers. They were strangers. I had never seen any of them
2 Q. After the chain was put on the door to lock you in, did any of
3 those HVO people stay at the garage?
4 A. Two guards stayed there. I knew one of them. His name was Luka.
5 I knew the other one, too, but I didn't know his name.
6 Q. Now, amongst those of you who were detained in the garage, how --
7 how old were the people in the garage?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, Ms. Gillett. He
9 has just said that he knew one of the two guards. His name was Luka. I
10 believe that you should put a question to the witness about this.
11 Luka, was this an HVO soldier that you knew because he lived in
12 that village? How is it you knew him?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yell, when the troops dispersed
14 while we were locked in, I heard certain voices as they were dispersing,
15 and then these two guards appeared, and I knew this person. His name was
16 Luka. He was a Croat from the village there. And I knew the other one,
17 too, but I didn't know his name. That's how it was.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And this person called Luka, had
19 you seen him in the village before?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. He'd spent his entire
21 life in Zdrimci.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And while he was guarding you,
23 was he wearing camouflage uniform? Did he have a weapon, and did he have
24 a badge?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, he didn't have a uniform on
1 him. He was slightly elderly man. He had a rifle. I don't know what
2 kind of a rifle he had, but he wasn't in uniform.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So he was wearing civilian
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. He was wearing civilian
6 clothes, but he had a rifle.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In your opinion, what was he
8 doing with the HVO since he was in civilian clothes?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't really know. They had
10 probably left him there and assigned him the task of guarding us.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Judges want to know whether
12 Luka was a member of the HVO. You tell -- you've told us that he was
13 wearing civilian clothes, and you said that perhaps the HVO had asked him
14 to guard you. Does that mean that the HVO had asked a Croat from the
15 village to guard you?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He didn't have an HVO badge, or he
17 wasn't in uniform, but they probably told him that he was to stand guard.
18 He must have received some sort of an order.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, among the HVO soldiers in
20 the village -- well, were all the HVO soldiers in the village in
21 camouflage uniforms and did they have badges, or were there members of the
22 group who obeyed orders, who worked with all the others but who weren't in
23 uniform, as was the case with Luka?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Most of them were in uniform, but
25 Luka, he was a somewhat elderly man, and the man he was with was also
1 elderly. I don't know his name. They didn't have uniforms of any kind.
2 They were in civilian clothes.
3 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] They were members of the group, and
4 they worked with other HVO members without any problems then?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know how this worked.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please move on, Ms. Gillett.
7 MS. GILLETT:
8 Q. Now, Witness, regarding the people in the garage with you, the men
9 in the garage with you, were they civilian or military men?
10 A. Most of them were soldiers. There were perhaps about 10 men who
11 were over 60 years of age. I was the youngest one.
12 Q. Now, you say that most were soldiers. Were they wearing
14 A. No, none of them were wearing uniforms. They should probably all
15 have bought a uniform, but they can't have had the money so they were all
16 in civilian clothes.
17 Q. And to which army did they belong?
18 A. I don't know which army they belonged to. I really don't know
19 that. They were probably members of the ABiH, but I really don't know.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have just said that most of
21 them were over 60 years of age and that you were the youngest. Those who
22 were between 17 and 60, where were they?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were there where I was too.
24 They were held in the same garage that I was held in. They were there
1 MS. GILLETT:
2 Q. Witness, if you could just clarify. Approximately how many of the
3 men were over the age of 60 that were in the garage with you?
4 A. Well, I don't think there were more than 10 men who were over 60
5 years of age, but I really can't remember exactly.
6 Q. Now, in relation to the conditions in the garage, you mentioned
7 that you were locked into the garage. What would happen if you wanted to
8 go to the toilet?
9 A. Well, when we had to go to the toilet, when we asked to go to the
10 toilet, they wouldn't open up. We had a pail, a bucket in the corner, and
11 they said that we should use that to relieve ourselves.
12 Q. Were you given any food?
13 A. When we were locked in after night had fallen, they brought a
14 bucket of milk, a canister of milk, several kilos of bread, and there were
15 a few tins. I don't know exactly how many.
16 Q. Now, you mentioned after night had fallen this happened, and you
17 spend the night in that garage.
18 A. Yes, we all spent the night in that garage.
19 Q. And what about the next day? What happened the next day?
20 A. Well, we were there locked up. No one came.
21 Q. How long in total did you spend in the garage?
22 A. About 11 days in total. I think these others -- the other people
23 spent some more time there, but I don't know how long exactly.
24 Q. How, were you in that garage for the entire 11 days, or were there
25 any occasions on which you left the garage?
1 A. No. After two days they said we should go to the neighbouring
2 village of Vrse to tell them what had happened to us so that they would
3 surrender too. So two days later, I went out. I also went to see my
4 mother. She wouldn't allow me to go to Vrse, so then I returned to the
6 Q. Now, when you say that they said that you should go to the village
7 of Vrse, who was saying this to you?
8 A. I really don't know this person. He was a stranger.
9 Q. Was he a civilian person or a military person?
10 A. A military person.
11 Q. From which military?
12 A. A member of the HVO military.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll have the break now since
14 it's a quarter to 4.00. We'll resume in 20 minutes' time, at five past
16 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 4.07 p.m.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Madam Gillett, you have the
20 MS. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Witness, just before the break you were describing how you had
22 been asked to go to Vrse, and you'd said that there was a member of the
23 HVO military who had asked you to do this. Was it just you who was asked,
24 or were other people asked to go to Vrse?
25 A. Yes. My cousin was with me, Mirsad. His name was Mirsad. He's
1 two years older than me, and so the two of us were told to go there to
2 tell them this at Vrse.
3 Q. Now, you said that you went to see your mother and that she didn't
4 want you to go to Vrse. How long did you stay with your mother?
5 A. I spent the night there with my mother, and the next day we
6 returned to the garage.
7 Q. Where was your mother?
8 A. They were in houses. They didn't chase them away or force them to
9 go anywhere. They just told them to stay in the houses, but there were
10 soldiers patrolling everywhere so that they stayed in the houses.
11 Q. Now, once again, the soldiers that you mention patrolling
12 everywhere, which soldiers were these?
13 A. HVO. They belonged to the HVO troops.
14 Q. Do you recall how many soldiers there were patrolling?
15 A. I don't know the exact number. There were groups passing by,
16 groups of three that would be on patrol, but I don't know exactly how many
17 there were.
18 Q. Now, you say you spent the night with your mother, and then you'd
19 mentioned previously, prior to the break, that you returned to the garage.
20 When you returned to the garage, were you asked any questions by the
21 guards at the garage?
22 A. No. These were different people now, so they didn't know.
23 Probably they hadn't discussed it amongst themselves, the guards, so they
24 just shut us up again because we were young. So they didn't ask us
1 Q. You say these were different people. Do you know who these people
3 A. No, I didn't know those men.
4 Q. How many men were they?
5 A. There were again two.
6 Q. Now, was there any other occasion on which you came to leave the
7 garage during those 11 days that you spent there?
8 A. Yes. Two days later, as far as I can remember, maybe three, HVO
9 soldiers came to the door and asked who would volunteer to bury two
10 bodies. One body was in the middle of the village. It was the body of
11 Ihdija Trkic, and the other body was in Ahmo Catic -- in the house, and it
12 was Ahmo Catic's body.
13 Q. You say the HVO soldiers came to the door and asked who would
14 volunteer. Who did volunteer?
15 A. I volunteered and a man called Catic. I think his name was Kemal.
16 And another man, but I can't remember his name or who it was.
17 Q. Now, you've described roughly where these two bodies were in the
18 village itself. Did you see the bodies?
19 A. Yes, I did, because we first went to collect the body of Ihdija
20 Trkic. It was on the road in the middle of the village. We put him in a
21 wheelbarrow and we drove him to the cemetery, and then we went back to
22 fetch the other body, of Ahmo Catic, and we put him in the wheelbarrow,
23 too, and took him to the cemetery.
24 Q. Dealing first with the body of Ihdija Trkic. What condition was
25 the body in when you found it?
1 A. The body was -- there was just one wound. I didn't see the rest
2 of the body, but there was a bullet wound on his forehead.
3 Q. And what about the other body, that of Ahmo Catic? What condition
4 was that body in when you came to it?
5 A. We found him on his bed. This was an older man of some 70 years
6 old, I think, and he had seven or eight bullet wounds on his chest,
7 stomach, and so on.
8 Q. Do you know how either of these two men came to die?
9 A. I heard when we were burying them under guards, there were guards
10 there, soldiers, HVO soldiers were guarding us while we were digging the
11 graves, and I heard from them that Ahmo Catic had been killed when they
12 entered the house. They heard the man coughing, and they fired through
13 the door and that is how he was killed.
14 Q. When you had finished digging the graves, where did you go?
15 A. We were taken again to the garage where the others were locked
17 Q. Now, once again, after your return to the garage, was there any
18 other occasion on which you had cause to leave the garage?
19 A. I had one other occasion when they asked me, and I must underline
20 I was the youngest. They asked me to bring a sheep from the village, so I
21 left the garage.
22 Q. And where did you go to when you left the garage on that
24 A. I went to find the sheep, and as I was passing through the village
25 where the civilians were, the Muslims, I saw a gathering of women there
1 standing in front of the mekteb, and I heard an HVO soldier asking them to
2 repeat after him the prayers, and he was crossing himself, and he said
3 they all had to repeat after him and who failed to do so he would kill
5 Q. Did you hear what he was asking them to repeat?
6 A. Yes. He was showing them how to cross themselves with his hand.
7 And I can't remember exactly the words he used, but it was a prayer to
8 God. And then there was another group standing there who were cursing
9 Allah and everything Muslim, and they said that they would set fire to the
10 mekteb, which was right there in front of them.
11 Q. This other group that was standing there cursing, who were they?
12 A. Also HVO soldiers.
13 Q. You mentioned that they said they would set fire to the mekteb.
14 At this time, what condition was the mekteb in?
15 A. It was in a normal condition. It was an older building and there
16 were a couple of bullet holes on the front, but otherwise it was in good
18 Q. Did you have occasion to see this mekteb again after this day?
19 A. Yes. I stayed with my mother again on that occasion, and I -- I
20 didn't see it being torched, but I saw it again when it had burnt down. A
21 day or two later, I saw that the mekteb had been burnt down.
22 Q. And do you know who was responsible for it burning down?
23 A. Probably when the HVO soldiers said that they would set fire to
24 it, probably they did it, though I didn't see who actually set fire to
1 Q. Now, on this third occasion you were away from the garage, did
2 you later, after you'd moved the sheep, did you return to the garage
4 A. I didn't return to the garage again. I stayed with my mother
5 nonstop. So I was seen by HVO soldiers, but I was young and they didn't
6 require me to go back to the garage again.
7 Q. And whereabouts was your mother?
8 A. She was in the house next to mine. It was our neighbour's house,
9 Husein Trkic's house, which was next door to mine, and she was there
10 together with two or three other women. And these other women were in
11 other houses, two or three to each house.
12 Q. Moving back briefly to your time in the garage, those 11 days that
13 you've mentioned, how were you treated whilst you were detained in the
15 A. I personally was treated well, but others, for example Salko
16 Brica, he was beaten regularly if he were to ask something. He couldn't
17 speak too well. He couldn't pronounce the words, and then he would be
18 beaten most.
19 Q. Do you know who was responsible for beating him?
20 A. Marko Vukadin would come by. He was from the village from our
21 neighbourhood. I knew him. He was the only one I knew. I didn't know
22 the others.
23 Q. And was Marko in the military?
24 A. Yes. He also wore a camouflage uniform, and he belonged to the
25 HVO army.
1 Q. Apart from Salko Brica that you mentioned, do you know of any
2 others who were beaten from the garage?
3 A. Yes. They also beat Vahid Sakic. They beat him up, too, but not
4 as much as Salko Brica. They took Dzulejman Memic out, and Halil Brica.
5 They would take them out to dig their own graves, and when they did, they
6 would force them to lie down and then cover them up with earth except for
7 the face, and then they would fire a couple of bullets close to their
8 heads, forcing them in that way to give them the information they wanted
9 to hear from them.
10 Q. Now, apart from Marko Vukadin whom you've mentioned, was there
11 anybody else who was involved in this?
12 A. In the garage where the men were, I didn't know any others. They
13 were all strangers.
14 Q. Now, you mentioned earlier the number of people that were in the
15 garage with you, somewhere between 35 and 40. Did that number stay the
16 same throughout your time in the garage, or at some point did anybody
17 leave or did others join you?
18 A. No other people came to join us, but people did leave. They took
19 away between 10 and 15 men. I don't know exactly. They put them on a
20 bus, and they took them away. I heard later that they were taken to
22 Q. I wonder if you could take a look at Exhibit 1413. I believe it
23 might be by the side of you there on the ELMO. If you'd turn to the B/C/S
24 version under tab 1413, and you'll see a list of names there. If you'd
25 turn to the second page of that list, you will see starting at number 49
1 there are names, and next to those names written the name Zdrimci. Were
2 any of those people with you in the garage?
3 A. People from number 49 up to 56 were taken away. From 49 to 57.
4 They were no longer in the garage.
5 Q. And do you know anything about those listed in numbers -- from
6 numbers 58 to 61?
7 A. I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand your question.
8 Q. The names that are listed from number 58 to number 61 on that same
9 document, were those people, people in the garage with you?
10 A. Yes. These men, these others were in the garage. They stayed
11 behind. These were also taken to Prozor. I heard later that they were
12 taken to do forced labour.
13 Q. Just to clarify, at the time you were in the garage those listed
14 from numbers 58 to 61, were they still in the garage with you or did they
15 go to Prozor?
16 A. I know from -- for the names from 49 to 57, that they went to
17 Prozor. As for these others, I'm not quite sure.
18 Q. If you could turn now to the next tab, which is Exhibit 1636 in
19 that same bundle of documents in front of you. And once again you'll see
20 that there's a list. If you look at the B/C/S version, turn over the two
21 English pages and to the B/C/S version. Again, on that first page, if you
22 look down to number 26 and 27, you'll see that the village of Zdrimci is
23 mentioned next to two names. Again, were those two persons listed, either
24 of them, in the garage with you?
25 A. Yes, they were with me in the garage, from -- number 24, he was
1 taken away. 25, he was also taken to Prozor.
2 Q. And numbers 26 and 27, did they remain in the garage or did they
4 A. I think they left, but I'm not sure. I really can't remember.
5 Q. If you'd just turn over to the next page you'll see that the list
6 continues, and more towards the bottom of the list, from number 24 of that
7 list, again you see the village of Zdrimci, down to number 34. Were any
8 of these people with you in the garage?
9 A. The name under 26 I think remained in the garage. Asim Trkic. I
10 really can't remember.
11 Q. If you'd turn over the page, there should be another list. And
12 over one more from that, yes. If you take a look at that list, from
13 numbers 24 to 34, again the village of Zdrimci is mentioned and there are
14 names next to the village of Zdrimci. Were any of those people in the
15 garage with you?
16 A. Yes. The name under 24 was, so was number 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, up
17 to number 34. Yes, they were with me in the garage.
18 Q. And do you know if any of these people left the garage to go to
20 A. Yes, I do know. Number 24 left. Number 26 also left, and number
21 25, 27 also, 28, 29, 30. As for the others, I'm afraid I am not quite
22 sure whether they left or not.
23 Q. Now, we've talked a little bit about -- you've explained what
24 happened to you and others who were in the garage. You'd mentioned that
25 you went away from the garage following moving some sheep and that you
1 stayed with your mother. Now, what condition was your mother in and,
2 indeed, the other women in that house when you reached her?
3 A. I saw that my mother's hands had burns, as well as my sister's.
4 Their hands were covered with burns, and when I asked them what had
5 happened, they said that when HVO soldiers came to torch houses with
6 petrol they would pour the petrol on the houses, and then they, the women,
7 would go out to try and put out the fires with their hands, and that's how
8 they got their burns.
9 Q. Now, the situation that you've been describing in your village, in
10 Zdrimci, how long did the situation remain as you've been describing?
11 A. The situation was like that until the first conflict stopped, that
12 is, until there was a kind of -- of truce. But when that was exactly, I
13 really don't remember.
14 Q. Are you able to give an approximate idea of when that might have
15 been, whether it was a matter of days, weeks, or months?
16 A. I really can't be precise about it. Was it 40 days or a month or
17 40 days, I really don't know.
18 Q. Now, you have mentioned you were staying with your mother still in
19 Zdrimci. Did you remain there?
20 A. I was with my mother for as long as this situation lasted, until
21 the truce. And when things calmed down, I went to my mother's -- my
22 sister's, together with my mother and the whole family.
23 Q. And where was that, your sister's?
24 A. In Vrse, about a kilometre or a kilometre and a half from Zdrimci.
25 That is where my sister had got married, and we went to stay with her.
1 Q. Why did you not go back to your own house in Zdrimci?
2 A. We were afraid of a repetition, because it still wasn't too safe.
3 We stayed with my sisters. And then there's a small hill and we could see
4 the village from it, and we watched a house being set on fire. So we
5 didn't dare go down again.
6 Q. Do you know at that time anybody by the name of Zanfula?
7 A. Yes. This was a woman from the village. She was Munib Trkic's
8 sister and she lived across the road from us. She got married to someone
9 from Bugojno, and when the conflict started she happened to be there. So,
10 yes, I knew her.
11 Q. Did you have any contact with her once the conflict had started?
12 A. No, I didn't have any contact with her. I had no problems with
13 her, but I heard from other women that she was with the HVO, and she would
14 tell them if they wanted to beat up someone.
15 Q. And what nationality was she?
16 A. She was Muslim by nationality.
17 Q. You mention that you stayed with your sister in Vrse.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. When did you return to Zdrimci?
20 A. I returned in 2003 when the house was rebuilt, and that is when I
21 started living there again.
22 Q. After the shooting that you describe that took place on the 18th
23 of January, what conditions were the houses and buildings in Zdrimci?
24 A. Some were hit by shells. Some were burnt down. They weren't all
25 burnt straight away, and they weren't all hit. Some were, some were
2 Q. And were these all the houses, both Muslim and Croat?
3 A. No, only Muslim houses.
4 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, I have no further questions for this
5 witness from the Prosecution.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which documents would you like
7 to tender?
8 MS. GILLETT: The two exhibits that I presented to the witness
9 bearing Exhibit numbers 1413 and 1636.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You planned for an
11 hour and 30 minutes.
12 The Defence has an hour and 30 minutes, which means 15 minutes for
13 each Defence team unless you divide this up amongst yourselves. Who will
14 be starting?
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will, but first of
16 all, could the usher help me provide the Chamber with some of the
17 documents that I have prepared for the cross-examination. There's only
18 one document that I have in the file.
19 Cross-examination by Ms. Nozica:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, good day. I have a few questions I with
21 like to put to you. Could you tell me what happened on that day that you
22 have been discussing, the day on which HVO soldiers arrived at the house
23 that you were in. Was your father in that house at the time?
24 A. Yes, he was in that house.
25 Q. Was your father taken to the garage together with you and the
1 other men?
2 A. No. In the meantime, I didn't even see him at the time. I only
3 saw that he had disappeared later on, but how this happened I don't know.
4 Q. What do you mean when you say "in the meantime"? When was the
5 last time that you saw you father?
6 A. I saw my father when we call went out. He was there too. We were
7 all there. When we set off it the other basement, well, that's when I no
8 longer saw him.
9 Q. Were there any other men who appeared in this way and then
10 disappeared? Did you notice that any other men had left?
11 A. No. They were all there, but I didn't notice when my father
13 Q. So would it be correct to conclude that during that 40-day period,
14 that's the time that you spent there, during that period you didn't see
15 your father?
16 A. Well, no. I didn't see him until some sort of a truce had been
17 established. I only heard that he had been killed. When someone asked
18 about him, they'd say he had been killed.
19 Q. But you met him in Vrse, in the village of Vrse, when your entire
20 family met in your sister's house; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You mentioned the death of two individuals, Ihdija Trkic and Ahmo
23 Catic. You told us how Ahmo Catic was killed. You heard about this.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you go to search for his body when you were assigned to do
1 this digging? Did you go to search for his body?
2 A. No.
3 Q. It was brought somewhere close to the positions where you were
5 A. I'm sorry, I don't understand. Which body are you referring.
6 Q. I'm asking about Ahmo Catic. You said he was killed in his house.
7 Did you go to his house on that occasion?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Where did you find him when you arrived in the house?
10 A. He was on the bed that he slept in.
11 Q. Was that in the bedroom?
12 A. Yes, in the bedroom. On the bed that he slept on.
13 Q. When did you hear about Ihdija Trkic? Did you hear about how he
14 was killed?
15 A. While they were taking us to the garage, you could hear some
16 shooting, and I heard that he had opened fire on HVO soldiers, and on that
17 occasion they killed him.
18 Q. Very well. Was there both a mekteb and a mejtef in your village?
19 I know that you know what we are talking about. Can we say -- can you
20 describe what a mekteb and a mejtef is?
21 A. A mekteb and mejtef, it's the same sort of thing. It's a mosque
22 without a minaret. If it doesn't have a minaret, then it's a mekteb or a
24 Q. So you believe that it's the same thing. It's not quite
25 identical, but in your village there was a mosque without a minaret, and
1 that was the mekteb.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And in your statement -- in the course of your testimony today you
4 said when you arrived there and when you saw an HVO soldier praying, you
5 said that the mekteb hadn't been burnt down on that occasion.
6 A. No, it hadn't been burnt down.
7 Q. And after that point in time when did you notice that the mekteb
8 had been burnt down? Did you notice that while you were still in the
9 village of Zdrimci?
10 A. Yes. Several days later, I don't know exactly how many days
11 later, I noticed that it had been burnt down.
12 Q. You saw that it had been burnt down, but you didn't see anyone
13 setting fire to it. You don't know who the perpetrator of this act was?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Would it be correct to say that after all these events you did not
16 stay on in the village of Zdrimci because you were afraid that a conflict
17 might break out again? Is that why you left your house?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The Presiding Judge asked you whether you had already given any
20 statements to any investigative bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. You
21 said that you hadn't or you couldn't remember; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. However, I would like to remind you of something. Perhaps you
24 have forgotten this, but it is important for certain reasons for me to
25 show a document to you.
1 MS. NOVICA: [Interpretation] Could we have the following document
2 on e-court 2D 00205. And I would also like to ask the usher for
3 assistance. Could the usher show this statement to the witness so that he
4 can have a look at a hard copy of the statement so that he can have a look
5 at his signature to see whether it's his signature and to see whether he
6 remembers this statement.
7 It's not in the e-court system. I think it was provided on
8 Friday. But in that case, we'll place it on the ELMO.
9 Could we just have a look at the bottom of the statement so that
10 we can see the date.
11 Q. Have a look there. Is this your signature? Have a look at the
12 document to your right -- to the right. You see where the usher is, where
13 the young lady is. Can you see your signature on the document? Do you
14 remember having given this statement?
15 A. Well, yes, but I didn't understand your question. The question
16 was whether I had given any statements -- if the question had been whether
17 I had given a statement to the police, then I would have remembered having
18 given that statement.
19 Q. Let's just have a look at the first page. For the sake of the
20 transcript, I'd like to say that the Prosecution provided us with this
21 document pursuant to Rule 65 ter.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question about local
23 law. This statement was filed on the 15th of December, 1993. The witness
24 was 16 years at the time. Can minors be interviewed without having
25 someone accompanying them?
1 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] In 1993, the witness could have been
2 interviewed without his parents being present, but I'm not sure who else
3 was present during his interview since we have certain parts that have
4 been deleted here.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to the penal code of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina is this provided for?
7 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] I can't say what the laws in force
8 were on the 15th of December, 1993, because at the time there were laws in
9 force which concerned the military period, the wartime period.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll verify this. In the
11 English translation I don't have the translation of the body responsible
12 for the statement. Could you read it out in B/C/S. I can see that this
13 took place in Bugojno. It must have been the Ministry of the Interior.
14 Can you read out the title of the body concerned.
15 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Yes, I can. This is an official
16 translation that we have received from the Prosecution. It says at the
17 top of the document "The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry
18 of the Interior, Security Services Centre Zenica, sector SDB-RO SDB
19 Bugojno." SDB is the security services centre.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question, but could we
21 go into private session first.
22 [Private session]
11 Pages 9189-9193 redacted. Private session.
15 [Open session]
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
17 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're in public session.
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I have two or three small questions
19 and then my client will also have a couple of technical questions, so
20 we'll be through quickly.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness. On behalf of
23 General Praljak I will ask you a few questions to clear up some minor
24 points. First of all, tell me, please, you explained to Their Honours
25 today something that you didn't tell the investigators, that even though
1 the whole village is called Zdrimci, you local people distinguish several
2 parts of the village known as Perici, Trkici, Polici, and Sekerija. Can
3 you please explain, can these parts of the village be called hamlets?
4 A. Yes. I said that, because where the Perici live the area is known
5 as Perici by the surname of that family. The same applies to Polici,
6 after the surname Polic. Trkic and Sekerija, these are all surnames, and
7 that is how the localities came to be known.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you make this distinction
9 yourselves, or is there a clear distinction made by the municipal
10 authorities? Because on a map I note that Perici do exist, but on the
11 other hand, I didn't find Sekerija, Polici, and Trkici. In these hamlets,
12 is there a board saying "Polici", a signpost?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it doesn't exist. I know this
14 everyone else who lived there. The local inhabitants knew these places by
15 those names.
16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation].
17 Q. Witness, from what you have just told us, can we conclude that you
18 local people know exactly which part of Zdrimci is called the names that
19 you gave us? You local villagers know this; is that right? Just tell me
20 yes or no.
21 A. I apologise. I really did not understand your question.
22 Q. My mistake. I probably didn't put it clearly. From what you have
23 just said, is it right to say that the people of Zdrimci know exactly that
24 this part of the village is called such-and-such and another part
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, tell me just one more thing. In this connection these parts
3 of the village, Polici, Trkici, Sekerija, are they recognisable or,
4 rather, separated physically? Is it visible that they're separate within
5 this whole?
6 A. No. We -- we never were separated. We all got on together fine.
7 These parts were known after the surnames of the families.
8 Q. Again, I'm afraid I didn't put my question properly. Those parts,
9 are they physically separate? Are they divided by a road or a vale or a
10 hill? If I were to come as a stranger to the village, would I see that
11 those are separate parts of the village?
12 A. No, you wouldn't. No, you wouldn't.
13 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, you described that in the house of
14 Munib Trkic the women were in the basement and the men were upstairs on
15 the ground floor. That is what you said in your statement. However,
16 there's a difference in the numbers. How many of you were there in the --
17 on the ground floor?
18 A. I can't tell you exactly, I said a moment ago, but between 7 and
19 10 men. But I'm not sure of the exact number.
20 Q. If I were to remind you that in your statement to the
21 investigators on the 14th of January, 2004, you said some 15; is that
23 A. I really don't know exactly how many. There may not have been 15
24 or so. I just don't know exactly.
25 Q. Very well. Did all those who were present there have weapons or
1 only some?
2 A. No. Only three or four rifles were there. The others didn't have
3 any weapons.
4 Q. Very well. You mentioned the rifle M-48.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. M-48 is a military weapon, isn't it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Were there any hunting rifles?
9 A. Yes. There were some hunting rifles, maybe two, maybe even three.
10 As I was saying a moment ago, my father brought a 48, but as far as I
11 remember the others were hunting rifles.
12 Q. Were there any Kalashnikovs there?
13 A. As far as I can remember, no, there weren't any.
14 Q. Very well. When you surrendered, you said that you were taken to
15 other houses where people were also surrendering from the basements. Is
16 it true that in those houses, on the ground floor or in the vicinity of
17 those houses, there were armed local men?
18 A. Wherever there were men, where there were five or six men
19 together, maybe again they had three or four rifles, but I really don't
21 Q. In view the fact that you told us that there were a total of 35
22 of you in the garage, you said they were mostly men of military age,
23 except you, and you said several older men. This number of about 35, of
24 course you can't know exactly, those are the men who were defending those
1 A. Yes, mostly. But the others, I don't think all of them had
3 Q. When you were captured, when you had surrendered, and when you
4 were rounded up before being taken to the garage, is it true that the
5 first questions put to you by HVO soldiers was about the weapons or,
6 rather, they required you to surrender your weapons? Is that right?
7 A. Yes. They wanted these weapons to be handed over, but most of
8 them had already been surrendered and disarmed, but they would say who
9 hadn't surrendered their weapons on who had what kind of weapon. That was
10 what they asked.
11 Q. Does that mean that they first took your weapons as soon as you
12 left the house? Is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And then again when you were all gathered in one spot they again
15 checked whether anyone had any weapons left and whether they had all
16 surrendered their weapons; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Witness, can you explain why the HVO sent you from the garage to
19 Vrse? What was your assignment?
20 A. I can't tell you what task I was given. They just told me to tell
21 them how we had fared so that they, too, should surrender. I really don't
22 know what task they gave me. They just told me to go and tell them to
24 Q. I see. Well, that was the task, to go and tell them to surrender,
25 but whom, to whom?
1 A. Probably to the people in Vrse. Probably when the attacks took
2 place whoever was up there, members of the BH army. I was to tell them.
3 Q. So in Vrse there was a unit of the BH army there?
4 A. Yes. It is a Muslim village, and those were local people. It is
5 a larger village than Zdrimci.
6 Q. So you said it was about a kilometre and a half from your village;
7 is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. As for the elevation, is the village of Vrse a bit higher in
10 relation to Zdrimci?
11 A. Yes, it is a bit higher up.
12 Q. And you can see a good part of Zdrimci from the village of Vrse;
13 is that right?
14 A. Yes. Yes, you can see a good part of the village.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] From the Baba hill when they
16 fired at your village, could it also be fired at from Vrse?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. That's the other side. So it
18 couldn't be fired at from there. I saw fire being opened from Baba
19 because it's on the other side. So you can see the shooting. It's the
20 other side in relation to Vrse.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. I'm not sure you understood the question quite well, the question
23 of His Honour. Trkic's house that you were in, you saw from that house
24 that they were opening fire from Baba, but other parts of the village,
25 other Muslim parts, were being shot at from Vrse; is that right?
1 A. I really don't know. When they were firing from Baba, then they
2 fired at the whole village. I personally didn't see any shots being fired
3 from Vrse.
4 Q. Was there fire opened on the Croatian part of the village from
5 Vrse at the same time?
6 A. I really don't know that.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Wait a minute. I wish to
8 specify and avoid all ambiguity. We have just discovered that the BiH
9 troops were in Vrse. Let us imagine that the HVO is on the Baba hill.
10 Could they shoot from there at the BiH forces and at your village at the
11 same time? Do you understand what I'm saying?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know. As far as I
13 can remember, HVO soldiers were up on Baba. As for the village of Vrse,
14 there were the locals there, the inhabitants. Now, I don't know what
15 they had, but I actually saw fire coming from Baba where the HVO soldiers
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but my question is more
18 specific than that. Let us assume that from Baba the HVO is opening fire
19 on Vrse because there's the BiH there. Could a shell fall on your village
20 as a result?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It may be possible, but a shell
22 can't fall where I was. It could fall on a different part of the village,
23 should that happen.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Just one more question. Tell me, Witness, before this event in
1 your village in January, 1993, would your father go to the front lines
2 against the Serbs for shifts?
3 A. I really don't know. I was in Austria, and I came just before the
4 conflict started, so I don't know whether he went there before.
5 Q. Very well. So you can't know. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I wish to clear up this question
7 of the Baba hill. We're going to show you on the ELMO a map that General
8 Praljak has provided for us, and I want you to have a look on the map,
9 find the village of Vrse, and show us the Baba hill on that map. In that
10 way, we will see straight away.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may be of
12 assistance. There's a good map. It might be helpful --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This map is excellent, so we'll
14 stick to it.
15 Very well. Will you please mark with the pen or your finger,
16 point to your village on the map. Show us your village on the map,
17 please. It's more to the right. Further right, further right. There
18 you are. You see? Here's your village. And there's Vrse which is higher
20 Now, the Baba hill, where is the Baba hill?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably here somewhere.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Will you point the pen on the
24 THE WITNESS: [Indicates]
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That is the Baba hill. I see.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the village, and this is
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And Baba, with your pen.
4 THE WITNESS: [Indicates].
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
6 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, I'm only rising keeping with a
7 direction that Your Honour gave last week about follow-up questions
8 arising from questions that the Bench may put, and it may be more
9 appropriate to ask the short question now that I have. I wondered if it's
10 prudent to ask --
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, go ahead.
12 MS. GILLETT: I wondered if it's prudent to ask the witness what
13 the distance between the Baba hill and the village of Vrse is.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 To the best of your recollection, how many kilometres between Baba
16 and Vrse?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Maybe two kilometres, but again I
18 must say that I don't know exactly. Maybe about two kilometres. I don't
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think this can easily
21 be found out by measuring the map because we know the scale. I have done
22 with my cross-examination, if Mr. Praljak may be allowed to address a
23 couple of questions to the witness.
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Cross-examination by the Accused Praljak:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Muamer, I'll ask you some very simple
2 questions. Do you know whether before the 18th of January, 1993, there
3 were any battles on Baba itself? Did you hear the sound of shooting at
4 Baba? Baba is quite long. There's one end towards Karamustafic and the
5 other towards your village. Was there any fighting before that at Baba?
6 A. As far as I know there weren't.
7 Q. Do you know whether at Baba, towards the Karamustafic part, did
8 anyone from your village dig any trenches in that direction?
9 A. Again, I don't know that.
10 Q. Never mind. If you don't know, you don't know. When you went to
11 the village of Vrse before and after these events, did you see trenches
12 dug by the BH army around the village? Did you see that?
13 A. Yes. In the second conflict, when the second conflict started
14 between the HVO and the army, I did see those trenches turned towards
16 Q. When you mention the second conflict, are you referring to the one
17 in October, 1992?
18 A. I don't know when it started, but after the truce, when I was
19 already at Vrse, then the second conflict started, and then I saw that
20 there were some trenches there.
21 Q. But before the 18th of January, January, 1993, do you know --
22 because you can see that with your own eyes, do you know that the BH army
23 had dug trenches?
24 A. As far as I know, they weren't there. There weren't any trenches
1 Q. And when you went to Vrse you saw those trenches or not?
2 A. No. I saw them in the second conflict, that the trenches were dug
3 when the second conflict started.
4 Q. Very well. Tell me, please, did you join the regular army of
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina later on? Did you do your military service?
6 A. No, I did not. I did not.
7 Q. So you can't know that a mortar shell is an anti-infantry weapon.
8 It can't destroy a house, it can only damage it.
9 A. I know that it can destroy a house.
10 Q. That it can or it cannot?
11 A. Yes, it can destroy a part of the house.
12 Q. I see, a part. Do you know were the villages in your -- were the
13 houses in your village mixed?
14 A. In the area I lived in only Muslim houses.
15 Q. And in the other part they were they mixed?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did shells fall on both parts when they fell?
18 A. No. As far as I know they fell in my part of the village. That's
19 what I saw. I don't know about the others.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To be able to follow what
21 General Praljak is saying, you said that there were anti-aircraft guns
22 also. Did you see this or did you hear about it?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard from the people around me,
24 from -- and I saw where the fire was coming from when a mortar is fired,
25 and I also saw the anti-aircraft guns. I heard from them that they were
1 this kind of artillery.
2 Q. Did you ever see the firing of a mortar shell? Can you see that
3 with your own eyes?
4 A. I wasn't nearby but I saw the fire, and I heard from them that it
5 was being fired from this kind of artillery.
6 Q. An anti-aircraft gun has a 20-millimetre bullet. Did you see one
7 with two or three barrels?
8 A. I never saw them from close up.
9 Q. Thank you. You have told us all the ugly things that happened to
10 you. So they beat people, you said, and then they buried some people
11 alive, and then they forced them to do Christian prayers, and they torched
12 houses. Now, listen to me carefully. Did you in any single case see a
13 group of soldiers or was it only one or two, or was it always a group of
14 soldiers? And if it was a group, did you ever see a commander with them
15 giving them an order?
16 A. No. I would see groups of men, but I never saw a commander.
17 Q. And the events that you have listed, was it always an individual
18 or maybe two people making such demands or was it a unit with a
20 A. No, not with a commander. It would be a small group. Some came
21 from outside the village, and this other one was telling them what to do.
22 Q. And this person was from your village, your neighbour?
23 A. No. If you're referring to Marko Vukadin, that wasn't him. These
24 were strangers.
25 Q. How many strangers were there when they required the women to say
2 A. I saw a man showing them how to cross themselves, and then to the
3 side there were some more soldiers. I don't know exactly how many, but
4 quite a number of them.
5 Q. Thank you. Could a 1991 population census be put on the ELMO,
6 though it was not adopted in the Assembly, from which we see that there
7 were 759 Muslims in Zdrimci and 362 Croats. 759 Muslims -- I'm sorry, 759
8 Croats and 362 Muslims.
9 Now, listen to me. Out of 362 Muslims, half are women, half men.
10 If we don't count the elderly and children, we would have about 140
11 able-bodied men left.
12 Since the HVO captured 30 to 40 soldiers, where were the other men
13 from the village? Can you tell me that?
14 A. The other men, before the shooting started that morning, a group
15 had left the village. I really don't know how many men. There may have
16 been about 20 men who had left the village. They may have even gone to
17 Vrse. I don't know where they went. But the other men, when you're
18 asking me about this number, many men were abroad, working in the West.
19 Q. How many were working in the West, because there are about 120 men
20 missing. If the conflict in Gornji Vakuf started much earlier than the
21 18th of January, how did these people know that there was some sort of a
22 conflict or HVO attack, as you call it, would start on the 18th of
23 January? How did they know? Were they tapping the communications and
24 then left the village? Where were the other men?
25 A. Probably they knew, or they had a feeling about it. I don't know
1 how they knew. They probably felt that this was coming and they left.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have already asked you the
3 same question at the beginning of the afternoon because I wanted to know
4 whether there was a group of individuals who left, and you didn't give me
5 a precise answer. Now you're just telling us that there was a group of 20
6 to 30 men who left the village to go to Vrse. And these men who left the
7 village, were they armed?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know if I remember well, but
9 I mentioned earlier on in my statement that some people had left the night
10 before. They had left the village. Now, whether they were all armed or
11 not, I don't know. Some were armed.
12 JUDGE PRANDLER: I wonder if I am good enough in arithmetics, but
13 I would like to ask a question about the numbers used by General Praljak
14 and it is about the numbers when you mentioned that there were roughly 360
15 Muslims in the village and, of course, again roughly -- then it should
16 have been 180 men. And out of 180, you said that if we leave out, let's
17 say, elderly and children, then we may have 140 able-bodied men.
18 I'm not quite sure of this figure, because, anyway, if you take
19 children, I mean, boys, and if you take also the elderly, then probably it
20 is -- it would be more than -- altogether more than 40 which now
21 subtracted from the 180. But of course I don't want to concentrate on the
22 numbers, but in my view the number of those Muslims who had -- I mean
23 Muslim men who could have been taken into account in my own counting
24 shouldn't be more than, let's say, around 100. So I wanted to make
25 this -- to mention these figures to show that we cannot have a kind of, a
1 very increased number of men when we speak about the Muslim persons who
2 might have been able bodied and, as such, could have been fought there at
3 that village or outside. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Praljak. This question
5 seemed to be addressed to you. According to your calculations, well, how
6 can you draw the conclusion that there were a hundred military-able Muslim
7 men since the witness has said that some of these men had gone to work
8 abroad? So how is it that you reached a figure of a hundred men who were
9 military-able men?
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Military-able men are men
11 between the age of 18 and 65 according to the law that was in force at the
12 time. According to the average death rate, perhaps there was a margin of
13 error of 5 to 6 per cent according to my calculations. If there are 181
14 men, we take away the women and those who were over 65 years of age. And
15 the death rate, men die around the age of 80, well, if we take all these
16 factors into consideration, I think my margin of error is not too bad.
17 Even if we say that there were 130 or 125 military-able men, well, my
18 question still stands. What happened to these 120 men? And even if we
19 take away the men who were abroad, there were refugees from Jajce, from
20 Donji Vakuf, et cetera. So I think my calculations are not too far off
21 the mark, and the margin of error shouldn't be more than 5 or 6 per cent.
22 But I have received an answer, and that's all I can ask for, so I thank
23 you and I would like to thank the witness too.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's time to have the break.
25 We'll resume at five to 6.00, and we should conclude by 7.00 p.m., after
1 the other Defence teams have completed their examination.
2 --- Recess taken at 5.38 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 5.55 p.m.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Next Defence team, please.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honours.
6 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Witness. I'm representing General
8 Milivoj Petkovic, and I have a few simple questions for you. I would just
9 like to clarify some of your testimony.
10 Have a look at the Prosecution document that you have before you,
11 P 01636. Could we see this document on the screen once more, please. If
12 I've made a good note of what you've said, Mr. Trkic, you said that
13 individuals under numbers 24 and 25 in the document were with you in the
14 garage in your village. Is that correct? Do you remember that? It's on
15 page 1 of the document. It says "List of prisoners who were released from
16 Prozor prison." You mentioned the individuals who were with you in the
17 garage and who were later taken to Prozor.
18 Do you remember the individuals listed under numbers 24 and 25
20 A. Well, yes, I do.
21 Q. You do. They were with you in the garage?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. We're talking about Raif Curic from Bugojno and Dzemal Causevic
24 from Gornji Vakuf; is that correct? Is that correct?
25 A. I really didn't hear the names you mentioned now. 24, Mirsad
1 Trkic, and 25, Enver Trkic. I apologise, but --
2 Q. Have a look at the first page of the document. Do you have the
3 first page in front of you?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Who is listed under number 24 and number 25?
6 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] We have the wrong document on the
7 screen, on e-court. I'm not asking the witness anything about this list
8 right now. Could we have list A, please.
9 Q. Mr. Trkic, can you see that now?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The text to the left is in English, but you can recognise the
12 names in spite of that fact. Do you know the individuals listed under
13 numbers 24 and 25?
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. Did you say that they were with you in the garage?
16 A. No. I apologise. I don't know number 24, Raif Curic. I don't
17 know this person. But I also don't know Dzemal Causevic.
18 Q. So these persons were not in the garage with you. Very well. We
19 clarified that matter, because I wanted to know how those persons got to
20 Strimac [as interpreted].
21 You said the shooting commenced on the 18th of January at 6.00 in
22 the morning, and on that occasion the women were in the basement and the
23 men in the business premises above the office; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you spend the night in the basement or, rather, on the floor
1 above the basement?
2 A. No, we didn't spend the night there because we were taken to the
3 garage that day.
4 Q. I'm referring to the previous night, the night before the shooting
5 started. Did you spend that night in the house?
6 A. No, we didn't spend the entire night there. We were there, but we
7 went home and stayed there for a while and then we returned. So we were
8 there in the morning.
9 Q. Could you explain this? At night you would return home, and then
10 you'd come back to the house that you were staying in.
11 A. Yes. I went to my house in the course of the night, and my mother
12 and sister did so too. We returned to my house up until about 10.00 or
13 12.00 at night, and then when we returned to the house, that's where we
14 were when the shooting broke out in the morning, and we didn't leave the
15 house any more. We were captured.
16 Q. And tell me, did you spend the other days and previous nights in a
17 similar way in that house? Did you spend some time in the house and also
18 leave the house?
19 A. Well, yes. We spent most of our time in our houses. But as one
20 felt the situation changing, well, one acted on that basis, but we were
21 mostly in our houses. And then we'd go to this other house.
22 Q. Can you be precise? When did you start gathering in these four
23 houses in your village?
24 A. Well, I can't be precise. I know about the house or, rather, the
25 house that my mother and I were in. Three or four nights later on, well,
1 we'd go to the basement and then we'd return home. The shooting wasn't
2 very intensive at the time, so we weren't there all the time.
3 Q. So you spent three or four nights like that. Who decided in the
4 village that the population would take shelter in this manner, would take
5 shelter in these houses that had been selected as shelters?
6 A. Well, I don't know about the other houses. I know about the
7 situation in the case of my house, because my mother and father wanted to
8 go to the basement. They probably realised something was happening.
9 Q. Did you overhear any conversations about an attack being expected,
10 about it being necessary to prepare to defend the village?
11 A. No, I didn't hear anything of that kind. We just went up there
12 because my parents wanted to do so.
13 Q. Very well. After you'd been released from the garage, you said
14 that a while later you went to live with your sister in the village of
15 Vrse. Now, I quote you: You said it was because you didn't want to stay
16 on in your house because you didn't know whether a conflict would break
17 out. Is that what you said?
18 A. Yes, I went to my sister's. We all went to live there because we
19 weren't sure that a conflict wouldn't break out again.
20 Q. If you had decided to remain in your village, in your house, could
21 you have done so? There were no objective reasons preventing you from
22 acting in this way?
23 A. Well, perhaps if I had so decided, but ...
24 Q. Could you have, in fact, stayed on in your village and lived in
25 your house? Was it possible to live in that house?
1 A. Well, no, it wasn't possible since the shooting had broken out.
2 Q. Had the house been burnt down or not? That's the sense of my
3 question. When I ask you whether you could have lived in it had you
4 wanted to, that's what I had in mind.
5 A. Well, part of it caught fire but it hadn't burnt down entirely.
6 So perhaps it would have been possible to live in the house.
7 Q. In other words, the house was in such a condition that it would
8 have been possible to live in it if you had wanted do so?
9 A. Well, you could say so.
10 Q. You said in your testimony that about 10 HVO soldiers entered the
11 village, and they were escorting a man who was heading towards the house
12 you were in, and you mentioned the term "human shield." What does the
13 term -- or what does the expression "human shield" mean in your opinion?
14 A. Well, that's the conclusion I drew because the soldiers were
15 walking behind the man and the man was in front of them. He didn't have
16 any weapons and they were spurring him on. They were following him, so
17 that's how I put it, but I don't really know.
18 Q. Is that the conclusion that you drew or did you hear this from
19 other villagers? Did other villagers use this expression?
20 A. Well, that's how it looked like to me and that's what I said.
21 That's how I put it.
22 Q. So now that you think about this expression again, if you imagine
23 a person walking in front of 10 men, well, can such a person be a shield
24 for those men?
25 A. Well, no, but if the men behind him are armed and their rifles are
1 at the ready and if he doesn't have a rifle, well, that's how things
2 appeared to me, but I don't know.
3 Q. When the HVO soldiers entered the village, did anyone open fire
4 from any of the houses, any of the houses that the HVO soldiers were
6 A. As far as I can remember, no, there was no shooting.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions. Thank
8 you very much.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Alaburic.
10 Next Defence team.
11 MS. TOMASEGOVIC TOMIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
12 We have no questions.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 We have another Defence team. Mr. Ibrisimovic?
15 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no questions.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas?
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President and Your Honours. We have
18 no questions for this witness.
19 Thank you very much, sir.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Does the Prosecution
21 have any re-examination?
22 MS. GILLETT: Your Honour, no thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Sir, this completes your testimony. On behalf of the Judges, I
25 would like to thank you for having come here and having contributed to
1 establishing the truth. I wish you a safe trip home, and I will now ask
2 the usher to escort you out of the courtroom, and the Victims and
3 Witnesses Unit will then take care of you.
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, as far as tomorrow's
6 schedule is concerned, we'll be hearing a witness over a three-day period,
7 I think.
8 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour. The witness for the rest of the
9 week essentially will be the one starting tomorrow. So we are on
10 schedule, and that's the programme.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And as far as I can remember,
12 the Prosecution had planned on having four hours for the
13 examination-in-chief of this witness.
14 MR. SCOTT: I think that's right, Your Honour. It was something
15 that we thought would be reasonably doable, including cross-examination,
16 for the rest of the week. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We still have a little time at
18 our disposal. Are there any issues that anyone would like to raise?
19 Mr. Murphy.
20 MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Your Honour, yes. Just one matter very
21 briefly. We have to file tomorrow two responses to Prosecution motions
22 for the admission of evidence under Rule 92 bis. Your Honour, in both of
23 those cases the motions filed by the Prosecution exceeded the word limit
24 by a slight amount, not very much at all, and I think Mr. Scott and I take
25 the same position on that, that it's not our way to really object to those
1 things, but in the same vein we would like permission to exceed the word
2 limit by no more than 1 or 200 words in each case in order to fully
3 respond to the motion, and I would make a oral application. I don't think
4 there was an application by the Prosecution, but of course we would have
5 no objection whatsoever and we don't take any point on that. So I would
6 ask the Court to authorise us to slightly exceed the word limit on both of
7 those responses that will be filed tomorrow.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We'll grant your
10 request and you may have 200 words, up to 200 words.
11 MR. MURPHY: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Any other issues to be raised?
14 Tomorrow we will resume with our hearings, and as you're well
15 aware, we will commence at 2.15. I wish you a good evening.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.11 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 31st day
18 of October, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.