1 Tuesday, 20th January 1998
2 (2.20 pm)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Usher, have
4 the accused brought in, please.
5 (Accused brought in)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Is everybody ready? Are our
7 interpreter friends ready? Good day. Does the
8 Prosecutor hear me? Does the Defence hear? General
9 Blaskic, do you hear as well?
10 After long discussions regarding the
11 timetables, and trying to take into account technical
12 necessities, the transcripts and also thinking about
13 the fact that these are busy afternoons, generally
14 speaking, and I repeat generally speaking, if we begin
15 at 2.15, we will be finished at 6.45, with a 30-minute
16 break, because apparently that is required, and this is
17 also for technical reasons. This is the first point.
18 Under special occasions, for reasons which might be
19 related to appointments or to complete the testimony of
20 a witness for whom the judges have some questions to
21 ask, we would then finish within that time period in
22 any case.
23 Third, the Registrar is supposed to count the
24 time that we have been using, especially if we are only
25 meeting in the afternoon, or in the morning, that we
1 spend about four hours doing so, and he will keep a
2 very careful account of it, that is Mr. Dubuisson will,
3 so that we can apply fully the order of 17th December
4 which set a number of days for the Prosecution and a
5 specific number of days for the Defence.
6 I wanted to give you these clarifications.
7 Of course telling you that, there can be some
8 modifications having to do with the needs of the Trial
9 Chamber or of the Prosecution, the Defence or the
10 accused. We will decide things on a case by case
11 basis. Having said that, I can give the floor to
12 Mr. Cayley who has returned to us and whom we welcome
13 back to our Tribunal.
14 MR. CAYLEY: Good afternoon, Mr. President,
15 your Honours, thank you very much. Good afternoon
16 learned counsel.
17 The first witness this afternoon,
18 Mr. President, has sought certain protective measures
19 from the Tribunal. He wishes to have his face and
20 voice distorted. Unfortunately for technical reasons
21 this cannot be done, because there is a technical
22 failure with the voice distortion equipment, so the
23 Prosecutor will be applying on his behalf for a closed
24 session this afternoon, only in respect of that
1 I have spoken to my learned friends on the
2 Defence; they are not in disagreement with using that
3 process; indeed Rule 75 does envisage, a closed session
4 in certain circumstances for the protection of
5 witnesses, so, Mr. President, if you are in agreement
6 with that, we can proceed in that manner.
7 JUDGE JORDA: First, I would like to know how
8 long this system is going to be not working, if every
9 single time there are technical problems we run into
10 these same consequences, and this really is not a good
11 thing. I would like to remind you that we are holding
12 public hearings, even if the witnesses have to be
14 Mr. Dubuisson, have you anything to add to
16 THE REGISTRAR: No, we are aware of the
17 problem and trying to resolve it as quickly as
18 possible, but I cannot tell you how long that is going
19 to take at this moment.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?
21 MR. HAYMAN: We do not oppose, your Honour, a
22 closed session for purposes of basically granting face
23 anonymity, facial anonymity for the witness, but
24 I would assume that the transcript will not need to be
25 sealed, if we use a pseudonym for the witness. At
1 least the parties and the court can cite to the
2 transcript the testimony of this witness in public
3 documents, so we would make that request and I assume
4 it is consistent with the Prosecutor's objectives.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I think it is obvious that is
6 true, is it not, Mr. Cayley? Since the witness was
7 supposed to have been heard in an open session.
8 MR. CAYLEY: I think the point that my learned
9 friend is making is that he may wish to cite to the
10 transcript, and the only manner in which that can be
11 done is if the witness also has a pseudonym, although,
12 of course, because it is a closed session in any event,
13 his name will not be made public, but the transcript
14 will be, if it is to be referred to, so he will have to
15 be referred to in court under a pseudonym. I agree
16 with that comment, yes.
17 MR. HAYMAN: If he wanted a pseudonym, he
18 would have had to have had a pseudonym in an open
19 session with face and voice distortion anyway, I think.
20 MR. CAYLEY: Exactly.
21 JUDGE JORDA: All right then, we can sustain
22 that objection. So the only protective measures that
23 had been asked for were distortion of his face and
24 voice, but he was not trying to have his name held
25 back; is that right?
1 MR. CAYLEY: He does wish to have a pseudonym,
2 Mr. President. Indeed if he had had his face and voice
3 distorted, the image would have been transmitted to the
4 public and he would have had to have been referred to
5 as Witness A, B or C, although in a closed session
6 there will be no public transmission of the proceedings
7 in this courtroom, the point that Mr. Hayman makes is
8 that the transcript is still a public document and thus
9 that will be released to the public, so he will still
10 have to be referred to as Witness A, B, C. It is
11 difficult, I know, but unfortunately it is a result of
12 this technical failure.
13 JUDGE JORDA: All right, perhaps the
14 technical -- the equipment will help us out. Would you
15 tell everybody what you just told me.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Apparently, if we wait for
17 ten minutes, we can have voice distortion and image as
18 well. For the image there is no problem. The problem
19 was related to the voice distortion. After the
20 witness, we have to wait for about ten minutes.
21 JUDGE JORDA: All right then, we will suspend
22 the hearing for ten minutes in order to make the
23 equipment operational.
24 (2.30 pm)
25 (A short break)
1 (2.50 pm)
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.
3 Once again, let us be sure that everything is working
4 right. Mr. Cayley, we will give a pseudonym to the
5 witness. What pseudonym did you choose, Mr. Cayley?
6 MR. CAYLEY: Witness T, Mr. President. I would
7 also apply, Mr. President, that the first part of the
8 testimony will be in completely closed session and the
9 last part, because the witness will be speaking of
10 matters which will identify him to the public.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, we will ask the
12 witness to remain seated.
13 Witness T, you agreed to come to this
14 Tribunal to testify. First we ask you to identify your
15 name, but do not state it. Just look at the piece of
16 paper being shown to you by the usher and then read,
17 while remaining seated, the statement which has been
18 given to you.
19 WITNESS T (sworn)
20 JUDGE JORDA: We are not quite sure that the
21 technical equipment is functioning properly. If it is
22 not, we will simply have a closed hearing, but I want
23 to say very clearly, so that we do not have the witness
24 brought back again, if the technical conditions have
25 not been prepared in the future, then either you must
1 not bring in the witness or postpone it for another
2 day, because it is not really dignified for a Tribunal
3 to get up, go out, come back in. Either the technical
4 equipment works or it does not. I understand if it
5 does not, but in that case, we must be advised in
6 advance, and it is not a very good thing for the
7 witness either. In any case, we will begin now with
8 Witness T and I will ask the Prosecutor to summarise
9 for the judges what he expects from the witness. Do
10 you want us to go into a closed session now?
11 MR. CAYLEY: Yes please, Mr. President.
12 THE REGISTRAR: You are not talking about a
13 private session here?
14 MR. CAYLEY: A private session; no
15 transmission to the public at all.
16 JUDGE JORDA: All right, private session.
17 (In closed session)
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9 (In open session)
10 MR. CAYLEY: Witness T, you said that the
11 government worked satisfactorily until or during this
12 time during 1991. I would now like you to move on and
13 explain to the court the negotiations that took place
14 with representatives of the JNA in Zenica as to the
15 departure of JNA units in Busovaca, and what those
16 negotiations ultimately led to in respect of
17 relationships with the HDZ in Busovaca.
18 A. As I pointed out, the year 1991 was excellent
19 in terms of work. We worked together. The Municipal
20 Assembly gave us very high marks for our work, both the
21 President of the municipality and the President of the
22 Executive Council of the municipality. At that time,
23 problems began in Slovenia and Croatia, the JNA attack
24 on Slovenia and Croatia, and we felt that problems
25 would spread to Busovaca or rather to
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. That was the time when the
2 representatives of the municipality took action and
3 they elected a Crisis Staff. It was elected by all the
4 parties, the aim being to conduct talks and
5 negotiations with the former JNA, for them to move out
6 of the barracks, and there were two barracks in
7 Busovaca. One was based in Rajlovac and the other one
8 in Zenica.
9 Q. Witness T, was there an agreement with the
10 HVO in Busovaca as to the division of the Territorial
11 Defence in those barracks?
12 A. There were separate talks, but as a civilian,
13 I did not fully participate in them, but there was talk
14 of the arms being shared half and half, the arms that
15 were in the barracks.
16 Q. Witness T, shared between whom?
17 A. Between the HDZ and the SDA.
18 Q. When the division was supposed to occur
19 between the SDA and the HDZ, can you explain what
21 A. This was happening in 1992, somewhere around
22 April or May, and I think that there were some problems
23 that arose in that connection.
24 Q. As a result of those problems, can you
25 explain to the court what happened in Busovaca?
1 A. As a consequence of those problems, on May
2 9th 1992 a command was issued which was signed by
3 responsible officials of the HVO, or rather
4 Herceg-Bosna, to the effect that all the armaments
5 should be taken over by the HVO, and that night, in the
6 evening at 1.20, rather early in the morning at 1.20,
7 according to the order that you have a copy of,
8 Busovaca was blocked, Croatian flags were hoisted at
9 the police station in Busovaca, as well as at the
10 Municipal Assembly building. The post office was
11 captured. The work of all democratically-elected
12 bodies was banned, as well as all parties, the HDZ and
13 the Executive Council; everything was taken over by the
14 HVO. Actually, I could describe it as a military coup.
15 Furthermore, in all companies, the directors
16 were appointed by decision. They were of Croatian
17 ethnicity, even though there were Bosniaks holding
18 managerial positions in some companies.
19 MR. CAYLEY: Witness T, if you could pause
20 there and if the witness could be shown exhibit 208?
21 Mr. President, 208 is an exhibit in BCS. 208A
22 is a French translation of the same document and 208B
23 is an English translation of that document.
24 Witness T, do you recognise this order?
25 A. I do, it is the order which I was handed in
1 the morning by the SDA President at 5.00 am, and that
2 night, Dzemal Merdan and Alija Begic were arrested, and
3 this order was signed by the Vice-President of the HVO,
4 Mr. Dario Kordic, whose signature I am personally
5 familiar with, and the Commander of the municipal staff
6 of the HVO Busovaca, Ivo Brnada, who was an active duty
7 officer in the former JNA. This order was entirely
9 Q. Witness T, I do not want you to read this
10 order to the court, because everybody can read it. You
11 have mentioned a number of events that took place as
12 a result of it, but what was the general effect after
13 this order was issued in the town of Busovaca?
14 A. The general effect was that, as I mentioned
15 earlier, flags were hoisted, a military coup was
16 carried out, the work of all legally-elected bodies was
17 banned, bombs began to be planted in Bosniak-owned
18 businesses, and some were set on fire, among them, the
19 shop owned by Senad Hevacic, by Fadir Dizdarevic, Besad
20 Mehanovic, Emin Saracevic, Faik Sarajlic, and so on and
21 so forth. All shops owned by Bosniaks, and after that
22 Mirsad Delija was killed on his doorstep.
23 Q. Witness T, who was responsible for all of
24 these actions?
25 A. I think that the people who signed this order
1 were responsible.
2 Q. Witness T, there was, I believe, a subsequent
3 order of 22nd May, and if the witness can be shown
4 exhibit 2099, and there is again a French and English
5 translation of this order. Do you recognise this
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. By whom is this document signed?
9 A. This document was signed by the
10 Vice-President of the Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna, Dario Kordic in person, and the President
12 of the municipal HVO staff of Busovaca, Florijan
13 Glavocevic, but there is no need to read the order
14 because it is all written there, all that it contains,
15 and it was acted according to this order.
16 Q. Witness T, were there Croats in Busovaca who
17 opposed the contents of these two orders?
18 A. I must say that there were decent Croats,
19 honest people, especially local ones, the people who
20 were there for ages and who condemned these steps, and
21 in particular, a doctor, a well known specialist called
22 Franz and his son. He too was earlier a member of the
23 HDZ, and the former Vice-President of the HDZ also
24 opposed this. His name was Dragutin Cicak, who, after
25 several articles that he wrote in the press was beaten
1 up by certain people in Busovaca. They were HVO
2 representatives, and there are reports about this in
3 the press. He was beaten up, even though he used to be
4 the Vice-President of the HDZ.
5 Q. Witness T, you have mentioned a number of
6 incidences that occurred, of businesses being blown up,
7 and I do not wish you to repeat yourself, but can you
8 briefly describe to the court the life of the Muslim
9 population in Busovaca between May 1992 and January
11 A. It is only logical that the Bosniaks became
12 scared, and, of course, they denounced this. Some of
13 them, for these reasons, started moving out, because
14 they were afraid.
15 Q. Witness T, on the night of 21st January 1993,
16 you received a call from Florijan Glavocevic. Can you
17 explain to the court the conversation you had with
18 Mr. Glavocevic?
19 A. I was a good friend with Florijan
20 Glavocevic. We are roughly of the same age. For many
21 years, he was head of the Sumarija, the forestry
22 enterprise in Busovaca. He was in charge of the
23 nursery, forest nursery in Busovaca, and also I had
24 bought a piece of land from his mother. His mother was
25 about 30 metres away from my house. Maybe on 20th or
1 21st January he called me up on the phone from the
2 Busovaca municipality building, where a session of the
3 HDZ was being held. He asked me secretly to go to his
4 mother's, and indeed in ten minutes' time, I went out
5 and he told me that I should move out as soon as
6 possible. I should leave Busovaca, because an order
7 had come from the Defence minister of Herceg-Bosna,
8 Bozo Rajic, to attack Busovaca, and with my friend who
9 was visiting at my home with his wife about 6.00. His
10 name was Ibro Hodzic, and taking my relative's car, we
11 only just somehow managed to reach Zenica, and we
12 stayed there for a certain period of time, and Ibro
13 Hodzic later -- was later killed in his own apartment.
14 Q. Witness T, did you try and communicate this
15 warning to anybody else in the town?
16 A. I had quite a number of friends, and I wanted
17 to warn them, but I did not succeed, because the
18 telephone lines were cut immediately.
19 Q. Where did you flee to?
20 A. I fled to Zenica, with my wife and son, and
21 my colleague Ibro Hodzic, with his wife and son, and
22 I am still in Zenica; I am living in somebody else's
24 Q. I think a couple of days after this incident
25 occurred, you returned to the village of Kacuni near
1 Busovaca. Why did you return?
2 A. That is right, I met a colleague of mine,
3 Husnija Neslanovic and Nihad Pasalic and they invited
4 me to go to Kacuni so that we could review the
5 situation as it was in Busovaca at the time.
6 Q. I think you discussed, did you not, forming a
7 War Presidency; is that correct?
8 A. That was not a War Presidency, it was roughly
9 a kind of Executive Board of the SDA, which reviewed
10 and discussed the situation.
11 Q. To look after the interests of the Bosniak
12 people of Busovaca; would that be correct?
13 A. The Bosniak people, yes, correct.
14 Q. Did you return to your house in Busovaca that
16 A. On that day, I went back to my house in
17 Busovaca to protect some things, and leave them with my
18 neighbours, Croats, and my son was with me, and my
19 daughter-in-law, so I wanted to get them out too, to
20 save them. However, I could not get out, because
21 again, everything was under blockade, so that I spent
22 the night at a friend of mine's in a building on the
23 fifth floor, with my son and daughter-in-law. This was
24 on the 24th, it was a Sunday, a Sunday evening, and the
25 next day at 6.00, the sirens could be heard. Heavy
1 fire from all weapons and armaments, especially in the
2 Bosniak areas known as Kadica Strana, and I saw through
3 the window Bosniak houses being set on fire. I saw
4 that the HVO had set light to about five houses, I know
5 exactly whose they are, and after that, another 14 or
6 15 houses, therefore a total of about 19 houses were
7 torched, all in a line, and I saw this with my own eyes
8 looking out of the window, because this is nearby.
9 I saw HVO soldiers entering the houses and setting them
10 on fire, and them bursting into flames and burning down
12 Later on that same day, I also personally
13 witnessed people being expelled from Kadica Strana,
14 both men, women and children. They were brought in
15 front of the fire brigade centre and I saw men being
16 separated and being taken away to the camp at Kaonik.
17 Q. Witness T, what was the ethnicity of the men,
18 women and children that you saw being taken to the fire
20 A. They were only Bosniaks, only Bosniaks.
21 I spent two nights at my friend's house, and the next
22 day, in the morning at 7.00, they came to fetch me, two
23 HVO soldiers came with the insignia, and they took me
24 away, together with another colleague of mine, to the
25 camp at Kaonik.
1 Q. Witness T, what did the two HVO soldiers say
2 to you when they came to find you?
3 A. They told me that they had received orders to
4 arrest me.
5 Q. Witness T, what had you done?
6 A. I had to go with them, because they were
7 armed with automatic rifles, and I went without making
8 any comments, because I had to go.
9 Q. So what was the reason that they arrested
11 A. The reason was that I was a Bosniak, a
12 Muslim, because it was not just me that was arrested.
13 All people who had Bosniak names were arrested.
14 Q. You said that you were taken to the camp at
15 Kaonik. Can you describe to the court your detention
16 in that facility, and the events that took place whilst
17 you were there.
18 A. Yes. It is correct that I was taken to the
19 camp at Kaonik, which was specially built for that
20 purpose. There were some 20 or so cells. I was
21 admitted by Aleksovski, whom I knew personally, and
22 there was another man with him from Zepce. I was
23 admitted and my colleague; we were registered and
24 shoved into cell number 9. These were cells roughly 3
25 by 3 metres in size. There were 18 of us in there.
1 Let me add that in the camp at the time,
2 there were between 300 and 400 Bosniaks, civilians.
3 I underline the word civilians, and I was one of them.
4 With me was Jasmin Sehovic; he is a young man of 18, a
6 JUDGE RIAD: May I just ask a question?
7 Witness T, you mentioned that there were 20 cells and
8 300 civilians. In the 20 cells? How were they packed
9 in 20 cells?
10 A. I wish to observe that there were not just
11 cells; there were also some larger halls, military
12 halls, therefore in addition to the cells, those who
13 could not fit into the cells went into the halls and
14 for a time I too was moved from the cell to the hall.
15 Two or three times I was taken out there and we would
16 spend the whole night walking up and down. These are
17 concrete halls, concrete, cold, January, and all we did
18 was walk up and down so as to protect ourselves from
19 the cold.
20 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
21 MR. CAYLEY: Witness T, just to clarify a
22 couple of points: this prison facility, the HVO were
23 running it; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, correct.
25 Q. Can you describe to the court incidences that
1 took place whilst you were detained at Kaonik,
2 particularly those incidents which occurred at night?
3 A. Almost every night there were callouts of
4 people. Names of prisoners were called out and they
5 were taken to dig trenches. People were taken to be
6 used as human shields in the capture of certain
7 villages like Skradno, Kovacevac, Loncari and so on.
8 During trench digging, some people were even killed.
9 One of those who was with me in the cell is Sehovic,
10 Jasmin Sehovic, and thus also Mustafa Ibrilic was
11 killed, as well as Nermin Elezovic, because on two
12 occasions, people were taken to the Kaonik camp from
13 the 25th January until 8th February, when an exchange
14 was carried out through the mediation of the
15 International Red Cross, and then again in April, when
16 again a certain number of people were killed on the
17 front-lines. I personally did not see that, I heard
18 about it, I read about it, and we amongst ourselves
19 knew who those people were.
20 Q. Witness T, you stated that individuals that
21 were detained were used as human shields. Can you
22 explain to the judges what you mean by that?
23 A. The HVO more or less wanted to take, to
24 capture certain villages which I have mentioned,
25 Skradno, Strane, Loncari, Kovacevac, et cetera. They
1 went head first and they were tied up. They wanted to
2 be protected by them, because their aim was to take the
4 Q. When you say "they", you mean prisoners from
6 A. The HVO. The prisoners were like human
8 Q. Before the HVO, as the HVO advanced on this
10 A. Yes, exactly.
11 Q. Was anybody beaten from your cell?
12 A. From my cell, Jasmin Sehovic was killed,
13 because he left the cell and never came back and there
14 were other people who were killed. They were not from
15 my cell but from other cells, Mustafa Ibrilic, Jasmin
16 Elezovic, and then there were other people from the
17 cell who were beaten, they were actually being beaten.
18 There was one man who was with me, his name was Cago.
19 He came from the police, he was in the police force in
20 Busovaca, and he told me that he had been beaten, and
21 I could see this personally. He had -- his ear was cut
22 by a knife, and also he had a scar on his neck and also
23 a cross on his stomach. This was Cago who was with me
24 and who otherwise was a neighbour of mine. Apparently
25 this was done by members of some special police from
1 Mostar, that is from Herceg-Bosna. I do not know the
2 names, but I saw this personally.
3 Q. These were HVO special police?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You saw the scars on this man's body?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. Was any property stolen from any of the
8 individuals within your cell?
9 A. From amongst the prisoners, watches, gold
10 rings and money was taken. They were taking anything
11 of value from them, but later on, and this I have to
12 say, during the exchange on 8th February, some of these
13 belongings, some of the watches and the rings were
14 produced and they asked to whom some of these things
15 belonged and to those people who could identify those
16 got them back. Then the exchange took place with the
17 assistance of the International Red Cross. The
18 Red Cross arrived on 5th February, that is four or five
19 days later, and I personally saw salvation for myself
20 and for others in them, otherwise it would not have
21 ended well. It is possible that we would have been
22 killed; that is a possibility.
23 Q. Witness T, when this property was being
24 returned to the prisoners at Kaonik, was there a film
25 crew filming this?
1 A. The International Red Cross filmed all this,
2 as well as certain local stations, so all this was
3 filmed, and I am sure you have lists from the
4 International Red Cross about who was there. I also
5 received an identity card from the Red Cross, and
6 I received a certificate from Zagreb which you have in
7 the file.
8 Q. Was the return of the property to prisoners
9 filmed by the film crew?
10 A. Yes, it was.
11 MR. CAYLEY: Could the witness now be shown
12 exhibits 210 and 211? (Handed).
13 A. Yes, this is mine, this is myself, this is
14 what everybody else also had. If they did not receive
15 this certificate, then they have this from the
16 Red Cross.
17 Q. When you were exchanged, where did you go?
18 A. When the exchange took place, I went to
19 Zenica, and a colleague of mine, he was the SDA
20 President, returned to Busovaca because his wife was
21 there, and after the cease-fire and the Washington
22 Agreement, his wife was killed, a bomb was thrown into
23 the house, and he was wounded, one of his legs was
24 shattered and a portion of the other one too, and he is
25 in rehabilitation in Denmark. Also after the
1 cease-fire in Busovaca, the mosque was set on fire, and
2 in all villages where the HVO had control, the mekteps,
3 the mosques were set on fire. All this was documented,
4 all this was taped and it can be seen.
5 Q. Witness T, how many Muslims remain in the
6 town of Busovaca?
7 A. In the town of Busovaca, there are 26 Muslims
8 left, for the most part, members of mixed marriages and
9 a few who have been protected by their honest
10 neighbours who are Croats. I know more or less which
11 Bosniaks these are by names. Some of these
12 mixed-marriage couples have since moved to the
13 United States.
14 MR. CAYLEY: If the transcript could be sealed
15 from this point? These are the final questions,
16 Mr. President.
17 (In closed session)
19 (In open session)
20 Q. What is your nationality?
21 A. Bosniak Muslim, otherwise I need to say that
22 we lived together, without any problems. We lived
23 together on excellent terms, until the conflict.
24 MR. CAYLEY: I have no further questions,
25 Mr. President. If I could apply for admission of the
1 exhibits which is 208, 208A and B, the French and
2 English translations; 209A and B being the French and
3 English translations of the same document, and then 210
4 and 211, a certificate and identification card relating
5 to this witness in respect of his Red Cross
6 registration in 1993. Thank you.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Any objections?
8 MR. HAYMAN: We would like to note two things,
9 your Honour. Some of these documents predate the time
10 period of the charges in the indictment, which I think
11 raises some questions that I would quite frankly like
12 to consult with my co-counsel at greater length on
13 before taking a position in that regard. Also I think
14 I would state, we have no objection to --
15 JUDGE JORDA: You have or you do not have an
17 MR. HAYMAN: I think what I am saying is
18 I would like to speak to my co-counsel before --
19 JUDGE JORDA: That is your right, go ahead.
20 MR. HAYMAN: The reason being that some of
21 these documents are outside the period of the charges
22 which raises a question in my mind.
23 MR. CAYLEY: I think, Mr. President, I can
24 clarify this for my learned friend immediately. The
25 documents before you, the orders relate to the month of
1 May 1992, and I can direct --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Which document are you speaking
3 about? First, are there any objections about 208 and
4 209, those two? Let us try to see where we are. 208
5 and 209, these were the documents identified by the
6 witness. There is no objection about those I suppose.
7 That is the command orders on 10th May 1992 and
8 22nd May 1992.
9 MR. HAYMAN: 10th May I think predates the --
10 no? I can shoot from the hip or I can have a moment,
11 Mr. President, to confer and then we can give you a
12 definitive position. That might be more efficient.
13 JUDGE JORDA: You try to offer some
14 clarifications, but obviously Mr. Hayman wants to speak
15 with his colleague.
16 MR. HAYMAN: Do you want us to confer now,
17 Mr. President? I am sorry. Is the court waiting for us
18 to take a position on these exhibits?
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I thought you were going
20 to do it right away. If you need ten minutes, instead
21 of taking our break at 4.30, we can take our break
22 right now, until 4.45. Would you prefer doing it that
24 MR. HAYMAN: I am uncomfortable keeping the
25 court waiting. Perhaps after the next break we could
1 advise the court, not to dictate we take a break now
2 necessarily. If it is convenient to take a ten-minute
3 break now, we can do that and advise the court at the
4 end of the break.
5 JUDGE JORDA: No, we are not going to take
6 two breaks. We have already lost a lot of time today.
7 I was thinking we would take our break at 4.30, but
8 since the examination-in-chief has been completed and
9 you wish to confer with your colleague, perhaps with
10 the accused, perhaps a little bit longer than just a
11 few moments, apparently you need some more time, I was
12 suggesting the following solution, that is we take a
13 break right now, say 20 or 30 minutes, and then resume
14 around 4.45, at which point you could tell us what your
15 answer is and we could settle this incident.
16 Does everybody agree to this? Mr. Cayley?
17 MR. CAYLEY: Very quickly, Mr. President, can
18 I please make one observation? These two documents
19 date from 10th May 1992 and 22nd May 1992. The month
20 of commencement of the second amended indictment is May
21 1992, therefore it is the position of the Prosecutor
22 that these documents are relevant and admissible. If
23 my learned friend has any further comments to make then
24 we can wait until after the break.
25 MR. HAYMAN: I think it is most efficient that
1 we take the break and we can then advise the court.
2 JUDGE JORDA: All right, we are going to take
3 a 20-minute break and begin at 4.35.
4 (4.15 pm)
5 (A short break)
6 (4.35 pm)
7 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
8 bring in the accused.
9 (Accused brought in)
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?
11 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, thank you, your Honour, for
12 giving us a moment to confer, that is my co-counsel and
13 I. As to exhibits 210 and 211, the ICRC documents, we
14 have no objection. As to exhibits 208 and 209, we have
15 two points. The first is that the documents are not
16 relevant to any charges against our client. The second
17 superseding indictment charges in paragraph 3 that the
18 accused became the Regional Commander of the HVO for
19 the Central Bosnia region on June 27th 1992, so these
20 documents predate his authorities and responsibilities
21 as the Regional Commander.
22 There has been no evidence from this witness
23 that the accused had any personal involvement in any of
24 the events in Busovaca prior to June 27th 1992, and, by
25 definition, the accused, could have no command
1 responsibility for any events in Busovaca prior to June
2 27th 1992, because he was not a commander with
3 responsibilities that included the Busovaca area prior
4 to 27th June 1992. So we have a relevance objection to
5 the documents.
6 Secondly, exhibits 208 and 209 purport to be
7 Herceg-Bosna or HVO documents. Although we have no
8 particular quarrel with the contents of these
9 documents, in fact we believe they relate to other
10 persons and not to the accused. As a matter of
11 principle, we note that, strictly speaking, the
12 documents have not been authenticated, and so we make
13 an authentication objection to them, unless, of course,
14 the same standards will be applied to Defence
15 documents, in which case we make no such objection.
16 Thank you.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley?
18 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. The
19 first point that I would like to make, your Honours, is
20 that the commencement date of the second amended
21 indictment is the beginning of May 1992. The two
22 documents to which my learned friend refers date from
23 10th May 1992 and 22nd May 1992. In the prosecution of
24 any criminal offence before any court, it is expected
25 of a Prosecutor to bring background information to set
1 a scene in which criminal offences were committed.
2 This is exactly what these documents do.
3 They chart the commencement of conduct by HVO officials
4 in the Lasva Valley. They demonstrate that the HVO
5 began its plans at an earlier stage than when my
6 learned friend states from the indictment that General
7 Blaskic was appointed to a position within the HVO.
8 The second point that I would make on the
9 date of May 1992 is that the Prosecutor charges
10 persecution beginning on that date. When the
11 Prosecutor speaks of persecution, we do not refer to
12 one instance at one time; we refer to a pattern of
13 conduct which stretched from May 1992 to January 1994,
14 in which we say the defendant, General Blaskic,
15 participated. It matters not that the Defence may
16 state, and I say they may state, that he joined this
17 process at a date later than May 1992; we say it
18 commenced and he was a senior official who participated
19 in that.
20 In respect of the authenticity of the
21 documents, that objection has absolutely no foundation
22 whatsoever. The witness identified the documents. He
23 stated that he had seen them at the time in May 1992,
24 that copies had been placed in front of him, original
25 documents. It is my respectful submission that that
1 clarifies the authenticity of the documents entirely,
2 so it is the Prosecutor's position that these documents
3 are relevant, they should be considered with all of the
4 other evidence that the Prosecutor presents to the
5 court and that their authenticity has been established
6 by this witness.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman?
8 MR. HAYMAN: I stand on the record and on my
9 objections, unless the court has any questions.
10 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult with my
11 colleagues. (Pause).
12 The Tribunal will receive as evidence
13 documents 208 and 2099. Furthermore, the judges next
14 week will render the decision on the entire question
15 regarding the admission of documents, specifically as
16 indicated in the brief which was submitted by the
17 Defence several weeks ago. I think we can now move to
18 the cross-examination.
19 Mr. Nobilo?
20 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. President, I will try to be
22 brief. Good evening, Witness T. The first question
23 is: could you please tell me what percentages did the
24 SDA and the HDZ win in the first elections?
25 A. Yes, I can. Busovaca had 48 per cent of
1 Croats, 45 per cent of Bosniak Muslims, 6 per cent of
2 Serbs and others. Out of 8,800 inhabitants, about
3 9,000 were Croats, 8,500 were Bosniaks and 600 Serbs
4 and others. So the HDZ had two more Council men,
5 because there were about six parties, there were the
6 Reformists the SDP and the others, where Bosniaks,
7 Croats and Serbs were all included. So the two winners
8 were the HDZ and the SDA, so there was a coalition.
9 There was no problems, the co-operation was excellent
10 up until a certain period.
11 Q. You said about the military coup on 9th May
12 1992. What I am interested in is who was in charge of
13 the civilian administration? Was it the civilian
14 authorities or the military wing of the HVO?
15 A. How did you call it?
16 Q. The executive administrative power, that is
17 who was the Executive President of the Council of
19 A. Up until the May 1992, it was a civilian
20 government, up until 9th May. That was the day of
21 independence of Croatia. On that day, there was a
22 military coup and after 10th May, it was the HVO,
23 starting 10th May when the order was issued.
24 Q. You did not understand the question. Do you
25 distinguish between the military and the civilian
2 A. No, the HVO only had the military.
3 Q. Very well. In those events in May 1992, did
4 anybody in any context mention General Blaskic or
5 Colonel Blaskic at that time?
6 A. No, at that time Filipovic was mentioned in
7 this period.
8 Q. Tell me, who formed the Crisis Staff?
9 A. The Crisis Staff was established by the
10 Municipal Assembly.
11 Q. On whose instructions was this done?
12 A. It was the Municipal Assembly.
13 Q. Was there a co-ordination board for the
14 protection of Muslims in Busovaca?
15 A. Only later.
16 Q. How much later?
17 A. Later, that is after the events that took
19 Q. What events?
20 A. The burning of the -- the torching of
22 Q. Can you place it in time?
23 A. Somewhere around September, maybe August or
24 September, I do not know exactly.
25 Q. What year?
1 A. 1992.
2 Q. What was the function, or what was the goal
3 of this committee for protection?
4 A. It was to protect Muslims in certain ways.
5 Q. Were representatives of the Muslim part of
6 the army and police involved in this board?
7 A. No.
8 Q. You mentioned the meeting of the SDA in
9 Kacuni at which you were present. Was the purpose of
10 this meeting the establishment of the War Presidency?
11 A. No.
12 Q. What was the purpose?
13 A. It was discussion surrounding the issues --
14 the problems created by the HVO.
15 Q. What were the conclusions?
16 A. There were no conclusions. I did not know
17 much about it. I was involved in the civilian matters
18 like delivery of food to the Muslims, because they were
19 under siege.
20 Q. Who established the War Presidency?
21 A. Nobody organised the War Presidency.
22 Q. Did the War Presidency in Busovaca exist?
23 A. Later on it did. It existed -- it was
24 established in February 1993.
25 Q. Who established it in February 1993?
1 A. The SDA gave the proposal to set it up and to
2 provide for food and things like that.
3 Q. You mentioned the order of Bozo Rajic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Whom you called the Minister of Defence of
6 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
7 A. Yes, Minister of Defence.
8 Q. Did you know at that time Bozo Rajic was
9 Minister of Defence for the state of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the state of whom Alija Izetbegovic
11 was the President; did you know that?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Did you see the order of Bozo Rajic?
14 A. No, Floro Glavocevic told me that this order
15 had been issued to attack the army.
16 Q. So Florijan Glavocevic told you that the
17 order was issued to attack the army?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But in the examination-in-chief when asked by
20 my learned colleague the Prosecutor, you said that the
21 order was given to attack Busovaca. There is a
22 difference there. What is the truth?
23 A. I do not understand.
24 Q. So the order was to attack the Army of BiH or
1 A. The BH-Army and Busovaca, of course.
2 Q. What exactly did Florijan tell you, Florijan
4 A. He told me that the positions of the army had
5 to be attacked, the BH-Army.
6 Q. And nothing more?
7 A. Nothing more.
8 Q. In whose house are you living now?
9 A. I am living in Zenica, in a house owned by a
10 Serb who has moved out.
11 Q. Are you paying rent to that Serb?
12 A. I am not for the present.
13 Q. Has he sold you that apartment, has he given
14 you permission?
15 A. I never saw him, the house was empty. There
16 was a hospital or rather a pharmacy of the HOS in
17 Zenica there before, HOS, which is an organisation
18 within the framework of the HDZ.
19 Q. Would you agree with me that the HOS in
20 Zenica was within the framework of the BH-Army?
21 A. It was more inclined towards the HDZ, because
22 in that house, I came across -- personally I found a
23 large number of papers indicating HVO Zenica,
24 headquarters Zenica et cetera. I burnt them.
25 Q. You mentioned 19 houses that were burnt; can
1 you tell us exactly where they are?
2 A. Kadica Strana.
3 Q. What is the name of the street?
4 A. The Bosniak side. It is either Redziplavas
5 or Hadzeterica Street.
6 Q. Do you know exactly where the front-line was
7 in Busovaca?
8 A. I do not know, I was not familiar with
9 military things.
10 Q. You mentioned that your friend had told you
11 that there was an order to arrest Muslims. Who gave
12 the order, did he tell you?
13 A. When did I say that? Can you clarify that?
14 Q. When your friend advised you to flee, that
15 Muslims would be arrested, you said that your friend
16 told you that an order had been received to arrest
17 Muslims, so my question is: did that friend tell you
18 who issued the order?
19 A. He said that the army positions would be
20 attacked and that I should flee, because he was a
21 friend of mine, and he told me to flee with my family
22 and just then, people were being arrested, people were
23 disappearing, people who held responsible positions.
24 Q. Did an order arrive to attack the BH-Army
25 positions or did the order come regarding the attack
1 and the arrests? What did he say? Which of these two
2 actions were ordered?
3 A. The first.
4 Q. Therefore the order was to attack the
5 positions of the BH-Army; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Tell me, you know the President of the
8 municipality Maric?
9 A. Of course I do, we worked together.
10 Q. Did he have to flee from Busovaca as well?
11 A. After the coup, the military coup, Maric was
12 removed for about ten or fifteen days. He went to the
13 seaside and as soon as he came back, he resumed his
15 Q. He is a Croat?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In your examination-in-chief, you said that
18 Kaonik was a camp specially built for that purpose?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What was the building before?
21 A. These were military facilities, but a company
22 called Vatrostalna, with which I worked, by
23 instructions from the HVO had specially built the
24 cells. I personally recorded this. It cost 95,000
25 German marks, the job done by Vatrostalna.
1 Q. Were you mistreated in Kaonik?
2 A. I was not. Do you know why I was not?
3 Because I personally knew Aleksovski, and I knew people
4 who were in charge of the camp.
5 Q. And who were they?
6 A. They were people from the HVO police. There
7 was Zarko Petrovic in the police, Zeljko Katava
8 et cetera, but the main one was Aleksovski; he was in
10 Q. Remember when you were talking about human
11 shields, I would like to know how do you know, who said
12 that people were used as human shields?
13 A. People who came back to my cell, because for
14 about five days, I was in one cell, cell number 9, and
15 in that cell, there were 18 people, and almost all of
16 them were taken to dig trenches and for use as human
17 shields and so on, and then later on, the cells were
18 changed, we were moved to other facilities.
19 Q. Can you give me the name of the person who
20 told you that he was used as a human shield?
21 A. Faik Sarajlic.
22 Q. Who else?
23 A. Lusija, and others, I cannot recall, it was a
24 long time ago, but there is no doubt about it.
25 Q. You said that those people were used as human
1 shields in attacks against Loncari, Kovacevac and
2 Skradno, so my question is: was there any resistance
3 put up in Loncari?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Well then how could they be used as human
6 shields if there was no armed resistance from Loncari?
7 A. Maybe they thought there were people there,
8 but there were only civilians there.
9 Q. So there was no battle?
10 A. They were more or less civilians. They were
11 intimidating people, houses were being burnt down.
12 Loncari is my village; it has been completely burnt
13 down by the HVO, and some civilians, quite a number of
14 civilians were killed, civilians without putting up any
16 Q. That is why I am asking, how could they have
17 been used as human shields if there was no resistance
18 in Loncari?
19 A. They thought there would be some resistance.
20 Q. But there was not any?
21 A. They expected it, but there was not any.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, the question has
23 already been asked, the answer has been given. He said
24 that he thought they were used as human shields and
25 that is clear. Please go on.
1 MR. NOBILO: Skradno, who controlled Skradno?
2 A. The HVO.
3 Q. How could people be used as human shields
4 when Skradno was attacked?
5 A. There were people, but afterwards, the HVO
6 had control, but in Skradno, Skradno is inhabited by
7 Bosniaks, close to Sajtovic, the camp.
8 Q. Was there any resistance in Skradno? Again
9 I am asking you how could they be used as human
11 A. They expected it.
12 Q. Kovacevac. Who had Kovacevac under control?
13 A. Now it is the HVO and the village has been
14 totally burned down by the HVO.
15 Q. Was there any defence in Kovacevac?
16 A. I do not know, I was in the camp at the time.
17 Q. How could they be used as human shields?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, I would like to
19 remind you that you are dealing with professional
20 judges. We have understood the sense of your question
21 on one of the sites. The answer was given that the HVO
22 legitimately or illegitimately, according to the
23 information you have, might have run into resistance,
24 but you do not go through every single one of these
25 sites with the same answers. Please let us speed
1 things up. Go ahead, move forward.
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. The killing of
3 Sehovic, Elezovic and Mustafa Ibrilic, who told you
4 about that?
5 A. Jasmin Sehovic was with me in the cell. He
6 went to school with my son together and he went from
7 the cell to be used as a human shield to dig trenches
8 and as a human shield and he was killed over there. He
9 did not come back, and the same occurred to Mustafa
10 Ibrilic. I did not see it, but he is not there, he has
11 been killed. There are documents to show this and
12 there are witnesses who may perhaps come here to tell
13 you about it. The same applied to Elezovic.
14 Q. I am asking you, who told you under which
15 circumstances those three men were killed?
16 A. Because they were Bosniaks.
17 Q. You have not answered my question. Which
18 person told you under what circumstances those three
19 men were killed?
20 A. I have said that this young man, Sehovic, was
21 with me in the cell and he did not come back and I was
22 told, there were 18 of us in a cell 3 by 3, 18 men. We
23 slept like this, (indicating) leaning to the side.
24 Q. You have not answered my question. Who told
25 you under which circumstances those three men were
2 A. I do not know.
3 Q. You mentioned Cago. Did somebody try to cut
4 his ear? Where was this done?
5 A. In the police station in Busovaca.
6 Q. In the civilian police?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. When you were registered by the International
9 Red Cross, you went for an exchange. Who were you
10 exchanged for?
11 A. I do not know.
12 Q. Where did those people come from? What
13 ethnicity were those people?
14 A. I do not know. I know that we were Bosniaks
15 and that we were exchanged. With whom and how, I do
16 not know. I suppose the International Red Cross knows.
17 Q. Did you have the possibility to say, "I do
18 not want to be exchanged; I want to stay." Could you
19 say that to the International Red Cross?
20 A. Who would say that? Who would say such a
22 Q. I am asking you, did you have such a
24 A. I did not.
25 Q. You mentioned that the mosque in Busovaca was
1 destroyed. When was that?
2 A. I do not know the date, but it was after the
3 signing of the treaty, the Washington treaty.
4 Q. That is February 1994?
5 A. I do not know the date, but it was after the
6 treaty was signed, but let me add that the mekteps,
7 medzidi in Kovacevac, in Loncari, Skradno were all
8 burned down in all the villages, the places of worship,
9 and there are photographs of that.
10 Q. Are you perhaps aware of what the percentage
11 of the area of Busovaca was under the control of the
12 BH-Army and what share was under HVO control?
13 A. Roughly 60 per cent by the army and
14 40 per cent by the HVO, but the HVO had the downtown
15 area, all the companies, and the army the surrounding
17 Q. Did you see or hear anything at all about
18 Tihomir Blaskic in Kaonik?
19 A. I did not. Later on I heard about him.
20 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I have two or three
21 more questions but for a closed session, so that the
22 identity of the witness may not be disclosed.
23 A. Is this not a closed session?
24 Q. We are talking about the transcript, because
25 this part of the transcript will not be revealed to the
1 public at all.
2 JUDGE JORDA: No objection from the
4 (In closed session)
13 Pages 5800 to 5815 redacted - in closed session
10 (In open session)
11 JUDGE JORDA: This is in open session. You
12 requested partial protective measures which were
13 granted to you by the Tribunal. What the judges ask
14 you to do is to speak without fear, and to say things
15 that you like. After several questions which the
16 Prosecutor will ask you, who asked you to come to
17 testify before us and you will testify about the events
18 in Busovaca, what you noted about the HVO in relation
19 to yourself, the arrest of your husband, under
20 detention conditions to which he was subjected before
21 being murdered, plunder and possibly Ahmici. You will
22 be guided as you are deposing, when necessary, by the
23 Prosecutor. Perhaps preliminary questions, Mr. Harmon?
24 A. No, not on my point.
25 Examined by MR. HARMON
1 Q. Thank you. Good evening, Ms. Sahman?
2 A. Good evening.
3 Q. I am going to ask you a series of preliminary
4 questions as we have discussed and then I am going to
5 ask you to give a narrative answer to the judges in
6 respect of the events that occurred to you and your
7 husband. Do you understand me?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. If you could keep your voice up, it would be
10 very helpful to the court and to the interpreters as
12 A. I will try indeed.
13 Q. Ms. Sahman, are you a citizen of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and a Muslim by faith?
15 A. Yes, I am.
16 Q. Are you 40 years old?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were you born in the village of Ahmici?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Before the war, did you get married to a man
21 by the name of Fadil?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you then thereafter have two children?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Fadil was also of the Muslim faith; is that
2 A. Yes, he was.
3 Q. Before the war, was your late husband
4 employed as a bus driver for the Zenica Transport
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. When I say before the war, I am referring to
8 the war between the Muslims and the Croats, so you
10 A. Yes, he did work there, yes.
11 Q. Before the war between the Muslims and the
12 Croats, did he join the TO and did he go to Turbe to
13 fight against the Serbs?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I believe you told me he went to the
16 front-lines on one occasion and thereafter he returned
17 to his job as a bus driver at the Zenica transport
18 correct; is that correct?
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. Did you and members of your family live in
21 the Municipality of Busovaca?
22 A. Yes, at Kaonik in Busovaca.
23 Q. Your home in fact was located next to the
24 Busovaca T-junction; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. HARMON: If I could have exhibit 212 shown
2 to the witness and presented to the bench and to
3 counsel and to the witness lastly?
4 Ms. Sahman, I am going to show you a
5 photograph that you and I have talked about before
6 coming into court.
7 Mr. President and your Honours, this exhibit
8 212 is an enlargement of a portion of a previously
9 entered exhibit, Exhibit 59 and it is accompanied by a
10 legend which is attached to the back. Can you see that
11 exhibit in front of you, Ms. Sahman?
12 A. I do see it.
13 Q. There are three numbers mentioned on this
14 particular exhibit; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Have you had an opportunity to examine with
17 me and then place on this particular exhibit these
18 locations that are indicated as numbers 1, 2 and 3?
19 A. 1 is my house, 2 is the village of Strane and
20 3 is where my husband dug trenches, the house of Vlatko
22 Q. The area to the right-hand side of that that
23 says "Kaonik" is the location where your husband was
24 imprisoned by the HVO, Kaonik camp; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, it is right here.
1 Q. Ms. Sahman, I would like to now ask you to
2 testify about the events that occurred to you and to
3 members of your family in January and February of
4 1993. Could you please tell the judges what occurred
5 to you and to members of your family at the hands of
6 the HVO, starting in January 1993 and continuing
7 thereafter. Tell the judges, please, Ms. Sahman, in
8 your own words, at your own pace, in a style in which
9 you are comfortable explaining the story to the
11 A. On the 24th in the afternoon about 5.00,
12 I came home from Ahmici and we passed by the
13 checkpoint, because our house is nearby. We parked the
14 car, we went in, we fed the cattle, we went into the
15 house, it was already dark, we looked down, there was
16 no light at the checkpoint. We thought there was no
17 particular reason. We were in the house. My husband
18 liked to play chess and he would play chess with the
19 children. I was doing something else, I do not
21 About 9.30, it was time to go to bed, but we
22 were watching television, when suddenly the bell rang.
23 My husband got up to open the door. He asked, "Who is
24 it?". The answer was, "The HVO police". We
25 immediately jumped up, my husband opened the door, a
1 pistol was pointed at my chest immediately by one man,
2 and two or three others came in with this one. We
3 started screaming, asking --
4 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. You are speaking a
5 little bit too fast. Could you slow down just a bit so
6 the interpreters can do their work properly.
7 Everything is fine; go ahead, please.
8 A. I will, I will. They came in, pointing their
9 guns at us. My husband was there, we were shouting,
10 "What is wrong?" They said, "You have to surrender
11 your weapons." I and the children started shouting.
12 He did not say anything, he just said, "The weapons
13 I have are those I have had for a long time. They are
14 mine. I have nothing else. But I need to have a
15 receipt from you, a piece of paper to show somebody
16 took it from me, because tomorrow some other people may
17 come to ask for weapons."
18 He said, "You tell them Miro Ljubicic from
19 Kacuni took the weapons and everything will be okay."
20 One of them said, "What are you waiting for? Why do
21 you not start the fire?" The pistol was still pointed
22 at us. It was not an easy situation, and then my
23 husband said, "Here are the rifles, take them", and
24 they took them and they asked, "Who else has weapons?"
25 We said we did not know, this is what we have and then
1 they went.
2 That night we spent talking about what was
3 happening, but my husband was bold and strong and he
4 just tried to calm us down. He did not say anything
5 more. Of course I and the children were a little more
6 scared than he was. Then the next day at 6.00, the
7 sirens could be heard and we knew the sound when there
8 was the alarm for general danger. Then either the
9 brickworks or Vatrostalna, one of the two factories,
10 I do not know which one it was, we thought something
11 bad was about to happen, but we were surrounded and
12 there was nowhere that we could go, and when they took
13 the weapons from us, there were about 20 of them down
14 there. There was a large group of them, so we saw that
15 we did not have a chance to go anywhere.
16 After that, the shooting started in the
17 direction of the village of Strane. It was very heavy
18 fighting, almost to what we heard before when the army
19 was there, where the camp is now. The bullets did not
20 hit our house while we were there, and for two days it
21 went on like that, and then I could smell smoke from
22 burning, but we kept quiet for two days, and after
23 that, five or six times the HVO police kept coming,
24 demanding weapons.
25 We said we had given them in and then they
1 said, "You have sniper" and we said, "We do not have
2 any." Then three or four of them would come and take
3 my husband out behind the house. They would talk, I do
4 not know what about, and they kept saying, "Surrender
5 the sniper", and we said, "But we do not have", because
6 we really did not have a sniper; our neighbours know
7 that. Then they said, "We were given orders you had a
8 sniper", so we shrugged our shoulders, because we did
9 not know what they meant.
10 This went on for five or six days, and then
11 one day my brother-in-law came and said, "Up there in
12 our village they are reporting on the radio that there
13 is a sniper shooting from behind Sahman's house", and
14 we said we did not know what it was about, so my
15 husband took the car and went to the village and he
16 came across Ivica Andrijasevic there and they all got
17 into the car and went into the cafe-bar, restaurant
18 called Sunce, and my husband said, "I do not know what
19 they want of me."
20 He said, "Let us go to your house and look
21 around; maybe somebody does have a sniper there." So
22 they came, they walked around, they did not find
23 anything, so they said, "You go into your house and
24 no one will touch you." Then my husband said, "That is
25 what they told me, but things are not good." Whatever
1 the situation, we had nowhere to go, considering the
2 position of our house.
3 Then one day they came to take our car. They
4 asked us, "Do you have a car?" We said, "Yes". They
5 said, "We need it." Close to my house was my
6 brother-in-law's house and there was an alarm fitted to
7 it and one of them went to break in, one downstairs,
8 two upstairs. One of them shot at the alarm. We could
9 hear the shooting, we were just watching, and that is
10 how it was, and then my husband went to fetch the car,
11 and they told him, "Do not switch it off."
12 This was only five or six metres away. We
13 could see everything from the terrace. My husband got
14 out, they got in, my son started crying and my husband
15 told him, "Never mind, we will buy another one." We
16 went back into the house and then Dragan Vujica came,
17 because he had heard the shooting. To this day, you
18 can see the holes from the sniper bullets, and then he
19 asked, "What is happening, neighbour?"
20 My husband said, "They took my car." He
21 said, "If you need anything, I am here." My husband,
22 when he gave them the car, he went to his brother's
23 house and when he came back, he said that all the
24 furniture had been turned over, these were just a few
25 minutes, they did not have time to take anything with
1 them. They did not, but then others came back, wearing
2 uniform. There were various types taking things.
3 Then they came to our house, asking for the
4 TV set, the video-recorder and we said, "Here you are,
5 take them." Then Goran and someone else from Jajce
6 came and we had to play tapes which we did not want to
7 listen to, because we felt embarrassed that people with
8 weapons could come into the house and sit with us, but
9 my husband said, "You just keep quiet", and then he
10 asked them, "Would you like anything?" We had meat and
11 drinks and we wanted to offer them something, and they
12 said, "No, we just want tapes. Let us see what tapes
13 you have. This one, that one; play this one, that
15 So it went on. Then the next day or the day
16 after, they came for the video-recorder and the TV set
17 and then we hoped they would not bother us so much
18 again. They came five or six times during the daytime
19 and at night to insist with my husband to give up the
20 sniper and he kept saying, "But I do not have one. Ask
21 my neighbours, those I went hunting with. They are
22 Croats and Muslims and Serbs and they will tell you
23 that I never had a sniper." But they kept insisting.
24 What they said to him I do not know, but when
25 they came into the house, they would say, "I do not
1 know why you keep insisting; why do you not give it
2 up?" I said, "I do not have it". I thought to myself
3 that if I could find it, I would get it and give it to
4 them, just to get rid of them.
5 And so it went on like that for quite some
6 time. Then on 4th February, they took him to the
7 camp. They came early in the morning about 8.00. My
8 husband went out and they took him behind the house and
9 the other two came in, and they asked, "What do you
10 have?" We said, "nothing". Then my husband came back
11 and said he had to go immediately and I said, "Why are
12 you bothering him? What do you want of him?"
13 He said he had to go. Before that, we had
14 divided the money we had among the children and my
15 husband and each one of us had a little in case
16 something would happen and so he took the money with
17 him to the camp as well as his watch, and when he --
18 and so he was taken somewhere, I do not know where. We
19 stayed behind and we wondered what we would do all
20 alone there, with no one.
21 Then they did not come as often. Every
22 couple of days a group would come by looking for
23 something, asking us how we were, and we would say we
24 were okay. Then when my husband went to the camp, for
25 a time they came looking for my son who was 15 years
1 old and they said they needed him, and I said, "Do not
2 take him", but they did not do anything in particular,
3 they did not bother me too much. They let me alone.
4 Then one day, a young man came and asked, "Is
5 this Sahman's house?" I said, "Yes", and he
6 said, "Sahman has sent me to get us some food and bring
7 it to us. We are at the house of Vlatko Samac, we are
8 working there", so I said, "I dare not go there, I am
9 afraid. There is food, but I do not know what to do."
10 So he said, "All right".
11 I do not know what he told them, and there
12 was an empty area in front of our house towards Franz's
13 house. I saw they were working there, doing something,
14 I do not know what, and then I saw my husband there
15 with his arms behind his back, a man behind him with a
16 machine-gun, a short gun. I suppose it is a machine-gun,
17 I do not really know, and then my husband came and he
18 said, "I have come to take that stuff, because the food
19 is very bad. It is very salty, the bread is stale. It
20 is in my pocket but I cannot eat it and I know that we
21 have plenty of food, so we can give some to other
22 people too."
23 When he started off -- he came into the
24 house, he just said, "It is not good", and walked up
25 and down. This man insisted that he should go. This
1 all lasted a minute or two, and when my husband saw the
2 bag, he said, "No we cannot take that now", so my
3 husband took a piece of cake that we had on the table.
4 It was the size of a large apple perhaps, and he took
5 that and held it behind his back as he did his arms,
6 and he went off with this man following him in
7 camouflage uniform, with a chequer board sign on his cap
8 and the HVO insignia on his sleeve. We stayed behind.
9 We would have liked to go somewhere, but we did not
10 know where or what to do.
11 After dark, a young man came. My husband
12 sent him again. He comes from the Simica Kuce, because
13 we know him, our brother-in-law painted his house, so
14 he was among those who worked there and he said to me,
15 "I do not know what is happening." He just shrugged
16 his shoulders, so he took what he did and went off;
17 I assume they got it. Then on 8th February, we heard
18 that they were going to be released from prison, and my
19 husband wanted to go to the other area, some people
20 were going to Zenica. They asked Sahman, "Where do you
21 want to go?" He said "I do not know." Some people
22 went to Zenica, some to Vitez and he said, "I do not
23 know where or what to do."
24 They asked, "Where is your family?", and he
25 said, "At home." They told him, "You must go home too
1 because they will be mistreated if you leave." He
2 said, "Okay, I will go home", so he came and there were
3 other neighbours from the village coming. We had quite
4 a lot of cigarettes, we had alcohol and drinks. My
5 husband did not drink, but he had some for the guests
6 and he said, "I will give you something to drink."
7 Some people came in, others just dropped by.
8 He gave them cigarettes and I do not know what else and
9 they left and we stayed behind. He said things were
10 not good, but there you are. He said, "I was not
11 well. I was in small premises and it was very hot.
12 I thought my heart would break. I asked to be taken to
13 the doctor's, but they would not and they said, 'If you
14 are hot, why do you not go over here?' It was another
15 premise, another room. This was long and big and
16 I froze there", he said, so I did not know which was
17 better the one where it was hot or the one where it was
18 cold. "Luckily I did not spend much time there, only
19 four nights, whereas the others...", and I said, "Well,
20 what can we do, as long as we are alive?"
21 Then he said, "I went to work near Franz's
22 house, and the others were taken further away. There
23 was a blue van with the HVO signs, the chequer board
24 sign. We did not see the licence plates or anything
25 else. We saw our car, the licence plates had been
1 removed. They probably did not have time to attach
2 others with the HVO insignia."
3 We spent those days there. It was not easy.
4 We did not know what to do, nor could we do anything,
5 so the days went by, and my husband complained.
6 I asked him where his watch was, and he said, "Never
7 mind the watch", and I said, "What about the money?
8 You had quite a bit", and he said, "Never mind the
9 money; we will get money somehow, some day."
10 So that is all he said, "Never mind the
11 watch, never mind the money", and so we went on. He
12 said, "I was quite lucky", but he was complaining of
13 his back. Whether he was hit or not, I did not see any
14 signs of blows or maybe he had a cold or something, but
15 something was wrong, because he complained.
16 Time went by, until 13th February, and that
17 morning, we decided to send our children to Loncari,
18 because he said, "We cannot go on like this", so he
19 said, "You children go to Loncari and we will follow,
20 but we do not know when." That morning the children
21 got ready. I have a sister-in-law up there, they got
22 dressed, and he said, "How beautiful my children are",
23 and I said, "They are not beautiful." I saw that he
24 was moved by something. The children left, we stayed
25 behind. Then we had the cattle and he said that he did
1 not know what to do. He kept repeating, "It is not
2 good, it is not good", and then if I felt bad, he would
3 say, "Things will get better."
4 Then the children reached Loncari, and we
5 thought if there was someone to go with them, they
6 could go to Zenica too, but anyway that night they did
7 not go. We sat in the house, my husband and I. The TV
8 was on because we had a couple of TV sets, the children
9 had a computer, we had three TV sets to be precise.
10 They took away the colour TVs, but we had a black and
11 white one. We were watching this programme, "Image on
13 I said, "Are there any good news?", and he
14 said, "No, they are not good news." Those were the
15 words he used. We had a dog outside and I heard him
16 barking. I wanted to say, "This is not good", but
17 I did not dare, I did not want to bother him, and then
18 the bell rang, somebody rang hard. He was a strong
19 man, he jumped up and opened the door.
20 Whenever anyone knocked, we would jump up
21 immediately, that was our habit from before. He opened
22 the door, and when he opened it, I saw a gun under the
23 left arm. He said, "Get out." My husband kept quiet,
24 he never uttered a word. He repeated, "Get out", and
25 I said, "Where are you taking him?" My husband said,
1 "Let me get dressed", and he said, "There is no need",
2 and I again said, "Where are you taking him?"
3 Then my husband put his hand through my hair
4 and they were forcing him out. One of them was very
5 big. He had a chequer board sign on the cap. He had
6 two big moles, at least they appeared to be big to me.
7 This other one was shorter. He turned around to put on
8 his slippers and they said, "There is no need. Get
9 out." I kept saying, "Where are you taking him?", and
10 then the third man followed. This was about 6.30. It
11 was already evening, and near the garage there were
12 lots of them. I did not count them, but there were
13 plenty in camouflage uniforms.
14 "What are you doing to him? What has come
15 over you?" Then one of them said, "Turn it off", so
16 I did not know what he meant. What am I supposed to
17 turn off? Then I went outside through the corridor and
18 I could hear shots. I went to the terrace again.
19 I cried out, I shouted, there was not a soul left, so
20 I thought to myself, "What in heaven's name is
22 I came back. We had a telephone, but they
23 would cut the lines often, so that we could not
24 communicate with other towns, but we were able to make
25 local calls, and since Dragan Vujica came by one day
1 and said, "If there is anything you need, call me", so
2 I picked up the phone and I called him up, Dragan
4 His wife answered and she said, "Dragan is
5 not here." "I need him", I said, and she said, "Call
6 later." So then I called his father, Mirko, and I told
7 Mirko, "They have taken my husband. Could you come
8 with me somewhere? I do not know where, but I called
9 you for help", and he said, "I cannot come", so I said
10 "All right."
11 I went out of the house. Passing by the
12 sheds and my neighbour Cama was there and I said, "They
13 have taken my Fadil. I do not know where, I do not
14 know what to do." So we spent the night in a small
15 apartment, we did not even dare stay in her house.
16 I was there for maybe an hour. I did not have a watch,
17 and then I said, "I am going to look around. Maybe he
18 is wounded or something, so I want to look for him. If
19 not, I may go up to the village of Strane"; that is
20 what I told her.
21 She would not let me go, but I still insisted
22 and I set off. I went through the yards, but I could
23 not -- I just turned around and went back. It was
24 dark, it was so dark. It was never so dark, or that
25 was my impression. So we spent that night and then the
1 next day we got up and we went again by the sheds and
2 stables and we reached my house. I looked around and
3 there is no Fadil nowhere to be seen.
4 Then the steps were there leading outside,
5 and I was still looking around, and then I said to her,
6 "You go up front, because..." Then she said, "There
7 he is", and I followed her. She went on to the village
8 of Strane; I stayed there. He was lying there on his
9 stomach, his hands were crouching, he was bleeding, not
10 then, but before. He was wearing white socks, blue
11 sweatsuit and coloured T-shirt. I started screaming,
12 I cried and then UNPROFOR came by. I waved, they saw
13 me, but nothing.
14 When the HVO shift went by to Strane. They
15 passed by our house and we could see them from the
16 window, from everywhere. That morning, they went from
17 the direction of the Vujica houses that morning, and
18 they saw me. They could see me from up there, I assume
19 they could see me, but nothing. They did nothing, so
20 I kept on crying, walking up and down. They went by,
21 they paid no attention and then my brother-in-law
22 arrived, and he said, "I do not know what happened",
23 and I said, "You see what they did?" We stood there
24 and, of course, he cried too, it was his brother, and
25 that is how it was.
1 Then he said, "I should go and ask someone
2 what we should do." So I said, "All right, you go."
3 Then another neighbour, an elderly man, came to stay
4 with me. He left, I do not know who was the person
5 responsible for this. He came back shortly and he said
6 they would allow ten men to bury him and nothing more
7 than that. I said, "But he is a Muslim? One dies only
8 once; we need to perform the religious rites." He
9 said, "We do not have the ability." So I said, "Very
10 well, what can I do?"
11 Then the men came, all elderly people. They
12 carried him into the house. Four or five of them went
13 to dig the grave, and then I again mentioned the need
14 for a Hodza. He deserved a Hodza, but they said there
15 was nothing they could do.
16 So we carried out the burial. It was not
17 easy, it cannot be easy. No one can understand who has
18 not gone through the same experience. By then darkness
19 fell, the men came into the house, there were some
20 women preparing food. I said, "There is plenty of
21 everything. Prepare food for them, let them eat their
22 fill", so they did and the men came and ate and I said,
23 "Why do you not all stay here with me?"
24 They said, "We dare not", so I said, "In that
25 case I will go with you", so I went with them up
1 there. We spent the night. He had a mother and a
2 father. His father died afterwards and then in the
3 morning, my father-in-law said, "What about the cow and
4 the other animals?" I said, "We left them behind", so
5 we agreed to go down there and feed them, and when we
6 got there, somebody had already broken into the house.
7 "Let them be, let them take whatever they want",
8 I thought to myself, "they have done the worst. The
9 fact they are looting is the least of our problems."
10 That is what my father-in-law also said, he agreed, but
11 it was not easy for him, for any parent to lose a
12 child, and he was born in 1911.
13 Whenever we came, we saw something new. He
14 went to his other son's house, and he said they had
15 looted everything, but I tried to console him. I said,
16 "We have no rights here. What is what they want and
17 they can take what they want." That is how it went on
18 for two or three days. I sat there and I said to
19 myself, "I will go to the infirmary", where we used to
20 have an infirmary. I wanted to seek protection from
21 them, and a woman came by and I said, "Let us go
22 there", and we went and when we got there, we found
23 somebody called Maric from Podolje.
24 There are several brothers. I do not know
25 all their first names, but it is easy to find out.
1 I said to them, "I have come to ask for protection,
2 because I see what you are doing. I cannot leave the
3 house, but look what you have done to me, so let me
4 have what is left and I would like some protection."
5 He said, "You go to your house and no one will do any
6 harm", so I went back home. They said nobody would
7 harm me and yet you see what they did to me.
8 So we sat there and a neighbour of mine, an
9 elderly man, his wife was away visiting, so he spent
10 some time with us, then his own house, then in his
11 daughter-in-law's house. He himself did not know what
12 to do. Then I saw somebody coming up the steps and
13 I recognised the man. His name was Ivica Sendula. He
14 was with two twins, Simic, and they were with a large
15 dog. They were wearing uniforms, there was a
16 chequer board on the cap and the HVO insignia on the
17 sleeves, but I knew him. He was a colleague of my
18 husband and I knew him well, so I did not mind.
19 He had a notebook, and he said, "I am sorry,
20 neighbour, but I have to register the population, the
21 number of households and members of households", so
22 I said, "Very well." Then he pointed to my
23 brother-in-law's house and he was abroad, and he said,
24 "How many of them are there?" I said, "There are four
25 of them, husband and wife, and they have two children."
1 He asked for their names. I gave the names, the names
2 of my brother-in-law and his wife, but I just could not
3 remember the children's names. Then I said, "The boy's
4 name is Paul, there are two sons, they are boys", that
5 was all I could remember.
6 Then he heard that somebody else was there,
7 and I said, "It is only my neighbour". He said,
8 "I need his name too", because he was making lists of
9 all the houses, so the neighbour came out and he
10 reported himself and his wife's, and then they left.
11 We asked ourselves what it was all about, and that was
12 how we spent that time, up and down. I could not stand
13 it any more alone, the children had left. I wondered
14 whether they had heard what had happened to their
15 father or not, so I just could not stay any more, and
16 then I set off.
17 I decided to go to Ahmici to my family, and
18 I left everything, because you have to think of
19 yourself too. You see you have to go, you do not know
20 where, so I went there, I spent a night there, and
21 I was wondering what had happened to my children.
22 I should go to Zenica, I thought to myself, and then my
23 relative said, "We have already been to visit our
24 children in Zenica." They said, "We heard from our
25 neighbours, Croats, that Fadil has been killed, that he
1 had a sniper, that he had a radio transmitter and I do
2 not know what else, but we said what he had and
3 everyone knew that."
4 Then I got ready and went off to Zenica.
5 I stayed with my niece for a month and a half. Then
6 they found an apartment for us, a colleague gave us
7 this apartment and that is where I stayed with my
8 children. When we got there, there was nothing,
9 everything was empty. My son sat there, he had
10 nothing. Then I tried to console him, "Never mind, my
11 son, everything will be all right." Then God helped
12 us, we had friends, and they collected all kinds of
13 things for us, so we survived, we collected what was
14 essential, so, of course, it was not fine, it can never
15 be fine again. Never can we have what we had once, and
16 so I stayed there with my children.
17 When April 16th came, that morning, I was
18 sleeping in Zenica and dreaming shells falling on
19 Ahmici. I cried out, I screamed and I told the
20 children, "There are shells on Ahmici", and they said,
21 "No mother, it cannot be." I said, "You will see,
22 they are doing whatever they want."
23 So we had this debate amongst ourselves, we
24 had a telephone. I said, "Call them", and then
25 I approached the phone. I called up my father,
1 brother, one brother, another brother, a third
2 brother. No one answered, so I thought to myself,
3 "What can it be?" So I was half crazy by then.
4 I called two nephews who were living further away,
5 neither of them answered, so I kept crying out, "What
6 can it be?" Then I brought my neighbour from across
7 the way, his name is Adem, and I said to Adem, "I am
8 calling my family and no one is answering, what is
9 happening over there?" He said, "Our houses are
10 burning, my wife has been wounded, I do not know what
11 it is all about." So I hung up and I said, "Take
13 On 16th April, I could not do anything,
14 I could not call anyone, but on the next day I called
15 Ivica Cerkez and I got him on the line. His house
16 borders on our fields and he could see people coming in
17 and out of the house and I introduced myself. I said,
18 "My name is Smaila, Ivica, I am calling to see what is
19 happening, I cannot find my people." He said, "The
20 houses are not all right but I do not know what has
21 happened to them." I said, "But what is happening,
22 Ivica?" He said, "It is the war." I said, "Very well,
23 let it be", so I hung up, I cried out, I cried, I did
24 not know what to do. This went on for two or three
25 days. One of my sister-in-laws called.
1 MR. HARMON: Ms. Sahman, let me ask you --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, we listened to this
3 and all the intensity that we heard in her voice.
4 Perhaps she is a bit tired now. I think this would be
5 a good time to end the hearing for today. I think she
6 has almost finished. I am sure you will have some
7 questions you want to ask her, some clarifications
8 about certain points which she may not have completely
9 explained. You will not have her repeat what she has
10 already said. You will have to come back tomorrow. We
11 will start at 2.15 and we hope that you spend a restful
12 evening. We will now suspend the hearing.
13 A. Very well, thank you.
14 (6.35 pm)
15 (Hearing adjourned until 2.15 pm the following day)