Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 25751

1 Thursday, 28 September 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.52 a.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.

7 Is the witness not hearing the interpretation? Will you take the

8 declaration, please.

9 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the

10 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

11 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take your seat. Mr. Kovacic, we'll

12 sit now until 20 past 11.00 and then we'll take our break.


14 [Witness answered through interpreter]

15 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.

16 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:

17 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Babic. Thank you for having

18 come here to testify. Could you please kindly repeat your name and

19 surname once again and your date and place of birth for the transcript,

20 please?

21 A. My name is Stipo Babic. I was born on the 30th of October, 1944

22 in Vitez.

23 Q. Mr. Babic, I'll ask you another thing. Please be careful, and

24 I'll try to do the same, to make a break between the questions and

25 answers. You and I understand each other, but the interpreters are trying

Page 25752

1 to follow what we are saying. You are married and you are the father of

2 two children; is that right?

3 A. Yes, that's right.

4 Q. Your children are grown up.

5 A. Yes, they are grown up.

6 Q. One of your children is your son, Vladica Babic.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. You are a Croat by ethnicity; that is right?

9 A. Yes, that's right.

10 Q. And you are a Roman Catholic.

11 A. Right.

12 Q. During the war in Bosnia in 1991, 1992, 1993, were you a member of

13 any party?

14 A. No, I was never a member of any party.

15 Q. Until the present day?

16 A. No, not until the present day.

17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak into the

18 microphone?

19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

20 Q. You are a private entrepreneur?

21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, we have a request from the interpreters

22 for the witness to speak into the microphone.

23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

24 Q. As for your education, you have a degree in engineering?

25 A. Yes, that's right. I am a technician for electronics and

Page 25753

1 television as well.

2 Q. Very well. I would like to ask you about what happened in Zenica

3 on the 15th of April, 1993 now. Just before the conflict broke out in

4 1993, between the HVO and the BH army, were you employed in Zenica?

5 A. Yes, for 20 years.

6 Q. Where did you work there?

7 A. I worked in a servicing station for the repair of household

8 appliances.

9 Q. Does that mean that every day you took a bus from Vitez to Zenica

10 to go to work?

11 A. Yes, that's right.

12 Q. Is that what you did on the 15th of April too?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. Did you have any information that day before you set out to work

15 that something significant could happen during the following days?

16 A. No.

17 Q. On the bus between Vitez and Zenica, were there other people like

18 you, commuters?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Did you know most of these people?

21 A. Well, 20 years we travelled together so we knew each other indeed.

22 Q. There were people from your town, is that right, who were ethnic

23 Muslims as well?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Did anybody else receive any kind of information that he would

Page 25754

1 have shared with the others?

2 A. No.

3 Q. Where was your son employed at the time?

4 A. My son was employed in the office for defence, for the reporting

5 and information -- in the reporting and information centre.

6 Q. His office was where?

7 A. In the post office building, in the basement.

8 Q. That is a service that existed from earlier on; is that right, in

9 the ex-Yugoslavia?

10 A. Yes. Yes.

11 Q. In view of his line of work, you had assumed that he perhaps had

12 better information, right?

13 A. Because of his line of work and because of all the information

14 that was coming in there, he could have known a lot of things.

15 Q. Did he tell you anything?

16 A. No, he did not.

17 Q. Nevertheless, Mr. Babic, at that time, is it correct that there

18 were already some tensions?

19 A. Yes. Yes, there were tensions.

20 Q. Can you tell us, in two or three words, why, in your opinion, were

21 there these tensions? What was the cause of the tensions that existed in

22 town?

23 A. When I talked to my friends of Bosniak ethnicity, we thought that

24 there was overpopulation. There were refugees who had fled from Western

25 Bosnia into Central Bosnia and stayed there.

Page 25755

1 Q. Tell me, Mr. Babic, did this wave of refugees bring about an

2 increase in the crime rate too?

3 A. Yes, that's right.

4 Q. During this process, were there also national extremists on both

5 sides at that?

6 A. Yes. Yes.

7 Q. However, when you came to Zenica that morning on the 15th, was the

8 situation normal there?

9 A. Well, usually we'd had a cup of coffee at the nearby cafe and then

10 we'd all go to our offices. The situation was normal, all the way up to

11 9.00.

12 Q. What happened then?

13 A. Around 9.00, we heard a piece of information. We had not been in

14 Zenica before, so it is only then that we found out that Zivko Totic, the

15 HVO commander, had been abducted and that his escorts had been killed and

16 that there was a blockade in town at various crossroads. There were

17 checkpoints. They were checking people and vehicles who would pass.

18 Q. What did you try to do then?

19 A. We continued to work. And we were all a bit panic-stricken, both

20 we and the Bosniaks.

21 Q. Did you contact your other colleagues?

22 A. Yes. Yes. I called the driver. He lives in the municipality of

23 Travnik. He's our bus driver. We all knew each other very well. I asked

24 him when we could take the first bus back. We were afraid that something

25 might happen. He said that he would be leaving around 12.30 or 1.00. I

Page 25756

1 cannot remember exactly. That would be the first bus back. Then a

2 Bosniak friend of mine came, a doctor, a physician. He also wanted us to

3 go back home, to take the first bus home.

4 Then indeed we did take that bus, and we were leaving town, and we

5 wanted to get onto the highway, but we could not. The police made us go

6 back.

7 Q. During the course of the morning, did you find out that all points

8 of exit were blocked from town, not only the one that you wanted to take?

9 A. Primarily all of those leading to the Lasva Valley.

10 Q. What did you do then?

11 A. My friend from work, this Bosniak colleague of mine, and I were

12 talking, and he offered me his father's apartment, because his father

13 lived at the seaside. He offered me his father's apartment, and he said,

14 "Why don't you stay at my place until the situation calms down?" Because

15 we thought that perhaps by the next day we could go back.

16 Q. Was it your assessment that this could go on for a day or two,

17 these incidents, and that then things would go back to normal?

18 A. Yes. I was hoping. I was sincerely hoping that I could go home

19 on the next day.

20 Q. So you spent the night at that apartment?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Did anybody else join you at the apartment?

23 A. The driver also spent the night there with me. He's from the

24 municipality of Travnik. That bus goes from Travnik to Zenica, actually.

25 He had no place to stay either.

Page 25757

1 He asked me where I would be spending the night, and I told him

2 that I got the key to an apartment from a colleague from work. And then

3 this friend, this doctor from Vitez, came up and said that he had no place

4 to stay either, and I asked my colleague whether he could be put up at the

5 apartment as well. Then I asked my colleague, and my colleague said,

6 "Well, I gave the key to the apartment to you, and you can take in

7 whoever you want." So that is how all three of us came to stay at the

8 apartment.

9 Q. The doctor that you mentioned, what's his name?

10 A. Dzemil Cerimovic is his name.

11 Q. He's a Bosniak; right?

12 A. Yes, that's right.

13 Q. What about the driver?

14 A. The driver's name is Niko Marincic.

15 Q. And he is an ethnic --

16 A. Croat.

17 Q. So the three of you were staying at that apartment then; right?

18 A. Yes, that's right.

19 Q. Let's now go back to this again, so let me put another question to

20 you with regard to these attempts to leave town. Who was in charge of

21 these checkpoints that you saw?

22 A. The checkpoints in town were guarded by the civilian police.

23 Q. Was there visible presence of the BH army in the street?

24 A. No. I did not see anything like that.

25 Q. On the next morning, the 16th of April, what did you find out?

Page 25758

1 What did you find out and how did you find out about the events in Vitez?

2 A. I came to work and I phoned my home. Then I heard from my wife

3 that there was fighting in Vitez, that Vitez had been shelled, that there

4 was general commotion.

5 Q. Did you manage to reach her by telephone early in the morning?

6 A. Yes. Yes. I come to work at 7.00.

7 Q. And you phoned as soon as you came to work.

8 A. Yes, that's right.

9 Q. And that is when you received this initial information from your

10 wife.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Did you check again what the situation was with the traffic in

13 Zenica and whether there was any possibility of you to go back home?

14 A. Every morning we would meet, the driver, the doctor and I. We

15 would have a cup of coffee, then we'd go back to our places of work then

16 we'd come back again. Not much work was being done actually. Buses were

17 not operating. We, the service people, could not walk about town. We

18 spent most of the time at our repair shop and we talked all the time about

19 what we could do.

20 Q. Can we say that you had a small private Crisis Staff of your own

21 so that you could figure out how to go home?

22 A. We met every morning, the three of us, and we talked to our

23 colleagues from work. We worked nearby, practically next door to one

24 another.

25 Q. What was the atmosphere like in town, these people who you were in

Page 25759

1 contact with?

2 A. The situation was tense, and people did not really feel very

3 good.

4 Q. Was there fear among the people?

5 A. Yes, there was.

6 Q. Is it correct that a certain number of Croats and also some other

7 people, Serbs, were then taken to the music school that was then under the

8 control of the Muslim armed forces?

9 A. People talked about the music school even before the 16th of April

10 and that conflict that broke out, and also during the conflict they talked

11 about it. So we Croats or Serbs, we did not really find it very

12 comfortable to move about town on our own. We really wanted to be with

13 someone who could protect us. I worked in Zenica for 20 years and I knew

14 practically half of the population of Zenica.

15 Q. Did you find out -- did you hear about the number of people who

16 were being taken to the music school being increased?

17 A. Well, you would just hear that this person was taken away, that

18 that person was taken away. And then when the war was over, and then when

19 we would meet, people who knew each other from Zenica, I heard about some

20 of my friends and acquaintances and also a colleague of mine, professional

21 colleague. He still lives in Busovaca.

22 Q. The following days after the 16th of April, did you still have

23 information as to what was going on in Vitez and how your family was

24 doing?

25 A. I phoned every day. And then perhaps two or three days later, I

Page 25760

1 found out that my son was wounded when the post office in the centre was

2 shelled. Then I tried to get to Vitez.

3 Q. And again, you did not succeed?

4 A. No, I did not. Although I went to the Red Cross, and although I

5 tried to talk to people I know and all that.

6 Q. So you remained in Zenica.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Against your own will?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Mr. Babic, did you see Dr. Mujezinovic's denial on television when

11 they said that he had not been killed?

12 A. When we heard that piece of information, I did not believe at

13 first. Dr. Cerimovic talked about it and I said that I did not believe

14 that something like that had happened because Dr. Mujezinovic was well

15 liked in Vitez, among the citizens of both ethnicities. In my personal

16 opinion, and my personal judgement, I think he had even more Croat friends

17 than Muslims and when I heard this piece of information I could hardly

18 believe it. It was denied on that very same day or the next day at around

19 3.00 p.m., he spoke live and he said it was not true, that he was alive.

20 Q. Did you personally see him appear on television as well?

21 A. On television, I cannot remember. I don't know.

22 Q. So you only heard him on radio?

23 A. Yes. Yes.

24 Q. Did you comment on that with your colleagues who you lived with?

25 A. Yes. Yes. So what we had been saying all along was true. We did

Page 25761

1 not want to believe the many lies that were going around, the many

2 falsehoods that were going around.

3 Q. Did this help you find out at least part of the truth?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Mr. Babic, until when did you then remain in Zenica? When did you

6 manage to go home from Zenica?

7 A. I left Zenica on the 1st of May.

8 Q. How did you manage to return from Zenica to Vitez?

9 A. I came with the help of UNPROFOR. Thanks to a young man from

10 Vitez who was an interpreter, and thanks to the kindness of a young man

11 from this state here.

12 Q. So you went back to Vitez on an UNPROFOR vehicle?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Even before you left, did you find out anything about shelling and

15 about BH army attacks on some of the villages around Zenica?

16 A. Yes. One morning, around 5.00, we were awakened by explosions. I

17 don't know if it was the 17th or the 18th, I can't remember exactly, but

18 we were awakened by explosions and shooting. How should I put this?

19 These were anti-aircraft guns that were firing. When we got up, we went

20 to our places of work. A friend of mine who was a doctor, he often went

21 to the 3rd Corps. He knew someone there. I didn't want to ask him

22 immediately. I don't know. I wasn't interested in every single bit of

23 information.

24 When I asked him what was going on he explained to me that there

25 was some fighting around the villages and that it would go on until 12.00

Page 25762

1 and then it would stop.

2 Q. Did it stop around noon?

3 A. No, only around noon the next day.

4 Q. And finally, what did you find out, what was going on?

5 A. I found out in the afternoon. A colleague of mine, a worker who

6 worked in the same shop as mine, his father came. They lived in town and

7 they had a grandfather who lived in the country, in the village of

8 Zmajevac, Zmajevac, I think that's the name. And he came and he said that

9 they had been expelled up there and that their grandfather had been

10 killed, Vidovic is their last name.

11 Q. These were Croat villages around Zenica; is that right?

12 A. Yes, villages predominantly populated by Croats.

13 Q. Were the people who had committed that identified?

14 A. Well, people usually talked about the MOS.

15 Q. Were the Mujahedin mentioned?

16 A. Yes. Yes. The Mujahedin were usually in these units.

17 Q. When you use the term "MOS," what do you personally mean by that?

18 A. I mean the Muslim liberation forces.

19 Q. As a citizen, did you distinguish between that group and the

20 BH army?

21 A. One could distinguish between the two because they never wore any

22 caps on their heads or berets. They had that green thing on their heads,

23 with some kind of Arabic letters.

24 Q. Do you know what their relationship was with the BH army?

25 A. I don't know. However, I think that they were more powerful than

Page 25763

1 the others.

2 Q. However, you have no concrete knowledge about this?

3 A. No, I don't.

4 Q. This friend of yours, did he specifically say what happened to his

5 grandfather in this village not far away from Zenica?

6 A. His father came -- I mean, my colleague's father came and said

7 that the man who had been killed was 88 years old. He started to cry. He

8 was a man of my age, and I tried to comfort him. And he said, "It's not

9 that I mind that much that he was killed, but then they spilled petrol all

10 over him and they tried to burn him."

11 Q. Thank you.

12 JUDGE MAY: These are reports very much at secondhand, and there

13 comes a limit to what the Trial Chamber can accept.

14 MR. KOVACIC: I expect that, Your Honour, but the witness, if I

15 noticed correctly, mentioned exactly the person who told him, who told him

16 about that story. That was his closest work -- associates from work.

17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I have it, but the matter is thirdhand. I know

18 that we've had much similar evidence, but I question how useful it is.

19 However, I'm not stopping you giving it.

20 Now, shall we go on with what happened to the witness?

21 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, perhaps just one question with that,

22 since you raise it, and then we are done with that.

23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Babic, in relation to this particular event

24 pertaining to your friend's grandfather, you told us about this briefly

25 now, and you heard about it directly from your friend; is that right?

Page 25764

1 A. Yes. From his grandson, who worked with me, and from his father

2 too.

3 Q. What is your colleague's name?

4 A. Branislav Vidovic.

5 Q. Do you remember his father's name, his father who told the story?

6 A. Zdravko Vidovic.

7 Q. Did you know these people?

8 A. Very well.

9 Q. Do they live in Zenica until the present day?

10 A. Zdravko lives in Zenica and Branislav lives in Omes, in the

11 Republic of Croatia.

12 Q. Thank you. What was your impression afterwards when you talked to

13 your family upon returning and when you talked to other people?

14 A. Well, I heard who had been killed, what had happened, what was

15 shelled. My son was still wounded; his arm was injured. That was it. I

16 was so depressed I could not believe all of that.

17 Q. Were you given some kind of assignment, duty? Were you

18 mobilised?

19 A. No. I had not been mobilised yet. I was at home. I was free.

20 Q. And where were you mobilised then?

21 A. I was mobilised sometime in July to the work platoon.

22 Q. Mr. Babic, this mobilisation into the work platoon, was this

23 something new to you or as a citizen of the former Yugoslavia, did you

24 have that kind of duty, that kind of obligation before the war in Bosnia

25 as well?

Page 25765

1 A. Well, it depends on a person's age. Mobilisation stops at a given

2 age, depending on these military war assignments. Then when people get

3 older, they are transferred practically to the civilian defence, to these

4 work platoons, et cetera.

5 Q. So this was not news to you that you would be on this work

6 platoon?

7 A. No, it was not. That was in line with the regulations of the

8 former Yugoslavia.

9 Q. So from that July, when you told us that it happened, until when

10 did you join the work platoons or the civilian defence?

11 A. Sometime until the end of October.

12 Q. And after that, you were not summoned again?

13 A. After that, I was summoned to the Vitez Brigade to maintain their

14 technical materiel. That is, I was just a technical person. It was

15 called a Technical Platoon, and I didn't have a uniform or anything.

16 Q. So what did you do in the brigade then?

17 A. Well, to maintain the gear, we repaired radio transistors so that

18 soldiers could listen to the news on one of the front line and so on and

19 so forth.

20 Q. So you were a kind of specialised member of that brigade?

21 A. Yes, that was a specialised technical platoon.

22 Q. Mr. Babic, at the time when you took part in labour platoons, did

23 you ever go to dig trenches at Bobasi?

24 A. Yes, on most occasions.

25 Q. And during that digging, did you ever work together with the

Page 25766

1 labour platoon Sofa?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And who were its members?

4 A. They were more -- What do you call them? -- guys, lads, men of

5 Romany origin.

6 Q. And where did most of them live? Where were they concentrated?

7 A. They lived at the entrance into Kruscica, between Kruscica and

8 Sofa. They still live there.

9 Q. And during the digging of those trenches with your labour platoon,

10 did you ever -- were you ever deliberately exposed to an increased danger?

11 A. No, never. We always tried to be safer, and the trenches were

12 usually dug in the rear when the new front line would be established.

13 After an attack on the BH army, some of our units would retreat. Where

14 they come to a stop, that is where we then dig trenches so that people can

15 take shelter.

16 Q. Did you ever dig at night?

17 A. We only dug at night. It was at night as a rule. At night as a

18 rule.

19 Q. And what about other labour platoons? What was their ethnical

20 make-up at the time when you started in July? Could you tell us what was

21 the ethnic structure of those platoons?

22 A. At that time, at that time when I went out to dig, most were aged

23 50 onwards, and there were some Bosniaks, there were Romany, there were

24 people of Serb ethnicity. They were all mixed.

25 Q. Very well. Thank you. During your work with that labour platoon,

Page 25767

1 you went to different places. Did you, by moving around, learn, did you

2 acquire a certain idea about the state of defence, about the state of the

3 army, those front lines?

4 A. Well, in principle -- I mean, I was desolate that the war had

5 broken out. That is number one. Number two, our guys, our boys who were

6 on the front line because they were accessible to me, others were not,

7 more than half of them were wearing civilian clothes and they were not

8 uniformed. So you can't say they were soldiers. They were in civilian

9 clothes. So on a number of occasions, since it was autumn and rain, I

10 would give them my sheepskin so that they could protect themselves.

11 Q. Did you see killed soldiers and wounded soldiers along those front

12 lines?

13 A. Well, not at the time when we dug the trenches, but as for the

14 killed and wounded, I know quite a number of them, because it so happens

15 that my house is across from the cemetery, and the graves were dug at

16 night. When we did not dig up there, then we did it down there, because

17 we do not have any undertakers or somebody. So it was usually friends or

18 acquaintances who would -- who would dig there. And I was often there to

19 help dig out the graves.

20 Q. Was that another of your labour duties or did you consider it your

21 civil duty?

22 A. That was my civil duty.

23 Q. That nobody told you to go do that?

24 A. No.

25 Q. And there was also this -- that is a tradition there, that you --

Page 25768

1 A. Yes. You always lend a hand on such occasions.

2 Q. But then as the war went on, is it true that the labour platoons

3 had to be replenished with people of even more advanced age, above the

4 prescribed limit?

5 A. Well, yes. Yes, but not so much.

6 Q. You were never moved from the civil defence into the trench?

7 A. No, I wasn't.

8 Q. In principle, if there is a trench near a village, then where

9 would the members in that trench come from?

10 A. Well, usually from the nearest houses next to the front line. If

11 they could just replenish it to the strength. If not, then they would

12 bring them from other villages where there was a smaller front line, where

13 there was -- where the need to defend was lesser.

14 Q. And did you ever see that front line soldiers would get some time

15 off now and then so they could go home, wash, and get rest?

16 A. Yes. They would spend two days on the front line and then go for

17 24 hours back home. But if the situation was extraordinary, then

18 sometimes they wouldn't come for seven days at a stretch.

19 Q. Did you then happen to see what happened to the weapons on such

20 occasions?

21 A. Weapons were left at the front line. It was very seldom that

22 somebody took them back home.

23 Q. And during those couple of months when you went to those areas

24 where there were trenches directly on the front line, what did you think

25 about the state of armament of the HVO?

Page 25769

1 A. Well, as far as I can say, because I'm not really an expert in

2 these matters, I saw different rifles of the type that I saw in the army

3 when I -- that I did not see in the army when I served in it in 1963,

4 1964. That is, some were quite dated, some were called Sokac and some

5 were called Pop, and all sorts of other rifles.

6 Q. Mr. Babic, could one see more modern weapons frequently or was it

7 an exception?

8 A. No. No. No. Not in the units that I was with. We did not see

9 them.

10 Q. And as you walked around the front lines, did you ever come to --

11 did you ever acquire a feeling whether they had enough ammunition?

12 A. Well, I knew quite a lot of people, bearing in mind my job, and I

13 know that many of them complained that they did not have enough munitions,

14 and they were quite anxious because of that.

15 Q. And how were they fed?

16 A. They were fed in all sorts of ways. Sometimes their wives would

17 prepare a few meals and send them to the front line and there were also

18 some kitchens, but they fell below the needs.

19 Q. And now I should like to ask you to help us with one event. You

20 had a sister, didn't you?

21 A. I did, one.

22 Q. Where did they live?

23 A. She lived in Kruscica next to the Ribnjak Motel.

24 Q. So that is the upper part of the village, isn't it?

25 A. Yes. It is the upper part of the village, about three kilometres

Page 25770













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Page 25771

1 from the town.

2 Q. And you could say that is the end of the village.

3 A. The end of the village.

4 Q. And in that part of the village, who was -- who constituted the

5 majority?

6 A. The Bosniaks.

7 Q. But there were also a couple of Croat houses; that is correct?

8 A. It is.

9 Q. And what happened to your sister when the war broke out?

10 A. When the war broke out, she was captured and taken away with two

11 small children and her husband to the school in Kruscica.

12 Q. And how long was she kept there?

13 A. According to her, she spent there a few days and she was brought

14 back from the school when she was found there by members of the Red

15 Cross. They ordered them to take her back home because her children were

16 small. So they took her back home and then assigned police or some

17 soldiers to guard them, and they were practically under house arrest for

18 some 25 or 26 days. I wouldn't know to a day.

19 Q. And what happened to her husband?

20 A. Her husband was with her all the time.

21 Q. Did your sister or your brother-in-law tell you anything? Had

22 they been given an explanation by the adversary side which had captured

23 them why had they detained them in the school and then at home?

24 A. Yes. They explained them because they were good acquaintances,

25 and my brother-in-law played football with quite a number of his Bosniak

Page 25772

1 friends. And they told them they had to take them away in order protect

2 them from other soldiers who had arrived from Krajina and other places who

3 had been brought there to that place.

4 Q. In view of your place of residence, Mr. Babic, do you know if

5 there is a mosque in Kruscica?

6 A. There is.

7 Q. Does that mosque have a minaret?

8 A. It does. I think two or three -- no, I'm sure about two. I'm not

9 sure about the third one.

10 Q. Do you remember when was this minaret built?

11 A. Well, the mosque was -- the mosque could have been built in the

12 1980s, I think. In 1980s, I think, because it is quite new.

13 Q. Is it still there after the war?

14 A. Yes, it is still there.

15 Q. Did you see it being destroyed during the war?

16 A. No, it was never even hit because one can see it from Bobasi

17 rather well.

18 Q. Very well. Mr. Babic, now just a minor topic. You are related to

19 Mario Cerkez.

20 A. Yes, we are distant relatives.

21 Q. And how long have you known him?

22 A. I've known him since my childhood.

23 Q. And what do you think of him? What kind of a character does he

24 have?

25 A. He is a very mild, moderate person, well-poised, not

Page 25773

1 incident-prone, not quarrelsome, a chessman, very fond of chess.

2 Q. Very well. Did you ever see any ethnic bias, did he ever show any

3 discrimination? Did he ever try to place his own ethnic origin above

4 others?

5 A. No, come.

6 Q. Or his parents, in his parental home, was there any such action?

7 A. No his parents are very -- believers, are true believers.

8 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, since you gave us homework recently, if

9 I may say so, I checked with that witness, because he is coming basically

10 from this area, and he is able to show us the location of mountain lodge

11 on Zabrdje. So perhaps we can use him because he grew up in that area.

12 The witness showed it on my map, but I think it is probably better on map

13 Z2271 which we are using lately.

14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's put on the ELMO.

15 MR. KOVACIC: And there may be a need for orientation, we can also

16 give the witness this map where he showed it to me.

17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Babic, I will ask you now, as a local man, to

18 show us where is that lodge at Zabrdje about which I asked you some

19 questions.

20 Mr. Babic, perhaps it would be easier for you to look at the map

21 proper and then used pointer.

22 A. Can't do it on this map because you can't see the village of

23 Zaselje here.

24 Q. Will you then look at this one.

25 A. So this is Zaselje, the village, and here --

Page 25774

1 Q. Please use the pointer, the pointer to show us on the ELMO,

2 because if you are showing it on the monitor, we cannot see where you are

3 indicating.

4 A. This is the hill feature 96 something PD. Where you have PD means

5 "planinarski dom", mountaineer's lodge.

6 Q. That is a plateau of some kind?

7 A. Well, yes, this is about 1.060 metres. It is a clearing. There

8 are no trees there.

9 Q. And could you then show us where are all those weekend cottages?

10 A. They are below it, below the lodge. It could be some two

11 kilometres square. Again, a clearing -- it's pine wood around it, but

12 there, there are no trees and that's where the Vitezians, people from

13 Vitez made their cottages. And there must have been a couple thousand of

14 them, and we often went there even for outings, weekends and so on and so

15 forth.

16 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no

17 further questions.

18 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

19 Mr. Kordic's Defence has no questions. Thank you.

20 Cross-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:

21 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Babic. You did not tell us

22 exactly where you live in Vitez. Could you please be more specific?

23 A. I live in Vitez on Hrvatske Mladezi street number 18.

24 Q. Could you tell us, what part of Vitez is it? Is it the centre, is

25 it near Rijeka or Kruscica or where?

Page 25775

1 A. It is when you take the right-hand road towards Kruscica at the

2 beginning, some 50 metres.

3 Q. And administratively speaking, your house makes part of Kruscica,

4 does it?

5 A. Well, in some documents you will find Podgradina and others you

6 will find Kruscica because it's right on the boundary. So it's either

7 Kruscica or Podgradina.

8 Q. Very well. Because since we are talking, you are into geography,

9 you said something. You spoke about Zabrdzje, and Zabrdzje is higher up.

10 It's on a hill, isn't it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And you will also agree that from that hill, one can easily see

13 the SPS factory?

14 A. Perhaps from one particular spot on Zabrdzje but not from all,

15 because you have their clearings and woods.

16 Q. But would you agree with me that this Zabrdzje feature could be

17 considered a strategical point from a military point of view?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you. You told us that you had two children, I believe, two

20 sons, and that the first name of one of them is Vladica.

21 A. I have a son and a daughter, and, yes, that son's name is Vladica.

22 Q. And your son, Vladica, was born in 1966?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. 31st of July, 1966?

25 A. Yes.

Page 25776

1 Q. Thank you. You told us that he worked for the defence office in

2 Vitez, and you called it the reporting and information centre, and I

3 didn't really understand what he was doing there. Could you please tell

4 us what is it that he did?

5 A. The centre for reporting and monitoring information existed in the

6 former Yugoslavia, and he was to work there after he'd done his military

7 service. What do they do? Well, you know what it means, monitor and

8 reporting. They're following weather conditions, movements of air force

9 in case of attack, because we had been bombed by the Yugoslav army. So

10 they will alert. They will sound off the alarm so that people can get to

11 shelters and things like that.

12 Q. But that is a service which depends on the defence. It was parted

13 of the defence office.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And your son, was your son a military man in April 1993?

16 A. He went to work, to his place of work, every morning. He -- no,

17 he was not a military, strictly speaking, but he could be called up any

18 time, of course, and placed under military command.

19 Q. Was he a reservist?

20 A. Well, he had served the army, the former Yugoslav army, and all

21 those who served it get their assignments as a reservist.

22 Q. Thank you. You told us that he was wounded in April.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Will you -- could you describe to us briefly the circumstances

25 under which that happened?

Page 25777

1 A. He was wounded in the cellar, because his office is in the cellar

2 of the PTT office in Vitez, and that is a basement, actually, because its

3 windows are aboveground. And they are --

4 Q. No. Could you cut it shorter, please? Could you cut it shorter?

5 A. Well, they are about 30 centimetres high. And those windows faced

6 Vjetrenica, towards Vjetrenica. And a tank grenade hit the centre because

7 the BH army wanted to destroy the centre, and it hit above the windows,

8 the -- well, you know, that concrete slab of the basement, and it was

9 activated there so that the whole window was destroyed, and the shrapnel

10 penetrated into that basement and he was, yes, wounded in the arm.

11 Q. And it was on what day?

12 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is showing that he's not getting the

13 interpretation.

14 A. I think that it was the second or the third day after the outbreak

15 of hostilities, that is, after the 16th.

16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

17 Q. You told us that you were in Zenica when the conflict was going on

18 at Vitez, and you stayed in Zenica until the 1st of May.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. It was a Muslim friend that took you in his house at that time?

21 A. To his father's apartment.

22 Q. During this stay in Zenica, between the 15th of April and the

23 1st of May, were you yourself an object of violence, abuse, attack by

24 Muslims while you were a reservist?

25 A. While I was staying in Zenica, no, I did not have problems,

Page 25778

1 because I had a number of Muslim friends and I was moving about quite a

2 bit in their company.

3 Q. You told us that many people were arrested, taken to the music

4 school. Did you see yourself these captures or you only heard about

5 them?

6 A. I only heard of them.

7 Q. You told us that while you were at Zenica, you were able to call

8 every day your wife at Vitez.

9 A. Yes. And after I came back to Vitez, I was still in contact with

10 the friends where I worked, and we had frequent contacts until the

11 communications were cut off.

12 Q. Between the 16th of April and the 1st of May, 1993, the telephone

13 was functioning normally between Vitez and Zenica?

14 A. Can you repeat that? What dates?

15 Q. April 1993 and the 1st of May.

16 A. Oh, yes. The phone lines worked regularly.

17 Q. You were at Zenica on the 19th of April?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. In which part of Zenica were you staying?

20 A. A part of town that they call Papirna.

21 Q. Is it far from the town centre?

22 A. This is about 100 metres from the railroad station, and the centre

23 of town could be about 800 metres away.

24 Q. Where were you when the town was shelled on the 19th of April?

25 A. I was on a boulevard. As far as I remember, that was around

Page 25779

1 11.30. It was in front of the Cijevac service. I went to see a friend

2 with whom -- a colleague, and I took shelter at his place when the

3 shelling started.

4 Q. Were you personally a witness of this shelling?

5 A. I did not see it, but I felt it quite well.

6 Q. You came back to Vitez after the 1st of May and sometime later you

7 were assigned to a working platoon. That is what you told us. And you

8 told us that you started to work in that platoon after July 1993. Are you

9 sure of that date?

10 A. It was approximately around that time.

11 Q. I would like to show you a document. It is a new document,

12 Z1207.3.

13 Could you please look up at page 2. On the right-hand side there

14 is a list of names. There are exactly 20 names on the list, and number

15 20 is the name of Stipo Babic, 40 Rijeka Platoon. Is this your name that

16 we see on the list?

17 A. It is possible.

18 Q. Do you recognise the names of other people as being those people

19 you worked with at the time?

20 A. I know, for instance, number 18, Franjo Nuk; also number 19, Marko

21 Cerkez.

22 Q. Very well. This document is dated the 20th of September, 1993,

23 which means it was written later, after the time when you worked. You

24 worked there in July. Could you explain the difference in these two

25 dates?

Page 25780

1 A. I don't know at all how this document was compiled, because we

2 never signed in anywhere. I don't know who was keeping these records.

3 JUDGE MAY: I thought his evidence was that he was in the work

4 platoon between July and October. So it would have been at the time of

5 this --

6 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. Your Honour, this

7 was quite right what you are saying, but when we see the way in which

8 these -- this document was compiled, we have the feeling that these people

9 have just started working in platoon for the first time.

10 Q. Could you just give us a bit more clarification. How were you

11 told to go to platoon? Did people come to you in the morning and tell you

12 to go and take you to work?

13 A. No. Usually we did not go every day to dig trenches. We would go

14 when the front line would move. That is, when there would be an attack

15 and the line was moved by 100 metres, let's say, then they would come to

16 collect us towards the end of the day.

17 Q. Who came for you and who would drive you to the front lines, the

18 military?

19 A. No. These were civilians who were assigned to that. They were

20 part of the civilian defence or protection.

21 Q. On the document that we see here, it is indicated that the people

22 who were mobilised on that particular day, on the 20th of September, were

23 grouped in front of the building of the civilian protection and they were

24 brought there by the members of the police of the Vitez Brigade.

25 A. No.

Page 25781

1 Q. Do you know whether there were working platoons in April 1993?

2 A. I heard from the friends who had dug trenches that they did dig.

3 Q. And do you know who were the people who were making up these

4 platoons? Were the Muslims amongst them?

5 A. When I dug, there were Muslims with me.

6 Q. I'm speaking about April.

7 A. I don't know that.

8 Q. You told us later on about the events concerning your sister. You

9 told us that your sister lived at Kruscica. Near the house of your sister

10 at Kruscica, there was the Plavac Motel and there was a building called

11 Ribnjak, and these two buildings were HVO buildings.

12 A. From what I know, before the conflict started, Plavac was used by

13 the HVO and Ribnjak was used by the ABiH, and my sister lived near the

14 Ribnjak building, and Plavac was a little farther away.

15 Q. You are telling us that there were at Plavac motel HVO soldiers.

16 We agree on that.

17 A. Before the conflict started. This is all from what I know. There

18 were shifts up there which would go up to Mount Vlasic to the defence line

19 facing the Serbs. And they would stay there, I don't know, perhaps seven

20 days. The shift would then come back, and then they would be free. They

21 would go back to their jobs. Then whenever they would be called up again,

22 they would go up there. So that was not a barracks.

23 Q. Your sister told you what had happened to her. You were not there

24 when it happened.

25 A. No.

Page 25782

1 Q. Did she tell you that after five days at that school, she was

2 transferred into a house and that she stayed there? Did she tell you that

3 she was authorised to sleep in her own house during that period of time?

4 A. Yes. Because at first, they were all in one house, there was

5 several of them. And they couldn't -- it was -- there wasn't enough

6 space. They couldn't stay there. And because a number of policemen knew

7 me and they knew that she was my sister, so she transferred her and her

8 family, her husband, to that house and they gave her protection.

9 Q. I would like to show you a document.

10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do not think

11 that it is necessary to put it on the ELMO because the name of his sister

12 is there, but I would simply like to show it to this witness so that he

13 can confirm that this is his sister. It's document 163.3 [as

14 interpreted].

15 THE INTERPRETER: 1468.3. The interpreter corrects it.

16 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

17 Q. Mr. Babic, please do not tell us the name of your sister. She's a

18 married woman. Could you please tell us whether this document refers to

19 her?

20 A. It refers to her, but it is only that Kruscica refers to her date

21 of birth, that is correct, but not the residence.

22 Q. This document was drawn up by the ICRC on the 6th of July, 1995;

23 do you agree with me? And it is indicated that your sister was freed on

24 the 1st of May, 1993?

25 A. That is not correct. My sister was released on the 11th or 12th

Page 25783

1 of May that year. She was up there for about 24 to 25 days. I arrived

2 from Zenica on 1 May, and then I tried whatever I could.

3 Q. So there is an error in this document. The date of the liberation

4 of your sister is not exact.

5 A. It is not correct.

6 Q. You told us at the end of your deposition here that there was a

7 particular point in your -- mentioned in the summary of your declaration

8 and it is not mentioned here. You speak about Mario Cerkez. You say he

9 never was a member of the HDZ or he never had anything to do with

10 politics. You did not speak about it today. Could you explain this to

11 us?

12 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I object. Something is wrong. That is

13 not in the proofing. What document are we talking about?

14 JUDGE MAY: The summary says, the final sentence, number five --

15 just a moment, just a moment. "He was never a member of the HDZ and

16 neither was he politically active." That is the translation that we

17 have.

18 MR. KOVACIC: I apologise. I though that summary filed earlier to

19 the Court which was used earlier, that is a subject.

20 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry, what is the point?

21 MR. KOVACIC: Yesterday we have seen, or day before yesterday, the

22 Prosecution was using the summaries which we filed earlier according to

23 your order when we put the witnesses on the list, so I thought that that

24 is the summary the Prosecution is mentioning. I'm sorry.

25 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Babic, this is the document we have, there's

Page 25784

1 summary of what your evidence was. This is what it says, that Mr. Cerkez

2 was never a member of the HDZ and was not politically active. Is that

3 right?

4 A. Your Honour, from what I know, he was not an HDZ member.

5 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

6 Q. You told us, Mr. Babic, that you, yourself, were not politically

7 active and that you were not a member of any party, in particular, not a

8 member of the HDZ.

9 A. I was never a member of any political party or faction.

10 Q. How can, under the circumstances, you affirm that Mr. Cerkez was

11 not a member of the HDZ as you yourself were not a member of it?

12 A. In conversations with him, we sort of knew who was in which

13 party. This person was in that party, this one was in this party, but I

14 was not aware of him being in any party. And I'm referring to the period

15 before the outbreak of war. I don't know about what happened

16 subsequently.

17 Q. When you're speaking about the beginning of the war, which year do

18 you mean, 1992?

19 A. No, no. The period up to 16 April 1993.

20 Q. So you are telling us that as far as you know, before the 16th of

21 April, 1993, Mr. Cerkez did not belong to the HDZ, but after that

22 particular date you do not know?

23 A. Yes. From what I know, that is about right, because I was often

24 in touch with his father and so on.

25 Q. Thank you.

Page 25785

1 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no more

2 questions for this witness.

3 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may just, two or three short

4 questions.

5 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

6 Q. Mr. Babic, the centre for information and monitoring was

7 mentioned, where your son worked. You are a native of Vitez. Could you

8 tell me when the new post office was built, the one across from the new

9 hotel.

10 A. The new post office building.

11 Q. Just approximately.

12 A. About the mid 1980s.

13 Q. So you mean in the mid 1980s?

14 A. Yes. 1985 or thereabouts.

15 Q. Do you know whether that building, when it was built, that it also

16 housed -- whether it also housed that centre from the outset?

17 A. No. I think that originally they were in the basement of the

18 municipal building and then later on they moved to the basement of the

19 post office building.

20 Q. In your recollection, was this a long time before the break-up of

21 Yugoslavia and the beginning of this wretched war?

22 A. My son started working there after he came back from the army. So

23 that would have been before 1990s.

24 Q. Thank you. Were you quite familiar with the structure of the

25 civilian authorities? And on the basis of that, can you say what part of

Page 25786

1 which department was this centre?

2 A. It was exclusively a part of the defence department.

3 Q. Thank you. Do you remember who was the head of this centre in the

4 period immediately before the war?

5 A. I believe -- they kept changing. I think that it was Dragan

6 Stojak.

7 Q. The report --

8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] And I could please ask the usher's

9 assistance to place before the witness document Z1207.3. We had it

10 displayed before.

11 Q. Would you please look at the names of your work platoon. It

12 starts on the first page of the document. That is the Rijeka work

13 platoon. Is that the unit that you belonged to? Then this continues on

14 on the second page.

15 A. No, that was not it, because for instance, this man, Dragan

16 Grabovac, Hasan Zukic, this man Junuzovic was there, and Vlado Nuk was

17 there.

18 Q. Very well. Mr. Babic, I have just a couple of questions. These

19 work platoons did not have the same composition?

20 A. No.

21 Q. So they would be put together based on the need?

22 A. Yes. Whoever was available, whoever was at home, would be picked

23 up and taken there.

24 Q. Now, you know most of these people on this list of 20 names. Can

25 you look at this and tell us, for instance, the person under number 11?

Page 25787

1 A. You mean the Rijeka work unit?

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. I don't know this man, but based on the name, I could -- I assume

4 it was a Muslim.

5 Q. How about 13?

6 A. Tuco is a Muslim name.

7 Q. How about 14?

8 A. Fourteen? He's a Muslim. He currently lives in the States.

9 Q. How about the rest?

10 A. You mean page 2?

11 Q. Both page 1 and 2. This whole work platoon.

12 A. When you look at, for instance, the Sofa work platoon --

13 Q. No, no, no. Just the Rijeka work unit.

14 A. All the rest of them are ethnic Croats.

15 Q. Thank you. One question about the party affiliation. Do you know

16 whether Mr. Cerkez's parents were members of the HDZ?

17 A. I can guarantee that they were not.

18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Babic, that concludes your evidence. Thank you

19 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

21 [The witness withdrew]

22 JUDGE MAY: Because of various arrangements that have to be made

23 for the Trial Chamber, it would be convenient if we made a start on

24 another witness for five or ten minutes, and then we'll adjourn.

25 MR. KOVACIC: Whatever you wish, Your Honour. I did inform you,

Page 25788

1 however, the witness who is just about to start is the last witness for

2 this week. We don't have anybody else.

3 JUDGE MAY: All the more reason to get on. Try and finish him

4 before the lunch adjournment.

5 MR. MIKULICIC: Our next witness, Your Honour, is Mr. Ivica

6 Semren.

7 [The witness entered court]

8 JUDGE MAY: Please let the witness take the declaration.

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

11 JUDGE MAY: Would you like to take a seat.


13 [Witness answered through interpreter]

14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

15 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.

16 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

17 Q. Good morning, Mr. Semren.

18 A. Good morning.

19 Q. On behalf of Mr. Mario Cerkez, I will conduct your examination.

20 Will you please answer slowly so that we can enable the interpreters to

21 follow us. I'm going to ask you to answer the questions to the best of

22 your recollection.

23 For the record, will you please state your full name, date, and

24 place of birth.

25 A. Ivica Semren, 29 April 1973, in Travnik.

Page 25789













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English

14 and French transcripts.












Page 25790

1 Q. Mr. Semren, you're an ethnic Croat, a Roman Catholic by religion.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You are a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of

4 Croatia.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You are a lathe operator and are currently unemployed.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. You finished a secondary school for engineering in Vitez.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You're a member of the HDZ and a member of the presidency of its

11 basic branch in the village of Santici.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Your family includes three sisters, a brother, and mother.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Mr. Semren, you reside in Santici?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Let me ask you to clarify one thing for me. The village of

18 Santici where you live is actually a part of a larger settlement which

19 consists of some areas which bear different names.

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Could you list for us all parts of the larger area where you

22 live?

23 A. That is Santici, Zume, Pirici, and the area of Ahmici.

24 Q. And Ahmici is then subdivided into the Upper and Lower Ahmici?

25 A. Yes.

Page 25791

1 Q. Do you know a location by the name of Vidovici?

2 A. Vidovici? Now that area is called Pirici.

3 Q. So the settled area called Pirici used to be called Vidovici?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. How about Topolje?

6 A. Topolje was what the whole area was called, all the way out to the

7 station.

8 Q. So the entire settlement that you're referring to, which consists

9 of Santici, Pirici, Zume, Ahmici --

10 A. Nadioci.

11 Q. -- Nadioci, used to be called Topolje?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. In other words, Mr. Semren, when you say that you come from

14 Santici, does that mean that you come from a wider area which includes

15 Ahmici?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. With respect to your family, your last name is Semren.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. To your knowledge, is this a frequent name in Vitez?

20 A. No. I believe that we're the only Semrens in the Vitez area and

21 perhaps beyond.

22 Q. So to your knowledge, there is only one person with this name,

23 Ivica Semren?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. What was your father's name?

Page 25792

1 A. Ivica.

2 Q. Is he alive?

3 A. No. He passed away in 1973, when I was born.

4 Q. You have a brother?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. What is your brother's name?

7 A. Darko Semren.

8 Q. Mr. Semren, you are certain that there is no other male persons by

9 the -- with the last name of Semren with the exception of your brother and

10 yourself?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Is your brother alive?

13 A. Yes, he is alive today.

14 Q. Mr. Semren, if I were to tell you that recently, we read in a

15 document we received that a person by the name of Semren was killed on 16

16 April in Ahmici, would that be true?

17 A. I am this person and I am alive.

18 Q. Mr. Semren, what year did you graduate from the -- of the

19 secondary school?

20 A. In April of 1992.

21 Q. At that time, you lived with your family, that is, with your

22 mother, three sisters and a brother in your family house in Santici.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. What was the ethnic composition of your village?

25 A. In Santici, the Croats were the majority, but there were a number

Page 25793

1 of Muslims too.

2 Q. Mr. Semren, do you recall whether in your village you organised

3 the village guards?

4 A. Yes. We organised these watches together with the Muslims from

5 the village.

6 Q. Why were these village watches organised?

7 A. Because war was going on and the JNA was attacking so we expected

8 that our village may -- might be attacked. This is why we organised these

9 village watches.

10 Q. In -- to your recollection, how many people were involved in these

11 village watches?

12 A. Very few.

13 Q. Did you have any weapons?

14 A. Mostly hunting weapons.

15 Q. You pointed out that at first, you organised those village watches

16 with the Muslims.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Is this the situation that continued throughout 1992 and into

19 1993?

20 A. Until the incident in Ahmici on the 20th of October, 1992, it was

21 like that.

22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have to point out

23 a mistake in point 2.5 of the summary. It is just a misprint. It is

24 stated that the incident was on the 22nd.

25 JUDGE MAY: You are referring to the date?

Page 25794

1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Yes.

2 JUDGE MAY: And you're coming to deal with that next, I take it.

3 MR. MIKULICIC: No, I'm not.

4 JUDGE MAY: Well, whatever. That would be a convenient moment.

5 We'll adjourn now.

6 Mr. Semren, could you remember, please, not to speak to anybody

7 about your evidence during this adjournment, and that includes members of

8 the Defence team until your evidence is over. Would you be back, please,

9 in half an hour.

10 --- Recess taken at 11.27 a.m.

11 --- On resuming at 12.00 p.m.

12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, if it's not inconvenient, we'll sit to

13 finish this witness. We can do so soon after 1.00 as possible.

14 MR. NICE: May I just be lightly heard on that --

15 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

16 MR. NICE: -- to say that if we sit beyond 1.00, the important

17 efforts of this institution to encourage and foster bilinguality will be

18 to some extent impeded because there are classes happening at lunchtime

19 which one or other of us is scheduled to attend, and, personally, I would

20 much rather be able to keep to it. They're arranged by the institution.

21 There is --

22 JUDGE MAY: Let's get on as quickly as you can, in order that you

23 can improve your bilinguality.

24 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.

25 Q. Mr. Semren, just two brief questions regarding village guards. At

Page 25795

1 that time, in 1992, you had just come out of high school; is that right?

2 A. Yes, that's right.

3 Q. Did you join the village guards?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Who was commander of your village guard?

6 A. Nenad Santic.

7 Q. Who elected him commander?

8 A. We, amongst ourselves.

9 Q. Thank you. The roadblock of October 1992 near Ahmici was

10 mentioned. We've already heard a lot of evidence about that so we're

11 going to skip this subject, but if necessary, you can answer questions

12 concerning that, can you?

13 A. Yes, I can.

14 Q. Now we've moved on to 1993. Until when were there village guards

15 in Santici?

16 A. Until the outbreak of the conflict between the Croats and the

17 Muslims.

18 Q. So that is the 16th of April.

19 A. The 16th of April, 1993.

20 Q. What happened on that day? Where were you?

21 A. I was at home with my family, my mother and my two sisters,

22 because this other sister is married.

23 Q. Where was your brother?

24 A. He worked at the post office.

25 Q. So he was not in the house?

Page 25796

1 A. No, he was not.

2 Q. When you say the "post office," are you referring to the Vitez

3 post office?

4 A. Yes, the Vitez post office.

5 Q. What happened that morning? What did you hear, see?

6 A. Early in the morning, strong explosions and gunfire were heard.

7 We all got out of bed. We saw that there was shooting. I transferred my

8 family to the closest shelter, that is to say, Niko Vidovic's house,

9 because that house is rather sheltered.

10 Q. Very well. Where is your house?

11 A. My house is rather exposed because there is a clearing in front of

12 it and the stadium is nearby.

13 Q. And Niko Vidovic's house in relation to your house, where is it?

14 A. Behind my house. About 30 metres behind. It's rather sheltered

15 that house is.

16 Q. What kind of a house is this, bigger, smaller?

17 A. A three-storied house.

18 Q. Does it have a basement too?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. So you moved your mother and your two sisters to that house by way

21 of sheltering them; is that right?

22 A. Yes, that's right.

23 Q. What time was it approximately in the morning when they went to

24 Niko Vidovic's house?

25 A. About quarter to six.

Page 25797

1 Q. And what did you do?

2 A. I returned. When I saw them off, I returned to my house. I

3 waited to see what would happen, and I moved away from the window.

4 Q. Did you have any weapons?

5 A. I had an old rifle, an M48, from the Second World War.

6 Q. And what happened then? You stayed at home?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. You moved away from the window so that you would not get hit by a

9 bullet or something. What happened then?

10 A. There was shooting all over. A person could not be aware of what

11 was going on.

12 Q. How long did this strong gunfire last?

13 A. Until about 1.00.

14 Q. What happened around 1.00 when the shooting abated a bit?

15 A. When there was this abatement, I went to the house to see how my

16 mother and sisters were doing, and then a sniper wounded me in my left

17 leg.

18 Q. Where were you wounded, approximately?

19 A. Between 1.00 and 1.30. Something like that.

20 Q. But at which place?

21 A. Around 10 metres, 10 or 15 metres away from my house. I can't

22 remember exactly.

23 Q. At that time when you were wounded, was there any shooting

24 around?

25 A. No. No. Perhaps an occasional gunshot or two could be heard from

Page 25798

1 afar.

2 Q. But there, around your house?

3 A. No. No. Couldn't hear a thing.

4 Q. Could you judge where that bullet came from, the one that hit

5 you?

6 A. There is a stadium in front of my house and behind that is a

7 forest, so it was probably from there.

8 Q. You said that you were hit in the left leg.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. What happened then?

11 A. Then I fell. My leg was shattered completely. I got the belt out

12 of my trousers, I tied my leg up and I was calling out for help. About

13 ten minutes later my neighbour, Drazenko Vidovic came and helped me to get

14 to Niko Vidovic's house where I was given help so that I could go on.

15 Q. All right. And that's where you saw your mother and sisters.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Were there other people who were sheltered in Niko Vidovic's

18 basement?

19 A. Yes, my next door neighbours, Muslims, were in the same basement

20 with their family.

21 Q. What is their name?

22 A. Nermin Premenja and his wife and two children.

23 Q. That wound in your leg was rather serious, wasn't it?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. You also bled quite a bit.

Page 25799

1 A. Yes. Yes, I did bleed. I remember, all the way to Nova Bila and

2 then I passed out, and I don't know what was going on after that.

3 Q. Who took you to the hospital in Nova Bila?

4 A. Ivica Vidovic with a Kombi van. In the Kombi van there were two

5 Muslims, two Muslim soldiers too.

6 Q. These Muslims who were driven to the hospital together with you,

7 were they from your village?

8 A. One was, Ibro, the other one was from Kotor Varos.

9 Q. This Muslim that you mentioned just now, what is his name? Repeat

10 it again.

11 A. Ibro.

12 Q. Do you know his last name?

13 A. I can't remember exactly.

14 Q. And the other Muslim that you are talking about, you said he was

15 from Kotor Varos?

16 A. Yes, from Kotor Varos.

17 Q. Did you talk to them during this transportation?

18 A. Not really, because I was quite worried about myself. I was

19 bleeding heavily. From time to time, I would pass out.

20 Q. Do you know under which circumstances they were wounded and where?

21 A. That I don't know, where they were wounded and how. I just know

22 that they were taken to hospital together with me.

23 Q. Very well. So you say that you passed out and when you came to,

24 where were you?

25 A. I don't know exactly when I came to, I just know that I woke up in

Page 25800

1 Travnik and that I was lying in a hallway in the hospital in Travnik.

2 Q. Which army held the town of Travnik under its control at that

3 point?

4 A. The BH army.

5 Q. You were provided medical treatment in that hospital, weren't you?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Do you remember who the doctors were, the physicians who were

8 working in the hospital?

9 A. Well, there were both Croats and Muslims.

10 Q. Did you have any unpleasantness during your stay in the hospital

11 in Travnik?

12 A. Oh, yes, and how; quite a bit of that.

13 Q. Can you describe this unpleasantness in a sentence or two?

14 A. Quite a few Muslims came with weapons. They were looking for

15 wounded Croats in -- who were in the hospital. They wanted to mistreat

16 them and to beat them, and I was amongst those who were beaten. They came

17 wearing beards and some kind of green head scarves with Arabic

18 inscriptions on them. They called themselves the "Holy Warriors". They

19 beat me and all other Croats who were up there being treated.

20 Q. Did the doctors try to protect you in some way?

21 A. The doctors did not have any power to save anyone because nobody

22 asked them a thing. It was the BH army that was in charge.

23 Q. How long did you stay in this hospital in Travnik?

24 A. I've never known how much time I actually spent in hospital there,

25 I didn't know when it was daytime, when it was night-time, what time it

Page 25801

1 was, the time of the day. I don't know how long I stayed in hospital.

2 Q. Where did you go then from the hospital in Travnik?

3 A. I went to Nova Bila accompanied by Dr. Kuljis in an ambulance.

4 Q. And from Nova Bila?

5 A. From Nova Bila, I was transferred by bus. There were two buses

6 that transported the wounded to Split escorted by UNPROFOR.

7 Q. Tell me, how much time did you spend in Split undergoing medical

8 treatment?

9 A. A total of 14 months.

10 Q. During your stay in Split in the Republic of Croatia, and during

11 your recuperation, did you see Muslims being treated in Croatian

12 hospitals, members of the BH army?

13 A. Yes, there were quite a few of them, primarily in Vela Luka, in

14 Korcula at the rehabilitation centre there.

15 Q. What was the attitude towards these people, these Muslims who were

16 wounded, in Croatian hospitals?

17 A. They were treated the same way I was.

18 Q. Was there any mistreatment of these people, these Muslims?

19 A. No. No. Not in Croatian hospitals in Split. No, there was no

20 such thing.

21 Q. You said that particularly there were a lot of Muslims in Vela

22 Luka.

23 A. Yes. Yes. From all parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

24 Q. Vela Luka is a town on the island of Korcula in Dalmatia in the

25 Republic of Croatia; is that right?

Page 25802

1 A. Yes, that's right.

2 Q. Do you remember, perhaps, any person by name and surname of Muslim

3 ethnicity who approached you there?

4 A. Yes. A wounded man walked up to me and asked me where I was from,

5 and I said I was from Vitez and then he said, "Where are you from

6 exactly?" And I did not know the man so I did not explain that I was from

7 Santici. I simply said that I was from Vitez.

8 Q. Very well. Did he introduce himself to you?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. What was that man's name?

11 A. I said that I was from Vitez. He said, "I am from Vitez too," and

12 he said he was from the village of Vrhovine, and he said that his name was

13 Ejub Kavazovic.

14 Q. All right. Mr. Semren, you were wounded quite seriously and you

15 received disability status; is that right?

16 A. Yes, that's right.

17 Q. What is the percentage of your disability?

18 A. 60 per cent permanent disability.

19 Q. Until the present day, you feel the consequences, the effects of

20 that wounding?

21 A. Yes. This is for life.

22 Q. You wear a prosthesis on your left leg?

23 A. Yes, yes, on my left leg because my nervous system there was

24 destroyed.

25 Q. Mr. Semren, I'm going to ask you to look at a document, please, I

Page 25803

1 would like to have it distributed.

2 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked D130/2.

3 MR. NICE: Your Honour, to avoid duplication of exhibits this is

4 already Exhibit 687.

5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, so no need for it to have another number. Z687.

6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise Your Honours. Then

7 we are going to speak about document Z687.

8 Q. Mr. Semren, please look at this certificate that is in front of

9 you. It was issued by the Vitez Brigade on the 29th of June, 1994. The

10 name is "Ivica, son of Ivica, Semren." That's you; is that right?

11 A. Yes, that's right.

12 Q. It is also mentioned that you were a member of the Vitez Brigade

13 from the 8th of April, 1992. Mr. Semren, is it correct that at that time,

14 you were still in secondary school?

15 A. Yes. Yes, I was still in school then.

16 Q. Is it then correct that you were not a member of the Vitez

17 Brigade?

18 A. No. Just of the village guards.

19 Q. Do you know that at that time, in April 1993, there was -- that

20 the Vitez Brigade existed?

21 A. No.

22 Q. It is mentioned here that you were wounded and that Zoran Ante

23 Covic and Drazenko Vidovic were witnesses to your wounding.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Drazenko Vidovic is the person who you mentioned who helped you

Page 25804

1 reach Niko Vidovic's house; is that right?

2 A. Yes, that's right. He helped me, and soon after helping me he was

3 wounded himself.

4 Q. All right. This certificate was signed by the commander of the

5 brigade, Vlado Juric. Do you know that person?

6 A. No. I have never seen him. I have never heard of him either.

7 Q. In the left-hand lower corner, this certificate was signed by

8 Nikica Stipanovic. Do you know that man?

9 A. Yes. I know him by sight.

10 Q. Do you know where he worked?

11 A. He worked in the office for defence and civil defence in Vitez.

12 Q. And the other witness, Zoran Covic, who is he?

13 A. He is my next door neighbour on the right-hand side.

14 Q. All right. On the basis of your disability, you were also granted

15 the right to get bonds, right?

16 A. Yes, that's right.

17 Q. Have you used them yet?

18 A. No, not yet.

19 Q. Thank you for your answers, Mr. Semren. I have no further

20 questions.

21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to draw

22 your attention to the following: An affidavit given by Drazenko Vidovic,

23 witness to his wounding, was presented earlier on in relation to this

24 witness.

25 MR. SAYERS: Your Honours, we have no questions for Mr. Semren.

Page 25805

1 MR. NICE: Your Honour, although I thought this was 687 and it has

2 687 in the top right-hand corner, it is different from the documents that

3 I'm going to be referring to, and so perhaps it ought to be given a

4 separate Defence Exhibit number, as originally proposed, and I'll try and

5 track down what, if any, identity of numbers there is. But at the moment,

6 I simply note that the serial numbers at the top of the page are not, in

7 any sense, consecutive. One is a number in the range 0069 and one is in

8 the range 0065. Perhaps it can have its --

9 JUDGE MAY: Defence number.


11 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

12 Q. Mr. Semren, your name is unusual in the area and so was your red

13 hair.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. You're slim now. You were even slimmer as a young man?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And you were highly recognisable.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you. You were, although young and effectively just out of

20 school, you were a member of the HDZ from the beginning?

21 A. I was a member of the HDZ.

22 Q. And loyal to the Croat cause from the beginning? Correct?

23 A. Yes. Good causes only.

24 Q. You speak of deteriorating relationships between Muslims and

25 Croats on the 20th of October of 1992. Hardly surprising when one of the

Page 25806

1 things that happened was somebody fired a rocket at the minaret of the

2 Ahmici mosque, is it?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Was it you who fired that rocket?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Who did, if it wasn't you?

7 A. I don't know that.

8 Q. It's a very small community, Santici and Ahmici; isn't it?

9 A. Well, these are pretty big villages.

10 Q. Are they? We'll have a look at them on a map in a minute. Are

11 you really telling this Court that you can't help at all with which Croat

12 tried to knock the minaret of the mosque down in October of 1992?

13 A. I don't know that.

14 Q. Is there a school in your village?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Where's the nearest --

17 A. Now there is.

18 Q. Where's --

19 A. One was built in 1998.

20 Q. Where was then the nearest school, please? Where was your school,

21 come to that?

22 A. In Ahmici. I went to school in Ahmici for four years.

23 Q. Very well. What about the time when there was a Herceg-Bosna flag

24 placed on the school, please, Mr. Semren? You remember that?

25 A. I don't remember that.

Page 25807

1 Q. Don't you?

2 A. No.

3 Q. You don't remember anything about a flag being taken down and a

4 Herceg-Bosna flag being put back up, I'm going to suggest by you?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Before the outbreak in April of 1993, you were seen in that

7 village on a regular basis in camouflage uniform or uniform, correct?

8 A. As I said, I was in the village guards.

9 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Maybe we could get the information

10 on the basis of which my learned colleague is putting his questions,

11 because I do not recall having had this information provided through the

12 evidence presented in this court.

13 MR. NICE: I'm quite happy to put in all the witness statements

14 that I have, but I have no doubt that that would be a course that is

15 acceptable because witness statements aren't accepted. I'm in the

16 position of being -- of having material to put, which I will put

17 responsibly. There is no duty of disclosure of this material in advance

18 on the Defence. The Defence know it.

19 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

20 MR. NICE:

21 Q. You were in the village guards and you were seen in uniform around

22 the village. Would that be armed as well?

23 A. Yes. I had an M48 rifle. Since there were very few weapons

24 around, then we would hand it over from one person to another during the

25 shifts. But Muslims were with me too.

Page 25808













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the English

14 and French transcripts.












Page 25809

1 Q. I'm going to suggest that you were, in the last days before the

2 outbreak, identifiable as a member of the HVO and armed in that way.

3 Correct or not?

4 A. I was in the village guards, but the HVO at that time, there

5 wasn't any such thing and there wasn't the brigade either. I had a rifle,

6 as I already mentioned.

7 Q. Before we move on to the events in detail, I'll just confirm one

8 other thing. You also had a nickname, didn't you?

9 A. Zuco they called me.

10 Q. And you were the only person bearing that name in the village?

11 One of the reasons you have nicknames. Yes?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Let's have a look at the village.

14 MR. NICE: I'm afraid I haven't got the easel. If the usher would

15 just hold this up for a minute. Maybe Ms. Kind can hold it up for a

16 minute, just to orientate the Chamber. Then I'll help us with a small map

17 that takes us to the relevant passage.

18 If the usher can just hold this up so that the witness can have a

19 look at it. It's probably the wrong way up. No, it's the right way up.

20 Q. Can you just have a look at this map, please? We'll only use it

21 for a very small period of time. Can you see that map from where you

22 are?

23 MR. NICE: I don't know if one of the other cameras can focus in

24 on it. Probably no. If they can, so much the better.

25 Q. Can you see that map?

Page 25810

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. As we can see or as can be seen --

3 MR. NICE: That number is --

4 Q. It's 1630.1, this aerial map. It's not a map. It's an aerial.

5 Santici's on the right, coming out of Vitez, isn't it, on that map,?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. I hope that the Chamber can see it from there.

8 A. When coming from Vitez, Santici is on the left-hand side.

9 Q. So you're quite right. It's on the left-hand side of the road.

10 Absolutely right. Absolutely correct. Now perhaps have a look at this on

11 the ELMO, 1982. This map shows a similar part -- a part of that large

12 aerial and, in fact, orientated in the same way so that the road running

13 from bottom to top of the map is the road coming out of Vitez with Santici

14 on the left, correct?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Does this particular bit of the aerial show your house or not?

17 A. I cannot orientate myself that much here. I can't really

18 orientate myself that much. I cannot see my house.

19 Q. If you'd give me that map again, because I want to be sure you

20 understand the bit of map that we're talking about. The way to deal with

21 it is to --

22 MR. NICE: Sorry not to have prepared this better in advance. My

23 mistake. If we show the witness that segment first and perhaps put it on

24 the ELMO.

25 Q. I want you to look at a slightly larger part of the aerial. If

Page 25811

1 you take your time and look at that, you can see the bend in the road and

2 the major --

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. -- parts of Santici. Now, are you able to --

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. -- orientate yourself on that map? All right. Now, if we lay the

7 other map on top of it just immediately and then take it off again. If we

8 take that one off. Now then, do you see that that is that part towards

9 the top of the larger map?

10 A. Approximately, yes. That's just about where my house is. This is

11 the clearing.

12 Q. On the larger part of that, the other one, please, perhaps you can

13 point out where your house was.

14 A. I think it's somewhere around here.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, if we now orientate -- leave -- perhaps the

16 sensible course is to leave the larger map for reference there, the larger

17 aerial there for reference, and to place on top of it the other one. And

18 we'll see how it connects.

19 Your house, from what you've just told us, is off to the left of

20 this enlarged part of the aerial. And we'll leave that there for the time

21 being. Thank you very much.

22 A. Yes. Yes.

23 Q. In hospital, you met one man by the name of Safradin, didn't you?

24 You became quite friends with him?

25 A. No.

Page 25812

1 Q. Not at all.

2 A. No.

3 Q. Isn't Safradin quite a large family in your area?

4 A. Safrudin. There isn't such a family name as far as I know.

5 Q. Well, I was going to ask you whether you knew somebody by the name

6 of Dario Safradin. Think back.

7 A. Dario Safradin. Yes, I do know.

8 Q. My pronunciation is my fault. Now Dario, you knew him, didn't

9 you?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Before this outbreak of violence on the 16th, a number of Croats

12 from your area left home.

13 A. No, that is not true.

14 Q. Is that really your evidence? Are you saying none or you don't

15 know or what?

16 A. I don't know, because I did not take away my family. My family

17 was in the house when the conflict broke out.

18 Q. I'm asking you about other families. Think back, please.

19 A. I think that everybody was at home in their respective houses.

20 Q. Unless my memory is failing, we've had evidence in the last couple

21 of weeks of people in Santici leaving their addresses overnight on the

22 15th and 16th. Let's go back to Dario Safradin -- I beg your pardon.

23 THE INTERPRETER: I could not hear the witness.

24 A. It is not true. No, they did not leave their homes between the

25 15th and the 16th.

Page 25813


2 Q. Did Dario Safradin, on the 15th or earlier, come to your village

3 and warn people that an attack was imminent?

4 A. No.

5 Q. I'm going to suggest that you and your friends knew that an attack

6 was imminent and took the opportunity to join in.

7 A. No. I did not join. I was very young at the time.

8 Q. You were very young. And your hair was a little longer than it is

9 now, wasn't it?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Wasn't it?

12 A. No. It was never longer than it is now.

13 Q. I'm going to suggest to you that although you wore a hat to cover

14 your face on the night of the 15th, 16th, your red hair gave you away.

15 A. No. On the 15th, I wasn't anywhere. I was at home because a week

16 before that, we had buried a member of our family.

17 Q. Not only did your hair colour and those who could say your face

18 give you away, but also you responded when spoken to by your nickname.

19 A. That is not true.

20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I should like the

21 Prosecutor to tell the witness who saw him and who gave his nickname,

22 because that would be a fair treatment of the witness rather than

23 obfuscated by phrases such as "You were seen," "You were heard," because

24 such manner of cross-examination can only confuse the witness. And I do

25 not remember that we had a witness who testified to that effect. If the

Page 25814

1 Prosecutor does have such information then why is not the witness shown

2 them publicly?

3 JUDGE MAY: What the Prosecutor is doing is putting information

4 which he has to the witness to see what the witness' response is. What

5 the Prosecutor puts is not evidence. What the witness says is evidence.

6 Now, what is being suggested is that on the 16th, he was there in a hat

7 and with longer hair. The Prosecutor is entitled to put that and see what

8 the reaction of the witness is. In my judgement, it's not confusing.

9 [Trial Chamber confers]

10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.

11 MR. NICE: We'll deal with the particular interjection.

12 JUDGE MAY: No, there's no need.

13 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.

14 Q. Before I move on, I want to you answer the next question just yes

15 or no. Do you follow me? Just yes or no. Are you aware of who has given

16 evidence about you in this trial? Just yes or no, please.

17 A. No.

18 Q. Very well.

19 MR. NICE: The Chamber will understand that that limits my ability

20 to be particular as to one matter. But the Chamber will also know it's

21 Witness U who features in part of the material that follows, but by no

22 means all of it.

23 Q. You -- your brother Dario, was he with you on the night at all?

24 A. Not Dario, Darko.

25 Q. Was he with you at all?

Page 25815

1 A. No, he wasn't that night, not in the house, because I was in the

2 house and he worked at the post office.

3 Q. Now, if we look at the overhead view, the aerial view, you see on

4 the "6" there, that's on the opposite side of the road from the main body

5 of the village of Santici; do you see that?

6 A. I do. I do.

7 Q. If you imagine yourself on the ground, please, that is the garage

8 of the family or it was the house and garage of the family Dedic, wasn't

9 it?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. In the course of the night of the 15th and 16th, I beg your

12 pardon, in the course of the 16th in the afternoon, you went to that

13 garage, didn't you?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Did you go to that side of the road at all?

16 A. No. No, I did not.

17 Q. Well, what were you doing on the afternoon of the 16th?

18 A. In the afternoon of the 16th, I was wounded, sir.

19 Q. I am suggesting that you're not telling us the truth about that as

20 of about a number of other things. Let's approach it in this way: Before

21 you were wounded, what do you say was happening in this village? Who, if

22 anybody, was attacking whom?

23 A. I think that the Croats attacked the Muslims.

24 Q. Very well. Which Croats?

25 A. Well, the police.

Page 25816

1 Q. Why were they doing that?

2 A. But not the locals, not people who lived in Santici.

3 Q. Let's find out your source of knowledge for this. Is this because

4 you saw them doing the attacking or because somebody told you what had

5 happened?

6 A. Well, the rumour went around when I was in Split for treatment.

7 That is when I learned about that.

8 Q. Oh, I see. Do you remember I asked you a little earlier whether

9 you'd had contact with a man whose name I mispronounced Safradin. Would

10 you like to think back again now, please, was the man Safradin the man in

11 the hospital from whom you got your information?

12 A. No. As far as I remember, Dario Safradin was never wounded.

13 Q. Not Dario Safradin, another Safradin in the hospital. Think

14 back. Did you form a friendship in the hospital with somebody by the name

15 of Safradin or if you don't know his name, did you form a friendship in

16 the hospital with somebody who'd been in the attack at Ahmici and told you

17 all about it?

18 A. No. No, I wasn't.

19 Q. Let's go back on the 16th itself before, as you say, you were

20 injured. What did you learn in the course of the day about what was

21 happening in this small community?

22 A. What was happening was that there was gunfire from all

23 directions.

24 Q. And that's all you can [microphone not activated].

25 A. From -- no. Because in my village, there are a number of Muslim

Page 25817

1 houses. I saw them burning, and I realised that a war had begun.

2 Q. You realise that a war had begun. How do you mean a war? It was

3 just one group that was being massacred, please.

4 A. Well, by the gunfire. By shots. That's how I realised it, that

5 there was an all-around chaos.

6 Q. Let's go back to that overhead, shall we, that aerial view. In

7 the afternoon, you and three others, including Drazenko and a man called

8 Zoran, went to the garage that is shown at number 6 on this aerial

9 sometime in the afternoon, 4.00, 5.00, where there were some 30 people

10 imprisoned by the HVO; correct or incorrect?

11 A. Incorrect I was not there because I was wounded between 1.00 and

12 2.00.

13 Q. You and your fellows moved them from the neighbouring house of

14 Nesib Ahmic, it's correct that the neighbouring house to number 6 is Nesib

15 Ahmic?

16 A. I don't know. Nesib Ahmic's house is somewhere nearby in that

17 part, but I wasn't there. Perhaps it was somebody else.

18 Q. And included in the people you moved were two members of the

19 Hrnjic family, Dedic, another Hrnjic --

20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --

21 JUDGE MAY: Please, Mr. Mikulicic, you know, one way of destroying

22 a cross-examination is constant interruption. I regard that as unfair.

23 Now, what is it you're going to put now?

24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, like you, I do not

25 think it is fair to interrupt cross-examination, but I think it is even

Page 25818

1 more unfair when words are put in the witness' mouth during the

2 cross-examination which he did not use. He said that he was not in the

3 garage. That he did not take anyone anywhere. And after those explicit

4 sentences, my learned friend says after you took them away. I think it is

5 more unfair than to interrupt the cross-examination.

6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, it was a perfectly proper question.

7 Counsel is entitled to put his case. His case is that this

8 witness is lying. He is entitled to put that. A part of it is the case

9 is that not only he go to the garage but he took people away. If merely

10 the witness is allowed simply to say, "no" and then to stop all future

11 examination, that would not be right.

12 Now let's please move on. Yes.

13 MR. NICE:

14 Q. Mr. Semren, I'm not suggesting to you -- do you understand this?

15 I'm not suggesting that you necessarily killed anyone yourself, I'm

16 suggesting that you knew perfectly well what was going on and made

17 yourself a party to it that day with your young friends.

18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Semren, I must tell you this. Just a moment, just

19 before you answer. You don't have to answer for the moment. You can

20 object to answering any question if it might intend to incriminate you in

21 crimes. And what appears to be put is, although you weren't killed -- you

22 didn't kill anybody or anything of that sort, nonetheless, it appears to

23 be put that you were one of those who was involved in this ethnic

24 cleansing in the village, to use a general particular term.

25 Now, the position is, of course, you can answer the questions if

Page 25819

1 you wish to do so, but you do have a right to object to answering again if

2 you wish to do so. That is your position.

3 Now, Mr. Nice, would you put your question again, please.


5 Q. I'm not suggesting, Mr. Semren, that you killed. If you were a

6 party to what was going on and on this afternoon at this garage, you moved

7 with your friends people to the next door house and, as a matter of fact,

8 at the next door house allowed them to have water and indeed to go to the

9 lavatory, which hadn't been an opportunity available to them for many

10 hours before, so a somewhat humane act. Now, think back. Were you

11 involved to that extent in moving people who had been detained by the HVO

12 that morning?

13 A. I was not with that group of soldiers. I was at home. I was

14 wounded around 1.00 or 2.00. So I was in the hospital, whether in Nova

15 Bila or in Travnik. When I was unconscious, there could have been someone

16 who looked like me.

17 Q. You're the only one with red hair and you're the only one with

18 your nickname, correct?

19 A. Yes, but I'm not the only red-haired guy in Central Bosnia.

20 Q. And Drazenko Vidovic is a friend of yours?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Just one last opportunity to jog your memory. At the removal or

23 just before the removal of the people, was there a very young lad, a

24 15-year-old, who was frightened of being killed, and Drazenko said, "Well,

25 don't kill him. He's only a boy." Do you remember that happening or

Page 25820

1 anything like that happening?

2 A. I don't remember it nor do I know anything about it because I

3 wasn't there.

4 Q. I want you to look a few documents and then I'll be done.

5 MR. NICE: I want to deal with them in, I think, chronological

6 order for generation of the documents. Can we look at 808, please,

7 first?

8 I think that's been produced already, hasn't it? It's a spork

9 document. I'll just hand in mine. It will save time.

10 Q. If you look at the first sheet on the ELMO, the overhead

11 projector, you can see at the top of this list, right at the top, your

12 name, Ivica Semren.

13 MR. NICE: Pick it up. Thank you very much. If you could put the

14 first sheet back on the ELMO, please, so that we can see -- remind

15 ourselves what this document is.

16 Q. This is a list, Mr. Semren, prepared on the 24th of April, of

17 Viteska Brigade soldiers killed in the conflict or wounded in the conflict

18 with the Muslim forces. Now, your name appears there. Can you tell us,

19 please, why as early as the 24th of April you're being listed as a Viteska

20 Brigade soldier, injured?

21 A. Well, I guess that's when the brigade was founded, because the

22 village guards are the shift soldiers, then moved to -- they moved over to

23 the Vitez Brigade.

24 Q. Mr. Semren, your account is you took no part in the events and you

25 were wounded so early, at 1.00, and you were almost unable to take part in

Page 25821

1 any event. You haven't told us of anything whereby you became a Viteska

2 Brigade soldier. Doesn't this document show the truth, that you'd already

3 got involved earlier that day?

4 A. No. I did village guards and shifts occasionally, like, say, on

5 Kuber.

6 Q. Let's have a look at another document, 687.1. You can have that.

7 Thank you. This is a document dated the 22nd of January, 1996. At your

8 request, it certificates -- it sets out your date of birth, that you were

9 wounded on the 16th, in the area of the left knee, and it says: "During

10 an attack by MOS Muslim armed forces on our defence line, he was wounded

11 above his left knee by a bullet." That's not accurate, is it?

12 A. This document was written on the 22nd, not on the -- or in June.

13 That is when I was receiving treatment. I never submitted an -- I never

14 applied for such a certificate.

15 Q. It also says "whilst performing military duty." Do you see that?

16 Can you explain how this document, issued at your request, has you

17 performing military duty, please?

18 A. Military duty. Well, village guards have that too.

19 Q. I see. Let's have a look at another document. Again, it must

20 have been built on some information that you provided. Similar, very

21 similar, but slightly different. This one, you see, dated again the 29th

22 of February. If we come down -- it may just be a matter of translation.

23 I hope not, but it may be -- it says here that the details were: "On the

24 16th of April, the above-named soldier was wounded in the Santici area

25 when MOS opened fire at soldiers." That's not true either, is it? Or is

Page 25822

1 it?

2 A. I was wounded in Santici but not -- MOS did not open fire on -- at

3 that time, there was fire all round. I don't know really who was firing

4 in what direction.

5 Q. One says Ahmici, one says Santici. Should we look at your friend

6 Drazenko Vidovic?

7 A. That I don't know. That I don't know. I don't have this

8 document.

9 Q. This is a new exhibit, 14 --

10 A. I've seen it before.

11 Q. 1437.4. Initially, you didn't tell us, did you, about Vidovic

12 being injured, but I think you just said one sentence about it in your

13 evidence. Would that be right?

14 A. Yes. But it was in Travnik that I learned that he had been

15 wounded.

16 Q. I see.

17 A. That's what I said.

18 Q. So there's no way that you saw his being injured because, of

19 course, he drove you to the hospital, didn't he? Didn't he?

20 A. No, he didn't drive me to the hospital. He helped me to the

21 vehicle, to the car, so that they could take me to the hospital, to the

22 health centre.

23 Q. You certainly did not see him being injured.

24 A. No.

25 Q. Let's have a look at this next document, 1437.4. This is your

Page 25823

1 friend, Drazenko, son of Ivica, and this report dated 18th of July, 1994,

2 has him being injured at 3.30 on the 16th of April in the area of

3 Santici. It says that: "The wounding took place when soldiers were

4 moving about and controlling the previous-mentioned area. Members of MOS

5 opened fire at the soldiers and wounded Drazenko Vidovic on the left side

6 of his chest. The incident was witnessed by Ivica Semren," and your

7 other friend Zoran Covic. Can you explain that, please?

8 A. I did not witness his wounding because I was wounded before him.

9 Q. Can you explain how your friend Drazenko, who must have provided

10 this information to the authorities, should be claiming that you witnessed

11 his being injured?

12 A. That I don't know.

13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... much more involved in these

14 matters than you're telling us, and you were possibly injured sometime

15 after you dealt with the people from the garage. Isn't that the truth?

16 A. No, it is not. I was wounded in front of my house, 15 metres away

17 from my house.

18 Q. Did you ever get back to the front lines at all?

19 A. No. I'm a permanent invalid. I'm 60 per cent disabled.

20 Q. You noticed, did you, that Covic is identified as the witness of

21 both your injuries, you and your friend? That can't be right either, can

22 it?

23 A. Covic was in a car when I was wounded.

24 Q. Last point is this: On your evidence, Mr. Semren, you did nothing

25 active in this conflict at all, did you?

Page 25824

1 A. I did nothing active -- I already said so -- in that attack

2 because I was underaged and I was incapable of that.

3 Q. Whether you were underaged or not, I think, in fact, the age for

4 the military at that time was, what, 16, wasn't it? And you were 19. But

5 let's not trouble with that. It's a detail.

6 You were awarded the Croatian Cross, were you not?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. That was a rather quiet answer but it was "yes," wasn't it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Can you explain, please --

11 A. Yes, I was.

12 Q. -- why it was awarded you in respect of your activity in this

13 fighting?

14 A. I was not active in fighting but every soldier was awarded a

15 medal.

16 Q. But the Croatian Cross is awarded for -- by Croatia for people

17 participating in the homeland war, for those who suffer wounds. You were

18 doing -- you weren't doing the first, were you? You were just effectively

19 injured by accident and you get an award for that, is that it?

20 A. I was awarded, that's true, the Cross of the Republic of Croatia.

21 MR. NICE: Nothing else to ask this witness --

22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Nice, please.

23 MR. NICE: Nothing else to ask this witness. If the Chamber

24 wanted to remember the witness whose principal evidence is the witness --

25 present is the evidence on this topic, I do have his photograph available,

Page 25825

1 but obviously not for the overhead. It was Witness U.

2 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Very briefly, Your Honours.

3 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

4 Q. Mr. Semren, you were shown some documents here relating to your

5 injuries. Did you ever give information about your wounding to anyone?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Do you have any knowledge where the organs who issued these data

8 acquired those data?

9 A. I only know that I was taken in a vehicle. This was from near my

10 house where I was wounded.

11 Q. Mr. Semren, before you were contacted by members of the Defence.

12 Were you contacted by the investigators of this Tribunal?

13 A. I did not understand your question.

14 Q. Were you ever approached by the investigators of this Tribunal

15 regarding the events of the 16th of April?

16 A. No.

17 Q. Were you ever approached by any other organisation; police or

18 anyone else?

19 A. No.

20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.

21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Semren, that concludes your evidence. Thank you

22 for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.

23 MR. KOVACIC: There was no translation on Croatian.

24 JUDGE MAY: No translation.

25 MR. KOVACIC: If you want me to translate that I will.

Page 25826

1 JUDGE MAY: That's all right. Mr. Semren, can you hear?

2 THE INTERPRETER: We can't hear anything.

3 JUDGE MAY: Let us not waste any further time. If you would pass

4 on the message to the witness, that will be sufficient. And we will

5 adjourn until --

6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The President of the Trial Chamber

7 thanked you. You are free to go and the usher will show you the way out.

8 Your Honour.


10 MR. KOVACIC: Just an organisational matter since we have now a

11 little recess for a couple of days, a Pre-Rebuttal Conference is scheduled

12 for Wednesday. Could we perhaps get the information for -- in order to

13 know when we will order the witnesses on Wednesday? Could we try to see

14 how long that could take?

15 JUDGE MAY: Well, the sensible thing would be to hold it at the

16 end of the day, to hear the evidence first and then have the conference,

17 see how we get on. Have the conference towards the end of the day.

18 MR. KOVACIC: So we will order the witnesses as usual.

19 JUDGE MAY: As usual, and we'll make as much progress and we can.

20 I don't anticipate the conference will take a very great deal of time.

21 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honours.

22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll adjourn until next Wednesday.

23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned

24 at 1.07 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday

25 the 4th day of October, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.

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