1 Tuesday, 28th April, 1998
2 (2.30 pm)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
4 Will the Registry please bring in the
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, yes, hello. I would
8 like to greet all the members and parties in this
9 courtroom, as well as the interpreters. I assume
10 everyone can hear me and that the technicians are
11 working. Hello to everyone.
12 Mr. Kehoe, we are going to then resume with
13 Witness KK?
14 MR. KEHOE: I am sorry, Mr. President, I was
15 having a problem with my equipment.
16 We are going to continue with Witness KK.
17 I believe the usher just went out to get him.
18 (In closed session)
13 pages 7921-8008 redacted – closed session.
1 (In Public Session)
2 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me? Can you hear
3 me now? I am the one speaking to you now, it is the
5 First of all, please identify yourself, based
6 on the document that will be put in front of you by the
7 Registry. Look at your name. Do not say your name,
8 just see if you recognise it.
9 Please remain standing for a few moments
10 longer so you can read the solemn declaration.
11 WITNESS LL (Sworn)
12 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Please be seated.
13 We are going to call you "Witness LL",
14 because that corresponds to the protective measures
15 which the Prosecutor has requested on your behalf. So,
16 you are here to testify in the case of the Prosecution
17 versus Mr. Blaskic, who is here in this courtroom. The
18 judges ask that you speak without fear. You are under
19 the protection of the International Criminal Tribunal.
20 After a number of questions asked to you by
21 the Prosecutor, then you will free to make your
22 testimonies, talking about the things you have seen in
23 your village and also about three or four other
24 points. Perhaps there will be additional questions put
25 to you by the judges, but, of course, you will also be
1 asked questions by counsel for the accused during
3 We are going to be sitting with you for about
4 30 minutes, we are not going to be able to finish. We
5 ask for you to take a rest this evening and we will
6 continue tomorrow afternoon with your testimony.
7 Mr. Cayley, you have the floor.
8 MR. CAYLEY: Witness LL, good afternoon.
9 A. Good afternoon.
10 Q. A couple of preliminary questions: did you
11 live in the village of Gromiljak in Bosnia-Herzegovina
12 until the 17th July 1993?
13 A. I lived until 5th October of 1993, until
14 I was exchanged and, on 17th July, I was thrown out of
15 my house.
16 Q. Are you of the Muslim faith?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, if you could briefly explain to the
19 court the events that occurred in the town of Kiseljak
20 after the multiparty elections in November of 1991?
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Witness LL, when you respond to
23 the questions, please, first of all, face the judges
24 and also, can you come closer to the microphones so the
25 interpreters can translate what you are saying? Thank
2 Very well. Now you may answer the question
3 put to you by the Prosecution.
4 A. After the multiparty elections in 1991 in
5 Kiseljak, the HDZ won; that is, it won the most votes.
6 Immediately the Croats started dominating. They first
7 flew the Croatian flags on all public buildings and
8 they imposed the Croatian language in schools.
9 They also made the -- both the teachers and
10 school children speak the Croatian dialect. They
11 started instructing the Croatian population to have as
12 little contact with the Muslims as possible and many
13 children who -- many children who had socialised with
14 us told us that they were forced to do that.
15 So, the relations became very strained and
16 were limited to business contacts at the minimum.
17 Also, they were cutting us -- our phone
18 lines, whereas the Croatian inhabitants did not have
19 their lines cut off. We checked that with our Croatian
20 neighbours. For instance, we would go there and ask
21 them if their lines were open and they were at the time
22 when we were receiving no signal.
23 They also introduced the Croatian currency as
24 the only official one, apart from the German currency,
25 which was also used.
1 The more educated people started saying that
2 the Croats and Muslims could no longer live together,
3 that Kiseljak was historically Croatian territory and
4 it should be ethnically pure, and that Muslims should
5 go to the towns where they were in majority, meaning
6 Visoko, Zenica and they called it a "Muslim-mania"
7 those two towns.
8 A physician who was in town said, on several
9 occasions, that all children that came from mixed
10 marriages should be killed so that Kiseljak would be
11 ethnically pure.
12 They also set up Radio Kiseljak, where only
13 Croats were employed; no Muslims were allowed to work
14 there and anti-Muslim propaganda was spread through
15 these broadcasts, often times they, sort of, broadcast
16 these -- what they called revolutionary songs which
17 were really very nationalist.
18 MR. CAYLEY: Witness LL, I do not want you to
19 say your profession to the court because I do not want
20 you to identify yourself, but would it be correct to
21 say that you are a university-educated person?
22 A. Yes, I received higher education. At that
23 time, my profession was still not available as through
24 university courses, was not taught at universities.
25 Q. But it would be right to say that you had had
1 contact with a number of educated persons who were
2 Bosnian Croats in Kiseljak?
3 A. Yes, I worked in an institution where
4 everybody did have education. We were over 100 and
5 everybody was educated.
6 Q. And when you expressed your views a moment
7 ago -- or expressed facts a moment ago -- about
8 Croats, essentially saying that Muslims should leave
9 the Kiseljak area and go to Zenica and Visoko, were
10 these the views of educated Croats in Kiseljak?
11 A. Yes, completely.
12 Q. A couple of other points on this area: were
13 you aware of destruction being carried out on Muslim
14 businesses in Kiseljak?
15 A. Yes. Yes, I knew and I even saw -- I even
16 saw some business premises which were destroyed, and
17 this was especially the case when the war in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina started.
19 The HVO army shot from their weapons into the
20 Muslim shop windows. They looted some. I even saw a
21 shoe shop which they vandalised. They tore out the
22 protective grate that was there, and they looted
23 everything. They also looted a butchers shop and then
24 another shop.
25 I also heard of similar cases elsewhere.
1 Q. And these were all Muslim-owned businesses in
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And did you actually see the HVO carry out
5 these acts, or did you just see the end result; the
6 destroyed business?
7 A. I saw what was left behind, what they had
8 left behind and I saw that on the same day.
9 Q. Do you recall what happened to the Muslim
10 relief agency, Merhamets in Kiseljak?
11 A. Yes, I remember. The Muslim organisation,,
12 Merhamets, was set on fire and all the goods that were
13 there were burned and then it was blown up, the
14 building was blown up completely so the Muslims could
15 not get any aid, any more, and they could not get it
16 from Caritas organisation that was also in down. The
17 two were completely separate.
18 Q. Do you know who destroyed the Muslim relief
20 A. I heard that the HVO soldiers did that.
21 Q. Now, all of these events that you have
22 testified to, happened prior to 18th April 1993?
23 A. No. Merhamet was destroyed in June 1993.
24 Q. Now, if I can move ahead in time to the
25 attack on your village on 18th April 1993. If you
1 could explain to the judges if you recall what happened
2 on that day, from the beginning of 18th April? If you
3 could go through to the period when you were allowed to
4 return to your home by the HVO?
5 A. On 18th April in the morning, at 7.30 --
6 this was the Sunday, and it was a Catholic Easter
7 holiday -- we heard shooting. My family was in the
8 house and we heard the automatic weapons fire.
9 It was a custom for the Catholics to shoot in
10 the air on holidays as they were leaving church, so
11 that is what we thought at first, but then we heard the
12 heavy weapons detonations and then we realised that it
13 was something else and not religious celebration.
14 We did not have a basement in our house, so
15 my family and another family from my neighbourhood
16 moved into a house of another neighbour who did have a
17 basement. We were a total of eight and we were all
19 A short while later, a car arrived and three
20 HVO soldiers jumped out of the car. This was in front
21 of our house and they -- they requested that we let
22 them in with their weapons pointed at us. We did and
23 they said that they came to get the weapons, so they
24 told us to surrender the weapons. We told them that we
25 did not have them. Then they said they would search
1 the house and if they found the weapons, then we would
2 be killed and our house set on fire.
3 They searched the entire house from the attic
4 to the basement and, after not having found anything,
5 they left.
6 Shortly thereafter, another four HVO soldiers
7 came and they did the same thing. They searched every
8 house in the neighbourhood and this was repeated
9 several times over the next several days.
10 They searched all houses in the
12 We, again, heard detonations thereafter and
13 looked out the window. Then we saw, in the immediate
14 vicinity, houses on fire. This was the village of
15 Visnjica and at 1.00 pm there was an old couple's
16 house, they were retired, they did not have any sons or
17 any military there. Their house was set on fire first
18 and it was followed by some other houses.
19 Round 4.00 a man, a neighbour, came from the
20 village and he told us that he came on orders of the
21 Chief of Police. He came to tell us that we had to
22 report to a basement of a house at 6.00. If we did not
23 do that, that they would come and arrest us.
24 We went to this basement at 6.00 and we found
25 a large number of civilians there who were of Muslim
1 ethnic background. Then a group of HVO policemen
2 arrived, who separated out the men and took them to
3 another basement, which was away from this house.
4 We had a pregnant woman in our house. She
5 was about to give birth. I asked that we women be
6 released so that we could go back home. However, they
7 did not allow that, but that evening they put us up in
8 a house of a Croat, where we were supposed to stay the
10 The next day they released us home, only for
11 women, and in the basement where the men were, there
12 were 63 persons of Muslim ethnic background.
13 The conditions were such that there was no
14 floor there, there was just rubbish, some wood and some
16 There were small children among them,
17 including some babies. They had no food, no water and
18 in front of the basement there were armed HVO soldiers
19 who guarded them so they would not escape.
20 After seven days, women and children were
21 released, while the men were kept there for 15 days and
22 every day they would take them to dig trenches.
23 After that, they released them home, but they
24 had to report to the police every morning and every
25 evening. After 15 days when the situation seemed to
1 have calmed down, I returned to work to see whether
2 I was going to be able to continue to work there.
3 I was allowed to come back to work, as were the others,
4 but before that, we had to receive a permission from
5 the HVO authorities.
6 I had to go on foot for six kilometres to get
7 to work every day, because no bus or taxi cab wanted to
8 stop and give me a ride. On 24th May in the evening,
9 since curfew was introduced for Muslims which lasted
10 between 21.00 until 05.00 hours, three HVO soldiers
11 came and knocked on the door. I did not want to open
12 up because I was alone in the house.
13 Members of my family managed to escape to the
14 free territory by 20th May, so I was the only one left
15 in the house to guard it and to continue working.
16 I managed to hide among the plants on the balcony and
17 I spent the entire night there. I saw and heard what
18 was going on in front of my house during the night.
19 They were talking about how they needed to take my
20 son's car as well as my neighbour's car and how they
21 were going to kill my neighbour the next day when they
22 catch him.
23 Then they killed my dog. If I need to give
24 names, I know all the names of the people who were
25 involved. In the morning, since the curfew was until
1 05.00, after the HVO soldiers, who were standing guard
2 in front of my house, after they withdrew, I warned my
3 neighbour that they had decided to kill him and since
4 there was fog -- it was early in the morning -- he
5 managed to escape across the hills to the free
7 That day I went to work and I went to the
8 police headquarters to see the chief and I told him
9 what had transpired the night before, but he did
11 When I came back home, the door to the
12 apartment had been broken down and my son's vehicle was
14 JUDGE JORDA: All right, everything has been
15 re-established. You may continue for a few more
16 minutes, then it is up to the Prosecutor to decide when
17 to stop.
18 A. I asked a man to have the lock fixed,
19 exchanged, so that I remained in the house.
20 On 27th May, as I was coming back from work
21 with a colleague of mine, I saw a man I knew driving my
22 son's car in downtown Kiseljak, and he was parking the
23 car across the street from the Kiseljak police
24 station. I approached the vehicle and I asked him to
25 please return the car, at which point he opened the
1 door; he pushed me aside and started beating me
3 About 10 HVO policemen stood around watching
4 all this, they were maybe a metre or two away from us,
5 and they were laughing openly. He beat me up; he
6 insulted me and he spat at me. After that, I went to
7 the UNPROFOR base, where the Canadian contingent was
8 staying and, since I can communicate in English, I told
9 them what had happened to me.
10 The soldier called the command in Visoko and
11 told them about it, and the next day an officer came
12 from Visoko. He took my statement and several other
13 neighbours also used this opportunity, and these were
14 people who were also abused by the HVO soldiers. So
15 they also lodged complaints.
16 The Canadian officer promised that he would
17 come again and left.
18 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I think that is
19 probably a good time to pause until tomorrow.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, we shall stop here.
21 This will give the time for the witness to relax and to
22 give a break.
23 So the Chamber now stands adjourned.
24 Tomorrow is the last afternoon of the week, as you
25 know. I make this statement to the Prosecution and to
1 the Defence. Tomorrow we will resume at 2.30 pm. The
2 Chamber stands adjourned.
3 (6.30 pm)
4 (The hearing adjourned until 2.30 pm on
5 Wednesday, 28th April 1998)