1 Tuesday, September 22, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, ladies and
5 gentlemen. We will now resume our work. I understand
6 we also have a new court deputy among us. He will now
7 please call the case number, Mr. Abtahi, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: IT-95-14/1T, the Prosecutor
9 versus Zlatko Aleksovski.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much. May
11 we have the appearances please, for the Prosecution?
12 MR. NIEMANN: If Your Honours please, my name
13 is Niemann and I appear with my colleagues,
14 Mr. Meddegoda and Mr. Vos for the Prosecution.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much. And
16 for the Defence, Mr. Mikulicic?
17 MR. MIKULICIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
18 I am Goran Mikulicic, and along with Mr. Joka I
19 represent the Defence. Thank you.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much. I
21 think that for this week there are two witnesses, as
22 far as the Prosecution is concerned. Mr. Neimann, you
23 have the floor.
24 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, Your Honours.
25 Yes, Your Honours, there are two witnesses
1 that the Prosecution wishes to call in rebuttal, and in
2 respect to both of those witnesses, Your Honours, we
3 are seeking some protective measures and we have
4 notified our colleague Mr. Mikulicic of that.
5 The protective orders that we seek in respect
6 of both of them, Your Honours, is that they be referred
7 to by pseudonym rather than their own name, and that
8 the image of their face be distorted when they give
9 their evidence. Other than that, Your Honours, there
10 are no other protective measures that are sought by us,
11 but in relation to that, we do seek that order.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, is there
13 anything you would like to add, observations you would
14 like to make?
15 MR. MIKULICIC: The Defence has no comments
16 and no objections. Thank you.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much.
18 Mr. Neimann, what is the aim of the
19 Prosecution as far as calling these witnesses is
20 concerned? Are they witnesses of fact or witnesses of
21 character? What are they exactly?
22 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, Your Honour, let me
23 characterise them for you. Both of the witnesses give
24 testimony of a similar nature, so I can speak of them
25 together. The evidence that they will give will touch
1 upon matters that were raised directly by the Defence
2 in the course of their defence case.
3 They will deal with, firstly, the
4 circumstances of the issue of the conflict. There has
5 been suggested by the Defence, in the course of their
6 case, that the conflict initiated was initiated more or
7 less by the Muslim forces as an attack upon the
8 Croatian people who were in the Lasva Valley at the
10 These people, who are Muslim witnesses, will
11 give their version of those events, and how they
12 perceived it, and how they saw the issues develop
13 during the latter course of 1992 and early 1993.
14 We will also touch upon the issue of them
15 being arrested for the sake of their protection. It's
16 been suggested that there was some benevolent purpose
17 in them being taken to the Kaonik camp, that purpose
18 being to insure that they were protected from the
19 effects of the war, and perhaps people surrounding
20 them. Their evidence will seek to rebut that, and in
21 fact go to establish the contrary.
22 We will then move on to the position of
23 trench digging. Your Honours have heard evidence that
24 the conditions under which the people were engaged in
25 trench digging was universal, the same, it applied for
1 the Croatian inhabitants of the area and for the Muslim
2 people who were in the Kaonik camp. These witnesses
3 will seek to refute that and show that the situation
4 with respect to them was considerably different than
5 that which Your Honours have heard pertained to the
6 Croatian people.
7 Your Honours, that's generally the course.
8 Both the witnesses were detained in the Kaonik camp and
9 subsequently exchanged; so, that's the effect of that
10 evidence. And that's the only evidence in rebuttal
11 that we seek to call.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much,
13 Mr. Neimann. That's a very complete outline that
14 you've just given us. Now, the bench will grant these
15 witnesses the protective measures that you have asked
16 for and I will turn to the technical booth.
17 Technicians, are we ready? Can we begin with the
18 deposition of these witnesses? Yes, thank you very
20 Can the witnesses be brought in, please? Or
21 the witness.
22 MR. NIEMANN: Might the first witness be
23 referred -- they have the wrong witness, Your Honour.
24 Might the first witness be referred to with
25 pseudonym V, Your Honour. And the gentleman we have
1 just seen is Witness W.
2 (The witness entered court).
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, sir. Can you
4 hear me in a language you understand?
5 THE WITNESS: Yes, very well, I can hear you
6 very well.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You will now take the oath,
8 the usher is holding out the text for you.
9 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
10 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, sir. You may
13 sit down.
14 Do you feel comfortable, sir?
15 THE WITNESS: Yes, I am.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You will now answer the
17 questions put to you by Mr. Neimann, the gentleman on
18 your right.
19 Mr. Neimann, you have the floor
20 THE WITNESS: WITNESS V
21 Examined by Mr. Niemann:
22 MR. NIEMANN:
23 Q. Witness, Their Honours have granted you
24 certain protective measures so you may give your
25 evidence. During the course of your evidence we will
1 refer to you by the name Witness V. Their Honours have
2 also ordered that the image of your face be distorted
3 during the course of your testimony.
4 I now ask you to please look at a piece of
5 paper that I show you, and don't tell me the name
6 that's on it; but would you tell me whether it is your
7 name that you see?
8 A. Yes, this is my name.
9 MR. NIEMANN: Might that be shown to the
10 Defence, and I tender that, Your Honour, as a sealed
12 Q. Witness V, during the course of your
13 testimony, please do not refer to your name or give
14 details of matters which may tend to identify you,
15 other than those matters that I directly ask you
16 questions about.
17 Witness V, when were you born?
18 A. In 1948.
19 Q. And where were you born?
20 A. In Bosnia.
21 Q. What is your nationality?
22 A. I'm a Bosniak Muslim.
23 Q. Did you do military service when you were
24 living in --
25 A. Yes, the former JNA.
1 Q. And when did you do your military service?
2 A. Some 20 years ago.
3 Q. When you did military service, did you
4 receive any specialist training, such as officer
5 training or training of that sort?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Now, after you completed your military
8 service 20 years ago, did you then have any involvement
9 with the military from that date through until 1993?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Were you a reservist, or did you have any
12 other connection with the military?
13 A. No, if there was anything, it was civilian
14 protection, and it was more administrative type of
15 work, planning and such.
16 Q. Did you receive education?
17 A. Yes, I have some higher education.
18 Q. What level of higher education did you
20 A. I would prefer not to answer that.
21 Q. And were you employed from the period after
22 you left military service through until 1993?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And what was the nature of your employment?
25 A. In administration.
1 Q. And did you have the same work all that
2 period of time, or did it vary?
3 A. Yes, the same type of work.
4 Q. And where were you employed? What town?
5 A. Busovaca.
6 Q. And did you, were you employed for the whole
7 period in Busovaca?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you have any political affiliations
10 during the period of your adult life?
11 A. Yes, at that time I was active in the local
12 commune FDP. Anything that existed in the system of
13 that time. I was not in the leadership, but I did -- I
14 was involved in those activities, yes.
15 Q. And this was the period when the Communist
16 Party was in control of Yugoslavia; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. After that, did you become a member of any of
19 the parties, the SDA, the HDZ, or any of those
20 political parties?
21 A. No, I remained, politically speaking, on the
22 positions which I held before.
23 Q. Very briefly, can you tell Their Honours the
24 condition of the relationship that existed between the
25 Muslim people and the Croatian people in the Lasva
1 Valley area, particularly Busovaca, during the period
2 of 1992 through to 1993?
3 What were conditions and relations like
4 between those two peoples?
5 A. Individually speaking, 1992, and in general,
6 was a crossroads, and it changed the harmonious
7 relationship which existed between the two ethnic
8 groups, which was throughout the region.
9 However, following the elections, the
10 tensions could be felt and people started taking
11 distance from one another. Then there was the HDZ,
12 which tried to out vote us in the local assembly, and
13 then the HVO in May tried to take over a depot of the
14 JNA with shooting, and then they hoisted their flag,
15 which we called the checkerboard and they called the
16 Croatian flag.
17 Q. Let's stop there. I think perhaps you need
18 to go a little slower, because what you say has to be
19 interpreted and I think you're going a little bit
21 A. Yes, my apologies, my apologies.
22 Q. It's okay. Now, you say in May these events
23 happened, May of what year?
24 A. In 1992, April or May, somewhere around
1 Q. And you say there was some sort of dispute
2 about the raising of flags; do you?
3 A. Yes, they did not allow Bosnians to put out
4 any symbols, then there were demonstrations of force.
5 There was shooting, and then, as far as I learned, I
6 did not see this, they had taken, they had transported
7 the weapons from Kaonik to Tisovac, then the takeover
8 and the changing the frequency for the television,
9 local television.
10 Q. We'll just break it up if we can, and perhaps
11 you might just answer my questions and it might make it
12 easier for us to get through it.
13 Who had control over the local --
14 A. Very well, yes.
15 Q. Who had control over the local government
16 administration in Busovaca during 1992 and 1993?
17 A. It was the HDZ.
18 Q. And did they take control in May of 1992?
19 A. Yes, they did.
20 Q. Was that a result of them being successful in
21 the elections of that time?
22 A. I wouldn't like to enter into politics, but
23 in any event, not only because they won the elections,
24 I believe that they did not have an absolute majority,
25 if that was your question.
1 There was also force which was used there,
2 and also some cheating.
3 Q. And at first, when the HDZ came in charge of
4 the local administration, was there an attempt made by
5 both the Muslim and Croat peoples to work together?
6 A. Throughout this time the population, the
7 Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs tried to create a front and
8 organised an army -- I don't know how to call it --
9 especially the citizens of Busovaca, which would be
10 mixed in order to resist the aggression. Because the
11 war in Croatia was already raging at that time and
12 different forces were trying to break this up, and the
13 command structure could not established.
14 I think they had three or four meetings in
15 the sports hall. We tried to establish a unit which
16 would defend Busovaca. However, through obstruction
17 and in different ways, both Croats and Serbs and the
18 Bosniaks who were for it were either intimidated or
19 would give up, so that this mixed unit was never
20 established. It never came alive.
21 Q. Were lists of people's names taken,
22 nonetheless, that would form part of this combined
24 A. I believe that there was a list, the short
25 list of commanders, I believe it existed. I think that
1 somebody was taking notes. I attended these meetings
2 as a regular citizen who was supposed to defend Bosnia,
3 and I don't know whether the organising committee had
4 those lists or not.
5 Q. Now, during 1992, '93, were you able to
6 receive television transmissions in Busovaca?
7 A. In a certain period until May we did.
8 However, after that we could then receive some signal
9 from other transmitters, not from the Skradno
10 transmitter. After that we could locally only receive
11 the programmes in Croatian language. I believe this
12 was Croatian television. You could sense that this was
13 Croatian television.
14 But in order to stay calm, so to speak, I did
15 not follow these programmes very much.
16 Q. Do you know who controlled the local
17 television transmissions?
18 A. HDZ, I don't know the individuals.
19 Q. What was being broadcast over the local
20 television that you were able to see when you did watch
22 A. For the most part, it was the news from the
23 Croatian front, and then entertainment programmes. And
24 all the language used in the translations, it was
25 incomprehensible, we had not learned those new words
1 yet, so, we were irritated by it. So, we watched it as
2 little as we could.
3 Q. Were there any programmes that you, yourself,
4 saw that were directed against Muslim people?
5 A. I believe that in 1992 it would have been a
6 bit early. I believe that this happened only in 1993,
7 but at that time I was no longer in Busovaca.
8 Q. So, you didn't see anything in 1993?
9 A. '92.
10 Q. Now, do you know of any fighting that took
11 place between the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
12 HVO, during the course of 1992?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did you know of any fighting or conflict that
15 took place between the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
16 the HVO during 1993?
17 A. During 1993 I was taken to the camp sometime
18 in late January, and even then I did not believe that
19 there was fighting.
20 However, I was there in camp and the fighting
21 started in the Lasva River Valley, and I did not hear
22 of any other.
23 Q. Now who started the fighting in the Lasva
24 River Valley?
25 A. Each side had their own view on this. I
1 still believe that this was the HVO because if you look
2 in a broader context during the attack of the HVO
3 against the units in Busovaca, there were still areas
4 like Zenica where the people could live normally. And,
5 as I learned, the HVO even had an organisation in
6 Zenica. So my view, even though I may not be competent
7 to say this, it was the HVO which started because they
8 were organised, they were armed, they had control over
9 the main communication lines, so they had everything
10 they needed for it.
11 Q. Now prior to your arrest, did you notice any
12 changes taking place in the Town of Busovaca itself?
13 A. Well, there were some changes in the Town of
14 Busovaca throughout 1992, according to the following
15 system: hot/cold, hot/cold. One day it would be good
16 for the Bosniaks; the next day they would be shooting,
17 the Bosniaks would be terrified. Their Croat friends
18 would say these were fools who were shooting, don't pay
19 any attention to it, and that was more or less what all
20 of what '92 was like.
21 Some events perhaps demonstrate that this was
22 done according to a plan. I think that at that point,
23 the flag of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
24 raised and then orders were given to respond by force,
25 and then shooting started from the hills around the
1 town. Then we in the town were wondering against whom
2 was this directed? We were all looking at each other
3 and wondering. This demonstration of force showed that
4 the target was the town itself, and we thought that the
5 town should defend itself. We realised that the
6 surrounding villages could also be subjected to
7 artillery fire, so this was a true demonstration of
9 Q. Who was firing this artillery on the town?
10 A. Nobody was firing on the town, but they
11 wanted to disperse gatherings where Bosniaks were
12 present and specifically one rally where the flag of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina was raised on the building of the
14 fire brigade and orders were given to demonstrate
15 force. I imagine that they were shooting without any
16 special target, just into the air, but they wanted the
17 Bosniaks to disperse when they would hear the shooting.
18 And there were some 20-odd soldiers there with long
19 rifles around the people who were at this gathering.
20 Q. What was the name of the soldiers?
21 A. Well, I think they were Croats because they
22 wore camouflage uniforms and at that time Bosniak and
23 Busovaca could not have this camouflage uniform because
24 this could have only been the case if he came from the
25 Croatian front, but he was not allowed to have one or
1 wear one.
2 Q. Do you know any of the soldiers that were
3 involved personally from the town?
4 A. Well, I did. Perhaps some of the elderly
5 people. I knew my own generation, but the younger
6 people, children in particular, in uniforms, I didn't
7 really recognise them. Although, there were some
8 unknown people who were older too.
9 Q. Were there any unknown soldiers in the town
10 in January of 1993?
11 A. From the town towards Tisovac, and in that
12 direction I mean, and in various instances, unknown
13 soldiers would appear and there were different uniforms
14 too. It was a parade of sorts of different uniforms,
15 different insignia, however, we moved about very
16 little. So at any rate there were quite a few unknown
17 people whom we did not know. At least in the circle of
18 people that I know.
19 Q. Did these people appear to be connected to
20 the HVO?
21 A. It was obvious. It was obvious.
22 Q. Now were you told or did you hear of what the
23 aims and objectives of the HVO were at that time in
24 January of 1993 in relation to Busovaca and its
25 surrounding areas?
1 A. In every day conversations with colleagues
2 and friends, mention was made of the current political
3 situation, what would happen, whether the former
4 Yugoslavia would survive and, in that context. We came
5 to learn quite a few things from what the Croats would
6 tell too, some of them were more informed, others were
7 less informed. But they were saying that Croatia would
8 be there and that perhaps even Zenica would belong to
9 Croatia. Perhaps Zenica would be part of Croatia too.
10 All of this was told in a way which implied
11 that there would be a division, a partition, because
12 they said that the Serbs would kill all Muslims, so the
13 Muslims should come with the Croats. There were quite
14 a few stories to that effect, that that would be
15 Croatia, and that people already felt a certain trend
16 to this effect. The new Croatian language was being
17 emphasised. The Croatian Dinar was introduced in the
18 meantime too; the BH Dinar was suppressed. Food and
19 cigarettes and other consumer goods could only be
20 bought for Croatian Dinars or German Marks, according
21 to an exchange rate that was dictated by the HVO
22 because it was only the HVO that allowed the
23 circulation of goods in that territory.
24 Q. Now in January of 1993, late January of 1993,
25 did anything happen, or were there any incidents
1 concerning the businesses of Muslim people in
3 A. Well things were happening. There were
4 individual cases of mining shops, blowing up shops,
5 arresting certain people. All of this was in 1992.
6 However, in January 1993, all Bosnian Muslim businesses
7 in Busovaca were bombed and they were all blown up. At
8 that time we didn't even have telephones. I noticed at
9 the time as I communicated with my Croatian friends,
10 neighbours, whatever you choose to call them, that they
11 were afraid, that they were reluctant to communicate,
12 but we never thought that something would happen of the
13 magnitude of the things that did happen.
14 Q. Were any of the Croatian businesses in
15 Busovaca attacked in a similar way that you can
17 A. No, I don't know of any such instances.
18 Q. Do you know who it was who had mined or
19 attacked these businesses?
20 A. Those who were in power and who had the
21 money. Bosniaks couldn't pass and certain groups could
22 not move anywhere. There was rigorous control, so we
23 weren't even allowed to leave town. So it was the
24 government, the HVO.
25 Q. Now what happened to you personally in late
1 January, 1993?
2 A. In late January, 1993, in the evening, three
3 men in uniform knocked at my door. When I opened the
4 door, they said "hello" and they swore at me
5 immediately and they said, give me weapons. I said
6 very calmly, "Young men, I don't have any weapons and
7 you are free to search the house." And they said, "We
8 are not going to search the house at all, but don't
9 open the door to anyone."
10 Q. Did you know who these people were?
11 A. I did not know the men who came that night.
12 Two of them were wearing stockings over their faces and
13 one had his face revealed. He was a youngish man, but
14 I don't know him.
15 Q. Did you know whether they -- what nationality
16 they were?
17 A. No one could have come to my place at that
18 time except a Croat because in that part of the
19 building where I lived at the time I was the only
20 Bosniak left.
21 Q. Were there other apartments occupied by
22 Croatian people in that building or Bosniak Croats in
23 that building?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Approximately how many apartments were there
1 in the block?
2 A. There were around 32 apartments and I think
3 that the situation was half/half. Perhaps there were a
4 Bosniak or two more, but, at any rate, it was more or
5 less half/half.
6 Q. Now what happened the next morning?
7 A. The next morning between six and seven
8 o'clock, three men came to my door. They said there is
9 a war outside, come with us so that we can put you
10 away. I asked whether I should take some of my
11 personal belongings because it was illogical for me to
12 go to a shelter without some water, some food reserve,
13 cigarettes, whatever. He said, never mind, you'll be
14 back soon, so I locked the door of my apartment and I
15 left. He showed me that I should move towards the
16 police station and they hid behind the building. I
17 reached the police station and I wanted to enter the
18 building quite normally. However, people in camouflage
19 uniforms ordered me to board a big transport truck, a
20 lorry, which did not even have a cover on it.
21 Q. When you first met these gentlemen at six or
22 seven in the morning, did you gain the impression that
23 they came to move you from the building for your own
25 A. Well, when they told me that I didn't need
1 any of my things, my own things, then I stopped
2 thinking that.
3 Q. Now when you left the building, started to
4 leave the building itself, did you see any of your
6 A. Some of the neighbours from different floors
7 of my building were watching this. I cast a glance
8 that way and it seemed to me that they just happened to
9 be watching, but, at any rate, they saw me being taken
10 out of the building.
11 Q. Now these people that were watching you, what
12 was their nationality?
13 A. Croats.
14 Q. Were any of them gathered up and taken by the
15 police -- or, by the three men in uniform at the same
16 time or was it only you?
17 A. Yes, on the truck with me was my neighbour
18 Anto Drazic. When he was told -- when he said at
19 Kaonik that he was a Croat, he was released
20 immediately. I cannot say that he was released for
21 good, but at any rate he was released from my cell, he
22 left my cell after saying that he was a Croat.
23 Q. Did you get the impression that he had been
24 arrested by mistake?
25 A. I think he was arrested by mistake because I
1 see no point. I mean, I mean he was a man who was a
2 normal person in that situation. I don't think it was
3 any kind of repression or anything. I simply think it
4 was a mistake not knowing who he was.
5 Q. All of the other people that were arrested at
6 that time, the same time as you, apart from this one
7 man, your neighbour, what was their nationality?
8 A. At that time, and I am speaking of the time
9 when I left, there was another Bosniak with me. And,
10 after that, there was a clamour in the camp, shouting,
11 it was Bosniaks who are being brought in en masse.
12 These were the Bosniaks from Busovaca who happened to
13 be at their homes. There weren't any Croats there. I
14 do not know of a single other case, except for the one
15 I told you about, which I think was a mistake.
16 Q. Now when you arrived at Kaonik, what happened
18 A. They took me into a cell and I was
19 surprised. These were military hangars. I saw that
20 the purpose of these facilities had been changed. That
21 a classical prison was made out of this place, a camp,
22 whatever you choose to call it. I wondered why this
23 was done, and for whom this was done, during 1992, but
24 we Bosniaks did not know about it, at least I wasn't
25 aware of it. I was surprised, so they took me into a
1 cell and three men came in after me, two of them wore
2 stockings over their faces and one of them had his face
3 revealed and he was cursing my balija mother.
4 He was saying that the BH army had massacred
5 Croats. That they were cutting off their ears, noses,
6 genitals and that he said that, "I am going to do all
7 those same things to you." I was petrified, of course,
8 not believing that something like that could happen,
9 let alone that it would happen to me. He ordered me to
10 take everything out of my pockets. I did that. I put
11 it all in front of me. I had some money amounting to
12 up to 500 Deutschemarks it was all in Croat Dinars, BH
13 Dinars and German Marks, but the equivalent of 500
14 Deutschemarks. He took these bank notes and he left.
15 The two camouflage men were outside, and after that
16 they came in and they asked me, "Did the other guy take
17 anything from you?" I lied, I said "No." After that,
18 I was so pleased that I did that because I saw cases
19 when a man would say yes, and then he would be beaten
20 up after that.
21 Then they started bringing quite a few people
22 in and this was a room of about 12 square metres all
23 together, to the best of my recollection, and there
24 were about 40 of us in there. There wasn't enough room
25 to stand in there. This entire hangar was full. You
1 could hear people yelling, shouting. Around twelve
2 o'clock they asked who would want to say their noon
3 prayers? The Muslim prayer at noon. And then this was
4 taped by video camera and I heard that this was played
5 on television. That they were even allowed to say
6 their prayers, et cetera. However, throughout my stay
7 in the prison, this was never allowed again. So I
8 think that this was a propaganda matter all together.
9 Q. Now, how many people were approximately in
10 your cell in or put into your cell?
11 A. About 40.
12 Q. Were you able to lie down or sit down?
13 A. No way, whoever could sit down would be
15 Q. How long were you kept there in this
16 condition with all these people?
17 A. They kept us until they started sending us to
18 dig trenches, and that was the next day.
19 Q. Was there any toilet facility in the room
20 with you?
21 A. No. No, not in the room. There was a joint
22 toilet out there and there were plain barrels with
23 drinking water.
24 Q. What about food, were you given any food?
25 A. We were given a plate full of soup per two or
1 three men, depending on how many could actually fit in
2 and get this food. So that was all the food we
3 received and it wasn't really enough to satisfy your
4 hunger, no. No, and there was no peace. You'd have to
5 eat in haste and it would be too hot and you would have
6 to hurry. That's the way it was.
7 Q. Before you were arrested, did you have a
8 medical condition?
9 A. Yes, I had some stomach trouble, and I was
10 supposed to lead a tranquil life. I wasn't supposed to
11 get nervous or anything. That is probably why I was
12 not involved in other affairs. I had devoted myself to
13 my family and I, therefore, had problems when I got
14 there. My condition got worse and I asked the guards
15 to take me to see a doctor. I asked them twice, and I
16 am not sure whether they asked someone about it or
17 not. At any rate, I didn't go that day. The next day,
18 again I asked to be taken to see the warden. I asked
19 them to let me see the warden. But when I said
20 "warden" when I said the warden, the commander, then
21 the guard understood me. He took me to a man who had a
22 table in the middle of this hangar and he was standing
23 there. I told him about the problems I had and he sort
24 of waved his hands and I interpreted this as meaning no
25 go. I insisted again in the afternoon. Again the same
1 gesture, everything was the same. However, as night
2 fell a guard came and he said, come on. I was escorted
3 by two soldiers and a driver to the medical centre and
4 I found a lady doctor there. I had never seen her
5 before and this was a small town, you know, so we all
6 knew each other personally and I was surprised when I
7 saw that this was a new lady doctor. She hadn't been
8 working there at all before that, so I didn't really
9 expect any assistance. However, then I was given an
10 injection and some tablets and they wrote out certain
11 findings to the effect that I needed treatment at home
12 and I needed to rest.
13 Q. Who --
14 A. A lady doctor at the medical centre who was
15 on duty that night. I didn't know her.
16 Q. The note that she wrote it down on, were you
17 given that note?
18 A. Yes, yes, she gave me these findings. She
19 gave me these findings. She said, well, take this and
20 give it to them over there if it can help you any. It
21 was something to that effect. I cannot exactly
22 interpret all her words, but that is what it was like.
23 Q. What happened then?
24 A. I was so happy, you know, to show this to the
25 driver and these soldiers and I said, I'll be going
1 home. The driver took this paper and he said, well
2 we'll have to see with the warden. In the meantime, we
3 were passing my apartment and I happened to look at the
4 balcony and I saw lights on. Other people on the
5 balcony and I knew that none of the members of my
6 family were there and I saw what the situation was.
7 They brought me back to the camp. They gave the warden
8 this little piece of paper again. He had just waved
9 his hands as was his custom and he turned and walked
10 away. I expected him to do something, to transfer me
11 at least to a cell where I could sit down or lie down,
12 but nothing.
13 In the morning my name was one of the first
14 to be called out from the hallway and they called out a
15 few more people, the names of a few more people. They
16 loaded us on a truck and we were escorted to Groblje in
17 Busovaca and we were ordered to dig graves. That is
18 the Muslim part of the Groblje cemetery.
19 Q. Just stopping there and going back to the
20 incident with the note, were you present when the note
21 was handed to the commander of the camp?
22 A. Yes, yes, I was. This is the way he looked
23 at it. Here, the tape, I mean I had to stand 3 metres
24 behind him, but I saw this guy put him it on the table
25 right in front of him and show it to him.
1 Q. And when it was, can you tell us in more
2 detail what the commander of the camp did when he saw
3 the note?
4 A. He gestured. I said I was standing 3 metres
5 away from the table. I wanted to hear what would
6 happen, but his gesture and everything showed that he
7 simply ignored these findings. I cannot recall what he
8 exactly said, but I remember the gesture. I remember
9 the way he waved his hands, meaning nothing doing or
10 something like that.
11 Q. Did the commander then keep the note or did
12 he give it back to you?
13 A. He didn't give it back to me. It remained
14 there, in the camp. It wasn't given back to me, no.
15 Q. This commander, did you subsequently come to
16 know his name?
17 A. I knew that they called him Zlatko over
18 there, but while I was in the camp I found out that his
19 last name was Aleksovski. All of this was a bit
20 strange to me. How come this man came there? He was
21 not from Busovaca. He was not from Busovaca by origin,
22 so I remember that in that way.
23 Q. And this Zlatko Aleksovski that took the note
24 from you, did you see him on more occasions during the
25 time you were in Kaonik?
1 A. I saw him when we went out to work, or in
2 passing when we were being taken somewhere. After that
3 day when I was called out I had no further contacts
4 with him, nor would I have asked him for help even if I
5 was dying.
6 Q. Do you think that you would be able to
7 recognize that person if you saw him again?
8 A. If he did not change physically in the last
9 six years I believe I would be able to recognize him.
10 Q. Perhaps you might look around the courtroom
11 now and see if you can see that person that you were
12 told was Zlatko Aleksovski; and if you can, would you
13 point to him, please?
14 A. I believe this is the gentleman that is
15 sitting next to the policeman.
16 MR. NIEMANN: I think that the witness has
17 identified the accused, Your Honour.
18 Q. Would you please look for me, now, at Exhibit
19 18H. It's a Defence exhibit, 18H Defence exhibit.
20 Would you look for me, please, carefully at
21 this document and tell me whether you recognize it as a
22 copy of any document that you've seen?
23 A. I believe that this is a copy of the document
24 which I gave to the driver of the car, which was then
25 turned over to the warden of the camp. It could have
1 been smaller size, but based on the text, I saw the
2 brand name of the medication, and I recall that I was
3 given those tablets.
4 I was surprised that in addition to the
5 injection I was also given some tablets, and I had been
6 wondering why I had not been released. So I thought
7 maybe it had to do with the Latin words, that who knows
8 what she wrote down. So, this is what I believe.
9 MR. NIEMANN: Could we have it on the
10 projector? And the English version, as well, I think
11 should be shown. Just put that for the moment, and we
12 will follow up with the English version of that.
13 Could the English version be placed now on
14 the screen?
15 Remove the English version now, please.
16 Perhaps it might be shown to Their Honours.
17 Q. Can you tell Their Honours what the symptoms
18 of your medical condition were? Don't be embarrassed
19 about going into detail, but can you tell Your Honours
20 what was happening to you as a consequence of your
21 medical condition at the time?
22 A. I believe that psychological problems, I
23 think it was fear. I think that I was psychologically
24 shattered. It was from all the fear from, afraid,
25 nerves, I think that it had its effect. I was upset
2 Q. And what was the effect, apart from the
3 mental side of it? What was the physical effect?
4 A. You can see from the finding, I think that
5 you see the description, I would prefer not to repeat
6 it. When I went to relieve myself, I saw what it was,
7 and I knew that I had to seek medical attention.
8 Q. You were passing bloody stools; were you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, I think you said the next day your name
11 was called out.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were you just called out on your own or were
14 you with a group of other people?
15 A. I was called out among the first, and later
16 on the rest of the group was called out.
17 Q. How many in the group were called?
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Neimann, I think maybe
19 this would be a good time to take a break, it would
20 enable the witness to take a break and rest. So it's a
21 20-minute break for everybody.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.10 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 10.34 a.m.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Neimann, you have the
1 (The witness entered court).
2 MR. NIEMANN:
3 Q. Witness V, you were telling us just before
4 the break about an incident where you were called out
5 after the next morning, after you had been to see the
6 doctor, with a group of other people. And I asked you
7 how many people were in that group that were called
9 A. About ten people, somewhere around ten. And
10 later on I confirmed that it was ten.
11 Q. And what was your medical condition like on
12 that day when you were called out the next day?
13 A. It was not better. It was a chronic
14 condition. It goes on for days and it is not something
15 that is fixed by a single treatment. It has to do with
16 stabilising both the mental condition and the diet.
17 Q. And where were you taken? I think you
18 mentioned you were taken to a grave site; where was
20 A. It is the cemetery in Busovaca. It's a
21 Muslim Bosniak cemetery, and there we were ordered to
22 dig graves.
23 Q. And who ordered you to do this?
24 A. The guards who escorted us.
25 Q. Were you told beforehand, or informed before
1 you left the Kaonik facility whether or not, what you
2 were doing, what you were supposed to be doing that
3 day? Did anyone tell you what was happening?
4 A. No. No, simply we were ordered to enter the
5 vehicle, and without any information we were just taken
7 Q. Was the guard that took you there, was he
9 A. They were armed, yes. There were several of
11 Q. You were kept under guard, were you, so that
12 you couldn't escape?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. When you arrived there, just precisely what
15 were you ordered to do?
16 A. To select a location that is an unused space
17 in the cemetery, and two men were assigned to each dig
18 a grave. So, five groups of two are digging five
20 Q. What happened then?
21 A. Well, we dug, we could hear small arms
22 shooting, and we were told by a guard that the Muslim
23 snipers were shooting. However, I concluded that they
24 were trying to intimidate us by shooting the
25 fragmentation bullets. This went on in certain
2 When we finished, two Bosniaks improvised a
3 cart, I don't know the size, maybe one metre in length.
4 They brought the first two bodies, which were stacked,
5 and the limbs were dangling. When I saw this sight I
6 just felt revulsion, and I could not follow this and I
7 could not watch this anymore; so I just mechanically
8 kept on doing what I had been ordered to do.
9 There was no religious ritual or anything, we
10 simply buried them. It was as if these weren't people.
11 It was extremely humiliating. It was one of the worst
12 scenes which I experienced.
13 Q. Did you recognize any of the bodies?
14 A. Yes. It was Merdan Nihad. I don't know his
15 real name but I know Merdan Ceri was his nickname, and
16 then it was a man called Novalic, I don't know his
17 first name. Then I believe Irhan, son of Fahrudin
18 Mehmescic. Unfortunately right now I cannot recall the
19 fifth one, I would have to think further.
20 Q. And do you know --
21 A. I believe it was Hodzic.
22 Q. Do you know the nationality of these people
23 who were dead?
24 A. They were all Bosniaks. The local
25 inhabitants of Busovaca who had houses there where they
1 had been killed, in that part of town where they were
2 killed, where they were murdered.
3 Q. Do you know whether they had any connection
4 with the military, or were they civilians?
5 A. That is something that the Court may want to
6 judge. I think that maybe formally they were members
7 of the army, but they couldn't do anything. I don't
8 believe that they were on any kind of rebellion or
9 uprising. That would have been insane.
10 The whole place was surrounded by the HVO, so
11 it would have been insane to have attempted anything.
12 But given their age, they could have been members of
13 the army.
14 Q. How were they dressed?
15 A. We buried them as civilians, they were
16 wearing civilian clothes. I said that formerly perhaps
17 they could be, they could have been members of the
18 army; but they were wearing civilian clothes. They
19 looked like people who were not prepared for any of
20 this, because it was January, they did not wear warm
21 winter clothing. They were wearing the lighter
23 Q. Were you able to see how they had been
25 A. Given my condition, my mental state, I told
1 myself I could not bear to face this and I did not
2 watch. I saw blood, I saw that, but I did not come
3 close and I did not lower them.
4 I said, "I just can't do this, I'm going to
5 cover them with earth, but I can't lower them."
6 Q. After this, did your medical condition
7 deteriorate even further?
8 A. From the time when I entered the camp, when I
9 saw that this was meant for Muslims, my health
10 condition kept deteriorating. It was beyond what I
11 could take, I was, when I saw dead bodies I was shocked
12 and I could not even think about what to do health
13 wise. I couldn't help myself, and I was walking around
14 like a robot or something.
15 Q. What happened after this?
16 A. After this we were taken to Busovaca near the
17 mosque, and they assigned two guards and ordered us to
18 walk through Busovaca to look for the dead and wounded,
19 and we were to do that exclusively in Bosniak houses.
20 The guards which escorted me kept warning me
21 to walk slowly. However, I had such a buzz in my ears,
22 I was in such pain, and I was in such a state that I
23 did not hear this. At one point one of the guards
24 cursed me and told me that he would shoot me in the
1 Given my state, I turned around and I told
2 him to just shoot, "I'm dying here every second, shoot
3 me if you feel like it."
4 Then they ordered us, in cases where the
5 houses were locked, to break in and to search the
6 houses. I searched four houses, I did not break in
7 anywhere; but inside I could notice that somebody had
8 been there before, because the more valuable things
9 were missing, such as appliances, those things had been
11 Q. What happened after this?
12 A. After this we were taken back to the camp,
13 and in the evening we were ordered to again board a
15 In fact, at first they took us to different
16 cells so we were not together. In the evening we were
17 called out again and we were taken to a place called
18 The Blue 11, which was owned by Katava Blazan. They
19 ordered us to dismount, they told us to go through a
20 gauntlet. I don't know if they were in uniforms or in
21 civilian clothes; but as I passed through the gauntlet
22 I thought this was, that these were soldiers, because I
23 was struck by a hard object which I construed to be a
24 rifle butt.
25 Q. This Blue 11, this was a restaurant; was it?
1 A. For a long time it was a restaurant, yes.
2 For a while it was also a store, but for the most part
3 it was a restaurant or a cafe type place.
4 Q. The people that went with you that night when
5 you were called out that night, were they the same
6 people that had been called out during the day, or were
7 they different?
8 A. Yes, yes, the same people. These were the
9 same people.
10 Q. Now, when you went through this gauntlet, how
11 many, approximately how many people were standing on
12 either side of the gauntlet that you had to go through?
13 A. It was dark, there was no electricity, and we
14 had to cross maybe 30, 50 metres in order to enter the
15 structure. I don't know how many people were there,
16 but we all received, we were all hit as we were passing
17 that distance. Different people received a different
18 number of blows.
19 Q. Did they say anything to you as you went
20 through the gauntlet?
21 A. They cursed us. In my statement I
22 deliberately did not emphasise what they were saying,
23 but it was balija's mother. It was sort of ethnically
24 based. But this was something that was done throughout
25 my stay.
1 The curses were just a part and parcel of it,
2 so, I'm not specifically pointing it out. It was
3 something that was there all the time.
4 Q. Now, when you entered the restaurant, what
5 happened then?
6 A. We were ordered to sit down on the floor.
7 There was no electricity, there was no light of any
8 kind, and then several men appeared, two, three, I
9 don't know how many, and they sort of shined their
10 flashlights at our faces and then when they -- and he
11 said out loud, "Oh, just take him out to the bridge,
12 slit their throats and let them be taken down river."
13 Then later on the same thing happened,
14 another one showed up, shone his flashlight on our
15 faces and he said, "I don't know what to do. The best
16 thing would be to just kill them, put them in the oven
17 so that they are all burned, and if you don't want to,
18 take them to be human shields." Then they left.
19 Then we stayed there sitting, I don't know
20 how long. Another man walked in, he had a stocking
21 mask on, and started singing songs which were
22 traditional Bosnian songs. Then at one point he asked
23 us, "Is there a Hodza or a Haji among us?" We kept
24 silent. He repeated the question. He had asked this
25 question twice before. He said, how many "aets" were
1 there? How many sections were there?
2 Q. When you say Hodza, that's a religious person
3 isn't, it a muslim religious person?
4 A. Yes. This is the men who lead the religious
5 ceremony and Hoji is a person who had visited Mecca and
7 Q. Then what did he ask you?
8 A. He asked how many sections the Koran had. I
9 said, "Listen, I don't know there are any people who
10 know these things." I think that he didn't like having
11 been recognised by me under this stocking mask.
12 Q. You call him by a nickname, did you?
13 A. Yes. It just came out, I did not mean to.
14 It just came out. That was not my intention for me to
15 let him know that I had recognised him. It just came
16 out because we knew each other.
17 Q. Was his face disguised in any way?
18 A. Yes, he had a stocking mask over his face and
19 he had a knit cap with slits.
20 Q. How did you recognise him?
21 A. Based on the topics which he entertained in
22 his conversation. Because I knew that he was involved
23 in this. That he was studying these Islamic customs
24 and so on.
25 Q. Was he a Muslim or a Croat?
1 A. A Croat.
2 Q. What happened when you mentioned his
3 nickname, what did he do then?
4 A. He said, you, the smart one, if you know the
5 answer to this question, I am going to have the last
6 word. He meant he would have the last word. And he
7 asked me, did I know what the word "hedija" meant,
9 Q. What did you say?
10 A. Knowing that this is a Turkish word and it
11 means "gift" I told him that it meant gift. And he
12 said, well, I am giving you your lives as a gift. Then
13 he walked out. He walked out of the room.
14 Q. What happened then?
15 A. Then we were taken back to the vehicle. The
16 same procedure followed. I was lucky that with the
17 exception of a few slaps I did not receive any hard
18 blows. In the vehicle I was ordered to lower my head
19 and not to look around. I heard screams, moans of
20 others who were boarding the bus. I know that one man
21 sustained serious bodily injuries there. I am not
22 going to mention his name here, but it was a Bosniak
23 man who, if he wishes, I think has an opportunity if he
24 so desires to come here and testify himself before the
1 Q. Now were you then taken back to Kaonik?
2 A. We were taken back to Kaonik. In the morning
3 again, and this may have been a different composition
4 of the group, but most of the members of that group
5 were taken to the village of Kula, and we were ordered
6 to go to the frontlines; of course, escorted by the
7 guards, of whom certain guards were wearing masks and
8 the others did not.
9 Q. Were the guards armed?
10 A. Yes, they had rifles.
11 Q. When you were called out that morning, were
12 you told where you were going and what was going to
13 happen before you were taken to Kula?
14 A. No, no. I need to point out here that this
15 was steady practice. There was a whole system going.
16 That the people who were in the camp were assigned to
17 digging trenches and making fortifications for the
19 Q. How did you know that you were taken to the
21 A. I know because I know this terrain. I even
22 own some land where I was. I had a piece of property
24 Q. What was your medical condition like this
25 next morning?
1 A. It was getting worse and worse. I was hungry
2 and scared and I had stomach, abdominal pains, but I
3 didn't think about it any longer.
4 Q. When you got to the Kula trenches, what did
5 you see there?
6 A. I saw armed soldiers in an area. I saw
7 artillery in placements. I don't know what these were,
8 whether they were guns or mortars. I don't know, this
9 was near the property of Alija Zulum. Then, from
10 there, we were taken to the frontlines. You could see
11 the BH army lines not farther than 500 metres from
12 there, and I was ordered to dig a trench which was
13 completely open in an area which was not sheltered and
14 a guard who guarded me was behind cover. However, I
15 have to say that he was very fair and that he told me
16 not to raise my head very much. He was talking to me
17 more as a person than ordering me.
18 But he made me dig. I had to dig, even
19 though I told him that I was not well and he said, I'm
20 sorry, but I was ordered to make you dig and you have
21 to finish this work. Somebody was bringing water and I
22 asked for some and then when I tasted it, I realised
23 that it was creek water. I asked to be taken to the
24 spring, which was between the two lines of defence. I
25 not allowed to do so.
1 Q. Now, was it day or night when you were
2 digging in the trench?
3 A. It is daytime, yes, it was still daytime.
4 Q. Were you only taken trench digging once or
5 did it happen on more than one occasion?
6 A. Let me tell you. That day we dug and at dusk
7 we were taken to a house and placed in a room where we
8 were told that we should get some rest. This could
9 have been eleven or twelve at night because on that
10 day, that very same day, an HVO soldier took away my
11 watch, which was a souvenir. I know who this person
12 is, but I am not going to mention his name.
13 So we were in this house and someone I
14 believe found a canned goulash or something. It was
15 beef goulash, it was small, 100, 150 grams and we found
16 a piece of stale bread in a window. I think that mice
17 had already got to it. We split it evenly among all of
18 us. In the morning, we were taken to dig again. I
19 went back to finish off a part further down, which was
20 a safer place. You could see the army, BH army
21 soldiers walking about. Nobody shot. Later on I
22 learned that the army knew that these were Bosniaks and
23 that they were under orders not to shoot. They knew
24 that these were the Busovaca Muslims and the HVO used
25 this to fortify their lines. Later on the other events
2 However, on that particular day, we dug there
3 and, meanwhile, a commander appeared on the scene.
4 This guard had told him that I asked to go to the
5 source. I did not hear him say this, but he was
6 pointing in this direction, so I concluded from it that
7 this is what he was telling him about. Later on we
8 were taken back. This was on the second day in the
9 evening, we had dug for a day, and then a night, and
10 then another day. Then on the evening of that second
11 day of digging, we were taken back there and we spent a
12 night in the cells, again separate, always with
13 different men. There I learned that this was done
14 towards Rovna and Tisovac, that some people were badly
15 injured. I saw people in passing who had their heads
16 or arms bandaged with bruises. This was just in
17 passing as we were passing each other in the hallway.
18 Q. These people that were injured, did you
19 believe them to be injured as a consequence of going
20 trench digging?
21 A. Yes, yes, beaten up physically. It wasn't
22 firearms or anything. I don't know of any such
24 Q. During the time of your trench digging were
25 you allowed to have rests and breaks during that
2 A. Well, if you're talking about organised
3 breaks for the entire group, there was something like
4 that. I already told you that they would take us for a
5 bit of rest. But if you're talking about me,
6 personally, this guard did not force me to work beyond
7 my ability. He realised that I was sick and he said,
8 well, dig because this has to be finished. But he
9 said, you know, do bit of digging and get a bit of
10 rest, so it was really a human touch. He cared about
12 Q. Did you know of anybody in your group being
13 beaten or mistreated during the time that you were
14 trench digging?
15 A. The area was wider there. I mean the lines
16 were wider. I already mentioned that I knew that a
17 person had sustained serious injuries. But I think
18 that he can testify before the Tribunal himself, so I
19 don't think I should take up more of my time by
20 describing that.
21 Q. Now, what happened after you'd been taken
22 trench digging? Were you subsequently released from
23 the camp?
24 A. No. No, after all these events at Kula, the
25 trench digging there and after returning to the prison,
1 I was ordered to move to another hangar, which was next
2 to this official part. There were about 150 people in
3 this other hangar. We did not go out to work. We
4 could relieve yourselves inside in the hangar. We had
5 a wooden pallet and a blanket respectively and we
6 stayed there until the end, until the 8th of February.
7 To the best of my recollection, the representatives of
8 the International Red Cross did not come there. The
9 conditions were impossible, but since one did not have
10 to fear for one's life and being killed, then it was
12 Q. Did you ever seek permission to go and see
13 the doctor again after your initial visit to the
15 A. Well, after everything that had happened it
16 didn't occur to me. To tell you the truth, I was
17 afraid of repression. I was afraid of being sent to an
18 even worse place where they beat people up even more,
19 like Rovna, Pisovac so I didn't even think of doing
20 it. So I didn't even ask for anything more.
21 Q. When were you finally released?
22 A. The 8th of February, it was said that there
23 would be an exchange, or rather, that we would be
24 released. We were offered the possibility of leaving,
25 going back to our homes, all of us, back to Busovaca,
1 or rather, who wanted to could go to Kacuni, or rather,
2 Zenica. At that point in time, the representative of
3 the International Red Cross, I think his name was
4 Mr. Gianni Lucca (check), said that the HVO authorities
5 guaranteed the safety of all who would go back to
6 Busovaca. Buses were lined up and people hurried
7 towards these buses. Again, at this hangar, I mean
8 above this hangar, Gianni Lucca stood up there, people
9 were already moving toward the buses, and it just so
10 happened that I was lingering on, and he said that at
11 the very last moment that he found out from the
12 representatives of the authorities in Busovaca that
13 they could not guarantee the safety of Bosniaks in
14 Busovaca. I entered the bus to Zenica and I abandoned
15 my original intention of going back home.
16 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions, Your
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, do you wish
19 to put questions to the witness? You have the floor.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
22 Q. Good day, Witness V. I am Attorney Mikulicic
23 and I am Defence counsel in these proceedings. I am
24 going to put a few questions to you and I kindly ask
25 you to kindly answer them to the best of your
2 Mr. V, you said in your introduction you did
3 your military service in the former JNA, and that after
4 serving in the JNA you were not involved in the reserve
5 corps of the JNA; is that true?
6 A. Yes. I was not in the reserve, I mean,
7 formerly I did not go out for military exercises, but I
8 did have work duty assignments. I was not in touch
9 with weapons, I mean.
10 Q. So, if I understood you correctly, after
11 returning from the former Yugoslav People's Army, you
12 did not have any obligations involving weapons, but you
13 were given work assignment duties; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. Mr. V, tell us, since you had this kind of
16 assignment, were you included in certain records? Do
17 you know about that?
18 A. I imagine that I was registered with the
19 military authorities, the secretariat of defence as a
20 military-aged man.
21 Q. Can you tell us where this was?
22 A. I think it was in Busovaca.
23 Q. Tell us, Mr. V, did you ever, upon returning
24 from the JNA and until these war events that occurred
25 in Bosnian Herzegovina, did you have any kind of duty
1 assignment that you carried out as part of this
2 assignment of yours?
3 A. No, not really, except for planning total
4 national defence and social self-protection. I already
5 mentioned that, but I didn't have any major duties to
6 the best of my recollection.
7 Q. Let us briefly go back to mid-1992,
8 approximately. My colleague, the Prosecutor, asked you
9 something about this, so I shall have a few questions
10 in this regard as well.
11 Do you remember, Mr. V, whether Busovaca was
12 attacked by the former JNA?
13 A. I remember there was shelling for one day by
14 aircraft sometime in the evening. That is when the old
15 municipality building was set on fire and also a shop
16 of Tisovica. I personally took part in extinguishing
17 the fire together with Croats.
18 Q. So after the aircraft of the former JNA
19 shelled Busovaca, there was some damage on the
20 territory of Busovaca; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that was it.
22 Q. You mentioned this fire, were some buildings
24 A. They burned down these buildings. I don't
25 know whether they actually collapsed, but I know that
1 some buildings burned down.
2 Q. I understand. You also mentioned that
3 together with the other people, you participated in
4 alleviating this damage, could you explain exactly what
5 you did?
6 A. Well, this was spontaneous, so that the fire
7 wouldn't spread to the department stores, so we brought
8 in fire hoses and things like that.
9 Q. What you did, was that part of the work duty
10 you had or was it done in a different way?
11 A. No, no. It wasn't really an organised fire
12 extinguishing activity. The firemen came from Zenica
13 only later. It wasn't any kind of planned activity.
14 It was sort of a civic activity. I just happened to be
15 there and tried to help.
16 Q. I understand. Mr. V, did you ever, before
17 these events, at the beginning of 1993, have an
18 opportunity of visiting Kaonik?
19 A. No. You mean the camp?
20 Q. I mean the facility, the Kaonik facility. Do
21 you know what was there in that part of Busovaca?
22 A. I just knew that it was a warehouse of the
23 former JNA, but I had no opportunity of visiting it. I
24 passed it on the road, like everyone else, but I didn't
25 really have any opportunity of going there.
1 Q. So is it true that you did not know what was
2 in those buildings that you could see from the road?
3 A. No, you could not see these buildings from
4 the road, I never saw them from the road.
5 Q. I understand. Mr. V, you mentioned a few
6 times that you had certain health problems, could you
7 tell us from when have you had these health problems?
8 A. I cannot say exactly, but I think I had an
9 ulcer for about ten years or so. I discovered it, I
10 don't know, five or six years ago or something, I don't
11 know exactly.
12 Q. You also mentioned on a few occasions that
13 one of the consequences of your health problems was a
14 certain psychological condition, were some of your
15 problems due to that?
16 A. Well, yes, naturally. As we usually say, I
17 mean, we, the ordinary people, we say that this is a
18 question of nerves, you know.
19 Q. Did you take any medicine for that? Did you
20 receive treatment for that?
21 A. Well, there is no efficient medicine for
22 this. It is only natural that I took care of my own
23 lifestyle. I tried not to get upset, and I tried to
24 consume the kind of food that would not upset me, but I
25 was not a 100 per cent disciplined patient.
1 Q. Were you a smoker?
2 A. Yes, I was.
3 Q. Mr. V, you mentioned the events from the end
4 of January, 1993, when you were taken to the Kaonik
5 facility, do you remember what preceded this event when
6 you were taken away to Kaonik? Was there some
7 shooting? Were there any incidents of this nature? Do
8 you know anything about this?
9 A. I know that some of these Bosniak facilities
10 were destroyed a few days before that. But I did not
11 have an opportunity of hearing this shooting. I mean,
12 as I was leaving the building I could hear shooting,
13 but I didn't know where it came from. This is when I
14 was being taken out of the building.
15 Q. You mentioned, Mr. V, that you heard some
16 artillery fire from the surrounding hills around
17 Busovaca, did I understand you correctly?
18 A. Yes, you did understand me correctly. This
19 was May or June, 1992.
20 Q. So this was mid-1992, right?
21 A. Yes, mid-1992.
22 Q. Was this at the time when the JNA attacked
23 Busovaca by aircraft?
24 A. No, no, this was after that. This is when
25 the Bosniaks were not allowed to put on the
1 municipality building the flag of the Republic of
3 Q. I see, so this was mid-1992. Mr. V, you said
4 you lived in an apartment building with 32 apartments;
5 is that correct?
6 A. Yes, that is correct.
7 Q. You also said that on the morning you were
8 taken away, you were the only Bosniak Muslim in that
9 part of the building; is that correct?
10 A. On that, floor, yes.
11 Q. Tell us, Mr. V, where were the other Bosniak
12 Muslims at that time, the people who otherwise lived in
13 this building, how come you were the only one to be
14 taken away?
15 A. How should I know? These are neighbours and
16 everyone has movements of his own. I know that I was
17 the only person from that floor who was in the camp and
18 I didn't see anyone of my neighbours there.
19 Q. Later on did you perhaps hear what happened
20 to them, where had they gone, where did they disappear?
21 A. They did not disappear. A lady, who was my
22 neighbour with two children, she was in Kacuni, same
23 with her sister. A Bosniak had rented his apartment to
24 a Croat at the beginning of 1992, and at the beginning
25 of 1992 this Croat moved in, so this man never came
1 again. So, the impression was there were a lot of
2 Bosniaks, but there were basically only three of us.
3 Q. And tell me, Mr. V, your family, were they
4 with you in the apartment?
5 A. No, I had a daughter who lived in a Serbian
6 flat in Busovaca, together with a roommate who was a
7 Croat girl. There was a crisis at that time in
8 Busovaca, and before these shops would be blown up in
9 Busovaca she went and took some food to this daughter
10 of ours, and it wasn't really advisable to move around
11 a lot at that time.
12 In the meantime she spent the night there
13 because there weren't any buses, as this was otherwise,
14 so this was irregular, and she stayed on. From my
15 Croat neighbours I phoned her, because when those
16 businesses were blown up our phones had been
17 disconnected, and I asked her, and she said, "Why don't
18 you send a car to pick me up?"
19 I didn't have a car and I didn't ask any taxi
20 drivers because nobody would drive, And I said, "Well,
21 I'll see." So, it just so happened that I couldn't go
22 to Zenica and she couldn't come back, and that was it.
23 Q. If I understood you correctly, your wife had
24 gone with your daughter to Zenica before these events?
25 A. Well, no, what I was trying to say was she
1 took food to our daughter in Zenica, and she had a
2 Croat girl, a flat mate, in a Serbian owned flat.
3 Q. How far back was that compared to the day
4 were you taken in Kaonik?
5 A. All of that was taking place during the same
7 Q. Tell me, Mr. V, what happened to the wives of
8 your other neighbours who were Bosniak Muslims from
9 this apartment building? Did they stay on in this
10 apartment building, or did they go somewhere?
11 A. Not only Bosniaks, not only wives, some
12 Bosniaks stayed in the apartment building and some of
13 them sooner or later moved out of Busovaca during 1993.
14 Q. I'm sorry if I was not very clear, but I'm
15 asking you about these events at the beginning of 1993,
16 when your wife left, when she went to take food to
17 Zenica. What then happened to your other lady
18 neighbours who lived in the building there? The
20 A. They were there, most of them were there.
21 I'm not aware of individual cases, but most Bosniaks
22 were living in Busovaca at that time. They lived in
23 fear, but they did go on living there.
24 Q. Mr. V, let us go back to the morning when you
25 say that three men came to pick you up. Were they
1 civilians or were they soldiers?
2 A. They wore camouflaged uniforms and they were
3 not civilians, they wore camouflaged uniforms.
4 Q. Did you manage to see some insignia, perhaps,
5 on these uniforms?
6 A. Well, to tell you the truth, you probably
7 know that in 1992 all kinds of insignias and uniforms
8 had gone through Busovaca, and I didn't really pay much
9 attention to this, there were all sorts of things.
10 Q. You said that after that you were loaded on a
11 bus and taken to Kaonik; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. As you arrived in Kaonik, did somebody
14 receive you there?
15 A. No, no. No, we were just taken to the cell
16 and three men walked in, two had stocking masks and one
17 had revealed his face.
18 Q. Do you remember, Mr. V, the guard from the
19 Kaonik facility?
20 A. I do.
21 Q. What did they wear?
22 A. They wore camouflaged uniforms.
23 Q. Did you notice any insignia on their
25 A. Well, I wasn't watching, but they had
1 standard insignia. No, I mean, I simply didn't pay
2 attention to this, because one knows what it could have
3 been. I mean, simply, I didn't look. So, if I saw a
4 checkerboard, I wouldn't look at the letters that were
6 Q. Did you personally think that these people
7 were in Kaonik as guards? Were they members of a
8 military unit, or not?
9 A. I think they were, because they were workers
10 of the railways who got jobs in this prison. I think
11 they had some kind of assignment.
12 Q. But you don't know what unit they belonged
14 A. No, no, I don't know. But, generally
15 speaking, I think they were members of the HVO. This
16 is my personal opinion. Whether they had anything
17 special in there, I don't know, because I'm not aware
18 of this organisation.
19 Q. I see. You mentioned after that, that the
20 next day your name was called out and you were sent to
21 the cemetery in Busovaca. Tell me, Mr. V, -- oh, yes,
22 and you also mentioned you were escorted by guards --
23 tell me, Mr. V, at the cemetery in Busovaca, as you
24 were working there, were you escorted and guarded by
25 those guards who were in Kaonik, otherwise, in the
1 prison? Or were these a different set of people?
2 A. I cannot answer with certainty because of my
3 fear and because of my physical condition. I really
4 wasn't paying any attention. But judging by their
5 behaviour and the further contacts we had, I mean, you
6 know, the people I could see, that it wasn't those
7 guards. I'm trying to say this about the people I knew
8 personally to be guards.
9 I don't think that they were really escorting
10 me. I think they were different people.
11 Q. Can you perhaps recall, regarding the people
12 who were escorting you to work, were they also members
13 of the army, members of a particular unit; or can you
14 not recall this?
15 A. They were members of the army, they were a
16 member of the HVO, they were wearing camouflaged
17 uniforms, weapons, they were real soldiers.
18 Q. Mr. V, you also stated that you were taken to
19 Kula. Were you there guarded by the guards from
20 Kaonik, or by some other people?
21 A. I already said that the guards whom I knew at
22 the Kaonik camp, those who were working inside the
23 camp, I did not see outside. They never escorted me
25 Q. I understand. Now, it's clear to me. I
1 wasn't sure whether it referred to Kula.
2 You also mentioned in your testimony that on
3 one occasion you were taken to the restaurant called
4 the Blue 11, which used to be, which was a restaurant;
5 do you know, at the time when you were brought there,
6 what the purpose of that facility was?
7 Was it still a restaurant, or was it, did it
8 have any other purpose?
9 A. No, it was exclusively used by the HVO. I
10 don't know about the entire period, but it was
11 exclusively for the HVO. With the exception of some
12 stoves, nothing could show you that this was anything
13 that would serve as a restaurant. I knew that only
14 that I would be sleeping there.
15 Q. You also mentioned a person whom you
16 recognised and that you addressed this person by his
17 nickname. Do you happen to know his full first and
18 last name, in addition to his nickname?
19 A. Yes, I do, but I would prefer not to say
20 that. I think I provided a full picture and I believe
21 this person is dead. My information is that he may
22 have been killed by the HVO. I don't know why. I
23 don't know the reasons.
24 Q. I understand that you do not wish to reveal
25 the identity of this person, but let me rephrase the
2 Mr. V, does the person of whom we are talking
3 have anything to do with Kaonik?
4 A. I believe he does not.
5 Q. Mr. V, do you know, given that you know who
6 this person is, whether this person had any mental
8 A. That is possible, that is entirely possible.
9 Q. Could you give us any further information on
11 A. I believe that --
12 INTERPRETER: Excuse me, could you repeat the
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic, sorry for
15 interrupting, but I think that the answer of the
16 witness was not well heard by the interpreters; so,
17 could you repeat your question and the witness will
18 repeat his answer. Thank you very much.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you for your
21 Q. Mr. V, perhaps we're talking too fast and the
22 interpreters did not manage to interpret this last
23 exchange. So, let me repeat the question.
24 My question to you was: Do you know anything
25 regarding the person whom you did not want to identify,
1 and who talked to you at the Blue 11 facility? Did
2 this person have any mental problems? Do you know
3 anything about it?
4 A. I believe -- you see, I'm not a doctor, so
5 I'm not able to evaluate a mental condition of a
6 person. I know that from time to time this person was
7 prone to drinking, but I also knew that this person did
8 some creative work, as well. He was an intelligent
10 Q. So, you knew that this person had some
11 alcoholic tendencies?
12 A. I did not know this, but occasionally he
13 would drink. Then, again, I cannot explain really how
14 he ended up there at that particular time, if he was an
16 Q. Mr. V, in your testimony you mentioned that
17 on the next day, in the morning, your name was called
18 out; is that correct? When you were taken to work in
19 the cemetery.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know who called you out?
22 A. We did not see this, because the guard was
23 standing in the hallway and calling names out loud. So
24 I could not see him.
25 Q. Let me rephrase the question. Do you know
1 whether you were called out by the guard who was
2 guarding you inside the prison, or was it someone who
3 was escorting you out to work?
4 A. I could not see who it was out there.
5 Q. You also mentioned your visit to the
6 physician in Busovaca, in the health centre. You
7 mentioned that on that occasion you received an
8 injection and some pills; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. During your stay in Kaonik, could you take
12 A. They were offered to me, a guard would offer
13 them to me, like, he said, "Pick one." I did not know
14 what they were.
15 Q. Mr. V, do you recall, when you came back from
16 the initial visit to the physician in Busovaca, where
17 were you taken; back to the same building from which
18 you had started out or to another one?
19 A. To the same building.
20 Q. You mentioned that the guard brought you to a
21 table and that you were about three metres away from
22 that table.
23 A. Approximately.
24 Q. Could you describe where this table was?
25 A. It was in the middle of the hangar, sort of
1 like in front there. It was like this (indicating).
2 It's hard for me to recall all the details, but I think
3 it was somehow in the middle of the hangar, sort of off
4 to the side.
5 Q. When you say in the middle of the hangar, can
6 you say, was this the same building, the same hangar
7 where you were put in the cells?
8 A. Well, that's the same hangar.
9 Q. So, it was the same hangar?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Was there any electric power there in that
13 A. No.
14 Q. Mr. V, you mentioned that a man was there at
15 that time whom you construed to be the warden?
16 A. Yes, that is what everybody was calling him.
17 Q. Do you recall how he was dressed?
18 A. I don't know. I don't recall how I was
19 dressed at that time.
20 Q. Was he wearing military or civilian clothes?
21 A. I really cannot say.
22 Q. Do you recall how this person looked?
23 A. He was shortish. I saw him more from the
24 back than looking at him in the face. He was in a
25 hurry. He seemed in a hurry. He seemed to avoid me.
1 He was a shortish man, definitely younger than I was.
2 Q. Had you known this person before?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You mentioned that during your stay in
5 Busovaca, even though you were not particularly active
6 in politics, you said that you still attended certain
7 meetings in the municipal structures in Busovaca.
8 A. That was up until 1990.
9 Q. Oh, I see. Was that prior to the elections?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Mr. V, you said that in the building where
12 you were staying a TV crew showed up.
13 A. They invited everybody who wanted to pray to
14 go and pray, and after that nobody from my cell was
15 ever offered this. Later on I learned that on
16 television they said that all the prison inmates were
17 allowed to do their daily prayers, and so on.
18 Now I can say this only about the cells where
19 I was. I wasn't, I didn't have the full picture of it.
20 Q. Do you know who these people were, this TV
21 crew who came there? Were they foreigners or Bosniaks?
22 A. They were not Bosniaks, they were not
23 foreigners. I cannot say who they were, but I know
24 they were not Bosniaks, because that was not possible
25 at that particular point in time. This is what I
2 Q. But you said that later on you heard that
3 this footage which was taped in Kaonik was later
4 broadcast in Busovaca.
5 A. I heard that from the people who had remained
6 in Busovaca.
7 Q. What programme was it? What television?
8 A. I don't know, I was in the camp at that time,
9 I could not follow those. I just heard that it was
10 broadcast on television.
11 Q. And the people who saw it on television did
12 not tell you on which programme?
13 A. No, I did not go into it. I just heard it in
15 Q. Mr. V, did you also take an opportunity to
16 offer prayers at that time?
17 A. No, no, I did not. My mental condition was
18 such, and the conditions for this has to also be
19 special ones concerning the personal hygiene and
20 everything, I was not able to do this.
21 Q. Mr. V, you mentioned your work in the
22 cemetery and later on in Kula, in the trenches. On
23 those occasions was anybody injured or wounded among
24 your group who worked there?
25 A. Except for the incident at the Blue 11, there
1 was nothing. I saw some people farther down that were
2 digging there. I saw some of them being bandaged, I
3 don't know what type of injuries they sustained. I
4 heard some had been beaten, they were hit with pickaxes
5 and things like that.
6 Q. But you personally did not see it?
7 A. No, I did not.
8 Q. Mr. V, you mentioned that when you dug
9 trenches at Kula you were also guarded and you
10 mentioned a guard who was watching, who was guarding
11 you, and who had a humane, who treated you humanely?
12 A. Yes, in comparison to the others, and from
13 what I have heard, I think that I was lucky.
14 Q. Do you happen to know, was this a member of a
15 military unit, or was it one of the guards from Kaonik?
16 A. It was, he was not from Kaonik, he was a
17 member of some military unit.
18 Q. Mr. V, during your stay in Kaonik, were you
19 personally beaten by anyone?
20 A. No, I was not.
21 Q. You mentioned that on 8 February you were
22 released, that you left Kaonik; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And after that you went to Zenica on a bus
25 and that is where your family was already.
1 A. My family was in three different parts of
3 Q. After coming to Zenica, did you visit --?
4 A. My apologies.
5 Q. After your arrival in Zenica, you said you
6 visited a physician?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What were your complaints at the time?
9 A. The same ones which I had, bleeding, and my
10 being undernourished, it sort of peaked.
11 Q. What kind of therapy were you given at that
13 A. It was pretty much the standard therapy. I
14 don't think that it differed much from the one which I
15 was getting in Busovaca. Maybe I received different
16 types of pills, different brand, but the same.
17 Q. How many days did you stay in Kaonik?
18 A. I don't wish to really answer that, but it's
19 somewhere in the range of 15 to 20 days.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you very much, Your
21 Honours, the Defence has no further questions of this
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
24 Mr. Neimann, any further questions you wish
25 to put to the witness?
1 MR. NIEMANN: No, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Witness V, I have a number
3 of questions that I wish to put to you.
4 If I understood you well, you told us that in
5 Busovaca you had seen a number of soldiers bearing a
6 number of different insignias and with different
7 uniforms. Have I understood you right?
8 A. Yes, you understood it correctly. During
9 1992 in Busovaca it was like a fashion show of uniforms
10 and insignia. There were the HOS units, the Croatian
11 Council, that is how we were calling them; however, it
12 turned out it was the Croatian army. There was the
13 HVO, there was the Black Shirts, a group would pass and
14 they also had some U signs there and parading with
15 weapons. They were always there. There would always
16 be some passing around, so it was a process of
17 militarisation, if you will. They did not harm anyone,
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you. Another
20 question: You also said that it was very unusual that
21 people from the Kaonik camp go to dig trenches, that's
22 what you said, that it was not usual for them to go and
23 dig trenches. Is that what you said?
24 A. I did not say that it was normal, but it did
25 work, that is a fact, the whole camp was on the move,
1 as it were. Because there were frontlines and we had
2 15 days to reinforce those lines. So it wasn't a
3 normal thing, we had to do it, we only had 15 days for
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I see. Did you see other
6 people who were not detainees from the Kaonik camp
7 digging trenches?
8 A. I could not see it, because at the time, when
9 I was in the camp, Bosniaks could not move about. I
10 could not see anyone except in passing, one or two
11 elderly persons. But Bosniaks did not have freedom of
12 movement at the time. They could not go out, and I did
13 not see any other persons digging except the prisoners.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But do you know if other
15 people were asked to go and dig trenches?
16 A. I don't know that. I believe that in the
17 period while we were in the camp that only prisoners
18 were taken to dig, but I cannot say whether a labour
19 unit was also established or formed in the town. That
20 I cannot speak to.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You also told us about your
22 return from the medical centre in Busovaca. You told
23 us that when you returned to the camp, after the visit,
24 you had found a person standing in the middle of the
25 hangar; is that right?
1 A. One person in the middle of the hangar. When
2 we came back from the health centre the guard told me
3 to wait at a distance, which was at least three metres,
4 and then he approached a person and turned this paper
5 over to this person. I did not hear them, but given
6 the gesture, it was like this, I thought nothing doing,
7 they have to go to work. That is my understanding of
8 what the gesture meant.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But I think I heard you say
10 that you thought it was the warden standing in the
11 middle of the hangar. According to you this person was
12 the warden of the camp, and the reason you thought this
13 was that the other people were addressing him in that
15 A. That it was the warden, yes.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So right now you've just
17 recognised and identified Mr. Zlatko Aleksovski. Can
18 you say again that this person was Zlatko Aleksovski,
19 was it him that was standing in the middle of the
21 A. So far as I could see here, I did not want to
22 ask that he get up and take off his headphones. I
23 recognised him by his face, by his eyes. I don't know
24 if I made a mistake, but I believe that I did not. I
25 did not request for him to get up to turn around. I
1 did not look him in the eyes, so to speak, his face,
2 but I think I remember him quite well.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So you're not 100 per cent
4 sure that this person who was standing in the middle of
5 the hangar was, in fact, Zlatko Aleksovski?
6 A. Yes, I am. Yes, that was the camp commander.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: All right. Witness V,
8 thank you very much. I have no further questions for
9 you. Thank you for coming here to testify before the
10 International Tribunal. We wish you a safe journey
11 home. Thank you again, you may now leave.
12 A. Thank you very much.
13 (The witness withdrew).
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Well, maybe we could now
15 take another break before letting the other witness
16 come in. We shall now take a 20 minute break.
17 --- Recess taken at 11.55 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.20 p.m.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Niemann, you have the
21 MR. NIEMANN: If, Your Honours, please.
22 Might I call the next witness --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Niemann,
25 MR. NIEMANN: Might I call the next witness,
1 Witness W, if Your Honours, please.
2 (The witness entered court)
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Good morning, sir, can you
4 hear me? Please stand up. Please remain standing,
5 sir. Thank you. You will now take the oath. The
6 usher is holding out the text for you.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Please read the oath.
8 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
9 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You may now be seated. Do
12 you feel comfortable, sir?
13 A. Well, I am okay.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well. To begin with
15 you will answer the questions put to you by Mr.
16 Niemann, the gentleman on your right.
17 Mr. Niemann, you have the floor.
18 WITNESS: WITNESS W
19 Examined by Mr. Niemann:
20 MR. NIEMANN: Witness, Your Honours have
21 granted in your favour certain protective measures.
22 First of all, we will refer to you as Witness W during
23 the course of your testimony, and the image of your
24 face is being distorted so it can't be recognised.
25 I would like you, please, to look at a piece
1 of paper I am now going to show you. I don't want you
2 to read out what you see on the paper, but can you tell
3 me whether the name that appears on that piece of paper
4 is your name?
5 THE WITNESS: Yes, yes.
6 MR. NIEMANN: If Your Honours, please, I ask
7 that it be tendered under seal. May it be given the
8 next exhibit number in order?
9 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit No. 138.
10 Q. Witness W, can you tell their honours what
11 year you were born?
12 A. Directly? Should I say this directly? Will
13 this be heard?
14 Q. Just tell us the year, you don't have to tell
15 us the month and day, just tell us the year you were
17 A. Forty-six.
18 Q. What municipality were you born in?
19 A. May I say that? Busovaca.
20 Q. What education did you receive?
21 A. Eight.
22 Q. The 8th grade; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You didn't receive any secondary education?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Did you live in Busovaca all the time from
2 right up until 1993?
3 A. I lived in Busovaca from 1980 onwards. I was
4 in Germany for ten years and three months, something to
5 that effect.
6 Q. Did you do any military service during the
7 time that you lived in the former Yugoslavia?
8 A. Yes. I left on the 22nd of 1965 and I came
9 back in 1967.
10 Q. Was the military service that you did the
11 traditional conscription service that every citizen had
12 to do?
13 A. It was regular army.
14 Q. How long did you do this military service
16 A. Eighteen months.
17 Q. Were you given any special training other
18 than the standard military service?
19 A. No, I was a cook in this army.
20 Q. After you had finished military service, did
21 you then continue to have contacts with the army?
22 A. No, I was a plain worker.
23 Q. In 1992/'93, were you in any way involved
24 with the army?
25 A. I mean -- do you mean when I was in
1 Busovaca? Is that what you're saying? No, I was not
2 duty-bound to any army in Busovaca because Busovaca was
4 Q. By whom was Busovaca occupied?
5 A. HVO. The defence council of HVO.
6 Q. When did that happen?
7 A. In '93, on the 25th of January.
8 Q. Prior to the 25th of January, 1993, were you,
9 yourself, in any way involved in political matters?
10 A. No, I wasn't.
11 Q. Was the work that you did from 1980 up to
12 1990/'91 of a civilian type of work, was it?
13 A. Well, I worked at the steel works until 1991
14 or 1992. I can't remember the month exactly because,
15 you know, I had to wait for a certain period of time.
16 I mean, I am still waiting until the present day.
17 Q. When you say "wait," what do you mean wait,
18 what do you mean by that?
19 A. I mean I don't have a job. I am unemployed.
20 That is what waiting is.
21 Q. Now, what were relations like between Muslim
22 people and Croat people in the Municipality of Busovaca
23 prior to January 1993?
24 A. Well, you know, 1991 and 1992, these
25 relations were good. All of a sudden this Croatian
1 army began to gather there and the Muslims were not
2 allowed to walk around. They didn't dare walk around
3 and stuff like that. You know, because it was
5 Q. Now, the Croatian army you're talking about,
6 was that an army from Croatia itself or are you talking
7 about a Bosnian Croat army?
8 A. Well, as far as the Bosnian Croats are
9 concerned, well, there were quite a few people from
10 elsewhere, you know, from Herzegovina. They didn't
11 wear masks on their eyes, whereas the local people wore
13 Q. Was that how you're able to distinguish
14 between locals and people who were foreign to
16 A. Well, those who didn't have masks I could not
17 recognise. I had never seen them anywhere, but the men
18 with masks, of course, you cannot recognise them.
19 Q. Now, the people that weren't wearing masks,
20 were they in uniform?
21 A. Yes, yes, camouflage uniforms they wore.
22 Q. Did they have any badges or any insignia on
23 their uniform that you saw?
24 A. Well, I don't know HV, HVO, that I could
1 Q. You saw both HV and HVO insignia?
2 A. Yeah, yeah.
3 Q. Now, what is your nationality?
4 A. Muslim.
5 Q. Did conditions between the Muslim people and
6 the Croat people in Busovaca deteriorate towards the
7 end of 1992 and in the early part of '93?
8 A. Well, from 1992 it had already started. I
9 mean from the beginning of January they started getting
10 together. Then there were barricades. There were very
11 few Muslims. They had already started fleeing from
13 Q. Do you remember any particular incidents that
14 you saw that were directed against Muslim people in
15 Busovaca at that time?
16 A. I can only tell you the truth, what I saw
17 with my very own eyes when I was supposed to be
19 Q. Now, when were you -- were you arrested in
21 A. Yes, I was, on the 25th of January.
22 Q. Would you tell Their Honours about how it is
23 that you come to be arrested on that day?
24 A. On the 24th I was at home. I noticed from
25 the window of my home, on the windows that were on
1 other buildings near the roof I saw rifles, and I
2 realised that these were snipers. I was afraid to stay
3 at home with my wife, so I withdrew to Kadica Strana to
4 Alija Arnaut, to his summer kitchen. There were many
5 women, children, us civilians. The siren went off
6 twelve times in the morning. That was an alert to the
7 best of my understanding, and then they started
8 shooting. There was a lot of shooting from the hills.
9 Above my head I saw a few houses on fire. Then, we
10 threw out white sheets as if we were surrendering
11 ourselves because there was a lot of explosions there
12 and what have you. A colleague of mine left the
13 house. He took a few steps and he was wounded. We
14 could not walk up to him to give him first aid. We
15 threw a rope to him so that he could tie himself with
16 that rope, and that we could drag him back to the
17 door. That is where we gave him first aid. Then
18 orders came from above, from the centre, I mean the
19 Carsija downtown. We were supposed to follow the women
20 and children and our hands were to be tied and we were
21 supposed to look straight ahead of us.
22 As we left in the direction of the centre, I
23 saw on the bridge a man called Ceri. I don't know his
24 real name, they always called him Ceri. There he laid
25 dead on the corner of the bridge. On the road leading
1 to the Carsija, to downtown, as we reached town, one of
2 the HVO people in camouflage uniform said -- he
3 shouted, rather, all of these guys should be shot.
4 They started shooting bursts of gun fire, but above our
5 heads. Then they said, you should separate yourselves
6 from the women and children. That's what we did. A
7 bus came and took us to Kaonik, to the camp.
8 Q. Just stopping you there for a moment. Now
9 you said that when you were walking to the house to
10 take shelter, you saw snipers. Do you know what army
11 or organisation these snipers belonged to?
12 A. Well, I figure it was the HVO because quite a
13 few Muslim people had left there, so it was probably
14 them, I reckon. And I am claiming that.
15 Q. The people that were firing on the house that
16 you were taking shelter in, did you have any idea of
17 what organisation they belonged to or connected to?
18 A. I figure it was the HVO army.
19 Q. Now, the orders for you to come to the
20 centre, who gave those orders? Who was responsible for
21 giving those orders?
22 A. I'm sorry, the orders came from town, from
23 the Carsija, from the HVO. The town was full of them,
24 and I am sure that they were the ones who ordered
25 this. Because there was no other army, except for the
2 Q. Now, when you were put on the bus and you
3 were taken to Kaonik, what happened when you arrived at
5 A. When we arrived at Kaonik, they put us in a
6 hangar. That is where the People's Army of Yugoslavia
7 was before. So it was an empty hangar and we were
8 ordered to walk against the wall. That we were
9 supposed to be facing the wall and that we should keep
10 our hands up also on the wall. I understood those
11 orders well.
12 Zlatko ordered that four rifles were to be
13 cocked and a guard came. He searched all of us. He
14 went from one man to another. I saw a neighbour of
15 mine, he was so frightened that he collapsed. He was
16 standing at my left. Perhaps he thought that they
17 would shoot, so he fell. He collapsed. When all of
18 this was over, we turned towards them, facing them, and
19 then cigarettes, lighters, money, depending on who had
20 what, we were all supposed to put that in one place, in
21 one place.
22 Then I think on the left-hand side, they put
23 people who had diabetes. These people were supposed to
24 say that they had diabetes and they were sent home.
25 But I had thrombosis in my left leg and I have
1 thrombosis until this very day but I stayed on. I
2 spent the night there. I lay on a pallet. Together
3 with a colleague, we had to share one single blanket.
4 There was no light. There were only candles. We got
5 soup there, some kind of tea and I don't know what
6 all. Et cetera.
7 Q. You said a moment ago that Zlatko ordered the
8 four rifles were to be cocked. Who are you referring
9 to when you say "Zlatko"?
10 A. The one who was the commander of the camp.
11 Q. And had you known him before you went to the
13 A. No.
14 Q. How did you know that he was the commander of
15 the camp?
16 A. I knew when I was transferred from this
17 hangar to the cells, when I was taken to the doctor.
18 Q. We'll come on to that in a moment.
19 Now, you say that some people were separated;
20 did you say anything about your medical condition at
21 all when people were being asked about their medical
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What did you say?
25 A. "I have thrombosis and my leg hurts, may I go
1 home?" And he said, "You cannot go back."
2 Q. Who did you say this to?
3 A. This guard that I don't know.
4 Q. How long did you spend in that hangar?
5 A. Two days, I couldn't take it any longer
6 because my leg had flared up, it was swollen because of
7 the cold, you know. My legs were shaking, and I was
8 shaking, and I went to see a doctor.
9 Q. How did it come to pass that you went to see
10 a doctor? How did that happen?
11 A. I reported to the guards, and they wrote down
12 that I could go see a doctor.
13 Q. And did you recognize any of the guards that
14 you approached about this?
15 A. Yes, I did. His name is Ivo, and his
16 nickname is Keba. I don't know his last name, but we
17 called him Keba, everybody always called him Keba, all
18 the people who worked with me at the steelworks.
19 Q. What did you say to him about your leg, your
21 A. Because he was aware of my health condition
22 from before, I was, had this flare-up before, so, I was
23 walking on crutches, and he knew that I had that and he
24 was helping.
25 I have to say, I don't want to say anything
1 against him, he was good to me, and he helped me go to
2 Busovaca to the health centre. I was received there,
3 but these physicians were not known to me.
4 I could not see the ones whom I had known
5 from Busovaca, so, these were unknown to me. But they
6 received me, they gave me medication and such.
7 The lady physician gave me a document so that
8 I could have therapy at home, so that I would not go
9 back to the cell, because she had examined my leg. But
10 when I returned, a person called Marko drove me there,
11 and two guards I did not know.
12 So, I arrived at the hangar, and as you enter
13 the hangar, to the right there was an office, this was
14 Zlatko's office, and I told him I was told to go home
15 and get therapy there.
16 Then he said, "Take him to cell 12, it's
17 warmer there." So that's where I stayed.
18 Q. Who said this?
19 A. Zlatko did, and that's when I met him well.
20 Q. Did you see him on other occasions, Zlatko,
21 on other occasions when you were in the camp from time
22 to time?
23 A. Yes, I did see him in the hallway.
24 Q. And did you see people from time to time
25 address him as the commander of the camp?
1 A. No, I did not, because the cells were locked.
2 Only if you needed to go to the lavatory.
3 Q. Do you think that you would be able to
4 recognize him again if you saw him now?
5 A. You mean now? Oh, yes, I think I could
6 recognize him right away, I'm sure of it.
7 Q. Would you look around the courtroom and see
8 if you can see the person whom you spoke to when you
9 came back from the doctor?
10 Just look around, and if you can, can you
11 point to him with your finger? Just look around the
13 A. Very well, yes. All right. I will start
14 from this side. May I get up?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. He is down there next to the policeman. He's
17 sitting on this side, to the right of the policeman.
18 If it's not enough, I can point him with my hand.
19 Q. Yes, I think just for clarity you might point
20 with your hand.
21 A. (Indicating). It's the person over there.
22 MR. NIEMANN: I think the witness has
23 identified the accused, Your Honour.
24 Q. Now, the piece of paper that was given to you
25 by the doctor, did you read that?
1 A. No, I did not read it. My eyesight was
2 weakened, and without glasses I could not read.
3 Q. When you gave this piece of paper to
4 Mr. Aleksovski, did he appear to read it, that you
5 could see?
6 A. He just glanced at the paper a moment, and
7 then he ordered the guards to take me to cell 12.
8 Q. What happened to the piece of paper then? Did
9 he give it back to you, or did he keep it?
10 A. He kept it.
11 Q. What happened then? What was the next thing
12 that happened to you?
13 A. That was in the cell. Later on I was taken
14 to Kula to dig. There was a vehicle called a Rab, and
15 several of us boarded it, and this Rab was taking
16 people back and forth. There was some gravel in it,
18 As we were taken in the direction of Kula, as
19 we were going up that road, he was driving very fast,
20 maybe 100 an hour, and then he would brake very
21 suddenly, and then we would collide, we would bump into
22 each other and we would roll over, and we would get all
23 bruised and bloody from this gravel, and in such a
24 shape we arrived there to dig trenches.
25 Q. Who called you out to go trench digging?
1 A. The guards. It was the guards who were
2 calling people out.
3 Q. How many people, approximately, were called
4 out for trench digging?
5 A. I cannot recall, a hundred, maybe even two
6 hundred, depending on the need.
7 Q. Yes, I think you're talking about the total
8 number over the whole time. How many people were
9 called out in the time that you were put in your truck
10 and taken to Kula; can your remember?
11 A. I cannot recall, because the hallway was
12 full, it may have been up to 100 people there. It
13 would be split up into two, three groups, or something.
14 Q. Okay. Now, were you told what was going to
15 happen? Did they tell you in advance where you were
16 going and what you were going to do?
17 A. Nothing.
18 Q. The people that took you, were they armed?
19 A. Yes, they were, they were armed with rifles.
20 Q. What did you think might happen to you if you
21 tried to escape or get away from these people?
22 A. We were told right away that if we attempted
23 to escape, that we would be shot on the spot.
24 Q. Now, when you were taken to Kula, what
25 happened when you got there?
1 A. When we arrived there we would, they
2 indicated how many metres of trenches we were to dig
3 and so on.
4 Q. Do you know where you were working in
5 relation to the frontline?
6 A. This was at Kula, this was in the direction
7 of the village of Solokovici. That was in that area,
8 this line of, the HVO line of defence was in that area,
9 and I spent two or three days there digging.
10 I observed that people were making our people
11 take off winter coats and leather jackets. Also, they
12 made them take off jewellery, rings, and I also noticed
13 that people were beaten.
14 That was further down. I was in the upper
15 part of this line, there was no beating.
16 Q. How close were you to the army of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, to their lines?
18 A. I cannot recall that. You mean what the
19 distance was between the two lines? That I don't know.
20 I don't know if I can recall that.
21 Q. Could you see the opposing lines of the army
22 of Bosnia-Herzegovina from where you were trench
24 A. No, I did not. No, there was a forest over
25 there, so, you could not observe that.
1 Q. Were you under guard when you were building
2 these trenches?
3 A. Yes. They were about one or two metres away
4 from us, at the most.
5 Q. The guards, were they taking shelter at the
6 time that you were digging the trenches, or were they
7 standing out in the open?
8 A. They stood nearby, and sometimes they would
9 take shelter behind a tree or something.
10 Q. Was it daytime that you had to dig trenches,
11 or was it only in the nighttime?
12 A. I dug both during daytime and later into the
13 night. Sometimes very, very late, until 8 or 9
14 o'clock, and it was very dark by that time because it
15 was winter.
16 Q. Was your leg still sore and giving you
17 trouble at the time that you had to dig these trenches?
18 A. Yes, and even to date I feel it.
19 Q. Were you able to take breaks when you needed
20 to, from digging the trenches?
21 A. When digging trenches? No, there were no
22 breaks. You had to dig until you were done.
23 Q. For how long a stretch, in number of hours,
24 approximately, did you have to continue digging? Are
25 you able to tell us?
1 A. Five or six hours, perhaps, and then you
2 would rest. Otherwise, the men over there would say,
3 "Dig, or else," and then you knew you had to dig.
4 Q. Were you given food and water during this
6 A. Yes, yes, they did. It would be one can of
7 fish for every two persons.
8 Q. Did you go trench digging on just the one
9 occasion, or was there more than one occasion?
10 A. I spent three days at Kula, and after that I
11 never went there again. I noticed the people were
12 being beaten there, and I was afraid. Also, I noticed
13 that people were bloody, that they were swollen, and I
14 said, "Why, what is this?" And they said, "They are
15 beating us."
16 And I pretended that my leg was even in worse
17 shape just so that I could get out of this situation,
18 which was hell like for me.
19 Q. Apart from being taken to Kula for trench
20 digging, were you taken anywhere else during the time
21 you were in the Kaonik prison?
22 A. Yes, but I did not have a watch and I could
23 not follow the time. I don't recall when it was that
24 they took us to a cafe called the Blue 11. We were
25 taken there in that same Rab vehicle which used to take
1 us to Kula.
2 The order was given that whoever was to peek
3 out from this vehicle would have their head chopped
4 off. There was a vehicle going in front and one behind
5 it. At that time I was talking to a colleague, and we
6 said maybe we should just say good-bye now because we
7 both thought we would be killed.
8 When we arrived at this 11 Blue place, which
9 I had not known until then. "Fuck your balija mothers,"
10 that's what they met us with. "Now you will see who we
11 are." And we just kept quiet.
12 We were sitting in this Rab vehicle, and the
13 order came, "Jump out now," and we all jumped off from
14 this Rab to the ground with our hands up. Then they
15 said, "Cross your fingers up there."
16 I had a hat on my head. There was a
17 gauntlet, there were two cordons, one to the left and
18 one to the right. I don't know what they had on them,
19 some clubs or bars, and the moment I started walking I
20 received a blow over my head.
21 As we were entering the Blue 11 to the right,
22 behind the bar, I saw camouflage uniforms and masks
23 over their faces, and sharp knives. We passed by and
24 there were some benches over there on the other side.
25 We sat down with our heads bowed and they said, "Whose
1 throat are we going to slit first?"
2 I felt like my bones were melting from fear.
3 We kept silent. In the end I recognised Ivo Popovic,
4 called Isus. He had a hat on his head, he came over
5 and he said, "God be with you." We kept silent. He
6 said, "Good evening." We kept silent, "Selam Alejkum,"
7 we kept silent because we didn't know what to expect
9 He said, "You are not, the benches are not
10 for you to sit on. You should sit down on the floor."
11 I didn't know what to do. I didn't know. Then he
12 started talking to us and I asked him, "Ivo, can I
13 light a cigarette?"
14 "Yes, you can." Then he said, "Why don't we
15 light a candle for, a Holy Mother's candle, it will be
16 their last one."
17 So, there was one man who was sharpening the
18 knife over in the corner, and he said, "Who are we
19 going to kill first?"
20 I was smoking a cigarette. I think I smoked
21 it in two or three long drags. And he said, "We should
22 make a mop to mop the floor with his stomach."
23 Shall I go on?
24 Q. Yes. Perhaps you might go a little bit
25 slower so the interpreters can follow you.
1 What happened then?
2 A. Yes, yes, thank you, I will slow down.
3 So, we kept sitting there and talking, and he
4 kept talking to a colleague of his, and he said, "You
5 know, I'm supposed to slit your throat. Or maybe I
6 should do this, I should do that."
7 I kept thinking. Then, when the candle was
8 finished, and then he said, "Let's light this Holy
9 Mother's candle." And they did, and we were waiting to
10 see what was going to happen next.
11 Then one of them said, "First we will shatter
12 their knees with bursts of fire and then we will slit
13 their throats." So, it went on like this.
14 Nobody had any watches left, we used to have
15 them, but they were all taken away. Then a bus
16 arrived, and I heard that the elderly people from the
17 village of Ocenici arrived, and we were over there.
18 I heard him again say, "Fuck your balija
19 mothers. Eat of that calendar with (inaudible)." That
20 was Ibrahim Nuhagic. They all joined us there when we
21 came out and the bus came to collect us.
22 When we boarded the bus, as we were boarding
23 one by one with our heads bowed, you could not look
24 left or right, Fehim Mujkic was boarding. His nickname
25 was Borovo, because he had a store of the Bata shoes;
1 so, they used to call him Borovo, because it was the
2 same company.
3 He had a store there, and he had an employee
4 there, and this is whom I noticed from this corner of
5 my eye, because I could not really look openly, and he
6 stopped him by pulling him by the shoulder.
7 Then I saw how he was kicked and beaten with
8 the rifle butt. In the end I asked him, "So, how could
9 you get up so fast?" He said, "I had to get up,
10 because if I stayed down too long, they will just bash
11 me in." So, they beat him for a long time while the
12 bus was standing there.
13 Then later when he finally got on, I saw him
14 all bloody and moaning. In the back of the bus there
15 was somebody in a camouflage uniform and a rifle and a
16 mask with the slits.
17 I recall well, when he boarded the bus he had
18 an M-48 rifle, when he was passing the driver and a
19 neighbour of mine, Hamdija Lusija was his name, he hit
20 Hamdija over the head. I thought he would just go and
21 fall unconscious. He said, "Where is Osman, your
22 brother? Because I'm going to get him."
23 Hamdija said, "I don't know." And he
24 said, "Yes, you do." He left, and he said, "I don't
25 know," and he said, "Don't talk to me like that." So
1 Hamdija stopped talking.
2 So, we arrived at the MUP building in
3 Busovaca, and one of them said, "What are we going to
4 do to these pigs?" That's what I heard him say. And
5 he said, "Take them to Kaonik." And we were taken to
6 Kaonik to the cells.
7 When we arrived there, it must have been 12
8 or 1 o'clock, they kept beating us until about 5 in the
9 morning. I remember very well when Senad Lusija was
10 called out, Senad, yes. He immediately started
11 screaming. Certain Kermo, yes, Biogradlija were called
12 out, and this beating continued on from midnight or 1
13 until 5. People were bloody. I could not take that
14 any more. So I knocked on the door, because I was very
16 I had four boxes of pills and I said, I am
17 going the finish this. I can't take this any more. A
18 colleague, Nasim Kemis said you'll survive this, don't
19 do it. So I listened to him and I decided not to. So
20 I got out on to the hallway and I went to the lavatory
21 and there I found Mr. Ivo Keba, a guard, and I said,
22 "Kabo, what is going on here?" I am not going to say
23 any names. They said their own names. These were all
24 snipers in Busovaca, so they are being beaten. I am
25 thinking to myself, how are they -- what snipers?
1 There was not a single army soldier in Busovaca, they
2 couldn't have been there. Can we take a break now, I
3 would like to relax a little bit, if I can?
4 Q. Sure, you can have a drink of water, if you
5 feel that would help.
6 A. Very well. I have a little bit of a
8 Q. Well, I think we can finish up very quickly.
9 Unless Your Honours propose to have a break now. We
10 can finish fairly quickly.
11 Were you then subsequently released from the
12 Kaonik camp?
13 A. Yes. Yes.
14 Q. When were you released?
15 A. I was released on the 8th of February to the
16 best of my recollection because, when the Red Cross
17 came, some people went to Zenica, some people went to
18 Kacuni and I don't know what all. I was talking to my
19 neighbours and they said, will you go home? I said,
20 yes, I will. Because all of these disasters were over
21 and I wanted to go to my home, I didn't want to be a
23 As I boarded the bus, I saw that there
24 weren't very many of our people on the bus and I came
25 back home. I was very dirty. I hadn't been shaving
1 for quite some time. I was scabby and I wanted to take
2 a bath. My wife said look, look, at all of this, look
3 at all these problems. I said, "What kind of
4 problems?" She said, "We have to run away." I said,
5 "What do you mean?" She said, "People are coming all
6 the time and saying that we should leave." She said
7 that three men came while I was in the camp and when
8 they came to my place, they took my wife upstairs to an
9 attic. I mean, there were two rooms up there and some
10 kind of kitchen, or rather, it is the attic of my house
11 that is empty. There are two rooms in the kitchen;
12 downstairs there is nothing.
13 Q. Did you eventually have to leave Busovaca?
14 A. Yes. Yes.
15 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions, Your
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: We shall now take a break
18 to allow the witness to rest and relax a little bit.
19 After that, we will have cross-examination by Mr.
20 Mikulicic. Just a second, please.
21 So we will take a fifteen minute break. That
22 will leave us an hour and maybe we'll be able to get to
23 finish this testimony by the end of the day. I don't
24 know whether there is going to be anything tomorrow.
25 Well, we don't know either. It's difficult for us to
1 tell you anything about what's going to happen
2 tomorrow. We will do our best. We will try to ensure
3 that you won't have to come back tomorrow.
4 A. All right.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: If we take a fifteen minute
6 break, we'll have an hour left and maybe during this
7 hour we'll be able to finish your testimony, sir, but I
8 can't guarantee that. Fifteen minute break.
9 A. All right, all right thank you.
10 --- Recess taken at 1.17 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 1.35 p.m.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Mikulicic -- excuse me,
13 may the witness be brought in, please.
14 (The witness entered the courtroom)
15 Witness W, do you feel at ease? Are you
16 ready to go on?
17 A. Well, yes.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So you will now answer the
19 questions put to you by the Defence counsel, Mr. Joka.
20 Mr. Joka is the gentleman on your left.
21 Mr. Joka, you have the floor.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Joka:
24 Q. Good day.
25 A. Good day.
1 Q. I shall be putting a few questions to you
2 with regard to the statement you made today. So let us
3 take the same order that you took when making your
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Before that, tell me, after your doing your
7 military service in the JNA, were you in the military
8 records in Busovaca?
9 A. No. When I came back from the JNA, I went to
10 Germany in 1970 and I was there until 1982. I was
11 temporarily employed in Germany.
12 Q. And then upon your return?
13 A. Upon my return I came back on the 14th of
14 March, 1984. And I was employed in the steel works.
15 Q. Did you have military assignment in the steel
17 A. No.
18 Q. You didn't have any military assignment?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did you have any civilian assignment?
21 A. No, I didn't.
22 Q. Did you have work duty?
23 A. No, I was a plain worker.
24 Q. All right. Let us now move on to the
25 statement you made.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You said that down in Busovaca at some point
3 in time one could see other armies too, that there was
4 HVO and quite a few people from Herzegovina?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. How can you tell that they are from
8 A. I didn't know those people.
9 Q. So you didn't know them and therefore --
10 A. Yes, I didn't know them.
11 Q. Could they have been Slovenians, you didn't
12 know Slovenians either?
13 A. Well, I didn't.
14 Q. Could you tell us where Herzegovina is? Is
15 it Bosnia or somewhere else?
16 A. Well, it is related to Bosnia, you know, as
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina together. Because one says Bosnia
18 and Herzegovina.
19 Q. Now I would like to move on specifically to
20 this 24th of January, 1993, when you were actually
21 taken into custody.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You said that actually a day earlier you had
24 been watching neighbouring windows from your own
25 house. If I understood you correctly, in these
1 neighbouring apartments, it was Muslims who lived there
2 otherwise, right?
3 A. There were very few Muslims in that building.
4 Q. You mean the building across the street?
5 A. Yes, yes, very little.
6 Q. But were there any?
7 A. They had left. They left earlier.
8 Q. They left earlier. You said you saw some
9 kind of rifles?
10 A. Yes, I saw rifles up in the attic.
11 Q. Do you know who was standing behind these
12 rifles? Do you know or are you just assuming?
13 A. Well, I figure they were HVO.
14 Q. Will you tell the Court what to "figure"
16 A. I think.
17 Q. So you think. You're guessing, assuming?
18 A. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
19 Q. Or did you see it with your very own eyes?
20 A. Well, I saw rifles.
21 Q. But did you see men behind those rifles?
22 A. Well, you cannot see them when they are
24 Q. You told us after that that you hid with --
25 that you took shelter at Kadica Strana with women and
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That the orders then came, if I heard you
4 correctly, orders from the HVO?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Women and children can go ahead and the men
7 with their hands up in the back?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How did this happen?
10 A. As we were staying in this house, there was a
11 lot of shooting going on, a lot of bullets flew across
12 us. I saw women fainting and children --
13 Q. But I am asking you something different. You
14 said orders came, how did these orders come in? Did a
15 messenger come in and bring them? A soldier? A
16 courier? How?
17 A. We threw out those white sheets, you know, as
18 if we were surrendering --
19 Q. Yes, you told us that.
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. But how did the orders come?
22 A. From down there in the centre, they called.
23 And who came? I don't know. I mean that we should
24 surrender, and that we should move in the direction of
25 this street.
1 Q. All right, so you don't know. You said that
2 in town in the Carsija, a soldier of the HVO shot above
3 your head and said that you should be separated from
4 the women and children?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. How do you know that he was an HVO soldier?
7 A. Because he had insignia, I saw it up there,
8 he had a camouflage uniform.
9 Q. But then you also said that you were taken to
10 Kaonik on a bus?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did somebody escort you on that bus?
13 A. Yes, there was one in the front and one in
14 the back with rifles.
15 Q. I see, with rifles.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me for
17 interrupting. A couple of observations. First of all,
18 you must slow down. Think of yourself; think of the
19 witness. You need to wait after each intervention. I
20 can see from my seat that the interpreters have some
21 problems following.
22 Second observation, Mr. Joka, you can use a
23 microphone on your right, maybe it would be easier for
24 you. Is it possible to change microphones?
25 MR. JOKA: No.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The reason I ask is that it
2 would be much easier for you to use a microphone on
3 your right. It's the microphone that is meant for this
4 particular usage. You know, it's just a technical
5 question. Thank you very much.
6 MR. JOKA: Thank you very much, I have taken
7 note of your comment as far as the speed is concerned.
8 But it is easier this way, by the way.
9 Q. We came to my question, who escorted you on
10 this bus? You told us that there were two men with
11 rifles, and now I am asking you whether they were
12 civilians with guns or soldiers with guns?
13 A. They were soldiers. They had camouflage
14 uniform on them, I saw it.
15 Q. Were they HVO soldiers?
16 A. Well, certainly they were HVO.
17 Q. You also told us that you were driven to the
18 hangar --
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And I quote, "Zlatko ordered to have four
21 rifles cocked?"
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. How do you know that it was Zlatko?
24 A. Because I heard one of them say Mr. Zlatko.
25 I understood him well when he said that.
1 Q. Who said that?
2 A. One of the guards.
3 Q. What gentleman was he referring to, Mr. Who?
4 A. Well, he was certainly referring to the
5 commander of the camp.
6 Q. How do you know he was referring to the
7 commander of the camp and not some other Zlatko?
8 A. Well, I claimed it was him.
9 Q. You told us that you found out only later who
10 the warden was.
11 A. When I went down to the cells, that is when I
12 became fully aware of the fact that this was this
13 Zlatko Aleksovski.
14 Q. All right. So it is only later that you
15 realised that Zlatko was the warden, but this very
16 first day when you arrived, you could not have known
17 that Zlatko was the warden?
18 A. Well, I couldn't have. Because -- I mean, I
19 could because I understood him to say, Mr. Zlatko, Mr.
20 Zlatko, so that was it. You know, stand along the
21 wall. Because we had our lives at stake.
22 Q. Did you manage to remember the name of
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What is his last name?
1 A. Teloslovski (as pronounced).
2 Q. Could you please repeat it?
3 A. I'm sorry, I don't have my front teeth and I
4 can't pronounce it properly. I cannot enunciate
6 Q. Well tell us how you can tell it?
7 A. I haven't got these teeth. Teloslovski (as
9 Q. Tell me, sir, since when have you had
11 A. I had thrombosis some ten years or so.
12 Q. Did you receive regular treatment?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You also told us that you were taken to a
15 doctor in Busovaca?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. An unknown doctor?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. These people who took you there, were they
20 soldiers of the HVO or not?
21 A. They were soldiers of the HVO, guards.
22 Guards of the camp.
23 Q. Just to clarify matters further, as you were
24 coming back, you said there were two soldiers too?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I imagine those were the same two men, HVO
3 A. I know, I know, that there was one who was
4 called Marco, but I don't know his surname.
5 Q. Are they HVO soldiers, that's what I am
6 asking you?
7 A. Yes, yes, they were.
8 Q. You also told us that you were taken to dig
9 at Kula?
10 A. Yes, we were.
11 Q. Who took you there, civilians or soldiers?
12 A. Soldiers.
13 Q. HVO soldiers?
14 A. HVO soldiers.
15 Q. You also told us that at the location where
16 you were digging you were being guarded by guards?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were these guards from Kaonik or were they
20 A. They were soldiers in camouflage uniforms.
21 Q. HVO soldiers?
22 A. HVO soldiers.
23 Q. You also told us that from digging you were
24 taken back to Kaonik, escorted by armed men?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Soldiers?
2 A. Yes, they were soldiers.
3 Q. Of the HVO?
4 A. Yes, of the HVO.
5 Q. When you said that you were taken to a
6 facility which is called Jadanplaz?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Were you taken by civilians or rather driven
9 by civilians or soldiers?
10 A. It was a civilian vehicle, Rab.
11 Q. Yes, but who escorted you, who went with you,
12 soldiers or civilians?
13 A. I can't tell because it was nighttime and
14 there was a vehicle behind us and a vehicle in front of
15 us, and we were up there, closed up in that box, you
16 know in the Rab.
17 Q. The people who were there at that facility,
18 were they civilians or soldiers?
19 A. Soldiers.
20 Q. Soldiers of the HVO?
21 A. Soldiers of the HVO.
22 Q. You also mentioned a certain Ivo Popovic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Called Isus?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you know that man from before?
2 A. Yes, I knew him before too.
3 Q. Could you tell the Court whether this man was
4 "normal," as we customarily say?
5 A. I didn't understand you, I mean what are you
7 Q. Did people consider Ivo Popovic, called Isus,
8 a normal person or an abnormal person?
9 A. Well, I figured he was normal.
10 Q. You said what was going on at this facility
11 called the Blue 11, and then when you came to the MUP
12 in town, that in the MUP they told them to take you
13 back to Kaonik?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Who gave these orders?
16 A. A guy from MUP, he walked out because we
17 weren't allowed to watch, we were just supposed to look
18 straight ahead and I heard him say this from the door.
19 Q. We are now going back to the beginning. When
20 you were brought there, you said that all your personal
21 belongings were taken away from you, and that over
22 there at the hangar you were supposed to hand in your
23 cigarettes, lighters, whatever you had; is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Tell me, you mentioned also to us that when
2 you were at the facility called the Blue 11, that you
3 lit a cigarette?
4 A. Yes, yes, I asked Mr. Isus, Mr. Ivo and he
5 allowed us.
6 Q. So you had cigarettes?
7 A. Well, he gave us some, but some of us had
9 Q. You also told us that at one point in time,
10 you decided to take four boxes of tablets, of pills?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How did you get these pills?
13 A. I got them from the lady doctor when I went
14 to see her at Busovaca at the outpatient clinic, the
15 first time I went there.
16 Q. Could you take medication unhindered?
17 A. Well, she gave he these pills and she told me
18 to take them, according to a certain schedule, you
19 know, three times during one day.
20 Q. All right. Tell me, what do you do for a
21 living now? Do you have a farm? What do you do?
22 A. I am a refugee now.
23 Q. Before you became a refugee, did you have any
24 land of your own?
25 A. Yes, I did have some land.
1 Q. You said in your introduction that you were
2 employed at the steel works, but that you were
3 waiting. Then, when my learned colleague of the
4 Prosecution asked you about this, he said -- you
5 explained to him that you were jobless.
6 A. Well, I am jobless until the present day.
7 Q. In order to give a full explanation, does
8 that mean that you do not have a job or are you on
9 welfare or did you have welfare, social security, et
11 A. Well, you know, we were getting these
12 packages with oil, flour, et cetera, from the steel
14 Q. So, as you were waiting, I am asking you
15 whether you till your land?
16 A. Well, look, you have to do it, you have to
18 Q. How did you manage to do that because you're
19 ill, you have this sick leg?
20 A. Well, you know, my brothers would come and
21 they'd help me out and I could work as long as I could
23 Q. So one could work up to a point?
24 A. Well you have to work, you have to live.
25 Q. Tell me, does the name Ivan Brnada?
1 A. Ivan?
2 Q. Ivan Brnada?
3 A. I can't remember this person.
4 Q. He is supposed to be from the village of
5 Putis. Allegedly you were neighbours for a certain
6 period of time after you were released from Kaonik?
7 A. Oh, Brnada. No, I don't know that person. I
8 don't know him.
9 Q. Does the name Husnija Neslanovic mean
10 anything to you?
11 A. Husnija Neslanovic.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, Mr. Niemann, you have
13 something to say?
14 MR. NIEMANN: If counsel wishes to ask about
15 place names, that we go into private session.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Joka, you've understood
17 what Mr. Neimann has just said, you know that this
18 witness is a protected witness, and if certain names
19 are said out loud it could have some detrimental effect
20 on the witness, and on the protective measures that
21 have been granted to him. So, if you need to give
22 names of people, of places, we need to go into a
23 private session, closed session. Do you wish to do so?
24 MR. JOKA: Yes, I certainly bear this in
25 mind. I shall conclude my remarks by saying that I
1 simply wanted to hear him say yes or no, whether he
2 knew this person or not. This does not disclose the
3 identity of the witness. Regardless of the answer I
4 get from this witness, I shall have no further
5 questions. So I'm simply asking him whether he knows a
6 person by the name of Hvsnija Neslanovic, so that we
7 would know for the continuation of these proceedings
8 how to continue. I don't know this man.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Then you can proceed.
10 MR. JOKA:
11 Q. Do you have a criminal record?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Well, my colleague tells me that the
14 witness's answer has not been included in the
15 transcript when he said "I do not know this man." It
16 hasn't been entered into the transcript.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So, please repeat your
18 question and the witness will repeat his answer.
19 Q. Again, I'm asking you, do you know Hvsnija
21 A. I mean, there are quite a few people called
22 Hvsnija, you know. But where does this Hvsnija work?
23 Q. I wouldn't know.
24 You said that you do not have a criminal
1 A. No.
2 MR. JOKA: No further questions, Your Honour.
3 Thank you.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Neimann, any further
5 questions you would like to put to the witness.
6 MR. NIEMANN: A few short questions
7 (Re-examined by Mr. Niemann)
8 Q. Witness W on the 24th of January, 1993, when
9 you observed the snipers in the buildings, did you know
10 at that time whether there were any parts of the army
11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina in that area, or was it only the
12 HVO army that was there at the time?
13 A. It was only the HVO, because the BH army was
14 not there.
15 Q. When you were ordered to go to the centre of
16 Busovaca, did you know of any Muslim people who were in
17 positions of authority there at that time who would
18 have given any such orders?
19 A. No, I didn't move around town very much. I
20 was too afraid for that.
21 Q. Finally, the person that you knew as the
22 commander of the camp, I'll give you two names, I want
23 you to tell me is it the first name or the second name
24 that you understand as the person who was commander of
25 the camp. Was it Zlatko Teloslovski, or did you
1 understand it as Zlatko Aleksovski. The first one or
2 the second?
3 A. Aleksovski, you know, it's hard for me to say
4 the word, because I don't have the, all my teeth, so, I
5 can't really say it clearly.
6 Q. That's why I asked you to tell me, is it the
7 first one or the second one? Is it the first one
8 Zlatko Teloslovski or the second one, Zlatko
10 A. You know, I really have trouble saying it,
11 but the second one, the second one. So much I do
13 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, Your Honours, no
14 further questions.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Witness W, as far as I'm
16 concerned, I have a couple of questions for you.
17 A little while ago, if I remember what you
18 said well, you told us that in Busovaca you had seen
19 soldiers bearing the HV and the HVO insignias, have I
20 understood you right?
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So, my question is the
23 following: How were you able to distinguish between
24 the HV and the HVO insignias?
25 A. First it was the HVO and then there was
1 something called HOS. Those were two separate
2 insignia, and in the end, later on, it was all HVO,
3 later on. I saw the insignia on the arms, so that's
4 how it was.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I see, thank you very much.
6 You also said that some soldiers wore a stocking over
7 their face, whereas some soldiers did not wear anything
8 over their faces.
9 A. Yes, they had the HVO insignia, but they had
10 these stocking masks, with slits for the eyes so they
11 can see.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Precisely. So, is it
13 possible to establish the following distinction: The
14 HVO soldiers wore a stocking mask, whereas the HV
15 soldiers did not bear such a mask over their face?
16 A. The ones who were not known in the area, they
17 did not need them, and those who were known, they would
18 put these masks on their faces.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I will quote what you have
20 said earlier on. You said that the soldiers who wore
21 the HV insignias did not wear a stocking mask; is that
23 A. The ones who people did not know did not have
24 the stocking mask, and those who feared that they could
25 be recognised by people did wear them.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But is it possible to
2 establish a link between those soldiers of the HV who
3 were not known in the area and the fact that they did
4 not wear a stocking mask? Is it possible to establish
5 such a link?
6 A. Ones who were not known in the area did not
7 wear them. But those who could be recognised, those
8 did wear them, and this is what I noticed.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much.
10 Another question.
11 You told us that you did not know the doctor
12 that you saw in Busovaca, I think it was a woman, that
13 woman you saw in the medical centre of Busovaca, you
14 said you did not know that woman; is that right?
15 A. No, no, I did not recognise her.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But were you supposed to
17 recognise her? Would you have been able to recognise
19 A. None of the lady doctors who used to work
20 there were around. There was another set of physicians
21 who arrived. This is what I observed, including the
22 nurses, they were also unknown to me.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So, in a small city such as
24 Busovaca, people were supposed to know the doctors
25 working for the medical centre?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question.
3 You told us that you gave the doctor's
4 prescription to Mr. Aleksovski; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You gave him the paper
7 directly? You gave him the paper yourself? Or did
8 another person hand this paper over to Mr. Aleksovski?
9 A. No, I handed it to him directly, into his
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You also said that the
12 guards had driven you to the Blue 11 restaurant; is
13 that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But what guards are you
16 talking about. Are you talking about the guards who
17 were also guards in the Kaonik camp, or those guards
18 who were those who worked in other facilities?
19 A. That I cannot tell. I know that we were
20 called out from our cells, one by one, to come out of
21 the cells which were in this hangar where we were
22 staying, and we were ordered to board the Rab vehicle,
23 that's how it was, now, whether they were civilians or
24 not that I was not looking at -- for who was driving
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I see. But inside the Blue
2 11 restaurant, you told us that the guards had electric
3 lamps with them, and you said that they lighted those
4 lamps and they put them on your faces; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So, one can imagine that if
7 you have a light shining in your face you can't see
8 anything, what I mean is that you can't see the face of
9 the person who is holding the electric lamp.
10 A. It was a flashlight which had a strong enough
11 light, and this was shining our way to the Blue 11.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: If I have understood you
13 rightly, there was no light inside the restaurant; am I
15 A. No.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well, then. Witness
17 W, we have no further questions for you. Your
18 testimony before this Tribunal is now over, we thank
19 you very much for your testimony before this Tribunal,
20 you may now leave. We wish you a safe journey home.
21 You may now leave, sir.
22 (The witness withdrew)
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Neimann, there is no
24 other witness for today; is there.
25 MR. NIEMANN: No, your, that is the evidence
1 that in rebuttal that the Prosecution seeks to call.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: And Mr. Mikulicic, what
3 about you? What are your plans?
4 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, now that the
5 Defence has heard what evidence the Prosecution had in
6 rebuttal, the Defence will analyse this evidence and
7 will offer its own rejoinder to counter the evidence
8 produced by the Prosecution. At this point in time the
9 Defence is unable to say which witnesses it will call,
10 the number and the scope of their testimony, but after
11 an analysis of the evidence offered by the Prosecution
12 here, which will not take long, we will be able to do
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So, if I understood you
15 well, you do plan to call some other witnesses. Do you
16 have an idea when you will be able to call these
17 witnesses to the stand? Give us an estimation.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, the Defence
19 will comply to the schedule which the Tribunal has. We
20 will be realistic about this, and we would like to hear
21 what the availability is of the Trial Chamber.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The Judges are always at
23 your disposal, Mr. Mikulicic, are always ready to work.
24 There is a schedule, there is a schedule we had agreed
25 upon, and if I'm right, I think that October 5th was
1 the planned date for the closing, or rather for the
2 written submissions. I think there has been an
3 agreement between the parties, agreement according to
4 which these written submissions would be filed
5 simultaneously, October 5th is the latest date.
6 Then the week from the 12th to the 16th of
7 October is the week during which we are planning to
8 hold our last hearings, hearings that will enable the
9 Prosecution to give its closing argument, which will
10 enable also the Defence to give its closing arguments,
11 such is the schedule as it now stands. As you well
12 know, the Judges have always had one priority,
13 efficiency and effectiveness, and in my name and in the
14 name of my colleagues, I can tell you once again that
15 the Chamber will always be happy to work and to go on
16 with our work. In any case, we would be very happy to
17 end this case as early as possible.
18 So, if we speak in concrete terms, you said
19 you wanted to call additional witnesses. You have
20 until the 12th of October to call these witnesses to
21 the stand. If you're able to call them before the 12th
22 of October, then our schedule stays as it is. But if
23 you are planning to call these witnesses after the 12th
24 of October, then of course our schedule must be
1 Mr. Mikulicic, I have another idea. If you
2 want to, we could take a small break. You know that we
3 can work in this courtroom until 2.30, maybe we could
4 take a five or ten-minute break that will give you time
5 to think about all this, then we will resume our work
6 for five or ten minutes in order to solve this problem.
7 Mr. Neimann, do you agree on this proposal.
8 MR. NIEMANN: Yes.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So, a ten-minute break
10 which will allow Mr. Mikulicic to solve the problem.
11 --- Recess taken at 2.15 p.m.