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  1. 1 Tuesday, 30th June 1998

    2 --- Upon commencing at 9.58 a.m.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the

    4 accused brought in, please?

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    13 Pages 9524 to 9552 redacted - in closed session













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    14 (Open session)

    15 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President. The

    16 next witness is a Bosnian Muslim who was a former

    17 member of the Bosnian army. He belonged to a unit of

    18 that army that was stationed near Mostar along the

    19 confrontation lines with the Serbs. He will testify

    20 that fighting between the HVO and the Muslims occurred

    21 in Mostar in May of 1993, and he will testify further

    22 that on the 13th of June, 1993, the HVO ordered that

    23 his unit be disbanded, and there was some resistance to

    24 this order by the HVO.

    25 The HVO then threatened to kill members of

  2. 1the families of those people who failed to surrender.

    2 As a result of that threat, he and other members of his

    3 family surrendered to the HVO. This witness remained a

    4 captive of the HVO from the 13th --

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Mr. Harmon. Could

    6 you repeat what you just said? The dismembering or the

    7 dismantling of the unit. Was that the HVO who asked

    8 that the unit be dismantled, of the Bosnian army? Is

    9 that what you said?

    10 MR. HARMON: Yes, that's correct. The HVO

    11 asked that the unit be disarmed. Now, this witness,

    12 Mr. President, remained captured --

    13 JUDGE JORDA: I understand.

    14 MR. HARMON: From the 13th of June, 1993

    15 until the 22nd or 23rd of March of 1994. During this

    16 period, he and thousands of civilians, and as well as

    17 some prisoners of war, and he technically was a

    18 prisoner of war, were incarcerated in the Heliodrom

    19 located near Mostar. His testimony will relate

    20 primarily to his nine months in captivity at the

    21 Heliodrom. He will describe the systematic forced

    22 labour of civilians and prisoners of war, including

    23 trench digging at front-line positions that resulted in

    24 numerous deaths and injuries of detainees. He will

    25 also describe the presence of Croatian military units

  3. 1that he observed in and around Mostar, including the

    2 First Guards Brigade from Zagreb, they were known as

    3 the Tigers and the Second Guards Brigade from Zagreb

    4 known as the Thunderbolts. He will testify that he was

    5 force to do a number of things, including forced labour

    6 in the presence of and at the request of these

    7 particular HV units, these Croatian units. He will

    8 testify further that he observed these Croatian army

    9 units engaged in combat with the army of Bosnia and

    10 Herzegovina.

    11 Lastly, Mr. President, he will describe how

    12 he and other prisoners, including civilians, were used

    13 as human shields.

    14 Now, in respect of the indictment, Mr.

    15 President, his testimony is relevant to show that

    16 certain acts in the indictment were widespread and

    17 systematic, and this is relevant to crimes against

    18 humanity, specifically paragraph 5.2 of the indictment

    19 and Count 1 of the indictment. His testimony is also

    20 relevant to the existence of an international armed

    21 conflict between two sovereign states, Croatia and

    22 Bosnia, and this, therefore, is relevant to paragraphs

    23 5.0, 5.1, and 5.3 of the indictment and to all alleged

    24 violations of the Geneva Conventions that are contained

    25 in counts 5, 8, 11, 15, 17 and 19. That concludes my

  4. 1summary, Mr. President.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. As I did with

    3 Mr. Cayley, I would like to congratulate him for his

    4 concision, he's not here but you can congratulate him

    5 for me. If I understand you correctly, the witness

    6 spent several months in captivity. I would ask you,

    7 Mr. Harmon, to concentrate your questions on the three

    8 points which seem to be the most important to us,

    9 subject to, of course, what the witness will say, that

    10 is, the captivity, the engagement of the Croatian army

    11 and the human shields. Try to focus on those points.

    12 Of course, if you feel there are other important

    13 points, don't hesitate to ask questions about them.

    14 But, according to your summary, these are the three

    15 points which seem to be what you expect the witness to

    16 speak about. All right, we can have Witness VV brought

    17 in now.

    18 (The witness entered court)

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Witness VV, do you hear me?

    20 We're going to call you Witness VV. You are under

    21 protection measures. First identify your name on the

    22 document that the usher is going to show you. Is this,

    23 in fact, your name? Is that your name? Don't say it,

    24 just tell us whether that is your name.

    25 THE WITNESS: Yes, that is my name.

  5. 1JUDGE JORDA: Remain standing for a few more

    2 moments, as long as it takes to take the solemn

    3 declaration. You are going to read the document which

    4 is the usher is giving to you here. Please read it out

    5 loud in your own language.

    6 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall

    7 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the

    8 truth.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated.

    10 Please get comfortable. Relax. We're going to call

    11 you Witness VV because you are a protected witness, at

    12 your request and with the agreement of all the

    13 parties. You have agreed to come to testify at the

    14 request of the Prosecutor. We have a general idea

    15 about what the Prosecutor expects from your testimony.

    16 You are going to answer a few of his questions, and to

    17 say very simply to us what you experienced. Mr. Harmon

    18 is going to ask you first some questions and then you

    19 will testify freely using your own words before the

    20 Judges. Please settle in, relax, feel comfortable.

    21 Mr. Harmon?

    22 Witness VV

    23 Examined by Mr. Harmon:

    24 Q. Good morning, Witness VV.

    25 A. Good morning.

  6. 1Q. Are you a Bosnian citizen and a Muslim by

    2 faith?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. In June of 1993, were you a member of the

    5 Bosnian army?

    6 A. Yes.

    7 Q. Can you tell the Judges the approximate month

    8 when the fighting started between the HVO and the

    9 Muslims in the town of Mostar?

    10 A. In May 1993.

    11 Q. Were you taken prisoner by the HVO in June of

    12 1993 and did you remain in captivity until

    13 approximately the 22nd or 23rd of March, 1994?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. Now, before we start your testimony, if I

    16 could have the assistance of the usher, I'd like to

    17 have Prosecutor's Exhibit 401 placed on the ELMO.

    18 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, counsel, Your

    19 Honours, 401 is -- I'll describe this. This is a map

    20 on which Witness VV has indicated and marked certain

    21 locations that will be relevant to his testimony. And

    22 this is really an aid to Your Honours when he refers to

    23 certain locations, Your Honours can refer and counsel

    24 can refer to those locations that have been mapped --

    25 marked on the map. Now, let me have this exhibit

  7. 1placed on the ELMO.

    2 Q. Witness VV, can you just take a look at that

    3 and tell the Judges whether these marks are marks that

    4 you indicated and then I subsequently marked on this

    5 map?

    6 A. Yes.

    7 Q. Thank you. Now, when you testified today,

    8 Witness VV, I'd like you to tell your story in your own

    9 words in a narrative form to the Judges. And let me

    10 begin, if I can, by asking you to tell the Judges about

    11 the unit of the Bosnian army in which you were a

    12 member, where they were stationed, and the

    13 circumstances of your becoming a prisoner of war.

    14 Could you tell the Judges in your own words the answers

    15 to those questions?

    16 A. My unit was located in Rotilja. It's a place

    17 on the border of Stolac and Mostar. We held positions

    18 against Serb units. We were together with the HVO

    19 units. To the left and to the right of our position

    20 were HVO positions, also facing the Serb units. After

    21 the fighting broke out in Mostar on the 13th of June,

    22 those HVO units were reinforced and they were under the

    23 orders to disarm our unit. After a brief fighting of a

    24 platoon, a part of the unit was able to retreat to

    25 Mostar and to connect linkup with the Mostar units.

  8. 1And the other part of the unit remained blocked there,

    2 surrounded. And after the threats of the HVO soldiers

    3 that they would kill our families located on certain

    4 buses, it turned out that it was not true that they

    5 were on those buses, that part of the unit

    6 surrendered. I was among them.

    7 The very same day, we were taken to the

    8 prison in Gabela, and then on the same day to the

    9 Heliodrom prison.

    10 Q. Now, just very briefly, what was your role in

    11 the Bosnian army? What was your position? What were

    12 your duties?

    13 A. That unit had just been founded, and formal

    14 appointments were not made. I was in charge of four or

    15 five men who were in charge of communications.

    16 Q. Now, could you please tell the Judges where

    17 you were held prisoner and the conditions of your

    18 captivity, and while describing those experiences, what

    19 happened to you and what happened to other people who

    20 were prisoners, can you also describe your contacts

    21 with members of the Croatian army and Croatian army

    22 units? Just start at the beginning, then, once you

    23 were taken prisoner and carry us all the way through

    24 the time of your release, if you would.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. Before

  9. 1the witness begins to tell the story of his captivity,

    2 rather than interrupt him in the middle of his

    3 description, we're going to take a 20-minute break. We

    4 will now adjourn the hearing.

    5 --- Recess taken at 11.13 a.m.

    6 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the

    8 accused brought in.

    9 (The accused entered court)

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon and Witness VV, you

    11 may now proceed with the account of your captivity.

    12 MR. HARMON:

    13 Q. Witness VV, before we left, the question I

    14 had asked you is if you could kindly tell the Judges of

    15 the conditions under which you were held a prisoner,

    16 where you were held prisoner, relate those experiences

    17 and the experiences of others, if you would. Would you

    18 kindly also describe to the Judges your contacts with

    19 soldiers from the Croatian army and, particularly,

    20 identify Croatian units?

    21 A. Immediately after the capture, we were taken

    22 to Gabela, that was a former depot of the Yugoslav

    23 People's Army, and we were kept there for several

    24 hours. After those several hours, we were transported

    25 to the Heliodrom. The "Heliodrom" is the term used for

  10. 1centre which was -- actually, it was a school for

    2 airmen, air personnel, in the former Yugoslav People's

    3 Army. There were lots of buildings. There was a gym

    4 there. One of the buildings became a prison, and we

    5 called that building the prison. And that's where we

    6 were located, in the basement in that building, and

    7 that's where we remained for 20 days.

    8 A little while later, the army of Bosnia and

    9 Herzegovina managed to break through towards the north

    10 and they managed to liberate the area of Bijelo Polje

    11 and Sjeverni Logor, northern camp. Immediately after

    12 that in our prison, in the gym and the buildings,

    13 civilians from Mostar were brought to those rooms.

    14 A few days later, we started to work. I

    15 spent about nine months in the Heliodrom. Various

    16 trucks of various HVO units came every day, and they

    17 took prisoners, as many as they needed for the works,

    18 took them to the location where they were supposed to

    19 do the labour, and that was at the HVO positions. In

    20 the evening, most often they would return them to the

    21 prison, although there were cases when we would stay

    22 several days or even several weeks at the positions of

    23 those units.

    24 Since we were young and strong during the

    25 nine months, we worked virtually every day. The jobs

  11. 1what we did were various. At the frontlines, we would

    2 carry sacks with sand or dug trenches or unload the

    3 ammunition. And we also loaded and unloaded timber,

    4 that was in the rear.

    5 The first contact with the soldiers of the

    6 Croatian army occurred approximately in August 1993 in

    7 the village of Bijelo Polje. The HVO took a group of

    8 prisoners, including myself, to Bijelo Polje and that's

    9 where we stayed for seven days. On one of those seven

    10 days, I was digging side trenches on the position next

    11 to the main route, the Sarajevo-Mostar main route.

    12 That location on that day was held by a platoon

    13 strength unit of the Croatian army. I don't know what

    14 unit of the Croatian army those soldiers belonged to,

    15 but they talked to us, since they were from Slavonia.

    16 They were soldiers of the Croatian army. And

    17 during the fighting with the Yugoslav People's Army in

    18 Slavonia, they were captured as members of the Croatian

    19 army. And then when they were exchanged and brought

    20 back to Croatia, they again joined the Croatian army,

    21 and it was interesting for them to compare their

    22 experience as prisoners of war with our experience.

    23 On that day, there was sporadic exchange of

    24 infantry weapons fire. And the next encounter was on

    25 the hill of Kicin near Blagaj. It was approximately in

  12. 1September or maybe early October 1993. Since there

    2 were no roads on that hill, we were forced to carry

    3 crates with infantry ammunition to the top of that

    4 hill. These positions were also held by the units of

    5 the Croatian army. I don't know what unit that was.

    6 We went there a couple of times. Actually, I climbed

    7 three times up that hill carrying a load of about 30

    8 kilos. The soldiers of that unit told us that on that

    9 day, an officer of the Croatian army who was doing

    10 artillery reconnaissance, that he was captured by the

    11 BH army.

    12 Approximately seven days after that, we were

    13 taken to a mortar position held by the Croatian army.

    14 That was the Second Guards Brigade, Thunder Bolts.

    15 That was a mortar position in placement 72 and 120

    16 millimetres -- 82 millimetres, I apologise. I went

    17 five or six times to that position during the next 10

    18 or 20 days. They would take us there every time from

    19 the Heliodrom prison and bring us back the same day

    20 after we carried out our tasks.

    21 During the last three months of my detention

    22 in the prison, I worked in the Heliodrom compound in

    23 the rooms occupied by the members of the Croatian army

    24 unit of Tigrovi, that's the Tigers, the First Guards

    25 Brigade from Zagreb. While I was there, I mostly

  13. 1worked in the kitchen or I was cleaning the pots and so

    2 on.

    3 In between those events, we worked with the

    4 Croatian Defence Council for them almost every day.

    5 All those tasks involved great risks working at the

    6 front-line, and prisoners were often wounded. During

    7 the first days of my detention in Heliodrom, we went to

    8 work -- it was only us members of the BH army who went

    9 to work in those early days. Our uniforms of the BH

    10 army, we had to take them off, and we were given old

    11 blue former JNA uniforms. And we were, thus, marked as

    12 members of the BH army so that it was easy to notice

    13 us, even when we were working in the town, when there

    14 was street fighting going on.

    15 However, when civilians were brought into the

    16 prison, since the number of imprisoned soldiers was

    17 small and they had great needs to have people to work,

    18 everybody went to work. When we were building bunkers

    19 in abandoned apartments in the town where the street

    20 fighting was going on, we found certain items of

    21 clothing, shirts and trousers. And over the next month

    22 or so, we managed to change from those uniforms

    23 gradually, and we blended into that mass of civilians.

    24 So from the second month onwards, there was no

    25 difference in our status of us prisoners of war,

  14. 1members of the BH army, and the civilians.

    2 In March 1993, I was exchanged.

    3 Q. You said just a moment ago in March of 1993,

    4 you were exchanged. Did you mean March of 1994?

    5 A. I apologise. Yes, it was March 1994.

    6 Q. Witness VV, before I turn to a different

    7 subject, let me just ask some questions to clarify some

    8 of your testimony. Do you see in front of you

    9 Prosecutor's Exhibit 401? You have mentioned the

    10 Heliodrom. Is the location of the Heliodrom indicated,

    11 marked in orange, on Prosecutor's Exhibit 401, and

    12 could you point to it, please?

    13 A. This is the area that is marked on the map at

    14 Jesenica. This is in the southern part of Mostar. On

    15 the right side of Neretva, the river Neretva, and there

    16 was the barracks Heliodrom. (Indicating).

    17 Q. Can you tell the Judges approximately how

    18 many prisoners you estimate were present at the

    19 Heliodrom during your nine-month stay?

    20 A. We prisoners, we thought that there were

    21 between 3.000 and 4.000.

    22 Q. To the best of your knowledge, how many of

    23 those prisoners were prisoners of war and how many of

    24 them were civilians?

    25 A. Mostly a hundred prisoners of war.

  15. 1Q. Were the remainder of the prisoners, in your

    2 opinion, civilians?

    3 A. At least a hundred people were captured in

    4 the uniforms of the BH army. The others were

    5 civilians, among them also people who were able to

    6 fight.

    7 Q. Can you tell me, were the people who were

    8 prisoners detained with you and others Muslims?

    9 A. Yes. There were mostly Muslims. There were

    10 also two Serbs that I know of.

    11 Q. Were there women detained as well?

    12 A. On the last floor, there were a few women.

    13 Q. Can you tell the Judges the range in ages of

    14 the men who were detained at the Heliodrom?

    15 A. There were men aged 16 to 17 to over 60.

    16 Q. Now, you described being taken to dig

    17 trenches. Were you and the others taken to, not only

    18 front-line positions, but positions within the city of

    19 Mostar where fighting was occurring?

    20 A. Yes. When I say "lines, frontlines," I mean

    21 Mostar and the surrounding because this line was very

    22 broad. There were street fights in Mostar, and it was

    23 most dangerous to work there.

    24 Q. Now I'd like to turn your attention to the

    25 area that is marked on the map in pen, Bijelo Polje.

  16. 1You described first coming into contact at that

    2 location with members of the Croatian army. Can you

    3 tell the Judges, were they wearing uniforms that

    4 indicated they were members of the Croatian army? Were

    5 they wearing insignia that indicated that they were

    6 members of the Croatian army?

    7 A. I can't remember regarding this unit, the

    8 insignia exactly, but I can remember the conversation

    9 we had with them where they confirmed that they are

    10 members of HV, especially their experience with regard

    11 to their capture in Slavonia and exchange.

    12 Q. Now, at this particular location, how far

    13 away were you and the other prisoners from the

    14 frontlines with the Bosnian army?

    15 A. Between 100 and 200 metres.

    16 Q. While you were at that particular location,

    17 did the members of the Croatian army engage in fighting

    18 with members of the Bosnian army?

    19 A. Yes, there was some exchange of infantry

    20 shooting.

    21 Q. Now I'd like to turn your attention to the

    22 second location where you observed Croatian soldiers,

    23 that is, the area marked on the map as "Blagaj." I'd

    24 like to ask you some specific questions about that

    25 particular unit. Did that unit of Croatian soldiers

  17. 1appear to be an organised unit?

    2 A. Yes, with their command and with their

    3 complete unit.

    4 Q. Were they wearing some kind of an insignia

    5 that indicated that they were from Croatia?

    6 A. With regard to these soldiers, I don't

    7 remember that they had any insignia. I remember that

    8 an officer visited them and he had an insignia of the

    9 Croatian army.

    10 Q. Do you remember what that insignia was or did

    11 you later see that officer in another location and then

    12 did you know what unit he was a member of?

    13 A. Yes. Later on when I worked in the kitchen

    14 with the unit, the Tigers, I saw that this officer is

    15 their superior and that he is a colonel.

    16 Q. So this particular officer you remember

    17 visiting the unit, the Croatian unit, that was

    18 stationed at Blagaj?

    19 A. That they were located at the positions

    20 towards Blagaj. Blagaj is a place that was under the

    21 control of the BH army and this is the hill Kicin near

    22 Blagaj.

    23 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Harmon, just a second, the

    24 unit, the Tigers, is a Croatian unit.

    25 MR. HARMON: Yes, I see an error that I've

  18. 1made, Judge Riad. Let's just clarify that.

    2 Q. The Tigers, that was a unit of the Croatian

    3 army; is that correct?

    4 A. Tigers, yes, it's the First Guards Brigade of

    5 the Croatian army.

    6 Q. Now, I'd like to turn your attention to

    7 Hodbina, and that is an area that is also marked on

    8 Prosecutor's Exhibit 401, and that is the third

    9 location where you saw soldiers from the Croatian

    10 army. Just to clarify one point, you said these were

    11 the Second Guards unit known as the Thunder Bolts. Do

    12 you know from which city the Thunder Bolts came?

    13 A. The Thunder Bolts are, as far as I know, the

    14 Second Guards Brigade from Zagreb.

    15 Q. While you were in the presence of the Thunder

    16 Bolts, what kind of work did you do? What kind of work

    17 were you forced to do?

    18 A. We were cleaning the mortars. We were

    19 bringing the munitions.

    20 Q. Did you personally observe the members of the

    21 Croatian army, the Thunder Bolts, fire on Bosnian army

    22 positions with those mortars?

    23 A. Two times I was there when they were shooting

    24 from the -- when there was mortar shooting from these

    25 positions towards the Bosnian army.

  19. 1Q. Did you see the impacts of those mortar

    2 rounds on Bosnian frontlines?

    3 A. We could see that -- I could see that one

    4 house was hit.

    5 Q. Now, you testified that you had returned to

    6 the Heliodrom, and then in the morning you would be

    7 picked up and brought back to various positions,

    8 including this position; is that correct?

    9 A. Yes, that is so.

    10 Q. Can you describe the vehicle which

    11 transported you from the Heliodrom to this particular

    12 Croatian army position near Blagaj?

    13 A. These were vehicles that belonged to the JNA,

    14 former JNA, normal trucks. They had shields of the

    15 Croatian army -- number plates of the Croatian army.

    16 Q. Now, did the soldiers who you saw, who were

    17 members of the Thunder Bolts, also have Croatian army

    18 insignia on them?

    19 A. Yes, they had the insignia of the Thunder

    20 Bolts.

    21 Q. I'd like to turn your attention to the fourth

    22 time you were in the presence of Croatian army

    23 soldiers, and you testified that that was when you

    24 worked in the kitchen at the Heliodrom. And you worked

    25 in the presence of the first guards brigade known as

  20. 1the Tigers who was also from Zagreb. Let me ask you

    2 some questions. Did this unit appear to be an

    3 organised unit, functioning as an organised unit?

    4 A. Completely organised unit.

    5 Q. You were in their presence for three months,

    6 approximately; is that correct?

    7 A. Approximately three months. Every morning I

    8 went to work there, and every evening I went back to

    9 the prison to sleep.

    10 Q. To your knowledge, Witness VV, did members of

    11 the Tigers engage in combat against Bosnian army units?

    12 A. I never saw that. I heard that the Major of

    13 their army, of the Tigers, explain what an important

    14 role the Tigers had as an intervening unit at stopping

    15 the BH army in taking the hill Hum which was close to

    16 Mostar.

    17 Q. So you had the opportunity to hear the

    18 Croatian soldiers talking about combat activities that

    19 they had engaged in; is that correct?

    20 A. Yes, I heard about those activities regarding

    21 the hill Hum.

    22 Q. Now, let me ask you, you've described being

    23 taken, you being taken, to various front-line positions

    24 and engaged in forced labour, and civilians also having

    25 to engage in that same kind of labour. Were you aware

  21. 1of any prisoners of war and civilians who were killed

    2 or wounded as a result of being placed in those

    3 dangerous situations?

    4 A. I was there when some civilians were wounded

    5 and killed, yes.

    6 Q. Now, where is "there"? Can you just describe

    7 in your own words what you saw, who took you there,

    8 what occurred?

    9 A. One of the worst cases that I saw was in the

    10 street Santic in Mostar. That is a street where the

    11 street fighting was heaviest or worst. It happened

    12 very often that the positions of the HVO and Bosnia and

    13 Herzegovina were in the same building. One day, the

    14 HVO units took us to work there, me and another four

    15 prisoners, and they forced us to push a wreck of a car

    16 to a cellar window for building where there were the

    17 positions of the BH army. The distance from us and

    18 this window was about 15 metres, and the wreck of the

    19 car had no motor, so that --

    20 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, could the witness

    21 repeat the sentence? We had --

    22 A. It was very clear to us that we could do

    23 nothing about it, that this was a very difficult task.

    24 At that moment, the HVO soldiers were shooting above

    25 our heads, and they were threatening that they would

  22. 1kill us if we don't do it. We tried to turn the car

    2 for the first time, and the BH army started shooting at

    3 us from their bunker. One prisoner was dead

    4 immediately, and two were heavily wounded. One of

    5 those seriously wounded was a civilian. I know that

    6 for sure because he was sleeping in my room. And the

    7 second one who was wounded and killed, I didn't know

    8 him.

    9 MR. HARMON:

    10 Q. Now, you said that he was in your room. How

    11 many people, how many other prisoners, were in your

    12 room? And out of that number, how many were killed or

    13 injured as a result of being shot for their activities

    14 at the frontlines?

    15 A. In the room where I was, there were 80 to 100

    16 people. Now I can remember four or five of them that

    17 were wounded or killed.

    18 Q. Can you tell the Judges as well about a time

    19 that there was a human shield event that took place

    20 near the village of Rastani?

    21 A. In autumn '93, BH army took over the place

    22 Rastani. It is actually the northern suburb of

    23 Mostar. Immediately, the day after, the HVO units

    24 tried to take that again. In these fights, they had

    25 wounded and dead people. The side from which they were

  23. 1trying to conquer, Rastani, was a very difficult one.

    2 They couldn't carry out all of their wounded and dead.

    3 So they prepared a group of prisoners, I was among them

    4 as well, and they had to go towards the place where the

    5 fighting was. And our movement was controlled from the

    6 positions above us.

    7 When we came close to the line, we saw or met

    8 two groups of HVO soldiers who divided our group into

    9 two groups. They lined us up, four next to each other,

    10 and then they forced us as a human shield to move

    11 towards the area where they could look for a secure

    12 shelter or position for themselves. During that

    13 movement, they were completely hiding behind our

    14 bodies.

    15 From my group, no one was wounded or killed

    16 on that occasion. From the second group, some

    17 prisoners were declared later on missing. For some of

    18 them, we don't know even today what their fate was.

    19 And some managed to run over to the BH army.

    20 MR. HARMON:

    21 Q. Lastly, Witness VV, you spent nine months in

    22 captivity. How much weight did you lose as a result of

    23 remaining in captivity?

    24 A. When I was captured, I weighed about 90

    25 kilograms, and when I left, I had 72.

  24. 1MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I have no

    2 additional questions of Witness VV. I would move to

    3 admit Prosecutor's Exhibit 401 into evidence.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. No comments from

    5 the Defence? Witness VV, you are now going to be asked

    6 some questions by General Blaskic's Defence counsel.

    7 General Blaskic is the accused in this courtroom here

    8 today. Mr. Nobilo, you can begin now.

    9 Cross-examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    10 Q. Good morning, Witness VV. You said that you

    11 were a member of the BH army. Can you please tell me,

    12 is it true that your unit was seconded or attached to

    13 the HVO in that particular sector or area?

    14 A. I can't say exactly that that was the case.

    15 At that part of the front, it is true that at that part

    16 of the front, the position of our unit was established

    17 after the HVO didn't allow us to be in Stolac. So

    18 after we had several discussions and negotiations, we

    19 find such a compromising solution.

    20 Q. The municipality of Stolac was held by

    21 Serbs --

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Witness VV, when you hear the

    23 questions, please look at Mr. Nobilo who is on your

    24 left. But when you answer them, please look at the

    25 Judges. Thank you very much.

  25. 1THE WITNESS: I apologise.

    2 MR. NOBILO:

    3 Q. So my next question is whether the

    4 municipality of Serbs (sic) was held by Serbs?

    5 A. At the beginning of the war, yes.

    6 MR. NOBILO: It seems that there is an

    7 interpretation error. I will repeat the question.

    8 Q. So the municipality of Stolac, was it held by

    9 Serbs? Was it controlled by the Serbs?

    10 A. At the beginning of the war, yes.

    11 Q. You said that in May, the conflict between

    12 the HVO and the BH army broke out in Mostar. And there

    13 where you were at the frontlines, the ultimatum for the

    14 surrender of weapons and the conflict itself, it all

    15 happened a month later; is that correct? So is it true

    16 that between May and June, your area was peaceful?

    17 A. There was no fighting between the BH army and

    18 HVO.

    19 Q. You said that there were threats against

    20 soldiers' families. I fail to understand whether this

    21 threat was real. What happened later? What did you

    22 learn?

    23 A. Later on, we realised that they were not real

    24 threats but they had, as a consequence, the surrender

    25 of my unit.

  26. 1Q. You said that in the BH army unit, you were

    2 in charge of a unit that was working on

    3 communications. Can you tell me at what level? Was it

    4 battalion, brigade, corps?

    5 A. Our unit was a brigade, but as far as the

    6 numbers are concerned, we couldn't call it a brigade.

    7 Q. You said, furthermore, that civilians,

    8 including women, were transferred to the Heliodrom.

    9 Did they stay there for a longer time or were they

    10 returned to Mostar?

    11 A. No, they were there for a longer time.

    12 Q. The civilians who were captured, can you

    13 please tell us, could we define them as civilians that

    14 were of a military age?

    15 A. No, not all of them.

    16 Q. So what would be the ages that you would

    17 consider as not being eligible to do military service?

    18 A. There were people who were not of full age,

    19 and there were also older people who, according to

    20 their physical condition, with regard to their age and

    21 their physical condition, could not be able to fight.

    22 Q. Are you familiar with the offer made by the

    23 HVO to people who were detained in Heliodrom, that they

    24 can leave the place under the condition that they leave

    25 Bosnia and Herzegovina?

  27. 1A. Yes, I know of that.

    2 Q. Was that offer accepted by anyone from the

    3 Heliodrom?

    4 A. Some prisoners accepted it.

    5 Q. In order to keep things clear, your brigade

    6 belonged to the fourth corps?

    7 A. Yes.

    8 Q. You said that you encountered soldiers who

    9 talked amongst themselves that they were members of the

    10 Tigers, but that you did not see the insignia. Can you

    11 please tell me, did they speak about having come there

    12 under somebody's orders or did they volunteer? Do you

    13 know anything about the way in which they arrived in

    14 Bosnia?

    15 A. I don't know which meeting you mean. The

    16 last month when I worked with the Tigers, I could see

    17 their insignia very clearly.

    18 Q. I meant the first encounter. But,

    19 nevertheless, in the conversations that you had with

    20 the Tigers or the Thunder Bolts, did you learn, did

    21 they tell you, whether they were volunteers?

    22 A. No, I couldn't conclude by anything that they

    23 are volunteers.

    24 Q. Did you ask them?

    25 A. No, the prisoner is not in the position to

  28. 1ask such questions.

    2 Q. You indicated several positions where you dug

    3 trenches, and you saw some members of the Croatian army

    4 on some of those positions. Can you please tell me, at

    5 what distance were Serb positions from those

    6 positions?

    7 A. The position in Hodbina, they were away for

    8 about three or four kilometres from these positions.

    9 Q. And Blagaj?

    10 A. Hodbina is close to Blagaj. The Croatian

    11 army could not hold the positions in Blagaj because

    12 Blagaj was kept by the BH army.

    13 Q. What was the nearest Serb position to

    14 Blagaj?

    15 A. A few kilometres away.

    16 Q. Before you were captured, while you were

    17 still together with the HVO holding the front-line

    18 against the Serbs, did you see Croatian soldiers or

    19 officers there?

    20 A. No, I didn't.

    21 Q. How much do you weigh now?

    22 A. Ninety-three kilograms.

    23 MR. NOBILO: I have no further questions,

    24 Mr. President.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Mr. Harmon, have

  29. 1you any additional questions?

    2 MR. HARMON: I have none, Mr. President.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, thank you. Judge

    4 Riad?

    5 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Witness VV.

    6 A. Good afternoon.

    7 JUDGE RIAD: I want to ask you a few

    8 questions just to make things clearer in my mind. You

    9 spoke about the Thunder Bolts. This is a Croatian

    10 brigade or a Bosnian Croatian brigade?

    11 A. That is a brigade of the Croatian army.

    12 JUDGE RIAD: Completely. And you said that

    13 they were shooting on the Bosnian army positions.

    14 Where were they shooting from? Was it from Croatia or

    15 were they inside Bosnia?

    16 A. They were on the territory of Bosnia and

    17 Herzegovina.

    18 JUDGE RIAD: And you spoke also of the Tigers

    19 whom you saw when you were working in the kitchen.

    20 Where was that? Was it in Mostar? Where was that?

    21 A. That was in the Heliodrom in the barracks

    22 which are the southern suburbs of Mostar.

    23 JUDGE RIAD: It was HVO barracks?

    24 A. Yes, these were HVO barracks.

    25 JUDGE RIAD: But the Tigers were Croatian?

  30. 1A. Yes, yes, it is a unit of the Croatian army.

    2 JUDGE RIAD: So there were units from the HVO

    3 and the Croatian army together?

    4 A. Yes, within the area of these barracks.

    5 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned also that you

    6 heard that the Tigers prevented the HV army from taking

    7 the hill Hum. Where is that?

    8 A. The hill Hum is a hill that dominates

    9 Mostar. Actually, the lobes of that hill are actually

    10 the centre of Mostar almost.

    11 JUDGE RIAD: When you say "the Tigers," it

    12 means the Croatian unit?

    13 A. Yes, I mean the Croatian army units.

    14 JUDGE RIAD: The Croatian army unit. You

    15 also mentioned that the soldiers had to hide behind the

    16 bodies of the prisoners to reach a secure area and to

    17 use you as human shields. What soldiers were they?

    18 Were they Croatian or were they HVO?

    19 A. These were HVO soldiers.

    20 JUDGE RIAD: They were HVO.

    21 A. Yes, HVO.

    22 JUDGE RIAD: Finally, you lost something like

    23 20 kilograms. You said you lost from 90 to 72

    24 kilograms in captivity. Were the conditions so bad?

    25 Did you have food? Why did you lose such weight?

  31. 1A. No, we didn't really starve. I think I lost

    2 so much weight because I was working so much every day,

    3 physically working.

    4 JUDGE RIAD: Was there any beating, any

    5 mistreatment?

    6 A. Several times, I got a few blows, but other

    7 prisoners were not that lucky.

    8 JUDGE RIAD: They had more than that. What

    9 did they have?

    10 A. My colleague had to hold his hands on his

    11 head and close his eyes, sitting on the earth, while a

    12 group of soldiers was torturing him, beating him. He

    13 was completely blue afterwards.

    14 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Witness VV. I

    16 myself have no questions. The Tribunal thanks you for

    17 your testimony. You may now go back to your home, if

    18 you still have a home. We can ask the usher to

    19 accompany Witness VV out of the courtroom, thank you,

    20 and then we will hear the programme for the rest of the

    21 day.

    22 (The witness withdrew)

    23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President?

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.

    25 MR. KEHOE: We have two additional witnesses

  32. 1for today, but I did think that we would go to lunch

    2 with the two that we had. And I think we can start

    3 earlier after lunch, because I'll get the witnesses

    4 here, but I have two more witnesses. We will get

    5 through them --

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, you never have faith

    7 in your own synthesising efforts, you see. You are a

    8 synthetic type person and you move more quickly than

    9 you believe you can. You just don't believe in your

    10 own skills which means we don't have any witnesses

    11 right now.

    12 Very well. Then we are going to adjourn,

    13 that will be fine for the interpreters, who often do a

    14 bit more than they really have to, so that will be a

    15 good thing. We will resume at 2.30. And we will

    16 conclude our work on Friday in the late morning.

    17 You were able to carry out your examination

    18 the way you wanted to, but getting to the essential,

    19 and I ask that you continue in that same way. I ask

    20 the same thing of the Defence which tried to

    21 concentrate its questions in relation to the

    22 examination-in-chief.

    23 Having made this congratulations and having

    24 thanked the interpreters, I repeat that we will resume

    25 at 2.30. The hearing is now adjourned.

  33. 1--- Luncheon recess taken at 12.23 p.m.

    2 --- On resuming at 2.42 p.m.

    3 (Open session)

    4 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the

    5 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please, General

    6 Blaskic?

    7 (The accused entered court)

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, you will be the one

    9 who is conducting the questioning now; is that

    10 correct?

    11 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.

    12 Mr. President, good afternoon. Good afternoon, Your

    13 Honours. The next witness that we have is a

    14 non-protected witness. He will have no protections at

    15 all. He will be talking about an area in and around

    16 Mostar, and if I could highlight the ELMO just briefly,

    17 this is Exhibit 306 that the court has. And as the

    18 court notes, there is a Mostar highlighted in green.

    19 That's fine, Mr. Usher, if we can. And going just left

    20 -- down and left of Mostar is a town called Rodoc.

    21 Rodoc is the area that Your Honours heard described

    22 this morning as the Heliodrom. The Heliodrom is

    23 located in Rodoc. That's very good.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: How are you pronouncing it? I

    25 see Rodoc. How do you say it.

  34. 1MR. KEHOE: Rodoc.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

    3 MR. KEHOE: If we continue to move left and

    4 down of Rodoc, there's a town called Citluk. That is

    5 another location that we will be talking about. The

    6 witness that you are about to here, Mr. President, Your

    7 Honours, his name is Dragan Becirovic. At the time of

    8 the events that he will describe to you, he was about

    9 14 years old, he and his twin brother. And they will

    10 discuss some events that took place just prior to the

    11 outbreak of hostilities between the HVO and the army of

    12 Bosnia-Herzegovina which commenced on the 9th of May of

    13 1993. He will talk to you about the presence of forces

    14 from the Republic of Croatia known in the terminology

    15 and the parlance before this court as HV troops. He

    16 will talk to you about having seen HV soldiers in

    17 cafes, the HV soldiers in the Heliodrom, HV plates on

    18 automobiles and trucks moving throughout the Mostar

    19 area. And then he will discuss with the court the

    20 events after the outbreak of hostilities on the 9th of

    21 May, 1993, the arrest of Bosnian Muslims, several

    22 thousand, estimates to 8.000 to 9.000 arrested, their

    23 incarceration in various camps, including the Heliodrom

    24 in and around the Mostar area.

    25 He will then talk about the blockade that

  35. 1existed in and around Mostar between the 9th of May,

    2 1993 and the 30th of June, 1993. And then he will talk

    3 about what happened after the 30th of June, 1993 when

    4 the cleansing of Bosnian Muslims from West Mostar

    5 commenced in earnest and how the HVO -- initially, the

    6 HVO military police went house to house rounding up men

    7 and taking them from their various homes and flats in

    8 the Mostar area. During one of these encounters on the

    9 30th of May, at approximately 5.00 p.m., his father was

    10 taken out.

    11 Thereafter that evening, about 10.00 in the

    12 evening of the 30th of June, and I think it's

    13 interesting to note just ironically, if nothing else,

    14 that it's five years to the day of this event, the HV

    15 military police, not the HVO, the military police of

    16 the Republic of Croatia came back to his flat and took

    17 his oldest brother, his mother, Dragan, and his twin,

    18 Goran, out, placed them in a vehicle, and took them to

    19 a garbage dump in the area of Citluk and, at that

    20 point, commenced to execute them at point-blank range,

    21 maybe not point-blank range, but at several metres

    22 distance.

    23 His mother was executed by these HV troops.

    24 His brother was executed by these HV troops, and his

    25 brother Goran was severely wounded and Dragan, while

  36. 1wounded as well, was able to pull himself out of a

    2 garbage dump heap and tried to get some help, which he

    3 did. He will explain to you exactly what had -- how he

    4 got that help and how his brother's life was saved by

    5 being brought to a hospital in Mostar.

    6 He will then talk about the continued -- or

    7 visits by HV troops to him once they had learned that

    8 the two twins, Goran and Dragan, were still -- or

    9 hadn't been killed on the night of the 30th. And

    10 interestingly, there is a visit from a SIS colonel or a

    11 Secret Service colonel in the service of the Republic

    12 of Croatia who comes to the hospital to ask questions

    13 of these particular boys.

    14 In addition to those particular matters, he

    15 will talk about the prisoners that were brought in to

    16 this hospital over the course of time he was there. As

    17 the witness this morning noted, the witness noted a

    18 street in Mostar called Santic street, which was a

    19 dangerous street on the front-line, where various

    20 Bosnian Muslims were taken to work and shot. These two

    21 boys were back in the hospital recovering from those

    22 wounds when these Bosnian Muslims who had been taken to

    23 the camps and then taken out to dig in Santic Street

    24 were brought in with their wounds.

    25 He will talk about some discussions with some

  37. 1of these individuals that had been brought from as far

    2 away as Maglaj and had been taken out to dig trenches

    3 not only in Mostar but also for various HV positions.

    4 He will talk about the existence of the

    5 Tigers, an HV unit that was discussed this morning, and

    6 the participation of the Tigers in a retaking of a

    7 feature called Hum, as Your Honours heard this morning,

    8 which had been attacked by the army of

    9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Tigers, this HV unit, assisted

    10 in the retaking of that feature.

    11 Lastly, he will talk about the actual leaving

    12 of Mostar, their escape from Mostar through Zagreb with

    13 the assistance of UNHCR, and then their ultimate

    14 departure through a third country.

    15 The evidence to be addressed by this witness

    16 will focus on various counts in the indictment. As my

    17 colleague, Mr. Harmon, mentioned this morning with the

    18 other witness, the charges in Count 1 encompass a

    19 persecution charge which envisages of proving of

    20 widespread and systematic persecution of the Bosnian

    21 Muslim population. His testimony will go to the

    22 persecution charge as far as this widespread and

    23 systematic persecution of the Bosnian Muslim population

    24 as set forth in Count 1. Likewise, as my colleague,

    25 Mr. Harmon, mentioned this morning, the article 2

  38. 1charges set forth in the indictment require approving

    2 of an international armed conflict. The evidence

    3 presented by this witness concerning the participation

    4 of HV troops, troops belonging to the Republic of

    5 Croatia, is further evidence of the internationality of

    6 this conflict or the fact that it was an international

    7 armed conflict.

    8 So, Mr. President and Your Honours, that is

    9 the basic outline of the witness's testimony and the

    10 particular counts in the indictment that his evidence

    11 will address.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe. I've

    13 checked on the problem about the oath. He is a Major

    14 now, is he?

    15 MR. KEHOE: Yes, I believe he was 14 at the

    16 time, so that was five years ago, Mr. President. I

    17 believe that he is over the age of majority, assuming

    18 the age of majority is 18.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: I see. This is the question

    20 that I'm asking to know, what is the age that one has

    21 -- the legal age? What are the general provisions.

    22 THE REGISTRAR: As regards to the age of the

    23 witnesses, I do not think that it is specified.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: No, it's in Rule 90. In Rule

    25 90, it says that a child can testify, but it doesn't

  39. 1actually say anything in particular about this. In the

    2 former Yugoslavia, Mr. Nobilo, what is the age when one

    3 becomes -- what is the legal age?

    4 MR. NOBILO: 18 years of age, Mr. President.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: How old is he now?

    6 MR. KEHOE: I believe, Mr. President, he is

    7 19, maybe 20 years of age, something in that range.

    8 He's over 18 years of age.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Fine. All right.

    10 He will take an oath under normal conditions. I just

    11 wanted to check on this point. We can now have the

    12 witness brought in. This is an open session. This is

    13 Dragan Becirovic.

    14 MR. KEHOE: That's right, Mr. President.

    15 (The witness entered court)

    16 JUDGE JORDA: You have your headset on. You

    17 are Mr. Dragan Becirovic; that's correct, isn't it?

    18 THE WITNESS: That's correct.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: How old are you, please, and

    20 what is your profession? How old are you?

    21 THE WITNESS: I'm 20 years and I'm a

    22 student.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Before you sit down, you are

    24 going to read the solemn declaration which is the oath

    25 that you have to take before this Tribunal.

  40. 1THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall

    2 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the

    3 truth.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. You have

    5 come here at the request of the Office of the

    6 Prosecutor to testify for the Prosecution as part of

    7 the trial before the International Criminal Tribunal

    8 for the former Yugoslavia, the trial of General

    9 Blaskic, the accused who is sitting here in this

    10 courtroom. Speak without fear, without hatred about

    11 the difficult events that you experienced. If you need

    12 to take a break, please don't hesitate to ask for some

    13 time. You'll make your -- give your testimony freely.

    14 The Prosecutor has explained generally to us what

    15 you're going to speak about, but be free to say what

    16 you want, to say in your own words and according to

    17 your own sensitivities about these events. The

    18 Prosecutor will ask you several questions, and after

    19 that, you will testify -- after that, you know or you

    20 must have been told, the Defence attorneys will also

    21 most likely ask you some questions within the scope of

    22 the cross-examination, and the Judges will also have

    23 some questions to ask you. Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.

    24 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.

    25 Dragan Becirovic

  41. 1Examined by Mr. Kehoe:

    2 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Becirovic.

    3 A. Good afternoon.

    4 Q. Mr. Becirovic, you just told the court that

    5 you are 20 years of age; is that right?

    6 A. Yes, that's correct.

    7 Q. And you are a Bosnian Muslim; is that

    8 correct?

    9 A. That's correct.

    10 Q. Prior to the outbreak of the war in May of

    11 1993, you lived in Mostar with your father and your

    12 mother, your older brother and your twin Goran; is that

    13 correct?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. Dragan, can you tell the court in your own

    16 words what happened to you and your family in Mostar

    17 shortly before the outbreak of hostilities where you

    18 observed HV troops in the area. What happened when the

    19 hostilities broke out on the 9th of May through the

    20 30th of June, and then what happened on the 30th of

    21 June and thereafter until you left the city of Mostar

    22 in September of 1993? Could you do that in your own

    23 words? Just look at the Judges and tell them that

    24 story.

    25 A. All right. On the 9th of May, an attack by

  42. 1the Croatian units occurred against the units of the

    2 Bosnian army. That was in the morning. I was, at the

    3 time, with my family in our apartment. The attack

    4 began around 5.00 a.m., and around 9.00, the Muslim

    5 population, that is, the Bosniaks started to be picked

    6 up from their apartments and they were all taken to the

    7 stadium. And from there, they were taken to the

    8 Heliodrom camp. Our apartment, our building was

    9 protected by a person whose name I don't know, so that

    10 nobody was taken out from our building, but from other

    11 buildings, and that was all over Mostar, over 8.000

    12 people were taken out. Later on, when Croats, the

    13 Croatian units, realised that even the sick people were

    14 taken away, during the next two or three days, they

    15 started to release those people of whom they had no

    16 evidence that they belonged to the BH army or that they

    17 had resisted the Croatian forces in any way.

    18 Q. Let me interrupt you for a moment.

    19 JUDGE RIAD: I just want to interrupt. Could

    20 the witness clarify whether he means Croatian units or

    21 HVO, if he knows the distinction.

    22 MR. KEHOE: I was going to ask him the same

    23 question, Judge.

    24 Q. Did you understand what Judge Riad asked you,

    25 if you can make a distinction between HVO troops and HV

  43. 1troops to the extent that you know the distinction.

    2 And when you're giving your narrative, if you could

    3 make that distinction, I think it would be helpful.

    4 A. Well, the attack was carried out by the HVO.

    5 That was from the western side of the river against the

    6 BH army forces located in the city centre. This is

    7 where the command of the BH army was located. After

    8 this command fell, the attack spread to the whole of

    9 the city of Mostar, and then lines were set up and

    10 sniper shooting began, so that many people who did not

    11 know those frontlines were set up, when they crossed

    12 from the left side to the right side, they were fired

    13 on by snipers and many people were killed in this

    14 manner.

    15 These were mostly Croats who were unaware of

    16 that fact. So that was an absurd situation. Later on

    17 -- so this attack was carried out by HVO troops.

    18 Since they saw within the next two or three days that

    19 they could not take Mostar without suffering large

    20 casualties and that they needed more forces, then they

    21 adopted new tactics. The eastern part of Mostar, which

    22 was controlled by the BH army, was blocked, and that

    23 was a form of pressure. They wanted to pressurise them

    24 into surrendering themselves without any casualties.

    25 Later on, they picked up Muslim population

  44. 1from the western part of the town which was controlled

    2 by them. They gathered them all in camps, and then

    3 they separated them in categories according to their

    4 own criteria which they set up themselves, whether

    5 somebody would be sent to prison, that is, members of

    6 the BH army went to the military prison, and the rest

    7 of the civilian population was placed in hangars

    8 located in the Heliodrom compound.

    9 As I said, during the next few days, some

    10 people were released. People who were sick, who

    11 required medical treatment, they were released to go

    12 back to their homes, into the city. And later on,

    13 under pressure of the international community and other

    14 factors, they slowly started to release the rest of the

    15 population. I can't tell you what the number was, but

    16 I can give you an approximation, about 7.000 people

    17 were released out of the 8.000. In those days, my

    18 family was in a state of complete confusion. All of a

    19 sudden, we had to hide the fact that we were Muslim

    20 because we would be in trouble otherwise. You can

    21 compare that to the Jews under the Third Reich. So we

    22 continued to go to school, my twin and myself. We had

    23 to speak Croatian language because there are

    24 differences between Croatian language and the language

    25 that I speak, my language, so as not to be discovered.

  45. 1And this situation went on until the 30th of

    2 June. This is when members of the military police

    3 arrived --

    4 Q. Dragan, let me stop you before you start

    5 talking about the 30th of June. You said that you had

    6 to hide the fact that you were a Muslim. Tell the

    7 Judges why.

    8 A. Yes, that's correct. We had to hide that

    9 fact, because if you were to show the fact that you

    10 were a Muslim, anyone could kill you right there on the

    11 spot, and he would not be responsible to anyone. He

    12 would not be prosecuted before any court. At that

    13 time, they had the free hand. They could do whatever

    14 they wanted to. The police did not function. The

    15 police functioned superficially, but it wasn't

    16 functioning in any real way. For instance, they came

    17 to our apartment on one occasion to take away our car,

    18 and they said that they needed it. And when the police

    19 came, and when they met those people who were about to

    20 take our property away, the car, I mean, they did

    21 nothing. This is just proof that the police did not

    22 function.

    23 And then later on, this situation with the

    24 Muslims became untenable. It was impossible to live

    25 like that anymore. You can't just keep hiding all the

  46. 1time. You can really compare that to the situation

    2 with the Jews. I can't really describe it. However,

    3 there was no mistreatment, but one had to hide.

    4 Later on in the middle of that period, from

    5 the 9th of May until the 30th of June, two military

    6 police officers came to a person, since they found out

    7 that that person was a member of the BH army military

    8 police, and they learned from him that my older

    9 brother, who was a member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina

    10 MUP, ministry of the interior, and he worked at the old

    11 bridge. He worked there as an interpreter. He led the

    12 journalists around the town. He explained to them what

    13 the town looked like and so on. He got that job

    14 through my mother who was a MUP inspector.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. This was another

    16 one of your brothers? I'm not sure I caught that.

    17 Excuse me. Your twin brother or was it an older

    18 brother? I have a translator saying elder brother.

    19 A. Yes, that's correct, my older brother, since

    20 my twin brother was 14 at the time.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: So you had another brother; is

    22 that right?

    23 A. Correct.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Please continue.

    25 A. My brother had to join the armed forces

  47. 1because people who were not mobilised were taken

    2 directly to the frontlines. And since my mother worked

    3 in the ministry of the interior, she was able to find

    4 him a job in the rear so as to avoid any possibility,

    5 any danger of his getting killed, since it was really

    6 much more difficult to be at the frontlines. So my

    7 brother found a job as an interpreter with the ministry

    8 of the interior at the checkpoint at the old bridge.

    9 So to go back to my story, that person who

    10 said that my brother belonged to the ministry of the

    11 interior was arrested, together with my brother. I

    12 don't know the exact date, but it was in the middle of

    13 that period, between the 9th of May and the 30th of

    14 June.

    15 On that very same day, my brother was

    16 arrested and taken to the military police headquarters

    17 in Mostar. That was at the faculty there. He was

    18 detained there. And since my father had some people

    19 that he knew privately, our family friends, who worked

    20 in those places, who were members of the Croatian

    21 Defence Council military police, he intervened. And

    22 since my brother was merely an interpreter, he was not

    23 an important person for the military police of the HVO,

    24 he was released and he was free to go home.

    25 So we come now to the 30th of June. On the

  48. 130th of June, the attack of the BH army began on the

    2 positions of the HVO in the northern camp. That's in

    3 the northern part of Mostar. In order to lift the

    4 siege and in order to make communications with

    5 Sarajevo, because people who lived in the eastern part

    6 of Mostar, they were starving. They knew what hunger

    7 was, and they were not able to survive anymore.

    8 Q. Let me clarify a point. Was East Mostar at

    9 this point a predominantly Muslim area of Mostar?

    10 A. No, that's not correct. All of the city of

    11 Mostar had about 70 per cent Bosniaks and Muslims, and

    12 the rest, the surrounding area was held by Croats.

    13 Those villages in the surrounding area, they made it

    14 equal, the number of people, the percentages of the

    15 population was equal. But in the centre of the city,

    16 it was mostly Muslims who lived there. Let me give you

    17 an example of my building. Out of 12 families who

    18 lived there, two were Croat families and four Serbian.

    19 The rest were all Muslim families. So the city of

    20 Mostar itself, the centre of the city, had the majority

    21 Muslim population.

    22 Q. Let's move, if you will, to the events of the

    23 30th of June, 1993.

    24 A. On the 30th of June, the army launched the

    25 attack, and then later on when some units of the

  49. 1Croatian Defence Council crossed over to the side held

    2 by the BH army, the first battalion -- actually, that

    3 brigade was responsible for the northern part of

    4 Mostar, it had the 70 per cent of Muslims, maybe less,

    5 maybe more. Those Muslims voluntarily crossed over to

    6 the Bosnian army side, and then they liberated Bijelo

    7 Polje later on. That's north of Mostar, and crossed

    8 over to the right side. That's the area of Rastane.

    9 This all happened within the time period of two or

    10 three hours. And then the Croat forces stabilised

    11 themselves and started to set up lines, frontlines.

    12 And then when the frontlines were stabilised once

    13 again, people were gathered again, picked up again.

    14 This time it was a selective process, just the Muslim

    15 population. If you were older than 16 and younger than

    16 68, you were picked up and taken away. Even if you,

    17 for instance, belonged to the Croatian Defence Council

    18 units or some other Croatian armed forces units.

    19 On the 30th of June, our building was not an

    20 exception anymore. They started to pick up people from

    21 our building again. They gathered the people who lived

    22 there too. Since we knew that my older brother had

    23 already been arrested by the military police of the

    24 Croatian Defence Council, my father and my mother hid

    25 him in the balcony, in a cupboard located in the

  50. 1balcony, in order to avoid another arrest. Because if

    2 he would have been arrested again, he probably would

    3 not have returned. So the two of us, when I say "the

    4 two of us" I mean my twin brother and myself, since we

    5 were 14 years of age, we were not taken away. We had

    6 our birth certificates, and we showed that to the

    7 military policemen who came to our door. And only our

    8 father went away with them. Not my father, but the

    9 rest of the people were abused, physically or

    10 mentally. For instance, some people had their ears cut

    11 off. I saw that personally from the window of my

    12 building, and so on.

    13 People gathered in front of the buildings,

    14 and then buses would arrive and then they were taken

    15 away to the Heliodrom. As I said already, my father

    16 was taken away and the four of us, my mother, my twin

    17 brother, my older brother, we remained in the

    18 apartment. And on the very same day, the 30th of June,

    19 this gathering of people, this all happened in the

    20 period from 3.00 to 5.00 in our neighbourhood. And in

    21 other neighbourhoods, this action lasted until

    22 midnight. Since we're talking about 8.000 people,

    23 that's a lot of people to gather in just one day. So

    24 that on that very same day, around 10.00 p.m., the four

    25 of us, we were all in one room, we heard some noise

  51. 1coming from the area in front of our house. When we

    2 looked through the window, we saw four soldiers. We

    3 did not see the insignia at that time. Since we were

    4 watching them from the sixth floor, we saw them knock

    5 or beat at the next door building.

    6 Since that building had the number 35, and

    7 our building was 35A, they must have made a mistake,

    8 thinking that they had the right building. And then

    9 they didn't see that there should be a letter A. So

    10 they beat on the door, and then a man, I don't know who

    11 it was, opened the door on our building and invited

    12 them in.

    13 They went in and went directly to the sixth

    14 floor. This is where we lived. And on the sixth

    15 floor, that shows that they had an address. Since they

    16 went directly to the sixth floor without stopping

    17 anywhere, they weren't looking for names, they knew in

    18 advance which floor we lived in. And the three of us,

    19 the three brothers, our mother told us to get into the

    20 bed and to pretend that we were asleep. And she opened

    21 the front door to our apartment. Those four men barged

    22 in. We were in the room. When they got in, they did

    23 not allow us to switch on the lights. They entered

    24 with their own torches and lit their way with

    25 them.

  52. 1When they entered our room with their rifles

    2 at the ready, they ordered us to get up. When we asked

    3 them whether we could switch on the lights, they

    4 allowed us to do so. We then realised that these were

    5 four young men, aged between 20 and 25, with a

    6 crew-cut. They were tall and thin, and they had the

    7 insignia of the HV, so HV, not HVO, military police.

    8 They had white bands and that indicated that they were

    9 the military police of the HV. When they started to

    10 talk to us, when they told us to get dressed, I

    11 recognised the accent of the city of Split which is

    12 different from the Bosnian accent and from any other

    13 accent. So that I recognised them, that they were not

    14 from Mostar, that they were from the outside. When I

    15 mean the accent from Split, I mean the Dalmatian

    16 accent, because you can't really say whether they were

    17 from Split or somewhere else in Dalmatia.

    18 At any rate, they told us to get dressed, and

    19 since we pretended that we were asleep, they told us to

    20 put on our shoes. Then we had to search the apartment

    21 at their behest. They were doing that because they

    22 were afraid of some bombs, some explosions, some trip

    23 wire or boobytraps, so that we had to take all the

    24 clothes out of the cupboards and they were watching us

    25 while we did that. They were actually looking for

  53. 1money, for German marks. They asked, "Where are the

    2 German marks?" Since we didn't have any money at the

    3 time, any German marks, we said, "No, we don't have

    4 any."

    5 After that, they said, "Put on your shoes and

    6 get ready." My mother asked one of those soldiers

    7 whether she could take my medication, because I was on

    8 medication at the time. She thought that we would be

    9 going for questioning, that we would be questioned.

    10 And then when we got dressed and went down to the front

    11 door to the building, we came to a white van with

    12 yellow license plates. These were the license plates

    13 of the HV, not HVO, because HVO license plates were

    14 white. And on that vehicle, it was written VPHV,

    15 that's military police of the Croatian army. And it

    16 was -- the sign was made with tapes -- it was taped

    17 on.

    18 We entered into the vehicle. One of them was

    19 with us, and the other three went back to the

    20 building. They returned after about 20 minutes. When

    21 they returned, they asked the one who stayed with us,

    22 who was taking care of us, they asked, "Where shall we

    23 take them? Shall we take them to the northern location

    24 or to the southern location?" Later on I found out

    25 that they actually meant, should we take them to the

  54. 1northern location where there was a mine, where people

    2 were also killed, a coal mine, or to the south

    3 location, and they decided they would take us to the

    4 southern part.

    5 Later on, when everyone got into the van,

    6 they wanted to go to the faculty where there was the

    7 headquarters of their military police of HV. As they

    8 didn't know the route to the headquarters of the

    9 military police, they asked us. So we were actually

    10 the ones who were explaining them, and we were showing

    11 them where they have to turn and how to drive. And

    12 when we arrived in front of the military police, HV,

    13 one of them left the van and I guess he didn't want to

    14 be present. He went out and he went towards the

    15 building of the faculty where the headquarters were.

    16 Q. Dragan, let me ask you a couple of questions

    17 before you move away from the university. You noted

    18 that the license plates that you saw on that vehicle

    19 were HV military police license plates in yellow; is

    20 that right?

    21 A. Yes, that's right. Yes, I saw it because we

    22 were entering from the rear side of the car, and I

    23 could exactly see it. And as the colour of the car was

    24 white, it was very visible, that the plates were

    25 yellow.

  55. 1Q. Dragan, had you seen those types of license

    2 plates, yellow HV license plates, in Mostar before the

    3 30th of June, 1993?

    4 A. Yes, I did. I saw different cars with such

    5 license plates. They were driving around the western

    6 part of Mostar because the Mostars were allowed to walk

    7 in these parts. We could walk where we wanted, but not

    8 outside the city. And I also saw members of the

    9 Croatian army who were freely spending their free time

    10 there, I guess, when they weren't at the front-line,

    11 they were in Mostar. And they would go to the cafes

    12 where we would also go when we were children.

    13 Q. So during this time frame, you saw HV

    14 soldiers in Mostar as well as vehicles with HV license

    15 plates; is that correct?

    16 A. Yes. And they were not hiding. They were

    17 not hiding that the Croatian army was in Mostar city.

    18 That was not a secret at that time at all.

    19 Q. Now, Dragan, on the 30th, you told the Judges

    20 that between 3.00 and 5.00 in the afternoon, your area,

    21 in your area, Muslims were being arrested, including

    22 your father; is that right?

    23 A. Yes, that's right. I already mentioned why

    24 my brother was not arrested, as he -- my mother and my

    25 father were hiding him.

  56. 1Q. Now, during those arrests on the afternoon of

    2 the 30th of June, were those arrests done by the HVO?

    3 A. This was done by the soldiers of the HV

    4 military police. They did it that way, that they would

    5 first enter first with heavy weapons into the

    6 apartments, HV military police. And after them, normal

    7 police of Bosnia and Herzegovina, they tried to prevent

    8 any kind of, maybe, fighting or resistance in that way,

    9 because first came heavy armed forces and then heavy

    10 armed HVO forces and then normal police.

    11 Q. Dragan, I think you said in the transcript

    12 that HV military police participated in the arrest of

    13 your father. Was that HV or HVO military police?

    14 A. Could you please repeat the question? I

    15 haven't understood it.

    16 Q. Let me attempt to clarify an answer that you

    17 gave, Dragan. When your father was arrested on the

    18 afternoon of the 30th, was it HVO military police that

    19 participated in the arrest?

    20 A. He was arrested by the military police of

    21 HVO.

    22 Q. Now, when you were arrested with your family

    23 at 10.00 that evening, were those HV military police or

    24 HVO military police?

    25 A. That was military police HV, Croatian army.

  57. 1They spoke with the Dalmatian accent. And it was also

    2 proof that they were coming from Croatian and not from

    3 Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    4 Q. Dragan, one last question on this area before

    5 we allow you to continue your story. When your father

    6 and the other individuals were arrested and put in the

    7 buses, were the people that were arrested all Muslims?

    8 A. Yes. These were all Muslims 16 years of age

    9 to 68.

    10 Q. Now, let's continue with your story and I

    11 interrupted you at the point where the HV vehicle with

    12 these four individuals had come to the HVO police

    13 location at University of Mostar; is that right?

    14 A. That's right, and further on, that man left,

    15 that soldier, he left the car, and we continued our

    16 travel to the route towards Citluk outside of Mostar.

    17 At several checkpoints that are outside of the city of

    18 Mostar, two or three, I don't know the exact number, we

    19 were not stopped by the soldiers who were there at that

    20 moment on duty. The vehicle would slow down, greet the

    21 soldiers that were on duty at that time. I guess they

    22 knew each other because they didn't show any

    23 documents. They didn't have to prove who they were.

    24 They just asked, "How are you doing," and they

    25 continued travelling.

  58. 1When we started leaving Mostar, the city

    2 itself, we went towards Citluk, Brkanova Birla (phoen),

    3 over Brkanova Birla to correct myself. And there's a

    4 curve on the road. It's somewhere between Mostar and

    5 Citluk and there we turned on a route, a Makadem

    6 (phoen) route. Until then, we were not particularly

    7 upset because we didn't really know what to expect. We

    8 just thought that they would interrogate us. We knew

    9 that we were no kind of danger to the Croatian army.

    10 We didn't know what they would want from us. So when

    11 we turned onto this Makadem road, we realised what

    12 would happen to us, because it was dark, 12, 10.00 in

    13 the evening. There were no facilities, not a kilometre

    14 around, and you immediately know what will happen to

    15 you. We were panic-stricken. We started panicking.

    16 We started asking, "Where are you taking us," and

    17 questions like this. So this route, this Makadem

    18 route, leads to a garbage dump heap where you threw

    19 garbage into -- it was a kind of cliff through which

    20 you throw the garbage.

    21 We stopped some 100 metres close to that

    22 cliff, and from that, we were ordered to leave the car

    23 and to walk towards this garbage dump. So we started

    24 panicking simply, because when you have to walk into

    25 the darkness, you know what will happen. And my twin

  59. 1brother asked one of these soldiers, "Why are you doing

    2 this to us? I went to school yesterday and you want to

    3 kill me now. Why are you doing this?" And he was very

    4 rude, and he said, "This is for the Central Bosnia,"

    5 because at that time in the Croatian media, Central

    6 Bosnia was mentioned and spoken about all the time,

    7 because their media would mention at that time that

    8 Croats were butchered and killed in Central Bosnia,

    9 which was not true at all.

    10 And when we were then close to this garbage

    11 dump, they ordered us to sit down, to kneel down, what

    12 is a typical position for being shot at, for being

    13 executed. And when we did this, one of them, all three

    14 of them, actually, went away from us, two metres, one

    15 metre, and they discussed something. This discussion

    16 lasted for about five seconds. And after that, one of

    17 them comes forward and prepares his gun. That was an

    18 automatic gun, rifle, and shoots at the four of us.

    19 And it was a burst and the intention to kill us.

    20 My older brother and my mother, when they saw

    21 that he is preparing the rifle, repeating the rifle,

    22 they got up and walked towards them, and all these

    23 bullets, they actually collected all the bullets with

    24 their bodies, so that's how they saved our lives. And

    25 the remains of the bullets by which we were hit, the

  60. 1remaining bullets, we both fell down off this cliff

    2 where you throw the garbage into, and my brother -- my

    3 older brother and my mother remained on the top of

    4 the ravine because they walked towards them so they

    5 couldn't fall down.

    6 I don't know. I can't explain that. I was

    7 unconscious maybe for five seconds, but the moment when

    8 I was conscious again, I was calling my brother, my

    9 twin brother. He did the same. I don't know,

    10 actually, why I did this, I just knew that he was

    11 alive. I had that feeling that he is alive, that my

    12 twin brother is alive.

    13 So we called each other and we started

    14 climbing up. It was about ten metres, the ravine was

    15 about 10 metres high. And when we finally arrived up

    16 there, during that time, while we were unconscious and

    17 while we were climbing, these soldiers who committed

    18 that crime left that place thinking that we were dead

    19 as well. As we fell down, no one doubted that -- they

    20 thought that we were dead as well.

    21 So the two of us climbed up. I must say, we

    22 almost walked over the corpses of my older brother and

    23 my mother. We didn't really look at them because if I

    24 had seen that, I would not be now in front of this

    25 court, because a normal person cannot survive this.

  61. 1The closest family member full of blood, you can't. So

    2 we continued walking towards the main road, and after

    3 ten metres, my brother fell as he was hit by five

    4 bullets into his legs. After the first few seconds, he

    5 could walk because the wounds were still warm, so he

    6 couldn't feel the pain, so he could walk. So it was

    7 only after a minute that he fell down and he couldn't

    8 continue walking.

    9 As I was only lightly wounded in the area

    10 where my kidneys are, only by one bullet, I could

    11 continue walking. I started looking for help, and as

    12 the closest road where there was heavy traffic was the

    13 road to Citluk, I started walking towards that road,

    14 and I stopped one car. It was a carriage or it was a

    15 type of truck with no license plates, and I was all in

    16 blood as my trousers were bloody. I showed this man

    17 that I was wounded, that my brother is lying down

    18 there. I thought at that time that my brother was dead

    19 because I didn't know what the wounds were like. I

    20 told him that my brother was lying down there. I asked

    21 him for help and to call for help. And he answered

    22 very rudely, "Are you still alive?" And offensive

    23 language, you Muslim bastard, something similar to

    24 that. I saw that there was no further reason to stop a

    25 car, because if I would expose myself to some further

  62. 1danger, if they did not finish up, maybe someone else

    2 would finish what these soldiers left.

    3 I started walking towards the top of the hill

    4 because that was somewhere in the middle of the hill,

    5 so I started walking towards the top, because I

    6 couldn't really orientate myself where Mostar was. And

    7 from there I saw into which direction it is, and then I

    8 started walking towards Mostar.

    9 When I was going down, I could hear how my

    10 brother was calling for help. And if a car would pass

    11 this main road, then my brother, as he was lying on the

    12 earth, he would call, "Help me, help me, I'm here."

    13 And I could hear those calls, and I knew when a car was

    14 arriving in that way. So that I could hide. I could

    15 not be seen from the road. So I was going down like

    16 this for about an hour until I arrived to some suburbs

    17 of Mostar, and I saw lights in front of the house.

    18 People were probably celebrating something. You could

    19 see that they were drinking and eating while I was

    20 dying there. They were celebrating and I went down and

    21 I told them who I was and what happened. I had to

    22 explain that I was not a member of the BH army, that

    23 I'm coming from the city. I don't know what I was

    24 really talking. I was just saying things.

    25 They called or they sent one boy to one

  63. 1checkpoint where there was the village police. This

    2 was not the normal police. These were only people who

    3 organised themselves, they organised their own police,

    4 their guards. So they sent this boy, and afterwards,

    5 two men arrived after about ten minutes. They took me

    6 and said, "Let's go down to the checkpoint," to the

    7 place where they were. And when we got down, at that

    8 time, they called the ambulance. These people helped.

    9 They did as much as they could. So they called the

    10 ambulance, and after ten, fifteen minutes, the

    11 ambulance arrives. The driver who was driving this

    12 ambulance asked me, "Do you want me to take you to the

    13 new hospital or to the old hospital?" And I said, as

    14 he was -- as there was an acquaintance of the family, a

    15 doctor lady who worked in the old hospital, she worked

    16 in that old hospital, I decided for the old hospital.

    17 I forgot to mention something beforehand, that in the

    18 period during the 9th of May and the 30th of June, when

    19 most of the Muslim population was released from the

    20 camps, when they were collecting people on the 9th of

    21 May, there is a new tactic introduced by the HVO.

    22 People were gathering from buildings and they were

    23 divided into groups, men, old people, women, and

    24 children, and all the others who could not fight, the

    25 population who could not fight.

  64. 1That population was taken to the left side of

    2 the river and to quicken this process of the blockade,

    3 as many hungry mouths as possible that was good for

    4 them. And those who were capable to fight, they were

    5 taken back again to the Heliodrom against the protest

    6 of the international community. And while we were

    7 going from the right side to the left side, there was

    8 some shooting, there was shooting at people who were

    9 going from the right side to the left side. And a lot

    10 of people died in that way. That's how there was fear

    11 in Mostar. If they take you, you will probably end up

    12 between the right and the left bank when you are

    13 crossing the line.

    14 So, we, as a family, when our turn came, when

    15 our building had to be taken to the left bank, we were

    16 hiding in a doctor's apartment, I guess, her place, and

    17 she was working at the old hospital, and she had some

    18 connections to the HVO, and her apartment was under the

    19 protection of the HVO. We were hiding there for five

    20 days and after that, the situation in Mostar improved,

    21 and we were able to return to our apartment again.

    22 Q. Now, Dragan, the events you've just talked

    23 about, about going to the left bank and the assistance

    24 of this doctor, that took place during the 9 May, 30

    25 June time frame; is that right?

  65. 1A. I have to correct you. We did not go to the

    2 left bank of the Neretva river, to the place of that

    3 doctor, it was on the right bank. But that house was

    4 protected by the Croatian Defence Council. That's was

    5 the reason why the HVO troops never entered that

    6 building, but it did happen in that period, between the

    7 9th of May and the 30th of June.

    8 Q. And the connection to your story is that this

    9 doctor worked at the old hospital and that's one of the

    10 reasons why you chose to go to the old hospital after

    11 you were shot on the 30th of June; is that right?

    12 A. Yes, that's correct. It's only logical that

    13 you should go to see those people who have already

    14 helped you. When I arrived in the old hospital, I was

    15 admitted by the medical personnel there, and I received

    16 medical treatment for my wounds. After that, members

    17 of the security in that hospital, these were mostly

    18 people from Mostar, who did not want to fire at their

    19 own people, at the people that they knew from the right

    20 bank, these were Croats who refused to shoot at their

    21 erstwhile friends with whom they had lived their whole

    22 lives.

    23 At any rate, these soldiers who provided

    24 security in the hospital were people from Mostar. I

    25 recognised one of them. He was a friend of my older

  66. 1brother's, and after I explained to him what had

    2 happened and that my brother is still lying there at

    3 the scene where this whole thing had happened. I did

    4 not have any hopes that my brother would survive at

    5 all. I just explained to him where this location was,

    6 the place where my brother was lying. Since I was not

    7 familiar with the environment of the city, I was only

    8 able to describe to him what this place looked like,

    9 and he drew the conclusion as to where that place

    10 actually was.

    11 He then went with two of his friends, who

    12 also were in the security of the hospital, in an

    13 ambulance to search for my brother. After a few hours,

    14 he was also brought to the hospital. Actually, it

    15 wasn't hours. He was brought within half an hour to

    16 the old hospital. This is the same place where I was.

    17 When I saw him, it is only then that I lost

    18 consciousness. Somehow, things were easier for me, and

    19 I simply let go. I was drained of all strength. My

    20 brother, he was seriously injured, and he was placed in

    21 the intensive care, the place where the most seriously

    22 wounded people were put, and I was in a normal room.

    23 And all this time, my father was in the camp, and he

    24 was not aware of what had happened to us, to the rest

    25 of his family. Since they realised again that they had

  67. 1picked up the sick people from those buildings and they

    2 brought the sick people to the camp, when I say "they,"

    3 I mean the Croatian troops, they set up a medical

    4 commission, and this medical commission would release

    5 people on the basis of their diagnosis. They let them

    6 go back home or they would even refer them to a

    7 hospital.

    8 Since this commission released my father, he

    9 had had the kidney surgery, he had renal stones and he

    10 had been urinating blood. That was the reason why he

    11 was allowed to go to the hospital, and he was released

    12 from the camp.

    13 Naturally, he went straight home to see where

    14 his closest relatives were. When he came home he saw,

    15 in front of the entrance to the building, many women

    16 whose husbands or sons had been taken away on that day

    17 by the Croatian troops. And since, of course, those

    18 mothers wanted to know where their husbands were,

    19 whether they were alive and well, they asked my father,

    20 and he actually wanted to avoid that, because any large

    21 gathering of the Muslim population would be dangerous,

    22 not only for him, but also for the others, women, and

    23 all those people who wanted to get that information.

    24 He decided to send a lady neighbour from the

    25 next door building because he had entered the building

  68. 1next door. He did not go straight to our house, to

    2 check whether our door, the door to our apartment was

    3 locked, because if it had been locked, it would mean

    4 that we had gone to the place of that lady doctor who

    5 hid us in that period up until the 30th. Or if the

    6 door had been broken down, then that would mean that we

    7 had been picked up. The neighbour checked this and she

    8 told him that the door was locked and that nobody

    9 answered the door, but it was just locked.

    10 My father hoped that we were safe. He

    11 thought that we had gone into hiding in the doctor's

    12 place. And since she worked in the old hospital, he

    13 went to visit her at her work place. And when he came

    14 there, he learned from her what had happened, what had

    15 happened to us.

    16 Q. Dragan, prior to that time, did your father

    17 know that your oldest brother and his wife, your

    18 mother, had been murdered?

    19 A. He learned of my brother's and my mother's

    20 deaths from that lady doctor, since she worked at that

    21 place where we were admitted. That was five days after

    22 the crime had occurred.

    23 Q. Now, during the five-day period of time after

    24 the crime and when your father came to the hospital,

    25 were you and your brother visited by any HV troops that

  69. 1came looking for you?

    2 A. From what the doctors knew in that five-day

    3 period, and since my brother saw one of the soldiers,

    4 he, again, recognised the soldiers who had arrived on

    5 the 30th of June to take us to be executed. They came

    6 there to finish what they had started. Through the

    7 intervention of the Mostar doctors, they were prevented

    8 from doing that, and since, I assume, there were many

    9 witnesses, they postponed doing that for some other

    10 day. In that five-day period, while my father was

    11 away, they came on one occasion to take us away, to

    12 finish their task. When my father learned from the

    13 doctor what had happened, and since he already had the

    14 referral slip for that hospital, he was given that by

    15 the medical commission, he was admitted to the hospital

    16 and he remained there with us in the same room.

    17 Twenty days later, a member of the Croatian

    18 forces came to that room, the hospital room.

    19 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me, again, Croatian or

    20 HVO?

    21 MR. KEHOE:

    22 Q. Who came to your room and what force did he

    23 belong to?

    24 A. The same persons who came to commit that

    25 crime on the 30th of June. Those were the members of

  70. 1the military police of the Croatian army.

    2 Q. The HV? Continue.

    3 A. Twenty days after that event, one of them

    4 came again. This time, it wasn't a person that we

    5 knew. It was a member of the Croatian forces dressed

    6 in a black uniform. As soon as he came to the door of

    7 the room, he immediately approached my father, pointed

    8 at him with his index finger, and said to the nurse who

    9 happened to be in the room at the time, "If this guy

    10 disappears," meaning my father, "you will be

    11 responsible." And then he left the room, probably in

    12 order to talk to the doctor again. We learned later

    13 just from some people that on that day, because a

    14 doctor asked my father whether he wanted to go to the

    15 funeral that was taking place on that very same day or

    16 not -- first of all.

    17 Q. The funeral for whom, Dragan?

    18 A. The funeral for my older brother and my

    19 mother, the funeral rites since they were in the morgue

    20 of the new hospital. He asked my father whether he

    21 wanted to attend the funeral, and since my father knew

    22 that this would be no funeral in accordance with the

    23 Muslim rights, since he knew that the Muslim priest,

    24 the Hodza, wouldn't be there, and since he didn't want

    25 to leave us again, he had left us once before, and the

  71. 1misfortune befell us. This was the reason why he did

    2 not want to go. And it turned out later that these men

    3 had been waiting for my father and for us at the

    4 funeral, because if we had left the hospital, it would

    5 have been easy for them to pick us up.

    6 When they saw that we would not be attending

    7 the funeral, they went to the hospital in an attempt to

    8 take us away again. The Mostar doctors intervened once

    9 again. They had already called the police. The police

    10 arrived in a few minutes. The police confronted those

    11 people who wanted to take us away. At that time, the

    12 police was not carrying out its duties. Any normal

    13 police would, of course, arrest those people. They did

    14 not know what to do. In fact, because the police in

    15 that area turned a blind eye on anything. They

    16 approved of everything. If somebody killed a Muslim,

    17 the police never intervened.

    18 At any rate, these police officers, for

    19 reasons unknown to us, removed those persons from the

    20 hospital.

    21 Q. And these were HVO police officers?

    22 A. Normal police -- normal members of the HVO.

    23 Q. And they removed HV soldiers from the

    24 hospital?

    25 A. No, no, no. There has been a

  72. 1misunderstanding. The people who came to pick us up,

    2 to take us away, these were members of the HVO, HVO.

    3 Other people, not those people who committed the

    4 crime. And they were removed from the hospital by the

    5 normal police of the Herceg-Bosna. So this incident

    6 passed.

    7 Q. Dragan, did you get a visit at any point

    8 during this time from any member of the intelligence

    9 service of the Republic of Croatia?

    10 A. I forgot to mention the fact that between the

    11 first and the second arrival of those people, of those

    12 forces, the soldiers that wanted to take us away, a

    13 member of the SIS, Security Information Service, came.

    14 First he asked the two of us to accompany him to the

    15 hospital corridor. When we left, he told us that he

    16 was a colonel in the SIS, and he showed his ID card. I

    17 can't now recall his name. He asked us whether we knew

    18 anything about a crime that had happened. I assume,

    19 since the crime was probably or definitely committed by

    20 the Croatian army, they sent in their intelligence

    21 officer to see whether we were dangerous for them at

    22 all, whether we knew that these people were Croatian

    23 army or not, because at that time, in the media, there

    24 were reports about the Croatian army soldiers having

    25 been noticed, seen in Bosnia. He wanted to check

  73. 1whether we knew that these were Croatian army soldiers.

    2 Q. When you say "Croatian army soldiers," you

    3 mean HV soldiers?

    4 A. That's correct, members of the HV. After

    5 that, since I realised that it would serve no purpose

    6 for me to say that these were Croatian army soldiers,

    7 that I would be bringing myself into an unnecessary

    8 risk if I were to admit that these were Croatian army

    9 soldiers, that way I would pose a risk for them.

    10 That's why I said that these were uncontrolled groups

    11 of soldiers who committed that crime. I said that I

    12 did not know who they were precisely, but that this was

    13 simply some soldiers who were acting independently, and

    14 they were not under anyone's orders.

    15 He then was under the impression that I did

    16 not know anything and the actual situation was on the

    17 contrary. I knew everything. He was happy with the

    18 answer. He said, "All right, guys, if we learn

    19 anything about who had done that, we will let you

    20 know," and he left. And that's how this case was

    21 closed, in fact. Then 20 days later after the second

    22 arrival of those men, when they wanted to take us to

    23 finish us off, there was a mass arrival of wounded

    24 Muslims in the hospital where we were. Those wounded

    25 --

  74. 1JUDGE JORDA: Just one moment, please.

    2 Mr. Kehoe, perhaps we could take a break. These are

    3 very painful events that are being told by this young

    4 man. Perhaps we can stop now and then start up again

    5 at 4.30, all right?

    6 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.

    7 --- Recess taken at 4.08 p.m.

    8 --- On resuming at 4.37 p.m.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.

    10 Please have the accused brought in.

    11 (The accused entered court)

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Dragan Becirovic, are you

    13 all right? Do you feel okay?

    14 THE WITNESS: Yes.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Did you rest up a

    16 little bit?

    17 THE WITNESS: Yes.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We can resume.

    19 Mr. Kehoe, proceed, please.

    20 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President, Your

    21 Honours.

    22 Q. Mr. Becirovic, you were just about to talk to

    23 the period of time when there was a large influx of

    24 wounded coming into that hospital. Before we talk

    25 about that, let me just ask a few clarifying questions

  75. 1that have been noted by my colleagues. The first

    2 question that I would like to ask you is: You

    3 mentioned after you were arrested, your older brother,

    4 your mother and your twin Goran were arrested, by the

    5 HV soldiers, you passed through various checkpoints,

    6 and you noted that the people at the checkpoint must

    7 have been familiar with these HV soldiers because they

    8 waved them through quite easily; is that right?

    9 A. Yes, that's right.

    10 Q. Were these soldiers at the checkpoints HVO

    11 soldiers or HV soldiers?

    12 A. These were HVO soldiers, together with

    13 members of the police of Herceg-Bosna.

    14 Q. The next point of clarification has to deal

    15 with the HV soldiers driving to a military headquarters

    16 at University of Mostar. Was that the HVO headquarters

    17 or HV headquarters?

    18 A. That was the headquarters of the HVO military

    19 police, not HVO, but military police.

    20 Q. The HVO military police?

    21 A. HVO, yes.

    22 Q. The last point of clarification, and this is

    23 a minor clarification, has to deal with the distance

    24 between the van at the location at the garbage dump and

    25 where you were shot. I believe the transcript had

  76. 1noted it was 100 metres away. Was it less than 100

    2 metres or --

    3 A. When I said "100 metres," I meant 10 metres.

    4 I actually mean 10 metres.

    5 Q. Let's go back to your story. Sir, did there

    6 come a time when there was a large influx of wounded

    7 when you were transferred to another section of the

    8 hospital?

    9 A. At that time, while we were in the old room

    10 where we arrived on the 30th of June, a lot of wounded

    11 people were brought to the hospital. Some of them were

    12 even lying in the corridors because the hospital didn't

    13 have enough beds for all of them. Later on, the

    14 doctors suggested, because it was safer for us and

    15 because they would get some free beds, we were taken to

    16 another part of the hospital which was not used.

    17 Because it could be shelled, because of that, we were

    18 transferred to this part of the hospital.

    19 In the meantime, that Friday we called Black

    20 Friday, because around 30 to 35, maybe even more,

    21 patients were taken care of even in the corridors. We

    22 didn't have enough doctors. The nurses helped to heal

    23 the wounds. At that time, these people arrived to the

    24 hospital, they were taken care of, and all of those who

    25 were only slightly wounded by maybe some shrapnel, they

  77. 1could be released. The heavily wounded, the seriously

    2 injured people stayed at the hospital.

    3 We were very close to that place. We could

    4 talk to these prisoners. These prisoners were

    5 explaining that they were digging -- not digging. They

    6 were making a kind of shelter for the Croatian soldiers

    7 in this Santic Street. In this Santic Street, the

    8 street fights were very heavy. They were fighting one

    9 house after the other.

    10 Q. Dragan, let me clarify certain things. The

    11 prisoners that were brought in that were wounded, were

    12 they Bosnian Muslim prisoners that were doing this work

    13 when they were wounded?

    14 A. Yes, these were Bosniak Muslims, only Bosniak

    15 Muslims. Later on, these prisoners --

    16 Q. Hold on. One more question, Dragan, by way

    17 of clarification. You noted in the transcript that

    18 they were making a kind of shelter for the Croatian

    19 soldiers. Were these HVO soldiers that they were

    20 making the shelter for when they were wounded?

    21 A. Yes. As at the beginning, the BH army would

    22 allow that the prisoners would make a kind of shelter

    23 for the Croatian army so that they could take some

    24 buildings without any losses. But when they realised

    25 that the Croatian soldiers could come forward very

  78. 1quickly in that way, they started to wound these

    2 prisoners. They wanted just to wound them, to injure

    3 them. They shot at their hands or their legs so that

    4 there were no serious injuries.

    5 Q. Again, Dragan, the word that's coming off in

    6 the transcript is "Croatian soldiers." Were these HVO

    7 soldiers that were using the prisoners to dig these

    8 shelters?

    9 A. These were HVO soldiers. As the lines in

    10 Mostar, in the city, were kept by -- the positions were

    11 held by HVO. And members of the Croatian army, they

    12 used them when they needed help. That's what I found

    13 out from one patient whose cousin came to visit, and

    14 that cousin of that patient who was lying together with

    15 us was a policeman, a policeman of the Herceg-Bosna

    16 Police. He was bragging about the Tigers that were

    17 special units of the Croatian army who were coming from

    18 Zagreb, that they have taken one hill in ten minutes

    19 that the army had taken already before.

    20 That's how I found out that members of the

    21 Croatian army, not that they were only in Mostar, but

    22 that they also took part in the fights for Mostar,

    23 around Mostar. From that, you can see that these

    24 soldiers were used for some special actions. When they

    25 realised that the soldiers of the HVO army were not

  79. 1capable enough to do something alone, to take something

    2 or to defend something, then special units of the

    3 Croatian army, I think they are HV, special units

    4 mostly.

    5 Q. Was one of these special units that assisted

    6 the HVO the Tigers?

    7 A. Yes, Tigers from Zagreb. They didn't fight

    8 only in Mostar. They fought all over in Bosnia where

    9 it was necessary, where the BH and the HVO were

    10 fighting. So to come back to my story with the

    11 prisoners, HVO soldiers were using prisoners in that

    12 way, that they would be a kind of shelter, and then

    13 they would come forward and take building by building.

    14 These same prisoners --

    15 Q. Excuse me. In the translation, are you

    16 saying that they used these prisoners as a shelter or

    17 used them as a shield?

    18 A. They were using them predominantly to make

    19 shelters. But when the BH army would attack some

    20 buildings that the HVO army would control, then they

    21 would use them as shelter, as a shield so that they

    22 could not take that building.

    23 I can give an example. The hotel called Ero

    24 where older people used to live, it was a nursing home,

    25 it was attacked by the BH army. And by using these

  80. 1people as human shields, they prevented this hotel from

    2 being taken. That's one of the examples how they would

    3 use people as human shields. Otherwise, they would use

    4 these people to make shelters or a kind of protection

    5 or fortification out of which then these soldiers would

    6 shoot at the BH army.

    7 At that time, a lot of people lost their

    8 lives, they weren't only injured as the Croatians. I

    9 think by that, the soldiers of the HVO army, these

    10 people were dying, and that they were from Mostar. And

    11 people knew each other, and they knew that they would

    12 have to continue living with these people afterwards.

    13 They started using people from other places, like, for

    14 example, from Blagaj, from Bosna. I could find out

    15 about that from people who would arrive to the hospital

    16 and who were from Blagaj.

    17 When I said "Blagaj," I meant Maglaj. Blagaj

    18 is a completely different place than Maglaj. I meant

    19 Maglaj. Maglaj is in the north of Bosnia and

    20 Herzegovina. These prisoners were captured by Serbian

    21 soldiers who were fighting at the Maglaj front. Later

    22 on, these prisoners, I don't know why, these prisoners

    23 were given to the HVO soldiers, and then they would

    24 transfer these people to the camps, to Heliodrom and

    25 other camps, in the west of Herzegovina.

  81. 1These people, as they were not registered at

    2 the International Red Cross, there was actually no

    3 trace in international organisations, these people were

    4 used as human shields. And it was mostly them that

    5 would get killed. This was continued. This lasted all

    6 the time.

    7 The hospital was only 200 metres away from

    8 the first front-line, 200 to 300 metres, where these

    9 human shields were being used. I mean by that, the

    10 Santic Street. These wounded people would be taken

    11 immediately to the hospital. So chaos occurred in

    12 these hospitals in the western side of Mostar. Later

    13 on, to calm down the situation, they didn't attack

    14 anymore.

    15 Q. Let me ask you a couple questions, Dragan,

    16 about this issue. Were the people that were being used

    17 as human shields Bosnian Muslims?

    18 A. Yes, these were Bosnian Muslims. Later on,

    19 those people from Maglaj that were used, they were also

    20 Bosnian Muslims.

    21 Q. Did the HVO use any methods to make sure that

    22 these Muslims did not run away when they were working

    23 on the front-line?

    24 A. There was always a danger that the prisoner

    25 could escape to the side of the BH army as he is going

  82. 1as the first one. And then ten metres behind him,

    2 there is a Croatian soldier, and it is easy for him to

    3 run away to the Bosnian side, I mean, to the BH army

    4 side. That's why the Croatian soldiers invented the

    5 following: That they had a chain, and people were

    6 chained around their necks, and they were then led to

    7 make those shelters. They couldn't run away as they

    8 were tied with these chains.

    9 That's some examples that happened. For

    10 example, one of the prisoners ran away in that way

    11 because he took off this chain that he had around his

    12 neck. I don't know how he did it. He tied that chain

    13 around a certain tree and that's how he ran away. The

    14 Croatian soldier thought that he was on his chain, as

    15 he was pulling, and he could see that he could tighten

    16 up the chain, and that's how people ran away.

    17 The other way was people, they would use a

    18 father and a son as a kind of guarantee that somebody

    19 would not run away. For example, you keep the son on

    20 the Croatian side and you send the father to make those

    21 shelters or fortifications. And then if the father

    22 would run away, they would kill the son. So no per

    23 cent of people -- zero per cent of people would run

    24 away. These are all examples of how they tried to

    25 secure that people don't run onto the Bosnian side, I

  83. 1mean by that, the BH army side.

    2 Q. Now, you just mentioned that some Bosnian

    3 Muslims from Maglaj were also wounded while they were

    4 digging on the frontlines; is that right?

    5 A. Yes. During the first period, when they

    6 started using these human shields, it was mostly people

    7 from Mostar. Later on, as I said, they used people

    8 from Maglaj and they spared the people from Mostar.

    9 These people from Blagaj, they came to the hospital and

    10 they would tell us these stories, and that's how I know

    11 what happened on the front-line, how people managed, how

    12 they ran away, how they -- for example, a Croatian

    13 soldier, he would throw away a piece of bread, he would

    14 throw it among them, and then they would fight for this

    15 piece of bread. All these stories how a human being

    16 was tortured. These prisoners had no rights anymore.

    17 They were not registered at the International Red

    18 Cross. There were no signs of their lives. Everybody

    19 could do with them what they wanted.

    20 Q. Dragan, did you receive any information from

    21 any of these Bosnian Muslim wounded from Maglaj that

    22 they were digging trenches for the HV?

    23 A. As these prisoners were arriving, they came,

    24 they were dirty, and they had blood on their clothes.

    25 As we were healthy, we would help them to change their

  84. 1clothes, to put on clean clothes, underwear. And from

    2 their stories, from what they saw, they told us what

    3 was happening. All that information that I have about

    4 the human shields comes from these people.

    5 Q. Did they ever inform you that they were

    6 digging trenches for the HV?

    7 A. No, not only did they tell me that, but they

    8 were also explaining how they were digging and how they

    9 were used by the HVO to be used as a human shield or to

    10 make shelters for the Croatian soldiers so that they

    11 could shoot later on onto the soldiers of the BH army.

    12 Q. Now, before we end before your departure, let

    13 me ask you: During this time period when you were in

    14 this other wing of the hospital, did the HVO military

    15 police come to you concerning an investigation of the

    16 murder of your older brother and your mother and, if

    17 so, what happened?

    18 A. I don't know the exact day when that

    19 happened, but it was in the morning. Two policemen

    20 entered into our room, HVO military police, and they

    21 had a kind of order that we should go with them to make

    22 a testimony so that we could witness for a certain

    23 reason. We don't know why. Later on, we decided with

    24 our father -- later on, we found out what they wanted,

    25 but we agreed with our father if there would be a

  85. 1certain trial, that we had to go there, because one

    2 person was accused, among other things, for the murder

    3 of two HVO soldiers on the front-line. That person was

    4 also a member of the HVO.

    5 They wanted to find this person guilty for

    6 our crime so that they could indict him for our crime,

    7 and it wasn't him who did that. That's why we had to

    8 go with them to the military court. That was at the

    9 headquarters of the military police at the university.

    10 Among those buildings, there was also the military

    11 court. Before we left, we agreed with our father that

    12 if we would recognise this person, that he was the one

    13 who committed the crime, we would say that it was not

    14 him. Because if we would become witnesses again in a

    15 certain situation where the war was still going on,

    16 nobody could guarantee our safety for our testifying in

    17 front of a court. Because of that, we decided, even if

    18 we would recognise this person, we would say that it

    19 was not that person and that we don't know him. That's

    20 what we agreed with our father beforehand.

    21 When we arrived at the court, we were

    22 introduced to a certain person that we saw for the

    23 first time in our life. According to them, we had to

    24 testify, each individually. That means one had to stay

    25 outside in front of the door of the court and the other

  86. 1one had to say if it was him or not virtually (sic).

    2 I talked to the soldiers, and I heard from

    3 them when my brother testified while I was waiting

    4 outside -- from the soldiers who guarded me, I learned

    5 that that soldier had killed Croatian soldiers.

    6 Q. Two HVO soldiers or HV soldiers?

    7 A. HVO soldiers. To the north of Mostar, at the

    8 front-line there, there had been a quarrel, and two HVO

    9 soldiers were killed by that person. They said that he

    10 had committed several other murders, murders of Muslims

    11 and Serbs. There was also a Serb waiting there. He

    12 was also supposed to testify whether that was the

    13 person who committed the crime against a Serbian

    14 family.

    15 At any rate, that person was not tried for

    16 the Muslims or Serbs that he had killed. He was being

    17 tried exclusively for having killed two Croatian

    18 soldiers. Since there was an international pressure on

    19 the Croatian side to solve those crimes, they wanted to

    20 pin all those crimes to a single person in order to

    21 show to the international community certain results, as

    22 if some of the crimes that had been committed were

    23 solved and that people were punished for those crimes.

    24 That person that was presented to us was not

    25 the perpetrator of the crime against my family. There

  87. 1were three people who participated in that crime

    2 anyway, not just one. The name of that person who was

    3 accused of the killing, I don't know his name, but my

    4 father knows his name. When we said that we did not

    5 recognise that person as the killer of our brother and

    6 mother, they let us go and we returned to the

    7 hospital.

    8 This trial was a farce. It was a travesty.

    9 It was held just to show to the international community

    10 that something was done about those crimes. They

    11 simply wanted to pin all the crimes onto one person.

    12 That person had already killed two Croatian soldiers,

    13 and they wanted to solve all of this very quickly.

    14 They wanted to sentence him either to life imprisonment

    15 or even to death penalty, and they simply wanted to pin

    16 all the crimes on him.

    17 When we testified and we said that this was

    18 not the person, as, indeed, he wasn't, we were returned

    19 to the hospital. In the meantime, my father waited for

    20 four hours for us to return. He went through all those

    21 things that a parent can go through, all the worries.

    22 "Where are my children? Why did I let them go?" All

    23 those concerns of a parent, he had to go through all

    24 that. He did not accompany us, because he thought if

    25 we were to be taken away to be killed, if all of us

  88. 1were to be killed, then there wouldn't be any

    2 witnesses.

    3 Q. Dragan, let me just take you back. When you

    4 got back to the hospital, you stayed in the hospital

    5 until about the 27th of September; is that right?

    6 A. 27th of September, approximately. I can't

    7 recall the exact date.

    8 Q. Let me just ask you another question,

    9 Dragan. Shortly before that, did the HVO make a

    10 decision that the patients in the hospital would be

    11 removed back to the Heliodrom?

    12 A. The patients from the hospital, not only were

    13 there the wounded, the ones that had been used as human

    14 shields, but you also had normal patients, people who

    15 had usual illnesses, such as the renal stones. All the

    16 prisoners who were brought in to be treated in the

    17 hospital, they were picked up by the Croatian Defence

    18 Council as soon as they got well. They had no

    19 protection from the doctors. They did not have any

    20 special treatment. They were treated as prisoners.

    21 You mentioned sick people being picked up.

    22 That was the reason why we left the hospital. Because

    23 the hospital, for us, was like the house of Anna Frank,

    24 that's where we hid from the Croatian soldiers, because

    25 as soon as we left the hospital, we would be taken away

  89. 1and caught by those people who committed those crimes.

    2 Q. So, Dragan, let me ask you: Based on the

    3 fact that the patients were being sent back out to the

    4 Heliodrom, did you, with your father and your twin

    5 brother, make a decision that it was time to leave

    6 Mostar?

    7 A. That taking away of prisoners, it was not

    8 something that was done en masse. That was the

    9 cleansing. That's what I call it. The hospital was

    10 cleansed of all the Muslim patients, and that's what

    11 happened two days before we were to leave for a third

    12 country.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Becirovic, so that the

    14 Judges can follow you more easily, when you're asked a

    15 question, try to answer it precisely. There's a

    16 precise question. Try to answer precisely. I know

    17 it's difficult. These were very, very hard experiences

    18 for you, but so that the Judges can understand you and

    19 follow you, and the Defence as well -- you are telling

    20 a story. You're asked a question. Please answer the

    21 question as precisely as possible, all right? Thank

    22 you.

    23 Mr. Kehoe, would you ask your question again,

    24 please, the one having to do with the prisoners, the

    25 way that they left the hospital.

  90. 1MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.

    2 Q. Now, after you observed these prisoners being

    3 sent back to the Heliodrom from the hospital, you and

    4 your father and your brother made a decision to leave

    5 Mostar; correct?

    6 A. Yes, that's correct. I would just like to

    7 say something. Those prisoners were taken away to the

    8 Heliodrom immediately, and the cleansing of the

    9 hospital took place during just one day. The whole

    10 hospital was cleansed of all the Muslim patients. And

    11 the taking away of prisoners to the Heliodrom, that

    12 happened every day. This was the first time, however,

    13 that all the patients were taken to the Heliodrom, I

    14 mean, the Muslim patients. Even though they were on

    15 stretchers, even though they had I.V. lines in or they

    16 had some serious medical conditions -- I even know a

    17 person who was taken away even though he had had

    18 surgery just one day before that, and he had an open

    19 wound.

    20 Those people who were taken away were Muslim

    21 patients who were in the hospital. With the exception

    22 of the three of us, we were able to remain there,

    23 myself, my brother and my father, and another lad whose

    24 relatives worked in the hospital. That's how he stayed

    25 in the hospital. The reason why we stayed in the

  91. 1hospital was because the doctors had intervened on our

    2 behalf. They did not let them take us away.

    3 Q. Dragan, so ultimately, on the 27th of

    4 September, you left Mostar, went to Zagreb with the

    5 assistance of the UNHCR, and then you and your father

    6 and your brother emigrated to a third country; is that

    7 right?

    8 A. That's correct.

    9 MR. KEHOE: Dragan, thank you very much. I

    10 have no further questions. Thank you Mr. President and

    11 Your Honours.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe. Turning

    13 to the Defence, Mr. Nobilo?

    14 Cross-examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.

    16 Q. Good afternoon. Well, actually, good

    17 evening. You testimony was rather long, and now I will

    18 ask you a general question.

    19 What you told us this afternoon, is this what

    20 you know, what you knew at the time when this was

    21 happening in 1993 when you were a student aged 14, or

    22 did you combine that knowledge with the information you

    23 received later? So are you speaking purely from what

    24 you knew at the time or did you add something that you

    25 learned later?

  92. 1A. Well, all the things that I know and which I

    2 presented here, this is my personal experience. I have

    3 no knowledge from a third person, that is, the

    4 knowledge of some other events where I was not

    5 present. I learned about that directly from those

    6 persons who were present while those events were taking

    7 place.

    8 Q. Well, the first matter that I have to ask you

    9 about: You say that civilians were released under the

    10 pressure of the international community, that 7.000

    11 civilians were released. You are a 14-year-old boy.

    12 You are hiding like Anna Frank in apartments. How do

    13 you know that the Croatian authorities in Mostar made

    14 the decision because of the pressure of the

    15 international community, and how do you know that 7.000

    16 civilians were released?

    17 A. The 7.000 people, that's only in comparison

    18 to the 8.000 people. I don't know the exact number,

    19 but out of the 8.000, 7.000 were released. So that's

    20 the ratio. That's what I stated. So how many people

    21 were actually released?

    22 Q. But my question was different. How do you

    23 know how many people were released and how do you know

    24 that the HVO authorities released those people under

    25 the pressure of the international community?

  93. 1A. That was because it was on TV. The Spanish

    2 TV filmed people being taken away to the stadium, and

    3 then from the stadium to the Heliodrom on the 9th of

    4 May. That's why the international community exerted

    5 pressure, to have these things stopped so that these

    6 people can go back to their homes. The reason why they

    7 were taken away is because they were Muslims and not

    8 because they posed any risk to the Croatian side. The

    9 only reason was the fact that they were Muslim.

    10 Let me answer your question about the 7.000

    11 and 8.000. As I said, I can't give you an exact number

    12 of how many prisoners there were. Not even Croats know

    13 that. They just picked up everyone, all those people

    14 they didn't like. You can't keep records of that,

    15 because all the people -- some of the people who were

    16 sick were released immediately the same day or after

    17 five days, after ten days. So I just gave you some

    18 kind of a ratio, the proportion. Out of 8.000, 7.000

    19 were released and another thousand remained in prison.

    20 These were mostly people who posed some kind of risk to

    21 the Croatian Defence Council.

    22 Q. So the decision of the Croatian authorities

    23 is something that you reconstructed in accordance with

    24 the things broadcast on TV?

    25 A. No, that was my conclusion. It's only

  94. 1logical that if you see something on TV, if you see

    2 that people are being taken away to an unknown fate

    3 into the camps, the international community, of course,

    4 feels that if has to intervene against such actions

    5 undertaken by the Croatian side. It's only natural

    6 that there was enormous pressure, because only Hitler

    7 did things like that in 1941. You know that, of

    8 course, but --

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Becirovic, when you answer,

    10 please turn to the Judges. Listen to Mr. Nobilo's

    11 questions, but then you answer facing the Judges, all

    12 right? I didn't get the answer to that. I didn't have

    13 an interpretation for the answer.

    14 A. I was waiting for the interpretation. I

    15 apologise.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: I was asking you to be sure

    17 that when you answer Mr. Nobilo's questions, you turn

    18 to the Judges, that you are answering directly to the

    19 Judges, all right? Thank you.

    20 A. This pressure by the international community

    21 had to be exerted because it was already official. It

    22 had already been broadcast on TV. The Spanish teams,

    23 the Spanish journalists, they recorded all that. It

    24 was in all the media in Europe, even in the United

    25 States. And that was the reason why these governments

  95. 1exerted pressure to have these people released.

    2 What would be the reason, otherwise, for the

    3 Croatian authorities to release those people they had

    4 picked up and taken to the camps? Because there is no

    5 reason why you should arrest somebody and release him

    6 the next day. They wanted to have those people

    7 detained over a prolonged period of time because it

    8 would be easier for them to control these people, and

    9 that's why the camps were set up.

    10 MR. NOBILO:

    11 Q. You said it was in all the media in Europe

    12 and the United States. You saw that as a 14-year-old

    13 boy in Mostar caught up in the war?

    14 A. Well, among other things, it was on HTV.

    15 Maybe you don't know that --

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Becirovic, I would like to

    17 interrupt. I feel there's some difficulty here and I

    18 would like to clear it up. You've been called by the

    19 Prosecutor to testify about what you experienced, and

    20 it was very painful to you. What are you studying

    21 now? You say you're a student. What are you studying?

    22 A. Yes, I'm getting ready to study at the

    23 Faculty of Economics. Then when I get my diploma, I

    24 will be able to enrol in the Faculty of Economics.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: I certainly hope that you are

  96. 1successful. You're helping the Judges through your

    2 testimony. You must understand that it's necessary,

    3 and I know it's hard, you have to try to separate what

    4 you experienced yourself, and Lord knows that you

    5 experienced very, very difficult things, but as much as

    6 possible, try to isolate all of the knowledge that you

    7 have or all the judgements that you've made, all your

    8 opinions, you have a right to your opinion, of course,

    9 and they are respectable opinions, but try, please --

    10 you cannot testify in front of any court, whether it be

    11 here today or in another place tomorrow in your own

    12 country, you cannot testify about something that you

    13 haven't experienced yourself or perceived yourself.

    14 If occasionally you give an opinion, that's

    15 normal, but you have to remain, as much as possible,

    16 within the framework of what you yourself experienced.

    17 You are a witness to something. Would you try to do

    18 that, please? Very well. We're going to continue the

    19 cross-examination, but try to make the distinction

    20 between what you yourself experienced and what you want

    21 to say about the conflict.

    22 I'm sure you have many things you would like

    23 to say, but for the time being, you are a witness to

    24 certain events, and it's about those events that the

    25 Prosecutor has asked you to testify. I've spent a

  97. 1little time on this, but it's for your own interests

    2 and in the interests of justice.

    3 All right, Mr. Nobilo, will you continue,

    4 please?

    5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.

    6 Q. In the examination-in-chief, you said to the

    7 Prosecutor that you were going to school and that you

    8 had to hide the fact that you were a Muslim, that you

    9 had to speak Croatian in order to hide that fact. Did

    10 you go to the same school with the same teachers and

    11 the same colleagues or did you change the school?

    12 A. I continued to go to the same school, that's

    13 the Fifth Primary School on the other bank, but

    14 normally -- I can't really recall which primary school

    15 it was, but that school was shut down because it was

    16 close to the frontlines, and that's why I went to the

    17 Fifth Primary. Otherwise, in that school that I went

    18 to before, we did not have Croatian language as a

    19 subject. And now I had to go to that school where I

    20 had Croatian as the subject, and I had to speak

    21 Croatian.

    22 Q. My question was whether you had the same

    23 students (sic) as your colleagues and the same

    24 teachers?

    25 A. Yes.

  98. 1Q. How did you then manage to hide the fact that

    2 you were a Muslim, since both the teachers and the

    3 pupils knew you?

    4 A. I did not hide that from the teachers, since

    5 the teachers knew us, but I hid that from other

    6 pupils. When they moved to the school, I met a lot of

    7 new pupils. I had to hide the fact that I was a Muslim

    8 from them in order to avoid any difficulties.

    9 Q. You said to the Prosecutor, furthermore, that

    10 anyone could kill a Muslim without being held

    11 responsible for that. How do you know that? Can you

    12 give us an example of a person being killed that you

    13 witnessed yourself, that you knew who the perpetrator

    14 was and that he was not held responsible?

    15 A. I did not see any killing, because if I had,

    16 it's possible that I maybe wouldn't be here. At any

    17 rate, I did not witness any killings. But I knew about

    18 that theory, that any Croat could kill a Muslim without

    19 being prosecuted for it on the basis of an example that

    20 happened in the period between the 9th of May and the

    21 30th of June when Muslims were found at garbage dumps.

    22 And although the murderer was known, he went away scot

    23 free, not because the police were unable to arrest him,

    24 but because they did not want to arrest him, although

    25 they knew his address. I forgot now the name of the

  99. 1killer and the name of the victim.

    2 Q. So you don't know the name of the victim or

    3 of the killer?

    4 A. I forgot. I don't know. I just forgot,

    5 because there are so many incidents in that period, and

    6 I simply forgot about that.

    7 Q. You said that your brother was employed in

    8 the MUP, Ministry of the Interior, and that your mother

    9 used to work for the MUP before the war. Can you

    10 explain to the Judges what is MUP?

    11 A. MUP is the Ministry of the Interior. That's

    12 the police of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    13 Q. What did your father do?

    14 A. He worked on road construction, Nisko Gradna

    15 (phoen). That's the construction company.

    16 Q. Now, when talking about the events on the

    17 30th of June, you said that people in Eastern Mostar

    18 were hungry. How do you know that they were starving?

    19 A. Well, why would people be throwing packages

    20 of food from planes into Eastern Mostar if they were

    21 not starving.

    22 Q. Why would they starve then if they had those

    23 packages?

    24 A. Because that was not enough for all those

    25 people.

  100. 1Q. How do you know how many packages were

    2 delivered?

    3 A. When the planes -- when those packages were

    4 thrown from the planes, I saw that personally. It was

    5 not enough to supply all the population there. I'd

    6 think that you would need several thousand planes to

    7 supply 50,000 people.

    8 Q. Do you know, was that the only source of

    9 supplies, whether they were UNHCR convoys?

    10 A. Convoys were let go if the HVO decided to do

    11 so. They were at the mercy of the HVO. When they saw

    12 that they did not have enough food to survive, and when

    13 the international community exerted a lot of pressure

    14 to release those convoys, then they had to do it, not

    15 because they wanted to, but they had to.

    16 Q. How do you know that they didn't want to do

    17 that out of their desire to help people?

    18 A. Mostar was blocked. Why didn't they allow

    19 people to leave Mostar?

    20 Q. You described that a battalion of HVO

    21 containing mostly Muslims went over to the area

    22 controlled by the BH army and that they managed to

    23 liberate Bijelo Polje in this manner. Can you please

    24 tell me, how do you know that? Is this something you

    25 learned in Mostar during the time that you were in

  101. 1hiding?

    2 A. I know this information because one Muslim

    3 who was a member of the HVO was there during the

    4 attack. He was at the northern camp at that time, and

    5 that was the target of the attack of the BH army, and

    6 he managed to get back to the right bank. And from his

    7 story, I know he came the same day, the 30th of June.

    8 From his story, I know that a lot of soldiers of

    9 Bosnian nationality, I mean by that Muslim soldiers, HV

    10 soldiers, that they became members of the Bosnian

    11 army. That's how I know. So that's how this

    12 surrounding was broken within two hours.

    13 Q. So when this surrounding was broken, do you

    14 know if there was any communication with Sarajevo?

    15 A. Yes, I think so.

    16 Q. Do you know, is it familiar to you, that

    17 there was mobilisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

    18 A. I think that there was that because there was

    19 war going on.

    20 Q. Do you know how old the men had to be?

    21 A. From 18 further on to a certain age. I don't

    22 know how old.

    23 Q. You said that on the night of the 30th of

    24 June until midnight, about 8.000 Muslims were

    25 collected. How do you know that? How do you know that

  102. 1that action was over at midnight? How do you know that

    2 it was 8.000 people and not 7.000 or 6.000?

    3 A. It was the same number that was on the 9th of

    4 May, and I know that this action of gathering people

    5 lasted, because along that road to Citluk, there were

    6 buses passing by, buses who were taking those

    7 prisoners. They were transporting them. As I was

    8 walking down after the crime into the city, I saw those

    9 buses, how they were still passing by. That's how I

    10 could conclude that this was going on until midnight.

    11 Q. You said that these soldiers, these HV

    12 military policemen, who took you, your twin brother,

    13 your mother and your older brother, you said that these

    14 were HV insignia. What kind of insignia were these?

    15 A. These insignia, they were white, and it says

    16 "HV military police." They had badges on which --

    17 it's something similar to the police badges with which

    18 you can present yourself and say that you are HV

    19 military police.

    20 Q. You also said that these HV military

    21 policemen were from Dalmatia and that you can recognise

    22 their accents. Can you recognise out of which region I

    23 am?

    24 A. No, I cannot recognise you personally. I can

    25 only guess. I know the Stikalan (phoen) dialect, I

  103. 1can't say, but in Mostar, there were a lot of people

    2 who would come from Split, and that's how I knew

    3 because very good friends. A brother from one of the

    4 neighbours was personally coming from Split, so that's

    5 why I could recognise that accent. According to your

    6 question about your accent, I can't answer that. I was

    7 born in Split. I didn't know that.

    8 Q. Further on, you said that their propaganda,

    9 HVO propaganda, was saying that in Central Bosnia the

    10 Croats are being killed and that that was not true at

    11 all, that that was far away from the truth. Can you

    12 tell us, what do you know about the Central Bosnia,

    13 because we are trying to figure out for a year now what

    14 was going on in Central Bosnia?

    15 A. I know what I know from the media, because I

    16 was not in Central Bosnia, but I guess -- I don't

    17 guess, I know that these crimes, so many crimes, could

    18 not be committed with regard to how many crimes were

    19 committed against the Muslim population. Because if

    20 these crimes had been so serious, then there would be

    21 no Muslims in Herzegovina. That's how harsh the

    22 reaction would be in Herzegovina.

    23 Q. That truck that stopped after they killed

    24 your family, and that driver cursed you or was rude

    25 towards you, was that driver a civilian or a soldier?

  104. 1A. He was a soldier, because the civilians could

    2 not move at that time. It was curfew.

    3 Q. Further on, you said that normal police,

    4 Herceg-Bosna police, protected you in a way at the

    5 hospital. Can you tell me, what do you mean by "normal

    6 police"? Do you mean civilian police?

    7 A. Yes, that's what I mean, civilian police.

    8 They had to protect us because they had arrived there.

    9 They couldn't allow that in front of them somebody

    10 could be taken and killed within an hour. I know of no

    11 police in the world that would allow such a thing.

    12 Q. This colonel that came to visit you, did he

    13 show any kind of identification to you?

    14 A. He identified himself with some kind of a

    15 document. I can't remember now. But since we were

    16 just boys, we did not look at the document, at the ID.

    17 But I did know that this was a SIS ID. I recognised it

    18 as a SIS ID. It's not that I knew that from before. I

    19 just recognised it there at the time.

    20 Q. Was he nice to you?

    21 A. Yes, he was.

    22 Q. He tried to determine, to learn from you, who

    23 it was that did that crime, whether they were members

    24 of the Croatian army -- please allow me to finish the

    25 question and then you will give me your answer.

  105. 1Why did you conclude or why didn't you

    2 conclude that he is really trying to conduct an

    3 investigation?

    4 A. I don't know why a colonel of SIS would come

    5 to us, to the hospital, because there were also other

    6 organisations who could do that, who could find out the

    7 facts, not a SIS colonel who has got completely given

    8 tasks. Was that a danger to the Croatian nation? I

    9 apologise for my expressions.

    10 Q. Don't you know what SIS is? That's the

    11 Security and Information Service, and the main task of

    12 the SIS is to protect the security of the army. So

    13 that's why they conduct investigations of crimes

    14 committed by soldiers?

    15 A. I don't know about the security of the

    16 soldiers, how their lives were endangered. These were

    17 civilians, crimes committed against civilians, and

    18 that's why I thought it was up to them to ...

    19 Q. So that's why you decided it was not an

    20 investigation but something else?

    21 A. Yes.

    22 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, I would just ask that

    23 counsel allow the witness to finish his answer before

    24 he interrupts with another question, which has

    25 happened. The question he was given was cut off at the

  106. 1end, and, as you can see from the

    2 transcript, "... that's why I thought it was up to them

    3 to ..." then an ellipses when counsel breaks in with

    4 another question. I simply ask that counsel allow the

    5 witness to answer the question.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, please allow the

    7 answer to be given.

    8 MR. NOBILO:

    9 Q. Without mentioning any names, can you tell me

    10 whether in your neighbourhood, in your street, were

    11 there any other cases of such executions as there was

    12 in your family? Any of your neighbours, were they

    13 killed?

    14 A. To my personal knowledge, I know from a

    15 school colleague of mine that his parents were --

    16 actually, his grandparents, that they were in the same

    17 way, even in a worse way, killed. There are many

    18 examples that I can't remember today, but I remember

    19 that example because that boy went to the same school

    20 with me.

    21 MR. NOBILO: Your Honours, Mr. President, I

    22 don't know if it's appropriate, but I would like to get

    23 some names for identification purposes so that we can

    24 conduct an investigation. We did not have the

    25 statement of this witness in advance. So that we can

  107. 1present evidence during our case. So if you feel that

    2 this would endanger anyone, we can now go into closed

    3 session. I would like to just learn some names of the

    4 family.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: No objections?

    6 MR. KEHOE: I don't have any objections to

    7 that. Of course, we will have to vacate that area

    8 there, or if you go into private session, I suppose

    9 there's no need to vacate.

    10 MR. NOBILO: Actually, it would be sufficient

    11 to switch off the tone.

    12 MR. KEHOE: That's a private session.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Private session. We can do

    14 that?

    15 THE REGISTRAR: In this courtroom, that isn't

    16 possible. We can't have private sessions in this

    17 courtroom. It has to be closed here.

    18 MR. KEHOE: Then it's closed. We're back to

    19 square one.

    20 MR. NOBILO: In that case, Mr. President, at

    21 the end of my cross-examination, we can ask all those

    22 questions, so we can go into closed session at the end

    23 of my examination.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: That would be the best

    25 solution. About how much time do you still need, Mr.

  108. 1Nobilo?

    2 MR. NOBILO: Not too much, fifteen minutes,

    3 maybe.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: All right. That would be the

    5 best solution then. Then we'll have a closed session

    6 for the last questions in your cross-examination, and

    7 then we will go back to public session.

    8 MR. NOBILO:

    9 Q. You told us about human shields in the Santic

    10 Street in the defence of the Ero Hotel. Can you please

    11 tell us, how do you know about that, who told you about

    12 that, and which people were used as human shields?

    13 A. That information I got from prisoners who

    14 would get wounded while they were used as human

    15 shields, for example, a human shield for the protection

    16 of the Hotel Ero. I don't know their names because I

    17 didn't write down in my diary, write down their names.

    18 Q. How do you know that the people who were

    19 arrested in Maglaj, that they were not registered with

    20 the Red Cross?

    21 A. Because that's what they told me.

    22 Q. Who told you about the use of the chains as

    23 the security device to prevent the prisoners from

    24 escaping?

    25 A. That's also what the prisoners told me,

  109. 1because I was taking care of these prisoners. They

    2 needed help to clean themselves. They were dirty. We

    3 would give them our own clothes so that they could

    4 change. That's how we started talking with them, and

    5 that's how I found out about these events.

    6 Q. Can you tell us the name of the person who

    7 told you that and who was tied up with the chain?

    8 A. The person who told me this didn't tell me

    9 his name. And even if he had told me his name, I would

    10 not remember it; I couldn't remember it.

    11 Q. The case when father and son were used as a

    12 method, where one would be under the control of the HVO

    13 and the other one would go to no-man's land. Can you

    14 tell me who told you that and who were these people,

    15 the father and son?

    16 A. These people were unknown to me, but I know,

    17 again, from their own stories, because one son came to

    18 the hospital seriously injured, and he was with me in

    19 the room. From his story, it was explained how he was

    20 wounded, how he got onto this line, and how they used

    21 this method, father/son. I can't say their names

    22 because I don't know their names.

    23 Q. You testified before the court in Mostar, the

    24 military tribunal. It was for the identification?

    25 A. My guess is it was the military court,

  110. 1because this was a court that was inside a military

    2 facility, so it could be only military court.

    3 Q. You said that those people were tried for the

    4 murder of two Croats, not for the murder of Muslims,

    5 because Muslims could be killed freely. Why is it that

    6 you were called to identify those persons and to charge

    7 them with killing your family?

    8 A. First of all, these were not people, but one

    9 person, one man that was accused for the murder of our

    10 family. These people, we had to go and recognise,

    11 because they wanted to solve these cases that were

    12 still open. And this was a good opportunity, that

    13 there was one Croatian soldier who killed two Croatian

    14 soldiers, and because of that, they tried to pin it on

    15 him.

    16 Q. How do you know what the Judges and the

    17 Prosecutors wanted?

    18 A. The Judges -- first of all, I didn't have a

    19 lawyer. They told me, "Is this the man or not?" I

    20 said no, as it was the case, but the information that

    21 he killed two soldiers, I found that out from the

    22 soldiers who were taking care of me while my brother

    23 was testifying.

    24 Q. Do you know what the fate of that soldier

    25 was, whether he was acquitted for the murder of your

  111. 1family?

    2 A. I don't know anything about that soldier. I

    3 think what I've heard is I was interested in it. When

    4 I visited Mostar during the summer, that together with

    5 him, there was one Muslim prisoner who was in the same

    6 cell, that he still remained in the prison cell

    7 afterwards. According to this Muslim prisoner, and

    8 what I have heard from him was this winter -- summer,

    9 summer, I think, when I returned to Mostar.

    10 Q. So your conclusion that this trial was

    11 a travesty, that's what you said, and that it was just

    12 because of the international community. What do you

    13 base your conclusion on? What do you know about the

    14 trial, except for entering the courtroom and failing to

    15 recognise that person? What is it exactly that you

    16 know about that case that enables you to draw the

    17 conclusion that this was a travesty because of the

    18 international community?

    19 A. This trial was a farce because this man could

    20 not have committed all of the crimes he was accused

    21 of. His crimes were chosen really -- I don't know how

    22 he could have committed this crime. There were three

    23 people, how he could have done it on his own. Because

    24 there were three men in our case, and there was only

    25 one, it was only him.

  112. 1Q. Can you tell us whether that person, that

    2 man, at that time was formally charged with the murder

    3 of your mother and brother?

    4 A. We arrived to testify. To recognise this

    5 man, if it was this man who committed that crime, that

    6 killing of our family, I didn't know. I don't know if

    7 he was accused of it, if he was indicted.

    8 Q. You said that you were at the hospital just

    9 like Anna Frank, and you used that comparison very

    10 often, like Anna Frank in her house. You wanted to

    11 suggest that you were in hiding in that hospital. Can

    12 you please explain to me how it is that you were in

    13 hiding when the SIS colonel comes to your room, the

    14 police comes to your room, the Croatian soldier in the

    15 black uniform comes to your room? How is it that you

    16 were in hiding?

    17 A. Just to give you an example. For example,

    18 when these Muslim patients were taken away from the

    19 hospital, it was two or three times when a truck

    20 arrived to pick us up, the rest of us, the four of us,

    21 four patients that stayed there, they came again, so

    22 that's why we had to hide in the doctors' rooms so that

    23 they couldn't find us. Because if they had found us in

    24 the patients' room, they would have taken us. That's

    25 why we had to hide in the doctors' room. I used the

  113. 1example of Anna Frank so you could make a picture of

    2 what it was really like. I didn't want to compare it

    3 to Anna Frank, it was worse than that, because I saw

    4 personally eye into eye, this criminal.

    5 Q. In the last portion of your testimony, you

    6 said that patients were brought back to the Heliodrom,

    7 but that the last day, virtually, the whole hospital

    8 was cleansed, and that all the patients, even those who

    9 were on stretchers were taken to the Heliodrom. How do

    10 you know that these patients were taken to the

    11 Heliodrom and not to some other hospital?

    12 A. They were not taken to hospital because they

    13 were put rudely onto the truck because there would have

    14 been an ambulance and I don't know that people are

    15 taken by trucks to hospitals. And I know these people

    16 that were fatally wounded, they were returned from the

    17 Heliodrom to the hospital. That's how I know that they

    18 were at the Heliodrom, because not all the people, but

    19 maybe one-third that were seriously injured, that

    20 needed care, they came back to the hospital.

    21 Q. Your father advised you before you were going

    22 to testify not to tell the truth. Now, what I want to

    23 know, after the first discussion, interview with the

    24 Prosecutor, did anyone advise you how to testify here

    25 and briefed you, trained you, coached you?

  114. 1A. No, nobody told me. Only as far as it was

    2 permitted, I was told how I would stand in front of

    3 this court, how I would solemnly declare that I would

    4 speak the truth, only that I gave my statement to the

    5 Prosecutor. That was all.

    6 Q. I did not mean the Prosecutor. I meant

    7 before you were approached by the Prosecution, I know

    8 that they are very correct in their behaviour, so

    9 somebody else outside of the Office of the Prosecutor?

    10 A. I don't know who else could come. I could

    11 only share my experiences with my brother who

    12 experienced the same. I don't know who else, except my

    13 father, could give me advice what to say.

    14 Q. Who contacted you first about testifying

    15 after leaving Mostar in 1993?

    16 A. In the sense, we went to the embassy of

    17 Bosnia-Herzegovina who was responsible for making a

    18 list of those criminals. We cannot forget these

    19 criminals, and they have helped me a lot to present

    20 this case now in front of The Hague court, Tribunal.

    21 Q. So did you give a statement to them? Did you

    22 talk to them, this section for war crimes at the

    23 BH embassy?

    24 A. Because of some benefits that I could get,

    25 that I could get my passport quicker, because all of

  115. 1those people whose lives were endangered, that they

    2 would have to spend several days in Zagreb, they were

    3 immediately given a passport to go to a third country.

    4 That's my answer.

    5 Q. Did you want to add something?

    6 A. That's my answer.

    7 Q. When did you give your first statement to the

    8 Office of the Prosecutor?

    9 A. On Wednesday, last Wednesday, in my place.

    10 Q. When did you first get in touch with the

    11 Office of the Prosecutor?

    12 A. On Tuesday, last Tuesday. It could have been

    13 also Monday. I'm not sure.

    14 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, two brief

    15 questions in closed session and we're done.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will have a

    17 closed session.

    18 (Closed session)

    19 (redacted)

    20 (redacted)

    21 (redacted)

    22 (redacted)

    23 (redacted)

    24 (redacted)

    25 (redacted)

  116. 1(redacted)

    2 (redacted)

    3 (redacted)

    4 (redacted)

    5 (redacted)

    6 (redacted)

    7 (redacted)

    8 (redacted)

    9 (redacted)

    10 (redacted)

    11 (redacted)

    12 (redacted)

    13 (redacted)

    14 (redacted)

    15 (redacted)

    16 (redacted)

    17 (redacted)

    18 (redacted)

    19 (redacted)

    20 (redacted)

    21 (redacted)

    22 (redacted)

    23 (Open session)

    24 JUDGE RIAD:

    25 Q. Mr. Becirovic, good afternoon.

  117. 1A. Good afternoon.

    2 JUDGE RIAD: I want to follow the whole --

    3 A. Excuse me. I couldn't hear your question

    4 from the beginning. I couldn't hear the beginning of

    5 the question because there was no interpretation.

    6 JUDGE RIAD: All right. You mentioned that

    7 the soldiers came at your building to take you, and

    8 then they proceeded as you described to this horrible

    9 execution of your mother and brother. And you

    10 described them as HV soldiers, as Croatian. And that

    11 one of the signs was the accent, they had the accent of

    12 Split. Were they also dressed as HV soldiers or as

    13 HVO?

    14 A. They were dressed as HV soldiers. They had

    15 documents, badges, that can't be falsified, of HV

    16 military police. Among others, they also had the

    17 license plates that were yellow, and these were only HV

    18 license plates. Not knowing the city of Mostar showed

    19 that they came from the outside. According to their

    20 accent, I guessed that they were come from Dalmatia,

    21 Split, because there were a lot of soldiers from

    22 Split.

    23 JUDGE RIAD: So they were military police and

    24 they carried the insignia of HV. Were there many

    25 military police, HV military police, in the area or was

  118. 1it exceptional?

    2 A. I saw for the first time military -- HV

    3 military police when they came at our door, but I saw

    4 before HV soldiers. I saw HV military police for the

    5 first time.

    6 JUDGE RIAD: Could you say that they had a

    7 controlling attitude, that they were the masters of

    8 this situation, and obeyed around?

    9 A. When someone tells you what to do, that you

    10 should get dressed, that you should search on your own,

    11 of course, they were the masters of the situation.

    12 They could do with us whatever they wanted to do.

    13 JUDGE RIAD: Not with you, not with you, with

    14 other soldiers. You said when you passed through the

    15 checkpoints, they were respected by the other

    16 soldiers. So they had a leading position; would that

    17 be right?

    18 A. I could just see that they had no problems

    19 while passing those checkpoints. They didn't have to

    20 show any documents. They could move at that time.

    21 They were on their duty. They didn't use any kind of

    22 documents, so I concluded that they knew those

    23 policemen, those soldiers, at these checkpoints.

    24 JUDGE RIAD: Now, when you spoke of what you

    25 called the cleansing of the hospital, was this

  119. 1cleansing done also by HV military police, by HV

    2 soldiers, if you remember rightly, or was it the HVO?

    3 A. That was the force -- the HV forces -- it was

    4 the Fifth Brigade that was in the suburbs of Mostar,

    5 and the Fifth Brigade, I could recognise them by their

    6 truck because it said on the truck, "The Fifth

    7 Brigade."

    8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter has the

    9 question that I didn't understand clearly whether it

    10 was HV or HVO.

    11 JUDGE RIAD: I think that's all. Thank you

    12 very much.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?

    14 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President, I think

    15 there's a clarification that the interpreter wanted

    16 that was just put on the record. If I may, I believe

    17 the interpreter, Judge Riad, with all due respect, I

    18 think the interpreter has some difficulty as I read the

    19 transcript and as I hear it, on either the answer or

    20 the question; I'm not sure which.

    21 THE INTERPRETER: I didn't understand whether

    22 the answer was HV or the HVO. The Fifth Battalion that

    23 was being mentioned, whether it was HV or HVO. It was

    24 not said clearly.

    25 JUDGE RIAD: Could you explain that? The

  120. 1Fifth Brigade, was it HV or HVO?

    2 A. HVO.

    3 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.

    4 A. Fifth HVO Battalion.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: All right, Mr. Kehoe? Let me

    6 thank Judge Riad for having asked that question, which

    7 I myself wanted to ask. I want to really thank him

    8 because, in fact, since the very beginning of this

    9 testimony, there has been a great amount of confusion

    10 between HV, HVO, HV or HVO military police, HV or HVO

    11 troops. Therefore, I want to thank my colleague for

    12 having attempted to clarify all of these questions.

    13 Excuse me, Judge Shahabuddeen, because I interrupted

    14 you. Excuse me. You are now going to ask some

    15 questions, if you like.

    16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You mentioned some

    17 soldiers who refused to fire at their erstwhile

    18 friends. Were they HV soldiers or HVO soldiers?

    19 A. Those were HVO soldiers since they were the

    20 only ones to have friends in Mostar. Because the HV,

    21 they come from the outside, they can't have friends in

    22 Mostar.

    23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Is my impression correct

    24 that from all that you have said, it appears that there

    25 were occasions when kindness was shown to you and

  121. 1surviving members of your family by Croats?

    2 A. Well, if they are your friends, of course

    3 they will show kindness to you. All of those crimes

    4 that were committed, they were not committed by my

    5 friends, that's for sure. Since we were not the kind

    6 of family to be on bad terms with anyone, to quarrel

    7 with people, we had a lot of friends and they all

    8 helped us. Among other things, I think that all the

    9 doctors in the Mostar hospital, they are the reason why

    10 we are still alive today, since my father and my

    11 mother, as a young couple, everybody knew them in

    12 Mostar, since they used to walk around together,

    13 everybody knew them in the street as a couple.

    14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would I be correct in

    15 supposing that these Croats who helped you and

    16 surviving members of your family knew that you were

    17 Muslims?

    18 A. Well, not only did they know, they helped us,

    19 precisely because of that reason, because we were

    20 Muslim. They were the only ones in the position to

    21 help us. We needed any form of assistance we could get

    22 and, of course, they knew that we were Muslim.

    23 Everybody knew us. All those who knew us helped us,

    24 and that was the reason why the doctors helped us too.

    25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Can you help the

  122. 1Tribunal by telling us whether there were other cases

    2 in which Muslims were helped by Croats?

    3 A. There were many cases of the neighbours who

    4 protected Muslims by hiding them in their homes when

    5 people came to collect them, it was the family Culjak,

    6 and other families, Doctors; we know a lot of such

    7 people.

    8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And what are your

    9 relations now with Croats who had proved to be helpful

    10 to you in your time of need?

    11 A. Well, our relations are very good, just as

    12 they used to be before the war. Nothing's changed.

    13 They even proved themselves as true friends to us

    14 through providing assistance to us. All those people

    15 who helped us, we are very grateful to them.

    16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Witness, I thank you.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: I'm sure that my colleague has

    18 one or two more questions.

    19 JUDGE RIAD: I just want to add a question to

    20 the questions asked by my very eminent colleague, Judge

    21 Shahabuddeen. You are, apparently, a very educated,

    22 young student. Did you notice that the danger in which

    23 the Muslim population of Mostar, the danger which

    24 threatened them, was coming only from the military HVO

    25 or was the civilians, the Croat civilians, involved in

  123. 1this hatred?

    2 A. Not only did they threaten, but I learned

    3 that all the Muslims in Mostar, since they didn't like

    4 the fact that they existed in Mostar, they wanted to

    5 move them to Zenica. Zenica is a town in Central

    6 Bosnia which has a majority Muslim population. They

    7 wanted to move them all to Zenica. They had such

    8 plans. It doesn't mean that the plans were realised.

    9 They simply existed. That's what they were talking

    10 about amongst themselves, the Croats. That's how I

    11 heard it. But in Mostar, there was no room for

    12 Muslims. There was only room for Croats of Islamic

    13 faith, and that's a huge difference. The symbol of the

    14 city of Mostar, the old bridge, was destroyed by the

    15 Croatian Defence Council, because it was the symbol of

    16 Islam, and that was the foundation on which Mostar was

    17 built.

    18 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. We're finished. I

    20 have no questions to add to those of my questions.

    21 Mr. Dragan Becirovic, everything you've experienced was

    22 very painful. You have many years of life ahead of

    23 you. As Judge Riad said, you are studying now, and you

    24 will one day be able to make further judgements about

    25 what has happened. You have a great mission in front

  124. 1of you, a great task. The Tribunal thanks you for

    2 having come to us at the request of the Prosecutor.

    3 The usher will now accompany you out of the courtroom.

    4 (The witness withdrew)

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, Mr. Kehoe, this is

    6 the end of the afternoon. I would like to know how you

    7 see the rest of the week in light of what we said

    8 yesterday about the witnesses which you are supposed to

    9 call. We will finish at the end of the morning on

    10 Friday, as you know. What does the rest of the week

    11 look like, please?

    12 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we have a witness,

    13 the next witness that I informed counsel of. I don't

    14 mention his name simply because he's a protected

    15 witness, and then there is a possible next short

    16 witness after that which is the other individual that

    17 we previously discussed. And then we have a series of

    18 documents that my colleague, Mr. Cayley, will be

    19 discussing. That's tomorrow. We then have another

    20 witness that my colleague, Mr. Harmon, will be leading

    21 on Thursday, and I would suspect that that witness will

    22 go into Friday, but I will turn it over to Mr. Harmon,

    23 and I would think that he would be more available to

    24 answer that question accurately.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon?

  125. 1MR. HARMON: Mr. President, we anticipate

    2 concluding on schedule, Friday, as previously indicated

    3 by the published schedule.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I would like to

    5 thank you, Mr. Harmon, for using your time properly.

    6 Of course, we're not counting every minute, but the

    7 days are counted, as you know, applying this measure

    8 rather broadly.

    9 I would also like you to think about the

    10 remainder of your work up to the end of July when you

    11 will have completed the presentation of your evidence.

    12 I believe that should be the 29th of July. I think

    13 that's right. Mr. Dubuisson?

    14 MR. DUBUISSON: Yes, that's right, the 29th

    15 of July.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: We have now only to thank the

    17 interpreters. I do it every day, but I particularly

    18 want to do it today, and so we will meet again tomorrow

    19 at 9.45, because the registrar asked us to begin at a

    20 quarter -- reasons of the detention facility and the

    21 arrival of the various accused. Thank you. Good

    22 evening, everybody. The court stands adjourned.

    23 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at

    24 6.11 p.m. to be reconvened on Wednesday,

    25 the 1st day of July, 1998 at 9.45 a.m.