1 Monday, 27th April 1998
2 (2.30 pm)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Would the
4 Registry, please, have the accused brought in.
5 (The accused entered court)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Prosecution, you have the
8 We have a relatively short week ahead of us.
9 I believe we are going to be sitting today, this
10 afternoon, tomorrow, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday.
11 How is that going to happen, then? What is happening
12 on Wednesday?
13 THE REGISTRAR: We are also scheduled to sit
14 in the afternoon.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. So we are not
16 sitting in the morning, Wednesday morning?
17 THE REGISTRAR: No, we are not.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, we have the three
19 afternoons, Mr. Prosecutor. It is up to you, then, to
20 do what you can so that things are arranged as best as
22 The other witness had to leave so the
23 cross-examination will have to take place at a later
24 date for that witness.
25 Mr. Prosecutor, please introduce your next
2 MR. HARMAN: Thank you. Good afternoon,
3 Mr. President, your Honours and counsel.
4 My next witness, Mr. President and your
5 Honours, is Deborah Christie. Deborah Christie is an
6 executive from the BBC. In 1993 she was a journalist
7 and a film-maker employed by Granada Films in the
8 United Kingdom. They made a film in 1993 entitled "We
9 Are All Neighbours".
10 It is a film about the village of Visnjica,
11 one of the villages which is listed in the indictment
12 and one of the villages which was attacked by the HVO
13 in the Kiseljak municipality in April of 1993.
14 Your Honours have already heard two witnesses
15 who have testified about this attack; those are
16 Witnesses AA and Witness CC.
17 Ms Christie and her film crew were in
18 Visnjica and in Kiseljak from 22nd January 1993 until
19 14th February of that same year. Following the attack
20 on the village of Visnjica, she and her crew returned
21 to Kiseljak and to the village on 29th April for
22 additional film-making. She remained in Kiseljak and
23 in Visnjica until 3rd May 1993.
24 Her testimony will relate to her observations
25 in and around Visnjica and Kiseljak before and after
1 the attack by the HVO. She will describe the village
2 of Visnjica, what it was like; what life was like in
3 the village before and after the attack.
4 She will also testify about events that
5 occurred on the night of 4th February in Kiseljak.
6 That specifically relates to the destruction of Muslim
7 shops and businesses that were destroyed, some within
8 400 yards of then Colonel Blaskic's headquarters of the
9 Kiseljak army barracks.
10 She will testify about seeing the HVO forces
11 in Kiseljak. She will describe them as being in
12 absolute control of the city of Kiseljak and the
13 surroundings. She will identify some of the types of
14 weapons that they had at their disposal, including
15 a tank. She will testify, Mr. President and
16 your Honours, about personally meeting then
17 Colonel Blaskic at what was described as his
18 headquarters in the Kiseljak barracks. She will
19 testify that she obtained a film permit from
20 Colonel Blaskic. She will describe what effect that
21 film permit had, in terms of her being able to do her
22 business throughout the municipality on both of her
24 Lastly, Mr. President and your Honours, we
25 will introduce into evidence the film. We will play
1 the film, "We Are All Neighbours" and she will make
2 observations about that film and describe certain parts
3 of that film in greater detail.
4 In respect of the indictment, Mr. President
5 and your Honours, her testimony relates to the
6 authority exercised by the accused, specifically
7 paragraphs 3 and 4 of the indictment; it relates to
8 persecution, paragraph 6.1; attacks on villages; and
9 paragraph 6.3, destruction and plunder of property.
10 Her testimony also relates to counts 2 to 4,
11 unlawful attacks on civilians and civilian objects, and
12 counts 11 through 13, the destruction and plunder of
13 property. Lastly, it relates to count 14, the
14 destruction of religious property.
15 That concludes my summary, Mr. President and
16 your Honours.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much. I would
18 like to ask you also to the intention of my
19 colleagues. I would like to know approximately how
20 much time you think your examination-in-chief will
22 MR. HARMAN: My examination-in-chief should
23 take less than half an hour, Mr. President. The film is
24 approximately 55 minutes.
25 JUDGE JORDA: You have the intention of
1 showing the whole film?
2 MR. HARMAN: Yes.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Without any further
4 delay, will the Registry please then bring in the
5 witness, Ms Deborah Christie.
6 (Deborah Christie enters court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain -- we have a new
8 usher here, so we have to make sure the usher takes on
9 the good habits. Please have the witness remain
10 standing. Madam, do you hear me?
11 THE WITNESS: Yes.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I am sorry to have you remain
13 standing for a few moments. This is how the procedure
14 is carried out here before this Tribunal. I would like
15 to ask now, do you hear me in your language?
16 THE WITNESS: Yes.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Would you please remind us of
18 your last and first name?
19 THE WITNESS: My name is Deborah Christie.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing so that
21 you may read the solemn declaration that the usher will
22 put before you.
23 MS DEBORAH CHRISTIE (Sworn)
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much. Please be
1 Madam, you have agreed to come and testify at
2 the request of the Prosecutor before the
3 International Criminal Tribunal in this case, in the
4 matter of the Prosecution versus Colonel Blaskic, who
5 is present in this courtroom. The Prosecutor has
6 explained to you how this is going to proceed.
7 I understand from the summary given by the
8 Prosecution that you are a professional. The
9 Prosecution has given us some background about you.
10 The Prosecutor will guide you into areas which are of
11 importance. There will be some introductory remarks or
12 questions and then after that the Prosecutor will ask
13 some questions.
14 Please, you have the floor, Mr. Prosecutor.
15 Examined by MR. HARMAN
16 MR. HARMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Good afternoon, Ms Christie.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 Q. Could you, please, tell us about your
21 A. I was trained as a journalist with the BBC
22 and I then worked as a film-maker/journalist for
23 Granada Television for six years working on their prime
24 time news and current affairs programme which is called
25 "World in Action".
1 I came to work on a project, a strand called
2 "Disappearing World" in 1993.
3 Q. Can you tell us what you currently do?
4 A. I am currently an Executive Producer at
5 BBC Television. I am responsible for 25 staff who are
6 making factual television programmes.
7 Q. As a film-maker and as a journalist, have you
8 won any awards and, if so, could you describe which
9 awards you have won?
10 A. I have won five awards; two of them
11 specifically were for the Disappearing World programme
12 in Bosnia. One of them was an international EMI award
13 and the other one was the Royal Television Society in
14 Britain's award.
15 Q. Now, Ms Christie, were you in the Kiseljak
16 municipality and in the village of Visnjica from
17 22nd January 1993 to 14th February 1993, and then again
18 from 29th April 1993 until 3rd May 1993?
19 A. Yes, I was.
20 Q. Why were you there?
21 A. I was there to make a film. I was working
22 with an anthropologist called Tone Bringa who knew the
23 area well. It was the first time I had been in
25 Q. When you give your answers, if you could give
1 them in a narrative form. The court prefers that you
2 give your testimony and I ask as few questions as
4 If you could tell us, please, about the
5 background of the film, the genesis of the film, who
6 Tone Bringa is, what she had done in the village before
7 and what you then sought to achieve by making this
8 particular film.
9 A. Sure. The programme was made for a series
10 called "Disappearing World". It is a series of
11 television programmes which had been running for
12 10 years on Granada Television.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Madam, I am going to ask you to
14 speak a little more slowly for the interpreters. Thank
16 A. The film that I was making was for a strand
17 on British television called "Disappearing World".
18 This was a programme that had been running for
19 10 years. The style of the programme is to work with
20 an anthropologist who has specialist knowledge in an
21 area with a group of people and to try to make a film
22 using the anthropologist's knowledge to reflect what is
23 happening in that particular place or village.
24 I was working with Tone Bringa, who is
25 a Norwegian anthropologist. She had lived in the
1 village of Visnjica for 15 months, five years
2 previously; that is in 1988. She had studied the
3 village. She was looking particularly, as an
4 anthropologist, at the co-existence of different groups
5 within the same village. The interest in the village
6 was the co-existence primarily of Croat and Muslim.
7 That was her specialist area.
8 She knew the village very well, she had lived
9 actually in the village for 15 months and when we
10 returned to make the programme, Tone Bringa lived in
11 the village of Visnjica for the dates described and the
12 TV crew, camera and sound, lived in Kiseljak. I was
13 living partly in Visnjica, partly in Kiseljak for that
14 period of time. So, as well as making the film, I was
15 actually living in the village and in Kiseljak.
16 The film was an attempt to show what happened
17 to civilians at a time of war; it was an attempt to
18 document how peoples' lives changed, how their
19 relationships with their communities and their families
21 It was made from an anthropological
22 background, but it was designed to -- for an audience
23 who we assumed would have no knowledge of Bosnia.
24 The intention was to try to capture what was
25 happening in peoples' lives and to hear those people
1 talk candidly about what they were experiencing, what
2 they were seeing and how their relationships with their
3 family and their community were changing.
4 MR. HARMAN: In the course of making that
5 film, you had ample opportunity to observe both the
6 people in the village of Visnjica and the people in the
7 village of Kiseljak. I am going to be asking you about
8 those observations, and relate some of those
9 observations to the Chamber, in just a minute.
10 Once you started to make the film, did you
11 have problems with the ability to move around and
12 actually prepare that film? Could you describe those
13 problems to the Trial Chamber and what you did to
14 resolve those problems?
15 A. Sure. We had already got accreditation from
16 UNPROFOR, which is an ID card which we had reason to
17 believe would enable us to work as journalists, as
18 film-makers, in the area.
19 In the first three or four days when we were
20 in Visnjica and Kiseljak, on two or three occasions we
21 were stopped by HVO soldiers who were inquiring what we
22 were doing and why we were doing it and, on each
23 occasion, required us to stop filming.
24 On 29th January, we went with a Croat
25 translator -- I went with a Croat translator to what
1 I understood to be the HVO headquarters in Kiseljak,
2 and we asked for permission from Colonel Blaskic, for
3 a letter to make it clear what we were doing and to
4 give us permission to operate in the area.
5 We had been advised, both by UNPROFOR and by
6 people within Kiseljak, that if we wished to move in
7 the area, we must have some permission, particularly if
8 we wanted to interview civilians.
9 Bozica, who was the translator working with
10 us on that day, we were taken into an office that
11 I understood to be Colonel Blaskic's office. She went
12 in, she spent some time in there. She came out with
13 a piece of paper which was our permission.
14 Colonel Blaskic came out, we shook hands, I took the
15 piece of paper and I went.
16 Over the next two and-a-half weeks, we used
17 that piece of paper at least seven times --
18 MR. HARMAN: Excuse me, before we get into
19 that, I am going to ask you that in just a minute. If
20 I could ask for the assistance of the usher to place on
21 the ELMO, Prosecutor's Exhibit 307.
22 Mr. President, this is an enlargement of
23 a previously admitted exhibit, Exhibit 75. I will ask
24 that it be placed on the ELMO and I will going to ask
25 the witness to identify it. (Handed).
1 Now, Ms Christie, prior to coming to court,
2 did I show you this photograph and did I ask you to
3 circle the building where you met then Colonel Blaskic?
4 A. Yes, you showed me that picture and I circled
5 the office where I remember going in.
6 Q. That circle appears on the lower left-hand
7 corner of the photograph?
8 A. Yes, it does.
9 MR. HARMAN: Okay.
10 Now, if I could again have the assistance of
11 the usher? I would like to have Prosecutor's
12 Exhibit 308 put on the ELMO.
13 Mr. President, Exhibit 308 is a copy of the
14 permit that was issued to Ms Christie and to
15 Granada Television by Colonel Blaskic. Exhibit 308A is
16 an English translation of that permit. I regret to say
17 at this point I do not have a French translation of
18 that and I will endeavour to get one. (Handed).
19 Mr. Usher, if I could have the original
20 language, not the English language version, but the
21 Bosnian language version put on.
22 Ms Christie on the ELMO is a permit. Do you
23 recognise the document that is on the ELMO and can you
24 tell the judges what that is?
25 A. Yes, I do recognise the document. That was
1 the document that we were given in Colonel Blaskic's
2 office on 29th January. We were extremely grateful to
3 him for that document and we used it many times over
4 the next two weeks.
5 Q. Now, let me stay with a couple of other
6 questions before we move on to the use of the permit.
7 You say you went into an office that was described to
8 you as the office of Colonel Blaskic. Can you describe
9 the office?
10 A. I went in. There was a main waiting area
11 with two soldiers. There was a room to the left, there
12 was a room to the right. In the room to the right was
13 where Bozica, who I was working with, went in to speak
14 to Colonel Blaskic to get the permission. I waited
15 where the guards were.
16 Q. Now, having secured what is Prosecutor's
17 Exhibit 308, the permit, could you tell the judges what
18 effect, and what force this particular document had in
19 permitting you to conduct your business in the Kiseljak
21 A. We were stopped on a regular basis, I would
22 say two or three times a day, while we were filming,
23 either at checkpoints or by HVO patrols in the village
24 or in Kiseljak.
25 On seven occasions that I wrote in my diary,
1 we explained what we were doing, we showed the document
2 and, on production of the document, we were then
3 allowed to proceed.
4 For example, I used the document three times
5 on Saturday, 30th January: once in the village of
6 Visnjica where we were stopped by an HVO patrol and
7 I showed them the document and the gentleman who was
8 looking at the document shouted to his colleague and
9 said: "Blaskic, Blaskic", so we were allowed to
11 Once in Kiseljak, when we were filming on the
12 same day down by the market, and once on that same day
13 when we were going towards Fojnica on the road at an
14 official checkpoint.
15 Perhaps most specifically, I used it the next
16 Thursday, the 4th February, when we were stopped in the
17 street in Kiseljak and we were asked to go with
18 soldiers to see Josip Boro who we were introduced to as
19 the President of the Opstina in Kiseljak. He wished to
20 ask us questions about what we were doing and why we
21 were there. I showed him the letter from
22 Colonel Blaskic and, after some discussion, he went
23 away. He showed it to someone, he came back. He was
24 content, having seen the letter, that it was okay for
25 us to proceed.
1 We were, at the time, trying to make an
2 arrangement to film in a factory. He said he would try
3 to facilitate us filming in the factory.
4 On Monday, 8th February, the cameraman and
5 I were again stopped in Kiseljak and asked to accompany
6 the soldiers, first to what was known as the police
7 station in the main street in Kiseljak. Then we were
8 taken on to the HVO headquarters in Kiseljak.
9 We were detained for about an hour and-a-half
10 in the HVO headquarters in Kiseljak. Again, a lot of
11 questions about what we were doing. Again, we showed
12 the piece of paper. On that occasion they particularly
13 wanted the original, not just a photocopy -- we had
14 photocopied it. We gave them the original. They took
15 it away; they came back and they were satisfied by the
16 piece of paper that we were in order, we could proceed
17 about our business and it was fine for them to film.
18 We used it at checkpoints where there was an
19 HVO checkpoint crossing the road. Sometimes you would
20 be waved through a checkpoint, sometimes you would be
21 stopped. I can remember occasions when we were
22 stopped. Everything in our van was taken out,
23 everything was searched. There was a definite sense
24 that they did not wish us to proceed.
25 Then we showed them the letter and they were
1 satisfied with that. They went on to continue their
2 search, but the tone was very different after we had
3 shown the letter.
4 So, for example, on that occasion, they
5 started to search our picnic box, but after they had
6 seen the letter they made a joke of it and said it was
7 funny that we had a picnic box. The effect of that
8 letter -- which we were grateful for -- was that it
9 enabled us to film, it enabled us to go about our
10 business. It was a letter that a variety of soldiers
11 on different checkpoints seemed to understand. On
12 several occasions, although I do not speak Serbo-Croat
13 myself, I heard reference to Blaskic as something being
14 shouted to their colleagues as an acknowledgement of
15 what the piece of paper was.
16 Q. Did you also use the same permit when you
17 returned to Visnjica and Kiseljak on 29th April and use
18 it through 3rd May 1993, and did it have the same
20 A. Yes. I used it on two occasions. Once in
21 the village of Visnjica. It was, by that time,
22 extremely difficult to get into the village. There was
23 an HVO checkpoint at the entrance to the village and we
24 went in with the Canadian Battalion convoy. We were
25 driving at the back of the convoy. As we drove into
1 the village after the mosque, we were stopped -- the
2 convoy proceeded, we were stopped and asked what we
3 were doing. Again we showed the Blaskic letter and we
4 were told that we could stay for an hour to do what we
5 needed to do, but the letter, again, was significant.
6 The second time in the April/May period was
7 we were stopped coming back from Fojnica on the road
8 between Fojnica and Kiseljak. Again, we showed the
9 paper and we were allowed through the checkpoint.
10 Q. Now, Ms Christie, I would like to focus your
11 attention on the village of Visnjica. I would, first
12 of all, as you to just make your general observations
13 to the judges. What was the village of Visnjica like
14 between January 22nd and February 14th of 1993? Could
15 you just give us some general impressions and views?
16 A. It is a small village in which everybody knew
17 everybody else, although there were obvious changes
18 caused by the war. For example, the men who would
19 normally be working in Sarajevo were in the village
20 rather than working. People were attempting to get
21 about their normal lives. They were looking after
22 animals, they were chopping wood, they were
23 occasionally going to Kiseljak to the market to buy
24 things or sell things. There was a level of tension,
25 but Muslim and Croat were still going in and out of
1 each other's houses, they were taking tea, they were
2 taking coffee.
3 While they were anxious about the war at that
4 time in the village, there was a sense that they would
5 get on with their ordinary lives. There were things to
6 be done, they had to manage their animals, they had to
7 look after their houses and gardens.
8 As I say, when we first arrived the Croats
9 and Muslims were still visiting each other's houses.
10 That changed in the three weeks we were there.
11 Q. While you were there on your initial trip,
12 did you see any HVO military patrols come through the
13 village of Visnjica?
14 A. We saw patrols that would be two soldiers on
15 foot, armed, patrolling the village on three or four
16 occasions. They would walk up through the village, up
17 the hill, round and down again, those were day-time
18 patrols. We saw three in that period.
19 Q. Can you describe to the judges the presence
20 of Bosnian military soldiers, military depots,
21 communication centres? Were there any military targets
22 of any kind in the village?
23 A. I never saw any Bosnian Army presence in the
24 village of any type.
25 We were aware that some of the Bosnian Muslim
1 men had their own guns, which they had had as
2 reservists in Tito's army. When we were there, the
3 Bosnian Muslim men were still going about once every 10
4 days up to Sarajevo to fight on the front at Sarajevo
5 with their own guns, that was the most I saw.
6 Q. During the time you were making your film,
7 you were in and out of Muslim homes in the village at
8 various times unannounced and announced and the like?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you, at any time -- any time while you
11 were in the village -- see anything that resembled
12 a military presence of the Bosnian Army, aside from
13 these few soldiers who would go to the front-line and
15 A. We moved very freely in the village and we
16 were welcomed in everybody's house, even unannounced,
17 for the whole period we were there. We would sometimes
18 simply knock on peoples' doors. No, I did not see any
19 presence of Bosnian Army. I was aware of five Muslim
20 men who went up to the Sarajevo front. I was also
21 aware of the presence of a patrol, which, in the week
22 prior to us being there, had been a joint Muslim Croat
23 patrol around the village. In the week we arrived,
24 that had changed and it was no longer a joint patrol.
25 For a period of about 10 days, the Bosnian
1 Muslim men decided to conduct their own patrol within
2 the village. This amounted to six men who would gather
3 in a house and two at a time they would walk around the
4 village at night, between about 10.00 and 1.00 in the
5 morning to patrol their own houses.
6 By the third week we were there, that patrol
7 had finished because the HVO had put a curfew in the
9 Q. Did each of those Muslims who participated in
10 the patrol -- you said there were six -- did each of
11 them have a gun?
12 A. No. I remember on the evening we spent with
13 them there was some discussion because, between the six
14 of them, they only had five guns and also the evening
15 that we were there, they asked to borrow our torch
16 because, between them, they did not have a torch, so
17 they were extremely ill-equipped.
18 Q. Now, focusing your attention on your first
19 visit to the Kiseljak/Visnjica area, I would like to
20 focus your attention on Kiseljak. Could you tell the
21 judges your observations of Kiseljak before the attacks
22 in April of 1993?
23 A. Sure. Kiseljak was still functioning very
24 well as a large village, a small town. Most of the
25 shops were still opened when we arrived, they were
1 still trading. There was quite a strong HVO presence.
2 I would say that any time when you were standing in the
3 street, if you waited in the street for five or 10
4 minutes you would see an HVO patrol of some kind in
5 Kiseljak, but it was still definitely functioning.
6 People were going about their business. The market was
7 running two, sometimes three days a week. The shops
8 were open. There was a factory in Kiseljak which was
9 running the whole time that we were there.
10 Over the period of the three weeks we were
11 there, the situation became much more tense in
12 Kiseljak. On two or three occasions we saw the HVO
13 clear the streets, perhaps at 3.00 in the afternoon
14 they would come with a convoy on one occasion led by
15 a tank. On other occasions it would simply be jeeps
16 with Croatian flags and soldiers. They would clear the
17 streets, they would instruct everybody to get off the
18 streets for a period of time. They would clear the
19 streets for maybe one or two hours. Then life would
20 resume and the shops would open up again. But there
21 was a clear sense that the HVO were in command of that
22 town, that village.
23 We used the shops to buy our own food in
24 Kiseljak, so we were regular visitors to the shops in
25 Kiseljak. We noticed that on -- around the
1 2nd February, it appeared that all the Muslim shops
2 were closed, we were unclear why that was, but we
3 believed that it was possibly because they had been
4 stopped at checkpoints and had not been allowed to come
5 in to open their own shops. We did not know but our
6 observation was that around the 2nd the Muslim shops
7 were closed. Some of the Muslim shops were open again
8 on the 3rd. On the morning of the 5th we went into
9 Kiseljak and we observed that at least eight of the
10 Muslim shops had been smashed and vandalised.
11 We did not see any Croat shops that were in
12 any way destroyed or damaged and the shops were very
13 well-known to Tone Bringa, who knew the area very well,
14 so she could identify very clearly which ones were
15 Muslim and it seemed very clear that the Muslim ones
16 had been targets.
17 Q. Let me ask you a couple of specific questions
18 about points that you mentioned: did you ever see in
19 Kiseljak any Bosnian Army soldiers?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Now, you described the tank.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What kind of markings did the tank have on
25 A. The tank had red and white chequered Croatian
1 colouring on the side.
2 Q. You also described at least eight Muslim
3 shops that had been destroyed in the village of
4 Kiseljak. Approximately what was the distance between
5 those shops that had been destroyed and
6 Colonel Blaskic's headquarters at the Kiseljak army
8 A. They were spread throughout the town between
9 half a mile -- half a kilometre and a kilometre from
10 the HVO headquarters, the shops that were damaged.
11 Q. Now, let me turn your attention to your visit
12 of 29th April to 3rd May.
13 A. Uh-huh.
14 Q. Tell us, first of all, why you returned?
15 A. We had been in telephone contact with
16 UNPROFOR in Kiseljak, which was our only way of getting
17 any knowledge about what had happened in the area, and
18 we understood -- we phoned on either the 21st or
19 22nd April and we were told by UNPROFOR that there had
20 been a lot of fighting and military activity in the
21 Visnjica area.
22 So, we made the decision to return to see
23 what had happened and to complete the film. We
24 travelled up through Mostar to Kiseljak. When we
25 arrived at Visnjica, the village was completely sealed
1 off by HVO checkpoints and we were uncertain what the
2 situation was.
3 So, we went back to UNPROFOR and we went back
4 into Visnjica two days later, accompanied by Canadian
6 On that -- by now you will appreciate we knew
7 the village quite well, but also Tona Bringa knew the
8 village very intimately; she had been there for 15
9 months. So, we drove in on the back of a Canadian
10 battalion convoy. It became clear, as we went up the
11 main street in Visnjica, that all the Muslim houses had
12 been destroyed. On some occasions, there would be
13 a Croat house, then a Muslim house then a Croat house
14 and the Muslim one in the middle would be destroyed,
15 severely damaged and on several occasions burned out.
16 The mosque was also severely damaged. Many
17 of the houses where we had filmed with Muslim families
18 were completely destroyed. It was clear from the state
19 of the houses, which we knew quite well by then, that
20 the people had had to leave in a terrible hurry, that
21 they had taken absolutely nothing.
22 There was, right the way through the village,
23 evidence of Muslim houses being destroyed. I should
24 add here, just as a detail, we were stopped on that
25 occasion in the village and we once again showed the
1 pass. I mentioned that before.
2 When we were in the village, we were in the
3 village only for about an hour. We saw, I would say,
4 a maximum of 10 Bosnian Muslim people. That includes
5 one elderly woman who we knew to be senile, her family
6 had not persuaded her to leave. That included some
7 refugees who had come to Visnjica as refugees and had
8 not moved on, but a maximum of 10, I would say, Bosnian
9 Muslim people in the village.
10 We stopped to speak to Slavka, as you will
11 see in the film. This was a Croat woman who we got to
12 know very well and we had been into her house many
13 times. We asked her what had happened and she
14 explained that the Muslim houses had been burned.
15 She also explained that she had been -- that
16 the Croats had been warned in advance that this was
17 going to happen, so she and her family had left.
18 Q. Did she explain to you who burned the Muslim
20 A. She told us the Croat soldiers had burned the
21 Muslim houses.
22 Q. Did it appear to you that there had been
23 systematic destruction in targeting of Muslim houses
24 and outbuildings, such as barns, in the village of
1 A. Yes, I was very clear it was not random. One
2 of the interesting things about Visnjica is that the
3 houses are completely intermingled, Croat house, Muslim
4 house, Croat house, Muslim house. There was very clear
5 targeting of Muslim houses which had been destroyed and
6 Croat houses that had been left standing. In the same
7 road there would be Muslim houses destroyed and Croat
8 houses left standing.
9 We asked Slavka if any of the Croat houses
10 had been damaged and she said she thought that two
11 barns had been damaged but no Croat houses had been
13 Q. Now, in a few minutes we are going to play
14 the film "We Are All Neighbours", the film that you
15 prepared. I would be very interested in your, very
16 quickly, summarising for the judges the film. Then
17 I am going to ask you about a couple of the points on
18 the film in advance so the judges and counsel can be
19 alert to particular parts of the film. Could you give
20 us first a brief summary of the film?
21 A. The film is 50 minutes. It is -- as I said
22 before, it comes from an anthropological perspective.
23 It is an attempt to hear the people of the village talk
24 about what they are seeing, what they are
1 What we witnessed over the period of the
2 first three and-a-half weeks that we were there was the
3 progression from a village where people were still
4 neighbours, were still going in and out of each others
5 houses. Three and-a-half weeks later on, that had
6 completely broken down. The HVO patrols were regular
7 within the village. There was a belief that the HVO
8 had built a gun implement above the village. So the
9 first 40 minutes of the film charts that three weeks in
10 the life of the village when relationships in the
11 village broke down.
12 We then went back to Britain and what you see
13 in the last eight minutes of the film was when we
14 returned. When we returned, we filmed, as I say, just
15 for one hour in the village itself and we also
16 interviewed some of the Muslims who had fled from the
17 village who were now in Visoko and in other areas
18 outside of Kiseljak.
19 So, what you hear in the last eight minutes
20 is their account of what happened in the three days
21 when, as they describe it, the village was destroyed.
22 Q. Now, when the film is played, feel free to
23 make comments as the film is shown. I want to direct
24 your attention to a few particular points. The film,
25 itself, shows the few Muslim villagers who went on
1 these patrols, does it not?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. It also shows a Bosniak by the name of Nurija
4 who was the principal Muslim in the film. It shows him
5 walking with about four or five other men, armed,
6 walking up a hill, then returning from a hill. Where
7 was that particular part of the film shot?
8 A. That was shot outside Sarajevo. We filmed
9 the men going out of the village. They then, in fact,
10 went in a bus, which we did not film, and we picked
11 them up at the front-line in Sarajevo where they were at
12 that time part of the Sarajevo Defence against the
13 Serb offensive. So that is the context in which
14 their visit to the front-line was at that time, about
15 once every 10 days.
16 Q. I would appreciate it if, during the showing
17 of the film, you could inform us when these shots are
18 at the front-lines positions in Sarajevo and in the
19 village of Visnjica.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Second of all, I would like to draw your
22 attention to a part of the film where there is
23 a Bosniak man with a walkie-talkie?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you remember that part of the film?
1 A. Sure.
2 Q. Could you tell the judges now who that man
3 was, if you know him by name or by ethnicity, and what
4 happened to the walkie-talkie and when?
5 A. That man was a Bosnian Muslim who went to the
6 front-line every 10 days. We film him in somebody's
7 sitting room talking on a walkie-talkie. On
8 30th January, he was detained for about four or five
9 hours and his walkie-talkie was taken from him.
10 As I understand it, in the next
11 two and-a-half weeks that we were there certainly, he
12 no longer had a walkie-talkie.
13 Q. Who took the walkie-talkie from him?
14 A. The HVO took the walkie-talkie from him. He
15 was detained on the 30th for four hours.
16 Q. Lastly, there is a portion on the film where
17 the sister of a woman named Slavka appears on the
18 film. She is very upset and she describes events where
19 Muslims attacked her village and the surrounding area.
20 Can you tell us what happened to that woman
21 and what happened to her home?
22 A. Sure. Slavka's sister, who is a woman you
23 will see in red in the film, arrived in some distress
24 at Slavka's house. She had heard they were going to
25 attack her village, her village was about 12 miles
1 away. She had heard that they were going to attack the
2 village and she had fled and come to stay with her
3 sister, Slavka.
4 Psychologically, this was an important moment
5 for Slavka because it was a moment when she suddenly
6 became extremely frightened.
7 We went back to Slavka's house two days later
8 and we understood that, in fact, her sister had gone
9 back to her own house; that the rumour that there was
10 going to be an attack had been unfounded and her house
11 was okay. She was particularly anxious about the
12 freezer. She was worried that the freezer would be
13 spoilt. That is why I remember it so well. She had
14 gone back to her house and her house had not, in fact,
15 been damaged. Slavka confirmed that to us because when
16 Slavka herself fled from Visnjica she went to stay with
17 her sister whose house was still intact.
18 There is a point in the film where the
19 impression is that Slavka's sister's house had been
20 destroyed but, in fact, we discovered that her house
21 had not been destroyed and Slavka went to stay there
23 There is one other point I should perhaps
24 make, at the very end of the film, there is a shot of
25 a dead horse and that is the only shot that is not shot
1 in Visnjica. It was shot in a different village on the
2 UN patrol that we were with.
3 Q. Was it shot in the area of Gomionica?
4 A. Yes, it was.
5 Q. Feel free, in the course of the film, to make
6 comments and point out these areas and other areas you
7 think are relevant about the film.
8 If we could have the lights dimmed, please
9 and if we could play "We Are All Neighbours".
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
11 (3.20 pm)
12 (Film played to court)
13 A. On the right is the Bosnian army volunteer.
14 (Film continued)
15 That is the walkie-talkie radio I was talking
16 about, which was confiscated two days later by the
18 This is at Sarajevo, on the front in
20 (Film continued)
21 Again, all of this sequence is just outside
23 (Film continued)
24 A. Still outside Sarajevo.
25 (Film continued)
1 A. This is back at Sarajevo on the front-line.
2 (Film continued)
3 A. Back at Sarajevo on the front-line.
4 (Film continued)
5 A. This is coming back down from the front-line
6 in Sarajevo, then got on a bus and drove back to the
8 (Film continued)
9 A. This woman had arrived from Rogatica.
10 (Film continued)
11 A. This is near Visoko, outside the village.
12 (Film continued)
13 A. This is the woman I was referring to who
14 returned to her house two days later and it was still
16 (Film continued)
17 A. This was our second visit.
18 (Film continued)
19 A. This is in Visoko.
20 (Film continued)
21 A. This is the Canadian battalion.
22 (Film continued)
23 A. This is the only shot that is not in
24 Visnjica, with the horse.
25 (Film continued)
1 A. These pictures are contrasting what it was
2 like in January to what it was like in May.
3 (Film continued)
4 (4.17 pm)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Are we going to take a recess,
6 Mr. Prosecutor?
7 MR. HARMAN: Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. If I could
8 move for the admission of the exhibits, which would be
9 307, 308 and the film, then I have concluded my
11 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We are now going to
12 take a 30-minute recess, so the interpreters will have
13 an opportunity to rest. We will reconvene at quarter
14 to the hour.
15 (4.17 pm)
16 (A short break)
17 (4.54 pm)
18 JUDGE JORDA: The court is now in session.
19 Please bring in Colonel Blaskic.
20 (The accused entered court)
21 JUDGE JORDA: The interpreters, I hope, are
22 well rested. Very well.
23 The Prosecution has the floor.
24 MR. HARMAN: Mr. President, I have concluded my
25 examination. Thank you.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
2 Ms Christie, you will now then be questioned
3 in cross-examination, which will be led by Mr. Hayman,
4 who is the Defence counsel for the accused.
5 Cross-examined by MR. HAYMAN
6 MR. HAYMAN: Good afternoon, Ms Christie.
7 A. Good afternoon.
8 Q. When the anthropologist, Ms Bringa, lived in
9 the village of Visnjica in 1988, do you know whether
10 she lived with a particular family?
11 A. She lived, as I understand it, with two or
12 three different families, but I do not know which ones
13 she lived with.
14 Q. When you and she were residing, at least in
15 part, during your visits to Visnjica in 1993, did you
16 reside with one or more particular families?
17 A. Yes, we lived -- when we were in Kiseljak, we
18 lived with the Komsic family, a Croatian family in
19 Kiseljak. When we were in Visnjica we lived with
20 Nusreta and Nurija, who you see in the film, so we were
21 divided between a Croat and Muslim family.
22 Q. Do you know whether Miss Bringa, in 1988,
23 lived with the characters Nusreta and Nurija during
24 part of her stay in Visnjica in that year?
25 A. Certainly in part of her stay, yes.
1 Q. I would like to ask you about Exhibit 308.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I believe that is still on the ELMO which is
4 fine. We can keep it there. I would like to ask you
5 about the occasion on which you obtained this permit.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you go in the office that you have said
8 was represented to you to be Colonel Blaskic's office?
9 A. Yes. I went with Bozica Komsic, who was
10 translating for us, into a building where we were told,
11 "this is Colonel Blaskic's office". I waited. She
12 went through to an extra room to discuss with
13 Colonel Blaskic. I did not go into the extra room.
14 I stayed in the outside room. Then Colonel Blaskic
15 came out with the piece of paper and we shook hands in
16 the outside room.
17 Q. I may pause for a moment after your answer to
18 allow the interpreters to conclude.
19 A. I understand.
20 Q. Similarly, if you could pause after my
21 question, it would be helpful to the interpreters.
22 A. I understand.
23 Q. Did you enter any office in this complex or
24 compound that bore signs or indica of a personal
25 office, such as pictures of family, or the like,
1 relating to Colonel Blaskic?
2 A. I did not go into the inner office which was
3 described as Colonel Blaskic's office. No, I did not
4 go in there.
5 Q. Were there any markings on any of the doors
6 or buildings that indicated either that this was the
7 headquarters of the operational zone for
8 Central Bosnia, or that any particular office was the
9 office of Colonel Tihomir Blaskic? Did you ever see
10 any markings of either of that sort?
11 A. I do not remember any markings.
12 Q. In the course --
13 A. The reason that I believed it was
14 Colonel Blaskic's office was that we were working with
15 Bozica Komsic, who was a resident of Kiseljak, who was
16 also attached as translator to UNPROFOR, and she
17 described to me that we would go to Colonel Blaskic's
18 office to see if we could explain the situation and get
19 a permit.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Ms Christie, when you respond,
21 if you could turn towards the judges when giving your
22 answer, as much as possible. I know you are also
23 trying to follow the questions put to you by the
25 MR. HAYMAN: Was Colonel Blaskic helpful in
1 giving you this permit?
2 A. Yes, he was very helpful.
3 Q. Let me ask my colleague, Mr. Nobilo, to read
4 the printed matter in the seal on Exhibit 308, which
5 has not been translated in the translation. Could you
6 read the seal for the record, Mr. Nobilo, please?
7 MR. NOBILO: In the upper corner is: "The
8 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatian Community of
9 Herceg-Bosna", and in the bottom part of the seal,
10 after "1", it says:
11 "Kiseljak (...Spoke in Bosnian...) and the
12 Defence Department."
13 MR. HAYMAN: You have heard from the
14 translation of this seal that this is not the seal of
15 the headquarters of the operational zone,
16 Central Bosnia, it is the seal of a local brigade
17 headquarters, the Ban Jelacic Brigade, which was based
18 in Kiseljak, BiH.
19 Did anyone represent to you at any time that
20 the building you were in was anything other than the
21 command of the Ban Jelacic Brigade in Kiseljak, other
22 than what you have already described?
23 MR. HARMAN: Excuse me, Mr. President, I would
24 object. She has testified what the office was
25 represented to her as being; that is the office of
1 Colonel Blaskic. She never said that it was
2 represented to her as being the office of the
3 Ban Jelacic Brigade, so I would object to the
5 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I sustain that objection.
6 MR. HAYMAN: Then tell us, Ms Christie, why,
7 if you were at Colonel Blaskic's headquarters, why do
8 you not think he would have a seal from his own
9 headquarters with which to put a stamp on the order --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I do not agree with
11 this line of questioning. The witness told you very
12 exactly what she did and what she wanted to do.
13 I think for this witness to be able to do her work she
14 knew what she had to go and where she had to go to
15 obtain what she needed to get. She felt she was at the
16 office of Colonel Blaskic. I do not think you should
17 continue with this line of questioning. Please go on
18 to the next question.
19 MR. HAYMAN: Were you told how long
20 Colonel Blaskic had been in Kiseljak when you saw him
21 on 29th January?
22 A. No, not that I remember.
23 Q. Did you learn any information about how long
24 thereafter he remained in Kiseljak?
25 A. My understanding from UNPROFOR was, prior to
1 29th January, that we would have to go to this office
2 where we would find Colonel Blaskic in order to get
4 Once we had the piece of paper, I would have
5 to say honestly I had very little further interest in
6 that area. We were filming and, as far as I was
7 concerned, I needed to know that this piece of paper
8 would still work for me as a working document which it
9 did on every occasion we tried to use it.
10 As far as -- my concern was that the paper
11 with Blaskic's signature continued to work for me.
12 I had no further knowledge about Mr. Blaskic's
13 movements. I asked no further questions about it
14 either. It was not of particular interest to me.
15 Q. Is that true, that you had no knowledge of
16 Colonel Blaskic's whereabouts when you returned to the
17 area and stayed between the 29th April and 3rd May
19 A. No, I had no further knowledge of where
20 Colonel Blaskic was. I had no need to know where
21 Colonel Blaskic was.
22 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, I am moving to
23 a new area. I simply want to note that the Defence
24 notes its objection that Exhibit 308 was not produced
25 to us before today. It was discoverable under Rule 68
1 because it directly impeaches a witness that testified
2 on February 24th, 1993, before your Honours in closed
3 session, as to the whereabouts of Colonel Blaskic,
4 vis-à-vis the conflict going on at that time in the
5 Busovaca municipality. It is also a statement of the
6 accused within the meaning of this court's order of
7 January 27, 1997, interpreting Rule 66A. We will file
8 a brief on this subject next week. I am not seeking
9 a ruling from the court; I am not seeking a response
10 from the Prosecutor. I am simply noting our
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I think we have
13 a memory of it. Your note has been entered into the
14 transcripts. Please try to be as brief as possible.
15 If you wish to file a brief, then I must say that we
16 are not going to spend our entire trial trying to
17 resolve issues which are very important (sic), so
18 I hope that you will be able to meet with the
19 Prosecutor and then we will deal with this later on
20 from reading the transcript.
21 Does the Prosecutor have any objections at
22 all with regard to the remarks made by Mr. Hayman?
23 MR. HARMAN: They have been addressed
24 previously, Mr. President, in respect of whether an
25 order constitutes a statement. I have no further
1 remarks, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Then that
3 particular debate is closed. Please go on with your
4 next question.
5 MR. HAYMAN: Ms Christie, the village of
6 Visnjica, is it fair to say the village is elongated
7 and stretches along a road which goes to the south-west
8 from Polje-Visnjica, which is on the main
9 Kiseljak-Busovaca road; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, that is correct.
11 Q. You said that the village was roughly
12 two-thirds Muslim, one-third Croat; correct? Can you
13 give us a general idea of the size of the village; 100
14 people, 200 people, 300 people, for example?
15 A. I do not know exactly from memory and it
16 would be difficult at that time to put an exact figure
17 because the village was, at times, swollen by refugees
18 arriving, and at times evacuated almost by people going
19 away. I would say around 600-700 people, maybe
20 a little more, but I would have to check that for
21 accuracy. As I say, it was a village influxed with
23 Q. But that is your best estimate as to the
24 total population? If you could respond audibly so
25 there is an answer on the record?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 Were the two ethnic groups -- Croats and
4 Muslims within the village -- were they interspersed or
5 was one group collected in one area and the other group
6 collected, say, at the other end of the village?
7 A. They were interspersed throughout the
8 village. So, on the main road, from the road up to the
9 mosque, there were interspersed Croat and Muslim
10 houses. On the right flank of the village, which was
11 the newer side of the village as you went up to the
12 mosque, again, there were interspersed Croat and Muslim
14 Q. Were you the narrator in the film or did
15 someone else narrate?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You told us, as narrator of the film, at one
18 juncture, I believe, that the character Nurija,
19 together with his immediate neighbours, formed a patrol
20 to patrol their homes; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You said that patrol consisted of roughly
23 five or six men?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. They had between them five or six weapons?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Some of which were depicted in the film;
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, would you agree: they patrolled an
6 immediate area consisting roughly of their homes;
8 A. I did not go out on patrol with them, so
9 I could not tell you exactly where they patrolled. My
10 understanding was that they walked around their homes
11 in the village, but I never went actually on patrol
12 with them.
13 Q. Did you discuss with anyone the presence of
14 other Muslim patrols in other parts of the village
15 where Muslims resided?
16 A. No, I did not.
17 Q. You did not ask and you were not told whether
18 that existed; is that fair?
19 A. I did not ask and I was not told, although
20 I should make it clear that of the six men you see, to
21 my knowledge, two of them live in the older part of the
22 village and three of them live in the newer part of the
23 village. Of the six that I saw, they came from
24 slightly different parts of the village.
25 Q. Did you ever discuss with anyone how many
1 members of the BiH Territorial Defence resided in
3 A. No, I did not.
4 Q. Is that again that you did not ask, or it
5 never came up?
6 A. I did not asked and it never came up.
7 Q. You said at one point there was a curfew
8 which impaired with the activity of these patrols.
9 Were you told what the terms of this curfew were?
10 A. We were specifically affected by the curfew
11 because we were specifically told by the HVO in
12 Kiseljak, when they stopped us once at 7.00 in the
13 evening, that there was now a curfew from 8.00 and
14 nobody must go out after 8.00. That was my first
15 knowledge of the curfew.
16 We heard of the curfew from a number of
17 different people in the village, Croat and Muslim, and
18 our understanding of the curfew -- which was sometimes
19 at 8.00, sometimes at 10.00 -- was that no-one should
20 venture out after that time.
21 Q. You described a visit to Kiseljak, I believe,
22 on 8th February 1993?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And you saw what you believed to be certain
25 shops that had been damaged?
1 A. The 5th February was when we saw the shops
2 that had been damaged. The 5th, Friday 5th.
3 Q. Thank you for that correction.
4 Did you investigate yourself and speak to
5 shopkeepers to determine whose shops those were or were
6 you told in general terms: "These are Muslim shops", by
8 A. We asked -- you will remember that
9 Tone Bringa knew Kiseljak very well, so she knew most
10 of the shopkeepers. We asked Slavka, who is Croat, and
11 Tone and Sabina and Sakreta who you see in the film
12 walking past the shops. We were told by all of those
13 three people that the shops were Muslim.
14 Q. Were you able to determine who had damaged or
15 vandalised those shops?
16 A. No, we were not.
17 Q. Now, you returned to the village of
18 Visnjica. Are you able to tell us the date on which
19 you returned? I understand you went back between
20 29th April and 3rd May. Are you able to be more
21 specific with respect to the date you returned?
22 A. I am pretty certain we actually got into the
23 village on 1st May with the Canadian battalion, but
24 I do not have a specific note of that.
25 Q. Did you determine out of the houses that had
1 housed the 600 or 700 people living in the village, how
2 many of the houses were burned?
3 A. I could not give you an exact count of how
4 many of the houses were burned. We filmed all of the
5 houses which we knew had featured prominently in the
6 film that were burned and we were aware, as we went
7 through the main road, which is the old village, that
8 there was a very consistent pattern of, in the older
9 part of the village, all of the Muslim houses had been
10 destroyed or burned. I could not give you a count for
11 the whole village, no. You will appreciate we were
12 only allowed in for an hour so we had to prioritise
13 what we were going to film.
14 Q. In the course of that hour did you drive the
15 length of Visnjica, given that Visnjica stretches out
16 along the length of a road?
17 A. Yes, we went right the way round the length
18 of the road. We then went up to the right, as you are
19 looking at the mosque, where there is the newer part of
20 the village and we went through -- there is a network
21 of roads there. We went all the way through all of
22 those networks.
23 It is a pattern of the UNPROFOR, what they
24 call "routine patrols", that they attempt to go down
25 each road within a village so we went down every road.
1 Q. Are you able to give us a proportion of the
2 total number of dwellings that appeared to have been
4 A. I would not want to speculate on that.
5 Q. At one juncture in the film, as narrator, you
6 said that the fighting was coming closer and that now
7 it was Croats and Muslims fighting; do you recall that
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Can you tell us when that was? When was it
11 that that fighting was audible from Visnjica? I am
12 directing your attention back to the first visit in
13 January/February 1993.
14 A. It would be between 1st February and
15 8th February. You will appreciate that the manner in
16 which we were collecting information at this stage is
17 that we would hear what people were telling us. We
18 would then do our best to check with UNPROFOR in
19 Kiseljak what exactly was happening. So, I could not
20 be more specific than that.
21 Q. Did you learn from your interviews what had
22 happened -- strike that.
23 Were the sounds of fighting coming from the
24 north-west, that is towards Busovaca, Kacuni, Bilalovac,
25 from those locations towards Visnjica?
1 A. The people in the village told us that that
2 is where the noise of the fighting was coming from.
3 I am not a military expert, so I would not be able to
4 tell you with any precision what the noise of the
5 fighting was, which was why we only put things in the
6 film which we actually clarified with UNPROFOR.
7 Q. Did you learn from your interviews what had
8 occurred in the course of that fighting in the
9 direction of Kacuni/Bilalovac?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did that fighting have an impact on the
12 emotions and mental state on the inhabitants of
14 A. Yes. Every time the fighting came nearer,
15 the tension got higher.
16 Q. Did the uncertainty and, in a sense, the
17 competition, represented by the negotiations of the
18 Vance-Owen Peace Plan, did that add to the tension in
19 the village of Visnjica?
20 A. You are asking me to make a generalisation
21 about the mood of the village of Visnjica which I would
22 be wary of. What we said in the film very specifically
23 was that people were certainly watching the television
24 every night to learn the latest developments in the
25 Vance-Owen negotiations.
1 Q. You showed an image of an individual in
2 a uniform speaking over a walkie-talkie in the
3 residents, I take it, of someone in Visnjica?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you learn who that individual was talking
6 to on the radio?
7 A. No, I did not.
8 Q. We saw in the film a description by a refugee
9 from -- I believe it was Rogatica -- of events there.
10 Is it your understanding that Rogatica was a location
11 that was attacked by the Serbs?
12 A. Yes, that was my understanding. The sequence
13 is there in the film to show the movement of refugees.
14 Q. Nusreta says at one point in the film that
15 Nurija would rather fight than give up his gun; do you
16 recall that passage?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. Did you talk to Nurija and confirm that,
19 first of all, that was also his sentiment? This is,
20 again, during your first visit, that was his mental
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In your second visit, did you confirm that,
24 in fact, he had done that; he had fought and attempted
25 to defend his location in the conflict that began,
1 I take it, on Easter Sunday, 1993?
2 A. I do not know specifically what he did. What
3 he told us in the interview was that they attempted to
4 defend themselves over the three-day period.
5 Q. Did he tell you that battle or fight lasted
6 for three days?
7 A. The description of the events of the three
8 days from Nurija and Nusreta was that on the Sunday
9 morning, most of the Croatian civilians left. On the
10 Sunday there was fighting, and by Sunday evening, most
11 of the Bosnian men had left and Monday and Tuesday was
12 when the houses were burned. There were still
13 civilians in the houses when they were burned.
14 Q. I believe you said in the film that Nusreta
15 and Nurija left after five days of violence; is that
17 A. Yes. Nusreta left after five days of
19 Q. I see. Nurija then left after three days --
20 A. They were separate at that time. Nurija --
21 I am not sure when Nurija left, my understanding was
22 that he left on the Monday.
23 Q. Have you been given any additional
24 information concerning how many Muslim fighters or
25 Croat fighters took place in the battle you are
1 describing on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and so forth?
2 A. No, let me be clear that my understanding
3 from the people we spoke to was that the fighting, the
4 crossfire was on Sunday and on Monday the houses were
5 burned. You appreciate that we were not in the area at
6 the time, we returned 10 days later, so we were going
7 on only the witnesses we spoke to.
8 Q. With respect to the persons that were killed
9 in that conflict, did all of the information you
10 obtained, with respect to specific perpetrators of
11 those killings, were all the perpetrators neighbours of
12 the deceased persons?
13 A. No.
14 Q. In the film there are several passages to
15 that effect; would you agree?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What other information did you obtain in the
18 course of speaking with residents of Visnjica?
19 A. Specifically in the witnesses that we spoke
20 to; there are five or six people within the village who
21 they identify, who were involved in the fighting.
22 They then refer, on Monday, to outsiders
23 coming in, in HVO uniform. That is confirmed by
24 Slavka, the Croat who we interviewed in the village,
25 who told us that it was what she calls "foreigners",
1 then she calls "outsiders", by that I mean they were
2 Croats, but not Croats from the village. That is her
3 description of who was involved in the fighting on the
4 Monday and Tuesday. That tallies with what the Muslim
5 witnesses also told us.
6 Q. So the fighting on Sunday, April 18th, 1993,
7 insofar as you were able to determine, was between
8 neighbours; that is local inhabitants of the village of
10 A. And outsiders.
11 Q. And outsiders as well?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Who told you and what did the persons tell
14 you about outsiders participating in fighting in
15 Visnjica on Sunday, April 18th, 1993?
16 A. Slavka, who is Croat, told us that the
17 soldiers arrived on Sunday morning.
18 Q. Are you referring now to the statement she
19 makes on the film or some additional statement she made
20 to you?
21 A. We discussed with her in -- for about 10 or
22 15 minutes and that is what she told us.
23 Q. When you returned in April, you said , as
24 narrator, that the village had been sealed off by the
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you know the purpose of that sealing off?
3 Was it to prevent looting or for some other purpose?
4 A. I do not know the purpose. I know only that
5 when we drove up to Visnjica on 29th April, we drove up
6 to the turning off the main road into Visnjica. There
7 was an area checkpoint and when we drove close to it
8 they picked their guns up from the floor and armed
9 themselves. We had been advised by UNPROFOR that they
10 believed that the village was sealed off by the HVO and
11 they would advise us not to go in. On the basis of the
12 UNPROFOR advice and the checkpoint we did not go in,
13 but I have no knowledge why it was sealed off.
14 Q. You described seeing a tank in Kiseljak?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you have any pictures of the tank?
17 A. No.
18 Q. How do you date your sighting of the tank?
19 Do you have notes or a log or diary or is it your
20 recollection you are relying on?
21 A. I am relying entirely on my recollection.
22 When we stayed in Kiseljak we stayed with a Croat
23 family on the main road in Kiseljak, and this
24 particular sighting we were actually just washing and
25 preparing food in the place where we were staying. We
1 saw out of the window on to the main road. I did not
2 make a note of it.
3 Q. Did you stay in Kiseljak during all the
4 portion of your second visit in April/May 1993?
5 A. Yes, we did.
6 Q. The scenes from the front near Sarajevo where
7 there is a picture of uniformed men going down into
8 a bunker, if you will; do you remember that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know the location of that portion of
11 the front?
12 A. I could not give you an exact location of
13 that, no.
14 Q. Do you recall the scene in the film when
15 Nusreta picks up a plate that was three portions of
16 a dessert and says in substance; Croatia, Bosnia,
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you come to understand that what she
20 meant by that was, first, Croatia, that is portions of
21 the Kiseljak municipality; then portions of the
22 Kiseljak municipality in and around Bilalovac as being
23 part of Bosnia; then the other half of the middle
24 portion, those portions of the Busovaca municipality in
25 and around Kacuni; then finally Croatia being
1 Busovaca -- the remainder of the Busovaca municipality;
2 did you gain that understanding from that incident?
3 A. No, I did not. I should give you a little
4 more context from it. This was a social evening. The
5 women was singing and joking. This was not an attempt
6 to give us a military briefing on the situation. This
7 was something by way of a more light-hearted comment
8 which expressed their views.
9 If you listen, I think there is a voice of
10 another woman saying: "So Bosnia will only be 18 inches
11 wide". It was not in any sense an attempt to give us
12 a military briefing, it was an attempt to try to
13 describe the psychology of how they felt at the time in
14 the context of an evening with a lot of women who were
15 singing and talking and conversing. It certainly was
16 not an attempt on Nusreta's part to draw a specific
17 military map for it. It was more to give us a sense of
18 their emotion at the time.
19 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Ms Christie. I have
20 no further questions, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harman?
22 MR. HARMAN: I have no questions.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Riad?
24 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Ms Christie.
25 A. Good afternoon.
1 JUDGE RIAD: When you started your
2 enterprise, you mentioned that you had permission of
3 the UNPROFOR?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE RIAD: And this permission did not
6 serve you much, so you went and obtained the permission
7 signed by Colonel Blaskic?
8 A. Yes, that is correct.
9 JUDGE RIAD: It is his signature from his
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE RIAD: I can see the signature in
13 the -- at least on Serbo-Croat paper?
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE RIAD: This permission opened the doors
16 for you? You said that you were stopped on seven
17 occasions by checkpoints, police stations, and when
18 they saw the permission, they shouted to each other:
19 "Blaskic, Blaskic", and they submitted to the order?
20 A. On the seven very specific occasions
21 I documented in the period of two and-a-half weeks,
22 they would stop us; there would be an atmosphere of
23 some military authority. I would not say hostility,
24 but military authority. They would attempt to block
25 our way. We would show them the piece of paper. On
1 every occasion that would change the mood and they
2 would agree to let us go on our way.
3 On three occasions they specifically talked
4 amongst other: "Blaskic, Blaskic", and there was
5 a very clear sense that if we had this piece of paper
6 it was okay. They would let us past, they would let us
7 continue our filming.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Did they not mention any other
10 A. No.
11 JUDGE RIAD: No-one challenged the order
12 openly or implicitly?
13 A. Nobody challenged the order. When we went to
14 see Josip Boro, who was introduced to us as the
15 President of the Opstina in Kiseljak, he asked us
16 questions about what we were doing in Kiseljak. We
17 then showed him the order. He was then very happy with
18 what we were doing. He took the order into another
19 room to show it to somebody else and he came back, and
20 that further clarification seemed to make him
21 completely comfortable that we could then proceed. As
22 I say, after we had shown him the order, he tried to
23 help us a little with our filming.
24 JUDGE RIAD: So, the order had its effect on
1 A. Everybody.
2 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned that this lady,
3 Slavka, declared that she was speaking, saying that the
4 Muslim houses are burned?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE RIAD: And these houses were clearly
7 targeted, I use your words. Did she say by whom they
8 were clearly targeted?
9 A. She said that soldiers came from the
10 outside. By that I mean they were Croatian soldiers,
11 but they were from the outside, is what she said.
12 JUDGE RIAD: Were they HVO or from --
13 A. She did not specify.
14 JUDGE RIAD: "Outside", does that mean
16 A. My understanding was when she said "outside",
17 she meant outside the village. That was my
18 understanding at the time. She did not specify whether
19 they were HV or HVO. She did not specify.
20 JUDGE RIAD: She said that they had been
21 informed beforehand about what was going to happen?
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE RIAD: By the soldiers too?
24 A. She was informed -- her own son was in the
25 HVO, and the way that she described it to us, the HVO
1 had come to the village and warned the Croat villagers
2 to flee, to leave, at 4.30 in the morning; 8.00, the
3 fighting started.
4 JUDGE RIAD: And the Croats also left the
5 village or did they stay and feel safe?
6 A. Most of the Croat women and children left the
7 village. When we returned -- as I understand it at the
8 time of the meeting, when we were there, which was 10
9 or 11 days after the fighting, it seemed to us that the
10 Croats were back in the village. By that I mean all
11 the Croats we knew were in their houses in the
13 JUDGE RIAD: And their houses were intact?
14 A. Their houses were completely intact.
15 JUDGE RIAD: You said the village was
16 two-thirds Muslims. What was the population,
17 approximately? I am not asking difficult questions, if
18 you do not know.
19 A. I am guessing around 700, but I have to say
20 specifically here that the population was in flux
21 because people would go -- peoples' relatives would
22 arrive from somewhere and they would expand and then go
23 again. I do not know precisely.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Whatever the number was, you
25 said only 10 remained, 10 were there?
1 A. No, I only saw 10. I cannot tell you how
2 many remained because I was only in the village for one
3 hour. I could not go into every house. When I was
4 there, in the hour I was there, I saw a maximum of 10
5 Muslims. That included one woman who is in the film,
6 who we understand has a little dementia, and her family
7 made her come away but she had not, and some of the
8 people who were themselves refugees, so were not
9 inhabitants of the village but had been lives there.
10 JUDGE RIAD: The rest of the people, were
11 they residents of the village or Croats coming from
12 other places?
13 A. The people -- the Croats who we saw in the
14 village were residents of the village. The ones that
15 we knew. They were in the houses going about their
16 business, looking after their garden.
17 JUDGE RIAD: In the film I think there was an
18 old woman crying and she said: 20 men were butchered
19 and everything was destroyed, while she was crying.
20 Her daughter was killed, her niece was killed, but she
21 did not say by whom. Did you understand -- perhaps
22 I missed that. Were they in the Serbian front or were
23 they in --
24 A. This is about halfway through the film, not
25 at the end of the film, a woman in purple?
1 JUDGE RIAD: Yes.
2 A. She came from Rogatica. My understanding was
3 that that was Serb action against her family. But the
4 reason she is filmed in our film is because she was
5 demonstrating that refugees were coming into the
6 village from different areas.
7 So, as I understand it, the aggressors in
8 that instance she was describing were Serb, but in
9 Rogatica, not in the area we are talking about.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much,
11 Miss Christie.
12 JUDGE JORDA: This is Judge Shahabuddeen.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Ms Christie, during your
14 stay in the area, how many times did you see
15 Colonel Blaskic?
16 A. I saw Colonel Blaskic twice: once was at the
17 headquarters where we went to get the permit on the day
18 when we got the permit, and I thanked him because we
19 were very grateful to have the permit; and once was in
20 the UNPROFOR headquarters in Kiseljak.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do you see
22 Colonel Blaskic today?
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Where is he?
25 A. (Indicating the accused).
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That is the same
2 gentleman to whom you were referring?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you said you
5 thanked him for the permit. At the time when you
6 thanked him for the permit, where was the permit? Who
7 had it?
8 A. I had waited outside his office. Bozica, who
9 was a Croatian translator who was working with us, was
10 in his office, she came out with the permit. She gave
11 it to me and as she was giving it to me and explaining
12 what it was, Colonel Blaskic came out of the office, so
13 she said: this is Colonel Blaskic. I said: "thank
14 you", and he passed on his way.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
16 Now, at various checkpoints, you showed the
17 permit to HVO personnel?
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And they would say
20 "Blaskic, Blaskic", and let you through; is that it?
21 A. They would -- every time we showed the permit
22 they would let us through or let us continue filming.
23 On three of the occasions they would, as it were, shout
24 to their colleagues who were also around the checkpoint
25 and I would hear "Blaskic" in what they were saying.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: On any of these
2 occasions, did any HVO personnel question the
3 authenticity of his signature on the permit?
4 A. No, never.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did it appear to you
6 that they accepted that that was his signature on the
8 A. Yes, without question.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did it appear to you
10 that they were familiar, both with Colonel Blaskic's
11 position and with his signature on the permit?
12 A. They were certainly familiar with
13 Colonel Blaskic's position and they certainly perceived
14 him to be a figure of authority because the effect of
15 the piece of paper was -- every time it worked, it got
16 us through a checkpoint.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Madam, I want to go back to the
19 (Inaudible). I would like to instead look at the
20 actual spirit of your film. It is a film which has
21 a more sociological view than anthropological view,
22 I would say.
23 When you step back and look at this film
24 again -- what kind of judgement do you make for this
25 film if you, yourself, can make such a judgement about
1 your own film, about your own product, your own
2 masterpiece? Do you find it objective, or would you
3 find it subjective, or a few years later perhaps you
4 might have thought you could have done it differently?
5 A. It is very difficult to ask me to review my
6 own work five years on, but the film was the -- the
7 spirit of the film was to be an anthropological or
8 sociological understanding of the effect of war on
10 As you will see from the film itself, it was
11 not a journalistic attempt to document exactly what
12 happened, where or when. It was an attempt to try to
13 capture what was happening, what peoples' perceptions
14 of what was happening.
15 It was a very difficult and a very tense time
16 and we made it our business all the time to try to keep
17 contact with both Croats and Muslim people.
18 As I explained, we stayed half of us in
19 Kiseljak with a Croat family and half of us in Visnjica
20 with a Muslim family. So, our intention always was to
21 keep a balance in the perspectives.
22 We were very lucky because even in that very
23 difficult time, everybody in the village was still
24 prepared to welcome us, even when things were extremely
25 tense, people were still prepared to welcome us. Even
1 when we returned at the end of April, the beginning of
2 May, we were still warmly greeted by Slavka, the
3 Croatian woman who you see being interviewed at the
4 very end. She saw us coming, she waved, she beckoned
5 us, she was very keen to see us.
6 If you are asking me: do you think we managed
7 to continue to try to reflect a breadth of opinion,
8 yes, I think we did continue to try to reflect that
9 breadth of opinion.
10 It is not an attempt to -- it is what it
11 stands as. It is the testimony of those people with
12 whom we spoke and we attempted all the way through to
13 continue to talk to both Croat and Muslim.
14 You asked me if it is objective; that is
15 a very difficult --
16 JUDGE JORDA: No, I did not want to ask you
17 that question. I wanted to know how you, yourself,
18 would judge this film, now that you have been able to
19 step back and look at it over time, to question
20 yourself. Do you ever ask whether you could have done
21 it differently?
22 A. It was a difficult film to make and we were
23 constrained, of course, by the intensity of the
24 situation, but I still -- and, of course, I can see
25 places where the shots could have been better or
1 whatever, but I still believe that it was an honest
2 attempt to try to convey the effect of war on
3 a civilian population.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, thank you. You have
5 answered that question quite well.
6 Now, in part 3, the title is: "Control by the
7 Croatian Army of the Village", what do you mean by "the
8 Croatian Army"; is this the HVO or did you have any
9 encounters with members of the HVO?
10 A. With members of the HVO?
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.
12 A. We encountered them on a daily basis, of
13 course, at the checkpoints where we would often stop
14 and talk with them. Slavka's -- members of Slavka's
15 family were in the HVO and we talked informally to
16 people in the village who were members of the HVO.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You have devoted an
18 extended part of the afternoon to this Tribunal. The
19 Tribunal thanks you. I think there are no other
20 questions for you. Therefore, you may now return to
21 your own activities. Thank you very much.
22 Now, the Registrar will accompany the
23 witness, Ms Deborah Christie, before we go on then to
24 the next witness.
25 (The witness withdrew)
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe.
2 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, good afternoon,
3 Mr. President, your Honours. The next witness is the
4 subject of protective measures. We have informed
5 counsel of this and we have discussed him previously as
6 well. Likewise, Mr. President, because of the
7 information this witness is going to talk about, we
8 have asked for a closed session because there is no
9 circumstances under which he could give his testimony
10 where individuals would not know who he is, because of
11 his position.
12 JUDGE JORDA: No objections?
13 MR. NOBILO: No.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, Registry, please
15 make proceedings for a closed session.
16 (Proceedings in closed session)
13 Pages 7901 to 7919 redacted - in closed session
18 (6.30 pm)
19 (The hearing adjourned until 2.30 pm on
20 Tuesday, 28th April 1998)