1 Tuesday, 24th March 1998
3 (The accused entered court)
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, ladies and
5 gentlemen. We shall continue our case. Can I have the
6 number, Mr. Registrar, please?
7 THE REGISTRAR: It is case number
8 IT-95-14/1, the Prosecutor versus Zlatko Aleksovski.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much.
10 I think that I have learned of the sickness of
11 Mr. Marchesiello. We wish him good health and a speedy
12 recovery. Mr. Prosecutor?
13 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honours.
14 Mr. Marchesiello has been appointed to the bench in
15 April. He will take up his appointment in April. He
16 will no longer be returning to the Prosecutor's case.
17 He has taken up a senior position.
18 My name is Niemann. I appear with my
19 colleague, Mr. Meddegoda, Ms. Sutherland and Ms. Erasmus
20 for the Prosecution.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Can we have the
22 appearances for the Defence, please?
23 MR. MIKULICIC: Good morning, your Honours.
24 My name is Goran Mikulicic, representing, together with
25 my colleague, Joka, the accused.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much.
2 Shall we continue, Mr. Niemann, with the witness, of the
3 Prosecution, I think. It is Mr. Meddegoda today?
4 MR. MEDDEGODA: The first Prosecution
5 witness this morning is the witness listed in
6 paragraph 4; he is witness number 3 in paragraph 4 of
7 the inventory of witnesses dated 20 March 1998 and, in
8 respect of that witness, your Honours, I am seeking to
9 apply for protective measures. The witness has
10 indicated to me that he would wish to testify under a
11 pseudonym and also the image of his face be distorted
12 during the course of his testimony. Therefore, I move
13 that your Honours be pleased to grant the protective
14 measures sought by this witness. If your Honours are
15 inclined to grant a pseudonym, the witness would be
16 known as Witness L.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: We were informed that the
18 Defence has no objection to this. Is that true,
19 Mr. Mikulicic, that you have no objection?
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, the Defence has
21 no objection.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
23 Mr. Usher, can you bring down the blinds, please?
24 (The witness entered court)
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, Sir. Do you
1 hear me well?
2 THE WITNESS: Yes.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You are going to read the
4 solemn declaration that will be handed to you by the
6 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that
7 I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
8 the truth.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You may be seated,
10 please. You are going to answer questions which the
11 Prosecutor, Mr. Meddegoda, is going to put to you, if
12 you please.
13 WITNESS L
14 Examined by MR. MEDDEGODA
15 Q. Good morning, witness. Their Honours have
16 been pleased to grant the protective measures you have
17 sought before you testify before the Tribunal, and
18 therefore you will be known as Witness L for the
19 purposes of the record. Before you testify, I would
20 hand over to you a sheet of paper, and I would ask you
21 to look at the sheet of paper and confirm whether the
22 name which appears on that sheet of paper is your name
23 or not.
24 May I please ask the usher to hand it over?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, if that could be
3 shown to learned counsel for the Defence. Your
4 Honours, I am moving to produce that sheet of paper
5 with the witness's name as an exhibit under seal.
6 THE REGISTRAR: It will be exhibit number
8 MR. MEDDEGODA: Witness L, you are Bosniak
9 by ethnicity?
10 A. Yes.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness be asked
12 to speak into the microphone?
13 MR. MEDDEGODA: Could you speak into the
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Your religion is Islam?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Could you state what your age is?
19 A. I am 30.
20 Q. Witness, in 1992, you served as a member of
21 the TO?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. And, as a member of the TO, could you
24 describe what your function was?
25 A. My duties were mostly to keep watch in the
2 Q. You were part of the village patrol, so to
3 speak, as a member of the TO?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. When did you join the TO?
6 A. In 1992.
7 Q. Did you continue to be a member of the TO at
8 the time the conflict broke out in your village?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And do you know between which parties the
11 conflict broke out in your village?
12 A. Yes, between the HVO and the BiH army.
13 Q. And when was that?
14 A. On 27 January 1993.
15 Q. Where were you on that day, on 27 January
17 A. In my village.
18 Q. And did anything happen to you on that day?
19 A. Yes, members of the Croat Defence Council
20 gave us an ultimatum that we should surrender.
21 Q. And what time was the ultimatum given to you?
22 A. I did not understand the question.
23 Q. What time was it when the ultimatum was given
24 by the HVO?
25 A. I think it was the day before -- I do not
1 remember the exact date, but it could have been the
2 26th of January.
3 Q. What happened when the ultimatum was given to
5 A. We did not agree -- we sent a man to tell
6 them -- tell the HVO that we would not surrender. He
7 went, and they would not let him come back to the
9 Q. What did you and the other villagers do when
10 he was not allowed to come back?
11 A. We, after that, when again they addressed an
12 ultimatum over the loud speaker, and said that if we
13 did not surrender they would start shelling, we
14 evacuated the civilians and, half an hour later, that
15 is what happened.
16 Q. What happened after you evacuated from the
17 village -- after the village was evacuated?
18 A. The shelling started by the HVO.
19 Q. Where were you when the shelling started?
20 A. In the village.
21 Q. What happened thereafter?
22 A. After that, the other members who were there
23 also withdrew. I stayed on in the village. HVO
24 members entered the village and captured me.
25 Q. How did you know they were HVO members who
1 captured you?
2 A. The people who captured me did not have any
3 insignia -- at least I did not notice any -- but, while
4 they were taking me in, I saw some members with
6 Q. And what type of uniform were they attired
8 A. They had camouflage uniform. They were well
9 equipped -- they had automatic weapons, Motorolas and
11 Q. Could you tell this court what happened after
12 you were captured by the HVO?
13 A. After I was captured, the members who
14 captured me started to mistreat me. They hit me twice
15 with rifle butts in the head and injured me.
16 Afterwards, they tied my hands behind my back and they
17 led me in the direction of the school at Bare. On the
18 way they also mistreated me.
19 Q. After you were arrested, did you hear a
20 conversation on the Motorola between the HVO soldiers
21 and some others?
22 A. Yes. An HVO member had this Motorola in his
23 hand, and he was guiding the shells towards the
24 neighbouring village with it and, just then, a shell
25 fell near us. He started cursing his own people,
1 telling them to drop those shells a little further away
2 and not so close.
3 Q. You said you were taken to a school building
4 after your arrest, to a building in Bare?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. On the way to the school building, were you
7 mistreated by anybody?
8 A. Yes. HVO members, on the way from the
9 village to the school, mistreated me. They hit me with
10 rifle butts, mostly in the head.
11 Q. And at any point in time were you ordered to
12 take off your boots by the members of the HVO who
13 arrested you?
14 A. Yes. It was near a stream -- they ordered to
15 take off my boots, which they threw away, and I had to
16 cross the stream twice, to the other bank and back
17 twice. Then they took me in front of the school at
19 Q. What happened after you were taken to the
20 school building in Bare?
21 A. They handed me over to their commander. I do
22 not exactly recall his name, but I think it was Vuleta.
23 Q. How long were you at or near the school
25 A. I do not remember exactly how much time
1 I spent there, but I was there, and from there, I was
2 transferred by bus to Busovaca.
3 Q. Where in Busovaca were you brought to by bus?
4 A. To the bus station in Busovaca.
5 Q. Did anybody escort you when you were brought
6 by bus to Busovaca?
7 A. Yes, there was an HVO member and the driver,
8 who was driving the bus.
9 Q. What happened when you were brought to the
10 bus station in Busovaca?
11 A. I was taken in front of a cafe bar and I was
12 told to wait. After a short while, the same HVO member
13 came and he took me again to the bus station.
14 Actually, the cafe bar was at the station, too. It was
15 all nearby.
16 Q. And from there, were you taken anywhere else?
17 A. Yes. From the bus station in Busovaca I was
18 taken to the Kaonik camp.
19 Q. Could you describe to this court what
20 happened upon arrival in the Kaonik camp?
21 A. At Kaonik, I was admitted by someone --
22 I think his name was Marko Krilic, who wrote down my
23 name in a book. He took off the handcuffs I had, and
24 he took me and he drove me to the outpatients' clinic
25 in Busovaca.
1 Q. And why were you driven to the outpatients'
2 clinic in Busovaca?
3 A. They cleaned my wounds, they bandaged them,
4 and then they took me back to the Kaonik camp.
5 Q. Do you recall to which building in Kaonik
6 camp you were brought to -- what type of building was
7 it that you were brought into in the Kaonik camp?
8 A. Yes. It used to be a hangar of the former
9 Yugoslav army and that is where the prison had been
11 Q. Before being taken to the clinic, were you
12 brought -- is it the same building that you were taken
13 to upon arrival?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, may the witness
16 be shown an aerial photograph of the camp, which has
17 already been produced in evidence -- there are five
19 Could the usher please place the photograph
20 on the ELMO?
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Registrar, the number
22 of the exhibit?
23 THE REGISTRAR: It is exhibit number 80.
24 MR. MEDDEGODA: Witness, could you please
25 look at the photograph on the projector and, with the
1 pointer, show the building to which you were brought to
2 in the Kaonik camp on that day? Could you please show
3 it on the picture that is on the ELMO?
4 A. (Indicates).
5 Q. Could you please circle that building using a
6 highlighter that is on the table and mark it with the
7 letter "A".
8 A. (Witness marked photograph).
9 Q. You were first brought to that building in
10 the Kaonik camp; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And is it from that building that Marko
13 Krilic took you to the outpatients' department or
14 outpatients' clinic --
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. And to which building were you returned after
17 being treated at the outpatients' clinic?
18 A. To the same building.
19 Q. And where in that building were you put into?
20 A. (Indicates).
21 Q. What type of building was that -- was it a
22 building --
23 A. That was a building, as I already said, where
24 the hangar was, and that is where the prison was built,
25 with cells, for the prisoners.
1 Q. Were you put into a cell in that building
2 after you were brought back from Busovaca?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you recall which cell you were put into?
5 A. Yes, number 15.
6 Q. At the time when you were put into that cell,
7 where there already other prisoners in that cell?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. About how many were there?
10 A. I do not know exactly, but I believe it was
11 about 20.
12 Q. Do you know to which ethnic group those other
13 prisoners belonged to?
14 A. Muslims.
15 Q. After you were put into that cell, were you
16 taken out on labour detachments?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And when was that?
19 A. I do not recall exactly, but I believe it was
20 the following day -- the 28th.
21 Q. Do you know where you were taken to?
22 A. To Podjele.
23 Q. How were you selected to be taken to Podjele?
24 A. You see, we were all brought out of the cells
25 into the hallway, and Marko Krilic was there calling
1 out, and 20 of us went to Podjele to dig.
2 Q. Could you describe to this court what
3 happened at Podjele when you were taken there to dig?
4 A. We were brought to the Lasva River to dig
5 some trenches there in the morning around 8 o'clock.
6 We were guarded by the HVO members, one of whose name
7 was Zare -- I believe he was the commander of this
8 group. We were not allowed to sit down and rest. We
9 asked for water and they gave us water from the Lasva
11 This went on throughout the day until around
12 8 o'clock in the evening, when another group of the HVO
13 members arrived, who were more decent than the previous
14 ones. They allowed us to sit down and rest, to light up
15 a cigarette in case we smoked, and then, later, around
16 10 o'clock, they took us to the village of Podjele
17 itself, and there they gave us some food to eat.
18 We continued to dig, with some breaks in
19 between, until 11 o'clock the following morning. At 11
20 o'clock another group of prisoners arrived, it was the
21 same number as we, and we went back to the camp.
22 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, may I have
23 permission to show to the witness a map of the area?
24 This map, too, has already been produced in evidence.
25 I am submitting five copies for your Honours as well as
1 to learned counsel for the Defence. (Handed).
2 May that be assigned the next number?
3 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit 81.
4 MR. MEDDEGODA: Witness, you have said that
5 you were taken to Podjele the next day. Could you
6 please, looking at the map that is on the ELMO, and
7 using one of the markers, highlight the area that you
8 were taken to for trench digging?
9 A. (Witness marked map).
10 Q. Could you please mark that with the letter
12 A. (Witness marked map).
13 Q. You said you were brought back to the camp
14 the next morning; where in the camp were you brought
15 back to?
16 A. I do not know exactly -- I believe it was
17 cell number 6.
18 Q. Were there other occasions on which you were
19 taken for trench digging whilst you were detained?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And where were you taken to next?
22 A. Prosje.
23 Q. What time of the day was it when you were
24 taken to Prosje?
25 A. I believe it was in the morning -- some time
1 around 8 o'clock, and until about 10 o'clock in the
3 Q. What was the selection process on this
5 A. You see it was similar like the first time --
6 we all came out in the hallway and Marko Krilic was
7 calling people out. Whoever was called out stepped
8 outside and then we were taken in trucks from the camp
9 to the location where we were supposed to dig.
10 Q. Were you taken elsewhere for trench digging?
11 A. Yes, Milavice.
12 Q. In relation to the time you were taken to
13 Prosje, how many days thereafter were you taken to
14 Milavice -- how many days after were you taken to
16 A. I do not know.
17 Q. How many prisoners were taken to Milavice?
18 A. I believe there were 20.
19 Q. Was it the same process of selection of
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. For how long did you have to dig in Milavice?
23 A. The same -- let us say from 8 o'clock in the
24 morning until dusk -- I do not know exactly.
25 Q. You said it was Marko Krilic who called out
1 the names of the prisoners. Do you know what his role
2 was in the camp?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What was he wearing -- do you remember what
5 kind of attire he was wearing?
6 A. Yes, camouflage uniform.
7 Q. And did he have any insignia on him?
8 A. I do not remember.
9 Q. For how long were you in the camp, witness?
10 A. From 27 January until 8 February.
11 Q. And it was on 8 February that you were
12 released from detention?
13 A. Yes, there was an exchange and I went to
15 Q. About how many prisoners were exchanged on
16 that day?
17 A. I am not sure about the number, but I believe
18 it was about 400.
19 Q. You said after your release you went to
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. From there, did you go anywhere else?
23 A. From Zenica, I went back to my family again,
24 and I joined the BiH army.
25 Q. After joining the BiH army, where were you
1 posted to?
2 A. This is a village that is adjacent to my
3 village -- no, no, no -- I was assigned to Kruscica.
4 Q. Do you remember the time when fighting broke
5 out in that area?
6 A. Yes, on 16 April 1993.
7 Q. And on that day between whom did the fighting
8 break out?
9 A. Between the members of the army and the
10 members of the HVO.
11 Q. What happened when fighting broke out in your
13 A. The Croat Defence Council forces attacked
14 with all their might, my village -- the place where
15 I was staying. At one point six of us, a group of six,
16 were in a forest where we were patrolling. We spent
17 the entire day there, and some time close to the end of
18 the day a colleague of mine and I fell asleep, and
19 again the HVO members came and took the two of us
21 MR. MEDDEGODA: You said you and a colleague
22 of yours were taken prisoner.
23 Your Honours, the Prosecution intends to call
24 the colleague who was taken prisoner with him, and, in
25 respect of that witness, the Prosecution intends to
1 make a similar application for protective measures.
2 Therefore, I do not want the witness to come out with
3 the name of that colleague. Instead, your Honours,
4 I am tendering to the witness a sheet of paper with the
5 colleague's name on it so the witness can confirm
6 whether it is the same person with whom -- whether that
7 person was arrested together with him.
8 May the usher be please asked to show the
9 sheet of paper to the witness to confirm whether the
10 name appearing on that sheet is that of his colleague?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. MEDDEGODA: Yes, it may be shown to the
15 THE REGISTRAR: It is exhibit number 82.
16 MR. MEDDEGODA: I do tender that as an
17 exhibit under seal.
18 Witness, you said that you and your
19 colleague, whose name you confirmed as that which
20 appeared on the sheet of paper, were arrested by the
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And, after being arrested, where were you all
24 taken to?
25 A. We were arrested at a place called Pecine, we
1 were taken to Zabrde. After Zabrde, after that we were
2 taken to the school in Gornja Veceriska.
3 Q. For how long did you stay in the school in
4 Gornja Veceriska?
5 A. I think it was about two nights, and the
6 members of the Croat Defence Council were coming
7 there. They mistreated us, and they shot over our
8 heads. We slept on the concrete, we had nothing.
9 Q. And where were you taken to thereafter?
10 A. After that, I believe it was two or three
11 days later, the HVO members arrived again. They
12 blindfolded us and tied our hands behind our backs with
13 a wire, and they took us out. In the meantime, one of
14 the two of us asked them where they were taking us, and
15 one of the members told us that we were being taken to
16 be executed.
17 They placed us on a tractor, and they drove
18 us across some hills -- at least that was the sensation
19 that we had. Since we were blindfolded and we could
20 not see, they brought us to some village where we could
21 hear voices of women and children, and they transferred
22 us to a trunk of a small passenger vehicle. After a
23 short period of time, we were again transported --
24 I believe this was a van or a bus, but I am not sure of
1 We were brought to a location which I had
2 never seen before. They took the blindfolds off --
3 there were five or six soldiers present who had
4 stockings over their faces. They untied our hands
5 there, and they put us in some kind of a manhole, which
6 was about five metres deep. We climbed downstairs into
7 it -- it was some kind of either a water main or sewers
8 with some vents. We were there from the moment we were
9 brought there until it got dark.
10 Q. Did you spend the night in the manhole?
11 A. No.
12 JUDGE VOHRAH: Mr. Meddegoda, what is the
13 relevance of all this evidence -- does it bear on the
14 charges at all?
15 MR. MEDDEGODA: I am seeking to elicit from
16 the witness -- from here onwards he was taken to Kaonik
17 camp where he was detained and subject to mistreatment.
18 So, were you taken out of the manhole at any
19 point in time that day?
20 A. Yes, as soon as we reached that spot, when
21 they took off the blindfolds, and untied our hands,
22 they put us in this manhole, and, just before dark
23 fell, an HVO soldier came -- a fair young man, who
24 called us to come out -- we did. He offered us some
25 food. As it was cold in the manhole, we could not eat
1 -- we were shivering -- our hands were shaking, so we
2 asked him if he could give us a blanket to warm
3 ourselves. He said he would see, and he left.
4 A short while later, he came back and told us
5 to come out again and he took us to a container, where
6 there were blankets -- quite a lot of them -- and there
7 were lunch packets -- packed lunches there, too.
8 Q. You spent the night in the container, did
10 A. Yes, he told us to clean it up a bit, because
11 the blankets were thrown all over the place, and to
12 sleep there. That is what we did.
13 Q. What happened the next morning?
14 A. The next morning, the same soldier, HVO
15 soldier, came and took us to the same manhole, and shut
16 us up there. We spent some time there -- I do not
17 recall exactly how long -- and then he came back again,
18 called out one of us. As my colleague was the first,
19 he went out. I waited inside -- I was locked up
20 there. He was taken away for interrogation. When my
21 colleague returned, they took me. This lasted about
22 half an hour. I came back.
23 A little later again, they came to fetch us
24 again, and they took us --
25 Q. Where were you taken to?
1 A. They took us to some kind of a mobile
2 armoured vehicle -- a vehicle, like a transporter. We
3 were escorted by the military police, and they
4 transported us to the Busovaca camp.
5 Q. You said you were escorted by the military
6 police. The military police of which army escorted you
7 to the Busovaca camp?
8 A. The police that escorted us to the Busovaca
9 camp belonged to the army of the Croat Defence
11 Q. And by the "Busovaca camp", you mean the
12 Kaonik camp to which you were earlier brought to and
13 from which you were released?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And could you tell this court what happened
16 upon arrival in the Kaonik camp?
17 A. Yes. Since they had transported us in this
18 vehicle to the Kaonik camp, we came out at the entrance
19 gates, and, from there, we went on, on foot, to the
20 actual prison building, where, in front of the door,
21 the commander of the prison was waiting -- Zlatko
22 Aleksovski -- with several more guards.
23 Q. Did the commander of the prison say anything
24 when you entered the camp building?
25 A. Yes, he introduced himself as the camp
1 commander. He ordered them to take off what we had, if
2 we had parts of camouflage uniforms, and the laces of
3 our boots.
4 Q. What happened thereafter?
5 A. Then we were put up in cell number 6. We
6 were there for a while when members of the HVO military
7 police came. Their names were Zarko and Miro. They
8 started mistreating us -- that is me and my colleague.
9 We were lying on the pallets. They jumped on the
10 pallets and started hitting us, and kicking us in the
11 back, in the kidney area, and in the head.
12 This went on for some time. They apparently
13 seemed to have tired and they said they would go and
14 have a rest and that they would be back. They did come
15 back -- the same two men, Miro and Zarko. Miro started
16 hitting my colleague, and Zarko stood by watching. At
17 that moment, the prison commander came, Zlatko
18 Aleksovski and he told Zarko, "What are you waiting
19 for? Why do you not act in the same way as Miro?" And
20 he obeyed and Zarko also started hitting me.
21 This ended. Afterwards, some HVO members --
22 they were also in the prison I think -- and they
23 brought us lunch, or dinner, whatever it was -- anyway,
24 it was some food. Then again Zarko and Miro came in,
25 who threw these beans into our face. It was still warm
1 -- I mean the food -- and then they started
2 mistreating us again.
3 My colleague fainted at one point and I shook
4 him, fearing that he was dead. But he came to. After
5 that, someone came in -- I think he, too, was an HVO
6 member, who was there in the prison -- not captured but
7 he was there. His name was Goran Medugorac. I know
8 that previously he was in Zenica and he was a member of
9 the HOS. He started mistreating me, and he was saying
10 that I had allegedly mistreated him earlier on during a
12 Q. What was the mistreatment that you had to
13 undergo this time at the hands of Goran Medugorac?
14 A. It was physical mistreatment; beating, blows
15 mainly in the kidney area, and at the head.
16 Q. And as alleged by Goran Medugorac, do you
17 remember mistreating him elsewhere?
18 A. No, I had never even seen him before.
19 Q. Could you tell this court what happened to
20 you in the camp thereafter?
21 A. After that, Anto Cakic came, who ordered me
22 -- as I was beaten up, I had to lie down. Anto Cakic
23 ordered me to stand at attention. He would come in
24 every 15 minutes to check whether I was still standing,
25 and, when he came, he would occasionally hit me with
1 his leg or with his fist, and this went on like this
2 until some time around 10 o'clock in the evening, when
3 this same Anto went off somewhere, and I did not see
4 him again until somewhere before the end when I was
5 about to be exchanged. I learned later that he had
6 gone to the front some place, and that he had been
7 wounded there.
8 Q. Witness, whilst you were detained in the
9 camp, were you taken out of the camp on labour
10 detachment -- I am referring to your second stint of
11 detention in the camp?
12 A. Yes. After all of this, the very next day,
13 we were taken to dig at a location called Strane.
14 Q. Looking at the map before you, could you mark
15 the location Strane with the highlighter that you have
16 beside you?
17 A. (Witness marked map).
18 Q. Witness, you also, earlier on in the course
19 of your testimony, said, referring in the course of
20 your first period of detention, that you were taken to
21 dig trenches in Prosje and again in Milavice?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Could you please mark those places on the map
24 that is before you, Exhibit 81?
25 A. (Witness marked map).
1 Q. And what is that place that you marked?
2 A. No.
3 Q. What is the name of the place that you
5 A. Milavice.
6 Q. Could you also mark Prosje on that map?
7 A. I have marked Prosje.
8 Q. Witness, I think you have marked Podjele,
9 Milavice and then Strane?
10 A. Prosje.
11 Q. Okay. You said you were taken to Strane;
12 about how many prisoners were taken to Strane?
13 A. About 20 prisoners.
14 Q. What did you have to do in Strane?
15 A. We had to dig large trenches for an
16 anti-aircraft gun which was on a truck -- a small TAM
17 vehicle. While we were digging, HVO members guarded us
18 with automatic rifles, while later -- I do not know
19 what time it was exactly, because we left at 8 in the
20 morning and perhaps around noon -- lunch came. HVO
21 members who brought the lunch started to mistreat the
22 prisoners, especially those who were wearing, shall we
23 say, camouflage parts of uniforms -- anything in
25 Q. Were you mistreated by the HVO members on
1 this occasion?
2 A. I personally was not, but, when the digging
3 was over, as all I had on me was my underwear and long
4 pants, they ordered me and another colleague to climb
5 up out of the trench and to tread on the earth that we
6 had dug out. A sniper on the side of the army was
8 Q. And by "the army", which army do you mean?
9 A. The BiH army. We were stamping on this earth
10 -- luckily, we were not hit, but bullets were whizzing
11 past us. When we finished it all, on the way back
12 towards the truck, we had to carry with us to the truck
13 the casings of the anti-aircraft gun, which they were
14 collecting and I do not know for what reason.
15 Q. For how long were you engaged in digging in
17 A. This was in the morning -- I think from about
18 8 until just before darkness fell. As I had been
19 beaten up, I could not really dig -- I just had to
20 shovel the earth. I could not bend down.
21 Q. After that, were you brought back to the camp
22 that evening?
23 A. Yes. That evening I was taken to the camp,
24 again to cell number 6. When we got there, my
25 colleague and I, the cell was bloodstained. We saw
1 that somebody had been there while we had been away.
2 We lay down. A short while later another two prisoners
3 appeared escorted by the guards. They came in. They
4 were also bloodstained. They were also mistreated in
5 our cell while we had been away digging and they stayed
6 with us. When they closed the door and left, we were
7 able to ask them what had happened and they told us
8 that, before, they had been in the hangar. They were
9 taken to dig that same day, like us, and both of them
10 were wounded there -- one in the back and the other in
11 the arm, but later I learned the name of one of the two
12 of these two prisoners and it was Omer Lugonjic, and
13 I cannot recall the name of the other one.
14 MR. MEDDEGODA: I will take a few more
15 minutes. Will I proceed or would your Honours be
16 inclined to take a break and reconvene?
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I think that we should
18 have a break to give the witness a rest, and we, too,
19 need a break -- all of us -- so we are going to have a
20 20 minute break now.
22 (A short break)
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Meddegoda, please
1 MR. MEDDEGODA: Very well, your Honour.
2 Witness, before the recess you described to
3 this court your experiences whilst trench digging in
4 Strane and what you observed after returning from
5 trench digging -- what you observed in the camp. Were
6 you taken elsewhere for trench digging?
7 A. Yes. I was taken -- I do not know exactly,
8 but, in any event, we were taken to Kula, Loncari,
9 Polom -- those were the places -- Popece.
10 Q. Looking at Exhibit P80, could you please,
11 using a highlighter, mark those places that you have
12 just mentioned on the map that is before you, the map
13 that has been marked P80 -- I think that is P79 --
14 sorry, P81. Looking at P81, could you please mark
15 those places that you just mentioned -- those places
16 that you were taken for trench digging?
17 A. (Witness marked map).
18 Q. As you mark them, could you say what those
19 places are? Where is that?
20 A. Carica.
21 Q. Loncari?
22 A. Loncari, Kula.
23 Q. Witness, using the same marker, may I ask you
24 to mark those places that you circled on the map -- you
25 have marked Prosje, a place you were taken for trench
1 digging during your first period of detention in the
2 camp; could you mark Prosje with the letter "B"?
3 A. Yes. (Witness marked map).
4 Q. And Milavice, also during your first period
5 of detention, with the letter "C"?
6 A. Yes. (Witness marked map).
7 Q. Then during your second period of detention,
8 you were taken to Strane; could you mark Strane with
9 the letter "D"?
10 A. Yes. (Witness marked map).
11 Q. And Carica with the letter "E"?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Loncari which you marked a while ago with the
14 letter "F" and Kula which you marked last with the
15 letter "G"?
16 A. (Witness marked map).
17 Q. Witness, you said you were taken to Carica.
18 Do you remember you being maltreated whilst you were
19 trench digging in Carica?
20 A. Yes, I was taken to Carica on several
21 occasions. I cannot remember exactly -- in fact,
22 Carica and Kula I was taken several times -- to the
23 other places only once, and I was abused there by
24 members of the Croat Defence Council, and it was one
25 person and his name was Anto Condra. He beat me and
1 mistreated me, and, later -- I did not say that in my
2 statement, but he would come to the prison afterwards
3 inebriated and besides me, he mistreated other inmates
4 who were in the cell. This happened in cell number 12.
5 Q. Other than these places that you marked in
6 the map, were you also taken to Polom on any occasion
7 for trench digging?
8 A. It was called the Polom, not Prolum, but,
9 yes, I was. This was at Carica location.
10 Q. So is that the time you were taken to Carica
11 that you were also taken to Polom, is it?
12 A. Yes, every time.
13 Q. Witness, now on those places that you were
14 taken to, were any of those places on the front-lines?
15 A. For instance, Podjele, where I dug, was not
16 on the front-line. At Strane, it was the front-line. At
17 Polom, also; at Kula I dug also at the front-line, and
18 beside the front-line, it was also -- I do not know what
19 it was called.
20 Q. On the map that is before you, could you also
21 mark the area of Polom that you just mentioned where
22 you had to dig on the front-line?
23 A. (Pause). (Witness marked map).
24 Q. And could you mark that with the letter "H"?
25 A. (Witness marked map).
1 Q. Witness, do you also remember what the
2 conditions in the camp were like?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How would you describe those conditions?
5 A. You see, as far as the conditions in the camp
6 are concerned, I consider them very bad. We could go
7 out to the toilet -- we had to knock on the door and
8 announce the number of the cell. When we would say
9 this, the guard would come, who was on duty -- he would
10 open the door -- and we had to be very quick. We were
11 given a very short period of time and we had to come
12 back fast. The toilet was within the prison. I never
13 had a shower throughout this period. The food was
14 horrible and I also want to say that anybody could come
15 of the HVO members at any time and could abuse anyone
16 that he was looking for down there.
17 Q. Did you have heating inside the cell in which
18 you were detained?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did you have sleeping facilities inside the
22 A. Yes. This was something called pallets.
23 There were some wooden boards and, on top of them,
24 there were some blankets -- somewhere, there were no
25 blankets, and there were blankets with which we covered
1 ourselves -- I had one and almost everybody did.
2 Q. On those occasions, witness, when you were
3 taken out for -- when you and the others were taken out
4 for trench digging, is it that -- what was the
5 procedure for selection during your second period of
7 A. The procedure of taking prisoners to dig,
8 that is, to forced labour, was as follows: Marko
9 Krilic would read out the list; we were in the cells,
10 and, when he would read out my name, I would say the
11 number of the cell, the guards would open the door, and
12 we would step outside into the hallway and that is
13 where we lined up and then we were transported in the
14 trucks to the location where we were to dig.
15 Q. Witness, in the course of your testimony this
16 morning you also referred to your colleague, and I
17 showed you a sheet of paper with the name of your
18 colleague written on it. Is it the same person that
19 you referred to as your colleague throughout your
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Witness, do you remember until when you were
23 detained in Kaonik camp for the second time?
24 A. Until 19 June 1993.
25 Q. And do you know the circumstances under which
1 you were released from prison on 19 June 1993?
2 A. Yes, an exchange took place. I do not know
3 how it came about, but at any rate an exchange took
4 place, and we were released.
5 Q. And do you know whether any organisation was
6 involved in the exchange or in the release of
8 A. I assumed that it was the Red Cross, because
9 they came to visit us while we were in the camp.
10 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, may the
11 witness be shown Prosecution exhibit number 80. I have
12 just a few more questions of the witness. That was the
13 aerial photograph of the camp, your Honours.
15 Witness, you have marked on that aerial
16 photograph, Prosecution exhibit number 80, the building
17 that you have circled with the letter "A" and that is
18 the building where you said that you were first
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. During your second spell of detention, could
22 you show on this map in which building you were
24 A. It is the same building -- can I mark it,
1 Q. Yes, please proceed to mark that building.
2 It is the same building that you already marked as "A"?
3 A. (Witness marked map).
4 Q. You said when you were brought to that
5 building on the second occasion in April 1993, upon
6 arrival, the camp commander introduced himself to you?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Would you be able to recognise the camp
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Witness, could you please look around this
12 court and say whether that camp commander is present in
13 this court today?
14 A. Yes, he is.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Registrar, will you
16 please give us the -- that he looked in the direction
17 of the accused, Mr. Aleksovski.
18 MR. MEDDEGODA: Witness, is he the same camp
19 commander that ordered Zarko to do the same thing as
20 Miro as when you and your colleague were being beaten
21 and abused in the cell?
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. MEDDEGODA: Your Honours, I have no
24 further questions in examination-in-chief.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Witness L, we have every
1 respect for your suffering and the pain you went
2 through, but you will now be answering questions that
3 Mr. Mikulicic may be asking you under the same solemn
5 Mr. Mikulicic or Mr. Joka?
6 Cross-examined by MR. JOKA.
7 Q. Mr. L, I am Mr. Joka, attorney representing
8 Zlatko Aleksovski. I will ask you a number of
9 questions. First, by way of introduction, what is your
10 formal education?
11 A. I have not completed any school.
12 Q. But which school did you go to?
13 A. I completed elementary school and now I am
14 attending part-time.
15 Q. Four grades?
16 A. No, eight grades of elementary school.
17 Q. Do you speak any foreign language?
18 A. No.
19 Q. I will not ask you anything about your first
20 stay at the Kaonik camp but only your second. Could
21 you tell us with greater precision when you went to
22 Kaonik for the second time?
23 A. I cannot tell you exactly, because I cannot
24 remember, but I think it was around 19 or 20 April
25 until 19 June 1993.
1 Q. Very well. In that context, can you tell the
2 court -- I am talking about your second stay at Kaonik
3 -- when were you registered by any international
5 A. I do not recall exactly.
6 Q. Was it at the beginning of your stay, the
7 middle or towards the end?
8 A. I cannot tell you for sure, but I think it
9 was about 15 days after I arrived at the camp.
10 Q. You have told us how you were captured and
11 accommodated in Gornja Veceriska and you were there
12 mistreated by the HVO?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did you or your colleague -- the person whose
15 name we are not mentioning, so I will continue calling
16 him your colleague -- were you or your colleague
17 injured in any way on that occasion?
18 A. No. These were light injuries -- bruises on
19 the head and that sort of thing.
20 Q. But what were they from?
21 A. From blows.
22 Q. What kind of blows -- with the hand, with a
23 fist, with the palm?
24 A. With a fist, with a fist.
25 Q. Were you hit in the eyes, the mouth?
1 A. Here (indicates), on the cheek.
2 Q. Tell us, later on, when you were in the
3 manholes that you described to us, the storage space
4 with the pipes and vents, was anyone there mistreated
5 -- you or your colleague?
6 A. Yes, my colleague was.
7 Q. Does that mean that somebody beat him?
8 A. Yes, I did not see that, but, judging by what
9 he told me, he was mistreated.
10 Q. He was beaten by whom?
11 A. By an HVO member, whom I did not see.
12 Q. Did they beat you?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Very well. You are back in Kaonik now. Who
15 were you with in the cell?
16 A. With my colleague.
17 Q. Just the two of you?
18 A. The moment we arrived and until the next day
19 in the evening, the two of us were alone.
20 Q. Did you or your colleague provoke any kind of
22 A. No.
23 Q. You described the event with the two members
24 of the HVO police, Zarko and Miro, is that not so?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. How do you know their names?
2 A. We learnt later.
3 Q. From whom?
4 A. We heard them calling each other by name.
5 Q. You did not know those people from before?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You mentioned somebody called Medugorac?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You told us his name and first name. You
10 said that you had never seen the man before. How do
11 you know his name?
12 A. I know his name -- I learnt his name after
13 all of this, maybe a month later -- he took me out
14 asking me to wash his underwear and the clothing he was
15 wearing, and, while I was washing it he sat there, and
16 he spoke about himself, what he had done, where he had
17 been and that sort of thing.
18 Q. Does that mean that you learned from him why
19 he was in Kaonik?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did he tell you why he was in Kaonik?
22 A. No, he just told me that he had been in
23 Zenica and he had done something. After all that, the
24 two of us -- it is rather strange -- but we somehow got
25 close -- we became kind of friends.
1 Q. At the beginning, you said that there were
2 other Croats at Kaonik?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you know why they were there?
5 A. No. I know that Micic was there -- I do not
6 remember his first name -- he was also sitting there as
7 you put it -- he was from Kakanj -- there was someone
8 called Mladen. There was another HOS member from
9 Zenica whose name was Dzemo who was also there in
10 detention, in the prison.
11 Q. What was the attitude of those people in
12 relation to you?
13 A. In most cases, they treated me correctly.
14 Q. What about the other prisoners, the other
15 Muslim prisoners?
16 A. I cannot tell you about the others -- they
17 will probably be able to tell you best. I can only
18 speak on my own behalf.
19 Q. Very well. How did they treat you?
20 A. I said at the beginning, as far as Medugorac
21 is concerned -- no, I am thinking about the others --
22 he treated us -- his attitude towards us was such that
23 he would mistreat us, the Muslim prisoners who were
24 there -- he did not mistreat me, though. I cannot say
25 that he did. The others did not mistreat me, either --
1 I cannot say they did when they did not.
2 Q. Do you know what Dzemo's ethnic group is?
3 A. Well, he was a Muslim, most probably.
4 Q. You told the Trial Chamber about the incident
5 with the -- a man called Anto Cakic. Do you know who
6 Cakic is?
7 A. I know Cakic from before. I knew him from
8 prison and I still know him.
9 Q. How did you know him from before?
10 A. I lived in the municipality of Busovaca and
11 Busovaca is not far, so we would see each other in
12 Busovaca and elsewhere.
13 Q. Did Cakic know that you were at Kaonik for a
14 second time?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Was this subject discussed between the two of
18 A. Yes. At least, in my opinion, that was the
19 reason why he mistreated me.
20 Q. Will you please explain yourself to the
22 A. He was not aware of my first stay, but he
23 must have learnt about it from somebody else, that
24 I was there for a second time.
25 Q. Maybe I did not understand you. Why would he
1 mistreat you -- just because you were there for a
2 second time?
3 A. Well, probably, yes.
4 Q. When talking about Cakic, you said he did not
5 come that evening because he had to go to the front.
6 What about the other guards?
7 A. I do not know exactly how many guards there
8 were that night, but all the guards went somewhere --
9 there was just one left, whose name I do not know.
10 That is it. Afterwards, I learnt, when Anto Cakic came
11 back, that he had been wounded that night when he went
12 somewhere and that is why he was not in the prison for
13 a certain period of time. I cannot remember for how
15 Q. Did I understand you well, that that night
16 there was only one guard left?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Let us move to a different issue. Were there
19 other people at Kaonik apart from this Cakic, who knew
20 that you were there for a second time, either
21 neighbours or guards, or anyone else?
22 A. I do not know, I do not know.
23 Q. You do not know. A moment ago you were
24 telling the court about the conditions in prison and
25 you said that the food was poor. Was it cold or cooked
2 A. Let me see. There were periods when we had
3 cooked food and other periods when we had cold food.
4 The food was terrible, especially when the conflicts
5 were on between the HVO and the BiH army, then the food
6 was the worst.
7 Q. And when was it at its best?
8 A. There were times when the food was good.
9 Q. Will you tell us what you mean when you say
10 "good" or "bad" food when you are talking about
12 A. For us, everything was good, whatever food we
13 were given. The two of us would eat from one plate
14 with a slice of bread each, and there was a soup with a
15 couple of macaroni inside. This was served twice a
16 day, and then I do not remember when this was exactly
17 when we would get somewhat better food.
18 Q. Was there beans -- were there beans?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You mentioned heating, that there was no
22 A. No.
23 Q. Was there heating anywhere else in that
25 A. Yes, there was a stove, but it was not
1 sufficient to heat the whole prison.
2 Q. Was the stove burning during the winter, that
3 is, while you were there?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Do you know where the commander's office was?
6 A. I do.
7 Q. Did he have a stove of his own inside?
8 A. I do not know.
9 Q. Are you a believer?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you have the possibility to pray?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Who prevented you from doing that?
14 A. Nobody prevented me -- we did not ask.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what the
18 ethnic composition of the village was before the
19 outbreak of the conflict?
20 A. We were all Muslims in the village -- there
21 was just one Croat home with an elderly woman living
22 there. She left before the conflict.
23 Q. Were there any incidents with that single
25 A. No.
1 Q. Do you know that somebody removed the cross
2 from that house?
3 A. No. I think the old woman died before the
4 conflict actually.
5 Q. Do you know where the village of Pezici is?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is it in the same area we are talking about?
8 A. Yes, it is nearby.
9 Q. Do you know what happened in that village of
10 Pezici during the war?
11 A. I do not understand what you mean.
12 Q. In the military sense, was there a conflict
13 between HVO units and the BiH army?
14 A. Yes, HVO units attacked -- now we are going
15 back to 27 January, they attacked our village and the
16 next day they attacked the village of Pezici.
17 Q. How did events develop in that village?
18 A. I was not in Pezici at the time.
19 Q. But do you know?
20 A. No, I do not.
21 MR. JOKA: Your Honours, I have no further
22 questions, thank you.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Meddegoda, do you have
24 any further questions in re-examination?
25 MR. MEDDEGODA: I have no questions in
1 re-examination, except that I would wish to move for a
2 redaction of an answer that went down in
3 cross-examination. The answer is on page 45 of the
4 transcript, line 3, where there is a reference to --
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Okay, you are right.
6 Please show it to Mr. Joka. (Handed).
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Witness L, can you hear
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In connection with the
11 conditions in the Kaonik camp, you said that all the
12 HVO members could come in whenever they wanted and
13 mistreat the detainees -- did I understand you well?
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Who were these HVO members
16 -- were they working in the camp, or did they come --
17 were they soldiers, were they guards?
18 A. No, they were mostly people coming in a
19 drunken state and they could enter the cells whenever
20 they wanted -- at least, in my cell. I do not know
21 about the other cells.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Witness L. We
23 wish to thank you for coming here, and we wish you a
24 safe journey home. Thank you very much.
25 (The witness withdrew)
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, please
3 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honours please, the
4 next witness, who is referred to in the motion of the
5 Prosecutor in paragraph 4 -- the fourth witness that
6 appears in paragraph number 4, if your Honours please,
7 on page 3 of that motion of 20 March 1998, has sought
8 also measures for the protection of his name and
9 identity, and we have given that information to
10 Mr. Mikulicic and, as I understand, there is no
11 objection to that.
12 We would ask that the image of his face be
13 distorted in a similar way to the last witness, and
14 that he be given the pseudonym "Witness M", if your
15 Honours, please.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, is that
17 all right with you?
18 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, it is fine --
19 the Defence has no objection.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.
21 MR. NIEMANN: In that event, I call
22 Witness M as our next witness, your Honour.
23 (The witness entered court)
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, Sir. Can
25 you hear me?
1 THE WITNESS: Yes.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You are going to read the
3 solemn declaration given to you by the usher.
4 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare
5 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and
6 nothing but the truth.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You may be seated.
8 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Please, pull your chair up
10 closer to the microphone, thank you. You are going to
11 answer questions that the Prosecutor, Mr. Niemann, is
12 going to address to you.
13 WITNESS M
14 Examined by MR. NIEMANN
15 Q. Witness, their Honours have granted you
16 certain protections with respect to your identity, so,
17 throughout the course of your examination, I will be
18 referring to you as "Witness M", do you understand?
19 A. (Witness nods head).
20 Q. For that reason, you should not give your
21 name during the course of your evidence in answer to a
22 question. Would you look for me for the moment at
23 Exhibit 82, please? Would you just open this piece of
24 paper -- look at the name that is contained there and
25 can you tell me whether or not that is your name
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. NIEMANN: Perhaps that might be shown to
4 Mr. Mikulicic.
5 Witness, would you look at the piece of paper
6 that I am now showing you and can you tell me whether
7 or not the name of the village that you resided in
8 prior to the war in January 1993 is written on that
9 sheet of paper? (Handed).
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you. I tender that, and
12 might it be tendered under seal?
13 Witness M, what is your ethnic background.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, this is exhibit
15 number --
16 THE REGISTRAR: It is 83.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much. You
18 may proceed, Mr. Niemann.
19 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour,
20 I omitted to wait for that.
21 Witness, what is your ethnic background,
23 A. I am a Bosniak Muslim.
24 Q. And what is your age?
25 A. 24.
1 Q. Now, in the early part of 1993 -- and when
2 I speak of the early part of 1993, I am talking of
3 January of that year -- were you in the army of
5 A. Yes, I was a soldier in the army of
7 Q. And where were you engaged -- you were on
8 military duty, were you?
9 A. Yes, I was engaged in the municipality of
10 Travnik near -- the town of Travnik on the front-lines
11 against the Chetniks.
12 Q. When you say "Chetniks", who do you mean by
14 A. The Serb and Montenegrin aggressors who
15 attacked Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.
16 Q. And did you, from time to time, when you were
17 off military duty, return to your village during that
18 year, the early part of that year?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And, apart from the Serb and Montenegrin
21 forces that you were fighting, was there any other
22 unrest in the area at the time that developed during
23 early January 1993?
24 A. In the territory of the municipality where
25 I lived, there were a few incidents with the Croat
1 Defence Council, and the tensions spread on 26 and 27
2 January, and at that time I was at the front-line, as
3 I said before, in the Travnik municipality.
4 Q. When these tensions developed between the
5 Croats and -- had this been expected or anticipated
6 by you?
7 A. I never expected it personally, neither did
8 the people in my village, because we had good
9 co-existence with the Croats.
10 Q. Who were the predominant ethnic group in your
11 village -- the Muslims or the Croats?
12 A. Muslims.
13 Q. And you spoke of 26 and 27 January 1993.
14 What in fact occurred?
20 Q. Did you then later, in the month, travel back
21 to your home?
22 A. Yes, I came to my village on 2 February.
23 Q. When you came back, what did you discover?
24 A. When I came back, I saw that the village was
25 laid to waste -- in one part of the village all the
1 inhabitants had fled to neighbouring village and in
2 another there were a few villagers left.
3 Q. What did you do then?
4 A. I joined in the defence of my village -- the
5 defence was organised -- for future developments.
6 I was assigned to the front-line against the Croats.
7 Q. So, now you became involved in the conflict
8 with the Croat forces; is that right, as opposed to the
9 Serb/Montenegrin forces?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What role did you play in this? What were
12 you to do? What were your military duties in relation
13 to this -- what were you required to do?
14 A. I was a regular soldier, who was assigned to
15 the front-line, but, during this period, after I had
16 come back to the village, some kind of a truce was
17 signed between the BiH army forces and the HVO forces,
18 which lasted until that second conflict which started
19 on 16 April 1993, so that there were no particular
20 conflicts in the village in this intervening period
21 from when I returned to the village until 16 April when
22 the new conflict broke out.
23 Q. And, on 16 April, where were you specifically
24 on that time -- at that time?
25 A. I was assigned to a village watch -- a
1 village guard in the village that was again
2 neighbouring my own village.
3 Q. And what happened?
4 A. On that day, somewhere around 6 o'clock in
5 the morning, the shelling started on the part of the
6 HVO -- the shelling of the village where I was on guard
7 duty, and a neighbouring village which, until that
8 time, had not been attacked.
9 Q. And what transpired as a result of this
10 shelling and this attack that took place?
11 A. I do not know -- we knew that we were
12 attacked by the HVO, but that was the only thing that
13 was clear at that point. We did not know anything else
14 -- why and how.
15 Q. Later on in the morning, say at about 11 or
16 near to midday, were you captured?
17 A. Yes, because, from that position, you could
18 see the village. I saw my village burning -- houses
19 there, on fire and, at that moment, an HVO unit
20 appeared, which took us prisoner -- myself and a
21 colleague of mine.
22 Q. When you were taken prisoner, did you notice
23 the way your captors -- the people that took you into
24 captivity, did you notice how they were dressed, the
25 soldiers, and the HVO?
1 A. Yes, they were wearing camouflage uniforms
2 with visible HVO insignia on the left sleeve.
3 MR. NIEMANN: Would you look at Exhibit 79,
5 Your Honours, while we are waiting for the
6 witness to receive the exhibit, I might ask for a
7 redaction on page 52, lines 12 to 13. I think it has
8 already been shown to your Honours.
9 Just looking at this piece of paper that you
10 are now being shown, witness, there is a name that
11 appears there. Was that person with you at the time
12 that you were captured?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And where were you taken when you were
16 A. We were taken to a nearby weekend house
17 settlement -- a place called Zabrde. That is where we
18 were tied up by the HVO soldiers. We had to put our
19 hands behind our backs. They tied us up with wire, and
20 then they bound us together with wire and then we were
21 taken to a village of Gornja Veceriska.
22 Q. At Gornja Veceriska, where did they place you
24 A. We were in Gornja Veceriska that day -- we
25 spent the night there, and the next day. They tied us
1 up, they blindfolded us with some fabric, and we were
2 taken to Kace near Novi Travnik.
3 Q. When you got to Kace, what happened then?
4 A. At Kace, we were placed in a some kind of a
5 manhole -- I do not know what purpose it served for --
6 I know it was very cold and there was a strong stench
7 coming from it. After we were placed in this manhole,
8 my colleague and I were taken out, one by one, and
9 taken to a structure nearby, where the HVO forces were
10 accommodated, and I was beaten up in the office of
11 their security officer by an unknown man. I had my
12 back turned to him when he started beating me, so that
13 I was not able to see his face, nor would I be able to
14 identify him.
15 I was beaten up, and then they asked of me to
16 give a statement, and what they were interested in was
17 what kind of forces we had, even though at that time
18 I did not know what kind of forces the BiH army had,
19 and then, after that, he told me that a decision was
20 taken that myself and my colleague would be executed,
21 and he asked me whether I had any family in Zenica or
22 Travnik so that they would be notified after we were
23 executed so that the location of our execution would be
24 passed to the next of kin.
25 Q. Now, just going back just a little bit, from
1 the time that you were captured through to this moment
2 when you were told that you were to be executed, had
3 you been beaten at any stage, other than the incident
4 that you just spoke of?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. When you were beaten on that other
7 occasion --
8 A. Yes, yes, I was beaten. The first time we
9 were beaten up there in the school in Gornja Veceriska,
10 we were in the hallway there of that school. They gave
11 us some card boards, so we could lie down and rest --
12 it was on a concrete floor, and we were beaten up
13 there; we were mistreated by both the civilians and the
14 soldiers who were there. We stayed the night there in
15 Gornja Veceriska and the next day a group of 10
16 soldiers came, and we were beaten there and we were
17 beaten up pretty heavily.
18 Q. And when you were beaten on these occasions,
19 did at any stage you lose consciousness?
20 A. Yes, I lost consciousness at Veceriska, but
21 they would again beat me back into consciousness.
22 Q. Now, after you had been told that you would
23 be executed, what happened next -- what was the next
24 thing that happened?
25 A. They took me back to the manhole, and then my
1 colleague was taken out also to give a statement, and
2 after he returned back to where I was, he was also told
3 that we would be executed.
4 Q. And did you spend another night in the
6 A. We were in the manhole until the dusk and
7 then a guard who was there -- I do not know whether it
8 was on his own initiative or under someone's orders,
9 but I think it was just his good intentions -- he took
10 us out of the manhole and placed us in a container
11 which was near the manhole, and then again early in the
12 morning, before it dawned, we were transferred back
13 into the manhole and, as the guard said, for his own
14 security's sake, because as he said, he was not allowed
15 to take us out of the manhole.
16 Q. And the next morning, after you had been put
17 back into the manhole, what happened after that?
18 A. Yes, we were put back into the manhole and we
19 spent about three or four hours there, and then we were
20 again called out, we came outside, and two HVO military
21 policemen were waiting there for us, and further down
22 in front of the building, I saw a group of their
23 soldiers, of whom I thought they were the firing squad.
24 Q. Did you and the colleague that you have
25 identified when you looked at Exhibit 79 say anything
1 to each other in relation to this?
2 A. Yes, I would tell my colleague while we were
3 still in the manhole, and not knowing what would
4 happen, we were somehow sure that they would kill us,
5 but I would say to him that there was a possibility
6 that we might be massacred -- mutilated -- before being
7 killed, so I said to him, "If they do start to mutilate
8 us and torture us, let us try and escape, so let them
9 kill us with rifle shots". We agreed to behave in that
10 way and that is exactly what we would have done, I am
11 sure, if they had started to torture us and mutilate
13 Q. But instead of doing this, what happened --
14 instead of them doing that to you, what happened to
16 A. Yes, when we reached this group of soldiers,
17 who were in front of the building where I had been the
18 day before, two soldiers, or two military policemen
19 stepped out -- one of them, I learned that his name was
20 Zlatko Nakic and they told us to get into the bus. The
21 bus had the Red Cross sign on it. We entered the bus,
22 and the driver was already there inside, and we asked
23 him where we were going. He told us, "You are going to
24 Kaonik". I felt relief, because I had assumed -- or,
25 rather, I knew that there was a camp there, but I also
1 knew that there were civilians there, so there was a
2 greater chance that I would stay alive.
3 Q. This colleague that you were with, whom you
4 identified when you looked at Exhibit 79, had he been
5 to Kaonik before, so far as you knew?
6 A. Yes, he had already spent some time there
7 during the conflict in his village. He had been
8 captured, and taken to the Kaonik camp, and he had
9 spent there, I think, about 15 days, the first time he
10 was there.
11 Q. Had you ever been to the Kaonik camp during
12 the course of that year, 1993, when it was used as a
14 A. I did not quite understand the question.
15 Q. Had you been there before like your
16 colleague, to Kaonik?
17 A. No, I had not.
18 Q. So, this was to be your first time?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. When you arrived at Kaonik, tell us what
22 A. We arrived at Kaonik under armed escort, from
23 the place we got off the bus, and then we reached the
24 building where we were put up. We were met there by a
25 group of guards and the director of the camp.
1 Q. And how did you know this person was the
2 director of the camp, as you call it?
3 A. I did not know straight away, but, after
4 entering the cell, my colleague told me who was who,
5 because he knew, as he had been there before, and he
6 already knew the persons who met us, so that I learnt
7 the name then, and who was in charge of the prison.
8 Q. And who did you learn then was in charge of
9 the prison?
10 A. It was the man who was in charge -- everybody
11 called him "director" -- Zlatko Aleksovski.
12 Q. Did you see how he was dressed on the first
13 occasion that you saw him?
14 A. Yes, he was wearing a camouflage uniform with
15 HVO insignia on his sleeve.
16 Q. Did he say or do anything when you first
17 arrived at the camp on that occasion?
18 A. I cannot really remember. I remember that he
19 laughed, that he was making some sort of jokes at our
20 expense, but we were mistreated there by one of the
21 guards, and Mr. Aleksovski was present throughout that
22 time while we were searched and taken to the cell.
23 Q. In what way were you mistreated?
24 A. The first thing they did to us, we had
25 already been searched 10 or 15 times -- I cannot
1 remember exactly -- wherever we went, we were searched,
2 though we had nothing on us; everything was taken
3 away. All I had were some gloves when I reached
4 Kaonik. They took away those gloves, too, and the
5 guard who was harassing us, he told us to turn around
6 to face him, to look straight ahead, or, rather,
7 sideways, so that he could point his gun at our noses,
8 as he said.
9 Q. What happened after that?
10 A. After that, they took us to cell number 6 of
11 this building where the cells were.
12 MR. NIEMANN: Would you look at this
13 photograph that I now show you?
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, excuse me for
15 interrupting you, but I think it is time for a
16 15-minute break, if you do not mind; I hope it does not
17 upset your questioning?
18 MR. NIEMANN: That is fine.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In that case, we will have
20 a 15-minute break.
22 (A short break)
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, please
1 MR. NIEMANN: Witness, before we go on,
2 through my fault, I may have been misleading when
3 I spoke of the village that you lived at. I just ask
4 you to look at this sheet of paper, if you would, for
5 me. I think precisely is this the village where you
6 live? (Handed).
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. NIEMANN: I tender that under seal and
9 perhaps it could be shown to Mr. Mikulicic.
10 THE REGISTRAR: It is exhibit number 84.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Please proceed,
12 Mr. Niemann.
13 MR. NIEMANN: Just to clear up that matter,
14 witness, the other village that I showed you on the
15 other slip of paper, that is a neighbouring village, is
16 it, where the attack first commenced in January 1993?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. We are at the part of your evidence where you
19 said you were taken into cell number 6 in the building
20 when you first arrived and I was about to show you a
21 photograph and would you look at this photograph for
22 me, please, and see if you can identify it? (Handed).
23 THE REGISTRAR: It is exhibit 85.
24 MR. NIEMANN: Witness M, I want you to look
25 at this photograph for me, please, and can you tell me
1 whether it looks familiar to you?
2 A. Yes, it is familiar.
3 Q. Can you pick up a coloured pen there on the
4 side of the projector? Can you mark the place where
5 you first arrived -- when you first arrived at the
6 Kaonik camp where you alighted from your bus, are you
7 able to mark that?
8 A. (Witness marked map).
9 Q. Would you put for me the letter "A" there,
10 please -- not "E" but "A"?
11 A. (Witness marked map).
12 Q. From there where did you go? Using the red
13 marker, can you colour the direction that you went from
15 A. (Witness marked map).
16 Q. And with the letter "B" can you put a mark at
17 the place where you say you went inside into cell
18 number 6?
19 A. (Witness marked map).
20 Q. And, when you first arrived at the camp in
21 April 1993, can you tell us which building the office
22 of the commander was, Mr. Aleksovski, was it in
23 building A or building B when you first arrived?
24 A. It was in building B.
25 Q. Did his office later change to another place
1 during the time that you were at the camp, or was it
2 always at B?
3 A. It was here, but the prisoners who were in
4 the camp made a new office for him at the entrance to
5 building B. It was not moved to another building -- it
6 was in the same building.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 Once you were put into the cell, what did you
9 see; what was the first thing you saw -- can you
10 describe the interior of the cell for us, that is, cell
11 number 6?
12 A. In the cell, there were pallets and, to the
13 left, as we entered, there was like a straw mattress
14 and the guard who brought us there told us that we
15 could not lie on that straw mattress, but to the right
16 on the boards, the wooden boards, the pallets that had
17 been made there.
18 Q. And did he say any reason why you could not
19 lie on it, or he just made that statement?
20 A. He did not give any reason. He just told us
21 that, and we knew that we could not, so we sat in the
22 part where there was no straw -- there was just a
24 Q. What happened that night when you were in the
1 A. That night one of the guards came in -- his
2 name was Anto Cakic. He entered and he ordered us to
3 stand in one corner, one of us in one corner and the
4 other one in the other, so I went to the left-hand
5 corner of the cell, and my colleague went to the
6 right-hand corner, and he said he would be back, and he
7 left the cell.
8 Q. How did you know this person was called Anto
10 A. I know, because my colleague, when he was
11 there for the first time, had met him, and before the
12 war broke out on the territory of the municipality, I
13 knew him by sight.
14 Q. When he told you to do this, to stand in
15 either corner of the cell, what was the next thing that
17 A. After that, he came back in, and he started
18 beating my colleague, and he started bleeding from the
19 nose from the beating, and then he told him to go and
20 wash his nose in the toilet, which was in the
21 building. While my colleague was walking out, he
22 approached me and he hit me on the left side of my
23 face. He asked me where I was from.
24 Q. What did he hit you with on the side of your
1 A. With his fist.
2 Q. Did he hit you with a full fist, or did he
3 hit you hard, or was it just a light blow -- can you
5 A. It was a hard blow, because I started
6 bleeding from the mouth from the blow.
7 Q. And what did he say to you then?
8 A. He asked me where I was from and what my
9 father's name was. I told him my father's name and
10 where I was from. He then said that he knew my father,
11 that he had been an acquaintance of his before the war
12 had broken out, and he told me that I could lie down
13 and go to sleep, whereas he would beat my colleague all
15 Q. Did he say that, that he would be beaten all
16 night, your colleague?
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I apologise, Mr. Niemann,
19 but I think we have a minor technical problem -- I have
20 just been informed -- regarding the French
21 translation. Perhaps we need to stop for about five
22 minutes to try and deal with the problem. Will five
23 minutes be enough? We will rise for five minutes.
25 (A short break)
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, I think the
3 technical problem has been resolved, so please proceed.
4 MR. NIEMANN: Witness M, did you then do as
5 the guard had said and that is lay down on the pallet
6 and go to sleep?
7 A. I asked him whether I could go to the
8 toilet. He said I could, so I went to the toilet, and,
9 when I came back, I did what he told me.
10 Q. And what happened then?
11 A. As I was very tired, because it was the third
12 day that we had not slept properly, I just heard them
13 come in once to beat my colleague. I fell asleep and,
14 in the morning, I woke up, I saw my colleague lying
15 next to me. I asked him what had happened. He told me
16 that they had beaten him that night, until some time
17 before dawn, and this was visible on him.
18 Q. When you say your "colleague", that is the
19 person whom you identified earlier when I showed you
20 that name, Exhibit 79?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What happened then, after that?
23 A. After that first night in the Kaonik camp,
24 the next day Mr. Aleksovski came with five or six HVO
25 soldiers and they entered our cell. Mr. Aleksovski told
1 them, addressing the soldiers, he said, "These are the
2 men from the place where I come from".
3 Q. He used the name -- at least part of the name
4 of the place where you came from, is that right, which
5 has been tendered now as Exhibit 84?
6 A. Yes. Then two soldiers came up to me and
7 started beating me.
8 Q. These soldiers that were with Mr. Aleksovski
9 and who started to beat you, did you understand them to
10 be guards or were they regular HVO soldiers?
11 A. I did not think that they were guards,
12 I thought that they were regular HVO soldiers.
13 Q. And did they in fact beat you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did Mr. Aleksovski stay there, or did he go
16 away when they started to beat you?
17 A. He was there -- he was present when they
18 started to beat me and they beat me so badly that I did
19 not even notice where Mr. Aleksovski was, but my
20 colleague told me that he was there all the time,
21 standing at the door and laughing while they were
22 beating me and that, later on, he told another two HVO
23 soldiers to beat my colleague.
24 Q. When you say "he told" them that, are you
25 referring to Mr. Aleksovski?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What did they beat you with, and what did
3 they beat your colleague with, these soldiers?
4 A. One of the soldiers, who was beating me, had
5 a police truncheon. His name is Ivca Kristo. I do not
6 know the other one's name. This Ivca beat me with this
7 truncheon and with his feet, whereas the other one
8 kicked me, beat me with his fists, in any way he could.
9 Q. Did you retain your consciousness throughout
10 this beating, or did you lose consciousness?
11 A. After the first beating, I was still
12 conscious, but, when they went out the first time, Ivca
13 addressed us and said that they would beat us every
14 half hour. I do not know whether half an hour went by,
15 but they came back after that and they beat us again.
16 That day they beat us six times while we were in cell
17 number 6.
18 Q. Did you see Mr. Aleksovski at any other time
19 during the course of these beatings?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you hear Mr. Aleksovski say anything to
22 the guards other than what you have said, that "these
23 are from the village" -- your village -- apart from him
24 saying that, did he say anything else to the guards
25 that you can remember during the course of your
2 A. I heard them saying in the corridor, when
3 they went out for the first time, when they were
4 walking through the door, that he told them that there
5 would be a party in cell number 6 during that day. The
6 party, I assume, implied that we would be beaten, and
7 this came true.
8 Q. Was there any other word used during the time
9 that you were at the camp to describe people being
10 beaten -- was there any other word that was used from
11 time to time that you can remember now?
12 A. I know that, while they were beating me, they
13 were saying it was a "dance party".
14 Q. By "dancing", what did you understand by that
15 -- what were they doing when they were
16 so-called "dancing"?
17 A. This word, a "dance", we understood to mean
18 mistreatment, beatings, and we proved to be right, as
19 well as various kinds of provocations.
20 Q. You said that you were beaten about six times
21 on that day. Was it always the same people that beat
22 you, or did the people that beat you change at all,
23 that you can remember?
24 A. They were not always the same people who
25 came. Ivca came that day three times. After that,
1 some other unknown people came. I know that one of
2 them came from the surroundings of Vitez, and he came
3 just when they had brought us food in the cell. Before
4 that, I had to go to the toilet and I did not dare go
5 outside, nor did I dare ask anyone for permission, so
6 I used the can that was in the cell, thinking that it
7 was there for that purpose and I relieved myself in
8 it. The guard, or one of the soldiers, had come in
9 before that with the food. I went to relieve myself
10 after that in this tin can that was in the cell and the
11 man who had brought in the food came in again, and
12 asked me where I had relieved myself. I told him,
13 "Here" and he said, "Well, who told you to do that?";
14 I did not know what to say.
15 Later, they told me that, after that, if you
16 had to go to the toilet, but you could only go during
17 meal time, and if you needed to go to the toilet, you
18 could use these cans that were in the cell -- you were
19 not allowed to knock on the door often to be let out
20 and then the soldier who had asked me where I had
21 urinated threw the food at me and started beating me
22 again. He beat me so badly on that occasion
23 that I lost consciousness.
24 He would go out of the cell and then come
25 back again. A second time when this soldier was
1 beating me I asked him to kill me rather than torture
2 me any longer and then he said, "It is easier to die
3 like this". What he meant was that he would continue
4 torturing me until I died.
5 Q. When you urinated in the can, did you look at
6 your urine?
7 A. My urine -- I always had this urge to urinate
8 and, in my urine there were visible traces of blood
9 from the previous beating and from the current beating.
10 Q. Were you in pain in parts of your body when
11 you had this beating -- did any particular part of your
12 body feel in particular pain?
13 A. After this second time, when the soldier beat
14 me up in the cell, after this meal we did not eat,
15 I was lying helplessly -- I could not feel anything in
16 my legs; I was all numb, so was my back. After some
17 time, I heard somebody talking on the door -- there was
18 a dialogue going on between two people to the effect
19 that, "They are alive or they are not alive" and then
20 one of them said to the other, "Go and check and see if
21 they are alive". He opened the cell, entered, and
22 pulled me by my big toe. I just managed to move my
23 head to the right so that his comment was, "Good, they
24 are alive" and he went out after that.
25 A little later, two others came in -- I know
1 their names -- I met them in the camp -- Goran
2 Medugorac and Micic Zoran, who were there in the camp
3 as some kind of guards, or really they were under some
4 sort of arrest -- that is what I gathered. They were
5 HVO soldiers, and they came again to beat my colleague,
6 saying that he had been beaten less and that they would
7 make up for it so that he would catch up with me and
8 then they beat him.
9 Q. How were they dressed, this Zoran Micic and
10 Goran Medugorac, how were they dressed?
11 A. They were wearing camouflage uniforms.
12 Q. What was your condition, your physical
13 condition like after these beatings, can you describe
14 it for us? Were you bruised; did you have full use of
15 your arms and legs -- can you tell us?
16 A. After this mistreatment the first day,
17 I could not move at all. I had a visible scar on the
18 left-hand side of my face -- I forgot this detail,
19 while they were beating me, they were saying to one
20 another that they not beat me on my face so that it
21 would not be visible. However, one of them kicked me
22 in the face with his boot, maybe by accident, and my
23 face was -- my whole body was black and blue down to
24 the ankles, and up to my neck -- there were visible
25 bruises all over my body.
1 Q. Did you maintain the feeling in your limbs,
2 in your arms and legs?
3 A. Some kind of feeling remained, but after all
4 that, after everything I suffered in the camp, I am not
5 able to do things that I was able to do before and that
6 concerns both my limbs, my spine -- I still have pain
7 in the chest and back areas. This comes occasionally.
8 Q. Do you recall an incident a few days after
9 you had been taken to the Kaonik camp, when you were
10 taken out of your cell?
11 A. Yes, what happened was Mr. Aleksovski and
12 Mr. Marko Krilic, who was his deputy, came to get me and
13 my colleague in our cell. They told us to get out and
14 follow them and, in front of the building which I
15 marked as "B", a TV crew of some sort was waiting.
16 They did not introduce themselves to us; they did not
17 say what TV they were from -- they spoke our language
18 and we could understand them well.
19 Mr. Aleksovski said, "Here is CNN to tape you"
20 and one person from the TV crew approached us -- he was
21 I guess the reporter, and he introduced -- identified
22 us as the soldiers of the Muslim forces. I reacted to
23 that, and I told him that we were not soldiers of the
24 Muslim forces, but that we were soldiers of the Regular
25 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mr. Krilic approached and
1 said, "You are going to say what you are told to say.
2 You are a member of the Muslim forces and that is how
3 it is going to be". I said, "Very well" and again they
4 started taping something.
5 The reporter's questions were what were our
6 names, where were we from, and then he asked us about
7 the conditions of the place where we were. He asked us
8 about the food, what the accommodation was like,
9 whether we were being beaten, whether we were being
10 mistreated and such details -- I did not know what to
11 tell him. I wanted to tell him that the food was
12 awful, that the conditions were terrible, but, while
13 I was waiting to respond, Mr. Krilic approached me and
14 said, "The conditions are fine, the food is fine, the
15 accommodation is fine. Do not complain. You have
16 nothing to think about". I said, "I did not know this
17 until now, so fine" and then he also said, "When they
18 ask you about the conflict between the Croats and
19 Muslims in Bosnia, you are going to say that the
20 Muslims are responsible for all of that. They do not
21 want to live together with the Croats, that you
22 attacked them first" and things like that. That is
23 what I said to this TV crew, which was taping us.
24 Q. Was the television stopped while you were
25 told what to say by Mr. Krilic?
1 A. Yes. If I hesitated about any answer, if
2 I said anything that was not convenient for them,
3 immediately the gentleman would say to stop taping and
4 Mr. Krilic would come over and he would tell me what
5 I was to say. That is, what they wanted me to say.
6 Meanwhile, Mr. Aleksovski was two or three
7 metres away from us and observing it and he would
8 occasionally laugh and occasionally he would throw in
9 remarks like, "You should feel honoured by having CNN
10 taping you and visiting you". However, I could not see
11 any logos or anything that would let me know this was
12 CNN or international television. Later, from a Croat,
13 I learned that it was a local TV crew from Busovaca.
14 Q. When you were in the camp at Kaonik, were you
15 ever visited by the Red Cross?
16 A. Yes, the Red Cross visited us on several
17 occasions -- probably four or five times while I was in
18 the Kaonik camp. They first came maybe 10 days after
19 my capture and this includes the places where I was
20 before arriving in Kaonik, so on 24 and 25 May [sic]
21 they arrived for the first time, and the person who
22 came was introduced herself to us as Ms or
23 Miss Beatrice. We came out to be registered. When
24 this was happening, I had an impression we were not
25 supposed to be registered on that occasion, so we came
1 into the area where we were taking meals. There was a
2 table in the hallway in the building B, and Ms Beatrice
3 asked me when I was captured. I told her the date of
4 my capture. She was surprised and she asked me, "So
5 how come you have not been registered yet?" I said
6 that I did not know -- I gained the impression that she
7 had been there before in the camp, but that they did
8 not want to show me to her, which was the practice in
9 the camp -- certain prisoners were not shown.
10 So we were registered that time, and she
11 asked all the prisoners whether there was anyone there
12 who was in need of medical care. Among others
13 I reported for medical care, because you could see
14 bruises on my face. She asked me where I got that, and
15 I told her that I accidentally hit myself with a
16 shovel. I knew if I told her I had been beaten
17 that I would be punished, so I told her I injured
18 myself with a shovel while digging and that I needed
19 medical care, because I have pains in my back.
20 However, I subsequently received no medical
21 care and the next day I was taken to dig again and we
22 dug that day.
23 Q. When this Red Cross lady came and spoke to
24 you, was the camp commander, Mr. Aleksovski, there at
25 any stage during the time that she spoke to you, that
1 you can recall?
2 A. When we came to the hallway, we were
3 registered and we were interviewed by the
4 representatives of the ICRC and Mr. Aleksovski was
5 present. He had some conversation with the gentleman
6 from the ICRC. We did not listen in and, after that,
7 these gentlemen from the ICRC requested Mr. Aleksovski
8 to leave the room and she wanted to talk to us alone
9 and then she asked us what the conditions were in the
10 camp, what the food was like, whether we were taken to
11 perform any kind of labour, what was it that we did, so
12 she asked a number of things on what was going on in
13 the camp, whether there were any killings taking place,
14 and things like that.
15 Q. And were you prepared to tell her at that
16 stage -- answer all of her questions that she asked
18 A. Not only myself, but not one of the prisoners
19 dared to talk about it, because we knew that they did
20 not come to take us for an exchange, but only to come
21 and talk to us, so that we could send a message to our
22 families that we were alive. Nobody dared talk about
23 these conditions in the camp, because we were
24 suspicious of an interpreter who was with the ICRC, and
25 later these suspicions proved true, after our first
1 complaints and after we needed to go to see the doctor
2 -- the lady from the ICRC, she did not speak any
3 Bosnian and I do not know whether the interpreter did
4 not want to interpret, or whether he did interpret and
5 the gentleman from the camp refused to take us to be
6 provided with medical care.
7 Q. I just need to -- I think you said that it is
8 recorded here on the transcript that you said this
9 meeting was 24 and 25 May -- was it 24 and 25 May or
10 was it earlier than that that she came first time?
11 A. When she first came, it was 24 or 25 April.
12 Q. You mentioned there that you had told her
13 that you had gone trench digging, or you had been
14 working, I am sorry, I think -- at least you mentioned
15 that you had been trench digging. When did this first
16 occur -- when did you first go to dig trenches?
17 A. I went for the first time on my second day of
18 staying at the Kaonik camp, in the morning. Mr. Stipo
19 Andrijasevic in the camp came and told us to get up.
20 He walked into the cell and told us to get up. We
21 could not get up. We just looked at him from where we
22 were lying and he yelled at us, "Why aren't you getting
23 up" and we helped each other get up and we came out
24 into the hallway. Then we were brought out in front of
25 the building with the cells and Mr. Aleksovski and
1 Mr. Krilic were there, and some other men in uniforms --
2 members of the HVO -- and then they put us in a van and
3 drove us to the front-lines in the village of Strane to
4 dig trenches for their soldiers.
5 Q. Were the people that were selected to go and
6 dig trenches at the front-line, did they appear to you
7 to be selected randomly, or were they selected
8 according to some system, or in some formal way?
9 A. It was not at random. In my view, it could
10 not have been random, because a list existed and if my
11 name was on the list, I was selected to go and dig, so
12 it was not by accident or random.
13 Q. When you arrived at Strane on the front-line
14 to dig these trenches, what happened then? When you
15 got there, what did you see and what happened?
16 A. When we arrived at the front-line with the
17 HVO, the group where I was supposed to dig in a truck
18 on which an anti-aircraft gun was mounted and we were
19 supposed to make it operational and we were given some
20 tools to dig with. I was unable to work and the people
21 who were in the group with me saw that I was in
22 horrible shape and they told me, "You just move around
23 a little bit here and pretend that you are digging, but
24 do not really work". This is what went on until lunch
1 With this meal, a group of soldiers arrived,
2 led by a certain Zarko. I knew him from before in
3 civilian life, from the town of Busovaca -- I know that
4 he lived in the Kacun area. He arrived with this group
5 of soldiers. Before we took our meal, he lined us up
6 on a hill where we had been digging and he ordered us
7 all to crouch. We did, and then Mr. Zarko went from one
8 prisoner to the next and asked where we were from, how
9 we were captured and things like that.
10 He arrived -- he came to me and he asked me
11 where I was from and I lied about the village that
12 I was from. I did that, because I knew how I fared in
13 the camp when I mentioned the name of my village, so
14 I kind of assumed that I would fare the same if
15 I repeated it. So I told him that I was from Vitez.
16 Zarko had some kind of a rope in his hand and then he
17 started whipping me with this rope and, as I sat down
18 from these blows, he ordered me to crouch up again and
19 he ordered one of his soldiers to bring a stick out of
20 the forest.
21 He brought a stick and he handed it to
22 Zarko. He tested it by hitting the ground with it to
23 test to see whether it was strong enough and it broke.
24 Then he told the soldier to bring him a better one, so
25 the soldier went back into the forest and brought
1 another stick to Zarko.
2 At that moment, I was expecting him to beat
3 me with this stick and I expected a hard blow, but he
4 surprised me and started hitting me with his fists and
5 kicking me, so instead of a stick, he beat me this
6 other way. Then he sent me down hill to go and have a
7 meal. I went, but I could not even open my mouth
8 properly -- I could not eat, so I just took a couple of
9 bites -- I dipped in my pieces of bread in the mouth,
10 and no sooner did I start eating, I was already
11 summoned back to the soldiers, they surrounded me and
12 the beatings started again on the part of the HVO
14 Q. Why could you not eat, what was wrong with
15 your mouth?
16 A. The reason why I could not eat was my mouth
17 was swollen from this whipping of Zarko's with this
19 Q. When they brought you back, what did they do
20 to you then?
21 A. Where back?
22 Q. You went down and had something to eat and
23 then you said that, before you could even finish your
24 meal, they brought you back. What happened then?
25 A. Yes, then they told me to sit down. They
1 pointed to a place where I was to sit down. Then they
2 surrounded me and they started questioning me and
3 started abusing me. Among the soldiers, I recognised
4 one, because we went to school together and he told
5 them that I was from this village, from where I come,
6 and then, again, they started beating me.
7 Q. What did they beat you with on this occasion?
8 A. They beat me with whatever they had at hand.
9 They also kicked me. I lost consciousness several
10 times there, and as I would come to they would beat me
11 again and so it went and then Zarko told me to go back
12 up there and finish the job that we had started and
13 that, after that, snipers were going to shoot at me.
14 Q. What did you understand by that when he said
15 that snipers were going to shoot at you, what did you
16 think he meant by that?
17 A. Well, he had a sniper rifle in his hands and
18 I understood that to mean that his sniper was not good
19 enough, that he will test it on me, whether it is an
20 accurate weapon.
21 Q. And what happened then after that, did you go
22 back to start trench digging again, or start digging
24 A. I went up there, I was not able to dig, and
25 then this group of people who were working with me came
1 back and, a little while later, we were all told to
2 assemble at a particular spot and we were told that
3 every prisoner, that is, that two prisoners should each
4 carry a box of spent cartridges or casings of shells to
5 a particular place.
6 When my turn came, I was told to carry a
7 crate on my own, and it was filled with casings and
8 they said, "If one of these casings falls out, we will
9 kill you". We were supposed to go downhill and, thank
10 God, I did not lose any of these casings, otherwise
11 I do not know what would have happened.
12 After that, we were again placed in a vehicle
13 in which we came from the camp, and we were taken back
14 to the camp.
15 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, I notice it is now
16 1.30. Is that a convenient time?
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, I think it is time to
18 break. We can stop here and resume tomorrow. Until
20 (At 1.33pm the matter adjourned until
21 Wednesday, 25th March 1998, at 9.00am)