1 Thursday, 26th November, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.11 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the
5 accused brought in, please.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: I can see everybody is in his
8 seat. Good morning to the interpreters. Good morning
9 to the Prosecution and to the Defence, to the accused.
10 We can resume.
11 I think today is an important day for the
12 representatives of the American community. There is a
13 holiday today, and I understand why Mr. Hayman didn't
14 want to work this afternoon - now I understand - for
16 MR. HAYMAN: No, Mr. President. No,
17 Mr. President. Please. We will be working this
18 afternoon, simply not here in the courtroom, I can
19 assure you.
20 JUDGE JORDA: I'm sure of that. No, just
21 joking. Just joking. Of course, I know we're going to
22 be working this morning only because of the fact that a
23 witness has not arrived, there were airport problems,
24 and there were airport problems all through Europe.
25 All right. We can resume our work with the
1 continuation of the redirect by Mr. Nobilo and the
2 Defence witness, Mr. Katava.
3 (The witness entered court)
4 JUDGE JORDA: And here he is coming into the
5 courtroom now.
6 MR. NOBILO: Good morning, Your Honours. I'm
7 going to be very brief because it is a continuation of
8 yesterday's questioning.
9 WITNESS: SLAVKO KATAVA (Resumed)
10 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
11 Q. Mr. Katava, may we have Defence Exhibit 450?
12 Would you turn to section B, please? In section B, as
13 you know, some cases are mentioned where the victims
14 were Croats, and I would like to draw your attention to
15 document number 19 in particular. From this document,
16 we can see that "Unknown perpetrators" -- and I'm
17 reading the second section -- on the 2nd of August,
18 1993, around 2.30, came in front of the house of Ivcan
19 Bilic and shot from firearms at the glass cafe entitled
21 May we have the ELMO on, please? Thank you.
22 This will help our interpreters.
23 So unknown perpetrators arrived at the house
24 of Ivcan Bilic and the Janje cafe and the Janje butcher
25 shop owned by Jozo Marjanovic and Ivcan Bilic
1 respectively and they opened fire at the glass surfaces
2 of these two premises.
3 Tell me, please, the owners of these cafes
4 and shops, were they Croats?
5 A. Yes, Your Honours, they were Croats from
7 Q. Did you find the perpetrators?
8 A. No, because this document refers to unknown
10 Q. Let us now move on to document number 20.
11 Document 20, on the 4th of June, '93, you went to the
12 house of Ivica Susanj because unknown perpetrators or a
13 group of perpetrators arrived at the store and fired a
14 burst, damaging all in the glass surfaces in the store,
15 the facade, et cetera, 30 casings, cartridges, were
16 found, and there was general shooting at the premises.
17 Tell me, Frano Susanj from Busovaca, is he a
19 A. Yes, Frano Susanj is a Croat from Busovaca.
20 I know him.
21 Q. Did you find the perpetrators?
22 A. No. Once again, this was an official note
23 relating to unknown perpetrators.
24 Q. The next document is document number 21, and
25 there, in a shop owned by Dragan Lastro, consumer goods
1 shop, a hand bomb was thrown into the shop and it
2 exploded and caused a great deal of damage.
3 The same question: Is Dragan Lastro a Croat?
4 A. Yes, he is a Croat from the village of Ravan
5 of the Busovaca municipality.
6 Q. Did you find the perpetrators?
7 A. No, they were unknown perpetrators.
8 Q. Let's now move on to document number 22.
9 Document number 22, we have, once again, an official
10 note, first of all your own, where you state that on
11 the 4th of June, 1993, an explosive device was planted
12 in a kiosk owned by Ivica Kristo, nicknamed Taraba, and
13 that one and a half kilos of explosive, Vitezit, was
14 planted, and that four neighbouring kiosks were
15 destroyed in this explosion, which means five kiosks in
16 total from this explosion were destroyed.
17 Tell me, is Taraba a Croat, and were the
18 owners of the neighbouring kiosks, shops, also Croats?
19 A. Yes, Taraba is a Croat from Busovaca, and the
20 neighbouring premises also belonged to Croats. Some of
21 them were socially owned and some were Muslim owned.
22 Q. Tell me, Vitezit, is that an explosive? It
23 is called Vitezit. Is it an explosive manufactured in
25 A. Yes, it is a type of explosive, and it's
1 called Vitezit, and it is produced in Vitez, yes.
2 Q. Was that explosive accessible to many people
3 in view of the fact that it was produced in the region?
4 A. No, it was not.
5 Q. I don't want to go through all the documents
6 where the properties of Croats were damaged, but can
7 you tell us, tell the Trial Chamber, in your assessment
8 and judging by logics, who suffered more from crimes,
9 the Croats or Muslims in Busovaca?
10 A. Well, the Croats were more numerous victims.
11 Q. Why?
12 A. Because there were more Croats living there
13 and more Croat-owned property.
14 Q. And another question that was mentioned
15 yesterday: Do you still maintain that crime had its
16 criminal logics and not a nationalistic logic?
17 A. Yes, I maintain that criminality and the
18 crime rate followed its own logics and had nothing to
19 do with nationality or ethnicity.
20 Q. Now a final document and a final set of
22 THE REGISTRAR: Document D451, D451A for the
23 English version.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. Would you take a look at the original
1 document, please, and the file number, part of the
2 document has been typewritten on a typewriter, and
3 there is a line and the year, and after that, by hand,
4 the file number has been entered by hand. Can you tell
5 us the situations when this was done?
6 A. Well, this was done when we did not know the
7 file number to come, when the administrative secretary
8 was unavailable, so we just left a space for it to be
9 introduced later on.
10 Q. And then you would write it in
11 in handwriting, by hand?
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. I would now like to draw your attention to
14 this particular document. You told the Trial Chamber
15 that you questioned people entering Busovaca, as well
16 Croats, that you questioned them in the same way that
17 you questioned Muslims wishing to depart from Busovaca,
18 and I would now like to read parts of the document and
19 then ask you questions. It is a document from the
20 police station of Busovaca where Ivanka Zrnic and
21 Zeljko Zrnic make their statements. Tell us, please,
22 are they Croats?
23 A. Yes, they are Croats from Zenica.
24 Q. So I'm going to read some sections from this
1 "On 18 April 1993, I (Ivanka Zrnic) was in
2 the house with my family. I was awakened by loud
3 shooting, and we all took shelter on the ground floor
4 of the house at my mother-in-law's. There were my
5 husband, two children, mother-in-law, uncle, aunt,
6 cousin, his wife and three little girls."
7 And I'm going to skip a few lines and
9 Apart from us in the neighbourhood, there
10 were two elderly men who were killed later on, Ivan
11 Vidovic, born in 1904, and Anto Vidovic, born in 1906.
12 "Ivan was taken out and shot, and then they set fire
13 to his house. Anto was killed in the house. We were
14 lying on the floor when a Muslim soldier from the 7th
15 Muslim Brigade approached the window and, without a
16 word, fired a whole clip from an automatic rifle at
17 us. On this occasion, my daughter Magdalena,
18 three-and-a-half years old, was hit and she died almost
19 immediately. She was hit in the right cheek and the
20 bullet went out through the back on her head. I was
21 also wounded in the head then. The person who did this
22 was a man nicknamed Hodja from the village of Puhovac,
23 Zenica municipality, but I don't know his full name."
24 She describes him and says he looked like a Muslim from
25 the 7th Muslim Brigade.
1 For her husband, she said that three men made
2 him lie down on the ground. "My husband had come out
3 with our dead girl in his arms and he lay down with
4 her. He asked if he can put the child to the side, but
5 the Hodja just kicked him in the head with his boot and
6 said: 'Lie down, you Ustasha mother fucker.'"
7 And then it goes on to describe the tortures
8 suffered in the Muslim gaol, and it goes on to say:
9 When they arrived there, "a man started
10 questioning us," quite obviously your colleague, a
11 policeman. He asked me what had happened, "but when I
12 started telling him, he interrupted me and did not
13 allow me to talk."
14 I'm going to ask you whether you recognise
15 this document and do you know Josip Grubesic and do you
16 recognise the signature, that is, the man taking the
18 A. Josip Grubesic is my colleague from the
19 police station at Busovaca.
20 Q. Do you recall this particular event when you
21 took this statement?
22 A. Yes, Your Honours, I recall this event.
23 There were great casualties, and I remember Ivanka
24 Zrnic well.
25 Q. Did incidents of this kind compel people to
1 flee from Zenica towards Busovaca, I mean Croats?
2 A. Yes. For reasons of this kind, the Croats
3 from Zenica fled to Busovaca and further afield as
5 Q. Did it frequently happen that these same
6 Croats who were the victims in one area, on one
7 territory, very often came as displaced persons and
8 committed crimes where they came?
9 A. Yes, we had refugees who were desperate and
10 who wanted to get their own on others and we had a lot
11 of problems with people of this kind because of the
12 situation they found themselves in because they had
13 been left without anything and had suffered great
14 torture and hardships.
15 Q. Was this the reason that it was so difficult
16 to control the situation and to find the perpetrators?
17 A. Yes, that is, among others, one of the
18 reasons for this.
19 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
20 have completed this document, and we tender this
21 document along with the others we brought up yesterday
22 in evidence. I'm going to give you the exact numbers
23 in just a moment. They are D413, A and B, D443, D444,
24 D445, D446, D447, and D448 as well as D449, D450, and
25 D451. We tender these into evidence.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. No
2 objections from the Prosecution? Mr. Cayley?
3 MR. CAYLEY: No objections, Mr. President,
4 apart from the reservation of our position on tab H in
5 Exhibit 450 which we've discussed already.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Riad, do you have any
7 questions to ask the witness?
8 JUDGE RIAD: No.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen, do you have
10 any questions?
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. You were talking
12 about your passport. Could you tell us: When was the
13 passport issued?
14 A. My passport was issued in 1995, in the
15 consulate in Mostar, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you have a passport
18 A. No, never. I never had a former passport or
19 a currently valid passport.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: How were you described
21 in this passport? Were you described as a Croatian
22 citizen or as a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
23 A. I'm a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina but
24 also a citizen of Croatia.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: How were you described
1 in the passport?
2 A. Your Honour, in the passport, it says Slavko
3 Katava, born on the 21st of September, 1956, in Donje
4 Polje, the municipality of Busovaca,
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I got this passport in the
6 consulate in Mostar, the consulate of the Republic of
7 Croatia, that is.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: The passport contains no
9 reference to your citizenship, does it?
10 A. In order to have this passport, I have to
11 have Croatian citizenship, and I do have dual
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now let us turn to these
14 declarations or statements in this big red file. When
15 somebody came to you at the station and made a
16 statement and the statement was recorded by you or one
17 of your colleagues, how many copies of the statement
18 were made?
19 A. Your Honours, we usually took these
20 statements and made three or four copies.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, what would you do
22 with them, the three or four copies?
23 A. We would open a file. We would open a file,
24 Your Honour, and we would leave it for further usage.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you send any of
1 the copies to any other authority, the Prosecutor's
2 Office, say?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you have seen these
5 copies in the file. Could you tell the Trial Chamber
6 where these copies were made, what document they were
7 made from? Were they made from a copy in the
8 possession of your police station?
9 A. Your Honour, these documents were copies of
10 the original documents that we made in the police
11 station, but where these copies were made, that, I do
12 not know.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, we have a
14 declaration made by a gentleman by the name of Fikret
15 Zulum. You saw that declaration?
16 A. Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, would I be right in
18 saying that there was no great urgency about the
19 contents of that declaration?
20 A. Your Honour, I don't really understand this.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Very well. I shall pass
22 the question.
23 Could that document have waited until the
24 morning when the administrative secretary returned to
25 the office so that you might get from her a protocol
1 number and insert it in the blank space?
2 A. One couldn't really wait there. I know
3 Mr. Fikret Zulum personally. He's a former policeman,
4 and he reported of his own free will because he didn't
5 want to have any problems. He came to the station and
6 sought appropriate protection. He said, "I'm here. My
7 wife and my children have left. I don't want to have
8 any problems." He spoke in that sense, and then a
9 colleague of his, a policeman, took a statement.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, some of the
11 statements which you took were taken by you after the
12 administrative secretary left for the day. Could some
13 of those statements have waited until she returned in
14 the morning?
15 A. Some could, some that were not urgent, or if
16 the party concerned could come later.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you served for a
18 number of years in this police station.
19 A. Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did your police station
21 adopt a procedure for identifying the appropriate
22 protocol number for a document when the administrative
23 secretary was not there?
24 A. No, never.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Suppose she was ill for
1 a day or two or three, what would happen?
2 A. Then the head of the police station would
3 appoint a replacement.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Suppose there
5 was no replacement for a day, what would happen?
6 A. Well, nothing. We'd write documents without
7 a protocol number, and these documents would wait for a
8 protocol number.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, look at Mr. Zulum's
10 statement again. It is document 36. I am looking at
11 the English version. Would you, sir, say that
12 Mr. Zulum is not there reporting the commission of any
13 specific crime?
14 A. No.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And that he is also not
16 seeking any permit from the police station whether to
17 stay in Busovaca or to leave Busovaca?
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What he is doing, in
20 effect, is this: That he was blaming the Muslim side
21 for the outbreak of any conflict?
22 A. Yes, he panicked, Your Honour. He is a
23 neighbour of the police station and a former policeman,
24 and he knew all of us, and he came to tell us that he
25 was frightened.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Are there any other
2 statements in this file from Muslims which also blame
3 the Muslim side for the outbreak of the conflict?
4 A. No, not that I know of.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, do you agree that
6 all the statements in or under tab F in the file are
7 statements made by Muslims?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do you also agree that
10 those statements have blank spaces in the serial number
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, look at section G
14 in the file. Is my impression correct that the
15 statements in that section are statements made by
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Is my impression also
19 correct that all of those statements have completed
20 serial numbers?
21 A. Yes, Your Honour, but these statements were
22 taken by my colleague, Josip Grubesic, who worked with
23 the secretary. He would only do the first shift, so he
24 always had the protocol handy.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, while you have that
1 big file before you, would you look at document 96?
2 Now, this document is signed by the head of the
3 municipality, Niko Grubesic. Was that something like
4 the mayor or so? What is the closest I.D. which
5 corresponds to that, the mayor?
6 A. Yes, Your Honour. Yes, Your Honour, mayor.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you look at the
8 subject heading at the top "Re: Proposal for the First
9 Stage of the Return of Refugees and Persons Expelled
10 from the Territory of Busovaca Municipality with
11 Indications of the Future Stages of Return."
12 Would you say that the impression given out
13 is that the head of the municipality was talking of all
14 displaced persons and of proposals for resettling all
15 of them?
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, look just before
18 the columned area. You see a capital A, "Displaced
19 Persons and Refugees of Croatian Nationality." Do you
20 see that?
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Is there, Mr. Katava, a
23 B section? We have an A section here. Is there a B
24 section somewhere?
25 A. Your Honour, section B, "Muslim and Other
1 Refugees," was provided by the deputy president of the
2 municipality, a Muslim. He made this same kind of
3 document, and these documents were sent to humanitarian
4 organisations and other organisations dealing with the
5 resettlement of refugees.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Perhaps I wasn't clear.
7 The reader reading this document sees on page 1 a
8 heading beginning with capital A. I am asking you
9 whether, later on in this document, there is a heading
10 beginning capital B.
11 A. No.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: No. Now, look at page
13 1. You have a number 2 which says that "In 1991,
14 Bosniaks living in Busovaca numbered 8.484 or 44.9 per
15 cent." Do you see that line?
16 A. Yes, yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, is my recollection
18 correct that you told us that 90 per cent of the Muslim
19 population in Busovaca left Busovaca? Is my impression
21 A. Yes, you heard it right, but only from the
22 town of Busovaca, not from the territory of the entire
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well, what would 90 per
25 cent of 8.484 be? Would it be something like 7.200 or
1 how many persons would you say left the municipality of
3 A. I did not say that they left from the entire
4 territory of Busovaca but only from the town of
5 Busovaca. So 90 per cent relates to the urban
6 population of Busovaca, not people from the rural
7 areas, they didn't leave. So I wasn't talking about
8 these 8.484, but I was talking about the people from
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That is why I inserted
11 an alternative in my question and asked you, how many
12 do you say left? You were a senior police officer, and
13 you were concerned with the goings and comings of
14 people. People going had to get a permit from you.
15 A. Over a thousand people left from town.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do you agree that no
17 where in this document is reference made to the fact
18 that over 1.000 Muslims left the city of Busovaca?
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I gathered from you
21 that your understanding of the situation was that the
22 Muslim sector of the population of Busovaca accepted
23 the takeover of power by the HVO. Is my understanding
24 of your evidence correct?
25 A. Some did not accept this fact, and that is
1 why they left, while others remained.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Let's talk about
3 the Muslim police chief who moved to Kacuni and who
4 took his men with him there. By doing so, he
5 effectively gave up territory which he controlled as a
6 police officer; is that correct?
7 A. Yes. He left from the police station and
8 went to Kacuni, which is a territory with a Muslim
9 majority population, but all of this is within the
10 territory of the municipality of Busovaca.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And he left just after
12 the takeover of power by the HVO; isn't that correct?
13 A. Yes, at that time, I think.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you relate the
15 takeover of power by the HVO to the fact that he left
16 for Kacuni?
17 A. That is possible too.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I thank you, Witness.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I have only one question. It
20 has to do with the idea of protection for Muslims.
21 You said to us several times, in answer to
22 questions that were asked, that this system for giving
23 authorisations for leaving and coming into Busovaca was
24 to protect the Muslims, to ensure law and order, and to
25 protect them. But to protect them from what, from
1 attacks by the Croats; is that what you meant?
2 A. From attacks by criminals, individuals,
3 criminal groups, persons who wanted to take revenge too
4 who could have mistreated them and persecuted them. We
5 asked them to tell us whether somebody was mistreating
6 them so that we could resolve the problem in that case
7 and that we could help them stay in their homes in this
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you would ask them that,
10 but would they always answer that they were being
11 threatened? Did they say that they were being
13 A. In cases where they were threatened, we
14 intervened, and we helped these people.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Well, that's not quite what I
16 asked. First of all, they said to you that they were
17 threatened. Did they specify what type of threat they
18 were under because there's no trace of that in the
19 statements or at least very rarely?
20 A. In certain cases, it was so. People came and
21 said that they were threatened by individuals who said
22 that they did not belong there and that they would kill
24 JUDGE JORDA: Then, as you, yourself, said,
25 they were only isolated cases.
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Let me ask you my
3 two questions. There were the isolated cases when
4 someone would say, "I'm coming to the police station, I
5 am Muslim, because my Croatian neighbours or others
6 want my house." There were not very many of those
7 cases; is that right? Is that what you're saying?
8 They were isolated cases. That's what you said.
9 A. I meant that this was done by individuals,
10 but there were quite a few such cases, especially
11 refugees coming from other areas. They sought
12 accommodation, and we intervened in such cases, but, at
13 any rate, we didn't allow anyone to be kicked out of
14 his own house or his own apartment. We would not allow
15 this kind of thing to happen.
16 JUDGE JORDA: But that has to do with the
17 isolated cases. There were individual cases where the
18 threats were individual threats, but most of them were
19 not individualised threats, and that is why that system
20 for authorising entrance and exit to the city was put
21 into place. Now, was that system something that the
22 population experienced in a rather positive way, that
23 is, the Muslim population?
24 A. Well, yes, it was in the interest of all to
25 know who was going where and who was doing what. For
1 safety reasons, it was in the interest of their
3 JUDGE JORDA: How many people did you have
4 working in your police station?
5 A. Some of us worked at the station, and some
6 were at the frontline. They were involved in defence.
7 So there were about 20 of us at the station and 30,
8 approximately, at the frontline.
9 JUDGE JORDA: As regards that system, about
10 how many people would come every day to register, to be
11 allowed to either come in or to go out of the
12 territory? Each day, about how many people would come
14 A. Well, it depends. Two or three persons,
15 perhaps one person would go and two or three would
16 come, something like that.
17 JUDGE JORDA: So you would intervene when the
18 threat was specific. Did you have any problems with
19 the Croatian people that you would intervene on behalf
21 A. Yes, we had major problems.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, the Croatian part of
23 the population didn't always like what you were doing;
24 is that correct?
25 A. Yes, it was very difficult with them. They
1 were saying, "You are our own policemen. Why are you
2 persecuting us?"
3 JUDGE JORDA: So that, in the end, this
4 authorising system must have been very constraining for
5 the Muslims, not very effective, because you didn't
6 have a lot of men working for you at your police
7 station, and the Croatian population didn't have a very
8 high opinion of you.
9 Would you agree with me if I were to say that
10 the system was somewhat absurd?
11 A. I don't know if it was absurd or not, but
12 that is the way it functioned.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Mr. Katava, the
14 Tribunal thanks you for having come to The Hague to
15 testify in this trial. The usher will now escort you
16 out of the courtroom, and we will continue our work.
17 THE WITNESS: Thank you too, sir.
18 (The witness withdrew)
19 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the next witness
20 is covered by protective measures, and in order to set
21 up the courtroom, we are going to take a 15-minute or
22 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.26 a.m.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Resume the hearing now. Have
1 the accused brought in, please.
2 (The accused entered court)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, will you be doing
4 the direct examination?
5 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. It is a
6 protected witness that we have next. He would also
7 like to be given a pseudonym and face distortion. We
8 would like to have a private session at one point
9 because some of the facts might help to identify him,
10 so we would like to move into a private session at some
12 JUDGE JORDA: I thought this was a closed
13 session. Is it not a closed session? This is a public
14 session? Oh, it's simply putting in protective
15 measures. If it is a witness whose name we're not
16 going to say, therefore his pseudonym is what?
17 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Witness DM, "M"
18 like "Mary."
19 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Let's have the
20 witness brought in, Witness DM.
21 (The witness entered court)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me, Witness DM?
23 THE WITNESS: I can hear you.
24 JUDGE JORDA: First we're going to ask you to
25 verify your name on this piece of paper but without
1 your saying it. Be sure that this is, in fact, you.
2 Is that correct? Don't say your name.
3 THE WITNESS: (Nods in the affirmative)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing for a
5 few moments, as long as it takes to take your solemn
7 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
8 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated
11 now. You are covered by protective measures. You will
12 be called Witness DM and your face cannot be seen. In
13 respect of everything else, this is a public hearing,
14 but at any point, the attorneys, especially the Defence
15 attorneys who called you, can ask for a completely
16 closed session if there is no objection by the opposing
17 party, and we do that for your benefit. Do not be
18 afraid of anything. You are before Judges. You can
19 speak without fear, and you will see that everything
20 will go along smoothly.
21 Mr. Nobilo, don't hesitate to ask for a
22 closed session whenever you like. Proceed, please.
23 WITNESS: WITNESS DM
24 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Witness DM, you
1 are retired; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, I am.
3 Q. Before we go on with the
4 examination-in-chief, we are going to hand round a map
5 to explain to the Trial Chamber where you lived up
6 until the conflict broke out between the Muslims and
7 the Croats in the Vitez municipality.
8 MR. NOBILO: This is the original map and a
10 THE REGISTRAR: Document D452 and D452A for
11 the legend. I don't know whether the document is
12 confidential or not. If you would let me know,
14 MR. NOBILO: It isn't.
15 Q. Witness DM, could you take up the pointer --
16 I think you will find it on the table in front of
17 you -- and show us on the map that is located on your
18 left-hand side the village where you lived up until the
19 conflict. You can use your glasses, if necessary. But
20 don't move it, please, because we won't be able to see
21 it. Don't move the map. Leave the map as it stands,
23 Can you indicate the village of Poculica?
24 A. This is it here (indicating).
25 Q. So that is the village you lived in prior to
1 the conflicts?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Would you explain to the Trial Chamber,
4 please, the local community, the municipality, the
5 local community and the self-governing community, which
6 villages did it incorporate at that time? It did not
7 incorporate Poculica alone.
8 A. Your Honours, the village -- the local
9 community of Poculica encompassed Poculica with a
10 gravitation towards the road running from Vitez to
11 Zenica. On the right-hand side lies the village of
12 Prnjavor, and further on, one and a half to two
13 kilometres, you have the village of Vrhovine.
14 Q. Does that mean that this local community, as
15 you call it, is composed of the villages of Poculica,
16 Prnjavor, and Vrhovine?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber, please, if you can,
19 the composition of the inhabitants? How many Muslims
20 and how many Croats lived in the village of Poculica
21 and how many in the local community that you described?
22 A. Your Honours, the local community of
23 Poculica, the Croats lived along the road. Up until
24 half the village, from the direction of Vitez, these
25 are Croat houses. Towards Vjetrenice is the mixed
1 population. To the right of the village of Poculica
2 lies the village of Prnjavor which is a purely Muslim
3 village. Further to the right of Prnjavor, one and a
4 half to two kilometres, we have the village of
5 Vrhovine, which is once again a purely Muslim village.
6 They are fairly large villages. I don't know the exact
7 number of inhabitants, but there are about 70 Croat
8 houses, approximately, and Muslims in those three
9 villages, I would say there were about 250.
10 Q. Muslim houses, you mean?
11 A. Yes, Muslim houses.
12 Q. Tell the Court, please, in the municipality
13 of Vitez, how many family members are there to one
14 house or household? What is the average?
15 A. Well, some people had five or six, some
16 households numbered two or three, some numbered seven
17 or eight.
18 Q. Thank you. The conflict between the Muslims
19 and Croats in the Vitez municipality began on the 16th
20 of April, 1993.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you tell the Court, before the actual
23 conflict on the 16th of April took place, did you
24 notice anything that would indicate that a conflict was
25 imminent? Did you notice anything, any strange
1 goings-on, or was everything as it was usually?
2 A. Before the Croat and Muslim conflict, the
3 Muslims had patrols above the village at Vjetrenice and
4 they were called Gajevi. On the lower part of the
5 village from the Vitez direction at Stipica, they had
6 some bunkers, trenches.
7 Q. And the situation, what was that like?
8 A. Well, it was tolerable. There were no major
10 Q. Did you ever hear of people, foreign Muslims,
11 some Mujahedins, coming to your local community, people
12 who had never lived there, that is to say, prior to the
14 A. This was rumoured, yes, it was rumoured that
15 they existed, but when, on the 16th of April, I sat in
16 my house with my wife, at about 9.00, in my yard, there
17 was shooting from an automatic rifle. When the
18 shooting stopped, my wife went out to see what was
19 going on, and they said, "Who's in the house?" They
20 asked her, "Who's in the house?" And she said, "My
21 husband." And I went out, and they sent us to the
22 village of Prnjavor, they expelled us to the village of
23 Prnjavor, to a youth centre, all the men, and everybody
24 that did not escape was rounded up and taken to the
25 prison at the youth centre in Prnjavor. The men went
1 to the youth centre and the women were taken to the
2 basements of two or three Muslim houses.
3 Q. Who rounded up the men and the women and what
4 nationality were those individuals who were taken to
5 the prisons, both men and women, and which ethnic group
6 did the people who rounded them up belong to?
7 A. Those of us who were taken to prison were all
8 Croats, both men, women, and children, and we were
9 taken by soldiers of the army -- the BH army.
10 Q. Tell us, please, the men and women that were
11 rounded up, were there HVO soldiers amongst you, that
12 is to say, men wearing uniform and carrying weapons?
13 A. No, none of us had weapons. Some of us, two
14 or three, did have uniforms on. It was a reserve
15 formation. And some of us went up towards Travnik to
16 Slatke Vode, which was where the frontlines were
17 together with the Muslims, so the Muslims and Croats
18 were there on the frontlines towards the Serbs, towards
19 Travnik and Lasva.
20 Q. All the rest, all the other men and women and
21 children, were they all civilians, Croat civilians?
22 A. Yes, they were all Croat civilians.
23 Q. How many men had been rounded up and how many
24 women and children? How many were imprisoned?
25 A. I think there were about 30 of us in the
1 youth centre and we were made to lie down on the
2 concrete. There was no protection on the floor. It
3 was just a concrete flooring.
4 Q. When you say "us," you mean the men, do you?
5 A. Yes, I do. Men.
6 Q. What about the women and children?
7 A. The women were in the basements. I did not
8 see them.
9 Q. What kind of conditions prevailed? You said
10 that there were no beds, that you had to lie down on
11 the concrete floor. Did you have any bathrooms and
13 A. No, nothing.
14 Q. Did you have a toilet?
15 A. Well, we could go outside during the day and
16 we had a bucket during the night and we were locked in
18 Q. Tell us, you were rounded up and locked up on
19 the 16th of April, 1993, were you not? What time did
20 they take you to Prnjavor?
21 A. It was about 9.00 or 9.30, thereabouts.
22 Q. Would you use your pointer and tell us
23 whether number 2 is the location where you were when
24 they arrested you and took you to the centre in
1 A. Poculica is here and these two places are
3 Q. Thank you. Would you explain to the Court,
4 between the night of the 18th and 19th of April, 1993,
5 the commander of the Military Police came to the
6 prison. What did he want?
7 A. At around the 18th of April, 1993, the chief
8 of the military Muslim police came to the prison and
9 took 20 individuals with him. He gave us guards and
10 they took us down towards the station which was called
11 the Han company in Sivrino Selo.
12 Q. Can you show us Sivrino Selo on the map? Is
13 it located by number 3? Take your pointer, please.
14 Look at number 3, and is that Sivrino Selo?
15 A. Yes. Here it is (indicating).
16 Q. So that's where you were taken. Now, what
17 happened there?
18 A. Two of the soldiers were killed, and they
19 told us that we would be a human shield while they
20 buried their dead, and we stood around them as a human
21 shield to prevent anybody shooting at them from the
22 frontlines down below.
23 Q. When you say "they," do you mean the BH army?
24 A. Yes, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Q. And their soldiers were burying their own
1 dead; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. And you Croat civilians who had been taken
4 prisoner had to stand around them?
5 A. Yes. We were a human shield.
6 Q. Did they say to stop your own people from
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Were you standing around in a semicircle?
10 A. Yes. Not a full circle but two-thirds of a
11 circle, looking from the bottom up.
12 Q. In that way, did you protect the people doing
13 the digging from the HVO positions with your bodies?
14 A. Yes, with our bodies we protected them.
15 Q. Did you have to stand the whole time or were
16 you allowed to sit down?
17 A. While they were digging the graves, we had to
18 stand. Then we went up to the village which was
19 further up ahead, and we waited until dusk and then
20 they brought them and buried them and then we were
21 returned at night to the prison.
22 Q. Just one moment, please. While the digging
23 was going on, while the graves were being dug, you
24 civilians had to remain standing; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In order to protect them?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. Let us now move on to the
4 following day when the chief of the Military Police
5 came to the prison once again.
6 A. Yes, the same chief of Military Police came
7 once again, and he selected 18 men and took them down
8 below where they remained the entire time until the
9 exchange took place. I remained in prison.
10 Q. Where did they take them?
11 A. To Sivrino Selo.
12 Q. So they had to work for the frontline. So it
13 was at the frontline?
14 A. Yes, at the BH army frontline.
15 Q. Were these stronger, youngish men?
16 A. Well, he left me as an elderly one and a few
17 others, but they took some younger ones.
18 Q. You remained in prison, and sometime around
19 the 23rd of April, 1993, a tragic event occurred in
20 prison. Could you explain to the Court what happened
22 A. We were locked up during the night. There
23 was a lock on the door, and the guard was outdoors, and
24 we were relieving ourselves inside. At daybreak, we
25 heard a male voice shouting, the guard, saying, "Open
1 up." And the guard said, "I can't. I don't have the
2 key." And the other one was screaming out loud and
3 saying, "Open up." And he said, "I can't. The key is
4 at the command." So then he shot through the door.
5 People started screaming inside, there were ten of us,
6 there were ten men there, and they also brought in five
7 women to wait for exchange in Preocica, and I think he
8 shot an entire clip.
9 Q. How many bullets is that?
10 A. A clip? I don't know. Thirty-six, I think,
11 36 are in a clip. And when he stopped shooting, the
12 door opened and the room was full of smoke. The
13 balance was nine wounded, three killed, and three were
14 intact but in a state of great shock. I haven't
15 finished yet.
16 Q. Oh, yes. Please go on.
17 A. A few minutes later, nurses came -- or,
18 rather, orderlies came and carried the wounded to
20 Q. You remained intact; right?
21 A. The three of us remained alive and three were
22 killed. Two officers came and they wrote down the
23 names of the dead and they took photographs of them,
24 and when they finished that, one of them said, "Why did
25 he do this? Why didn't he throw two grenades? All the
1 pigs would have been dead." And he asked us, "Why are
2 you trembling? Why are you pretending?" And that day,
3 all of us were transferred to a bigger Croat house,
4 both the men and the women, and then they took better
5 care of us, a bit.
6 Q. The next event that I would like you to tell
7 the Court about was the one from the 28th of April when
8 they came to get you and another friend of yours.
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, could we please
11 move into private session for a minute only because
12 this could lead to identification?
13 JUDGE JORDA: No objections, Mr. Harmon?
14 MR. HARMON: No, no objections.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Go ahead.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you. Thank you.
17 MR. NOBILO: Just a minute. We don't want
18 the public to hear this at all.
19 (Private session)
13 Page 15601 redacted in private session
13 Page 15602 redacted in private session
9 (Open session)
10 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead. All right. We are
11 in public session again.
12 THE WITNESS: On the 1st of May, 1993,
13 through the International Red Cross, we were exchanged,
14 and I went to the town of Vitez.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. We are going to stop at this point now and we
17 are going to move to the present time. The Croatian
18 houses in the lower part of the village, closer to
19 Vitez, this is a purely Croatian part of the village.
20 In what shape are the houses now?
21 A. These houses are completely burned down,
22 destroyed -- well, not totally, not to the ground, but
23 sort of half. I don't know how to put it, but some
24 have been burned down more than a half.
25 Q. So they were razed to the ground?
1 A. Yes, they were. I mean, that is the part
2 where only Croats live. That is a bit less than half
3 of the houses.
4 Q. So we're talking about the total number of
5 Croat houses. But tell me, in this mixed area that you
6 live in, have the Croats come back or does somebody
7 live in their houses?
8 A. In our houses, those that remained intact,
9 they were looted. Everything was taken away from
10 them. But there are some people living in them. Our
11 houses were looted, our trees were cut down and
12 orchards too. I was in Vitez. It was terrible. We
13 were surrounded totally. And a lot of our civilians
14 and soldiers were killed, and my son was killed. For
15 one month, he lay dead, and we could not bury him, and
16 it was not only him, there were others. They did not
17 allow us to get them out and bury them.
18 Q. Thank you, Witness DM.
19 MR. NOBILO: We have thus concluded the
20 direct examination. Mr. President, we have
21 completed --
22 A. Please, I would like to add something.
23 Q. But the rules are that once we have finished,
24 it's finished.
25 A. I know, but I have something very important
1 to say.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Well, if you have something you
3 would like to add, go ahead.
4 A. I do.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, yes, I know that you have
6 many things to say, and you will say them, but for the
7 moment --
8 A. I won't take too much of your time.
9 JUDGE JORDA: All right, go ahead. Go
11 A. In 1995, when the fighting ended between the
12 Croats and the Muslims, we went on an official visit to
13 our dead and to the cemeteries. When we came, it was a
14 sight to behold. The fence was taken away, all of it.
15 The chapel was burned down. All the tombstones were
16 broken. After that, some donors gave us assistance,
17 and we put a fence around our dead once again.
18 When we went there again after some time,
19 again, the fence was missing. Again, they took it
20 away. And the relationships are not really very good.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Witness DM. You
22 will now be asked some questions by the representatives
23 of the Office of the Prosecutor, and then the Judges
24 may ask you a few questions as well.
25 Mr. Harmon, if you want to ask a few
1 questions, ask Witness DM a few questions.
2 MR. HARMON: Yes, thank you very much,
3 Mr. President, Your Honours, Counsel.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Harmon:
5 Q. Good morning, Witness DM.
6 A. Good morning.
7 Q. I'm Mark Harmon, and I'm from the
8 Prosecutor's Office, and my colleagues, to the right is
9 Mr. Andrew Cayley, and to his right is Mr. Gregory
10 Kehoe. I don't have many questions to ask you this
11 morning, but I want to ask you initially some questions
12 about the village where you lived.
13 I have had an opportunity to take a look at
14 Prosecutor's Exhibit 46, which is a copy of the 1991
15 census. In the census figures for the village of
16 Poculica, it indicates that there were, in 1991, 739
17 residents, 408 of whom were of Croatian descent and 321
18 of whom were of Muslim descent. Is that consistent
19 with what you recall the village population to be?
20 A. Yes. In the village of Poculica proper,
21 which gravitates towards the road, there were more
22 Croats than Muslims, more Croat houses than Muslim
23 houses. Perhaps I could say, not very precisely, but I
24 think that there were about 70 Croat houses and about
25 40 Muslim houses.
1 Q. Now, in the community itself, you said there
2 was a village called Prnjavor. Does the village of
3 Prnjavor appear separately from the village of Poculica
4 on this particular map or is Prnjavor contained within
5 the area that says "Poculica"?
6 A. Officially speaking, these three villages are
7 called or referred to as Poculica, but each village has
8 its individual name. Poculica is Poculica; Prnjavor is
9 Prnjavor; Vrhovine is Vrhovine. But as one entity, the
10 local community was the local community of Poculica,
11 using the name of that village.
12 Q. And from testimony that we have heard
13 previously and from, as I understand it, your
14 testimony, the village of Poculica was a village where
15 there was a part of the village that was predominantly
16 Croat, inhabited by the Croats, a part of the village
17 that was predominantly inhabited by Muslims, and a part
18 of the village that was more integrated, was more
19 mixed; is that correct?
20 A. Down below the mosque up to the school
21 building and 100 metres below the school, the village
22 was purely Croat. The village is all one, but Croats
23 lived there. Whereas from the school upwards, this was
24 a mixed community.
25 Q. Witness DM, in that part of the village that
1 was purely Croat, approximately how many houses were
2 there in that part of the village?
3 A. Well, to give you an exact number, perhaps up
4 to 30 houses, perhaps.
5 Q. Now, Witness DM, you lived in the mixed part
6 of the village, did you not?
7 A. Yes, yes, I did.
8 Q. And your neighbours, you had Muslims as
9 neighbours, did you not?
10 A. Yes, I did. They were Muslims. My
11 neighbours were Muslims.
12 Q. Now, before the Muslim/Croat war started, you
13 got along well with your Muslim neighbours, didn't you?
14 A. Well, we lived normally, not too much love
15 lost between us, but we lived normally. Well, more or
16 less, that was it.
17 Q. On the morning of the 16th of April, you said
18 that what first attracted your attention was the sounds
19 of an automatic rifle being fired at approximately 9.00
20 in the morning; is that correct?
21 A. Between 9.00 and 9.30, thereabouts. That was
22 the time.
23 Q. And you then went outside and were confronted
24 by a Muslim soldier; is that correct?
25 A. There were three soldiers.
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. One, I did not know, and two were covered.
3 Q. Now, when the Muslim soldiers wanted to take
4 you to the community centre, didn't your Muslim
5 neighbour, a woman, attempt to intervene and say to
6 those soldiers, "It's okay. He can come and stay at my
7 house." Do you remember that?
8 A. I remember it well. (redacted)
9 (redacted) said we could stay, we should stay, but the
10 soldiers didn't let us.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
12 MR. HARMON: I've taken care of the matter,
13 Mr. President.
14 Q. Now, thereafter, you were taken initially,
15 were you not, to the community centre, but the
16 community centre was locked, wasn't it, and you then
17 were taken to a house belonging to Nasid Bertas; is
18 that correct?
19 A. Yes, that's correct, and that man was very
20 nice towards us.
21 Q. So when you and the other Bosnian Croats from
22 the village of Poculica were taken down to Mr. Bertas's
23 house, in fact, you were offered coffee, and the
24 treatment that was given to you was quite proper,
25 wasn't it?
1 A. Yes, yes, that's right.
2 Q. And Mr. Bertas was a Muslim, wasn't he?
3 A. Yes, he was.
4 Q. Now, were you later in the day put into this
5 particular community centre, you and other men?
6 A. That day, I was taken first.
7 Q. Now, approximately what time did you arrive
8 at Mr. Bertas's house, at about 9.30 in the morning?
9 A. Between 9.30 and 10.00, thereabouts. The
10 community centre was locked, and one man banged on it
11 with his foot. They took us back to the house, and
12 when they managed to open the door, they took us back.
13 Q. Do you remember what time that was, when you
14 were taken into the community centre?
15 A. I didn't have a watch on me, so I can't tell
16 you exactly.
17 Q. Okay. And then you remained in the community
18 centre, I take it, as a detainee, unless and until you
19 wanted to go outside to relieve yourself, but for all
20 intents and purposes, you remained in the community
21 centre until the events that you've described in your
22 testimony, when you were taken to be used as a human
23 shield, when you were taken to Barin Gaj to retrieve a
24 body; is that fair to say?
25 A. Yes, that's all true.
1 Q. Now, while you were at the community centre,
2 did your Muslim neighbours bring food to you and to the
3 other people who were being detained?
4 A. Yes, Muhamed Dzidic brought us food and
5 coffee, and he was very good to us.
6 Q. Now, what about Nasid Bektas? He's a Muslim
7 as well. How did he treat you?
8 A. With Nasid Bektas, the women were located in
9 his basement and in two or three other basements, and
10 Nasid Bektas was correct in his behaviour towards
11 them. He wouldn't allow any mistreatment of them --
12 Q. Now, when you --
13 A. -- by the army.
14 Q. Thank you, sir. When you stayed in the
15 community centre, did you have blankets?
16 A. We had one blanket. Atif Taunic brought us a
18 Q. And Atif Taunic, is he a Muslim?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, when was the first time you heard
21 shelling from artillery?
22 A. When we were locked up. In a couple of days'
23 time, shooting could be heard. I don't know where it
24 was coming from. We were inside, you see, probably
25 somewhere around the frontline down below, but there
1 was a frontline in several positions. There was an
2 encirclement, and battles were being waged.
3 Q. Am I correct in saying, Witness DM, that the
4 first artillery impacts that you heard in the village
5 of Poculica occurred after you were detained in the
6 community centre?
7 A. It could be heard. Whether there was mortar
8 fire or whether it was the artillery, I don't know.
9 I'm not a military expert to be able to assess what
10 type of shooting actually took place.
11 Q. And it was the first time you heard that kind
12 of fire, be it mortar or artillery, after you were
13 detained in the community centre?
14 A. Yes, yes, there was shooting then, and when I
15 was in Vitez, there was shooting all the time. There
16 were attacks all the time by that army because there
17 were two corps stationed there, the 3rd and 7th Corps,
18 and they had made an encirclement around Vitez, like a
19 belt on a pair of trousers. And even at my age, I had
20 to go up to the frontline and work for the needs of the
21 frontline and the army because there were very few of
22 us, and there was great pressure being exerted.
23 Q. Now, let me ask you, Witness DM, were you
24 aware that, on the 16th of April, 1993, HVO artillery
25 positions from Vitez, from the area of Gradina, were
1 shelling the village of Poculica?
2 A. I don't know that.
3 Q. Okay. Let me ask you another question. You
4 mentioned that there were some but, I take it, very few
5 people who were of Croatian descent, who lived in
6 Poculica, who were in the HVO, and who went to the
7 frontlines to fight against the Serbs; is that correct?
8 A. That's correct, yes.
9 Q. Approximately how many people fell into that
11 A. I couldn't say.
12 Q. Okay.
13 A. There weren't many of them but they did go.
14 Q. Now, before the events that you've described
15 on the 16th of April took place, were there any Bosnian
16 army units, headquarters, or locations where they
17 conducted their business located in the village of
19 A. In the village of Prnjavor where Prnjavor
20 starts, about 100 metres in depth, there was a big
21 house there, and that was a fighting unit of some kind,
22 and they said that there was some foreigners there as
23 well, and we could hear them training there. They
24 would say "Allah-u-ekber" and cries of that kind. That
25 could be heard.
1 Q. So that appeared to be a Muslim fighting unit
2 of some kind located in the village of Poculica or the
3 community of Poculica, I should say.
4 A. Well, that unit was there, yes, but after the
5 Muslims went, they didn't go up to Slatke Vode. They
6 were just there for the needs of that particular
8 Q. Now, how far away was Poculica from the
9 frontline? I'm talking about the frontline between the
10 Muslims and the Croats.
11 A. There was no frontline at Poculica. The
12 frontline was down below Sivrino Selo, towards Han
13 Kompanja, and at Krizancevo Selo, the side towards
14 Zenica and lower there, Gavrina Kuce. And then on the
15 other side, there is Kruscica, and that was where the
16 other frontline was and up by Bukve, and that went
17 right the way around, an encirclement.
18 Q. My question to you, Witness DM, is
19 approximately how far away from Poculica was the
20 closest frontline between the Muslim forces and the
22 A. From Poculica, well, below Poculica, five
24 Q. Now, you were rounded up from your home about
25 9.00 to 9.30 in the morning on the 16th of April.
1 Witness DM, were you aware that at 5.30 in the morning
2 on the 16th of April the HVO attacked the village of
3 Ahmici, the village of Vitez, the village of Donja
4 Veceriska, the village of Santici, and the village of
5 Nadioci? Were you aware of that?
6 A. I'm not aware of that, no. I'm a pensioner,
7 and I was at home, and I slept a little late, and I
8 can't tell you anything about that.
9 Q. Did you ever hear about the events that
10 occurred at Ahmici?
11 A. Well, it was rumoured that there were
12 casualties down there, but I don't know who or what.
13 Q. Did you ever visit the village of Ahmici?
14 A. No, I did not.
15 Q. Now, you said in your testimony, Witness DM,
16 that you came back to your village, and I believe it
17 was in -- when was that exactly? I don't have a note
18 on that. Was that in 1995?
19 A. When we went to visit the cemetery, I think
20 that was in 1995, in the spring of 1995, at the
21 beginning of spring, because the fighting lasted until
22 the winter of 1994, so we didn't go that year, but we
23 went in 1995. I think that was when it was, and this
24 was an official visit, a group visit, and we were
25 escorted by the police.
1 Q. And you testified that the homes in the
2 purely Croat areas were burned to the ground or
3 destroyed; is that correct?
4 A. Well, they can't be used for living in. Some
5 were more destroyed; others were less destroyed, less
6 damaged. They weren't all burnt to the ground, but
7 they were destroyed, so they would have to be repaired.
8 Q. Now, Witness DM, did you see any of those
9 houses actually being destroyed?
10 A. That's a superfluous question. I said that
11 there were no roofs, there were no upper stories, upper
12 floors, and so the houses are uninhabitable. They have
13 been destroyed. Of course, not totally, not all of
15 Q. I think, Witness DM, you misunderstood my
16 question. I clearly understand the state of those
17 houses and their condition when you saw them in 1995.
18 My question to you was: Did you see them actually
19 being destroyed by somebody?
20 A. Oh, no, no, I didn't see that, no.
21 Q. Now, while you were in Vitez, while you lived
22 in Vitez, were you aware that the HVO continued to
23 shell Poculica?
24 A. I don't know that. I did some work for some
25 time and was in the work platoon, but who was shooting,
1 I don't know that. A mortar fell three metres from
2 where I was, but I was not killed myself. And one day,
3 a grenade fell from Bukve or I don't know from where,
4 and it killed eight children on the spot, eight
5 children who were playing in the yard. Eight children
6 were dead on the spot.
7 Q. Witness DM, when you went back to the village
8 of Poculica, did you tour the area of the village that
9 was mostly Muslim?
10 A. When we went to the cemetery, we passed by
11 the road, but I did not go into the houses and move
12 around the houses. I didn't move around that area, no.
13 Q. Could you determine whether any of those
14 houses had been damaged or destroyed?
15 A. Which houses?
16 Q. The houses that were in the predominantly
17 Muslim section of the village of Poculica?
18 A. The Muslim part of the village of Poculica,
19 no, the houses were not destroyed there. One house was
20 destroyed up there by the school, one house, and
21 several sheds near the mosque.
22 Q. What about in the area that was the part of
23 the village where you lived, the mixed area, where
24 there were Croats living amongst Muslims? What was the
25 condition of that part of the village?
1 A. Well, in that part of the village, there are
2 about ten houses. One shed was burnt down, along with
3 a cow in it, and another across the road, another barn
4 was burnt down there, and I don't remember anything
5 else being burnt in that area.
6 Q. Now, was the part of the village that was
7 exclusively Croat, where the 30 houses had been
8 destroyed, was that the part of the village of Poculica
9 that was closest to Vitez, closest to the frontline?
10 A. Yes, where the village begins, it is by the
11 village of Dubravica. There's Dubravica, and then you
12 have Poculica. It's the lower half, and that's where
13 the Croats were, and that's what was burnt down.
14 Q. Witness DM, you were exchanged on the 1st of
15 May, 1993. To your knowledge, did any Croats from the
16 village of Poculica remain in the village after you
17 were exchanged, and did they remain in the village
18 throughout the war?
19 A. Yes, two or three families remained one day,
20 and then the next day they had to leave immediately,
21 under pressure, that's what they said, and nobody
22 remained after that.
23 Q. Now, I'd like to turn your attention very
24 briefly to the unfortunate and sad events that you
25 described when a soldier came to the community centre
1 and fired into the building itself. I'd like to focus
2 your attention on that. Approximately what time of the
3 day did that occur? Was that in the morning or the
4 afternoon or the evening?
5 A. The morning before 9.00, probably.
6 Q. From what you describe, the soldier -- could
7 you see the soldier who did the shooting?
8 A. You cannot see through a door.
9 Q. Okay. So you could only hear him; is that
11 A. I heard a voice shouting "Open up," but I
12 don't know the voice. I don't know who it was.
13 Q. Did there appear to be an argument between
14 the guard who was guarding you and the other people who
15 were in the community centre and the soldier who did
16 the firing?
17 A. Yes, yes, he was shouting, "I don't have a
18 key," and the attacker said, "Open up," and the other
19 one said, "The key is at the command," and the command
20 was 10 or 15 metres away from us at the most, and he
21 did not wait for the key. He shot through the door.
22 The door was in the middle of the room, and it was a
23 metal door.
24 Q. Witness DM, in listening to this argument
25 between the person who shot and the guard, did he say
1 anything else that gave you any indication of why he
2 shot into the room where you and your friends were
3 being detained? As you look back on it now, is there
4 anything that he said that suggests to you a reason or
5 a motive why he did that?
6 A. They say that a relative of his was killed at
7 that line and that he wanted to take revenge for him by
8 killing us. That was the assumption, and that was the
9 rumour, and I cannot confirm it 100 per cent.
10 Q. Now, let me turn very briefly to another
11 area, and that deals with the occasion when you
12 described --
13 MR. HARMON: I'm trying to decide whether or
14 not this, Mr. President, was in private session, if you
15 would just give me a minute.
16 Q. Let me come back to the time very quickly,
17 Mr. DM, after the events when your companions were shot
18 and wounded. You said that medical help arrived. Did
19 it arrive fairly quickly after the event itself, and
20 were your companions taken to the hospital in Zenica?
21 A. A medical team arrived after 10 or 15 minutes
22 approximately, and they were taken to the hospital in
24 Q. Now, the occasion when you were used as a
25 human shield to allow the Muslim soldiers to bury their
1 dead, that was clearly wrong, wasn't it? That conduct
2 was wrong, wasn't it? Civilians shouldn't have been
3 used as human shields; isn't that your opinion?
4 A. Well, that's the way it was. It shouldn't
5 have been that way. Because they wanted to be safe and
6 they didn't want to be shot at, they used us as a
7 shield to protect themselves.
8 Q. Now, did you ever hear of the HVO ever doing
9 similar types of things to civilians, to Muslim
11 A. That, I do not know. I didn't walk around
12 with them so that I could say so. It's the soldiers
13 who were in the army who know that.
14 MR. HARMON: Witness DM, I have finished my
15 examination. Thank you very much.
16 Mr. President, I have concluded my
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, do you want to add
20 MR. NOBILO: Very, very briefly. Thank you,
21 Mr. President.
22 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
23 Q. Just two or three more questions. We don't
24 want to keep you much longer. When were you born?
25 Could you please remind us?
1 A. On the 1st of January, 1926.
2 Q. When the Prosecutor was questioning you, when
3 you were on the Croatian side, you said that although
4 you were born in 1926, that you were digging trenches?
5 A. Yes, yes. That's what I said. I was digging
6 trenches for the HVO.
7 Q. Tell me, did you belong to a work platoon?
8 A. I shouldn't have been. I wasn't supposed to
9 be. But due to the circumstances, I tried to help the
11 Q. Did all the men in Vitez belong to the army
12 or did they help the army by digging trenches,
13 et cetera?
14 A. Well, older people who were over 60, they
15 were not soldiers. They were there as manpower.
16 Q. When you were digging, was this at the
17 frontline, at the frontline?
18 A. Well, of course it was. Of course. At the
19 fighting line. That's where you dig trenches. Because
20 many times, the line would fall, and then you'd have to
21 dig another one, and then the soldiers wouldn't have
22 enough time to do so and then the civilians would have
23 to help them due to circumstances.
24 Q. Thank you. And now another area. You said
25 that before the conflict, in Prnjavor, there was a unit
1 of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that there
2 were foreigners among them. What did people say? What
3 did these foreigners look like?
4 A. I didn't see them, but people say that there
5 were some foreigners there, and the one who came into
6 my yard, he was a stranger to me and he had a different
7 way of talking.
8 Q. You said that you could hear these units
9 shouting "Allah-u-ekber"?
10 A. Yes, yes, yes. They were exercising, they
11 were doing something.
12 Q. And you said that they did not go to Slatke
13 Vode, so this unit was not engaged in warfare?
14 A. No, no, no. They went together, the Muslims
15 and the Croats, and my late son also went there when it
16 was his turn to go.
17 Q. And this fighting unit consisting of
18 strangers who were outside the area of your village and
19 who were shouting "Allah-u-ekber" and who did not go to
20 fight against the Serbs -- what about the Croats? Were
21 you afraid of them?
22 A. There were not only strangers there, not only
23 foreigners, there were locals and foreigners,
24 strangers, so, oh, it wasn't that easy.
25 Q. Let us move further on. You mentioned to the
1 Prosecutor that in the mixed part of the village that a
2 cow and a barn had burned down and yet another shed,
3 and who were the owners of these sheds and barns and
4 cows that had burned down?
5 A. One was owned by Ante Jurcevic and the other
6 one, it was owned by Bozo Kristo.
7 Q. What are they by ethnicity?
8 A. Croats.
9 Q. Did you see any Muslim houses or barns or
10 sheds on fire in that mixed part of the village?
11 A. There wasn't anyone to torch it.
12 Q. The Croatian part of the village was
13 destroyed, and it is five kilometres away from the
14 frontline, as you said. Tell the Court, what do you
15 think? Do you believe that the Croats from Vitez would
16 only shoot at the Croatian part of the village and not
17 at the Muslim part of the village?
18 A. Well, what was their interest in destroying
20 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. No further
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Let me turn to my
23 colleagues to ask whether they have any questions that
24 they want to ask. Judge Riad?
25 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, Witness DM. Can
1 you hear me?
2 A. I can.
3 JUDGE RIAD: When they came to you to take
4 you to the youth detention centre of Prnjavor, did they
5 choose some people or were they taking everybody, every
6 Croat, to the centre? Was there a choice of certain
8 A. All Croats who had not left on time, all of
9 them were taken. I mean, all who did not escape from
10 these events on time.
11 JUDGE RIAD: So all the Croats were taken
12 from the village, from Poculica?
13 A. All who had not fled earlier on.
14 JUDGE RIAD: Regardless of the age? Did they
15 take people, for instance, who are within a certain age
16 or even old men? You are not an old man, but did they
17 also take older men?
18 A. Everybody. The old, the sickly. Everybody.
19 JUDGE RIAD: Did they say why? Did they say
20 why you were being taken?
21 A. Well, they didn't say why. That was a war.
22 That's the way it is in a war. And people then never
23 explain to their victims why they are taking them away.
24 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned that -- or at
25 least I take the interpretation, you said there was no
1 love lost between the Croats and the Muslims. And at
2 the same time, you mentioned that Muslim neighbours
3 brought you food when you were in, I suppose, in
4 detention, and that this man, Nasid Bektas, sheltered
5 the women and so on. Does this confirm what you say
6 about -- that there was no love lost between Muslims
7 and Croats, at least from the side of the Muslims?
8 A. I said that relations were normal. We lived
9 together, but we didn't exactly like each other very
10 much. But there was nothing else they could do. I
11 mean, I thanked this Dzidic Muhamed and Nasid and I
12 continue to thank them for their thoughtfulness towards
13 us, their kindness, and Nasid once came to see me and
14 he had something to do in Vitez, and I took him where
15 he was supposed to go because he didn't dare go on his
17 JUDGE RIAD: I quoted you as saying relations
18 now are not good. That was the translation in
19 English. So do you think you can still live together
21 A. Life together in the future is difficult.
22 When the dead cannot lie in peace at cemeteries, what
23 will happen to the living? That I do not understand.
24 Because they even disturbed the peace of the dead.
25 They won't let them lie in peace.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Witness DM.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Witness DM, I want to
4 talk to you briefly about the man who shot open the
5 door of the building in which you were and who, in
6 doing so, killed some of your companions and wounded
7 others. What happened with that man? Do you know?
8 A. We don't know who shot and we don't know -- I
9 mean, somebody had to know. And what happened, well,
10 that is only something that the people who were in
11 charge know. We have no way of knowing.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, let us talk about
13 Poculica and Ahmici. How far is Ahmici from Poculica?
14 A. If you take the road, it's about eight
15 kilometres, but as the crow flies, it is less, up to
16 five kilometres; if you were to take shortcuts too.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If there were explosions
18 at Ahmici, would you hear the sound of the explosions
19 from where you were at Poculica?
20 A. Well, you can hear it at a five-kilometre
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: But you said the first
23 sounds which you heard coming from an automatic rifle
24 were heard by you at 9.00.
25 A. That's what I heard in my own yard, when this
1 guy came to pick me up and then he shot a few bullets
2 so that he would see how everybody would react.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Before that, did you
4 hear any sounds coming from explosions at Ahmici?
5 A. Well, around that time, I could hear perhaps
6 small arms but, you know, there are several villages
7 out there, so I could not notice exactly where this was
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well then, do I take it
10 that your testimony is that before 9.00, you heard the
11 sounds coming from Ahmici or the surrounding villages
12 and deriving from shells or guns? How would you react
13 to that?
14 A. I didn't hear shells. Guns, rifles, you
15 could hear them from afar, but I could not tell where
16 from. It was from the yard that I heard this. As they
17 were taking me out, that's when I heard it.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Are there any Muslims
19 now in Poculica?
20 A. There are Muslims.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And no Croats now?
22 A. No. No Croats.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Thank you very
25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Witness DM. Your
1 evidence is over. You have been very courageous. The
2 Tribunal thanks you for having come and wishes you
3 Godspeed back to your village in the hope that
4 everything will become peaceful and, once again, the
5 Trial Chamber thanks you.
6 We are going to escort you out of the
7 courtroom, but I would like everyone to remain for a
8 short Status Conference in closed session.
9 The registrar will ask for closed session
10 and, at the same time, we can take the witness out of
11 the courtroom.
12 (The witness withdrew)
13 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
14 12.44 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
15 the 27th day of November, 1998, at
16 9.45 a.m.