1 Wednesday, 29th April, 1998
2 (2.30 pm)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
4 Please have the accused brought in.
5 (The accused entered court)
6 JUDGE JORDA: I greet the parties and the
7 accused and the interpreters. We are now going to
8 resume with our work with Witness LL who can now also
9 be brought in. Would the usher please have the witness
10 brought in?
11 MR. CAYLEY: Good afternoon, Mr. President,
12 your Honours, learned counsel. If I could introduce
13 Ms. Alinde Verhaag she is temporarily replacing
14 Emile Van der Does, our case manager, who is absent
16 JUDGE JORDA: All right, then we agree this
17 new replacement.
18 (Witness LL entered court)
19 JUDGE JORDA: Witness LL, do you hear me?
20 THE WITNESS: I do.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
22 Are you all rested?
23 A. Yes, I am.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, then let us continue
1 Witness LL (continued)
2 Examined by MR. CAYLEY (continued):
3 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
4 afternoon, Witness LL. If you could continue the
5 account of events that you were giving yesterday from
6 the end of May 1993, when I believe HVO soldiers came
7 to your house in Gromiljak.
8 A. Yesterday I stopped with the incident when an
9 HVO soldier beat me up because of my son's car, when
10 I went to UNPROFOR to make a complaint and when a
11 Canadian officer came there and when we -- several of
12 us, when we lodged a complaint.
13 Since the HVO soldiers had already broken
14 into my house on one occasion, I was frightened, I was
15 too scared to sleep alone in the house and, therefore,
16 before the curfew on the 31st May 1993, I went to sleep
17 at my neighbour's house.
18 On the next morning, that is on 1st June,
19 when I came back home, I saw that the doors were broken
20 and that the house had been robbed and that most of my
21 belongings had been taken away.
22 I managed to learn from my neighbours, who
23 were there in the immediate vicinity and who were
24 watching from their window, that everything had been
25 taken away by my neighbours. So I went to work and
1 after I finished working, I went to the police station
2 in Kiseljak to see the Chief of Police.
3 I told him what had happened and he said that
4 one of their inspectors, an HVO crime inspector, should
5 go over to my house and inspect the scene. So, we took
6 his car and we went back to my house.
7 He inspected everything and made a report.
8 He advised me to repair the locks, which I did the
9 following day. I think that the locks were repaired
10 during the afternoon hours, before the evening, and
11 sometime around the curfew -- or rather after the
12 curfew, a vehicle with HVO plates on it arrived and
13 four HVO soldiers got off the car and they went
15 I remained on the ground floor, and since it
16 was forbidden for us Muslims to switch on the lights,
17 I remained behind the curtain and I managed, somehow,
18 in spite of that, to recognise some of them.
19 They started breaking the door and as they
20 were doing that upstairs, around the rooms, I managed
21 to jump out of the window on the back side of the house
22 and I hid in the garden.
23 After that, they went downstairs. They broke
24 down the remaining doors and they started taking our
25 things -- taking furniture out.
1 I remained hidden in the grass and I observed
2 all that, and when I was sure that they had left,
3 I went to my neighbour's house to spend the night
5 I went back home on the next morning and
6 I realised that my house had been vandalised and
7 demolished; that eight doors were completely out of
8 their frames and I saw that the tiles in the bathroom
9 were all smashed.
10 During the first robbery they took all my
11 food, so I did not have any food at home. For several
12 days I remained without food, so people from the
13 village brought me some food.
14 After the second robbery, I went to the
15 police station in Kiseljak again and I told the
16 Chief of Police what had happened. However, he did not
17 say anything to that.
18 From there, I went to the HVO barracks.
19 I wanted to find Mr. Ivica Rajic, commander of the HVO,
20 because I wanted to tell him what was happening, but he
21 refused to see me.
22 After that, from the barracks, I went to the
23 Town Hall to see Mr. Jozo Boro, who was the president of
24 the municipality and president of the HVO at the time,
25 so I told him what was happening to me and to other
1 Muslims, but he remained silent. He did make a few
2 notes in his notebook, but he made no comment
3 whatsoever. This is where I saw Vinko Antunovic. He
4 held a very high position within the HVO, so
5 I complained to him as well. However, he left me in
6 the middle of a sentence.
7 So, I returned home and until 5th October,
8 I did not spend a single night in my house. During the
9 day I would spend some time in the house and around the
10 house, after I would come back from work.
11 Every day the local commander would come by,
12 the local commander of the HVO police, Josip Maric. He
13 mistreated us -- he harassed us rather, by ordering his
14 subordinates to fire around our houses during the
15 night, or by simply threatening us, interrogating us as
16 to the whereabouts of our family members. He abused us
17 verbally and this went on every day.
18 He even took part in the looting of some
19 houses. On 21st June, when I came to work, a colleague
20 of mine arrived and she told me that the manager of the
21 institution, of the company, had sent a message to me
22 and a few other Muslims who were still working there,
23 and the message was that we should no longer come to
24 work -- that we no longer needed to come to work
25 because he had received an order from the HVO to expel
1 us. They did not give us any documents about that;
2 they did not give us -- they did not return to us any
3 documentation that we had.
4 So, from 2nd June until 17th July, when I was
5 expelled from my house, HVO soldiers came to my house
6 on 13 occasions. They would bring some Croats with
7 them because they wanted to move them into my house and
8 to expel me.
9 Since the HVO authorities of the municipality
10 of Kiseljak had appointed an official commission which,
11 together with the military police, evicted Muslims from
12 their houses, they told me -- they told us that we
13 should not leave our houses in their absence, that we
14 should wait for them.
15 So, every time they would come to my house to
16 evict me from my house, I always requested that it be
17 an official eviction.
18 On 17th July 1993, in the morning, at about
19 6.30, three HVO soldiers came to my house. They were
20 all armed and were accompanied by three HVO policemen
21 who were also armed. So, they stood in front of my
22 house and the local commander, the person I have
23 already mentioned, Josip Maric, entered my house, and
24 he told me to leave the house because some Croats were
25 supposed to move in.
1 Since I knew him, I kindly asked him not to
2 do that, but he simply started beating me, over my face
3 with his fist and he twisted my arm around my back --
4 behind my back and he thus evicted me from my house.
5 He cursed me, he cursed my Turkish mother and he kept
6 saying to these other HVO soldiers: "Kill her. Throw
7 her into the river, into the creek."
8 After that he left, and when I asked those
9 who remained -- who had remained -- when I asked them
10 where I was supposed to go now, one of them, an HVO
11 soldier came closer and he, too, started hitting me on
12 the head and then he pushed me down and I fell and he
13 started kicking me all over my body, and the others
14 just remained standing. They kept abusing me verbally,
15 swearing and cursing, and after he had finished beating
16 me, he said: "Do not dare come close to your house
17 because there is a huge knife waiting for you there".
18 I had no shoes on, just my stockings and
19 I had very little clothes on, and since I did not know
20 where to go, I went to the UNPROFOR base. This
21 UNPROFOR base had recently been established in
22 Gromiljak and this is where I reported my case, and
23 I wanted to know where I could go.
24 Then an UN official contacted the Kiseljak
25 command, the headquarters in Kiseljak, and they told
1 him that I should remain with the UNPROFOR in the
2 vicinity of the base and that they would come as soon
3 as possible and take care of me and try to resolve my
5 After a few hours, Captain Craig Carrington
6 arrived together with the chief of the HVO police. So
7 we started talking. Since the Chief of Police used to
8 live in Gromiljak, we knew each other and I asked him
9 if they had any further plans with me. So, he offered
10 me his house.
11 At that time, his house was empty because his
12 family was in Split, but I did not accept it and
13 I wanted him to get me back to my house. But he said
14 it was impossible, because some Croats were supposed to
15 live in my house. Then he offered me to Muslim houses
16 and these houses were earmarked as some kind of
17 collective accommodation for the displaced Muslims and
18 I agreed to go to one of them, provided that they send
19 me a certificate -- that they actually sent a
20 certificate to the owner of the house and to the
21 commander of the HVO, Maric, whereby they would ensure
22 that we would not be harassed or evicted from that
24 He promised to do that and, on the next day,
25 he did, indeed, send such a certificate.
1 Mr. Craig Carrington gave me his card -- I have it
2 here -- and he told me that, should I have any
3 problems that I can always look for him -- look him
4 up. So I moved to that house and I spent there
5 two and-a-half months. That house was in the immediate
6 vicinity of my house, so I could watch those Croats who
7 were unknown to me every day. I could watch them
8 living in my house, enjoying my house, which was, of
9 course, very difficult for me.
10 Mr. Maric kept coming on a daily basis and he
11 ordered us that we do not go into the backyard, that we
12 were under house arrest and that we were going to be
13 sent to a camp.
14 On four or five occasions, the HVO soldiers
15 came in a van and told to everybody in the house to get
16 ready within five minutes, that they would take us to
17 the Rotilj camp. And then, a few minutes later,
18 somebody else would show up and they would say: "Go
19 back into the house, you are not going to go to the
20 camp today".
21 This went on until 5th October 1993, when
22 I was exchanged and transferred to the free territory.
23 That is all.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Witness LL. I think
25 that the Prosecutor has a few clarifications or a few
1 questions he would like to put to you. Please
3 MR. CAYLEY: Please, Mr. President.
4 Witness LL, was there a mosque in the village
5 of Gromiljak?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Are you aware of what happened to that
9 A. Yes. After a while, after the HVO attack,
10 after the mosque had been looted, it was set on fire,
11 but since there was a Croat house nearby, the Croats
12 put out the fire and then, in February of 1994, after
13 the Washington Agreement was signed, the mosque was
14 completely blown up and the other mosques in other
15 surrounding villages were all destroyed after the
16 Washington Agreement. Some had been destroyed before,
17 but after the Washington Agreement they were blown up
18 and not a single one remained. And people would find
19 copies of Koran and other religious objects from these
20 mosques strewn around, sometimes thrown into the creek,
21 and so forth.
22 Q. Witness LL, am I right in saying that the HVO
23 set the mosque on fire after the attack in April of
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, you mentioned in your testimony the fate
2 of an elderly couple who lived in the village, an
3 80 year old couple. Can you explain to the court what
4 happened to their house and what the HVO did to them?
5 A. Yes. On 18th April 1993, after those
6 explosions were heard first, the houses in Visnjica
7 were set on fire and then later on there was this
8 elderly couple, Imamovic. They were retirees, they had
9 no sons, they had no males in the house and they lived
10 alone, so they set their house on fire first and we saw
11 the flames coming up and across from their house. The
12 HVO soldiers knocked on Halid Begovic's house, his son
13 opened up, he asked what they wanted, they shot at
14 him. His father stepped out to protect him. He was
15 hit in the back and then the HVO soldiers left and the
16 two of them managed somehow to go into the basement.
17 They had a store down there and they managed to hide
18 behind some goods there.
19 And then they -- the HVO set their house on
20 fire later on, but they managed to crawl out and save
21 themselves. Below there, there was another house which
22 was also set on fire twice and it finally burned down,
23 and during the time when these houses in Gomjanica were
24 being set on fire, we would count them, and every night
25 we would count 10 to 12 houses on fire. First, they
1 would loot them. We saw the HVO soldiers driving away
2 goods on trucks, so they first looted them, then they
3 set them on fire. The population managed to flee to
4 the hills and then, across the hills, they managed to
5 escape to Visoko. Some of the people were killed there
6 as well.
7 Q. Witness LL, you said that on 31st May of 1993
8 your house was looted by your neighbours. Were you
9 referring to your neighbours who were in the HVO?
10 A. Yes. Yes. They were all wearing uniforms
11 and they all carried weapons. And whatever was done
12 was done by the neighbours, not by unknown persons,
13 I know all these peoples' first and last names and, if
14 needed, I can name them all.
15 I asked one of them: "How long is this going
16 to go on?", and he said: "Until we have killed all the
17 Muslims in Kiseljak."
18 They said they were given a free reign to do
19 whatever they wanted to us without answering for that
20 to anyone. These were their words.
21 Q. You recall earlier I showed you a video clip
22 in which you identified a man who beat you at your
23 house before you were evicted; do you recall that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. If that clip could be shown now, please? It
1 is part of Exhibit 260. If, Witness LL, you could
2 identify to the court the man who beat you? We will
3 play it a number of times, if necessary. If that clip
4 could be played, please?
5 (Video clip played).
6 MR. CAYLEY: Can you see it on the TV screen
7 in front of you?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Which is the man that beat you?
10 A. He is the covered -- this man.
11 (Indicating). Josip Maric. This one here.
12 Q. Can we play it again, please? Could you
13 describe the position of this man, because the judges
14 cannot see what you are pointing at? Is it the man
15 with the silver hair on the far right-hand corner of
16 the screen?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Next to the flagpole?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And what is his name again?
21 A. Josip Maric.
22 Q. And this is the man who beat you at your
24 A. Yes, he is.
25 JUDGE JORDA: On the left, Mr. Prosecutor?
1 MR. CAYLEY: We can play it again,
2 Mr. President.
3 JUDGE JORDA: I want to be clear who it is
4 who you are talking about. You talked about a silver
5 haired person, both of them are wearing hats.
6 MR. CAYLEY: It is the man in the distance.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I see, okay.
8 MR. CAYLEY: I will indicate to you,
9 Mr. President. You see the gentleman with the white
10 hair to the right of the flagpole?
11 JUDGE JORDA: To the very right, yes, I see.
12 MR. CAYLEY: Is that correct, Witness LL?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
15 A. And he did not beat only me, he beat some
16 other women as well.
17 (Video clip continued)
18 MR. CAYLEY: That is fine, thank you.
19 Finally, if the witness could be shown
20 Exhibit 313. (Handed).
21 I will wait for you to get your spectacles
22 out. Witness LL, just to give the judges a
23 geographical reference, is that the location of your
24 village which is ringed in a black circle on this map
25 in front of you?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. CAYLEY: I have no further questions of
3 the witness, Mr. President. If the two exhibits could
4 be admitted into evidence, Exhibit 313, which is the
5 map, and Exhibit 314, which is the clip from
6 Exhibit 260.
7 THE REGISTRAR: So 260 is already admitted,
8 although it was admitted with some objections, so now
9 this is only an excerpt, I do not think we need to give
10 it any number.
11 MR. CAYLEY: My colleague has just suggested,
12 Mr. President, that we label it Exhibit 260A -- 260B.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I share the opinion of the
14 Office of the Prosecutor because, Mr. Registrar, we need
15 to be able to refer to this particular exhibit,
16 otherwise we will have to go back to the transcript to
17 find out whether or not this was targeted as an actual
18 exhibit. So let us, then, go not back to the previous
19 number, but this number as it corresponds to the clip
20 shown to this witness.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Very yes, very well. In this
22 case, let us give it the letter "B", because a document
23 has already been presented before another witness.
24 JUDGE JORDA: I do not know, do what is
25 necessary. The problem is that we must have a clear
1 reference and that this be annexed to the testimony
2 given by Witness LL. Without further delay, excuse it,
3 Witness LL, there are no other observations,
4 Mr. Cayley?
5 MR. CAYLEY: I have no other observations,
6 Mr. President, no.
7 JUDGE JORDA: You should understand that now
8 we are going to give the floor to the Defence for
9 General Blaskic and it is now the Defence counsel that
10 is going to now put to you a number of questions,
11 Mr. Nobilo, perhaps.
12 Cross-examined by MR. NOBILO:
13 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Good afternoon Witness LL.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. As you heard, I would like to ask you a few
18 In the beginning of your testimony, you spoke
19 about some kind of growing distance or start of maybe
20 hatred between the Croats and Muslims, and you
21 mentioned that there were some educated people who were
22 spreading these feelings.
23 Can you tell us; when did this start? When
24 did this process of separation between the Croats and
25 the Muslims start?
1 A. Right after the elections of 1991.
2 Q. As the time went on, were these just
3 exceptions, as you pointed out, just the more educated
4 people engaged in this, or did it spread towards the
5 general population?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Could you say that a larger number of Croats,
8 or most of the Croats, expressed these views against
9 the Muslims?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What do you mean? A largest number?
12 A. Yes, even children.
13 Q. Were there those who tried to keep the old
14 kind of relationships?
15 A. Those who tried to keep the old type of
16 relationships complained to us that they were under
17 pressure from the HVO to not communicate with us. So
18 they apologised to us, those with whom we socialised
19 more. They just said that they did not dare.
20 Q. According to you, these were in the minority,
21 such people?
22 A. I heard from a lot of people that this was a
23 general attitude.
24 Q. Now, let me ask you this: did this attitude
25 then produce a certain reaction, apart of the Muslims
1 that were --
2 A. Yes, we wanted to keep the old relationships
3 because, traditionally, we had very good relations
4 between Croats and Muslims and you know that there was
5 even a coalition, the flags of the HVO and the SDA were
6 sort of joined, so nobody really expected this to
8 Q. You said that business premises were
9 destroyed. Can you place it in time? What time was
11 A. This was in 1992, in the beginning, in early
13 Q. So the first half of 1992?
14 A. Yes, yes and it escalated when the Serbs
15 attacked, when the war in Bosnia broke out.
16 Q. Did you see an act of destruction of any of
17 these business premises?
18 A. I was not an eye-witness to any of those, but
19 I saw the result of it shortly thereafter, and everyone
20 talked about it. As I mentioned yesterday, I saw a
21 shoe shop owned by a man, and it was a very nice shop
22 with very expensive Italian shoes. It had metal bars
23 in the window and the HVO soldiers brought a tractor;
24 they fixed a chain to it, they pulled it out, they
25 broke the window and the Croatian population stormed
1 the shoe shop and took away all the shoes. I arrived
2 shortly thereafter and I saw the whole place ransacked
3 and all the -- all glass was smashed, et cetera. There
4 were even jokes being made how certain women changed
5 the shoe size because the original ones did not fit.
6 Q. About the HVO soldiers pulling out the bars,
7 did you see that or did you hear about it?
8 A. I did not see it.
9 Q. So you heard about it?
10 A. Yes, I only heard about it from others.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, you are speaking
12 quite quickly, please think about the interpreters.
13 Thank you.
14 MR. NOBILO: Very well.
15 Apart from this case, in other cases, those
16 who told you about what happened, were those people
17 eye-witnesses to, let us say, break-ins, or they too
18 heard it from someone else yet?
19 A. Everybody talked about it, it was biggest
20 topic of the day. It was not just the shoe shop, it
21 was also the butcher's shop, there was also a cafe
22 owned by a Muslim and another store. They looted the
23 merchandise there and people saw that and this was what
24 was discussed among the Muslims.
25 Q. But, can you tell me: did you personally hear
1 this from an eye-witness or from someone who had
2 already heard about it from someone else?
3 A. I am not sure about that any more because
4 this was a long time ago, but the fact is that this
5 took place.
6 Q. Can you tell me something about Merhamet? It
7 was a warehouse, right of the relief organisation, it
8 was set on fire, you told us and you heard this was
9 done by the HVO soldiers. That is what you said.
10 I have a similar question for you: did you hear that
11 from a person who was an eye-witness to it or from
12 someone who also heard it from someone else?
13 A. At that time, I was at work and I was in the
14 backyard of the company where I was working, or the
15 institution where I was working, and then there was
16 some fire there, some people had been injured and they
17 were brought in the vicinity of where I could see
18 them. Then they were that the building organisation
19 where Merhamet was, they said it was destroyed but
20 there were also problems with Merhamet. There were
21 often times when these merchandise was coming in. It
22 was often looted and we got very few things while the
23 Croats were getting many more things, that we only got
24 very basic things, barely enough to survive.
25 Q. So, these injured persons who told you about
1 this, did they tell you that they knew who set these
2 explosives there?
3 A. They said that this was the HVO soldiers who
4 set the explosives there.
5 Because the Muslims already had restricted
6 movements. The Muslim men were mostly in the barracks,
7 they were sent to dig trenches, they could not move
8 around town freely.
9 Q. But this explosion was before 18th April
11 A. No, it was after.
12 Q. Let us move to 18th April 1993. You said
13 that the commander of the village, Velimir Milicevic,
14 requested that all Muslims should gather at
15 eight o'clock in one of their neighbour's houses?
16 A. In the basement, yes.
17 Q. Yes, in the basement. Was that in order for
18 them to be protected from the shelling?
19 A. No, because the men who came to inform us
20 about that, he said that if you do not show up, you
21 will all be arrested. If you intend to protect
22 someone, you do not threaten him.
23 Q. Very well. Madam, you gave a statement
24 previously to the investigators of The Hague Tribunal.
25 On page 2 of the statement, the beginning of
1 paragraph 2, you stated the following:
2 "In the afternoon of 18th April 1993, a
3 Croat came to my house and informed me that his
4 commander, Velimir Milicevic, wanted all the Muslims to
5 come to the house of a Croat neighbour named
6 Jozo Biletic at 6.00 pm, so that we would be protected
7 from the shelling."
8 Did you state this?
9 A. Yes, I did. A woman who was present there at
10 the house, he asked why we had to go to the basement
11 and this is what he said. However, later on he said
12 that if we failed to appear on our own will that they
13 would come to arrest us. Then it was perfectly clear
14 for me what he really meant. If you want to protect
15 someone, you are not going to arrest him.
16 Q. Was there any shelling at that time of the
18 A. Yes, there was.
19 Q. The incident you told us about when your dog
20 was killed and when they planned to steal your son's
21 car, were these people your neighbours?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you know their names?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. Did you have any quarrels with them?
1 A. No, I did not.
2 Q. There were guards in your village during the
3 night, HVO guards, there was also curfew?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Was this all in order to protect you from the
6 incursions of criminals?
7 A. No, it was not.
8 Q. Why did they have guards, then?
9 A. To prevent us from fleeing.
10 Q. Did they have any guards during the day?
11 A. No, they did not.
12 Q. Could you move around freely during the day,
13 could you go to work?
14 A. Yes, I could. Only 15 days later.
15 Q. During the time while you were prevented from
16 moving around freely, were there any military
17 operations going on at that time, during the first week
18 following 18th April 1993? Was there any fighting
19 going on in the surrounding villages? Could you hear
20 the shooting?
21 A. Yes, we could hear the shooting but there
22 were no -- there was no fighting going on, because in
23 order to fight you need to have two parties. It was
24 not an ordinary war. The BiH Army was not there. They
25 had no-one to fight. They knew very well that they --
1 that Muslims had no weapons and that is why they
2 attacked the village. They knew very well at the time
3 where the BiH soldiers were deployed. At that time,
4 the BiH soldiers were in the area of Koscan and
5 Kralupi, they were holding lines against Serbs and they
6 knew perfectly well that we had no-one to protect us.
7 Because, on 17th April, on the eve of the attack
8 against Muslims, Kiseljak Radio informed their
9 population, their residents, they told them that they
10 should stay calm if they heard some shooting on the
11 next day because UNPROFOR was supposed to have some
12 kind of exercise.
13 So they carried out an attack and the attack
14 was followed by ethnic cleansing and evictions. After
15 that, it was forbidden for all of us to move around
17 Q. Did you hear this personally, did you hear
18 what was announced over the radio?
19 A. No, I did not hear that personally. Some
20 other people did.
21 Q. But even if you have shooting coming from
22 only one side, how long did it last, for how many days?
23 A. Well, at the beginning, it lasted for a
24 couple of days, but since nobody returned fire, since
25 there was no-one there, no-one to counterattack, they
1 set about burning houses. So lots of houses were on
2 fire at that time. We could count them every evening.
3 There were about 10 or 12 houses on fire and then, on
4 the first -- when the HVO forces were perfectly sure
5 that there would be no reaction or response, they
6 attacked the village. They tried to --
7 Q. Were you present there when it happened?
8 A. I went home from work and I was stopped at
9 the barricade and around 2.00 pm, the shelling of the
10 village started and lots of people were killed. And
11 from that day on, HVO soldiers had the village of
12 Gomionica under their control and they hoisted a huge
13 flag on the hill above the village. You could see this
14 Croatian flag from distance.
15 Q. Can we then sum-up: for how many days could
16 you hear the shooting after 18th April?
17 A. Well, I did not count the days, but it was --
18 it lasted for a couple of days.
19 Q. When you saw that man in your son's car, was
20 that a neighbour of yours?
21 A. Well, he did not live in the immediate
22 vicinity of my house, but he comes from the same area
23 and I used to know him. He was an HVO soldier, I knew
24 him by name and maybe two or three days before that
25 I even spoke to him in one of my neighbour's houses, so
1 when I told Commander Maric that that man had taken my
2 son's car, Maric told me that it was he, himself, who
3 gave him permission to do that and he said that not a
4 single Muslim could have -- could own a car any more,
5 so everything was taken away from us. Nobody had
6 anything, not a single vehicle, car or tractor.
7 Q. Is this man from the same village as you are,
8 this man who took your son's car?
9 A. No, he is not from the same village, he is
10 from a neighbouring village.
11 Q. Is it true that after the 18th April 1993,
12 that Muslim men had to report twice a day in the
13 morning and in the evening at the Gromiljak police
14 station so that they would not escape?
15 A. Yes, yes, I know that for sure because my
16 family members also had to do that.
17 Q. There are two men -- two males -- in your
18 family? I am not going to mention their names.
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. Did they flee to the territory under the BiH
22 A. Yes, they did.
23 Q. When was that?
24 A. After the attack of the 18th.
25 Q. When you went to see the Chief of Police,
1 when you first reported what had happened in your
2 house, did you sign any report or a statement? Did you
3 sign anything that was in written form?
4 A. Detective Vukoja, who carried out an on-site
5 investigation of the break-in of my house, he made the
6 report of that and he told me that I should come to the
7 police station to sign it.
8 However, when I came to the police station,
9 one policeman would not let me in, this policeman's
10 name was Rade Rebuz.
11 Q. You said that four HVO soldiers, on the night
12 when you hid in the garden, that four HVO soldiers came
13 to your house and demolished the interior of your
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Were they your neighbours?
17 A. Yes, they were.
18 Q. Did you know them personally?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. Were you on good terms with them or did you
21 have any problems with them?
22 A. I did not have any problems with anyone.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, I am sorry. Would
24 you please turn towards the judges when you respond to
25 the questions?
1 A. I apologise, I will.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much. You can
3 turn to listen to the question, turn your head towards
4 the Defence, of course that is required. When you
5 answer, please turn towards the judges, thank you.
6 Please continue.
7 MR. NOBILO: When the manager of your company
8 told you that you should leave your work, you said that
9 he had received an order from the HVO. Did he give you
10 any names; the names of persons in authority?
11 A. No, he did not mention any names. He did not
12 tell us that himself, he simply sent a colleague of
13 ours who then told us that the manager had received an
14 order from HVO authorities, that we should no longer
15 come to work because they no longer needed us.
16 So, my group was among the last ones that
17 left the company. It happened on 21st June and they no
18 longer called us, they did not give us any release
19 documents or anything. But this is what was told, that
20 we should leave work.
21 Q. But, when he said HVO authorities, how did
22 you understand that? Was that the local government of
24 A. Yes, it was the local government of Kiseljak
25 and the President of the HVO was Jozo Boro, he was the
1 first man, the most important person as far as civilian
2 authorities are concerned, as far as I know it was
3 Mr. Rajic who was the military leader in the area.
4 Q. You said there was a commission for
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you know the exact title of that
9 A. Well, for me its title was "the Commission
10 for Evictions". It had several members. There was one
11 person who used to work in the Forestry, one other
12 person who used to work in the Land Survey Department
13 and a third person who was the owner of a shop. So
14 they used to go round in a police vehicle; they had
15 some forms with them, so whenever they would evict us
16 Muslims, they would give us some kind of written
17 decisions, some kind of paper.
18 Q. How did they call themselves, do you know?
19 A. No, I do not know. However, this commission
20 was under the authority of the municipality. There was
21 no private initiative in that regard. I know that for
23 Q. Could you tell me who it was that moved into
24 your house?
25 A. Yes. People from the municipality of
1 Fojnica, then Majic and Bosniak families. Two families
2 moved into my house, one family used to live downstairs
3 and the other one upstairs. I do not know whether
4 I should say this, but these people very primitive.
5 I could see that from the way they treated me, the way
6 they abused me verbally and so on.
7 Q. You do not have to give us their names for
8 your own protection, but could you tell us how come
9 that they had come from Fojnica to live in your
11 A. I believe that they were evacuated from their
12 village because apparently they were scared, they were
13 being threatened by some Mujehadeens, so they took
14 advantage of that. These young people did not want to
15 go to war and apparently that is why they fled. That
16 is what they told us, these people from Fojnica.
17 Q. These people from Fojnica, were they Croats?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you tell us the name of the
20 Chief of Police, it was a public office, it is not
21 going to reveal your identity. Could you then tell us
22 his name?
23 A. It was a person by the name
24 Velimir Milicevic.
25 Q. What exactly did he tell you, why was he not
1 able to return you to your house, because he obviously
2 liked you, he wanted to do something for you?
3 A. I do not think you are right. His house was
4 just across the headquarters and Josip Maric was there,
5 the person who beat me, so I was a perfect target for
6 them, and he said that I could go to his house because
7 he was embarrassed because of the presence of
8 Mr. Craig Carrington, who heard it all. I first talked
9 to Velimir Milicevic in our language and when the
10 interpreter tried to interpret, I interfered and
11 I managed with my English to tell Mr. Carrington what
12 had happened and Mr. Velimir Milicevic was shocked
13 because he did not expect me to be able to communicate
14 in English. So that is why he offered me his house,
15 but I refused it because I would have been a perfect
16 target for his policemen.
17 Then I did not want to go to his house
18 because I had a house of my own, but then he said
19 I could not go back to my house because how some Croats
20 were supposed to live there.
21 Q. Was he specific? Did he say which Croats
22 from which town?
23 A. No, he did not say anything.
24 Q. You said that the mosque had been set on
25 fire. Did you know who had set it on fire?
1 A. No, I did not, but I can claim -- I am sure
2 that it was not Muslims, because there were no Muslims
3 there at the time.
4 Q. You also said that in a number of villages in
5 the municipality of Kiseljak, mosques were being
6 demolished and destroyed after the Washington Agreement
7 by Croats. Could you state the names of such villages?
8 A. Hercezi, for example, Visnjica, all the
9 neighbouring villages, the surrounding villages of
10 Gromiljak. I cannot remember any other villages but
11 I know I heard that maybe four or five mosques had been
12 destroyed in addition to the mosque in Gromiljak.
13 Q. So we are talking about six or seven mosques
14 that were demolished after the Washington Agreement?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You knew your Croat neighbours very well. Am
17 I right in thinking that almost every adult Croat,
18 every male, had a weapon and a uniform?
19 A. Excuse me, could you repeat that question?
20 Q. You lived, for a very long time, together
21 with your Croat neighbours, you also used to work with
22 them. Am I right in thinking that almost every adult
23 Croat, male Croat at that time had a weapon and a
24 uniform --
25 MR. CAYLEY: I am objecting at this point.
1 This is completely outside the scope of the
2 examination-in-chief. This matter was never addressed
3 by me in my examination and would I ask that counsel
4 move on to his next question.
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this witness, on
6 several occasions, spoke about her neighbours wearing
7 uniforms. These were Croats who were members of the
8 HVO and allegedly they did this or that and my question
9 to her was: were these uniformed males majority or
10 minority in that area?, so I do not understand why this
11 would be wrong.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I think you stated a
13 question, that was stated differently from what you put
14 it the first time. That was the one objected to. If
15 you want to put that question again, go ahead in the
16 way you just did.
17 MR. NOBILO: Very well.
18 It is the same point: adult Croat males who
19 were your neighbours, did they all, or most of them,
20 have uniforms and weapons, the ones that you knew in
22 A. Yes, even women. Even women. I know that
23 the women who worked, who were from Kiseljak, were
24 taken to certain locations to train in firing from
25 automatic weapons, so that they would shoot balijas,
1 which was a bad word for Muslims. They were also seen
2 wearing uniforms and coming back home at night after
3 shooting practice.
4 Q. Very well. Let us try to synthesise, if
5 I could ask you for an opinion.
6 However, there is an additional question my
7 colleague just passed to me. Was your exchange a
8 private one, or was it done through official channels
9 of both sides?
10 A. It was not a private exchange, it went
11 through the Office for Exchange and with the assistance
12 of the European Monitors, and I also have certificate
13 that I was exchanged and who I was exchanged through.
14 Q. Who was exchanged for you?
15 A. There was a small group, it was six Muslims
16 for six Croats, and there were Croats who did not want
17 to be exchanged, who wanted to stay behind in their
18 houses, so there were six women there and we were also
19 six women; that is, two girls and four women.
20 Q. And who asked for this exchange, you or
21 someone else?
22 A. From the very beginning when I started being
23 persecuted, I asked to be exchanged, to go to the free
24 territory, even if they took my house, so that I could
25 be reunited with my family. However, I failed to
1 mention one thing: the HVO started expelling Muslims
2 from downtown Kiseljak first, they would just catch
3 people in the streets, they would take them to the
4 barricade, then they would expel them, even people who
5 were handicapped, they carried them in blankets and
6 they would bring them to the road and would force them
7 to go. Then they were taking money and gold in order
8 to get people across the lines and across the
9 barricades onto the free territory because there were
10 times when the army was not manning the -- later on,
11 this was not allowed.
12 Q. (redacted)
13 A. (redacted)
15 Q. (redacted)
16 A. (redacted)
17 JUDGE JORDA: Please do not review
18 information of a personal nature, Mr. Nobilo.
19 All right, Mr. Registrar, I think we should
20 strike those particular elements from the record.
21 MR. NOBILO: Maybe it is enough that we say
22 that she lives in a Croat house, and that Croats are
23 living in her house in Kiseljak. Maybe we can just
24 redact the name of the village.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, we have taken
1 protective measures, so when any identifying
2 information is not revealed, what do you think of this,
3 Mr. Cayley? Perhaps you did not follow what was going
5 MR. CAYLEY: I did. I understood that,
6 essentially, the witness identified the village where
7 she was living. Both parties have to attempt not to
8 ask questions. I cannot keep hitting the button every
9 time Mr. Nobilo gives identifying features about the
10 witness. I agree that that part of the evidence has to
11 be stricken --
12 JUDGE JORDA: I am not asking you to jump up
13 each time a question comes to that area. I am the one
14 that raised this particular issue. The question I am
15 asking you now is: I felt that we should take out this
16 particular element on this point. I am asking your
18 MR. CAYLEY: I agree.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I see that Mr. Hayman also seems
20 to agree. Very well.
21 MR. NOBILO: I did not understand, is only the
22 name of the village going to be redacted, or the entire
24 JUDGE JORDA: The point that will be stricken
25 is the point concerning her current residence. Indeed,
1 statements about not only the village but the house in
2 which she lives. I prefer that this information not be
3 revealed since it is of a personal nature. This was
4 something we had already decided and agreed upon.
5 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Then I would just
6 like to rephrase the question so that we avoid any
7 identification of any sort.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Witness LL, I am going to ask
9 you to look at this and to know that this has been
10 stricken from the record. You should know that there
11 are not many people here in the room -- rather in the
12 gallery, but these people, of course, are people who
13 are subjected to professional secrets and to keeping
14 these secrets, so please go on with cross-examination,
15 Mr. Nobilo.
16 MR. NOBILO: Very well. I am almost done.
17 Can we just say that you now live in a Croat
18 house and Croats are now living in a Muslim house?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Okay, very well. In closing, can you just
21 synthesise as your opinion -- I do not know if this is
22 outside of the scope -- but you live there for a long
23 time, you are an educated person. Tell me: could
24 Croats and Muslims live there together now? Have they
25 overcome this hatred, or is the hatred still there?
1 A. It may be biased of me to say that the
2 Croats -- that the Muslims are more tolerant that
3 others, with other religions, but I believe that the
4 Croats in Kiseljak do not want us to come back.
5 I think that even today they work on us not returning
7 I can mention that the programme of the
8 return of refugees has started and Muslims are starting
9 to clear the rubble of their destroyed homes so that
10 the donors could come and see this and offer
12 However, a most extreme person in Kiseljak is
13 showing around. He is showing up with revolver and he
14 is threatening people, so I am not sure that this
15 hatred is going to disappear that easily. I can say
16 that I do not harbour any hatred. I pity people who
17 have declared themselves in that fashion.
18 MR. NOBILO: Very well, thank you,
19 Witness LL.
20 Mr. President, that concludes my
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, do you have any
24 Re-examined by MR. CAYLEY:
25 MR. CAYLEY: Yes, just one point,
1 Mr. President.
2 Witness LL, it is concerning the mosque in
3 Gromiljak, was the mosque in Gromiljak initially set
4 fire to by the HVO in April 1993?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. CAYLEY: That is fine, thank you.
7 JUDGE JORDA: You are now going to receive
8 questions from the judges, Witness LL. I will begin
9 first with the judge to my right, Judge Riad.
10 Judge Riad?
11 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Good afternoon, Witness LL. I would like to
13 ask you a few questions to make things a little bit
14 clear in my mind. You mentioned that on 31st May 1993,
15 can you remember after the curfew, four HVO soldiers
16 came to your house, went upstairs and you watched
17 them. You recognised some of them while hiding in the
18 grass, they vandalised the house and they even
19 demolished and smashed the tiles and the story goes
21 Was there any reason, in your opinion, why
22 you were specially selected for this, what you call
23 "vandalism and destruction", and before your son's car
24 was stolen? I do not want you to be specific, just a
25 general answer. Was it because you were a resistant or
1 was it because of your status in society or was it a
2 systematic way against anybody? Were you anybody or
3 were you somebody?
4 A. I believe that I enjoyed a certain amount of
5 reputation in this area and there was no reason for
6 anyone to exact any revenge against me. I was nice to
7 people and they were nice to me. I think that the main
8 reason for it all was looting because this area --
9 especially the Gomionica and Gromiljak, the Muslim
10 population was very industrious and they had a lot of
11 property and belonging, we had good furniture, good
12 cars and so now that was targeted. I think that there
13 was no special reason, maybe somebody had something
14 against my going to report this. I could see that as
15 the only reason, but I believe that otherwise my ethnic
16 background may have been the main reason for it.
17 JUDGE RIAD: Was that done to other people in
18 the same way?
19 A. Yes, but I believe that among women I was the
20 one who was the most targeted, in this village that is,
21 and Mr. Josip Maric, the local police chief, also beat
22 other women and taking their property, expelling them
23 from the house and abused them otherwise, so I am not
24 the only one.
25 So, I was not the exclusive target. Others
1 suffered too, but I may have been targeted also because
2 I showed more courage maybe and they did not like
4 JUDGE RIAD: Did this Mr. Maric have anything
5 against you in particular?
6 A. No. No. Before the attack he was quite nice
7 to me. In fact, we would sit down and have coffee
8 together and when we would meet each other he would
9 smile broadly. He was really very polite. I think it
10 was some kind of a mask. I only realised who this
11 person was when I heard in 1992 that he beat prisoners
12 in the Kaonik prison in 1992.
13 He used to be a policeman beforehand, so he
14 retired as a policeman, he took an early retirement,
15 then he went back into an active duty when the
16 hostilities broke out, so he went to this camp and he
17 beat prisoners there, so I tried to keep distance from
18 this man after I heard that.
19 Later, when he came to threaten us that we
20 were not allowed to go out of the house and after all
21 the beatings and after all the abuse that he exposed me
22 to, he was still saying "good day" to me and being
23 nice, so that is hypocrisy. To me, that is real
25 JUDGE RIAD: Now, you saw that people who
1 came to your house, you recognised some of them. They
2 were HVO soldiers?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE RIAD: And then you said that other
5 houses were looted and things were stolen and taken
6 away on trucks. Was this military trucks?
7 A. Yes. No.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Not military trucks?
9 A. No.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Taken away by HVO --
11 A. Right, right. Those who were taking things
12 and driving them away were wearing the HVO uniforms and
13 they had the insignia on their sleeves. I can name
14 them, if necessary.
15 JUDGE RIAD: So, you went and complained to
16 the Chief of Police. Was the Chief of Police the
17 superior of this Mr. Maric?
18 A. No.
19 JUDGE RIAD: Who was the superior of
20 Mr. Maric?
21 A. Velimir Milicevic. That was the person to
22 whom I went to complain.
23 JUDGE RIAD: What was his title or role?
24 A. Velimir Milicevic was the Chief of the HVO
25 police. He was the superior officer there. And
1 Mr. Josip Maric was a local police commander or chief in
2 the village of Gromiljak and Mr. Milicevic was the
3 overall head of the police.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Did you think of complaining to
5 the headquarters of the HVO, to go to Vitez and
7 A. That was not possible.
8 JUDGE RIAD: How far were you from Vitez?
9 A. I am not sure, but maybe about
10 50 kilometres.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Now, you also mentioned that
12 there was an old couple, 80 years old, whose house was
13 set on fire and they died, (redacted)
16 A. (redacted)
22 (redacted), whereas the old couple they both died
23 as refugees some time later, but their house is no
24 longer around.
25 JUDGE RIAD: Was it the HVO who did all that?
1 A. Right.
2 JUDGE RIAD: Now, you said that finally you
3 asked somebody: "Where are we supposed to go?", and
4 they told you: "We want to kill all Muslims", then they
5 mentioned that they were given -- I think this is the
6 English translation -- free reign to do whatever they
7 wanted with Muslims with impunity, they can do anything
8 with the Muslims. Who told you that?
9 A. I was told this by Bonifacije Milicevic
10 called Bono he was also a member of the HVO
12 JUDGE RIAD: Was it his own version or do you
13 think that he spoke in the name of the HVO?
14 A. I believe he spoke in the name, or on behalf
15 of, the HVO.
16 JUDGE RIAD: You said that the hostility
17 started after the elections of 1991, and you mentioned
18 even that you had to go to work on foot, no bus would
19 take you, and so on. How did you see this hostility
20 growing? What moved it? Was there a kind of
21 propaganda, brainwash? What changed the people?
22 A. Yes, I believe that it was exactly that,
23 propaganda, because through my job I was known to most
24 people in the municipality and the Muslim women were
25 wearing clothes that were different from the Croat
1 womens' clothes so they would be recognised, so they
2 would not let them board buses, and I was recognised
3 because I was well-known.
4 So, they would not stop for me. There was an
5 HVO soldier even, he was -- he showed up once when one
6 of the 13 times when I was threatened and once he
7 threatened and he said: "If you do not leave, you will
8 be killed", and I went to report that. And often times
9 when I was going to work, he would pass by in a car and
10 he would show like this with a finger, as if I was a
11 child, threatening me and I went to the Battalion
12 Officer and made a report and then Mila Militic from
13 Presevic came to me and said to me: "You must not write
14 any more reports".
15 When I showed up, he showed me a report
16 written in English. This soldier who showed me this
17 was Mato Tomic called Hercegovac showed me a copy of
18 this, so that I did not feel safe, even walking on
19 foot, so I always walked on the edge of the road
20 because I thought that I would be -- I may be ran over
21 by an oncoming vehicle, or I could jump into a ditch,
22 so I -- I always feared that they would take everything
23 away from us, that they would leave us with nothing.
24 They simply took everything away from us, all
25 our belongings and I apologise for what I am going to
1 say; I do not know if you civilised people can
2 understand it. I was in a situation in this Croat
3 house, I had to wear underwear, women's underwear that
4 I found in the house, it was somebody else's underwear,
5 we were like beggars, we had nothing.
6 JUDGE RIAD: Did all Muslims had to leave
7 Gromiljak, most of them left or some stayed and some
9 A. Some managed to escape. The majority ended
10 up in camps and I was fortunate enough that I was not
11 detained in a camp, even though I had heard that there
12 were plans for me to be taken to the Rotilj camp, but,
13 as I said previously, I was eventually exchanged in a
14 small exchange, so I was not in the camp myself, but
15 those who were in the camp tell horrifying stories
16 about what happened to them there.
17 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you so much.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Witness LL, you said
19 that Chief of the HVO Police offered you his house. To
20 your knowledge, did other Croats offer any houses or
21 any other form of assistance to other Muslims?
22 A. No. The Chief of Police offered me his house
23 in order to cover up what was happening in front of
24 Colonel Craig Carrington, because my impression was,
25 every time when I went to UNPROFOR to report on what
1 happened, my impression was they did not know what was
2 happening, because all UNPROFOR interpreters were
3 Croats so most probably they did not translate what was
4 necessary, what had to be translated, but what was to
5 their advantage.
6 But, because I could manage, I spoke some
7 English, I managed to talk to them. Velimir Milicevic
8 tried to hide what was happening, he then after --
9 I spoke directly to Mr. Carrington, he offered me his
10 house, but I did not want to go to his house, his
11 family was away in Split because his house was just
12 across the building where the people who beat me were
13 staying, so it was pointless for me to go to his
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So, you are not disposed
16 to credit him with acting out of kindness to you in
17 offering you his house?
18 A. Well, I think he was not honest. He simply
19 wanted to put me away. He wanted to finish with this
20 UN official as soon as possible. He would have
21 probably evicted me on the same afternoon or would have
22 sent someone to throw me out of his house because he
23 was in the position of authority to other policemen, he
24 was their chief.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me turn to your
1 reference to the Washington Agreement of February 1954
2 (sic), you said that it was followed by the destruction
3 of a number of mosques. In your mind, did you then see
4 a relationship between the Washington Agreement and the
5 destruction of the mosques?
6 A. Yes. I did see a relationship, because
7 someone was supposed to take care of the implementation
8 of the Washington Agreement and they knew that later on
9 they would not have the opportunity to destroy
10 property, so they did at the very beginning,
11 immediately after the signing of the Agreement, they
12 wanted to do it as soon as possible.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see.
14 Now, you also said that I think you saw a
15 number of houses on fire. Were they Muslim houses or
16 Croat houses or partly one and partly the other?
17 A. Only Muslim houses. Exclusively Muslim
18 houses, not a single Croat house was ever on fire. In
19 the village of Gomjanica, which was a Muslim village,
20 there were several Croat houses, maybe two or three and
21 they remained standing, not a single bullet was shot at
22 them. The targets were only Muslim houses.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Last question: you said
24 that lots of people were killed. These people who were
25 killed, were they Croats or Muslims?
1 A. They were all Muslim civilians, all of them.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: All right, we have reached the
4 end, Witness LL. You have responded to all of the
5 questions put to you, and the Tribunal thanks you.
6 We hope for you that you will be able, in the
7 weeks and the months to come, be able to find the
8 serenity that you deserve. Please do not move for the
9 time being, because you are a protected witness. It
10 will be the Registry which will tell you when you
11 should move and how you should proceed.
12 As far as the time is concerned, the judges
13 are going to take a 20-minute recess, approximately
14 20 minutes. So the Chamber now stands adjourned.
15 (4.20 pm)
16 (A short break)
17 (4.48 pm)
18 JUDGE JORDA: We are now resuming. Please
19 have the accused brought in.
20 (The accused entered court)
21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harman, you have the floor.
22 MR. HARMAN: Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
23 The next witness is a protected witness and
24 we are going to be requesting that we proceed with a
25 closed session.
1 JUDGE JORDA: No observations from the
3 Okay, how are we going to call this witness;
4 Witness MM, I suppose?
5 MR. HARMAN: That is correct, Mr. President.
6 (In closed session)
13 pages 8072-8112 redacted – closed session
22 (6.37 pm)
23 (The hearing adjourned until 2.30 pm on
24 Tuesday, 5th May 1998)