1 Friday, 14th November 1997
2 (10.00 am)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar, have the accused
4 brought in, please.
5 (Accused brought in)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Does everybody hear? Are the interpreters
7 ready? Good morning everybody, the Prosecution,
8 Defence, General Blaskic, do you hear me?
9 Two bits of information that I would like to give
10 you. We will not sit on Monday for reasons which you
11 already know, nor on Wednesday. I am telling you this
12 so that the Defence counsel can take all -- make all the
13 arrangements that they need and that there be no
14 surprises. There are difficulties which have arisen
15 from the new judges who are coming and ceremonies that
16 are accompanying the inauguration of the new judges.
17 Mr. Cayley -- I believe it was Mr. Nobilo, I am
18 sorry. Mr. Nobilo, you had begun your
20 Good morning, Mr. Ahmic, did you rest well?
21 A. Good morning, yes, I am feeling fine.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Fine, then we can begin.
23 ABDULAH AHMIC (continued)
24 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO (continued)
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, Mr. Ahmic. Let
1 us continue where we left off last night. Tell me, is
2 it true to say that there was a mobilisation and that
3 everyone up to the age of 60 was mobilised?
4 A. Are you referring to Muslims?
5 Q. I am asking you about the Muslims now.
6 A. You must tell me the period, what dates.
7 Q. My question is before the conflicts, the conflicts in
8 1993 in April.
9 A. Probably, yes.
10 Q. Will you tell me, please, whether I am right in saying
11 that your brother, the late Muris, was against the
12 conflict with the Croats at the barricades and that as
13 a result, he was detained at the school in Ahmici and
14 then during the night transferred to the house of Mehmed
15 Ahmic and placed under house arrest?
16 A. That is completely untrue.
17 Q. You told the Prosecutor during the examination-in-chief
18 that you were not allowed to carry weapons, so my
19 question is: did this apply to the main road and the
20 town of Vitez and were you allowed to wear weapons
21 within Ahmici itself?
22 A. Weapons could be carried in upper Ahmici, where the HVO
23 forces had not entered during the first conflict,
24 whereas in the lower part of the village of Ahmici, near
25 the road and in Zume, weapons could not be carried.
1 Q. Did your patrols nevertheless patrol the lower part of
2 Ahmici after all?
3 A. Yes, they did.
4 Q. Were there weapons in the lower part of Ahmici?
5 A. It was probably brought there, but if it was carried, it
6 was concealed, because people were not allowed to carry
7 weapons openly.
8 Q. Tell me, prior to the outbreak of the conflict in April
9 1993, did you have any checkpoint on the road through
11 A. I did not quite understand your question. Could you
12 repeat that, please?
13 Q. Yes. In April 1993, or rather just prior to April 1993,
14 did you set up a checkpoint within the village of Ahmici
15 on the small road running through the village of Ahmici?
16 A. Sir, the checkpoint existed up to 20th October 1992.
17 There were no checkpoints in 1993.
18 Q. Who held that checkpoint? Was it held by the TO?
19 A. It was held by the TO. That was the entrance to the
20 village of Ahmici near the main road.
21 Q. In October 1992, you told us that you were in the school
22 next to the radio transmitter in the night prior to the
24 A. No, I was not there.
25 Q. In the same room?
1 A. No, I was not in the same room. I was near the school
2 at the time, nearby.
3 Q. Did a message come from someone to remove that
4 checkpoint, or a threat?
5 A. Yes. I heard that a messenger came from the settlement
6 of Zume, sent by the Croats, to contact our people who
7 were there near the school and he told them that Dario
8 Kordic had sent a message saying that if we did not
9 remove the barricade immediately, we would be attacked
10 in the morning and set fire to, and this in effect
11 happened in the morning.
12 Q. Tell me, please, is it true that the BH-Army in Vitez
13 municipality was founded somewhere in December 1992?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Is it true that Midhat Brbic became the commander of the
16 BH-Army in Ahmici?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is it true that this meant an improved organisation than
19 existed up until then?
20 A. It should have been that way, but it was not possible to
21 make any improvements because of a shortage of
22 equipment. It was an organisation on paper.
23 Q. But how do you compare this to the previous period, to
24 the month of October with the establishment of the
25 BH-Army at the beginning of 1993, was the situation
2 A. I think that in Ahmici, the situation was worse. As for
3 Vitez, I cannot tell you because I was not familiar with
4 the situation there.
5 Q. Let me read to you now an excerpt from your statement
6 which you gave to the investigators of The Hague
7 Tribunal. It is a statement signed on 3rd February
8 1995, for the Prosecution it is on page 5. I shall try
9 and read it in English, so will you have it translated:
10 "In December, the Territorial Defence in the Vitez
11 area was called 'Bosnian Army'. The organisation was a
12 little bit better. The headquarters of the army was in
13 Vitez. The commander of the BH-Army in Ahmici was
14 Midhat Brbic and the commander in Vitez was Sefkija
15 Djidic. There were no barracks in Ahmici. In 1993
16 there was still a village guard in the village of
17 Ahmici. It functioned in the same way as in 1992."
18 Was that what you told the investigators?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Is that true?
21 A. Yes, only I must say that the organisation in Ahmici was
22 not so good.
23 Q. Will you tell me now, you had these village guards and
24 you had the BH-Army. Was there a criterion according to
25 which some men belonged to the BH and others to the
1 village guards? How was this divided in Ahmici among
2 the population?
3 A. Yes, sir, there were criteria. The younger men joined
4 the BH-Army formations on paper, and the older men kept
5 guard duty. They were mostly older people, they
6 continued to perform the function of Civil Defence, if
7 you could call it that, or Territorial Defence, if you
9 Q. You said that this was on paper. Tell me, these young
10 men who joined the BH-Army, did they live separately in
11 a barracks or did they continue living in their homes?
12 A. In Ahmici, most of them lived in their own homes.
13 Occasionally, they went to barracks. In Kruscica there
14 was a barracks and in Preocica, but very rarely did they
15 go there. They probably had some kind of training.
16 Q. So they did not live in Kruscica but they went there for
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Am I right in saying that the brigade that you came
20 under was called the 325th Mountain Brigade and it was
21 based in Kruscica?
22 A. I do not know exactly where it was based, but I know
23 that within the command structure, there was a sort of
24 vacancy, the commander was Dzananovic and Kelesutra
25 should have come and I know that for a long time, it was
1 not clear who was in command. I do not know whether you
2 are familiar with that.
3 Q. Is it true that young men -- that the company command
4 was in Vrhovine, it was the command for the company to
5 which the young men from Ahmici belonged?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Is it true that the battalion command that young men
8 from Ahmici came under was in Preocica and they went
9 there for parade?
10 A. Yes, a part belonged to the Preocica and another part to
11 Kruscica. It depended on the assignments they were
13 Q. So the commander of the BH-Army was Midhat Brbic?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you tell me, please, who was his deputy, his
17 A. Senad Sisic was his deputy, then Hidzro, we called him,
18 Bilic. Hidzro is a nickname, I am not sure of his first
19 name, Hajrudin? In the village of Pirici he had
20 somebody we called Dzegir. He had an assistant, Nermin
21 Kermo. Those were his assistants.
22 Q. And the young men from Ahmici were joined by whom, the
23 young men from Zume, Santici, Pirici?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And Nadioci?
1 A. I do not know about Nadioci. They were not with us in
2 the unit.
3 Q. So we have the BH-Army and the 325th Brigade. What
4 about the village guards, how were they structured? Who
5 was in command there?
6 A. Muris, in the same way that Muris acted, so Midhat Brbic
7 acted similarly, only in my view not as well.
8 Q. So Midhat Brbic was the commander of both the army and
9 of the village guards in Ahmici?
10 A. It was all one and the same. The only difference being
11 that the guards were reinforced by elderly retired
13 Q. Tell me, before the conflict in April 1993, were these
14 guard duties organised regularly?
15 A. Could you repeat?
16 Q. In March and April, before the outbreak of the conflict
17 in 1993, were these guard duties taken seriously?
18 A. Not really, the discipline was not very high, because
19 there was no military police to discipline these people.
20 Q. Let us go on to the conflicts prior to the actual
21 conflict in April. To refresh your memory, do you
22 remember any problems occurring in Travnik, around
23 Easter, the hoisting of Croatian flags; did you hear
24 rumours of that in Ahmici?
25 A. Believe me, sir, I am not informed about that.
1 Q. Were you informed that in Zenica the commander of the
2 HVO brigade, Totic, had been kidnapped?
3 A. Yes, I heard that on the radio.
4 Q. Do you know Sesko from Grabovi, who was among other
5 things elected representative of Merhamet?
6 A. Yes, Sezahir Pezer, but they call him Sesko, yes.
7 Q. Do you know that on 7th March 1993, when Sesko was on
8 duty, there were attempts to disarm the guards in
9 Ahmici, that there was some exchange of fire?
10 A. Whose guards?
11 Q. The Ahmici guards.
12 A. But who tried to disarm them?
13 Q. The HVO.
14 A. The HVO? No, I am not aware of that.
15 Q. Do you know that on 11th March, Ramiz from upper Ahmici
16 was disarmed when on guard duty.
17 A. Who was he disarmed by?
18 Q. By people from Gornji Ahmici?
19 A. Who?
20 Q. Ramiz from Grabovi?
21 A. I am not aware of that either. I was not living in
22 upper Ahmici, I was living on the other side of the
23 road, sir.
24 Q. I am just asking. Five days before the outbreak of the
25 conflict, it was a Sunday and the conflict occurred on
1 Friday in April 1993, therefore on 11th April 1993, were
2 you aware that there was a meeting in the school at 5.00
3 pm, the command was holding a meeting and the frontlines
4 were agreed upon should fighting break out?
5 A. I know that there was a meeting, but I do not know
6 whether it was then. I know that the Croats also had a
7 meeting on Sunday at the cemetery, where they probably
8 agreed on the way they would attack. It was a very
9 large meeting.
10 Q. Are you referring to the cemetery on the main road next
11 to Ahmici?
12 A. Yes, because when they were coming away from that
13 meeting, there was also some shooting.
14 Q. And who were the people attending that meeting, the
15 Croats from which places?
16 A. It was an enormous rally, all the people from the
17 environs had come. There were many cars, I do not know
18 who they all were.
19 Q. Was that on Sunday?
20 A. Yes, on Sunday.
21 Q. Did you have a meeting on that Sunday?
22 A. I know there was a meeting, but I am not sure whether it
23 was on Sunday. As for the establishment of the lines,
24 I think that that was not discussed, but rather an
25 analysis was made of the life of the population in Zume,
1 who were in a difficult position, and the question was
2 whether they should stay and live there or should they
3 be moved elsewhere. I know that that was discussed.
4 Q. Did you attend that meeting or did someone tell you
5 about it?
6 A. I know about this meeting.
7 Q. Yes, well that one, were you present?
8 A. Yes, I was present at the meeting at which we discussed
9 the question of Zume.
10 Q. Do you know that on Sunday, April 11th, the Sunday prior
11 to the conflict, a telegram came, placing troops on top
12 alert in Ahmici?
13 A. Yes, but very soon after that, another message arrived
14 lifting the order on combat readiness, so that for a
15 time, this first degree of alert was not in effect.
16 Q. Who sent this telegram?
17 A. It probably came from the headquarters up there.
18 Q. Is my information true, that this telegram placing units
19 in top alert arrived on Sunday 11th April?
20 A. I cannot tell you the exact date, but I am aware that
21 there was such a telegram.
22 Q. In any event, we are talking about a date prior to the
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you recall 13th April, so the following Tuesday, that
1 Croats beat up Budu from Vrhovine so that all the young
2 men from Ahmici went over there?
3 A. I have no idea about that.
4 Q. Do you know on 14th April, two days before the conflict,
5 a three-barrelled weapon came to Zume and Emir was taken
7 A. That was Emir Pezer, he was going to work in
8 Novi Travnik, and I know that he was taken prisoner.
9 Q. Could that have been on 14th April?
10 A. Probably.
11 Q. Did a sniper shoot twice from Finka's house on that day?
12 A. I do not know about that.
13 Q. On 15th April 1993, that is one day before the conflict,
14 did you receive information that Croats were grouping
15 around the Kupreskic houses, and that there was a
16 meeting of the command at 8.00 in the evening, that took
17 place in Ahmici?
18 A. I know that there was a meeting between Croats and the
19 representatives of Muslims in Vitez, and then they said,
20 "everything is going to be sorted out and there will be
21 no conflict", so that is what I know of. I do not know
22 about a meeting around Kupreskic's house.
23 Q. You did not quite understand my question. The Croats
24 started assembling, started grouping around the
25 Kupreskic houses, and because of that the Muslims held a
1 meeting at another place.
2 A. No, I do not know about that.
3 Q. Do you know that on 15th April in the evening ammunition
4 was distributed to the Muslims in Ahmici?
5 A. Sir, I would have gotten it had it been distributed.
6 Q. Were you in the brigade?
7 A. Yes, I was a member.
8 Q. Which company?
9 A. Company? I was part of the headquarters in Preocica but
10 I never went over there, because it was not very active
11 up there. I know that I was part of the battalion in
13 Q. Were you issued a rifle?
14 A. No, I did not have a rifle.
15 Q. So you could not have received any ammunition on that
16 evening either?
17 A. That is correct. Had there been any organisation of
18 defence, I would have received both a rifle and
20 Q. Yesterday, you told us that some time in October there
21 were about 100 to 120 members of the TO according to
22 your estimate, and what I am interested in, this is in
23 Ahmici, were there any refugees there --
24 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I am going to object to this
25 point. There has been during the cross-examination
1 substantial re-cross-examination about matters that were
2 covered yesterday and this particular matter, I have a
3 note that I took which expressly states Mr. Ahmic has
4 already given an estimate of the numbers of TO who were
5 in the village. If you wish, Mr. Nobilo can cover
6 everything he did again yesterday, but then the
7 re-examination will be much lengthier.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
9 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, my learned colleague obviously did
10 not understand me. I just introduced my question, and
11 now my direct question was going to be: did any refugees
12 arrive after October, and any fresh soldiers? That is
13 the question.
14 MR. CAYLEY: The point I am making, Mr. President, is there
15 has been substantial coverage of matters that were
16 cross-examined yesterday. I have not made an objection
17 to this point, in order to allow matters to proceed, but
18 I do believe that Mr. Nobilo should be requested to cover
19 areas that he did not cover yesterday.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Unless the judges have a computer memory, I do
21 not remember all the details about certain questions.
22 Personally, it seems to me that there are many questions
23 that are asked, I am not sure -- I am speaking for both
24 the Prosecution and the Defence, and you know my point
25 of view, I am not really sure that everything is
1 important for the discussion in order to arrive at
2 whether General Blaskic is guilty or not. This is the
3 danger, in fact, of these types of long questioning on
4 this or that point. If one looks at the transcript,
5 there might be repetition. I am trying to be
6 attentive. I do not really remember though. I will ask
7 my colleagues to help me on this point.
8 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President. (Pause).
9 JUDGE JORDA: I wanted to speak with my colleagues, because
10 through the objection raised by Mr. Cayley, we have
11 reached the very heart of this procedure which you know
12 very well. My colleagues and myself consider that we
13 agree on these following points.
14 One, this is a point we have already stated, that
15 the cross-examination must relate to the questions of
16 the examination-in-chief. We cannot waiver on that
17 point, but the second point which is raised today is
18 that the cross-examination, and this is for the
19 Prosecutor as well, questions must not be asked a second
20 time, even in another form, by the Defence attorney in
21 relation to his own cross-examination. I explained
22 this, but I wanted to say it to Mr. Nobilo today, on
23 another day, I may say it to Mr. Kehoe and Mr. Harmon. In
24 truth, one must not go back to questions already asked,
25 even by changing them somewhat. That is the first
2 The second point, which is very important for the
3 judges speaking to you, is that you must get the
4 essential point of this trial to be focused on the guilt
5 or non-guilt of General Blaskic. There is a fundamental
6 point here and I first turn to the Prosecutor who has
7 the initiative of being the Prosecutor. It is true,
8 Mr. Cayley, that when you call in 300 witnesses you can
9 well imagine we will run into problems, because the
10 witness who comes today -- Ahmici today, another day
11 there will be ten witnesses talking about a different
12 village, this or that village. The right of the Defence
13 will, of course, be able to challenge it. This is a
14 real effort required here. I say this to you and I am
15 saying it to the other sides as well.
16 We judges, I say this to you in a very solemn
17 fashion, we do not have computer memories, but we pay
18 great attention. All of us take notes and we are very
19 attentive. On this particular point, my own memory was
20 somewhat faulty, but my colleagues are also very
21 attentive. Therefore I will summarise.
22 The two points are during the examination and the
23 cross-examination which already takes a great deal of
24 time, must not be used so that either the Prosecution or
25 Defence lawyer once again asks the same questions even
1 if it is asked differently. We will be attentive to
3 The second point, and here we are becoming more
4 and more stern about what we are saying, we will not
5 hesitate to interrupt. We have been working together
6 since 25th June, you have seen we have given warnings,
7 different types of notification. What is of interest to
8 the Tribunal is the guilt of General Blaskic as someone
9 responsible for command responsibility, otherwise we
10 will still be here in ten years.
11 Obviously we do not always want to interrupt you,
12 because the rights of the Defence are sacred and the
13 Prosecution must be carried out as effectively and
14 efficiently as possible. I do not have the entire case
15 file in front of me, but we do have a feeling for when
16 we are moving away from the essential. There come
17 times, Mr. Nobilo, that I say to myself, "I want to
18 interrupt him. Does this have something to do with
19 General Blaskic's responsibility?" You can answer,
20 "yes, it does", and I understand.
21 The questions which you are seeking to find out is
22 how was the army organised, what was the presence of the
23 BH-Army, that is important, but please ask one or two
24 questions to know whether in this or that form, on this
25 or that date, there was a Bosnian defence. These are
1 the questions that we are going -- in which we are going
2 to get lost and we will not find our way back, not us,
3 not you, not the Prosecution.
4 The Tribunal will become increasingly firm. I say
5 this to you, we will speak about it during a Status
6 Conference, I promise you this, we should think about
7 the length of this trial, and we will not hesitate to
8 state what can be said and what cannot be said. We will
9 limit the number of witnesses, if necessary.
10 This Tribunal cannot permit itself to spend five
11 years trying the responsibility of General Blaskic.
12 I say this to you very clearly. Of course, everything
13 is nuanced and you must have faith in the judges. When
14 we interrupt you, we are being very careful, but please,
15 these are the two fundamental points, I am speaking for
16 my colleagues, please do not repeat questions even if
17 they are asked in a different way in order to
18 destabilise the witness, because we will protect the
19 witness under those circumstances, I tell you that, to
20 get right to the essential, the Defence and the
21 Prosecution, and this should go through the limiting of
22 the number of witnesses and then the cross-examination
23 should then follow the initiative which belongs to the
25 These are the two points I wanted to say to you,
1 even if I say it with passion and some vehemence, but I
2 say it firmly and these are points that we will talk
3 about again during the Status Conference. Mr. Nobilo,
4 try to shorten the questions now.
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, with your permission, I would like
6 to clarify two things. What is absolutely essential for
7 the Defence is to ascertain the presence or absence of
8 the BH-Army in Ahmici. This is absolutely essential for
9 the Defence, and this is the essence of the Defence and
10 the Defence cannot renounce that. This witness has said
11 in the cross-examination that there was no BH-Army in
12 Ahmici, and concerning the details, I accept that the
13 details per se may not be very significant, but I have a
14 document here which speaks of the defence of Ahmici, of
15 the positions of people. This is a log book of a
16 commander, so through talking about the details,
17 I confirm that this plan of defence of Ahmici did exist,
18 and I will try to speed things up, because we are very
19 interested in speeding it.
20 JUDGE JORDA: This is a fact of different legal cultures.
21 I am not challenging, and I think I am speaking for my
22 colleagues, I am not challenging that point, but do
23 recognise as regards the method, and I turn to the
24 Prosecution as well, there are many things that can be
25 said. I am saying this to you, that the rules give us a
1 great deal of power. We have not used that power but
2 will not hesitate to do so. Let me give you an example
3 which comes from your own example. You have just said
4 exactly what the essential thing is. Could you not have
5 said it yesterday already? You could have said, "all
6 right, Mr. Ahmic, what interests us in defending
7 General Blaskic is", the point which you have just
8 mentioned, "we have a document, we are going to submit
9 it to you, and you will tell us what you think about
10 it", then we will ask you questions. Then, of course,
11 the Prosecutor can respond and also ask questions. That
12 is what would be simpler, whereas here, we are kind of
13 playing a game of cat and mouse, as we say in French,
14 through little questions that are asked in order to
16 You are dealing with professional judges, you do
17 not have a jury. Artificial destabilisation of
18 witnesses is not something that we are interested in.
19 I believe you might simply have said, "Mr. Ahmic, what
20 the Defence is looking for is to learn how and where the
21 Bosnian army were at the time of the events. That is
22 what is interesting to us in relation to
23 General Blaskic's guilt. "We have documents, we are
24 going to cite them to you, we are going to show them to
25 you on the ELMO and ask you what you think about it, we
1 will ask a few questions".
2 Whereas, since yesterday, we are trying to ask
3 things through small questions in order to get to small
4 details which are attempting through contradictions, one
5 after the other, attempting to destabilise the
6 witnesses. What will happen two years from now? I am
7 being a bit long right now. In a year or two, once this
8 trial is complete, the judges will have thousands of
9 pages in front of them in which on page 3833 there will
10 be a slight destabilisation of the testimony of
11 Mr. Ahmic. Do you think we can make justice progress
12 that way? I do not believe so.
13 You have your strategy, you have just explained
14 it, it is very important. Present it, ask your
15 questions. The Tribunal will come to the conclusions it
16 needs to. Please proceed.
17 MR. NOBILO: I will skip the question of the refugees and
18 move on. I will ask a series of names and I will ask
19 Mr. Ahmic to try to remember whether these persons were
20 members of the BH-Army or the village watches. Alaga
22 A. He was in the BH-Army.
23 Q. Asim Ahmic?
24 A. Asim Ahmic, I think he was not in the army.
25 Q. How about the village watch?
1 A. No, he was not. He was a cobbler, he stayed at home
3 Q. Behbija Ahmic?
4 A. He was in the army.
5 Q. Ejub Ahmic?
6 A. He was too.
7 Q. Fadil Ahmic?
8 A. He was in the BH-Army.
9 Q. And his three sons?
10 A. He had two sons -- no, Fadil Ahmic, he was not, he was
11 there but yes, his three sons -- no, his two sons.
12 Q. Fahrudin Ahmic?
13 A. Yes, he was there too.
14 Q. Fehim Ahmic?
15 A. Yes, he was too.
16 Q. Hatif Ahmic, who was Latif's brother?
17 A. He was rarely in Ahmici, he was mostly in Zenica. He
18 did not do the watch guards.
19 Q. And Latif?
20 A. He too, they were both on business in Zenica very often.
21 Q. Ahmic Husein?
22 A. There are two Huseins.
23 Q. The one from lower Ahmici.
24 A. He was not a guard, he was giving --
25 Q. Mirsad Ahmic?
1 A. He was an older man, he could not be a member of the
3 Q. Was he in Grabovi doing guard duty?
4 A. Yes, he was killed in the process.
5 Q. Nazif Ahmic?
6 A. He did not give guard duty. I think he worked up in
8 Q. Where did he work?
9 A. In the factory.
10 Q. Nedzib Ahmic?
11 A. He also pursued his business more.
12 Q. Nezir Ahmic?
13 A. Nezir was a driver, so he occasionally gave guard.
14 Q. Nurija Ahmic?
15 A. He was in the army.
16 Q. Rasim Ahmic?
17 A. He was also a member, but he did not give guard duty
18 because he was in Zume and there was no guard duties
20 Q. What was he a member of?
21 A. Of the army.
22 Q. Rejiba Ahmic?
23 A. He was an elderly man, so he was not a member of the
25 Q. Sakib Ahmic?
1 A. There are two of them. They were both elderly and they
2 were not members.
3 Q. Were they giving guard duties?
4 A. Yes, occasionally.
5 Q. Suad Ahmic?
6 A. Yes, he was a member of the army.
7 Q. Suljo Ahmic?
8 A. There are two, an older and a younger one.
9 Q. The one from lower Ahmici, the younger one?
10 A. He was a policeman in Vitez.
11 Q. Vehbija Ahmic?
12 A. You asked me about him already.
13 Q. Zijad Ahmic?
14 A. I think he was a member of the army.
15 Q. And Zahid Ahmic?
16 A. He was a member too.
17 Q. Juniza Brbic?
18 A. He was an elderly man, he was not a member of the army.
19 Q. How about guard duty?
20 A. He did not want to.
21 Q. Brbic Midhat?
22 A. He was the commander.
23 Q. Hazrudin Bilic?
24 A. He was a member.
25 Q. Of the army?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Hidajet Bilic?
3 A. He was an elderly man, he was not a member, but I think
4 he was giving guard duty.
5 Q. Mehrudin Bilic?
6 A. His son, yes, he was.
7 Q. Ramo Bilic?
8 A. He was a member.
9 Q. Zijad Bilic?
10 A. He was a member too.
11 Q. Muharem Djidic?
12 A. He was a member too.
13 Q. Edin Kermo?
14 A. He was a member.
15 Q. Elvedin Kermo?
16 A. He was a younger -- I do not know, I cannot talk about
17 him. He was a younger man.
18 Q. Fahrudin Kermo?
19 A. He was an elderly man, he was not in the army.
20 Q. Did he have guard duties?
21 A. Yes, sometimes he did.
22 Q. Was he on guard duty on the 16th in the morning?
23 A. Yes, I heard that he was killed while giving the guard
25 Q. Meho Patkovic?
1 A. He died before the war.
2 Q. Halid Pezer?
3 A. He was killed in the initial conflict.
4 Q. Was he a member of the TO?
5 A. I doubt it, because he was young.
6 Q. Osman Pezer?
7 A. He was a member of the army.
8 Q. Zakir Pezer?
9 A. Yes, he was too.
10 Q. Hajrudin Pjanic?
11 A. He was an elderly man, but I think he was a member of
12 the army.
13 Q. Muhamed Pjanic, Hajrudin's son?
14 A. He did not have a son by the name of Muhamed.
15 Q. Zec Pjanic?
16 A. That person does not exist in Ahmici.
17 Q. On the 16th when the conflict started, was he in
19 A. No, he was killed in civilian clothes.
20 Q. Did he have a rifle?
21 A. No.
22 Q. When the two men came to your house, two men from
23 Busovaca, the younger one, did you talk to him that the
24 Muslim army would do something in Nezirovici and Dusina?
25 A. Yes, I said, "what is going on?", and then he said,
1 "what the Muslims did in Nezirovici and Dusina". I did
2 not know what they did there and what happened happened.
3 Q. The English translation was not good. What did they
4 exactly tell you, the men from Busovaca?
5 A. Just what I said, "what yours did".
6 Q. Who is"yours"?
7 A. Meaning the Muslims in Dusina and Nezirovici, and that
8 was it, he did not say anything else.
9 Q. Let us go back to when you were hiding in that pipe,
10 what distance was it that you saw the soldiers from?
11 A. The first soldier was up the road towards Pirici, five
12 to six metres away from me, and the ones that were
13 arriving from below, they were about five to six metres
14 away from me too.
15 Q. I am going to read you from your statement of
16 3rd February 1995. I would like you to confirm whether
17 this is correct or not. It is page number 7 for the
19 "He saw the word 'Vitezovi' on the patches. On
20 these patches was written: 'Jedinica Specijalne Namjene
21 Vitezovi'. This means 'The Special Assignment Unit
23 Did you say that?
24 A. Yes, I probably said that at that time, but for the
25 reasons of security, later on I was not 100 per cent
1 sure even then, so I just limited myself to saying the
2 "Jedinici Specijalne Namjene", so you can check the
3 statement -- can delete it from the statement.
4 Q. How long did you hear the shooting going on in Ahmici?
5 When did the shooting stop? Can you define that?
6 A. Sir, I did not hear the shooting. I only heard the
7 mortars and the anti-aircraft gun. I did not hear the
9 Q. Later from conversations with the survivors in Ahmici,
10 did you learn who attacked Ahmici, from which side?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you tell us something about it?
13 A. I think from the east, the units from Busovaca and from
14 the west, the units from Vitez, and I described them
15 already, and from the southern side, the special units
16 and I also described them, the HVO and the HV and they
17 were extremely well equipped. In Grabovi, I cannot tell
19 Q. Is it true that earlier you define that what happened
20 from the Busovaca side was the Jokers were the ones who
22 A. That is what I heard, so I am just relating what I have
23 heard from others.
24 Q. When you were detained together with the civilians were
25 you requested to go to the UNPROFOR base to get two
1 lorries there to transport the civilians?
2 A. Yes, while I was in Zume. Three soldiers came and asked
3 who could, among the men, go with them to look for
4 trucks to transfer people to Zenica. I was in favour of
5 that, but as I got up, I felt dizzy, so I could not go.
6 Q. Tell me, you said that you noticed some women being
7 raped in the school. Can you tell us on what basis you
8 came to that conclusion?
9 A. I was talking about that yesterday, I do not know
10 whether you understood me.
11 Q. But my question is: what led you to come to such a
13 A. I told you everything. The man who was lying next to
14 me, his wife was in a separate room and one morning she
15 came in crying, telling him what had happened.
16 I concluded from that what it was about, and after the
17 war, I learnt, and there will probably be witnesses,
18 women who were raped who will come here.
19 Q. You gave us a list of people killed and whose houses you
20 showed us. How did you learn that they had been
21 killed? Did you see that, or did you learn it after the
23 A. After the event, when I got to Zenica, this list was
24 made and published of all the people who had been
1 Q. So your information comes from there?
2 A. Yes, but the house where I was in where they threw a
3 grenade at me, there were two bodies there, two men were
4 lying there dead and burnt. I forgot to mention that.
5 That was in the house where they threw a hand grenade at
7 Q. Did you recognise those bodies?
8 A. No, I did not, but I learnt afterwards that two men had
9 been killed in that house because they were hidden by
10 the rubble.
11 Q. Let me read you from your statement to the
13 "In my part of the village" -- this comes at the
14 end of the statement --
15 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, could Mr. Nobilo at least indicate
16 what page of the statement he is reading from?
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, would you please give us the
18 page reference?
19 MR. NOBILO: I have the Croatian translation, but I shall try
20 and find it in the English text.
21 MR. CAYLEY: I have to say it is actually very clear he is
22 reading from a translation because it is completely
23 different from the statement I have in front of me.
24 I have not mentioned it.
25 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honours, it is a translation from the
1 translation department of the Tribunal.
2 MR. NOBILO: I can read the original.
3 JUDGE JORDA: You are speaking at the same time. Are we
4 talking about an exhibit which was given in English from
5 the Prosecution to you?
6 MR. NOBILO: I will read it in English, though we have
7 received a translation from the Tribunal as well. I am
8 referring to page 8.
9 MR. CAYLEY: I am not going to make anything of this,
10 Mr. Hayman is losing his temper. The simple point is
11 that what is being read is not exactly the same as the
12 English version, but we will move on.
13 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to ask you a question, the
14 question which you are going to ask, because now I am
15 going to intervene more, you are planning to challenge
16 the deaths that the witness had indicated. Can you tell
17 us what your objective is?
18 MR. NOBILO: No, I wish to establish who were the HVO
19 commanders in the hamlets and how they treated the
20 civilian victims. That is the crux of my
21 cross-examination and it will bring me to the end of
23 Mr. Ahmic, let me try and read this in my bad
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman may substitute Mr. Nobilo for the
1 English language. Go ahead.
2 MR. HAYMAN: For this limited purpose, your Honour:
3 "In my part of the village, Milicivic Slavko was
4 HVO commander".
5 JUDGE JORDA: Please do not read too fast.
6 MR. HAYMAN: I will start again:
7 "In my part of the village, Milicivic Slavko was
8 HVO commander. I think he approved the killing of women
9 and children there. In Zume, Papic Zarko, HVO
10 commander, disapproved of killing women and children.
11 In Nadioci, Perkovic Branko, HVO commander, allowed the
12 killing of all civilians. Kupreskic Zoran was HVO
13 commander in Grabovi, and approved of killing of women
14 and children. He was responsible for the killing of my
15 mother and my three sisters, because they happened to be
16 in that area. Santic Nenad was HVO commander of Zume
17 below the road. He was well known as an extremist. He
18 was known as one of the worst ones. It is said that he
19 directly commanded the attack on Ahmici. Kupreskic
20 Vlatko, who most probably led the intelligence of this
21 attack and also most probably took part in it. I know
22 these men from my time in the Territorial Defence before
23 the first conflict."
24 MR. NOBILO: My question is: is that true? Is that
1 A. I was expressing my personal opinion about these
2 people. I have no proof to show that they were
3 commanders, but in my personal conviction they were
4 among the organisers of the Croatian guards, and I know
5 that in Zume women and children were not killed. But
6 the settlement where I lived, near the road, women and
7 children were killed. That is in Grabovi. You know
8 very well when an army comes from an area extraneous to
9 the region had guides and I heard Drago Papic say, "do
10 not kill women and children". I heard that later, but
11 these people probably said, "everyone here has to be
12 killed", so that is my personal view of the situation.
13 Q. Just one more question, I will not bother you any more.
14 Line 7, when the soldiers were passing by the road, this
15 is Exhibit 115, did you hide in the ditch?
16 A. Can you show me what you are referring to?
17 Q. So when the soldiers were passing along line 7, where
18 were you when you were watching them? Were you in that
19 pipe, in the water, kneeling, where were you, or lying
21 A. When they got close to me, only my head showed, and when
22 they passed, I would get up, so that they would not see
23 my shadow, and they came very close to me. I was about
24 two metres near the end of this pipe, and then they came
25 very close and turned to the other side. So they were
1 about five or six metres away from me.
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. Ahmic. That ends my
3 cross-examination. Thank you, Mr. President, for your
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley?
6 MR. CAYLEY: I have a few questions, your Honour. Now might
7 be an appropriate time if you wish to take a break. It
8 is now 11.13, I think.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that is right. I was so involved in this
10 discussion that I did not note the time. All right, we
11 will resume at 11.30.
12 (11.15 am)
13 (A short break)
14 (11.30 am)
15 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing. Have the
16 accused brought in, please.
17 (Accused brought in)
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley?
19 Re-examined by MR. CAYLEY
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. I only have a few questions
21 for the witness.
22 Good morning, Mr. Ahmic. Thank you so much for
23 your patience and calmness in answering all these
24 questions. I just have a few matters to clear up with
25 you. The Defence in their cross-examination of you
1 referred at some length to the Territorial Defence in
2 the village of Ahmici. Was service in the Territorial
3 Defence voluntary or compulsory in the village of
5 A. Service in the Territorial Defence was not compulsory.
6 Q. For those who were serving in the Territorial Defence,
7 was there any disciplinary process if they failed to
8 attend for duty on any particular day, if they failed to
9 attend their watch?
10 A. No, there was not.
11 Q. So if a member of the watch slept in one morning, then
12 nothing was done about the fact that that man did not
13 attend for duty?
14 A. No, absolutely nothing. It was more on a voluntary
16 Q. I think after you fled from Ahmici you served in the
17 Bosnian army, is that correct?
18 A. I was expelled from Ahmici. Yes, I was in the BH-Army.
19 Q. I am sorry, you are quite correct. You were expelled
20 from Ahmici. Can you compare the Bosnian army in which
21 you served after you were expelled from Ahmici with the
22 Territorial Defence which existed in your village?
23 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we are objecting because this
24 opens a new question of the quality of the BH-Army after
25 16th April 1993, so it is a completely new area.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley?
2 MR. CAYLEY: The Defence, Mr. President, in their
3 cross-examination, are trying to establish that there
4 was an organised, well equipped military unit in the
5 village of Ahmici. The Prosecutor's position is that
6 this was simply not the case. We have here in front of
7 us a man who served in the Bosnian army in 1995 and
8 1996. I think he is in a position, very briefly, to
9 compare the Bosnian army in which he served in 1995 and
10 1996 with the village guard which he was in in 1993.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I rather tend to believe that Mr. Nobilo is
12 correct. We are not going to redo the examination,
13 Mr. Ahmic has now been examined, cross-examined and
14 re-examined since 12.10 yesterday. If questions about
15 the comparison between the HVO and Bosnian army have
16 still not been made clear, then the judges will not
17 understand it either. I think we do understand. Please
18 go on.
19 In any case, excuse me for slowing things down
20 myself here, this goes back to the question of this
21 morning. A time will come when the judges will decide,
22 they themselves, which questions are being asked
23 properly. It is true these comparisons might be
24 important, but this was already raised. We are not
25 going to use the re-examination to restart the
1 examination-in-chief. Please move to another question.
2 MR. CAYLEY: Did the Territorial Defence in the village of
3 Ahmici receive supplies and ammunition from the town of
5 A. Yes, but very, very little came.
6 Q. How many members of the village watch wore uniform?
7 A. I think there were only about a dozen people who had
8 uniforms, but they made them themselves from tent
9 material, but we hardly had any original military
11 Q. Would you describe the Territorial Defence in Ahmici as
12 disorganised or organised?
13 A. It was more a disorganised army than an organised army
14 that I was in in 1993, 1994 and 1995. There is a big
15 difference between the two.
16 Q. When the Bosnian army was established at the end of
17 1992, did this disorganisation continue in the village
18 of Ahmici within the Territorial Defence?
19 A. I have already spoken about that. The organisation was
20 similar to the organisation of the Territorial Defence,
21 because there was no regular supplies of military
22 material and ammunition. These battalions, companies
23 and things were formed on paper, so I would rather not
24 go into those questions any more. There was not
25 sufficient military material, one could have had
1 anything on paper.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The witness has already answered that. You
3 are going back to the question which he has just
4 delineated five minutes ago. Please, move to another
5 type of questioning.
6 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I will move on. It is a
7 re-examination, the Prosecutor does have the right to
8 cover ground that was asked in examination-in-chief.
9 I am not going to press my rights before the court and
10 I say that very respectfully before you --
11 JUDGE JORDA: I do not think, Mr. Cayley, that we are going
12 to get into a question and a trial where the Prosecutor
13 is going to ask the same questions again. We will not
14 get anywhere. I think the judges are here in order to
15 make sure how the time is being used and to get to what
16 is the absolute essential thing, which is the
17 accusations against General Blaskic. You have the right
18 to ask questions, but in relation to what Mr. Nobilo has
19 asked during his cross-examination. Continue, please,
21 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. Ahmic, when your father and brother were
22 murdered outside your house, do you believe that the
23 soldiers who did that act were acting according to
24 orders, or do you believe that they simply decided of
25 their own will to kill your father and your brother?
1 A. In my statement, in all my statements, they did it
2 exclusively according to military orders, because that
3 is what they said, "do as you are ordered". He refused
4 and then he said, "take care, I will carry out the
5 orders", and then he did what he did, so this was
6 clearly a strict military order received from somebody.
7 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I have no further questions of the
8 witness. I now offer the witness to the judges.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Cayley. Thank you for having
10 attempted to understand what the judges were trying to
11 say through me.
12 I now turn to my colleagues, Judge Riad, I am sure
13 you have some questions. Judge Riad?
14 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, Mr. Abdulah Ahmic. I would like
15 you, as much as you can, to give me some clear answers
16 to a few questions which I would like to ask you.
17 I gathered from your testimony, and from the
18 pictures we had, that all Muslim houses which you showed
19 us were being burnt, and that it was systematic. Was
20 there any criterion in the choice of these houses, or
21 was it just a total coverage of all the Muslim houses?
22 A. There were a couple of houses that were not set on fire,
23 but a very small number that one can count on the
24 fingers of one hand, but I think there were hundreds of
25 houses that were set on fire and destroyed. I do not
1 know whether there was any particular reason why they
2 did not set fire to those five houses.
3 Q. Five houses. So it was a very small exception?
4 A. Yes, there were very few Muslim houses that were not
6 Q. Were the people in the houses when it was burnt up or
7 were they killed fighting? Was there any fight to
8 defend themselves or was there any reason for the
10 A. I think judging by what happened in my case in the
11 settlement of Zume, I think the identical thing occurred
12 elsewhere. There was some resistance around the mosque,
13 there were some people putting up some minor resistance,
14 and luckily UNPROFOR came and protected those men,
15 otherwise they would have run out of ammunition and they
16 would have all been killed. There were many women and
17 children there.
18 In the village of Grabovi, there was a classical
19 attack, there was no resistance there either.
20 Q. The people inside, the men were not armed, were not
21 attacking anybody, in the majority of the houses? Were
22 they burnt inside the houses or were the houses burnt
23 without people inside?
24 A. I think that most of the people were taken out of their
25 houses and killed and in my opinion, when they set fire
1 to the houses, they put them back inside to cover up
2 their traces, because mostly the corpses could not be
3 identified, so they killed them in front of their
4 houses, then they took them back inside to burn, because
5 there were quite a number of corpses that were
6 unidentified and that were buried. I think that is how
7 they proceeded. I too would have probably been put back
8 into my house to burn and then you could just find a
9 couple of burnt bones at the end.
10 Q. In conclusion to what you said, there was some kind of
11 similarity of method, it was the same method applied to
12 all the houses and not sporadic and individual attacks
13 which were different from one to another?
14 A. It was a simultaneous attack, at the same time they
15 attacked, or rather very little difference. First it
16 started in Grabovi, then the lower part of the village.
17 When they attacked the central part of the village, they
18 blocked the way so there was no way for us to escape
20 Q. You lost all your family, as you said. You mentioned --
21 you had a big family, the Ahmic family apparently,
22 Sukrija, Sakib, Fahrudin, your father and then you had
23 Muris, you had your little sister too, I think, you lost
24 everybody big and small.
25 A. I lost three sisters, they were young girls. They were
2 Q. And the others were cousins, uncles? Apparently the
3 family lived all over Ahmici.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Was your family a prominent family in Ahmici? Did it
6 have any role socially speaking, politically speaking,
7 or were these people chosen specially to be persecuted,
8 or was it just among the whole persecution of the
10 A. As far as my family is concerned, out of us six
11 children, we were all very good pupils. My brother
12 graduated from the university in Tuzla with greatest
13 honours. He was the best student they had, so that ours
14 was a progressive family. The whole population was well
15 educated and had their own culture and they were all
17 Q. But there was no special reason to address this kind of
18 persecution to your family in particular? It was part
19 of a general policy?
20 A. I think it was also due to my brother Muris's
21 participation in the Territorial Defence, where he was a
22 commander, so somebody who saw my mother and sisters
23 decided to kill them because of Muris, because he was
24 one of the organisers. That may have been a reason, but
25 the fact is that other women and children were killed,
1 so one cannot say that my family was specially
2 targeted. All the families were targeted. In some
3 cases, they did not kill the women and children, in
4 others they did, but the men were all targeted.
5 Q. You just mentioned a few minutes ago, you said that some
6 commanders approved of the killing of women and children
7 and some other commanders did not approve of the killing
8 of women and children. Did they all approve of the
9 killing of unarmed civilians? Was it a general policy
10 to kill unarmed civilians, at least men?
11 A. It is very easy to establish that the men who were
12 killed in Zume that I have listed, they were formally in
13 the BH-Army. They were all people like my brother Muris
14 in civilian clothing, unarmed. They were in the formal
15 sense members of the army, but they were killed as
16 civilians. If they had been soldiers, they would have
18 Q. They were not killed fighting, they were killed unarmed
19 and not fighting?
20 A. They were unarmed, they were not allowed to have arms in
21 the part where we lived. One may have had arms
22 secretly, but few people had weapons, because if we had
23 had them, we would have put up resistance.
24 Q. You yourself, when you were shot in the head, was it a
25 result of a fight or were you unarmed and it was some
1 kind of execution?
2 A. I was taken out like a dog and I was shot at from a
3 distance of one metre. That is how they behaved.
4 Q. Then at a certain moment, I cannot exactly give the
5 details, you were lying down and there was a tall man
6 and a short man and the tall man asked the other one to
7 kill you, was that right, to shoot you and told him --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. -- "you have to follow orders", that was your words,
10 "you have to follow orders". Did you understand whose
11 orders it was?
12 A. It was not the orders of the tall man to the shorter
13 one, but they were referring to the orders of their
14 commander, because later on he said, "I will carry out
15 the orders and you will have to account for this".
16 He threatened him, so it was a military order that they
17 were carrying out.
18 Q. Was it an order to, if you understood rightly, to kill
19 you in particular or to kill all men, all Muslim men?
20 A. I was killed in that way, my father, so I do not have
21 the exact report as to how my brother was killed,
22 probably similarly he was taken out of the basement and
23 shot. I think that all the men were killed like that.
24 A house would be surrounded, they would surround the
25 house, order people to come out and just shoot them,
1 because we were in a situation that we had no way out.
2 Q. I believe in the beginning of your testimony you
3 mentioned that you were living in peace with the Croats
4 and that everything started in April, the whole thing
5 started 16th April or around that period. At the same
6 time, you mentioned that the HVO was a power involved in
7 all walks of life. Did you notice that the HVO was
8 making some propaganda against the Muslims, was
9 preparing the Croats psychologically to attack the
11 A. Yes, they set up their television and radio in Vitez and
12 they systematically prepared their people for the attack
13 on the Muslims. Because in Central Bosnia, they were
14 not waging war against the Serbs, they took out the army
15 to Kuber, a peak in Mescema above Travnik. The Muslims
16 held the lines towards the Serbs and they were behind
17 the Muslims. They were laying mines in the event the
18 Chetniks, the Serbs would attack. Then the Muslims
19 would come across their mines and they held the lines
20 behind the Muslims. I do not know why they were at
21 Kuber, there were very strong formations there and that
22 was 200 metres from the frontline with the Serbs.
23 Q. 200 metres or kilometres?
24 A. 200 kilometres, I apologise, I am sorry.
25 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad. Judge Shahabuddeen
2 will now also ask you a few questions.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Ahmic, you remember the part of your
4 testimony to which you have indeed referred more than
5 once, concerning your hiding in a hollow or in a pipe
6 near the point number 4 by the road side; you remember
7 that evidence?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. When you were there, you saw two groups of soldiers
10 dressed in different uniforms, I think. Could each of
11 those two groups see the other group?
12 A. I saw three groups, the first group that was coming from
13 the upper end of the road towards the village of Pirici
14 and they land up close to me; then another group in
15 original Ustasha uniforms from the Second World War that
16 they used. Of course, they must have made them later.
17 Those are the two groups, and then from the lower end of
18 the road there were five or six groups consisting of
19 about ten well armed soldiers and they came
21 Q. Several groups?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Could each group see the other groups?
24 A. The group coming from the lower end of the road could
25 not see those from the upper end, only if they climbed
1 up on to the road they could see each other. Yes, they
2 could see each other, because they were passing, they
3 climbed up on a slope and then they could see each
5 Q. My impression from what you said is that the groups were
6 not fighting each other, is that correct?
7 A. You mean the Croatian groups amongst themselves.
8 Q. You described several groups, I am asking you whether
9 each of those groups was fighting with the other
10 groups. Was there any kind of military confrontation
11 amongst those various groups?
12 A. No, no. One could have heard that. If there was any
13 fire exchanged by them, I would have heard it.
14 Q. Was it your impression that those different groups were
15 co-operating with each other?
16 A. They could have linked up together, there was only ten
17 metres distance between them, so they could approach one
18 another. The only thing is that they did not go under
19 the bridge, they probably joined up above me on top.
20 Q. At various stages in your evidence, you refer to
21 different groups. Was it your impression that those
22 groups, by that I mean military groups, were pursuing a
23 common programme, common aims and common objectives?
24 A. Most probably their aim was to stifle all resistance.
25 These were coming from the south, these others from the
1 west, and their objective was to capture the area around
2 the mosque, probably.
3 Q. Let me ask you a question about -- do forgive me if I do
4 not have the names correctly, but I am referring to two
5 people by the names which I have given them in my
6 notebook of Ivo Papic and Simo Vidovic, two people to
7 whom you called out at one point.
8 A. Papic Ivo and Simo Vidovic.
9 Q. You asked them to save you and they said, "come with
10 us", do you remember that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Those two people were Croats, or were they Muslims?
13 A. They were Croats, elderly men.
14 Q. In your experience of the situation, did you see or hear
15 of other incidents in which other Croats reached out to
16 help Muslims who were in distress?
17 A. There were such cases, there were.
18 Q. Answer me please one last question. The BH-Army was the
19 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, am I right?
20 A. Yes, the legal formation.
21 Q. The legal formation. Now was that army in existence
22 before the formation of the HVO?
23 A. The HVO was the first to be formed.
24 Q. The HVO was formed before the BH-Army?
25 A. Yes, quite a bit before, maybe one or two years before
1 the army.
2 Q. The BH-Army was formed one or two years before the HVO?
3 A. After.
4 Q. I see. Now the HVO army was formed before the BH-Army,
5 is that correct?
6 A. (Witness nodded).
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you very much.
8 JUDGE JORDA: I have a clarification I would like to ask.
9 You alluded to changes in the curriculum in the
10 schools. I did not quite understand that, because you
11 spoke about a period which seems rather short to me,
12 short for changing curriculum. Was this something that
13 was done in schools, or were there instructions that
14 came that the curriculum was supposed to be changed.
15 How did things take place in actual fact?
16 A. It was easy for Croats to change the curriculum, because
17 the text books were coming from the Republic of Croatia,
18 and they continued working on the basis of those
19 programmes. They probably had some difficulty in
20 adjusting it all.
21 Q. I suppose it was the contents of the history courses
22 that were changed, is that right?
23 A. Mostly the language, history, and these social sciences,
24 the arts. Of course the natural sciences were more or
25 less similar.
1 Q. At some point, you said that between August 1992 and
2 April 1993, a great deal of military material was
3 collected, specifically in different homes. What is
4 your perception of that? Did you suspect something was
5 happening, did people talk about this, among friends,
6 "did you see it, was it at night", because this was a
7 very significant amount of material, according to what
8 you said?
9 A. I can tell you that I saw with my own eyes ammunition
10 being unloaded. My neighbour, Zoran Papic, had quite a
11 large warehouse near his house, he had a car and he
12 often brought it in. Then once I saw a large military
13 truck from Busovaca, and ammunition was being unloaded
14 to the house of the Kupreskics, Ivica Kupreskic's house,
15 there in the cellar there was a large quantity of
16 ammunition being unloaded. I could not be close by, but
17 one could see. Military ammunition is usually packed in
18 green crates, in green boxes so one could see even from
19 a distance that this was military equipment.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Ahmic. This long testimony
21 before the Tribunal is now complete and we are very
22 sensitive to the fact that you came, especially in light
23 of the suffering which you experienced, you and your
24 entire family. The Tribunal will now allow you to
25 return to your home and hopes that if possible, you will
1 find some peace and calm.
2 Registrar, could we have Mr. Ahmic taken out of the
3 room so that he may leave.
4 (The witness withdrew)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, I think it is Mr. Harmon who is
6 getting up.
7 MR. HARMON: Yes, good morning, Mr. President and good
8 morning, your Honours. Our next witness will be Witness
9 G, a protected witness.
10 JUDGE JORDA: G you said, is that right? Yes, G. Before
11 the witness comes in, I suppose that the curtains should
12 be drawn.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is correct.
14 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to say for the public who is
15 watching that the following witness will be called
16 Witness G We will lower the curtains, which will allow
17 the witness to come in from that side, and once seated,
18 the person can be hidden, after which the curtains will
19 be raised again. (Pause).
20 (Witness entered court)
21 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated, Witness G You are going to
22 read the declaration, which will be given to you.
23 Please go ahead. You may remain seated. Witness G,
24 please read the declaration.
25 WITNESS G (sworn)
1 JUDGE JORDA: Witness G, as part of this trial before the
2 Tribunal, against Colonel Blaskic who is here, you have
3 been called to testify. You may speak without hatred,
4 without fear, without any concern. You are under the
5 protection of the Tribunal, special protective measures
6 have been provided for you here and outside the walls of
7 the Tribunal.
8 Mr. Prosecutor? To ensure your complete
9 identification, the Registrar will show your identity on
10 a piece of paper and this way the Tribunal will be sure
11 that in fact you are the correct person. Is that all
12 right? Fine. Since the Tribunal does not know your
13 name, it is better that way. Unfortunately, we will
14 refer to you as Witness G, but this is for your safety.
15 Please try to relax and you will first answer questions
16 asked by the Prosecutor. You know that this is a
17 Tribunal and then the Defence attorneys will ask you
18 questions as well. It is now 12.15.
19 Mr. Harmon, about how much time have you planned
20 for your examination?
21 MR. HARMON: Not more than two hours, your Honour. Probably
23 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The Tribunal asks that you get to
24 the essentials so that the amount of time spent by the
25 Tribunal here is not overly long. Proceed, please.
1 Examined by MR. HARMON
2 Q. Good morning, Witness G
3 A. Good morning.
4 Q. Let me ask you some background questions first. Are you
5 a Muslim?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. How old are you?
8 A. 26.
9 Q. Where were you born?
10 A. In Ahmici, in the municipality of Vitez.
11 Q. In the Zume section of Ahmici?
12 A. Yes, yes.
13 Q. Have you lived in Ahmici all your life?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you tell the judges about your educational
17 A. Yes, I can. I completed the elementary school and then
18 the secondary school for machinery and then I studied in
19 Zenica for two years.
20 MR. HARMON: If I could have the assistance of the usher,
21 Mr. President, in placing Prosecutor's Exhibit 119A on
22 the ELMO and distributing to counsel. Mr. President and
23 counsel, 119A is an enlargement of a portion of Exhibit
24 50, with various locations marked on it, and 119B is a
25 legend associated with the numbers that are found on
2 Mr. Usher, if that could be moved to the left?
3 That is fine, thank you, for right now. Let me ask you
4 first of all -- have you had an opportunity to indicate
5 to me certain locations that will be relevant to your
6 testimony this morning?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Have you had an opportunity to see Prosecutor's Exhibit
9 119A before coming into court, and are the locations
10 that you indicated to me marked on this particular
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In respect of Prosecutor's Exhibit 119B, which you do
14 not have before you, but which is a legend, did you
15 assist me in the preparation of that legend?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now if I could, Witness G, if I could ask you first of
18 all to focus your attention on 15th April 1993, the day
19 before the attack. Where were you living? Can you
20 point the court on the Exhibit 119A to the location of
21 your house.
22 A. (Indicates).
23 Q. Are you pointing to a burnt-out structure that is marked
24 with number 1 with an arrow pointing to your house?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. How far away was your house from the main road that went
2 from Vitez into Busovaca?
3 A. About 100 metres perhaps.
4 Q. On 15th April, were you at home?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Who normally lived with you at that particular house?
7 A. I lived with my mother, my father and my sister.
8 Q. On 15th April, did you see anything unusual while you
9 were at home?
10 A. Yes, I could notice that along the main road an
11 increased number of the HVO vans with clearly marked
12 signs of the HVO.
13 Q. Where were they going, what direction?
14 A. They were going in both directions, both towards Vitez
15 and Busovaca. They were simply moving along.
16 Q. What was unusual about those vans?
17 A. There were many people in there and they were all in
18 uniforms, they were not civilians, so that was a little
19 unusual to me.
20 Q. Were there more men in uniforms than usual in those vans
21 than you had seen on previous days?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. On 15th April, did you also see a gun that you would
24 normally see in the possession of Nenad Santic?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Where did you see that gun?
2 A. Also on this same road. It passed several times up and
3 down the road, and it used to be positioned in front of
4 Nenad Santic's house.
5 Q. Can you describe that gun to the judges?
6 A. It was a small sized truck and there was a long barrel,
7 and in front it had a sort of shield.
8 Q. Did the truck have any identifying marks on it?
9 A. Yes, the HVO sign was clearly marked. It was a normal
10 thing that on all these vehicles in white lettering
11 there would be the HVO sign written.
12 Q. Now again if I could have the assistance of the usher in
13 putting on the ELMO an exhibit that has been previously
14 introduced, it is Exhibit 82/2. Does that gun that
15 appears in Prosecutor's Exhibit 82/2 appear to be
16 generally similar to the type of gun you were
18 A. Yes, it is similar. The truck was smaller, but the
19 barrel is about as long, but the truck was smaller.
20 That is how it was also camouflaged a little bit.
21 Q. Again with the assistance of the usher, if we could
22 replace 119A on the ELMO, I will turn your attention in
23 the meantime, Witness G, to the morning of 16th April
24 1993. Were you at home on 16th April?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Who was with you at your home on that day?
2 A. On that day, I was home with my mother, we were alone,
3 the two of us in the house.
4 Q. Can you describe to the judges of the Trial Chamber what
5 occurred on the morning of 16th April at your home?
6 A. Yes, I can. Early in the morning, I was awakened by
7 explosions and sounds of shooting. I got up and I was
8 in a panic, I did not know what was going on. After a
9 short period upstairs where we were in the living room,
10 through the window came a bullet, an inflammable bullet
11 and it fell on the sofa. I somehow brought some water
12 and put out that fire. Then I felt lost and I did not
13 know where to go. The shooting could be heard
14 everywhere. I picked up the phone to call my cousin and
15 ask her where I should go and what I should do, however
16 the lines were not working. Then I told my mother that
17 we were not safe here and this part of the house was
18 going to burn, so we should go downstairs.
19 We started downstairs and no sooner we came out in
20 front of the house, I saw that the house was surrendered
21 from the lower end, the lower end from the main road.
22 There were three people in uniform, from above there
23 were two, they were painted in black, and they pushed us
24 into a room in the lower part of the house. Then they
25 started cursing and asking where the men were, they
1 insulted us, they cursed our balija mothers. They
2 forced me to go and call the first door neighbours and
3 asked, "is there anybody there, are there any men there,
4 go and get them".
5 Q. Excuse me, Witness G, let me interrupt you and ask you
6 some additional questions. You said the five men who
7 were surrounding your house were dressed in uniforms.
8 Did you see any identifying marks or patches on those
10 A. Yes. I saw that clearly. As they were pushing us into
11 the room, because they too entered the room, the
12 insignia were the Jokers, the Vitezovi and the HVO, that
13 is what they had on their jackets.
14 Q. If I could have the usher assist in placing two exhibits
15 on the ELMO, one would be 100/2 and one would be 113/3
16 bis. Starting first by showing you what is Exhibit
17 113/3 bis, can you identify what appears in that exhibit
18 and explain to the judges your observations and comments
19 about it?
20 A. It is a patch that was worn by these uniformed men when
21 they came to my house, when they took us to that room.
22 Q. Now if I could have you shown 100/2, ask you if you can
23 identify the next exhibit that appears on the ELMO. Can
24 you identify that? Please make your comment to the
25 judges about that.
1 A. They also wore this patch, there were five. I know that
2 they all had different patches, they were either HVO,
3 Vitezovi or Jokers, because it was very clear on their
5 Q. On the morning of 16th April 1993, did you have any
6 weapons in your house?
7 A. No, we did not.
8 Q. Okay, now you said that these five men essentially took
9 you to some location and ultimately asked you to summon
10 your neighbours. Did it appear to you, Witness G, that
11 these five men with different arm patches were working
13 A. Yes, because the three of them were from the lower side
14 of the house and the two from the upper and then they
15 got together and they together pushed us into the room
16 and all five of them entered the room and one of them
17 was ordering me to go and get the neighbours and ask him
18 whether there were any men among them and the other one
19 pulled out from his jacket, from a pocket, a
20 walkie-talkie, and he said everything was going
21 according to plan.
22 Q. Let me ask you, Witness G, about the walkie-talkie that
23 one of the men had. Did it appear to you he was
24 communicating with someone?
25 A. Yes, I heard him clearly saying that everything was
1 going according to a plan.
2 Q. At some point, did your mother ask essentially if she
3 could remain in her house?
4 A. Yes, they were forcing us to come out. One of the
5 soldiers said, "go out, see what Alija is doing to you,
6 but we are good anyway. See what your people are doing
7 to ours in Zenica", and they were forcing me out without
8 my shoes on, and in the group of five, I recognised my
9 schoolfriend Anto Furundzija. I pleaded with him that
10 I could put on my shoes. He was just silent. I said,
11 "Anto, can I put on my shoes?" He did not say
12 anything. When they drove us out, my mother asked for
13 us not to stay there, but one -- she wanted to stay
14 there, but he shot us, the ground in front of her with a
15 spray of bullets and he said, "you must go". In the
16 meantime --
17 Q. Witness G, let me interrupt you for just a moment and
18 ask that Exhibit 119A be placed back on the ELMO,
19 because I wanted to ask you about the neighbours that
20 were summoned to your house.
21 Witness G, you said that some of the soldiers
22 asked that your neighbours be called over and be brought
23 to your house, is that correct?
24 A. Yes, but I did not go to call the Djidics, but one of
25 the soldiers was in front of the house and called Ismail
1 and saw Ismail Ahmic and his son Mujo and their
2 families, women and children, and then he called them
3 in, into my house.
4 Q. Do you see the home of Ismail and Mujo Ahmic on
5 Prosecutor's Exhibit 119A and can you tell what number
6 that is on the exhibit?
7 A. It is number 3.
8 Q. On the morning of April 16th 1993, how were Ismail and
9 Mujo Ahmic dressed when you saw them?
10 A. They were in civilian clothes.
11 Q. Were they armed or were they unarmed?
12 A. No, they were unarmed in civilian clothes. They were
13 not in uniform at all. Ismail was an older man, in his
14 60s, Mujo was younger, but he was not wearing uniform
15 and they did not have any weapons.
16 Q. After Ismail and Mujo Ahmic were brought to your house,
17 what happened to you and the others?
18 A. They stayed there, Ismail and Mujo stayed there at my
19 house, whereas we women were forced to go, so we reached
20 the main road. I turned around to look to see what was
21 happening, when I reached the main road. I turned
22 around to see what was happening in front of my house,
23 and I saw one of the soldiers pouring from a jerry-can,
24 whether it was fuel or petrol, it was some kind of a
25 fuel from a red jerry-can, around the house, and there
1 was a flame already at the other end of the house, it
2 was already burning.
3 I turned around in another direction, I saw houses
4 on fire, everywhere around houses were burning, one
5 could smell the smoke, the smell of explosive was also
6 evident and I saw Asim Ahmic's house burning, Nazif
7 Ahmic's and Ramiz Ahmic's houses also on fire.
8 Q. Let me ask you some questions in respect of what you
9 just testified. When you had an opportunity to observe
10 the soldier pouring some kind of inflammable liquid on
11 your house, were you standing at the location indicated
12 on 119A which is numbered 4?
13 A. Yes, I was.
14 Q. Can you point on Prosecutor's 119A the locations of the
15 homes that you just said you saw on fire?
16 A. These are houses number 5, 6 and 7.
17 Q. Does number 5 belong to Asim Ahmic?
18 A. Asim Ahmic, yes, number 6 belongs to Nazif Ahmic and
19 number 7 to Ramiz Ahmic.
20 Q. With the assistance of the usher, Mr. President, I would
21 like to have put on the ELMO Prosecutor's Exhibit 120A.
22 120A is also accompanied by a legend which is 120B.
23 Witness G, Prosecutor's Exhibit 120A appears before you
24 on the ELMO. If we could have a little bit further view
25 of it so that the letter C indicated on the right side
1 is clearly evident -- could you come up just a little
2 bit more on that? That will be fine, thank you.
3 Witness G, can you tell the judges what is in
4 Prosecutor's Exhibit 120A, please, starting with the
5 letter A, then to letter B and letter C.
6 A. This is my house.
7 Q. Indicated by the letter A?
8 A. The letter A, yes.
9 Q. This is the house that was burned in front of you on
10 16th April 1993, is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. There appears to be a burned house beneath the arrow
13 below the letter B. Whose house is that?
14 A. That is Sefik Pezer's house.
15 Q. Was Sefik Pezer a Muslim?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Turning to the letter C on Prosecutor's Exhibit 120A,
18 there appears to be a burnt-out house indicated by that
19 arrow. Whose house is that?
20 A. It is Nedzad Djidic's house.
21 Q. Was Nedzad Djidic a Muslim as well?
22 A. Yes, he was.
23 Q. Thank you. Now let me return back to your testimony.
24 You said that Ismail and Mujo Ahmic were separated from
25 you and the women, the women were forced to go in one
1 direction. When you last saw Ismail and Mujo Ahmic,
2 were they in the custody of the soldiers who had come to
3 your house? Were they alive, were they well and were
4 they in their custody?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you know what happened to Ismail and Mujo Ahmic?
7 A. They stayed there with this group of five. However,
8 they never came back. I never saw them again. They
9 were killed.
10 Q. In your flight from your house to another location, you
11 said you saw a lot of houses on fire, a lot of smoke.
12 Did you see any Croat houses on fire?
13 A. No.
14 MR. HARMON: Mr. Usher, I hate to have you keep getting up and
15 down, but could you please put 119A on the ELMO once
17 Witness G, where did you and the other women and
18 children go after you left your house?
19 A. We went towards the main road in the direction -- for a
20 while along the main road and then we turned off a side
21 road heading towards Pirici. Our intention was --
22 actually we did not know where we were going. We had no
23 particular destination. We did not know where we were
24 going, so as we were going, we came across Mejra's
25 house, it was not burned down and she called us in,
1 because there was shooting, and she said that we should
2 stay and then we would see what we would do, so we
3 stayed there on Friday until the afternoon, all that
4 day. It was tense, we were expecting them to come any
5 moment to throw us out, to set the house on fire. From
6 time to time we would look through the window to see
7 what was happening outside. We saw groups passing by,
8 groups of soldiers in black uniform, they were going in
9 the direction of Pirici.
10 Q. Referring to Prosecutor's Exhibit 119A, what number
11 indicates the location of Mejra's house?
12 A. I cannot see it on the monitor. It is number 12.
13 Q. Was Mejra a Muslim?
14 A. Yes, she was.
15 Q. How long did you remain at Mejra's house before you went
16 to another location?
17 A. We stayed in Mejra's house on Friday 16th until the
18 evening, and then early in the evening her neighbour
19 came, Mejra's neighbour, called Vidovic, known as
20 Karlovca, and she said that we were not safe there, that
21 it would be a good idea to cross into her daughter's
22 house. So we went with her to that house, her
23 daughter's house.
24 Q. Is that house indicated on Exhibit 119A as number 13?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Was this woman named Vidovic a Croat?
2 A. Yes, she was.
3 Q. So you then spent the night at that particular house,
4 Vidovic's daughter's house, is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. While you were at that house, did your mother ask to
7 leave and return to her house and did she do so?
8 A. Yes, my mother did not believe that the house had been
9 burnt down, and she said, "I must go and see what
10 happened. I must go back. I will not go anywhere", and
11 she left. She reached the house and very soon after
12 that she came back. She was shivering and she was lost
13 and I asked her, "what happened, what happened?". Then
14 she started telling us that the house had been burnt
15 down, that she had seen next to the house Muhamed
16 Neslanovic lying dead. Then she also saw Mustafa Pezer
17 and Ibrahim and his corpse, then she had seen Sefik
18 Pezer's body.
19 Q. Did she say where she had seen those corpses?
20 A. Yes, she did. She saw them close to our house, actually
21 on the road. She saw Muhamed Neslanovic in front of my
22 house, in the direction of the Djidic's house. She had
23 seen Pezer and Ibrahim right next to our house and Sefik
24 Pezer was in front of his own house in the yard.
25 Q. Is the house of Sefik Pezer indicated by the number 2 on
1 Prosecutor's Exhibit 119A?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is the house of Ibrahim, is it marked on this exhibit?
4 If it is not, can you just generally tell us the
5 location of it?
6 A. It is not marked. (Indicates).
7 Q. You have placed a pointer on the burned-out house above
8 the number 2, is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you tell me what happened the next morning,
11 17th April 1993?
12 A. On 17th April, another Croatian woman, I do not know her
13 name, came and said to Vidovic that we could not stay
14 there, that we all had to go to a store where we would
15 all congregate and then they would see what they would
16 do to us, whether they would escort us to Zenica; in any
17 event that we all had to gather together, all of us who
18 had survived, in this store. So we headed towards the
19 house where a shop used to be, and as we passed by
20 Mejra's house, it was burnt down, which means that
21 during the night of the 16th, that house was burnt down
22 as well.
23 When we reached the shop there were mostly women
24 there, and each of the women had her own story, each one
25 of them had experienced something awful. Each one of
1 them recounted what had happened in her family, whom she
2 had lost, what had happened. There were few men there,
3 maybe four or five males in all, and as soon as we
4 entered the store, the building, shortly afterwards a
5 group of soldiers entered. I just saw that they were in
6 black uniform, I turned away because I was afraid.
7 They were looking for men in the room, and they
8 got Hasim Ahmic, he was an older man, and his wife
9 Fatima begged, "do not take him away, he is old, he is
10 sick, he suffers from kidneys", and they said, "shut up,
11 we will kill you all", so she fell silent. Then they
12 picked up Munib Heleg, Zenur Ramic and his brother Amir,
13 and they took them outside, outside of that room. They
14 also never came back, I never saw them again.
15 Q. Let me ask you some questions. The location where you
16 spent that particular night and where these four men
17 were taken outside, is that indicated on Prosecutor's
18 Exhibit 119A as number 14?
19 A. Yes, it is.
20 Q. Were all of the people who were in the basement of the
21 house indicated as number 14, were they all Muslims?
22 A. Yes, they were all Muslims, except for one elderly man,
23 Papic, known as Baric. He was actually looking after
24 us, he acted as some sort of a guard, so he spent the
25 night with us all that night. He was not in uniform,
1 but he did have a rifle.
2 Q. Approximately how old was one of the four men you
3 mentioned, Munib Heleg?
4 A. About 50, 40 to 50.
5 Q. How old was Hasim Ahmic?
6 A. He was older, he was in his 60s. He seemed very frail.
7 Q. Let me direct you quickly through a number of locations
8 that are indicated on this Exhibit 119A, first of all
9 directing your attention to the number 8. Can you see
10 that on the video screen?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Was that the house of Hasim Ahmic?
13 A. It was.
14 Q. Directing your attention to number 10 on the screen, can
15 you see that?
16 A. Yes, I can.
17 Q. Whose house was number 10?
18 A. It was the house of the Ramic brothers, Zenur and Amir.
19 Q. Lastly directing your attention to number 11, can you
20 tell the judges whose house that was?
21 A. It is Munib Heleg's house.
22 Q. Those destroyed houses that appear on Prosecutor's
23 Exhibit 119 were the houses that belong to the four
24 Muslim men that were taken out on 17th April 1993 that
25 you have never seen again alive, is that correct?
1 A. Yes, is that correct. Those are their houses and I have
2 never seen them since.
3 Q. Turning your attention to 18th April 1993, can you tell
4 the court what happened?
5 A. On the 18th in the morning -- we stayed in that shop
6 during the night, it was a very small room, there were
7 many of us, there was nothing, no decent conditions. We
8 were sitting on the tiles, there was nothing in there,
9 and on the 18th in the morning, Nikica Plavcic came, and
10 we asked him, could we go towards Pirici because we
11 could not stay there, that he should let us go, and he
12 said, "you cannot go anywhere because a group of Croats,
13 the HVO have gone to Pirici. They will kill everyone
14 there". So then we asked, "what is going to happen to
15 us?". He said, "I do not know, we will see". After a
16 short while, he came back again and he said that they
17 would take us to the Dubravica elementary school and on
18 the 18th in the morning, we moved from that shop to the
19 Dubravica elementary school. It was a large group of
20 mostly women and children.
21 Q. You arrived at the Dubravica school on the morning of
22 18th April 1993?
23 A. Around noon, because it took us about half an hour to
24 reach the school from the shop. In any event, it was in
25 the morning, before noon.
1 Q. Did you remain at the Dubravica school until 1st May
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. When you arrived at the school, were the few men who
5 were with your group separated from the women?
6 A. When we arrived at the school they immediately said that
7 some of the younger women with children should go to two
8 class rooms where it would be a little more comfortable
9 for them, whereas the rest should go to the gym of the
10 school. When we went in, there were some men there, men
11 from the surroundings of the school, from Novaci. There
12 was nothing inside, it was a gymnasium, so you can
13 imagine what it looks like. Afterwards, they brought us
14 some foam mattresses so that we could stay there.
15 I stayed there for 12 days. That was hell for
16 me. I was terrified. I never knew what would happen to
17 us, whether they would take us out. Each time I heard
18 somebody coming in, my mother would conceal me, because
19 she was afraid that they would take me out.
20 Q. Were women taken out from your quarters where you and
21 your mother were staying?
22 A. No, they did not take them out, but they would take the
23 men every day to dig trenches, every day. These were
24 mostly groups of five, eight or ten, it depended on the
1 Q. On 1st May you were released from the school, and let me
2 ask you some questions about your release. Were you
3 given a choice as to whether you could return back to
4 the Vitez municipality, or were you given no choice and
5 told to select one of two other locations?
6 A. We were not given the choice of staying in Vitez. We
7 were told that we could choose either Travnik or
8 Zenica. We could go to either of those two towns,
9 Travnik or Zenica.
10 Q. Who told you that?
11 A. By the Croats who were there in the school, whether it
12 was the commander of the school or what he was I do not
13 know, but in any event, he was a member of the HVO.
14 They took down our names almost daily, some people were
15 saying that they would exchange us; in any event I do
16 not know which one of them it was, but they said that we
17 could either go to Zenica or to Travnik.
18 Q. You have referred to in the course of your testimony a
19 number of people who you heard were killed. Let me ask
20 with the usher's assistance if he could place some
21 photographs on the ELMO.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps, Mr. Harmon, the witness must be tired,
23 it is almost 1.00. Perhaps we could stop here and
24 resume at 2.40. The hearing is suspended.
25 (1.00 pm)
1 (Adjourned until 2.40 pm)
1 (2.40 pm)
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing. Registrar,
3 have the accused brought in, please.
4 (Accused brought in)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Witness G, do you hear me? Have you rested a
6 bit? Did you have a nice lunch?
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Mr. Harmon, you may continue with
9 your examination.
10 MR. HARMON: Good afternoon, Mr. President, your Honours and
11 counsel, thank you very much.
12 Witness G, let me ask you first of all, you
13 mentioned earlier in your testimony that you lived with
14 your father, your mother and your two sisters in Ahmici
15 and you lived there all your life, is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Was your father a member of the Territorial Defence or
18 the TO?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Was your father a member of the army of
22 A. No.
23 Q. You also testified that you were detained at the
24 Dubravica school from 18th April 1993 until 1st May
25 1993. Were other survivors from Ahmici also detained at
1 the Dubravica school?
2 A. Yes, there were about -- there were a lot of women and
3 children, maybe even up to 100.
4 Q. Okay, thank you very much. Now, with the assistance of
5 the usher, if I could have a series of exhibits shown to
6 Witness G, I would like to start with 110/3, and
7 Prosecutor's new exhibit -- we will start with 110/3.
8 Focusing on the picture that is a little bit off to the
9 right, please? The other direction, please, Mr. Usher,
10 the man with the moustache.
11 You mentioned, Witness G, that two neighbours of
12 yours were brought to your house on the 16th. One of
13 them was a man by the name of Ismail Ahmic. Do you see
14 the picture in front of you on the screen?
15 A. Yes, that is the man.
16 Q. Approximately how old was he on 16th April?
17 A. Around 60.
18 Q. If we could now turn to Prosecutor's new Exhibit 121, if
19 that could be distributed to the judges and to counsel,
20 and then another photograph from that exhibit placed on
21 the ELMO. Mr. Usher, if you could just remove the first
22 photograph from that and lay that on the ELMO. The
23 usher has placed a picture of an individual on the ELMO,
24 do you recognise who that individual was?
25 A. This is Ismail Ahmic's son, Mujo. That is Mujo Ahmic.
1 Q. So he was the second man who was brought to your house
2 and who you again never saw alive?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Mr. Usher, again with your assistance if I could have
5 108/1 and 108/2 placed on the ELMO? Witness G, your
6 mother when she returned back to the house where you had
7 taken refuge, she indicated to you that she had seen
8 three men dead. One of them was a man by the name of
9 Sefik Pezer and I am putting in front of you now
10 Prosecutor's Exhibit 108/1. There are two individuals
11 on that screen. Can you identify which of those
12 individuals is Sefik Pezer?
13 A. This is Sefik Pezer (indicates).
14 Q. Pointing to the individual depicted on the left side of
15 that exhibit. Now if we could turn to Prosecutor's
16 Exhibit 108/2, if that could be placed on the ELMO,
17 Witness G, the man who appears in that picture on the
18 right-hand side, can you identify him?
19 A. That is Ibrahim Pezer, called Mustafa.
20 Q. He is one of the men your mother identified she had seen
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now Mr. Usher, if we could move to Prosecutor's Exhibit
24 110/4? In this next series of photographs, I am going
25 to show you photographs of four men and ask you if you
1 can identify them as being of the four people who were
2 taken out of the shop and never seen again alive. Let
3 me start with Prosecutor's Exhibit 110/4, a picture of a
4 woman, a child and a man. Do you recognise who that man
6 A. Yes, this is Hasim Ahmic, who was also taken away from
7 the shop and never came back.
8 Q. Is that his wife Fatima in that picture as well?
9 A. Yes, Fatima.
10 Q. This is the man who you testified was sick and had some
11 sort of medical problems that his wife explained to the
12 soldiers who came to take him away, is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. All right. Now if we could turn to Prosecutor's Exhibit
15 110/5, in that exhibit there appear to be two men, one
16 is holding a baby. Can you identify who that man is?
17 A. The one holding the baby is Zenur Ramic. He was taken
18 away from the shop and never came back.
19 Q. On the right side of that exhibit there is a smaller
20 image --
21 A. That is his brother.
22 Q. What is his name?
23 A. This is his brother, Amir Ramic.
24 Q. Is he one of the men who also was taken away from the
1 A. Yes, he too was taken away from the shop.
2 Q. Lastly, Mr. Usher, if I could turn to the second
3 photograph in Prosecutor's Exhibit 121 and have that
4 placed on the ELMO -- it should be the other photograph,
5 Mr. Usher -- Witness G, do you recognise who that
6 individual is?
7 A. I recognise him. That is Munib Heleg, who was also
8 taken away from the shop.
9 Q. Approximately how old was he when he was taken away from
10 the shop?
11 A. He was around 50 at the time.
12 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I have concluded my examination.
13 I would now like to ask that certain exhibits that the
14 Prosecutor has shown this witness be admitted into
15 evidence. Let me start by identifying those exhibits.
16 The first exhibit would be the aerial image and the
17 legend marked Prosecutor's Exhibit 119A and 119B.
18 I would move to introduce those into evidence. I would
19 then move into evidence, your Honour, a photograph of a
20 house that has been identified in Prosecutor's Exhibit
21 120A and the accompanying legend which is 120B.
22 Thirdly, Mr. President, I would move into evidence
23 Prosecutor's Exhibit 121, which consists of two
24 photographs that have been identified by Witness G.
25 Mr. President, I have concluded my examination.
1 Thank you very much, Witness G Now it is the
2 opportunity of the Defence to ask you some questions.
3 Thank you very much.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Harmon, for trying to be brief,
5 even if that were only an order to be helpful to the
6 witness. I now turn to Witness G, she must understand
7 that the accused is presumed to be innocent, he has been
8 accused of serious crimes, he must be defended and for
9 that reason, his attorneys, in this case Mr. Nobilo, will
10 ask you some questions. Please answer without fear,
11 simply as things come to your mind and have no fear
12 whatsoever. Mr. Nobilo.
13 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Witness G, as you have heard I am Anto Nobilo and
16 I am Defence counsel for Mr. Blaskic, together with
17 Mr. Hayman. On 16th, 17th or 18th April 1992, in all
18 these events, have you ever heard anyone mention
19 General Blaskic's name?
20 A. I did not have an opportunity or time to think about
21 whether anybody mentioned his name.
22 Q. Have you ever seen General Blaskic personally?
23 A. Only through the media.
24 Q. That is the only way?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I have completed my
3 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The Tribunal has really had its
4 wishes granted since this morning. I now turn to the
5 Prosecutor, do you have any additional questions you
6 would like to ask?
7 MR. HARMON: I do not, Mr. President. Thank you.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I turn to my colleagues.
9 Judge Riad?
10 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, I will call you Witness G,
11 because we should not say your name. In your testimony,
12 you told us that you were planning to go to Pirici, but
13 you were told that the HVO was there and the HVO kills
14 everyone. Who brought this news? How did this news
15 come to you?
16 A. This news came to me through Nikica Plavcic. He told us
17 this, that we could not go up there, because the
18 Croatian army went up there and they would kill them
19 all. I do not know whether that meant that we would be
20 killed too, that I do not know.
21 Q. So the rumour was that all people in Pirici were being
22 killed; that was the rumour which reached you?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Some people disappeared, were taken from the shop, you
25 mentioned with Asim Ahmic, Zenur Ramic and Amir Ramic,
1 I think. Was there any news from them that they had
2 been killed?
3 A. Yes, I heard that they were killed.
4 Q. Then when you went to the school in Dubravica, you said
5 that they took men outside, they took men to dig
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you know where these trenches were and what happened
9 to these men?
10 A. (redacted)
15 (redacted), they
16 were from the village of Rijeka, and so I did not know
17 them well personally, but we knew that one of this group
18 did not come back.
19 Q. In that school in Dubravica, did they separate the men
20 from the women? How were the women treated?
21 A. In the part where we were, these were elderly women,
22 older women and that was only in one part of this school
23 gym, because when we first arrived, they separated out
24 the younger women and children, and they took them to
25 two separate class rooms, so that they would be more
1 comfortable there, I do not know why, but the other
2 part, the older women, they were taken to this sports
3 hall, the gym where the men were as well and I was among
4 them, so I was in the gym in the school building.
5 Q. How were you treated?
6 A. You mean me personally or in general?
7 Q. In general and, if you want, you personally?
8 A. For two days we had nothing to eat. They did not take
9 out any women, but there was fear. There were some acts
10 of provocation when some of the drunken Croat soldiers
11 would come in, they would be drunk and they would curse,
12 but we were not specially targeted, we women. Maybe
13 because they were aware that we have suffered a great
15 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Witness G, your testimony is now complete, the
17 Tribunal is conscious of the fact that you have
18 experienced many difficulties, and that it is not easy
19 to come this far but you did. We are grateful to you
20 for having done so. You have now completed your
21 testimony, you can now return home according to a
22 process which will allow us to continue protecting you
23 as we have done up to this point.
24 I turn to the Registrar, perhaps the blinds should
25 be drawn.
1 Witness G, for the time being please do not move
2 until we tell you when you should get up.
3 (The witness withdrew)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, we could now raise the blinds,
5 unless the following witness is to be protected in the
6 same way. Mr. Cayley?
7 MR. CAYLEY: No, Mr. President, the next witness is not
8 required to be protected.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Then we will return to a public hearing
10 as soon as the usher has helped you to take down the
11 screens. While we are waiting, Mr. Cayley, what is the
12 name of the next witness?
13 MR. CAYLEY: The name of the next witness, Mr. President, is
14 Ms. Nura Pezer.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Has somebody gone to get the witness?
16 (Witness entered court)
17 JUDGE JORDA: The witness should remain standing. Do you
18 hear me, ma'am?
19 THE WITNESS: I do.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Would you please tell me your name and your
21 first name, only your last name and your first.
22 THE WITNESS: My name is Nura Pezer.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Ms. Nura Pezer, please remain standing for a
24 moment to read the solemn declaration which you are
25 asked to read. You have the text in front of you.
1 Would you read it, please?
2 MS. NURA PEZER (sworn)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. You have agreed to testify
4 as part of the accusations which have been brought
5 against the accused, Colonel Blaskic, who is present in
6 this courtroom. You have agreed to testify at the
7 request of the Prosecution. The Prosecutor will, as he
8 must have told you, will ask you all the questions which
9 he considers useful, and then, of course,
10 General Blaskic's attorneys will ask you questions and
11 the judges may also ask you questions. Please try to
12 relax, you are in a Tribunal with judges who are here to
13 listen to you in order to get to the truth. Be calm,
14 you are safe and you are running no risks.
15 Now, Mr. Cayley, you may begin to ask Ms. Pezer
16 some questions.
17 Examined by MR. CAYLEY
18 Q. Good afternoon, Ms. Pezer.
19 A. Good afternoon.
20 Q. Can I just repeat what the President has said, please
21 relax as best you can in this environment. I am going
22 to ask you some questions, you just simply need to
23 answer very slowly and I will ask you the questions very
24 slowly and we will get through as quickly as we can.
25 Ms. Pezer, what year were you born?
1 A. I was born in 1948, on 5th September in the village of
2 Bukva near Vitez.
3 Q. I think you are of Bosniak nationality, is that correct?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. You are of the Muslim faith?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Before April 1993, whereabouts did you live?
8 A. I lived in Ahmici.
9 Q. With whom did you live in Ahmici?
10 A. I lived with my family, my husband and son and two
11 daughters and my daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
12 Q. Could you name your family for the court?
13 A. I can. My husband's name was Sefik Pezer, he was born
14 on 21st January 1941. Then I had a son, Ahmed Pezer,
15 born on 14th November 1966. Then there was my daughter
16 Alma Pezer, born in 1973 on 11th February. Another
17 daughter, Taiba, born on 6th December 1978. My
18 daughter-in-law, Razija, born on 13th June 1969, and my
19 granddaughter, Dzenana, born in 1991 on 15th June. That
20 is my family.
21 Q. Thank you. Ms. Pezer, what was life like in Ahmici
22 before the war?
23 A. Before the war, life was good. We led a normal life,
24 nobody hurt anybody. We would invite each other to
25 celebrations, when they were celebrating Christmas or
1 Easter, we would invite them for Bajram. There were no
2 problems at all, until the attack on the village of
3 Ahmici on 20th October 1992.
4 Q. Sefik and Ahmed, your late husband Sefik and your son
5 Ahmed, were they in the Territorial Defence in the
7 A. Yes, they were in the Territorial Defence. I really do
8 not know anything about that.
9 Q. Thank you, Ms. Pezer. On 15th April, I believe that you
10 and your husband went to see his cousin Suljeman in
11 Krcevine, is that right?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. What did he tell you about his son Amir?
14 A. He told us -- my husband went in and said that we should
15 go to see Suljeman, that his son had been captured on
16 the way to work in Novi Travnik. They stopped the bus
17 and they separated the Muslims and took them away.
18 Q. When you refer to "they", who do you mean?
19 A. The Croats.
20 Q. When you were at Suljeman's house, did you have occasion
21 to watch television?
22 A. We did. We were sitting there at Suljeman's and the
23 afternoon news programme started. On the screen, we saw
24 Dario Kordic and Tihomir Blaskic. Dario Kordic said,
25 "my Bojovnici", or soldiers, "are ready, they are
1 awaiting orders". My late husband Sefik put his hands
2 to his head, saying, "a war could break out".
3 Q. I think you returned home from Krcevine to Ahmici --
4 I am sorry, to Zume, and I think you went to the house
5 of your husband's niece, Nadira, is that right?
6 A. Yes, it is.
7 Q. What did Nadira say to your husband?
8 A. We were going home in the direction of Zume, and we came
9 across Nadira Ahmic, she too is deceased, and she said
10 to Sefik that Ivica Vidovic, known as Jevdjo, was taking
11 a man around, showing him the Muslim houses and the
12 Croat houses, because they thought that Croatian houses
13 had two sided roofs and the Muslim four sided roofs.
14 However, since some Muslims started building homes also
15 with two sided roofs.
16 Q. So just by looking at the roof of a house, it is
17 actually sometimes difficult to tell whether a Croat or
18 a Muslim family live there?
19 A. Yes, it was difficult for them, because they believed
20 that our houses had four sided and their houses had two
21 sided roofs, and that is how they knew the difference.
22 Q. Did you see this stranger yourself being shown all of
23 the Muslim houses in the village?
24 A. No, I did not see him, but the late Nadira saw him, and
25 I also saw Jevdjo, he was about 50 or 100 metres away,
1 and this man, an unknown man, was with him.
2 Q. I think that evening your late husband, your late son
3 and your daughter-in-law went to the house of Karic
4 Ibro, is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I think that Ahmed and Razija left his house at about
7 9.00 that evening, is that right?
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. I think you and Sefik left at about 10.30 in the
10 evening, is that right?
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. When you returned home, did Sefik go on patrol with the
13 Territorial Defence?
14 A. No, not with the Territorial Defence. He went out
15 around the house to see what was happening, with no one
16 else. He just went out on his own, to see.
17 Q. Let us now talk about the morning of 16th April. Did
18 you hear firing?
19 A. In the morning of 16th April at 5.40, shots were fired
20 into my windows.
21 Q. If you could wait one moment, Ms. Pezer, I am going to
22 put an aerial photograph in front of you which you have
23 already seen, with the assistance of the usher.
24 Ms. Pezer, you have seen this photograph before and you
25 have identified certain points on the photograph, is
1 that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I think you will agree with me that this is an accurate
4 representation of the original marks that you made?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you. Mr. Registrar, what is the exhibit
7 number of this exhibit?
8 THE REGISTRAR: This is 122.
9 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you. Could you please read the number on
10 the aerial photograph which corresponds to your house on
11 this aerial photograph?
12 A. My house is number 1, number 1.
13 Q. Thank you. You stated a moment ago that on the morning
14 of 16th April at 5.40, bullets started flying into your
15 house. Can you tell the court what happened when those
16 bullets entered your house?
17 A. When the bullets entered my house, each bullet was
18 incendiary, so it set fire to everything in the house.
19 There was such a shower of bullets.
20 Q. Did you wake your late husband Sefik?
21 A. I woke my husband up and I said, "get up, it appears
22 that the war has started". I looked up and saw all the
23 houses burning. Other shots were coming from another
24 side, however.
25 Q. Did Sefik go outside?
1 A. Sefik went outside to see what was happening. At that
2 moment, I was with my daughter Taiba in the hall and he
3 said, "it will be difficult for any one of us to get out
4 of here, but you must follow me and let us all go
5 downstairs", where my son Ahmed and daughter-in-law
6 Senja and granddaughter Dzenana were living, because he
7 thought we would be safer there, on the lower floor.
8 Q. What did you do next?
9 A. Sefik crawled in front and the two of us followed him
10 and went down. Sefik went towards the garage and we
11 entered the lower floor of the house, myself and Taiba,
12 and my son and my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter
13 were already there.
14 Q. When you were crawling down into the basement, did you
15 notice where the shooting was coming from?
16 A. The shooting was coming from here, number 3, from Anto
17 Covic's house, and from number 2, Jozo Sakic's house
19 Q. After you had crawled down into the basement, what did
20 you say to your son Ahmed?
21 A. When I got into the basement, I said to my son Ahmed,
22 "Ahmed, go outside, follow your father to see what is
23 happening". However, my son came back very soon and
24 said, "mother, Dad has been seriously wounded".
25 Q. What did you ask your son to do at this point?
1 A. He said that we should go and help him and bandage his
2 wounds, and then we had some nappies from the little
3 girl and they took these nappies and my daughter-in-law
4 gave me my granddaughter, to carry her, and they went
5 out to bandage the wound. They went out and then my son
6 came back into the house and Razija's hands were bloody
7 and she said, "father has been very badly wounded. It
8 will be hard for him to survive".
9 Q. Did your son Ahmed then come back to you in the
11 A. Ahmed did come back and he said that there was nothing
12 to be done, because father had been very badly wounded.
13 Q. Did Ahmed then say that you should all go outside?
14 A. Ahmed said, "mother, we should surrender to the HVO,
15 because there is no hope". However, my neighbour,
16 Azemina Pezer cried out, "come out of the house, you
17 will burn because they will set fire to you, so you must
18 all come out. You must not take anything with you". So
19 my son Ahmed went in front, along this yard and we also
20 followed, myself, my daughter-in-law Senja carrying
21 Dzenana and my daughter Taiba. My son put his hands up
22 to surrender, he was immediately shot dead. He fell and
23 died. Then my daughter-in-law shouted, "do not shoot,
24 you will kill my child", and so we reached Azemina
25 Pezer's house, that is number 4.
1 Q. What did you found when you got to Azemina's house?
2 A. When we got to Azemina's house, we found her, Pezer
3 Nermin, and their son of seven and daughter of 13.
4 There were eight soldiers there, four next to the barn
5 and four next to the house, and there were seven of us
6 in between them. Then I saw that they had petrol cans
7 which they probably used to set fire to houses, and
8 Semkija's house was on fire. Then one of the soldiers
9 next to me took my daughter and pulled her by the
10 shoulder. They were all armed, they were painted on
11 their face, forehead and chin with black paint. Then
12 one of them said, "do not, leave her". He was standing
13 next to Azemina Pezer's house. She told me afterwards
14 it was Frano Jukic from Nadioci who had said that, and
15 he let her go. At that moment, I thought maybe he
16 wanted to kill her or something, but they were in a
17 hurry, they did not have time. Then he said to us, "go
18 down there to our Croatian houses".
19 Q. So they ordered you to leave Azemina's house. Where did
20 you go to, this group of women and children?
21 A. This group of women and children went towards number 5,
22 Josip Vidovic's house.
23 Q. When you got to Josip Vidovic's house, what did you do?
24 A. When we got there, we went in, the house was locked but
25 we knocked and he let us in and we entered Josip's
1 house. We found there his nephew, Vinko Vidovic.
2 Before that, he used to wear a camouflage uniform, I saw
3 him, but on this occasion he had taken it off but it was
4 hanging in the corridor. The two of them were
5 drinking. They drank two litres of brandy, but the rest
6 of the family was not there, they were in shelter.
7 There was just the seven of us and the two of them,
8 Vinko and Josip. However, I said to Josip, "Josip, my
9 Sefik is seriously wounded. We could go and help him,
10 because he is wounded in the leg. Maybe he could be
11 saved". He said, "he may bleed three to four hours and
12 still be alive". Maybe Josip knew that Sefik was dead,
13 who knows? They were of the same age, they went to the
14 same school, they lived together, one next to another,
15 for 20 years.
16 Q. I think while you were at Josip Vidovic's house the
17 seven of you went upstairs, is that right?
18 A. I went upstairs alone. I went up there myself to look
19 around and when I got there, I saw that everything was
20 on fire and Sakib Pezer and Mehrudin, he was born in
21 1974, they were killed, lying behind Sakib's barn, just
22 behind Sakib's barn, so that out of these three Muslim
23 houses, seven people had been killed.
24 Q. I think at this point a number of HVO soldiers came to
25 the house?
1 A. Yes, after that, after some time, there were five or six
2 of them who came, they were furious, they came to
3 Josip's house and Josip said to us, "do not go to the
4 windows and do not come out", so he went out the door,
5 "what are you looking for, children?". He had many
6 relatives in the HVO, four from children of one sister
7 and two from another sister and one child of his
8 brothers, so another nephew was in the HVO.
9 Q. Did the HVO soldiers leave the front of his house, the
10 front of Josip's house?
11 A. They went towards Ahmici. They went out on to the road
12 and headed towards Ahmici.
13 Q. I think at about 11.30 that morning, Josip asked you to
14 leave his house.
15 A. Josip said then, "you have to leave my house" and this
16 was 11.30, "you have to move on. I am afraid", he said,
17 "of both Muslims and Croats". It was strange, why
18 would he be afraid of Muslims? Our houses were very
19 close and he was never touched by a bullet but he said,
20 "you have to move on".
21 Q. Ms. Pezer, are you happy to continue or would you like
22 to take a break for a moment?
23 A. If I can take a short break, my mouth is dried up. May
24 I take a short break, please?
25 JUDGE JORDA: I suggest that we suspend the hearing for ten
1 minutes and we will resume at 3.40.
2 (3.30 pm)
3 (A short break)
4 (3.40 pm)
5 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing can now resume, please be seated.
6 Ms. Pezer, do you feel better now?
7 A. I am fine.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Has her glass been filled with water? Please,
9 Ms. Pezer, if you need some water, a glass of water or a
10 pitcher of water, please do not hesitate to interrupt
12 Mr. Cayley, perhaps you might resume now.
13 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I only have very little more
14 examination-in-chief in respect of this witness. I will
15 try and finish as quickly as I can.
16 Ms. Pezer, before the break, you explained to the
17 court how Josip instructed you, this group of women and
18 children, to move on, to leave his house, is that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Whereabouts did you go after you left his house?
22 A. Josip told us -- I started telling him how come that he
23 was afraid of both Muslims and Croats, and I said,
24 "why", because a bullet never touched his house, and he
25 said, "I have a mixed marriage", because his wife was a
1 Muslim and he was a Croat. However, we got out and he
2 said, "you just follow the road to Vitez". So not to go
3 across the fields, but taking the road to Vitez. So we
4 left the house of Josip's, we walked and there was a
5 place called Kozmici, which is where we wanted to turn,
6 and we turned towards Kozmici.
7 Lucija Zilo saw us and Ljilja Vrebac. They called
8 us to come over to them. I say to my neighbour Azemina,
9 "let us go, what shall we do, we have small children,
10 anything can happen, even the worst which can happen".
11 She said, "no, they killed all of my own and also they
12 set everything on fire". I said, "no, we have to go
13 in", so we went into the basement of Ljilja Vidovic's
14 house, it was a shelter. There were Croatian women and
15 children, I would say around 50 of them, as far as
16 I could see. There was a stove, the fire was going and
17 they took us to a hallway off of that. There were two
18 sofas, but it only had the flat form without cushions.
19 The Croatian women brought us candles and lit it
20 up for us because you could not see anything in this
21 hallway. We spent a certain amount of time there,
22 I cannot say how long, and some other neighbours of ours
23 Ahmed, Nadira Ahmic, with three daughters-in-law and
24 with granddaughters, Elma Ahmic, who was born in 1977,
25 was the oldest of them. She lost three sons and the
1 husband and the grandson who was born in 1977, so she
2 was there in the shelter with us as well.
3 Q. Ms. Pezer, can you read the number on the house where
4 you were located at this point, this is Ljilja Vrebac's
6 A. We went here along this road and her house is marked
7 with 6.
8 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I think there has been a technical
9 problem with the ELMO.
10 JUDGE JORDA: This time perhaps we could have what is the
11 number here?
12 A. The house is marked with 6.
13 MR. CAYLEY: How long did you stay at Ljilja Vrebac's house?
14 A. At Ljilja Vrebac's house, we spent the night there and
15 early in the morning -- they used to call me Sefikovica,
16 that is for my husband, she said "Sefikovica, you have
17 to get going". We could not see whether it was light or
18 dark. "You have to go to Kozmici. We are afraid that
19 you may get all killed." In the morning we got up, it
20 was 16 of us and we all went to Kozmici, to Serif
21 Ahmic's. There Niko Plavcic, our neighbour, came with
22 his daughter-in-law and he said, "come over to my place
23 and you will not be harmed". That was Niko Plavcic. We
24 said, "no, but maybe you can take us to Sivrino Selo and
25 from there on we will find our way".
1 Q. One point, Ms. Pezer, Serif Ahmic's house, was that in
2 the area on the photograph which is surrounded by the
3 black line, because I do not think you can remember
4 exactly where that house was located.
5 A. It was close to here, among these houses here, that was
6 Serif's house.
7 Q. Inside the black line on the photograph?
8 A. Yes, you see 1, 2 over here and over here and down here,
9 that was Serif's house would be right down there below,
10 so you can see right around there.
11 Q. Did Plavcic Niko then take you to Sivrino Selo?
12 A. Yes, he did. We came -- the 16 of us came in front of
13 Niko's house. However, our soldier arrived from the
14 house where we had spent the night of Ljilja Vrebac and
15 he told Niko, "Niko, where are your sons?", and he says,
16 "I do not know, I do not know where they are. They
17 were told to report to Gavro Vidovic's house, which is
18 where the command is", and there Niko took us down this
19 road to Sivrino Selo and he took us there.
20 Q. I think the arrow on the photograph shows the route that
21 you took as a group, is that right?
22 A. This is where you go, along this road to Sivrino Selo.
23 That is where we went and he remained there on the road.
24 Q. When you were being escorted, did you notice any Muslim
25 cars being driven on the road?
1 A. No, not at all. There were no vehicles passing. The
2 vehicles would just turn around on the spot, but I could
3 not recognise anyone, they were just dashing by in their
5 Q. When you arrived in Sivrino Selo, with whom did you
7 A. Which went to Sivrino Selo and we entered a basement
8 there and there again there were some unknown women,
9 I never went up there so I did not know them, but
10 Hidajet Sivro came, he was a friend, and he told me to
11 move over to him and the six of us moved over to him and
12 the other nine went over to Sivro Sadik's place. We
13 were in Sivrino Selo, we spent two nights there in
14 basements, because at that time Sivrino Selo was
15 attacked too, shells were being lobbed in and we stayed
17 Q. So you stayed in the basements in Sivrino Selo because
18 the houses were being shelled, is that right?
19 A. Yes, it was being shelled.
20 Q. You stayed there for two days and nights and then
21 I think you went on to Poculica?
22 A. Yes, we did.
23 Q. How long did you stay in Poculica?
24 A. We went to Poculica, to Uzeir Rahija, and I spent four
25 days there, we spent four nights there, also it was
1 seven of us and the other group went to the other side.
2 Then my son-in-law, he came from Zenica, and it was my
3 sister's husband actually who came from Zenica, took us
5 Q. Finally, Ms. Pezer, there is just two photographs that
6 I know you want me to show to the court. If the usher
7 could assist? Ms. Pezer, who is this?
8 A. This is my granddaughter Dzenana.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Is it absolutely necessary to ask her to look
10 at these?
11 MR. CAYLEY: The witness actually asked me, your Honour, to
12 show these to the court. My own view was not.
13 A. Let them see the way my granddaughter was. She can only
14 see her father.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Look at the photo, please.
16 MR. CAYLEY: Ms. Pezer, this is your granddaughter. I know
17 this is all very painful. If you wish, we will not
18 continue with the photographs.
19 A. Let them see, let them see it all. Today is my son's
20 birthday, 14th November. Today he would have been 31
21 and he is now buried. Let the Tribunal know, all
22 innocent people were killed. I am testifying on his
24 Q. Ms. Pezer, your granddaughter is still alive, is she
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. But this is the little girl that was being held up by
3 your daughter-in-law while the soldiers were shooting,
4 is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you, Ms. Pezer. Ms. Pezer, do you want me to show
7 the photograph of your son to the court? If you do not
8 wish me to do so I will not. Do you wish me to?
9 A. Show it to them, let them see it. Let the judges see
10 it, it was my son, and my husband, and everybody else
11 who was there, what I have lost.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, I think that in accordance with the
13 wishes of the witness, we will show the photographs.
14 The Tribunal will look at it. This is in order to spare
15 you useless suffering by not showing them, but since you
16 have asked for it to be shown, let them be shown.
17 A. Let them look at him.
18 MR. CAYLEY: Ms. Pezer, this is your son Ahmed.
19 A. Yes, let them see who they killed. He was a trainer, he
20 also trained Croatian children, they also liked him,
21 when I come to visit with him, they would pull him by
22 his trousers and they say, "this is our trainer, look
23 and see". He had a karate black belt. Croatian
24 children liked him too. Look what they did.
25 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I will apply for admission now
1 into evidence of the three exhibits which are 122, 123
2 and 124 which is the aerial photograph, the photograph
3 of Ms. Pezer's granddaughter and of her son Ahmed. If
4 there are no objections from the Defence?
5 Thank you very much, Ms. Pezer. I am sorry to
6 have had to put you through so much pain. I now offer
7 the witness for cross-examination.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Ms. Pezer, the Defence attorneys for
9 General Blaskic now may ask you questions. One of the
10 attorneys for General Blaskic will ask you several
11 questions and then we will take a break around 4.15 or
12 so. Please relax, if you are in too much pain, we can
13 take another break as you asked before and then -- but
14 now I will give the floor to Mr. Nobilo.
15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. I only have a couple
16 of questions, but I think that perhaps it is not the
17 right atmosphere for me to begin, so if we could make
18 the break now, after that it will take me only ten
19 minutes. That would give Ms. Pezer a chance to calm
20 down a little and to concentrate. I only have a couple
21 of questions. (Pause).
22 JUDGE JORDA: Ms. Pezer, could you continue a little further
23 now? Would that be possible?
24 A. I can.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, we will all try, the judges as well
1 as yourself, to complete what has to be done now. You
2 said you had only a few questions. Perhaps the judges
3 will have some questions, but I do not think that this
4 will be very long.
5 Your turmoil will end at that point.
6 Mr. Nobilo?
7 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Ms. Pezer, my name is Anto Nobilo, I am Defence
10 counsel for Colonel Blaskic, I have a couple of
11 questions for you. Your husband, the late Sefik, was he
12 a member of the Territorial Defence or the army of
14 A. No, they were just there.
15 Q. Did he have a rifle?
16 A. He had a hunting rifle, he had it from before the war.
17 Q. Did he have a military rifle?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did your son, your late son have a military rifle?
20 A. No.
21 Q. That night, when did your husband go out and when did he
22 come back, on the eve of the attack?
23 A. He came back at 1.00 am.
24 Q. Where was he until 1.00 am?
25 A. He was outside.
1 Q. When he came back, what happened to your son?
2 A. He came back and my son went out, because they were
3 walking around the house.
4 Q. When the shooting started, where was your son?
5 A. My son was in his apartment in the basement.
6 Q. Let me read now from your statement that you made
7 earlier on to the investigators in Croatian. In the
8 interest of better understanding, it is page 2 of the
9 witness statement. I shall try and read it in English:
10 "We went to our home and at 11.00 to 1.00 am in
11 the morning of 16th April 1993, my husband went out as a
12 guard. Sefik come in at 1.00 and woke Ahmed, who then
13 went to keep guard until 5.20."
14 Did you say that to the investigators? Is that
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. Also in your statement, I do not wish to quote you, but
18 you said that your husband took a semi-automatic rifle
19 and went outside, the so-called Pap, it is a military
20 rifle; is that what you said?
21 A. No, it is not.
22 Q. Also in this statement, it is said that your son, the
23 late Ahmed, went out carrying a M 48, which was also a
24 military weapon.
25 A. We had this rifle before the war. Yes, we had this M 48
1 in the house, we had it in the house, just like that,
2 from before the war, not for a war.
3 Q. So there were two rifles?
4 A. No, one rifle. Where would the other come from?
5 Q. But your husband had a semi-automatic rifle, that is not
6 an M 48.
7 A. No, I had an M 48.
8 Q. Tell me, was your husband a reserve non-commissioned
9 officer of the JNA?
10 A. He was nothing, he was just an ordinary man, watching
11 guard like the other people, together with the Croats.
12 They were all together.
13 Q. Was this guard duty kept regularly or was it something
14 exceptional that evening?
15 A. No, later on they did not want to keep watch with us, so
16 our men would just go out themselves, and then it was
17 they who started separating from us.
18 Q. But you have misunderstood me. Your late husband and
19 son, did they go regularly for watch duty, or was this
20 something exceptional on 15th April?
21 A. They went out regularly every evening.
22 MR. NOBILO: I have no further questions, thank you.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. I now turn to my
24 colleagues, Judge Riad?
25 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Ms. Nura Pezer.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. I would just like to ask you some questions to clarify
3 for myself what you said. You mentioned that you saw on
4 TV General Blaskic with Kordic, you remember saying
5 that, yes? Did you watch it yourself?
6 A. I did. I was watching television, my husband Sefik and
7 Suljeman and his wife, the four of us.
8 Q. Then you remember a little bit what happened? Do you
9 remember a little bit what was said? Did
10 General Blaskic make any announcement in this
12 A. I do not remember. It was Dario Kordic who just said,
13 "my fighters are ready and awaiting orders", and
14 Tihomir Blaskic was there sitting with him.
15 Q. You said that there was a man on the evening I think of
16 the 20th, Ivica Vidovic was showing a man the Muslim
17 houses. What was this man? Was he a stranger to the
18 city or was he one of the people of the city? What do
19 you think this man was? What was he doing?
20 A. Ivica Vidovic was showing the houses to the stranger.
21 I did not know the stranger, but I knew Ivica Vidovic,
22 Jevdjo, and I saw him with this stranger. He was
23 leading him around and showing him our houses, Ahmic
24 Nadira said this and she got killed too.
25 Q. What do you know about Ivica Vidovic? Did he act
1 against the Muslims, or did he have any attitude,
2 hostile, to the Muslim population?
3 A. I do not know him, I saw him then. I am a housewife,
4 I spend most of my time at home. I saw him that evening
5 and later I never was with him anywhere. We did not see
6 one another often. I am a housewife, so I spend most of
7 my time at home.
8 Q. You said that at 5.40 in the morning, incendiary bullets
9 were fired into your window. Was this something which
10 happened to the other houses too? Was it an attack on
11 all the houses, or did they particularly attack your
13 A. No, the attack started against all the houses, as soon
14 as they surrounded a house, they started shooting at it.
15 Q. When Ahmed was killed going out, did he have any weapons
16 on him, was he -- did he look as if he was going out to
18 A. No, he went to surrender, he raised his hands up like
19 this (indicates) and he was hit directly in the chest
20 and he fell to the ground and that was it.
21 Q. Do you know how your husband was wounded to death? Was
22 he fighting or how was he wounded to death?
23 A. No.
24 Q. You mentioned too that seven people were killed out of
25 the Muslim houses. How were they killed?
1 A. I do not know how they were killed, my husband was
2 wounded and he stayed on the ground. These HVO soldiers
3 that we saw in front of Sakib Pezer's house and Azemina
4 house, they went off and they probably took with them
5 these petrol cans and set fire to these houses. They
6 took my husband out of the garage and shot him in the
7 head and his brains spilt out. This picture was carried
8 by the CNN. That is how he was killed. Afterwards, and
9 then they killed his nephew, Mustafa Pezer and her wife,
10 Pezer Ezima and his son and Fadil and Sakib Pezer and
11 his son Mahrudin Pezer and the two of mine, Sefik and
12 Ahmed Pezer. Those were the three houses and out of the
13 three houses, these were killed. I have shown them all
14 on the map here.
15 Q. You said they killed the wife too?
16 A. Yes, the wife.
17 Q. You mentioned also that when you were going to Nadira
18 Ahmic's house, you discovered that she was killed. Do
19 you remember saying that, that Nadira was killed. So
20 women were killed too?
21 A. Women were killed and even children, babies up to three
22 months in their cradles. They made no difference, young
23 women or women or men, whoever was Muslim they got
24 killed on 16th April.
25 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I will complete your testimony. We would like
2 to thank you very much, but I have one question I would
3 like to ask, a personal question, if you do not want to
4 answer, do not. How do you live now? Where do you live
6 A. They have killed my son, they have killed my soul, they
7 have broken up my family, may God punish them and it is
8 up to the court to judge them. I am now living in
9 Zenica, this is the fifth year, with five women members
10 of the family. We are somehow living, one of my
11 daughters got married, I have another one with me, the
12 two of us are living together. My daughter-in-law has
13 left with my granddaughter. That is how it is.
14 JUDGE JORDA: The Tribunal thanks you very sincerely, and
15 praises you for your courage and wishes you a future
16 filled with serenity and peace. Thank you.
17 A. Thank you.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Registrar, can we have the witness escorted
19 out of the courtroom. We will now break until 4.45.
20 The hearing is suspended.
21 (The witness withdrew)
22 (4.15 pm)
23 (A short break)
24 (4.45 pm)
25 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the hearing. Please have
1 the accused brought in, please.
2 (Accused brought in)
3 JUDGE JORDA: This is Witness H?
4 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Witness H.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Witness H, you are going to be shown your
6 identity on a piece of paper, but we ask you not to say
7 it out loud, it is just so the Tribunal can be sure that
8 you are the person whose name is on the piece of paper.
9 We will allow you to remain seated to read your
10 declaration. The usher is going to give you a piece of
11 paper on which you have in your own language the oath
12 that you will be asked to take. We will listen to you.
13 WITNESS H (sworn)
14 THE INTERPRETER: The English booth cannot hear the
16 JUDGE JORDA: Witness H, you have agreed -- there is a
17 technical problem for the English booth who are not
18 hearing the witness very clearly. Perhaps the
19 microphones were not on? The English booth did not
20 hear. Are the microphones on now?
21 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness speak?
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, do you hear?
23 MR. KEHOE: Is it coming through for you, Mr. President?
24 JUDGE JORDA: I am going to ask you to repeat the oath, it
25 is just for a technical reason, I hope this does not
1 disturb you to re-read it, to hear your voice and be
2 sure the English booth can hear you.
3 WITNESS H (resworn)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, it did.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Only static is coming through here. We
6 cannot hear the judge.
7 JUDGE JORDA: You were called as a witness by the
8 Prosecution, and you will be asked a certain number of
10 THE INTERPRETER: We can hear now. May we test --
11 JUDGE JORDA: You will be asked questions by the Prosecutor,
12 after which the Prosecutor is finished. Once he is
13 finished the Defence attorneys will ask you questions.
14 Please relax, you are under the protection of the
15 Tribunal. Protective measures were taken for you to
16 guarantee that your safety is absolute. Mr. Kehoe, you
17 may begin.
18 Examined by MR. KEHOE
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. President, your Honours. Good afternoon,
20 Witness H.
21 A. Good afternoon.
22 Q. Witness H, how old are you?
23 A. I am 41.
24 Q. Witness H, you moved to Ahmici in November 1992 from the
25 Travnik area, is that right?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. You lived in the village of Ahmici from November 1992
3 until the events of 16th April 1993, is that correct?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. By the way, Witness H, you are Muslim, is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. When you moved to Ahmici in November 1992, did you move
8 with your family?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Without giving the names of those individuals right now,
11 who did you move with?
12 A. I came with my husband and three sons.
13 Q. Before we begin, Witness H, you and I have looked at a
14 photograph, an aerial photograph of the village of
15 Ahmici, have we not?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You have assisted me in pointing out various locations
18 that are important for your testimony, is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, to move things along, what
21 I propose, without putting the map on the ELMO, because
22 it would identify where the Witness H lives, if we could
23 give this aerial, one to the witness, to the Defence and
24 obviously the judges, we could follow along and she
25 would be permitted to tell her story without putting
1 this on the ELMO, and we will not have to go into closed
3 Mr. President and your Honours, this is an
4 enlargement, as it says, of Exhibit 50 and I believe for
5 the record, Mr. Registrar, it is Exhibit 123.
6 THE REGISTRAR: I think this is 125.
7 MR. KEHOE: Okay, 125. Witness H, this is the map that is
8 before you, that is what we have been working on, is
9 that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. On this particular map, which number corresponds to your
13 A. It is the house marked as 1.
14 Q. Witness H, let me take you to the morning of 16th April
15 1993. Can you tell the judges in your own words what
16 happened that day?
17 A. The day of 16th April came, that day was Friday. We
18 were asleep and we were awakened by two bursts of fire.
19 My husband and I got up, looked through the window and
20 saw that the houses in the direction of the mosque were
21 burning. Then we went and woke up our children and went
22 to the basement. We spent some time in the basement and
23 we heard noises around the house, the house was
24 surrounded, and banging on the door, and they also
25 were -- they also shot the lock through as my husband
1 was going up to open it, then they burst in. My
2 children and I stayed in the house and my husband went
3 out, he then returned in and told us to come out. We
4 went out, but I was very frightened, so I barely made it
6 Q. Let me stop you there, Witness H. When you were walking
7 up the stairs from the basement, did you hear the
8 soldiers talking to your husband?
9 A. Yes, I heard the conversation of my husband, he said
10 that he was disabled, (redacted)
13 Q. (redacted)
14 A. (redacted)
15 Q. (redacted)
16 A. Yes, he was.
17 Q. Was he a fighter or what did he do in the army?
18 A. No, he was not a fighter. He worked as a shoe repairer
19 for the army.
20 Q. Witness H, why did your husband work as a shoe repair
21 man and not act as a fighter?
22 A. He was ill, he was not fit to be a fighter.
23 Q. What type of sickness did he have?
24 A. He had an ulcer.
25 Q. You and your sons went up from the basement, is that
2 A. (redacted)
6 They were pointing rifles at my husband and my son, and
7 I mean soldiers do that, and they addressed me rudely
8 and they told me to go and take my children with me, but
9 I saw what was coming. Subconsciously I thought, "we
10 have done nothing, they will just take us prisoners",
11 but that did not happen. I hesitated, but I did not
12 dare look at them, I looked down in front of me and they
13 yelled at me to go and take my two children, because
14 they would kill us all, and my younger son pulled me by
15 my clothes and said, "let us go mum, so at least you
16 stay alive". Then I started with my children and they
17 stayed there behind.
18 I think I did not go more than 30 yards and
19 I heard shots, I turned around, my son and my husband
20 were falling down the stairs.
21 Q. Would you like to take a break?
22 A. No.
23 Q. How many soldiers did you see around your house?
24 A. Approximately 15 of them.
25 Q. Do you remember anything about those soldiers?
1 A. Just that their faces were painted, nothing else.
2 Q. After you saw your husband and your son shot, where did
3 you go on the map, what did you do? If you can just
4 assist the court and show us on the map where you went
5 from point 1.
6 A. Yes, I can.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me, this is not coming through.
8 I cannot hear the judge. I do not hear the judge. Try
9 again, perhaps this headset will work better. Yes, this
10 is better. The interpreter hears now.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I had a suggestion to make, Mr. Kehoe. Perhaps
12 for Witness H, she might tell her story spontaneously,
13 as she chooses. I, of course, understand that you have
14 questions that you want to ask, but perhaps you could
15 ask her to specify things she would say. What would you
16 prefer to do?
17 Witness H, would you prefer to tell your story or
18 answer the questions that the Prosecutor is asking?
19 Would you rather speak spontaneously or ask specific
20 questions? He must ask you questions. What would you
21 prefer to do?
22 A. Whatever you think is best, I agree.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, then. Continue, Mr. Kehoe, and try
24 simply to distribute your questions as you think fit.
25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I can just allow the witness to
1 tell her story and just break in when I feel some
2 particular issue needs to be clarified.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe.
4 MR. KEHOE: Witness H, continue to tell the judges what
5 happened after you saw your husband and your son shot?
6 A. (redacted)
11 (redacted). I was crying, we went
12 on, the houses I could see were burning. We got to a
13 curve in the road, the house of Esad Ahmic was there,
14 Esad Ahmic was lying motionless next to his house.
15 Q. Is Esad Ahmic's house on the map?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What number is that?
18 A. It is number 2.
19 Q. Was Esad Ahmic a Muslim?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Approximately how old was he?
22 A. I think he was about 60. I did not know the man very
24 Q. Continue on, Witness H.
25 A. Then I went on with my children, and got to Sulejman
1 Ahmic's house. I did not know whether there was anyone
2 inside, but the house had not been burnt down. We went
3 in, actually we went to the door, tried to open the
4 door, it was not locked, it was opened, and we found
5 there two local ladies, one was called Smaila and the
6 other Raza. The Kulas family were there, Kermo Kulas,
7 brother Dzevad, son Enes, their wives, Kermo's wife
8 Nisveta and Dzevad's wife, Diba. Then there was their
9 daughter, Kermo's daughter, whose name was Enesa, and
10 Kermo's sister Samija, who was retarded. She looked
11 like a child, she did not develop properly.
12 When we entered, I saw Kermo and his brother and
13 his son, Enes, and I told them to flee because my son
14 and husband had been killed. I realised that they were
15 killing the able-bodied men, and he answered, Kermo
16 said, "I do not know where to hide". I said, "you must
17 find somewhere, because they are sure to come here too,
18 because the house has not yet been set on fire". I did
19 not see them again. I was in shock, I did not know what
20 to do, I kept looking at the house where I had lived.
21 I just wanted to go and see my son and husband, to see
22 whether they were still alive. (redacted)
5 (redacted). They could not believe him and she asked me,
6 "tell me that this is not true", and I said, "it is
7 true, my son has been killed and my husband". She
8 started screaming aloud. At that moment, I could not
9 even cry. I said, "there are a lot of people here,
10 there are women and children. The lady is gone to
11 sleep, she is afraid, she did not know what to do".
12 I told my sister to look for help and that was the end
13 of the conversation.
14 We stayed on, we knew the soldiers would come
15 again, and they appeared, they broke in roughly and one
16 of the women said, "it is not locked". They were
17 shouting, "open or else we will throw a grenade in", so
18 they opened and they asked whether there were any
19 menfolk. One of these ladies, I do not remember which
20 one, said, "no, there are only women and children
21 here". They told us to get up and to get out as quickly
22 as possible, which we did. We reached the road. Two
23 soldiers were there, and they said, "go on". We started
24 talking to them, asking in which direction we should go
25 and they said, "go wherever you will", and so we took
1 the road which would have led us, I think, to the mosque
2 in Ahmici. There were four soldiers in all in front of
3 the house, and then they separated, two of them went one
4 way and the other two another way.
5 Then these other two who were going towards the
6 mosque, that is the same direction as we, and then they
7 said to us, "where are you going? Go back". They said,
8 "they will use you like human shields if the balijas
9 start shooting at us, then we would get killed", they
10 said. So we went with them, we reached the field
11 between two woods, this was a long and narrow field
12 linking -- linked to the main road. We sat down, we
13 started talking. They were laughing, they were saying,
14 discussing what they should do, whether they should kill
15 us or release us. Then one of them took a rocket
16 launcher and pointed it at the mosque minaret, but they
17 did not fire it. Then he put it down again.
18 We were there, one of them was carrying a big
19 knife, with an orange handle, and he was throwing it a
20 tree, tree trunk, and they were laughing and discussing
21 whether they should let us go or whether they should
22 kill us. We kept quiet, and then this gentleman whom
23 I did not know personally, but Kermo's wife, Nisveta,
24 they came to Sulejman's house before that in Nadioci,
25 his nickname was Rutko, and he said, "what a pretty
1 girl", and that was Nisveta's daughter. She got up but
2 she was holding on to her retarded aunt. Then he asked,
3 "what is happening?", and then at one point she would
4 clap her hands and then again she would start crying.
5 She behaved like a child. They asked, "what is wrong
6 with her, what is wrong with Samija?".
7 Then this lady Nisveta said, "you can see God made
8 her like this, she was born like this". Enesa was
9 standing for a while and then she sat down. They did
10 not do anything to her.
11 Then this lady Smaila, she must have recognised
12 him, he must have been a local boy, because she
13 addressed him and said, "you yellow one", because he had
14 blond hair, "where is my son?", she asked, because she
15 is on Ahmici. Then he said, "he is in God's garden
16 picking flowers", to let her know that her Ivica had
17 been killed. She fell silent.
18 They went on talking and discussing what they
19 should do with us, these two older women, Razija, they
20 addressed them as sons, "look, you have weapons", "you
21 can do what you will, you have killed our men. Let us
22 go, the women and children". He grinned and then he
23 started walking up and down. I was terrified, I was
24 afraid he may go and get drunk and then who knows what
25 they could do to us. I was afraid for my children, he
1 might do something awful.
2 While Rutko and Zuti went off, the situation was
3 different. The soldiers, there was quite a large
4 formation in the woods, they started talking amongst
5 themselves and said, "why do we not let them go?", and
6 then they told us to go. We got up and formed a
7 line one by one. I put my two children in front of me
8 because I did not believe that they had let us go.
9 I thought -- I expected that they might shoot at us at
10 any moment. That did not happen.
11 Q. Witness H, let me stop you there for a second. You were
12 talking before about the soldiers taking you out of
13 Sulejman Ahmic's house. Where is that on the map?
14 A. I did not understand your question.
15 Q. Is Sulejman Ahmic's house on this map?
16 A. It is, it is number 3.
17 Q. You said that some soldiers took you to act as human
18 shields. Who told you that you were going to be used as
19 human shields?
20 A. Two soldiers that I did not know. I had not seen them
21 before. There was Rutko and Zuti. I had mentioned four
22 soldiers, so two were Rutko and Zuti.
23 Q. Was Rutko the one that told you that you were going to
24 be used as a human shield, you and the other women and
1 A. I do not remember.
2 Q. Where were you taken to be used as a human shield? Is
3 it designated here on the map?
4 A. Yes, it is, number 4.
5 Q. You also stated that there were a lot of soldiers spread
6 around that area, is that correct?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. In my discussions with you, you stated that they would
9 have been spread over the area of that line right above
10 the number 4, is that correct?
11 A. Yes, along this whole -- along the line alongside the
13 Q. Do you know how many soldiers were spread along that
14 line on the woods?
15 A. I could not tell you, but there were many. All I know
16 is there were many.
17 Q. When these soldiers told you that you were going to be
18 used as a human shield, did you see any Armija, Bosnian
19 army soldiers shooting back at them?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you see any at all?
22 A. No, no.
23 Q. You said that you left the point 4 and you walked in a
24 straight line.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Where did you walk to?
2 A. We started walking and got to the house number 1, the
3 house I was living in where my husband and son were
5 Q. When you walked past your house, what condition was your
6 house in?
7 A. The house was burning, and it was caving in, the wooden
8 structure was caving in. It was burning entirely.
9 Q. Did you continue to walk past the house to the road?
10 A. No, in front of house number 1 there was a little amount
11 of space, so we sort of crouched down, we sat down, and
12 we sat there. I got up to peep out to see whether
13 I could see my son and husband, but the children would
14 not let me, nor would the other women. I tried several
15 times. We did not spend much time there. A formation
16 that was going near number 5, a large formation, with
17 black uniforms, they were also going in a group across
18 the road to link up in the area number 4 with this
19 formation that was in the wood. They were talking
20 aloud, "shall we chase them away or kill them?". We
21 crouched down, we did not dare look, we just waited for
22 them to shoot us, but it did not happen. They went
23 past, the formation went by and linked up with this
24 other formation here at number 4.
25 Q. So Witness H, the soldiers depicted at number 5 walked
1 across the road and linked up with the soldiers that are
2 on the line at number 4, is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How many soldiers in black uniforms did you see?
5 A. I said that I cannot tell you the figure. There were
6 indeed a lot of them. I really cannot tell you, because
7 I do not know.
8 Q. What happened after that, Witness H?
9 A. We were sitting there, my sister had asked for help and
10 she probably went to UNPROFOR, there were some that were
11 captured at number 4, and we heard the personnel
12 carriers coming and going, coming to pick up the wounded
13 and we waited for UNPROFOR to come and for us to stop
14 them and that is what happened, so we stopped them right
15 there, near house number 1. We were there in the bend
16 on the road. We told them what had happened, we managed
17 to make them understand, then they showed us with their
18 finger that they would come back and for us to wait.
19 They went off, and since Travnik is quite a long way
20 away, they had to take the wounded and come back and we
21 did not dare wait any longer, because we did not know
22 what fate would befall us, so we agreed to start along
23 the road and let happen what will.
24 So that is what we did, we came to this clearing
25 near house number 1 where I had lived, but I wanted to
1 turn around, and I did and I looked. My son and husband
2 were lying across the stairs. They really were killed,
3 I thought to myself. My children saw this. Then we
4 went on from there and I heard a voice of Ms. Sena
5 Residovic, she was calling out -- Sena Imsirovic, and
6 she called out and we all went together to the place
7 where they were standing, there was Fikreta, the
8 mother-in-law of Imsirovic, and I told her what had
9 happened, "Fikreta, they have killed my son Samir and my
10 husband", and she just said, "they have killed my Galip
11 too, he was her only son". I really fell silent because
12 I realised that I was not the only one to suffer such a
14 We started talking, we told them that UNPROFOR had
15 come by and that they had promised to come back for us,
16 so we stayed there for a while. Sena was with her
17 children, her son Emir and daughter Dzenana. Then there
18 was Fahida, her daughter-in-law and her son Enver, also
19 an only son. We spent some time there, then we heard
20 the carriers, the UNPROFOR coming and we ran to meet
21 them. We stopped them, we would not let them go past.
22 They turned around, there were two carriers, they turned
23 around and that is how we got in and then we really
24 started crying, all of us, women. That is my story.
25 MR. KEHOE: Witness H -- excuse me. Do you want to take a
1 break, are you okay?
2 A. No, I do not want a break.
3 JUDGE JORDA: It is 5.30, you know that there is no
4 hearing -- do you hear me?
5 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE JORDA: There is no hearing on Monday, so we will
7 resume on Tuesday. Would it be possible to know whether
8 you have many questions you still want to ask, or
9 whether the Defence has many questions to ask?
10 MR. KEHOE: I just have a couple more questions,
11 Mr. President, and then I am finished.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Do the Defence intend to ask many questions?
13 MR. HAYMAN: The examination is not completed, of course, but
14 we think this witness can be finished quite soon and
15 would encourage that.
16 JUDGE JORDA: At the suggestion of my colleagues and after
17 having heard what you said, we will try to finish the
18 testimony of Witness H, which would allow you to have
19 the weekend. Since there is no hearing on Monday,
20 perhaps we can just try to go quickly and get to the
22 Mr. Kehoe?
23 A. May I just say this, I am very grateful to you for your
24 understanding. May I say that? You are doing your best
25 to finish this because I would like to go back home
1 because of my son, because of his school, and I do
2 appreciate you very much and am very grateful:
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Witness H, you said during
4 your testimony that you met Sena and Fikreta and their
5 families. Would you have met them by the house marked
6 on the map as 6?
7 A. Yes, house number 6.
8 Q. House number 6 is a house that is owned by a Croat, is
9 that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Was that house locked up and vacant on that morning?
12 A. The house was locked up, even the pigsty. It was also
13 locked. The stable, but in front of the stable there
14 was a kind of cover and there was a pile of firewood
16 Q. On the map also there is point 7. Is that the point
17 where you were picked up by UNPROFOR?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, one last exhibit and if we could
20 just go briefly to private session --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. Kehoe.
22 MR. KEHOE: One last exhibit, because we are going to
23 identify several names, so if we could go to private
24 session and again not show these photographs on the
25 ELMO, I will be completed.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the Defence is nodding its
2 agreement. All right, we will go into private session.
3 (In private session)
13 page 3927 redacted – private session
10 (In open session)
11 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO
12 Q. Witness H, good evening, my name is Anto Nobilo, my
13 colleague, Mr. Hayman.
14 A. Good evening.
15 Q. On the 16th, when this truly terrible tragedy occurred,
16 did you see this man over there? Do you know his name?
17 A. I do, Blaskic.
18 Q. Did anyone mention him by name on that day in any
20 A. I did not hear that.
21 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President, I have no further
23 JUDGE JORDA: Once again, I turn to Mr. Kehoe, have you any
24 additional questions you would like to ask?
25 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE JORDA: There are no other questions. Turning to my
2 colleagues, Judge Riad?
3 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Witness H. I am sorry to call
4 you Witness H and not to call you by your name. (redacted)
8 A. No, my son was a minor, he was under age, and my husband
9 also was never a fighter. I said that.
10 Q. You told us that there is -- a soldier told that you may
11 be used as human shields. Do you remember saying that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you hear of anybody who was used as a human shield?
14 Did it happen that some people you know were used as
15 human shields?
16 A. I am not aware of it. I just told you what I had
17 experienced. You have heard my tale and my statement.
18 What I have said really happened and I know nothing more
19 than that, I do not know anything else, because I could
20 not see anything more.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
22 A. Thank you too.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Witness H, just one or two questions.
24 You said you saw some soldiers in black uniforms, and
25 that they were going to link up with another group of
2 A. Yes, they were wearing black uniforms and they linked up
3 with this formation where we were captured at position
5 Q. Were you able to tell to what group the soldiers in
6 black uniform belonged? Did you see any insignia on
7 their shoulders, or could you tell from their
9 A. No, I did not see anything, nor did I ever say that
10 I did. I was in a state of shock.
11 Q. Yes, indeed. Could you tell the court what kind of
12 uniform the first group of soldiers had?
13 A. I cannot remember, no, I could not.
14 Q. But was it or was it not black? I am talking about the
15 first group of soldiers.
16 A. I do not know what kind of uniform they had, but the
17 second group were in black uniforms, the formation
18 crossing the road at position number 5.
19 Q. Let me put it this way to you then. Was the first group
20 of soldiers in the same kind of uniform as the second
21 group of soldiers, or did they have a different kind of
23 A. I must repeat that I cannot remember, I do not know,
24 I cannot remember what kind of uniforms the first group
25 of soldiers had.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I accept your answer and I thank you.
2 A. Thank you too.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Witness H, we are finished. You were very
4 courageous and the Tribunal thanks you very sincerely
5 for your testimony. Do you have anything you would like
6 to add, anything you might not have said or anything
7 that you might have liked to have said?
8 A. I do not know what I could say. Let justice win. All
9 that is left for me is to mourn my son for as long as
10 I live and I thank God again for leaving the other two
11 boys with me, so I have some consolation. Let God
12 reward those who do well and punish those who do ill.
13 I ask no more.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. We can now conclude today's
15 hearing, the Tribunal will withdraw and the usher will
16 help Witness H to return to the witness room and then we
17 wish her godspeed back home. We will resume at 10.00 on
19 (The witness withdrew)
20 (5.50 pm)
21 (Hearing adjourned until 10.00 am
22 on Tuesday, 18th November 1997)