1 Thursday, 22nd January 1998
2 (10.20 am)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Can we have the accused brought
4 in, please
5 (Accused brought in)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Are the interpreters ready?
7 Good morning. Does everybody hear me? Does the Office
8 of the Prosecutor hear? And the Defence? General
9 Blaskic, do you hear me?
10 MR. BLASKIC: Good morning, your Honours,
11 I hear you well.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Right then, can we resume?
13 First I want to tell you that, contrary to what was
14 announced, we will be meeting all day tomorrow. It is
15 the 30th that we are not going to be meeting, Friday
16 30th. I hope everybody understands now and that there
17 will be no misunderstandings.
18 Mr. Cayley, you will be representing the
19 Prosecution this morning. The floor is yours,
20 Mr. Cayley, go ahead.
21 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
22 morning, Mr. President, your Honours, learned counsel.
23 The next witness that the Prosecutor will be
24 calling will relate to the evidence that was called in
25 chief yesterday, the shelling of Zenica. I will not
1 repeat what my learned colleague said yesterday about
2 the relevant counts, they are the same as we enumerated
3 yesterday, but I will, in accordance with the new
4 procedure, give a brief summary of the evidence that
5 this witness will give before the court.
6 JUDGE JORDA: What I am asking is to link it
7 with the specific charges in the indictment that I have
8 in front of me, and your questions will be focused on
9 the indictment and once the testimony is complete, what
10 we ask you is not to have repeated what the judges have
11 already heard and only to specify those questions which
12 are particularly important for the Prosecutor. That is
13 how we will save some time and make sure that everybody
14 hears and understands what is going on. Is this a
15 protected witness?
16 MR. CAYLEY: It is, Mr. President, yes, but the
17 witness has only required distortion of his image. He
18 is happy to testify under his own name.
19 JUDGE JORDA: What is his name?
20 MR. CAYLEY: His name is Mladen Veseljak.
21 JUDGE JORDA: All right, the floor is yours.
22 MR. CAYLEY: The witness, Mr. President, is a
23 judge. He is currently the president of the new
24 cantonal court in Zenica. At the time of the shelling
25 of Zenica, he was also a judge within the old system in
1 Bosnia. On the day of the shelling in fact he was the
2 duty judge. Being on duty, he was called out by the
3 police to perform an initial investigation into the
4 shelling of the city. That investigation he carried
5 out. He attended the scene of the falling of the first
6 two shells, and saw many of the dead and injured --
7 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. This is a criminal
9 MR. CAYLEY: He is, your Honour, yes.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, go ahead.
11 MR. CAYLEY: He attended the scene of the
12 shelling and as I stated, witnessed the dead and
13 injured who were lying around the scene of the first
14 two craters. He did some initial analysis of the
15 craters, but being a man not qualified in ballistics or
16 artillery could only make a layman's -- put together a
17 layman's opinion on the direction of the shelling. He
18 subsequently attended the hospital in Zenica where he
19 had the gruesome task of identifying the dead, the
20 wounded and trying to establish exactly the number of
21 casualties involved.
22 He kept the file open on this case for a
23 number of years, even though no individual was ever
24 brought to justice for this incident, I think he will
25 tell you much in the hope that some day somebody would
1 be brought to trial for those events. In that
2 capacity, he did finally establish the number of
3 persons who were killed and injured as a result of the
4 shelling, which did in fact transpire to be more than
5 the original figures of the dead and the injured on the
6 day of the incident.
7 He is a Bosnian Serb. He remained in Zenica
8 for the entire period of the war. He was not relieved
9 of his position as a judge in Zenica, and he will make
10 a few brief comments on that particular matter. He
11 will be putting into evidence his report, which he
12 compiled after these events. He will confirm that the
13 death certificates that the Prosecutor wishes to
14 present in support of proof of death are in fact those
15 of the persons that he identified as being killed
16 around the time of these events and finally, he will
17 produce a dossier of photographs which relate to these
18 events, and there are 23 of them, I do not intend to
19 ask him to go through every photograph, but there are
20 one or two which I think are worthy of comment and will
21 assist the court in coming to a determination in this
23 As I have already stated, I think my learned
24 friend yesterday established the relevant counts within
25 the indictment for the Zenica shelling, but after your
1 comments earlier, Mr. President, if you wish me to
2 repeat that, I can.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I would like you to repeat
4 them, please. I have got them in front of me, I would
5 like them to be connected with what we are doing. This
6 has become my habit that we have now, to help the
7 judges and the assistants for any future work we will
8 do as we discuss this case, and that anyone in the
9 future might be able to connect things with the events
10 and that everything stated should be very specifically
11 related to the indictment against General Blaskic, and
12 not to get lost in details which do not directly relate
13 to what we are doing, even if it might initially appear
14 that there is a connection. Do that quickly, please.
15 MR. CAYLEY: I am obliged for your assistance,
16 Mr. President. The evidence is relevant to count 1 of
17 the second amended indictment, that being paragraphs --
18 JUDGE JORDA: That is persecution?
19 MR. CAYLEY: That is correct, Mr. President,
21 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, please.
22 MR. CAYLEY: The unlawful attack counts, which
23 are counts 2 to 4 of the second amended indictment, and
24 finally counts 5 to 10 of the second amended
25 indictment, being those counts relevant to wilful
1 killing and serious injury.
2 JUDGE JORDA: So these persecutions have to
3 do with crimes against humanity?
4 MR. CAYLEY: That is correct.
5 JUDGE JORDA: The illegal attacks relate to
6 the laws and customs of war, and counts 5 to 10 relate
7 to the three violations against -- crimes against
8 humanity and -- wilful killing and causing serious
9 injury. If you do not have anything else to add,
10 Mr. Cayley, we can now have the witness brought in.
11 Perhaps the blinds should be drawn for a moment and
12 then raised after the witness has come in.
13 (Witness entered court)
14 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me, Mr. Veseljak?
15 THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.
16 JUDGE JORDA: First you will be asked to read
17 the declaration which the Registrar is going to give
18 you, that is the solemn oath.
19 MR. MLADEN VESELJAK (sworn)
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You have agreed,
21 Mr. Veseljak, to testify at the request of the
22 Prosecution in this trial of General Blaskic, who is
23 the accused in this courtroom. The Prosecutor has
24 given us a rapid summary of the essential contents of
25 your testimony, which deals with those events which you
1 experienced on the day that Zenica was shelled and on
2 the following days. You will focus your testimony on
3 the principal elements which you observed, that is
4 those investigations or investigation which you carried
5 out, because apparently you were a duty judge. The
6 Prosecutor will ask you some preliminary questions in
7 order to situate your testimony and then you will
8 testify. You are a professional in the field of law
9 and therefore you should know how to testify concisely
10 and not add in details which are not important. If
11 necessary, the Prosecutor will guide you or have you
12 re-specify those points which appear essential for us in
13 support of his indictment.
14 Mr. Cayley, perhaps you would like to ask some
15 preliminary questions in order to situate the
16 testimony. Go ahead, please.
17 Examined by MR. CAYLEY
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Mr. Veseljak, please excuse me for not
20 addressing you as judge, but if I do that, there will
21 be complete confusion in the courtroom, so I will just
22 call you Mr. Veseljak. Your name is Mladen Veseljak?
23 A. It is.
24 Q. I think you are a Bosnian Serb, are you not?
25 A. I am.
1 Q. You have lived in Zenica all your life?
2 A. I have and still do.
3 Q. A little about your background. I think you
4 completed law at the University of Sarajevo in 1976, is
5 that correct?
6 A. Yes, it is correct.
7 Q. I think from 1976 to 1992 you were legal
8 counsel to the Mining Institute in Zenica, is that
10 A. In the Mining Metallurgical Combine, as it
11 was called, I engaged in various legal activities up to
13 Q. I think in 1992, you were appointed a judge,
14 a civilian judge in the military court in Zenica?
15 A. I was appointed in 1992 to be judge at the
16 district military court in Zenica. So as to avoid any
17 confusion, that court was also a civilian court, but
18 its jurisdiction was rather specific because it tried
19 all criminal offences under the criminal law of
20 perpetrators who were military men.
21 Q. I think now you are the presiding judge at
22 the cantonal court in Zenica, is that correct?
23 A. I am now judge, president of the criminal
24 chamber of the cantonal court in Zenica.
25 Q. Thank you. You have come to testify about
1 specific events, being those events of 19th April 1993
2 in Zenica. You were the duty judge at the time and
3 I think you were requested to produce the initial
4 criminal report on that incident.
5 A. That is correct.
6 MR. CAYLEY: You have provided to the
7 Prosecutor a copy of that report which I will now
8 provide to you and to the court.
9 It has been translated, Mr. President, into
10 French and English.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Was this disclosed to the
12 Defence, Mr. Cayley?
13 MR. CAYLEY: It was, Mr. President. They were
14 provided with a copy of it yesterday.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, thank you.
16 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. Veseljak, I am not going to
17 ask you to read the entire report to the court, the
18 judges have it, but what I would like you to do is tell
19 your account of what happened on that tragic day.
20 Certainly in our pre-trial discussions you explained it
21 to me with great humanity and objectivity, so if you
22 could summarise the events of that day using your
23 report to refresh your memory if necessary, and if you
24 can, as is customary, as I am sure you know, address
25 your responses to the judges.
1 A. May I begin now? I have in front of me a
2 copy of this report, and I wish to state that it is
3 indeed a copy of my report and that these are my
4 signatures. This report, as you can see, consists of
5 two parts; first a record on the investigation carried
6 out immediately, that is on the very day of the event,
7 on 19th April 1993, and on page 4, you have an official
8 record which is a supplement to this report, and it was
9 compiled because certain information was lacking at the
10 time the first report was compiled, and having obtained
11 that additional information, I compiled this annex on
12 12th May and these two parts constitute a single whole.
13 I cannot now recall, but I think it was a
14 Monday or Tuesday. I was at work as any other day and
15 that morning, nothing unusual took place. We were
16 engaged in our regular activities. Then about 12.00,
17 I really cannot recall whether it was a couple of
18 minutes before or after midday, very powerful
19 explosions were heard, due to which all the window
20 panes began to shake, and we all felt very scared that
21 moment. For me personally, it was the first experience
22 of this kind, even though earlier on in 1992 there was
23 an airborne shelling of Zenica, but due to chance
24 circumstances I was not in Zenica at the time, so this
25 was the first time I experienced explosions of this
1 kind. Everyone else was also very scared, and our
2 initial reaction was to seek shelter in a more secure
3 part of the building and then to try to find out by
4 phone what was happening to our families.
5 I mention this because our conversations with
6 our family members informed us for the first time that
7 a major unfortunate event had taken place. Zenica is a
8 relatively small town and most of us live in the
9 centre, or not far from it, in quite large buildings,
10 high-rises, so that members of our families were
11 watching from the windows of their apartments and they
12 told us that in front of the department store, which
13 was still known as "Beogradanka", people were lying on
14 the ground, that there was panic. The reports were
15 contradictory, but all of them showed that something
16 probably very tragic had taken place.
17 Maybe about half an hour passed in this way,
18 and then the people on duty in the police station and
19 in the security service centre in Zenica, who
20 officially confirmed that, as they said, there were
21 many victims and that an inquiry had to be made. In
22 the meantime, the sirens sounded the general danger
23 alarm, and we stopped for a moment to think whether we
24 should go into the street at all under those
1 So we were escorted by police officers and
2 I and my colleague, who was deputy of the district
3 military prosecutor at the time, went to the spot. The
4 distance between the court building and the place where
5 the event took place is about 400 to 500 metres. The
6 court building is in the same street as where the
7 people were killed, so we went there in a police car
8 and upon reaching the spot, we found one crater, which
9 was the farthest from the place where people were
10 killed, and the policeman told us that there were no
11 victims at that spot, which was obvious, there was just
12 material damage. We stopped just for a moment,
13 I looked at the crater, I looked around at the
14 surrounding windows. The window panes were shattered,
15 the shop windows and some cars were damaged and then we
16 went on roughly for about 100 metres and then we
17 reached the central plateau in front of this department
18 store, which is the very heart of the city, and looking
19 from the direction I came from to the right is a large
20 housing block which we call amongst ourselves as the
21 Chinese wall. The association is obvious, because it
22 is a very long building, with different numbers of
23 storeys. And then in the same direction, there is a
24 mild slope, a lawn where children's playgrounds are,
25 swings and sandboxes and things like that.
1 Then further on is the cinema and then again
2 there are housing blocks and to the left is another
3 housing block, and then all this widens to form a
4 square. At the end of the square is a department store
5 and again, from where I stood, to the left is the large
6 city mosque and further to the left and behind this
7 building, apartment building that I said stood the
8 length of the street, is a building that we call the
9 old Carsija, which is a commercial area with a large
10 number of coffee bars.
11 Therefore in this space, immediately in front
12 of the department store, there is a raised level with
13 two or three steps with benches where people would like
14 to sit, so that in this part, there were six corpses.
15 The injured were no longer there on that spot when
16 I arrived, and everything was scattered around. There
17 was still smoke in the air, the heavy unpleasant smell
18 of explosive. There were many traces of blood, of
19 varying appearance; in some cases there were pools of
20 blood, in other cases there were just blots. There
21 were lots of things thrown around.
22 I must underline once again that this was for
23 me the first experience of that kind, and my greatest
24 problem at that moment was how to concentrate and
25 examine things in detail.
1 Throughout this time while we were working,
2 one could still hear in the distance some subdued
3 sounds of explosions, and whenever we would hear such a
4 detonation in the distance, we would run for shelter,
5 and the shelter was underneath the plateau and it was
6 full of people. Under these circumstances, I decided
7 to carry out the investigation only as much as was
8 absolutely necessary, which means not as we would
9 normally proceed with a detailed investigation, but
10 just to do a global one, that is to make a record of
11 what we saw on the spot, including certain details, or
12 rather in the first place the craters and the
13 appearance of the bodies that we found on the spot, and
14 that is what we did, and as a result of that, we have
15 these photographs as documents, made by the
16 photographers of the security service.
17 The local television, a photo reporter
18 appeared from somewhere -- I must say from somewhere,
19 because suddenly they appeared next to me -- they asked
20 for permission to make photographs and to film the
21 scene and I gave them that permission. After that, we
22 asked that the services, the appropriate services be
23 engaged to remove the remaining six bodies. At that
24 point in time, I did not know how many people had been
25 killed nor how many had been wounded, nor the nature of
1 their injuries, but I was told by the police that there
2 were far more casualties and that all of them had been
3 driven off to the hospital by passers-by, by the
4 police, whoever happened to be on the spot, and who had
5 any kind of means of transport. So we headed for the
6 hospital --
7 Q. Mr. Veseljak, if I can interrupt you there,
8 before we move to the next part of your testimony,
9 I would like to clarify a few matters with you. At
10 approximately what time of day do you recall hearing
11 the explosions?
12 A. It was midday, I said that I was not sure
13 whether it was a couple of minutes before or after
14 midday, noon. Around noon.
15 Q. You have described the location of the first
16 craters, the first shells, the location of where the
17 first shells fell in the city as being a civilian area;
18 department stores, cafes, pedestrian precincts. Would
19 that be an accurate summary of the description of that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. At that time of day, how many people would be
23 walking in that area? How many civilians would be
24 sitting having coffee, chatting, passing the time of
1 A. Very many, always. Before and then and even
2 today, at that time of day in this area you will always
3 find large groups of people. In those days, even more
4 than is customary, because I must remind you that those
5 were the days when people were already out of work,
6 when living conditions had become extremely difficult.
7 People started selling things in the street, so this
8 was exactly the area where people set up small tables
9 to sell their wares. There were 40 but not less than
10 30 cafes. Also there is the city mosque there, so it
11 is the time when people are there to go for prayer.
12 Then also there is the department store and the
13 children's playground and an enormous residential
14 area. Therefore this is the downtown area which is
15 always full of people. Also in the immediate vicinity,
16 about 200 metres away, is the city open-air market, so
17 that at any point in time there could have been 2,000
18 to 3,000 people there.
19 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, we have a number of
20 photographs which we will introduce into evidence after
21 Mr. Veseljak has finished his testimony. They are very
22 disturbing photographs so if I could ask you to issue a
23 warning to the members of the public about the nature
24 of these particular photographs.
25 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the public has
1 heard you. Are you talking about photographs or is it
2 a video?
3 MR. CAYLEY: These are photographs,
4 Mr. President. They are part of the case file.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Registrar?
6 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. Veseljak, do you recall how
7 many corpses you saw altogether in the centre of town
8 that day?
9 A. Six.
10 Q. How many craters did you inspect in the town?
11 A. On arrival I looked at one crater very
12 briefly, the one that was farthest removed from the
13 place where the people were killed. Then in the
14 immediate vicinity where the people were killed two
15 craters, and I examined those two craters in detail.
16 We had them photographed and then the policeman told me
17 that there were other craters, but I did not then
18 during that official tour go to see them. The
19 policeman went to do that, upon my instructions, as
20 envisaged by the law on criminal procedure. There were
21 another three such craters. Of course I saw them
22 later, but I did not see them just then, during the
23 actual investigation.
24 Q. Mr. Veseljak, when a shell hits a hard flat
25 surface, it leaves certain distinctive splash marks like
1 a footprint, is that correct?
2 A. When a shell falls on a hard surface, it
3 leaves an imprint which has two basic characteristics.
4 What I am now saying I knew even then; today I know
5 that very well. First you will see the spot, the part
6 of the imprint showing the actual point of impact, and
7 then you will see something like a circle of damaged
8 asphalt spreading out like a star, and this applies
9 always to a direction which would be in the same
10 direction if the shell were to continue its fall. Most
11 frequently, you will see the traces of the spot where
12 the grenade fell, so you would be able in your mind to
13 imagine this shell while it was still whole. You will
14 be able to imagine the angle of impact, because the
15 imprint on the hard surface is always such as to show
16 the sort of entry angle, and I was able to see this in
17 this case too. There was a crater where the point of
18 impact was very clear and this kind of semicircular
19 fan, if you like to call it, and in view of the fact
20 that this was asphalt, it was very conspicuous and
21 easily visible, without any difficulty, and we have a
22 photograph to show this as well.
23 Q. Mr. Veseljak, we will come to the photographs
24 in a moment, but at this particular time, did you make
25 an estimate of the direction from whence this shell had
1 been fired?
2 A. Yes, that was what interested us, so we tried
3 to make an estimate, but truly only an estimate.
4 I personally stood at this place which I have described
5 as the point of impact, of course having bent down to
6 see exactly what the angle was of the impact. Then
7 I turned around in that direction and stood up, and
8 I was directed to look in the direction of Bila or
9 Vitez, or rather the extreme south west. These are my
10 estimates of the sides of the world, but in any event
11 it was in that direction. The deviation may be smaller
12 or greater, but that was my assessment, and my
13 colleagues from the police did the same, so as our
14 estimate, this was what was entered into the record,
15 adding also that the remains, the remnants and the
16 shrapnel were collected and handed over to the security
17 service with instruction that forensic studies be
18 carried out as was normal.
19 Q. You indeed have lived in the municipality of
20 Zenica all your life, so you know the geography very
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was there an estimate given of the calibre of
24 the shell?
25 A. Yes, we discussed that too. We found a very
1 large fragment which was quite intact, because you
2 could see the various layers, a fragment which clearly
3 indicated what part of the shell it belonged to, and
4 then the forensic technicians who were there said that
5 it could be 150 --
6 Q. If you could wait one moment. (Pause).
7 Please continue, Mr. Veseljak.
8 A. So by examining this fragment on the spot and
9 imagining what it would look like if it was in one
10 piece, they said that it could be a shell of 155
11 millimetre calibre, and that is what I entered in the
12 record, but with the reservation that this was just an
13 estimate. Later on in the course of that same day,
14 there were different official reports of experts who
15 said that the calibre was 122 millimetres; of course,
16 I did not change anything in my report, because I put
17 down only the information that I gained on the spot,
18 everything else came subsequently, so I did not change
20 Q. One last point on this part of your
21 testimony; in respect of the shell craters that you
22 inspected, as far as you were aware, what was the
23 nearest military installation to any of those craters?
24 A. To those craters? There were two. If you
25 stand in the crater itself and face the department
1 store, to the right at about 250 metres there was a --
2 earlier on it was a furniture shop, and it was not
3 really a military unit that was accommodated there, but
4 a kind of warehouse of boots, uniforms and a couple of
5 soldiers, and at the opposite end, at about 500 metres,
6 is the former army club of the former JNA, where
7 several officers of the military police were set up,
8 and both of these two military facilities, if we can
9 call them that, are facilities which are not
10 high-rises, they only have the ground floor and the
11 first floor, and both of these buildings are surrounded
12 by very high housing blocks, so across the way from
13 that building is a 19-storey apartment building.
14 The other one, where the furniture store was,
15 which was now housing a military unit, in front of it
16 is a large, again 17- or 18-storey building and there
17 is only a street dividing the two, so that these two
18 facilities, if anyone wanted to hit them, it would have
19 to be a sniper that would have to be able to pass
20 between these apartment buildings to reach the actual
21 military facilities.
22 Q. I recall, Mr. Veseljak, that you were saying
23 earlier that after you had attended the scene of the
24 shelling, you moved on to the hospital, where you had
25 the gruesome task of identifying the dead. If you
1 could tell this account to me as you did in our
2 discussions; I know these events still disturb you now,
3 but each and every part the court would like to hear.
4 A. So we came to the hospital and there was
5 chaos in the hospital, literally chaos. People did not
6 even want to talk to us. When I asked for a list of
7 the injured, people actually asked me, "are you out of
8 your mind, sir? Are you asking us for a list now, when
9 we do not know what is going on and what to do
11 However, then we decided to split up into two
12 groups. I went to the pathology department where the
13 abductions room is and where the corpses were taken.
14 I joined the court expert, the pathologist who was
15 carrying out his expertise, and the colleagues from the
16 police who went to the emergency ward at the Zenica
17 Hospital, tried to get a list of names of the people
18 who were injured and to find out who were the heavily
19 wounded and who were those with only lighter wounds.
20 They obtained some data there, and then this was
21 included in my report.
22 However, already at that point we were told
23 that these are not final figures, because there were
24 quite a few injured people who did not go through this
25 usual procedure of receiving patients, because after
1 entering the hospital they were sent immediately to the
2 operations room or to the eye ward or wherever,
3 depending on the nature of their wounds and the gravity
4 of the wounds. So at that point, the reception ward
5 did not even know what was going on, where all the
6 people were, how they were wounded, and later, all
7 these data were accumulated.
8 As far as the people who were killed are
9 concerned, that day I saw 13 corpses and I linked them
10 to these events, 13 corpses, 12 of which were
11 identified immediately on the basis of the documents
12 they had on them, or with the assistance of the members
13 of their families, who showed up in the meantime, and
14 there was a woman who could not have been identified at
15 that point, but already during the afternoon we
16 realised that it was a lady named Hodzic Latifa, and
17 her husband, I think his name is Alija, he was also
18 killed during the same shelling.
19 After that, we found out in the following
20 days that there were two more people --
21 Q. Mr. Veseljak, if I can interrupt you there,
22 there was a teenage boy who was killed, was there not,
23 who could not be identified?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You were disturbed in your work by a police
1 officer. Can you just give that account to the court?
2 A. Actually I tried not to say this, because
3 this is something that hurts me terribly until the
4 present day. That was the most difficult detail of all
5 for me regarding this entire event and this entire
6 day. Namely, people were being brought in from the
7 site whichever way was possible, some people were
8 brought in blankets, others were simply carried, some
9 people were brought in metal tubs, whatever they had,
10 so when I came to the pathology ward, there were a lot
11 of people ahead of me and they wanted to get in.
12 I gave orders then not to receive anyone. When
13 I walked in, I realised that somebody was standing
14 behind me, and we were standing in front of a metal tub
15 in which there was a young boy, the young boy was lying
16 in it, I do not know, 13 or 14 years old. I just
17 remember a child with a serene face.
18 Nervously I turned around and I saw a
19 policeman in uniform standing behind me, so this was a
20 good way of taking it out on someone else and I told
21 him, "what do you want, man? I told you no one was
22 allowed in here." This man told me, quite composed,
23 "I have to be here, this is my son".
24 I am sorry, but this is a detail I can never
25 recount peacefully, so this was one of these details.
1 Q. I am sorry to have asked you that question,
2 but it was important.
3 Going on to the final numbers of the dead and
4 the injured, if you could explain to the court how you
5 came to those conclusions in your report, the anomalies
6 that arose and how they were eventually sorted out?
7 A. Already that day when all of this was
8 happening, the press, radio and television were talking
9 about 17 people who were killed. However, at that
10 point I knew about 13, and that made me decide to
11 finally see what was going on. That day and the next
12 day I did not receive information on other deaths, but
13 then one of the wounded, I think his name is Tarik
14 Mutapcic, also a boy, he died from the injuries
15 sustained, he died in hospital, and that was the
16 14th victim. So for about ten days or so, we had an
17 unidentified corpse, but I should note that the war was
18 already on at that point, and there were other corpses
19 in the pathology ward at that time.
20 Then some of my friends from work, from the
21 previous place I worked in, they were trying to find
22 out what happened to a person who had allegedly
23 disappeared that day, so they were fearful that he had
24 been arrested or something. We checked on that, no, he
25 was not arrested and then I remembered that we had this
1 unidentified corpse and then I asked them that we have
2 a look and then they recognised this relative of
3 theirs. In the chaos I describe that day, he was
4 brought in, his name is Veljko Dukic and he had
5 characteristic wounds from an explosion.
6 There was an anomaly. Among the corpses that
7 were brought in that day, the corpse of a man with an
8 explosive wound on his head. I think his name was
9 Basic, Bakir, perhaps. At any rate his last name was
10 Basic. We had thought for a certain period of time
11 that he was the 16th victim and then I rechecked and
12 ascertained that this was a person who had been hit by
13 a shell but not that day, on April 10th, somewhere in
14 the battlefield and from the 10th until 19th April, he
15 was at the hospital in Zenica and he died precisely
16 that day when this shelling had taken place and his
17 body was taken to that room too and we had mistakenly
18 believed that he was one of the victims of the
20 That is why there is often different
21 information on how many people were actually killed
22 that day, 15 or 16. Definitely 15 people died on that
23 day. The 13 whose names are in my note, then Latifa
24 Hodzic, whose name is in the annex to this record, and
25 these two people identified later, Dukic and Mutapcic
1 Tarik, so that makes a total of 15.
2 Q. Lastly, Mr. Veseljak, the final figure for the
4 A. The final figure of the wounded. To the best
5 of my knowledge, in terms of what I found out later
6 too, the number is 49. However, at that moment we
7 could obtain the names of 16 heavily wounded people and
8 18 people with light wounds, and later people reported
9 in. I remember the name of Ivan Loncar, his name is
10 not on the list, whose leg was amputated that day. He
11 is not on the list because he is one of the people who
12 was taken to the operations room immediately without
13 having his name recorded at the entrance to the
14 hospital, because his life was in danger.
15 Then Dedic Muradif, I think, who also is not
16 on this list and the members of his family showed up
17 later on with valid medical documents. He was treated
18 in the hospital for several months due to heavy wounds.
19 However, with your permission, I wish to give
20 an explanation here. Perhaps you will ask too why we
21 did not establish this definitely, or why I did not
22 establish this definitely, why did we not make a
23 definite list. Namely, the task of the duty judge was
24 to carry out an inquest and then to make a report.
25 After that, I was not in charge of the investigation.
1 I simply stated what the actual situation there was.
2 What I did subsequently were things that were derived
3 from my assessment that certain matters had to be
4 clarified because they are related to those records and
5 statements that are included in the report, and this
6 could cast a shadow of doubt on the report itself, and
7 it actually relates to the names I spoke of a bit
9 Q. So in your report, you identify a final
10 figure I think of 34 injured, but you mentioned a
11 figure just a moment ago of 49. Can you explain to the
12 judges where the extra 15 come from who are not in your
14 A. People would call us subsequently, they were
15 asking for certificates that they were wounded that day
16 so that perhaps some day they would be entitled to
17 certain benefits as civilian victims of the war, and
18 then also the hospital services tried to get their
19 records straight and I also made phone calls trying to
20 find out what had happened, so I am giving you a figure
21 today that I received through private channels. I did
22 not make a recording of this because there were no
23 grounds for that, no official records, and I simply
24 have to correct you. In the original text, the number
25 is not 35, it is 34, namely 18 plus 16. So I believe
1 it is 34.
2 Q. That is correct.
3 A. A few people who officially addressed the
4 court have documents, Loncar, Dedic. That is also
5 something that is objective information in terms of the
7 Q. Mr. Veseljak, I gave you earlier a set of
8 death certificates to inspect, and if the witness could
9 be provided with Exhibit 225/1 to 16?
10 A. These are death certificates. Here it is
11 Mutapcic Tarik, the boy who died later, Mandukic
12 Fikret, yes. Vukovic Dragoslav. In my report, this
13 last name, Vukovic, is misspelt, Lukovic, it says.
14 Namely they were copying this from the handwriting in
15 the book of patients who were received that day. Dukic
16 Veljko, the person who was identified later,
17 Arandelovic Islata, yes, she and her son were killed
18 together. Trako Nehrudin is the boy I spoke of
19 emotionally, I apologise once again.
20 JUDGE JORDA: These are death certificates,
21 I want to be sure I understand it. That is what it is,
22 is it not? Using one example, the first one that
23 I have in front of me, for example, are there any
24 indications which relate to the shelling of Zenica?
25 I suppose the date, for example. Are there any other
1 facts that might be related to the indictment and then
2 does the Defence contest this document? First of all,
3 generally speaking, these documents are presented, they
4 are death certificates; is that correct, is it not so?
5 MR. CAYLEY: They are death certificates,
6 Mr. President, as you have stated. The information in
7 these documents which tie this evidence to the
8 indictment is really as follows. First of all, the
9 date of death of every one of these people is
10 19th April, as you have already stated.
11 JUDGE JORDA: All right.
12 MR. CAYLEY: The cause of death is not in this
13 document, it is in fact in a separate document which
14 the Prosecutor does not possess. However, as the
15 witness has already stated, he identified at the time
16 all of the dead and he has checked his list of the dead
17 from his eyewitness account in the mortuary to these
18 death certificates, so that is the connection.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Is there any challenge to this,
20 Mr. Nobilo?
21 MR. NOBILO: We are not denying the fact that
22 these death certificates are documents establishing
23 that these people died on that day or were killed on
24 that day. So as evidence, we take only those facts.
25 However, it is not derived from these documents that
1 they were killed by shelling. So we are not
2 challenging the fact that these people passed away on
3 that day.
4 JUDGE JORDA: That is the heart of this
5 discussion, thank you, Mr. Nobilo. The question which
6 has to be asked is not to explain all the names,
7 because we have them, but to ask the witness what
8 relationship there is that he could make between his
9 own observations and these death certificates, so there
10 will be no challenges later. Go ahead please, either
11 yourself or the witness, and afterwards we will take a
12 15 minute break.
13 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, since the Defence,
14 as you state, is challenging the fact that these people
15 were actually killed as a result of the shelling then
16 as you say, the witness will have to go through the
17 certificates one by one and state how he knows that
18 these people were the victims of shelling in Zenica.
19 Mr. Veseljak, if you could go through the
20 certificates one by one and confirm that these
21 individuals were killed as a result of the shelling.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Or just to summarise, could the
23 witness confirm that each of these names matches the
24 list of names which he had set up when he was making
25 his observations? We do not have to go through each of
1 the names -- we could go through it, but I do not think
2 the Defence is going to contest every one of them.
3 I would like to see the relationship between the list
4 he drew up himself on the day, he was responsible for
5 the investigation, and these death certificates. Are
6 these the same people, that is the real question,
7 Mr. Veseljak. Could you answer that question?
8 A. Of course. The list of names that I spoke of
9 today is fully identical to the death certificates and
10 I believe that it is well known that we did not have
11 the Hong Kong 'flu that day in Zenica. Zenica is a
12 small town where 15 people do not die every day, so
13 these are the people whose names are here. I even knew
14 some of these people personally, I can even identify
15 some of the people who are in these photographs, but
16 definitely these are the names and these are those
17 people. Of course, the authorities of the hospital
18 also issued appropriate certificates to each and every
19 one of the families in order to burials take place, and
20 also I gave orders to describe every one of the
21 corpses, which the pathologist did, and there is no
22 dilemma in my mind that these are the death
23 certificates for the 15 persons who were killed in
24 front of the department store of Beogradanka in Zenica
25 on April 19th due to shelling.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen would like
2 to intervene.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One question. These
4 death certificates are, I think, in Serbo-Croat, is
5 that right? What language are the certificates in?
6 A. What languages are they in? We will have a
7 look now. You know, it is very difficult for me to
8 distinguish between these three languages of ours.
9 I cannot see any special words that would show that
10 this was written in Bosnian or in Croatian. Let us say
11 it was in Bosnian.
12 Q. It is one of those languages, is it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I did not know that I was presenting you with
15 such a difficult question. The real purpose of my
16 intervention at this point is to seek clarification on
17 one aspect. Is there a column in these death
18 certificates which indicates the cause of death?
19 A. No.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
21 MR. CAYLEY: Judge Shahabuddeen, if I can
22 clarify that, there is a separate document in which
23 cause of death was recorded which the Prosecutor does
24 not have, unfortunately.
25 Mr. President, we have a number of photographs
1 which we would like to go through. I do not know if
2 you wish to take a break or if you wish to continue.
3 It is entirely within your hands.
4 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to know whether
5 there are any questions you want to ask after you show
6 the pictures.
7 MR. CAYLEY: I will just be asking him to
8 describe a number of the photographs to you.
9 JUDGE JORDA: I think the best thing to do
10 would be to take a break now, not too long, since one
11 of our colleagues is sitting in another case at the
12 beginning of the afternoon, so I suggest that we meet
13 again at 11.45.
14 (11.25 am)
15 (A short break)
16 (11.50 am)
17 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
18 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please.
19 (Accused brought in)
20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, we had stopped just
21 at the present that there would be comments made about
22 the photographs.
23 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. I did
24 say that I had no further questions before the break.
25 It is my intention to call the photographic evidence
1 and then I have a couple of very short questions to ask
2 him, which I do not anticipate will take more than a
3 few minutes after the photographs have been put into
5 If the usher could show the witness, I think
6 this is Exhibit 226, is it, Mr. Registrar? 226/1 to
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, this goes up to 226/1
9 through 28.
10 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. Veseljak, this is the official
11 file of photographs, is it not?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. And you have looked through these photographs
14 previously and you have identified each of them as
15 relating to the official file?
16 A. I have.
17 Q. I do not intend to show you all of the
18 photographs, but I merely wish to establish this point
19 so the Defence do not challenge that these are the
20 photographs which are part of the official file.
21 If the witness could be shown photograph
22 number 6?
23 A. Yes, photograph 6. Can I comment on it?
24 Q. Please do, Mr. Veseljak. That is what I would
25 like you to do in respect of each of the photographs.
1 A. This is a photograph of the crater, the trace
2 left by the shell when it hit and went off, and we can
3 see on it clearly what I tried to describe this
4 morning, that is this area here. This is the point of
5 impact (indicates). This point gives grounds to
6 believe -- to establish roughly the direction from
7 which the projectile came, and these are the traces
8 that occur after the explosion, and this is the
9 fan-shaped -- these fan-shaped traces and we see that
10 these traces are only on one side of the crater,
11 whereas on the other there are none or only very few.
12 This is the area without traces, as I said earlier on,
13 which indicates the direction of flight, because the
14 fragments disperse in the continued trajectory of the
15 grenade, so to speak, in the direction of that
16 continued flight of the shell.
17 Q. If the witness could now be shown photograph
18 number 7, please?
19 A. Photograph number 7 is one of the two craters
20 that were found in the immediate vicinity of the spot
21 where the people were killed. In my report, this
22 crater is described as the crater which was roughly,
23 I do not remember what I put there, I think it was five
24 metres from the hamburger kiosk, that is the first
25 crater. It is just across the way from the square that
1 I was talking about.
2 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President and your Honours,
3 the next set of photographs are very disturbing, but
4 since the matter of cause of death has been raised by
5 the Defence, I think it will be necessary to show these
6 photographs in public. There is a number of them. The
7 first photograph is photograph 9.
8 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, Defence counsel has
9 not for a moment contested the assertion that these
10 people were killed in this square. The Defence has
11 just said that we cannot see from the document tendered
12 the cause of death, so that as far as the Defence
13 counsel is concerned, there is no need to show these
15 JUDGE JORDA: You can show them as you like,
16 but as regards your comment, I do not quite agree.
17 Even if you do show the photographs, no relationship
18 has been established between the identity of those
19 people who appear in the death certificates and the
20 faces that we will see, so I do not think that your
21 comment is totally relevant. However, you could ask
22 the witness to identify these things very quickly, but
23 we have already said that the Defence is not
24 challenging them, so do as you like, but please do it
25 quickly and with dignity, since they are in fact
1 difficult to look at. I am speaking to the witness:
2 please comment on them very quickly, because they are
3 not being challenged. Proceed, please.
4 MR. CAYLEY: Could you please show the witness
5 photograph number 9?
6 A. This is a person killed, I think his name is
7 Cedomir Arandelovic, it is the body that we have on the
8 photographs to the right, because we can see here that
9 the body has been moved, you can see traces of that on
10 the photograph.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Let us move along quickly if
12 there are no other comments.
13 MR. CAYLEY: Photograph number 10.
14 A. Emir Redzic Tara.
15 Q. Photograph number 11?
16 A. One of the six bodies next to the staircase,
17 or rather the steps leading up to the plateau that
18 I described.
19 Q. Photograph 12?
20 A. Another body from that area, I do not
21 remember the name.
22 Q. Photograph 13?
23 A. Another body, I do not know the name, it was
24 in the immediate vicinity of the previous body.
25 Q. Photograph 14?
1 A. Again, another body, I do not know the name
2 of the person.
3 Q. Photograph 15 and the last of this type of
5 A. Photograph of Alija Hodzic in the middle of
6 the street. He is the husband of Latifa Hodzic who was
7 also killed.
8 Q. Now if we can move to photograph number 22?
9 A. This is the place where one of the shells
10 hit. This was photographed by personnel in the
11 criminal department, I was not there at the time. This
12 whole area is known as the old Carsija and this is
13 where all the cafes are that I have spoken of. This is
14 a pedestrian area, it is a square.
15 Q. Photograph number 25, please.
16 A. This is a photograph of the boulevard along
17 the Bosna River, it is parallel with the Stare Case
18 which is just behind this building and another shell
19 fell here and there were no victims at this spot.
20 Q. Lastly, photograph 28?
21 A. This is the restaurant called "Opartija",
22 this is its open-air garden and you can see the place
23 where another shell went off. The one we saw before is
24 parallel to this building, it is on the other side of
25 this boulevard. It is in the same direction, but only
1 some 15 or 20 metres to the left.
2 Q. Finally, Mr. Veseljak, you were a Bosnian Serb
3 living in Zenica throughout the war, is that correct?
4 A. It is correct.
5 Q. Did you maintain your position as a judge in
6 the city of Zenica throughout the war?
7 A. Yes, in fact I acquired that position during
8 the war and retained it throughout the war.
9 Q. Zenica was an area that the Bosnian
10 government maintained control of throughout the war; is
11 that correct?
12 A. That is correct too.
13 Q. Do you recall any organised persecution or
14 harassment of Serbian or Croatian individuals living in
15 the city of Zenica during the war years?
16 A. No, there was no organised persecution of
17 Croats or Serbs in Zenica during the war. There were
18 cases, there were even individual crimes committed, but
19 those persons were arrested and brought to trial, the
20 people who committed such crimes, and there were such
21 people. I am talking about individual cases. Those
22 such people were prosecuted, tried and sentenced.
23 Q. You stayed in Zenica throughout the war.
24 Were there many Serbs and Croats who left Zenica?
25 A. There were many Croats and Serbs who left
1 Zenica. However, I must say here that I think the
2 question that I do not understand, those many people
3 who left Zenica, is not a big problem, and in fact
4 I think that the vast majority of people do not know
5 themselves why they did it. I think they believed
6 more, they had more trust in people who described the
7 circumstances under which they were living than the
8 circumstances themselves.
9 Q. You think they left because of propaganda?
10 A. Quite certainly.
11 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. Veseljak. If there
12 are no objections from my learned friends from the
13 Defence, I would like to apply for admission into
14 evidence of Exhibit 224, which is the report, the
15 judge's report, together with 224A being the French
16 translation, 224B the English translation. There are
17 then 15 death certificates, which is Exhibit 225/1
18 through to 225/15. There are then 23 photographs,
19 which are Exhibit 226/1 through to 226/23.
20 A. Is it permitted according to the procedure to
21 ask the President of the Trial Chamber for permission
22 to add a few words?
23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but I would not like to
24 delay too much the cross-examination. Go ahead, but
25 briefly, please.
1 A. It is just one sentence I wish to add.
2 I wanted to say it before, but I was surprised by the
3 break. The question of the link between the cause of
4 death and the indictments which come from the death
5 certificate records; I think that it is important to
6 say that according to legislation be in force,
7 according to the keeping of books, the report of the
8 judge on the investigation is the document on the basis
9 of which the death is recorded. Therefore it is a
10 valid document, and this -- the records will reflect
11 the cause of death which I have mentioned in my report.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for that
13 clarification. We now will ask the Defence to conduct
14 the cross-examination.
15 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Good morning, Mr. Veseljak. As you have
18 heard, I am Defence counsel for Mr. Blaskic, together
19 with Mr. Hayman. I have a couple of questions for you.
20 The report on the investigation, can you tell
21 me, was it customary to first determine the point of
22 departure and then the material traces and how the
23 distance from that point of departure?
24 A. That is customary, yes, that is how the
25 measurements are made and in my report I stated clearly
1 that we did not proceed in that way because we felt
2 unsafe because throughout that period we could hear
3 coming from the same direction detonations in the
4 distance; it was our first experience of that time,
5 I decided not to act as we perhaps should have.
6 Q. I understand your reasons and I probably
7 would have acted in the same way, but can you tell us
8 whether this report is less suitable for reconstruction
9 than if it was done according to the rules?
10 A. If it were important to establish whether a
11 corpse was two metres to the left or two metres to the
12 right, yes.
13 Q. But what about the shell crater?
14 A. I think that the photo documents are -- speak
15 for themselves. I think you should have no problems in
16 acquiring full insight into all the parameters,
17 including those distances which unfortunately we did
18 not indicate.
19 Q. For instance, photograph number 6 gives us an
20 overview of the crater. Do you have a photograph which
21 would show the area around it and could you link those
22 two photographs?
23 A. I do not know the photographs by their
24 numbers, but when taking the photographs of the general
25 appearance, the numbers were placed at each trace.
1 Q. So could you please link photograph number 6
2 showing the close-up of the crater with a larger
3 photograph of the surrounding area?
4 A. This is the arrow on photograph number 5.
5 Q. Can you tell me then, please, from what angle
6 was photograph number 6 taken? Where was the
7 photographer standing from the standpoint of photograph
8 number 5? Could you place him in photograph number 5?
9 A. I can assume, though that is not my job.
10 Q. So you cannot now tell us in space more
11 exactly what photograph number 6 shows, which could be
12 used for reconstruction purposes and for forensic
14 A. I can in principle place it, because you can
15 see on the photograph here -- no, not really, I am not
16 quite sure that I could turn this photograph around and
17 tell you.
18 Q. With exactitude?
19 A. No, I am afraid not, because that is evidence
20 from my previous answer.
21 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I am objecting to
22 the manner in which the cross-examination is being
23 conducted. Mr. Nobilo is speaking over the witness and
24 not allowing him to answer. That is nothing to do with
25 the translation, that is just what is happening.
1 JUDGE JORDA: It was not a substantive
2 objection, but rather a formal one.
3 MR. NOBILO: I accept the objection, so let us
4 go back to photograph number 6. We are unable to place
5 it with precision. Is there any other crater, for
6 example on photograph number 7? Can you help us there
7 and tell us from what position the photograph was taken
8 and where exactly these traces would be placed in
10 A. My answer is the same as for the previous
12 Q. Photograph number 8, what context was it
13 taken from, or rather it is a close-up of which
15 A. It is of photograph number 7.
16 Q. How can you tell that?
17 A. I remember its appearance, if that is
18 sufficient. This zero should be visible somewhere on
19 photograph 7. Unfortunately on this copy it is
20 unclear, but this number exists, it is left of the
21 arrow, there is a little white square with the number,
22 but unfortunately I cannot read it from this copy.
23 Q. So the number is not legible?
24 A. Not on this copy that I have.
25 Q. Apart from these photographs, do you have any
1 other photographs of the craters and the general
2 appearance of those places?
3 A. I do not.
4 Q. Do you make a sketch of the area?
5 A. No. May I add again, interrupting you with
6 the explanation that I have already given, to make a
7 sketch, one had to do the measurements and we did not
8 do the measurements and therefore we did not make a
9 sketch, because it would not have been accurate.
10 Q. In your examination-in-chief, you said that
11 you stood in one crater and turned around to try and
12 make an estimate. Was it in one of these two craters?
13 A. Yes, this crater here is the one I stood in.
14 It was this crater, on photograph number 5.
15 Q. When you turned around, where were you
16 facing? Could you describe it in relation to the
17 photograph number 5, the direction from which the shell
19 A. I was looking between these two right
20 buildings, across the one but last to the right.
21 Q. So please correct me if I am wrong, that the
22 shell must have come over these buildings and reached
23 this spot. It must have flown over these buildings?
24 A. Yes, undoubtedly. Shells do that usually,
25 they usually jump over, leap over certain things.
1 Q. We will leave that to ballistic experts.
2 A. Of course.
3 Q. The material traces that you found, the fuse
4 and the traces and the fragments, who did you give them
6 A. To members of the criminal police of the
7 centre of security services.
8 Q. Did you give them a written or oral order,
10 A. I instructed them to continue the necessary
11 activities to establish the calibre, the type of
12 projectile and the actual direction from which it came,
13 using trigonometry. May I add, it is customary for the
14 duty judge to go from the spot once he has made an
15 investigation, and then he gives instructions to the
16 other personnel, but you are familiar with the
17 pre-criminal and actual criminal proceedings, and only
18 then later on do we wait for criminal charges to be
19 pressed and so on. So that is what I did, and I put
20 that in my report. I instructed the appropriate
21 personnel to carry out the necessary specialised
23 Q. Did you ever get a report as to what they did
24 according to your instructions?
25 A. No, I did not, nor should I have. I should
1 not have received any report from them, because the
2 file, the case was closed. We closed the case and
3 anything that would follow depended on the prosecution,
4 and only later on the court, if the prosecution decided
5 to prosecute.
6 Q. Did the prosecution ever submit a request for
8 A. The district military prosecution, no.
9 Q. As far as you are aware, did the civilian or
10 military prosecution form a file where we might find a
11 report on an analysis of those shells?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Where, according to you, could those
14 fragments and the fuse of the shell be found; can you
15 tell me exactly whom you entrusted those with?
16 A. It is the Ministry of the Interior, the
17 security centre.
18 Q. Could you please give me the address as well,
19 I would be very grateful?
20 A. It is a square -- I forget the address.
21 Q. Very well.
22 A. You know in small cities, instead of the
23 address we say, "next to the church, next to the
24 mosque, next to the police building".
25 Q. At the beginning of your testimony, you said
1 that you heard the explosions while you were at work.
2 Could you tell how many explosions you heard and within
3 what time period, if you can remember?
4 A. The time between them was not significant,
5 but all I really remembered was the big explosion;
6 whether there were one two or three after that, I do
7 not know any more. I apologise if I interrupted you.
8 I know that the explosions were very powerful,
9 everything was shaking. Later on, I realised why,
10 because we were very close. People scattered, people
12 Q. Can you define the space of time between
13 them? Was it less than one minute or was it five or
14 ten or fifteen? What was the space between the shells?
15 A. With the reservation that I cannot be
16 precise, I think it was less than a minute between the
17 shells. That is how I experienced it, as a short space
19 Q. Did I understand you well? You gave
20 instructions for the external examination for the
21 corpses but not for abduction?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you know whether a military commission of
24 the BH-Army would conduct an investigation as well?
25 A. It was normal to expect that. Actually in
1 those days, as you most certainly are aware, an order
2 on the armed forces was in effect an order on the armed
3 forces with a force of law which said that the armed
4 forces were composed of the Army of BiH, the HVO and
5 the HOS and at the time, the military police bodies
6 were in the process of formation and the III Corps and
7 its command had already been formed. It was only to be
8 expected that they would too appear on the spot as
9 people responsible for military security and I know
10 that they did that because while I still felt, believed
11 that it was 155 millimetre calibre, the military bodies
12 said it was 120 millimetre calibre.
13 Q. You said that you heard that the military
14 organs announced that it was a shell of 122
15 millimetres; did you hear what they said regarding the
17 A. I probably heard, but I did not remember.
18 That day for me was highly problematic, because two
19 reports appeared; there was my report that was prepared
20 for publication with my signature, and at the time
21 I asked the press centre of the III Corps to give an
22 identical report to all the media, and then
23 simultaneously I heard of this other report which
24 differed in terms of the calibre, as I have said, so in
25 fact I intervened, because for a time my report was
1 revised and they read out 122 and I said, "gentlemen,
2 what I have written you read the way I have written,
3 even with the grammatical mistakes and anyone else who
4 issues a different report on the basis of some other
5 investigations, let him stand by his report". I cannot
6 claim today what the calibre was, but I put down what
7 I was told on the spot at the time.
8 Q. Finally, you said that all criminal offences
9 were prosecuted that were of an individual nature; do
10 you remember Totic and his kidnapping? Was that
12 A. I remember the case, but I think it was not
14 Q. Do you know the reason?
15 A. I do not know the reason. I do not know
16 whether they were identified. I was present personally
17 at the investigation. Of course I did not carry it out
18 because I was not on duty, but I was present with my
19 colleague who was on duty. He was a Bosniak and it was
20 our assessment that due to the tension that this would
21 normally provoke, it would be wise for all of us to
22 stand together, a colleague who was a Croat and myself
23 as a Serb, and I must say that -- we carried out that
24 investigation together with Dejucevic and another
25 person who was a judge of the HVO at the time, that we
1 were given security by the military police of the
2 BH-Army and the military police of the HVO, and I am
3 aware of that event. I consider it abhorrent, because
4 not only the four escorts of Mr. Totic were killed but a
5 casual passer-by. We found destroyed a Ford car and
6 there is a record made of it. What happened later,
7 I do not know.
8 Q. You told us this was the first shelling you
9 experienced, but was Zenica shelled before that, apart
10 from the airborne attack?
11 A. I think not.
12 Q. Was it shelled after that?
13 A. Unfortunately yes, frequently.
14 Q. From what side?
15 A. From both sides.
16 Q. You said that the Croats and Serbs had left,
17 you did not know why. Have they come back?
18 A. No, they have not come back, or rather in the
19 majority of cases they have not come back. If you are
20 asking me why, for two reasons. One is the reason why
21 they left, and the other is the situation as it stands
22 now. The situation in Bosnia unfortunately is like a
23 vicious circle. For someone to go back to his home in
24 Zenica, then someone else has to go back to his home in
25 Slavonski Brod and then again someone there has to go
1 back to his home in Knin, and so we get to the vicious
3 Q. My colleague Hayman wanted to ask, when you
4 said that Zenica was shelled repeatedly from "both
5 sides", are you thinking of the sides of the world or
6 the warring parties?
7 A. I am referring to the sides where the
8 positions of the HVO was and the other side, the
9 Chetnik positions on Mount Vlasic.
10 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President, we have
11 no further questions.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, do you want any
13 additional clarifications?
14 Re-examined by MR. CAYLEY
15 Q. Mr. President, I have a couple of
16 clarifications to make.
17 Mr. Veseljak, during your cross-examination
18 you were asked by Mr. Nobilo whether or not Zenica was
19 shelled from both HVO positions and from Serb
20 positions; do you recall that?
21 A. Yes, I recall that. I recall the question
22 and I recall the shelling.
23 Q. Were you involved in the investigation of
24 those subsequent shellings?
25 A. I had the ill fortune of having most of these
1 shellings occur while I was on duty, to such an extent
2 that my colleagues would say that they should collect
3 some money between themselves and pay me not to be on
4 duty, so I had the ill fortune of being on duty when
5 most of these shellings occurred. 70 or 71 persons
6 were killed in Zenica from shelling and I was the duty
7 judge for 60 of these people, so in direct response to
8 your question, yes, I was, and I carried out an inquest
9 and made a report on these shellings.
10 Q. Did you become familiar with the direction
11 from which these shells were being fired?
12 A. I think I did. You know, perhaps it seems a
13 bit unclear now, but when you are in a war and when you
14 are in that kind of situation almost every day, whether
15 you like it or not, you improvise with regard to
16 certain methods and you always learn something.
17 Something is wrong with my headphones.
18 I would always go that way and I know one
19 thing for sure, in any part of town, if I had a trace
20 and if I made the experiment like the one I did in this
21 case, sometimes I would stand more to the right and
22 sometimes more to the left, whenever I would face the
23 crater and when I would see the TV transmitter on Mount
24 Zmajevac, then I would see Vlasic behind, always.
25 Whenever I would see that transmitter -- or if I could
1 not see it, I was born there, you know, it is a small
2 town -- I always had Vlasic in front of me. These
3 shells came from Vlasic, there were many of them coming
4 from that side, they did a lot of evil, they fell in a
5 different way. If we look at this great wall of China,
6 as we call it, as we saw on the photograph, they would
7 fall along parallel lines as compared to the wall, that
8 was the direction where they fell.
9 Also in all other cases when I personally
10 established that these shells fell from the side where
11 HVO positions were, then those shells would come across
12 the hills called Gaj Volovska Glava, so that is the
13 direction that forms a 90 degree angle, speaking in
14 general terms, as compared to the direction from which
15 the Vlasic shells come in. At some shellings we had
16 such clear traces, you know. If you have a house on
17 one side and then if the shell falls into the yard and
18 then it falls through a linden tree and it leaves a
19 tunnel through which it went, then there is certainly
20 no doubt in your mind, if you look through this tunnel,
21 so to speak, if you know where you are, you know that
22 Busovaca is in front of you, that it is that direction.
23 Unfortunately, a lot of that happened, and
24 I dare say here, with great self-assurance, that I did
25 not make such mistakes.
1 Q. One last question then. On 19th April 1993,
2 where were those shells fired from, in your opinion?
3 A. I am sorry, there was a bit of interruption
4 in the tone, so I did not hear you well.
5 Q. On 19th April 1993, where were the shells
6 that fell in Zenica fired from?
7 A. I do not know where they were fired from, but
8 I had a look at this and they came from that direction
9 which I believe to be Vitez Bila, that area, but where
10 they were actually fired from, that I do not know.
11 MR. CAYLEY: I have no further questions,
12 Mr. President, thank you.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I will now turn to
14 my colleagues. Judge Riad?
15 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, Judge Veseljak.
16 A. Good day.
17 Q. I would like to have some decision as far as
18 you can give me, although it might have been said
19 before, but the first one, you said that the shells
20 were fired from the extreme south west, if I remember
21 rightly, the extreme south west of Zenica. What are
22 the cities which are on the extreme south west of
23 Zenica which can be within the range of shelling, what
24 you mentioned as shells of 122 or 155? Do you have
25 enough knowledge to tell us that? Cities in the south
1 west, within the range of such shells.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Do you have a map perhaps?
3 A. I do not know what the range is of 122 or 150
4 millimetre calibre.
5 MR. CAYLEY: Unfortunately we cannot be
6 helpful in this case, Mr. President. I have just
7 looked, it is of no assistance.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Even if you were to name
9 villages, it would help Judge Riad and it would help me
10 too. Names have been given for cities, you have spoken
11 about directions. It seems to me that would be a
12 useful thing.
13 Judge Riad, do you want us to ask for a map?
14 JUDGE RIAD: I think Judge Veseljak knows
15 well his area. Can you tell us the cities, not the
16 range, just the cities in the south west, the main
17 cities which could be expected to fire from there?
18 A. The entire area, the way I see the south west
19 -- I am just saying that perhaps this is not quite
20 topographical. I am trying to imagine where the north
21 and where the south is in Zenica. Perhaps this is
22 something a bit more to the right or a bit more to the
23 left, topographically. On that side, this south west
24 side, the way I see it, that is somehow the area
25 between Busovaca and Vitez, more towards Vitez. That
1 is the area. Vitez would, the way I see this area,
2 would have to be totally to the west somehow. To my
3 mind, it was somewhere around there, so on that side of
4 the hills, there are Vitez and Busovaca, as far as
5 I know, and Poculica and Preocica and Sivrino Selo, but
6 these are villages, and Nadioci; I do not even know,
7 I cannot even tell any more.
8 Q. Approximately do you know how far it is from
10 A. I do not know that way, I mean across the
11 hill, because across the hill -- let me think. There
12 is a road and we call it the road across Vjetrenica.
13 It goes from the centre of town, it goes up this hill
14 and goes down to Vitez. It is about 12 or 13
15 kilometres long, that road. Of course, when you take
16 the regular asphalt road around, that is about 40
17 kilometres, because the road meanders, so it is farther
18 going that way. But across the hill, it is more than
19 10 kilometres but not more than 15 kilometres,
20 I think. You are making me give these estimates, so
21 I really have to be cautious.
22 Q. I quite understand, that is just an
23 estimate. Now do you think that, and still this is
24 just left to your discretion to answer, is it a normal
25 thing or was it a normal thing that this 155 or 122
1 millimetre calibre would exist in the hands of factions
2 other than the military authorities? Was it customary
3 in the area, or was it even recorded?
4 A. I do not know what structure you are talking
5 about. One that is not a military structure? The HVO
6 was a military structure. I mentioned the decree with
7 the force of a law that says that the armed forces of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina are the Armija, the HVO, the HOS and
9 the police. If you are asking that by way of a direct
10 question, it was not unusual to me that the HVO should
11 have weapons.
12 Q. I am not speaking of the HVO, I am speaking
13 of undisciplined bands which would have such weapons,
14 which do not belong to the HVO and which are not under
15 the command of the HVO.
16 A. I do not know, sir, but in your country, do
17 such bands have Howitzers? I do not know what kind of
18 band it could be that could have a Howitzer in their
19 possession. So unfortunately I had the opportunity of
20 seeing a Howitzer, so it is not the kind of weapon that
21 you put on your shoulder and that you just carry
22 around, it requires logistics, it requires a position.
23 This position should be protected, guarded,
24 camouflaged, and regrettably I even had the opportunity
25 of seeing the projectiles, and they weighed 20
1 kilograms, so I could hardly imagine a band that would
2 have a Howitzer.
3 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much. You gave
4 me the answer, thank you.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Judge, you have been a
7 military judge?
8 A. Again, there is -- yes. Let us use this as a
9 technical term. I was the judge of a district military
10 court that was a civilian court. The superior court to
11 that one was the regular court of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
12 which was not a military unit.
13 Q. Thank you. You have not said, and
14 I appreciate this, that you are a ballistics expert.
15 A. Yes, I am not a ballistics expert.
16 Q. Have you in your career as a military judge
17 had to deal with cases involving ballistic issues?
18 A. I did.
19 Q. Would some of those issues have involved
20 questions concerning the likely trajectory of a
22 A. If you are referring to a shell, I did not
23 have such experience, but -- because we had individual
24 criminal cases, we had many cases where we had
25 ballistics expertise of projectiles, but from hand-hold
1 weapons and the like. That, yes.
2 Q. That will do. I am looking at photograph
3 number 6 which I hold up for easy identification. To
4 repeat what you have said, there are flash marks on one
5 side, but no flash marks on the other, is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In your judgement, the trajectory of this
8 shell would have lain in a direction opposite to the
9 flash marks; am I understanding you correctly?
10 A. In the opposite direction as compared to the
11 rows that you see there, so from the direction that is
12 indicated by this point of impact, so in the opposite
14 Q. Exactly, that is what I was putting to you as
15 representing my understanding of your testimony. You
16 said you had the misfortune to be around when shells
17 were falling. Did you hear any of the shells coming
19 A. It is hard for me to find the right word. It
20 was not like a whistle sound, I do not know if I am
21 going to create difficulties for the interpreters now,
22 but it was this kind of sound, "hoo" -- maybe I have
23 created a lot of trouble for the interpreters' ears and
24 everybody else's.
25 JUDGE JORDA: You did very well.
1 A. They do not have to interpret the sound
2 I made.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand the
4 difficulties of describing the sound. I only point
5 that I did not intend to put you to that difficulty of
6 describing the sound, but merely am asking you whether
7 you heard the shells coming in. The answer is yes?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Having heard the shells come in, would you
10 have been in a position to say whether the shells came
11 in from a direction which matched your analysis of
12 photograph 6?
13 A. Yes, that sound made me think, when I heard
14 the explosion, because these are very short distances.
15 That sound made me think whether this had happened at
16 the place where I lived, so I called my wife to ask
17 whether everyone was alive. You know there is always
18 an approximation. People cannot always be quite
19 precise. Sometimes if a military aircraft would fly by
20 you, I do not know if you ever personally had that
21 opportunity of hearing that, you are not always quite
22 sure, judging by the sound, whether you would look in
23 the right place where the military aircraft had flown.
24 Perhaps you can be a bit deceived by the sound, but
25 generally speaking it was from that side.
1 Q. Were you deceived on this occasion?
2 A. No.
3 Q. My last question to you is: this question
4 concerns the likely sources from which the shells
5 came. Do I understand your testimony correctly to mean
6 this, that the HVO held positions in the likely areas
7 of origin of these shells?
8 A. I think so. The HVO did hold positions in
9 that area, I knew it then and later on, it so happened
10 that I made sure that this was so.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Judge, I thank you.
12 A. Thank you, sir.
13 JUDGE JORDA: One or two clarifications
14 I would like to ask before you finish with your
15 testimony. You were the duty judge, that is what you
16 said. Therefore you conducted an investigation which
17 one could call a quick one, cursory; we agree about
18 that, do we not? They were observations that you were
19 making, is that right?
20 A. Absolutely.
21 Q. It was an investigation which in some
22 countries would be given to the police to do, what in
23 France is called the "police judicière", and which
24 would transmit the results of its investigation to the
25 prosecution and with or without an investigating
1 magistrate, so my question is the following; your
2 investigation, which seems to have been supplemented by
3 another detailed one, could one say that the -- did you
4 know about the other investigation? Did you read it,
5 did you receive it, did you supply it or provide it to
6 the prosecutor? Did it give rise to any prosecutions?
7 Could you clarify that for the Tribunal, please?
8 A. I did not receive any further reports and
9 I did not expect them either, because in my country,
10 the procedure according to law is quite the opposite.
11 We sincerely hope that among other donations the
12 international community is going to donate a criminal
13 procedure like the one you have in your country. In
14 our country, it is the other way around. Everything is
15 done by the investigative judge. He carries out the
16 inquest and the investigation. The police can do it on
17 their own if so authorised by the investigative judge,
18 or if death is not a consequence or great material
19 damage et cetera, so the judge has to come to the
20 scene, and I did that.
21 Furthermore, whatever happened afterwards is
22 a matter which I deemed to belong in the province of
23 work of the military police; that is to say where the
24 weapons were. We were in the beginning of the war then
25 and what I was supposed to do is record these events
1 for the future, not to open a criminal investigation,
2 no, because my court did not have the possibility then
3 of carrying out that kind of investigation.
4 Q. You did not have the means or there was -- it
5 was not judicially allowed or it was not part of the
6 hierarchy? Under ordinary circumstances, would you
7 have opened up an investigation and given it to another
8 judge? I am trying to understand the mechanism, the
9 apparatus there.
10 A. To understand the apparatus? Well, in order
11 to carry out that investigation, we would have to go to
12 Vitez, or somewhere around Vitez, which was absolutely
13 impossible. We were in an ugly and unnecessary war,
14 but we were divided by a terrible wall between us, so
15 there was no chance, even if we wanted to do that, to
16 go there and to carry out the necessary investigation;
17 no, it was absolutely impossible, inconceivable.
18 Q. So you would agree when I say that you did
19 not have total freedom in which you could operate your
20 investigation and which would allow you to determine
21 the causes?
22 A. Not total, we did not have any at all.
23 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to turn to the
24 Prosecutor. During your investigation, were you able
25 to get any supplementary information about this
1 investigation that your witness carried out? Could you
2 tell us that, Mr. Cayley?
3 MR. CAYLEY: We have no further official
4 investigation in respect of the civilian authorities,
5 Mr. President, but we do have a military investigation.
6 That was carried out by members of the Bosnian army,
7 and we will be calling testimony to that effect.
8 JUDGE JORDA: You have some then?
9 MR. CAYLEY: We do, your Honour, yes.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. As regards the
11 prosecutions, judge, you referred to judicial
12 prosecution. Could you explain what you meant by
13 that? Who was carrying out the prosecution, for what
14 crime, for what violations?
15 A. No, I tried only in principle to explain what
16 the criminal procedure was, according to the laws that
17 we are applying in our country, so I said the
18 following: when an event occurs which has certain
19 consequences, then an inquest is carried out. Since
20 I was the duty judge, who is not an investigative judge
21 -- please bear in mind this distinction all the time,
22 I am not an investigative judge. I am a judge who was
23 on duty during one period of time during a given week.
24 So I make that kind of report and one copy of such a
25 report is sent to the prosecutor concerned, in this
1 case the district military prosecutor, and also one
2 copy to the police who assisted me in the inquest; in
3 this case it was the centre of security. In this way,
4 I conclude my file, I close that file. If the police
5 believes that criminal charges should be brought, they
6 do that, and they bring criminal charges to the court
7 and then these charges can be rejected or accepted, and
8 in that case, they file a motion to that effect, to
9 start an investigation, and this goes before an
10 investigative judge who is in charge of handling such
12 This judge also has two possibilities; one is
13 to agree with this motion, that is to start an
14 investigation, or to oppose this. In that case, the
15 definite decision at that court level, of course, is
16 reached by a professional chamber. Only after that
17 procedure is an indictment brought forth, given to the
18 parties involved and then I start with my role, then
19 the trial starts et cetera.
20 Q. In this case, was there an investigating
21 magistrate who had been designated?
22 A. No, in our court, no.
23 Q. So you would agree with me when I say that at
24 one point, this matter was not considered sufficiently
25 serious for there to be an investigating magistrate?
1 A. It was not considered that there were any
2 grounds or any possibility of doing anything about that
3 case or any other case while the war was still on,
4 simply to record everything that had happened, and then
5 there was this higher court in Zenica, a "civilian
6 court" where this was all processed in terms of
7 criminal charges brought against certain persons for
8 the crime of genocide et cetera. It is only then that
9 the whole matter was processed, and then the mosaic
10 fell into place, but not within this court on which
11 I was then and which is no longer in existence.
12 Q. In general, would you say that this matter
13 was not very properly treated judicially speaking, or
14 would you prefer not to answer my question?
15 A. We would have to agree on the criteria.
16 Q. The criteria; these are acts which caused the
17 death of 18 people, 49 very serious injuries, which
18 completely destroyed the existence of hundreds of
19 people. It was not just a simple automobile accident.
20 It would seem to me in serious cases there is
21 investigating magistrate, here that did not happen,
22 that is what I mean. It seems to me that in principle,
23 at least in principle, because you are the witness,
24 I am asking the question whether you consider that
25 things were properly dealt with legally speaking, given
1 the circumstances of the war. That is my only, in fact
2 my final question.
3 A. This was done within the realm of the
4 possible, and allow me to speak to you as to a
5 colleague now. If I were presiding over a trial
6 chamber where I only needed the name of the person who
7 fired the trigger, on the basis of what was done, there
8 would not be the smallest doubt in my mind as to
9 whether he was guilty or not. I would only need the
10 name of the person who drew the trigger. So we did not
11 do -- rather let us put it this way. We did whatever
12 we could possibly do at that time, and everything that
13 made sense at that time.
14 Mr. President, we were in a town then in which
15 we did not have electricity, water, heating or food.
16 Mr. President, for six months I had only one meal per
17 day, and at the official cafeteria at that. It is
18 under such circumstances that we carried out inquests,
19 under such conditions we tried to document the traces.
20 Colour film, Mr. President, belonged to Andersen's fairy
21 tale to us. We could not take off paraffin gloves
22 because we did not have any paraffin. Our doctors
23 could not carry out operations, could not do surgery,
24 because they did not have anaesthetics. They would say
25 two aspirins or something, somebody who would bring it
1 from his home, so gentlemen, those are the conditions
2 under which we carried out these inquests and we knew
3 in advance that at that point we could not go any
4 further. But we also knew that there would have to be
5 an end brought to evil and that someone would have to
6 be held responsible for that and we wanted to leave
7 behind us whatever we could, and that is what we left
8 behind us.
9 I am proud of having been there, that is my
10 feeling today and as a lawyer, as a professional, I am
11 not ashamed either before you, our esteemed colleagues,
12 Mr. Nobilo or anyone, that academic questions can be put
13 to me today, that academically objections can be raised
14 in terms of what I did and what my court did. The only
15 thing I wish, gentlemen, is that you never never live
16 to fully understand what I told you about today.
17 Q. I would like to tell you that the Tribunal is
18 very sensitive to what you have just said. If I took
19 the liberty of asking you this question, it is because
20 you are a professional in the field of law, and as a
21 professional, we must establish the charges, we have to
22 prove the charges against an accused present here in
23 this courtroom, and it is true that legitimately
24 I asked myself the questions as my colleagues asked you
25 legitimate questions relating to the direction of the
1 projectiles, but this does not take away anything from
2 what you said. It is very difficult, of course, to
3 understand from what direction the shells were coming,
4 but while rendering homage to you about what you said,
5 I wanted to know whether there were any other elements
6 of the investigations which might corroborate what you
7 did and said.
8 As regards the rest, my good friend,
9 I believe that your testimony is something which has --
10 to which we are very sensitive. We understand that you
11 did what you were able to do, as the International
12 Tribunal does everything it can.
13 I think this testimony can now be concluded,
14 it is now 1.00. The Tribunal thanks you, sir,
15 I believe that we will resume tomorrow at 10.00. Will
16 we finish tomorrow, Mr. Cayley?
17 MR. CAYLEY: Indeed, Mr. President.
18 (1.00 pm)
19 (Hearing adjourned until 10.00 am the following day)