1 Friday, 31 May 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated] Madam Registrar, could
7 you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This is the case number,
9 IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin and Momir Talic.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Brdjanin, good morning to you. Can you hear me
11 in a language that you can understand?
12 THE ACCUSED BRDJANIN: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
13 I can hear you and understand you.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you. You may sit down.
15 General Talic, good morning to you. Can you hear me in a language
16 that you can understand?
17 THE ACCUSED TALIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. I
18 can hear you in a language that I understand.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down.
20 Appearances for the Prosecution.
21 MR. CAYLEY: May it please Your Honours, my name is Andrew Cayley
22 and I appear with my colleague Anna Richterova on behalf of the
23 Prosecution with our case manager Denise Gustin.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Mr. Cayley.
25 Appearances for Radoslav Brdjanin.
1 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, good morning. My
2 name is Milan Trbojevic, and I'm the co-counsel of Mr. Ackerman and also
3 our assistant Madam Jevtovic.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
5 Appearances for General Talic.
6 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning,
7 Mr. President, Your Honours. I'm Natasha Ivanovic-Fauveau representing
8 General Talic.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Any news, Madam Fauveau? For the record, about the
10 appointment of the lead counsel.
11 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the lead
12 counsel for General Talic arrived in The Hague yesterday. He met with
13 General Talic, and everybody agreed that he would leave for Belgrade to
14 regulate things over there and he will be joining us again after the break
15 in the beginning of June.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: General Talic, in the meantime, are you happy with
17 the situation?
18 THE ACCUSED TALIC: [Interpretation] Well, I will have to accept
19 the situation and tolerate it till the end of the break, and I believe
20 that Madam Ivanovic is doing her job very well.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't doubt that. But I want to make sure that
22 you're not feeling prejudiced or unduly hampered in your defence.
23 THE ACCUSED TALIC: [Interpretation] I don't believe that I'm
24 unduly hampered. And of course I would like to have the lead counsel
25 present here as soon as possible.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, General Talic. If there are complaints
2 in this context that you would like to make, please feel free to make them
3 at any time.
4 THE ACCUSED TALIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. And
5 I thank you for the interest you've expressed. If I have anything, I will
6 intervene. Thank you.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, General Talic. You may sit down.
8 Madam Fauveau, thank you.
9 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could we go
10 into private session for a while so that I can explain why the lead
11 counsel is not coming before the end of the break.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... I don't think
13 you need to explain. I mean, I can quite understand that he -- any lawyer
14 that is going to take such a burden -- take up such a burden as being a
15 lead counsel in a trial which has already been going on for four months or
16 so, I mean, has to wind up his business at least temporarily or as
18 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] But there's also an
19 administrative point. He hasn't been officially designated, and that is
20 why he's not present in the courtroom.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I know. I know that. I know that.
22 Okay. That seems to have been settled or on the point of being
23 settled once and for all, which would make everyone happier.
24 And perhaps, Madam Richterova, you said you have 15 more minutes
25 to go. You may have more, of course. Please proceed. Thank you.
1 Mr. Begic, may I ask you to repeat the solemn declaration that you
2 made yesterday, please. The usher will help you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
4 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5 WITNESS: RAJIF BEGIC [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Begic. And good morning to you.
8 Thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
10 Examined by Ms. Richterova: [Continued]
11 Q. Mr. Begic, before we adjourned yesterday you stated that you went
12 to Mr. Krlic's house, you rested there for some time, you fell asleep in
13 about 30 minutes, in your guess. You heard voices which were asking that
14 you get out of the house. Did you go out of the house?
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
17 A. Outside a few neighbours were waiting for me from the checkpoint,
18 and an officer unknown to me who came with them.
19 Q. Did they take you somewhere?
20 A. Yes. After our brief discussion, they took me by car to Tomina,
21 where there is an outpatient clinic and where I was to receive medical
23 Q. Did you receive medical assistance?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Where did you go from this medical house?
1 A. Before entering the emergency unit, I was briefly informed that I
2 was to go later to the elementary school for questioning and see Gojko
3 Saula for the questioning, which I did after the medical treatment.
4 Q. Before you were taken to medical treatment, you said that a few
5 neighbours and an officer -- and an unknown officer took you out from the
6 house. Was he a soldier or policeman?
7 A. He was a soldier. And I believe by rank that he was a lieutenant,
8 because I knew the ranks. I also knew his name. But Vrucinic -- but at
9 present, I'm not sure.
10 Q. Do you know which army he belonged to?
11 A. He was a member of the 6th Krajina Brigade, a member of the Serb
13 Q. After the medical treatment, you said that you were informed to go
14 for interrogation; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Where were you taken?
17 A. Well, to the school. There was some 200 metres, and Dr. Majkic
18 took me there, the one who gave me the -- assisted me medically, treated
19 me. And I was accompanied also by two soldiers. And on the threshold --
20 at the threshold of the school we met Gojko Saula and Nedzo Sucur.
21 Allegedly he was also to be questioned, but he had some work to do and he
22 turned to Nedzo and told Nedzo to question me.
23 Q. Just to explain, why were you taken to the school?
24 A. In that school at the time, these were the quarters of the army.
25 It is there that they slept, they had their canteen and their offices.
1 And this was where -- also the reception area.
2 Q. So you said that Nedzo was supposed to question you. Did he
3 question you?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What were you talking about or what kind of questions did he ask
7 A. Nedzo already before the -- worked in Tomina as an agricultural
8 engineer and he knew us personally, us people from the village of Begici,
9 we were close. And at the time when we were alone, we spoke of
10 everything, how everything turned out for the worst, that it shouldn't
11 have happened. He guaranteed me that it wasn't his soldiers who had done
12 it. Then we passed on to the questioning concerning what really happened
13 on that day.
14 Q. When you said that "He guaranteed me that it wasn't his soldiers,"
15 does it mean that he was a commander of some soldiers? Did he tell you
16 any information about his role?
17 A. No. No. But one would understand from this that he had his
19 Q. So I will go on. And you stated that you started talking about
20 what really happened. So what did he ask you?
21 A. Well, he asked how did we arrive to the bridge, with whom, and
22 what really happened with us. Because he wasn't supposedly present, and
23 he didn't know what really happened and what was going on.
24 Q. What did you tell him?
25 A. I -- well, I told him in detail from the moment I left my home to
1 the moment when I again handed myself in to the Serb authorities.
2 Q. And what was his reaction to your -- to your story?
3 A. I don't think he believed me completely. Then after a short time
4 elapsed, he then called in a soldier to the room where we were sitting.
5 The soldier Kaurin and he asked me whether I knew that man.
6 Q. Was this Kaurin the same person you mentioned as Nenad Kaurin who
7 was at the bridge?
8 A. Yes. Yes, it's the same person.
9 Q. Okay. You may go on.
10 A. And he asked me whether I knew this person and from where I knew
11 that person. And as Nenad lived in Ilidza, which is rather close to the
12 Vrhpolje Bridge, he was -- there was a difference between our ages some
13 two years. I often met him in town, earlier in the school. And before
14 the question -- he was at the checkpoint in the reserve police forces
15 dress, that uniform, and I said that I knew this person from these -- on
16 the basis of these occasions.
17 Q. Did Nedzad Sucur ask you something more?
18 A. Yes. He asked me whether -- would it be possible that this person
19 was on the bridge. And then I said, "When I arrived to the bridge, I was
20 beaten also on my head and my eyes were closed, so that I couldn't
21 recognise and identify that person."
22 Q. Why did you answer that way?
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. After this answer, what went on?
25 A. He told Nenad to leave the room, and we continued the discussion
1 as we had before the entry of the soldier. He in short described what the
2 situation was in our village and the neighbouring villages. He told me
3 that my mother was expelled to the village of the Muslim part of the
4 village of Tomina, on the other side of the Sana, and that he will attempt
5 to get me across too. And in the orders of Gojko Saula, it was forcing
6 that I would be left in the boiler room of the elementary school, however
7 that he will do it on his own responsibility to send me across but that I
8 keep silent and never say what happened. And if I ever go out of Bosnia,
9 that I then testify that it was he who really saved me, which I would do.
10 Q. Did he take you to Tomina?
11 A. Yes, together with two soldiers who were escorts, he took me to
12 the house where my mother was staying together with my youngest brother,
13 and he left me there.
14 Q. Before we will shortly talk about Tomina, I would like to return
15 back to your village of Begici to the moment when on the 31st of May, the
16 soldiers arrived to your village. You stated that after they arrived,
17 they gathered you in your part of the hamlet, the lower part, and took you
18 to the upper part. Apart from the gathering of people, did you see
19 soldiers doing something else?
20 A. Yes. After we were leaving the buildings, they were setting
21 fire to buildings, the barns, the hay stacks, and we could see that some
22 women were bringing out certain valuables from those houses which were not
23 set on fire.
24 Q. When you said "some women," did you know them?
25 A. Yes, certainly.
1 Q. Who were they?
2 A. These were wives of the soldiers who were manning the checkpoint,
3 namely the wives of our close neighbours.
4 Q. Do you mean your Bosnian neighbours or your Serb neighbours?
5 A. No, Serb.
6 Q. Now I would return to Tomina. You stated that you stayed in a
7 house with your mother and youngest brother. How long did you stay in
9 A. I believe it was the end of June and the beginning of July, after
10 which we were moved to Sanski Most.
11 Q. When in Tomina, were you able to observe what went on in
12 surrounding areas?
13 A. Yes. In those days, while staying in Tomina, we helped the family
14 with whom we were staying. We helped them in agricultural work. They had
15 land close to the river. And this building was only a few hundred metres
16 from the place we were staying. And my mother would go every day to the
17 river bank and observe what was happening around our house.
18 Q. And did you, you personally, see anything happening around your
20 A. Frankly speaking, I didn't dare leave the house, particularly not
21 in daytime. I could see some things happening from the terrace and I
22 could look directly towards our house. We, however, couldn't recognise
23 the people who were staying there. My mother went every day together with
24 our landlady to the field. They were working in the garden. And she
25 could look, observe, and even recognise the faces of those people who were
1 there looting the remaining few houses.
2 Q. Witness, can you tell me whether in the area --
3 MS. RICHTEROVA: And I will ask the usher to show the witness
4 again the map P803 which is "Hrustovo-Vrhpolje overview."
5 Q. Can you tell us whether in the area which you can see on the map
6 whether there were any -- any mosques.
7 A. Yes of course there were. In this area, there was a few mosques.
8 In the Hrustovo village, there were two, one in the -- between
9 Merdjanovici and Seferovici and the second one outside the village of
10 Hrustovo in the direction of the Kljevci village. Then there was another
11 one in the central part of the Muslim part of Tomina. And one was in
12 Vrhpolje, yes.
13 Q. Do you know what happened to these mosques?
14 A. Yes. A few days later they no longer existed. During the period
15 while we were staying in the Tomina village, they were shelled.
16 Q. First would you be so kind and once again, take the highlighter
17 and make crosses where the mosques were.
18 A. [Marks]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Madam Richterova.
20 For the record, the Chamber indicates that the witness has put
21 four crosses on the map, and he's being asked now to put next to each one
22 of these crosses his initials.
23 And Mr. Begic, please -- yesterday you indicated to us on the map
24 the journey from your village to Vrhpolje Bridge. I would like you to put
25 your initials as well on the route that you indicated to us yesterday, at
1 the beginning, at the end of the route. Thank you. Just your initials,
3 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you.
5 Yes, Madam Richterova.
6 MS. RICHTEROVA:
7 Q. You said that a few days later they no longer existed. Can you
8 explain to us what happened and what do you mean by "a few days later."
9 A. When I reached Tomina, the houses I used to live in are still
10 there and some mosques could still be seen, particularly those in
11 Hrustovo. Both of them were still intact. And then one day shortly after
12 my arrival, it was in fact announced that the mosque would be shelled, and
13 all of us watched the guiding of projectiles towards the mosque in the
14 upper part of Hrustovo, here.
15 Q. When he said that it was announced, who said that?
16 A. A patrol of soldiers passed through the village and said that we
17 should refrain from being in the street because they would be shelling the
18 mosque in Hrustovo from there.
19 Q. And did you see what happened to this mosque?
20 A. Yes. After a few hits, they managed to hit the upper mosque in
21 Hrustovo, which was destroyed.
22 Q. And did you see it by yourself?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What happened to the other mosques?
25 A. The mosque in lower Hrustovo, I saw it standing one day and then
1 the next day it was no longer standing. But I wasn't present -- I didn't
2 witness it being destroyed by them.
3 Q. And the remaining two mosques?
4 A. The mosque in Vrhpolje, again I didn't eyewitness its destruction.
5 And in Tomina, the village I was staying in, I would pass by the mosque
6 every day, because it wasn't far from the house. And one day neighbours,
7 Muslims from the village came and told us that the night before at
8 midnight their mosque had been destroyed. It was destroyed during the
9 night while we were asleep.
10 Q. You were in Tomina, and you stated that you stayed there for
11 approximately during the end of June, beginning of July. Where did you go
12 from Tomina?
13 A. One morning a civilian car passed through this village of Tomina
14 with a loudspeaker system, and an officer that I knew was ordering all the
15 inhabitants of Tomina, that is, all the refugees from other villages,
16 should be brought in front of the Palma coffee bar and that we should
17 gather there within 15 minutes.
18 Q. After you gathered in front of this cafe, where were you taken?
19 A. Buses came to fetch us, and all the inhabitants -- which means
20 men, women, and children -- they were transferred that same day to the
21 Krings camp in Sanski Most.
22 Q. How would you describe briefly this Krings camp?
23 A. The Krings camp was a rather large hall with metal walls and roof.
24 It was empty inside. There was just a concrete floor. In front of the
25 camp was a reception desk that was probably used by the commander of the
1 camp and by the guards. It was just an empty -- large empty hall. I did
2 not know what the building had been used for before, so I'm unable to say.
3 Q. Were you provided with bedding?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Did you receive food?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did you have water?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did you have toilets?
10 A. I know that people were taken outside, those who wanted to use the
11 toilet. But I personally didn't see it.
12 Q. How long did you stay in Krings camp?
13 A. The morning we arrived -- so we stayed together inside with the
14 women, children, the elderly, the sick, until the next morning, I think,
15 when very early in the morning they ordered all the women, children, the
16 old people, the pensioners, to get into the vehicles that had come for
18 Q. Do you know where they were taken?
19 A. At the time they didn't tell us.
20 Q. Did you learn later where were they taken?
21 A. Only after I went to another camp. I heard from other detainees
23 Q. What did you hear?
24 A. That all of them had been transferred via Gracanica to a free part
25 of Bosnia.
1 Q. And how -- you men, how long did you stay in Krings?
2 A. After that, they made a list of all the people who remained in the
3 camp for about two days, and then in the morning of the third day we were
4 transported to another place. So we stayed for all of the next two days
5 and one night.
6 Q. Where were you transported?
7 A. They came to fetch us with large Agrokomerc lorries with trailers,
8 and there were some other men inside already. And then they drove us to
9 in front of the sports hall in Sanski Most, where the detainees from the
10 sports hall were loaded onto the trucks, and that day they transported us
11 to Manjaca camp.
12 Q. Do you know what -- for what purposes, sir, Manjaca camp?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Was it prison?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Were you interrogated in Manjaca camp?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were you charged with anything during your stay in the camp?
19 A. No. I was interrogated, as were all the other detainees, applying
20 the habitual procedure.
21 Q. How long did you stay in Manjaca?
22 A. I left on the 16th of December, 1992.
23 Q. Under which circumstances you left the Manjaca camp? You do not
24 understand my question. Were you released --
25 A. Not quite.
1 Q. Were you released from the camp?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Richterova, you can -- you're authorised to
3 put a direct question. And if you don't want to do it, I'll do it
5 MS. RICHTEROVA:
6 Q. Were you taken by the Red Cross from the camp?
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: And you were transferred to where?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They took us to the town of Karlovac
10 in Croatia, where we were put up.
11 MS. RICHTEROVA:
12 Q. Now I -- I've finished this part of questioning, and I will move
13 to the year 1996, when exhumations took place in Sanski Most municipality?
14 MS. RICHTEROVA: I would like to show the witness our exhibit,
15 which already been exhibited under P791.
16 If I may have a look at the copy. Do you have the B/C/S version
17 of this, please.
18 Your Honour, we managed to obtain better copies of this exhibit.
19 So I would kindly ask if it is possible to replace the previous copy which
20 is not legible.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Madam Richterova. Yes.
22 What I was going to ask you, actually, is what do you want to
23 prove precisely by the series of questions you intend putting to the
25 MS. RICHTEROVA: I --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Because it may well be that what you are going to
2 ask the witness is not contested by the Defence. I don't know. These are
3 the exhumations. I'm not exactly quite -- I don't quite know how -- how
4 interested the Defence is in the details.
5 Let's hear Madam Richterova first tell us what she wants to
7 MS. RICHTEROVA: I will. I only want to ask the witness whether
8 he can recognise any of these names and whether these people were on the
9 bridge that particular day with him.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead. Go ahead.
11 MS. RICHTEROVA:
12 Q. If I may to ask you -- and maybe we can also put the document on
13 the ELMO.
14 If you can have a look at the last page and the page before. It's
15 page 19 and 20. And it -- on the page 19, it reads: "On the basis of
16 statements on recognition, the following persons were identified." Can
17 you have a look on the list of 15 names and tell us whether you are able
18 to recognise any name. And when I say "any name," I am referring to the
19 date of 31st of May when you were -- when you marched from Begici to
20 Vrhpolje Bridge.
21 A. Yes. First of all, under number 3, Begic Irfan. He is the man
22 that I said was shot with a pistol before we arrived at the bridge.
23 Number 4, Muhamed Dizdarevic is one of the three sons and a father
24 who were also on the bridge.
25 Number 11, Ismet Dizdarevic, the father of the three mentioned
2 12, Mirsad Dizdarevic, the second oldest among the three sons.
3 Number 13, Miralem Ceric, the man who stayed behind me at the
4 bridge on the Sanica River.
5 Number 14, Hakija Begic, the man who was with me at the bridge.
6 And number 15, Fuad Begic, who was standing right next to me on
7 the bridge.
8 Q. Thank you. I have the last question relating to the event on 31st
9 of May. Did any of the people who were taken to the bridge, to your
10 knowledge did they have weapons?
11 A. You mean on that day?
12 Q. I mean that day or the day before -- or days before.
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did you or to your knowledge the other people, did they
15 participate in any kind of military resistance? And I am also again
16 referring to these 20 people who were taken towards the Vrhpolje bridge.
17 A. No.
18 Q. Thank you. I have very last question or set of questions. Apart
19 from the investigator of the Office of the Prosecutor, were you questioned
20 by other authorities?
21 A. No.
22 Q. And I am now referring to authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 A. Only in Bosnia and Herzegovina I made statements.
24 Q. Do you remember who took these statements?
25 A. Yes, certainly. Mr. Adil Draganovic and Mr. Zijad ...
1 Q. May I show the witness his two statements.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Please do, Madam Richterova.
3 MS. RICHTEROVA: You may use my copies or yours.
4 And if you can show the very last pages of these statements.
5 Q. When you were interviewed, did you sign after the interview the
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Are these signatures your own?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The two persons who were present during your interviews and who
11 interviewed you, did they sign these statements in front of you?
12 A. Yes, they did.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MS. RICHTEROVA: I do not have more questions, and I concluded.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Richterova.
16 Who is going to proceed first?
17 Yes. Mr. Begic, you are now going to be cross-examined by
18 Madam Fauveau-Ivanovic, who is the co-counsel representing General Talic.
19 I want you to understand that counsel is here to do her duty, to represent
20 her client and to defend her client, and that therefore you are expected
21 to answer all the questions that she puts to you except and unless I tell
22 you not to.
23 Madam Fauveau, please proceed.
24 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the registrar give
25 the witness P757.2.
1 Cross-examined by Ms. Fauveau-Ivanovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, yesterday you said that Kenjari and Begici
3 were inhabited by Muslims; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You also said that there was another hamlet in addition to these
6 two hamlets that was a Serb hamlet.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you tell us the name of that Serb hamlet.
9 A. Between the village of Begici and Kenjari there were two hamlets
10 inhabited by Serbs. One was called Stojnovici, and not far from that
11 hamlet there was another hamlet called Cosici.
12 Q. And these two hamlets are not marked on this map; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, they're not there.
14 Q. You said yesterday that your Serb neighbours set up checkpoints.
15 Is it not true that Muslims also set up checkpoints in their villages and
17 A. It is true they set up a checkpoint at the village of Crnojevici,
18 in our hamlet there was no checkpoint. And as for the other more removed
19 hamlets near the villages of Hrustovo and Vrhpolje, I didn't go there at
20 the time so I was not able to see.
21 Q. So you didn't know whether there were any checkpoints at Hrustovo
22 and Vrhpolje.
23 A. No, I didn't.
24 Q. Do you know when the Serbs set up checkpoints?
25 A. I'm not able to say exactly when.
1 Q. Could you tell us approximately? Was it in February, March,
3 A. Yes. I don't think it was before March. Possibly in April,
4 mid-April, but I'm unable to tell you with precision.
5 Q. You said that a certain Jadranko Palija was at one of these
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you tell us where this checkpoint was where Jadranko Palija
9 was manning -- the one that Jadranko Palija was manning.
10 A. Yes. I'll mark it. It was the village of Crnojevici and here was
11 Cosici. And the road leading from Begici to Kenjari passed through this
12 Crnojevici. And the two were linked, Crnojevici and Cosici. And at this
13 crossroads there was a checkpoint set up.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Just for the record, the Chamber indicates that the
15 witness has marked on document P757.2 the place he was asked to indicate
16 in the question put to him by Madam Fauveau. He's being asked by the
17 Trial Chamber to put his initials next to where he put the markings.
18 Now, Mr. Cayley, since he's now put his initials and put markings,
19 you will need to replace this one. And it becomes --
20 MR. CAYLEY: We were just discussing that, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly. I mean, if you have another map which
22 you can bring forward that will replace the 757.2, and this will become
23 DT15, Madam Fauveau.
24 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
1 Yes, Madam Fauveau, you may proceed.
2 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Did Jadranko Palija come from one of these two hamlets, Cosici or
5 A. No.
6 Q. Do you know where he came from -- where he was from?
7 A. As I pointed out a moment ago, we were on good terms with Vido
8 Krlic's family, to whom I surrendered when I left the water. And we
9 worked together in the fields. We shared the same machinery. And
10 Mrs. Andja Krlic had a daughter called Suzana, and Jadranko Palija was
11 Suzana's boyfriend, so that in our daily conversations we could hear the
12 name -- his name used by Mrs. Krlic. But I never heard actually where he
13 was born.
14 Q. Do you know where Jadranko Palija was from September 1991 to April
16 A. According to this story, I heard once that he lived in Croatia.
17 And after the war broke out in Croatia, he withdrew to Bosnia, and he was
18 stationed during that period in our area, in our area.
19 Q. And when did he arrive in Bosnia?
20 A. I'm unable to say exactly when.
21 Q. Could you tell us approximately.
22 A. No. I don't know when he arrived.
23 Q. You said that there were certain soldiers at these checkpoints,
24 and you said that they belonged to the 6th Brigade. How did you know that
25 they belonged to the 6th Brigade?
1 A. As I have already said, over the media one could hear that the 6th
2 Brigade was deployed in the area. No mention was made of any other units;
3 at least, I don't know of any others. They wore the insignia on their
4 clothing of the Serb army. And I believe there was an indication that it
5 was the 6th Krajina Brigade, but I'm not sure of that.
6 Q. When you say that there were symbols of the Serb army on their
7 uniforms, do you mean that already in April there were symbols of the Serb
9 A. Yes. It's possible.
10 Q. And what were those symbols?
11 A. I think there was the flag, the three colours -- the
12 three-coloured flag of Serbia.
13 Q. The flag of Serbia? Is that what you're saying?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Could you describe that flag for me, please.
16 A. There were three colours with an eagle in the middle, as far as I
17 can remember.
18 Q. In the month of April 1992, the JNA, the Yugoslav army, still
19 existed, didn't it?
20 A. I think it did, yes.
21 Q. Would you allow for the possibility that these men that you saw
22 that were wearing Serb symbols on their uniform belonged to certain
23 paramilitary units?
24 A. I would not be able to say, because I don't remember very well
25 those symbols, so I'd rather not assert anything regarding the symbols and
1 which unit they belonged to.
2 Q. But would you allow for the possibility that this was not the
3 regular Yugoslav army?
4 MR. CAYLEY: Objection, Your Honour. The witness has answered the
5 question. It's been put to him a number of times at this point. I know
6 where Ms. Fauveau is trying to go with this cross-examination. He's
7 already answered very clearly "I would not be able to say because I don't
8 remember very well these symbols, so I'd rather not assert anything." So
9 he's already indicated that that's as far as he can go. He can't allow
10 for any other possibilities.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Fauveau. The objection is sustained if
12 you have nothing to say.
13 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. You said that army units arrived for the first time in your
15 village on the 25th of May, 1992; is that right?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. And how many soldiers arrived on the 25th of May?
18 A. There were many of them.
19 Q. Could you tell us roughly how many.
20 A. I cannot, because in those days the flora and fauna well
21 developed. So because of this great quantity of greenery, I was not able
22 to judge the exact number of soldiers.
23 Q. You personally, did you see those soldiers?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. And were those soldiers wearing the same symbols as those you
1 described a moment ago?
2 A. I would not be able to say because at that point in time, when
3 they were entering the village for the first time, I managed to get away
4 and hide next to the river, as my house was very close to the river.
5 Q. So you cannot identify the people who arrived in your village on
6 the 25th of May; is that right?
7 A. I can identify them on the basis of conversations with my mother,
8 because my mother also knew some of them who entered the village, who
9 mistreated her and beat her, who killed my dog.
10 Q. Could you tell us the name of those people that your mother
12 A. Yes. Dusko Savic, from Kljevci.
13 Q. Anyone else?
14 A. I think that was enough, because he was in the house with her, and
15 she wasn't interested in the others.
16 Q. And this Dusko Savic was living in Kljevci, was he?
17 A. He went to school with me for eight years.
18 Q. And in the period preceding the war in Bosnia, at the very
19 beginning of 1992 he was still in Kljevci, was he?
20 A. I think he was.
21 Q. You said that the soldiers came one more time before the 31st of
22 May to your village. Could you tell us when this was, the second time
23 that they arrived.
24 A. Well, after two days, they came to the village again -- actually,
25 to the upper part of the Begici hamlet -- where Ismet Kurbegovic, Hakija
1 Begic, Sacir Begic were beaten. And according to what they said, they had
2 charges against them allegedly that they had, and I quote, that Ismet
3 Begic owned a sniper rifle, that Sacir Begic had fed some Green Berets in
4 his basement, Hakija Begic was charged of having a hand-held rocket
5 launcher in his attic, a zolja.
6 Q. These people, Ismet Kurbegovic, Ismet Begic, and Sacir Begic, were
7 they beaten the first day when the soldiers came or the second time they
9 A. They were beaten the first time and the second time. And they
10 were beaten by Ranko Cosic, Vico Ilic, Bosko Stojnovic. People from the
11 hamlets of Stovnovici and Cosici.
12 Q. So these three persons whose names you mentioned, were your
13 neighbours; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And in the period prior to the war, between January and April 1992
16 were these people living in Stojinovici and Cosici?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you see these persons beating Kurbegovic and Sacir and Ismet
20 A. I saw those three gentlemen the moment when we got together on the
21 31st, and I saw what they looked like.
22 Q. So you saw them on the 31st of May, 1992; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And these three persons were wearing a uniform.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Those three persons, did they have the symbols on their uniform
2 that you described, that is, the Serb flag with an eagle?
3 A. I'm unable to tell you in detail, but they were wearing military
5 Q. All the soldiers that arrived in your village that day, were they
6 wearing the same uniforms?
7 A. The day they rounded us up, on the 31st, there were different
8 ones. There were those in SMB, the normal colour of uniforms, and
9 camouflage uniforms, military camouflage uniforms. Some were wearing a
10 helmet that day, and others had different hats on their heads. So I
11 didn't look closely at their insignia.
12 Q. So in fact the people were wearing different uniforms and wearing
13 different symbols.
14 A. I know about the uniforms. I didn't say anything about the
15 symbols. It is well known to everyone that there are camouflage military
16 uniforms and regular military uniforms.
17 Q. Is it true that at the time almost all men were wearing some sort
18 of uniform?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You spoke of a lieutenant who was a commander of a unit and who
21 ordered Jadranko Palija to take you to the Vrhpolje Bridge.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. How did you know that he was a lieutenant?
24 A. He wore the lieutenant's insignia on his shoulder.
25 Q. Could you describe this lieutenant's insignia.
1 A. On your shoulder, one wore an epaulette with a gold braid on the
2 edges. And in between, there were two arrows with a star, maybe two
3 stars. I did my military service a long time ago, so I've forgotten. But
4 at the time I knew he was a lieutenant.
5 Q. Is it not true that in Yugoslavia before 1990 all men were members
6 of the Territorial Defence?
7 A. I'm not aware of that.
8 Q. So also you didn't know that all men had a uniform at home.
9 A. No.
10 Q. When you arrived at the Vrhpolje bridge, could you tell us how
11 many people you found there when you arrived.
12 A. You mean soldiers?
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. As we arrived at the bridge, one could notice a bunker at the
15 crossroads towards the villages of Ilija and Tomina. And in the bunker
16 around it, there were quite a few soldiers. We were taken over by five or
17 six of them, who were standing right next to the bridge.
18 Q. These soldiers that you're talking about, were they regular
20 A. No.
21 Q. Do you know that roughly in the period end of May, beginning of
22 June there was fighting between Muslims and Serbs around the village of
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What is the distance between your village of Begici and Vrhpolje?
1 A. Three or four kilometres. I don't know exactly.
2 Q. After this tragic event on the Vrhpolje bridge when you arrived at
3 your Serb neighbour's house and when this officer came to take you to
4 Tomina, could you tell me whether during your transfer to Tomina you were
6 A. No, I was not.
7 Q. And when you say that there was an officer, do you mean that that
8 was an officer of the army?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Of the regular army?
11 A. I couldn't say. He had rank insignia. I hadn't known him
13 Q. You said that you were interrogated at the Tomina school, the
14 elementary school at Tomina; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In your written statement of the 16th of April, you said: [In
17 English] "I was taken to the SDS headquarters near the school."
18 [Interpretation] I should like to know whether you were taken to the
19 school or to a house next to the school.
20 A. No, they took me to the school. But I don't remember saying that
21 it was the SDS headquarters.
22 Q. In any event, that is what Judge Draganovic wrote.
23 You said that certain mosques were destroyed while you were
24 staying at Tomina.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You personally saw the destruction of the mosque in Hrustovo,
2 didn't you?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you know whether in Hrustovo too there was fighting between
5 Muslims and Serbs?
6 A. I'm not aware of a battle in Hrustovo. According to stories of
7 some Serb soldiers who came to Tomina and on the basis of inhabitants that
8 heard this from Serb soldiers, it was said that in Hrustovo there was a
9 paramilitary unit consisting of several young men who tried to put up
11 Q. So you allow for the possibility that there was an armed conflict
12 between Muslims and Serbs in Hrustovo.
13 A. It couldn't be said --
14 MR. CAYLEY: Before the witness answers, when? When?
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Fauveau.
16 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] While he was staying at
18 MR. CAYLEY: Give a date. If you're referring to an armed
19 conflict in Hrustovo, give an approximate date.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I took it that the previous question referred to the
21 destruction of the mosque at a time when he saw it himself.
22 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, quite.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: So you are referring to that particular point in
24 time. No?
25 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] He was in Tomina for about
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 a month. I'm referring to this period of one month. I'm not talking of a
2 conflict that lasted one or two days.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: So now you know more or less what you are being
4 asked, Mr. Begic. Please as far as regards a time frame.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I'm not aware of that, of any
7 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Did you personally see the destruction of other mosques, apart
9 from the one in Hrustovo?
10 A. As I have already said, I watched one being destroyed personally.
11 And the one in the village of Merdjanovici, I saw it intact one day and
12 then the next day it was no longer standing. But I didn't watch the
13 shelling of that mosque.
14 Q. Yes. My question related to the actual act of destruction of the
15 mosque. As for the mosque in Tomina, you didn't see it being destroyed
16 either, did you?
17 A. I saw the ruins afterwards.
18 Q. But the destruction itself you did not see.
19 A. No. Just as I said, they destroyed it during the night, so that
20 no one could see exactly who destroyed it.
21 Q. As regards the mosque in Hrustovo, the destruction of which you
22 observed, you said that certain soldiers came and announced that they were
23 going to destroy the mosque; is that right?
24 A. Yes. They passed through the village of Tomina and said that we
25 should get away from the streets because they would from the direction of
1 the Vrhpolje Bridge target the mosque in Hrustovo.
2 Q. Those soldiers that you saw passing through Tomina, were they also
3 wearing these uniforms with the Serb flag and eagle symbol on their
5 A. They were in a car. They were sitting in a car and driving
6 through the village they said this, so that it was impossible to see those
8 Q. Thank you very much?
9 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: May just raise a very brief point of order, Your
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
15 MR. ACKERMAN: I think I recall a time a few weeks ago when
16 Madam Fauveau was responsible for a witness and Mr. De Roux started making
17 objections and I believe it was Mr. Cayley who said only one counsel
18 should be responsible for a witness and make objections during that
19 witness's testimony. And I thought we established a rule in that regard.
20 This being Ms. Richterova's witness, I think she --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, you are right, Mr. Ackerman. You are right.
22 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honour, as you know, Ms. Korner and I are lead
23 Prosecution --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: It doesn't change anything. The witness was in the
25 hands of Madam Richterova, and I would have expected her to stand up. I
1 mean, take it as a rule. I did correct Mr. De Roux when he did that. And
2 not correcting you -- I'm just drawing your attention. It did escape me
3 at the time. But please make sure that once the witness is in the hands
4 of one counsel, it remains in the hands of that counsel.
5 MR. CAYLEY: I apologise, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not a -- I know you did not do that out of
7 disrespect, just as Mr. De Roux did not do that out of disrespect to the
9 Mr. Ackerman, we need to break now for half an hour. You're going
10 to cross-examine the witness immediately after. How long -- can I ask you
11 how long do you expect to conduct your cross-examination for more or less.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, Mr. Trbojevic is handling this
13 witness, and I'll let him answer your question.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Trbojevic.
15 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will not
16 cross-examine this witness. Thank you.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So basically, Mr. Cayley, be prepared to
18 introduce the next witness immediately after the break. We will resume at
19 11.00 sharp. Thank you.
20 Oh, I'm sorry. Is there a re-examination?
21 MR. CAYLEY: Could I let you know that at the next session. It
22 will be very little, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Is there going to be a re-examination?
2 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes, Your Honours. I have very brief questions.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please.
4 MS. RICHTEROVA: But just for the record, that Julian Nicholls
5 joined the Prosecution team in the courtroom.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you.
7 And welcome. I understand you will be taking over the next
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Yes, Mr. Begic, there are a few final
11 questions that the Prosecution would like to ask you. Thank you.
12 Re-examined by Ms. Richterova:
13 Q. Mr. Begic, Madam Fauveau asked you whether -- I better say that
14 you answered Madam Fauveau that the soldiers on the bridge on the Vrhpolje
15 Bridge on the 31st of May were not regular. To her question "were they
16 regular," you answered "no." Who were they?
17 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the question
18 was put to the witness in direct examination.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I think she is -- I think Madam Fauveau is right.
20 If you want, we'll check the transcript. We can go back and check the
21 transcript. But I do myself recall that you did put a direct question
22 to that effect, you know, what -- whether they were -- they wore
23 uniforms and whether they -- according to the witness, what uniforms they
24 were, whether he could identify them as --
25 MS. RICHTEROVA: I agree I asked this question. But Madam Fauveau
1 asked whether they were regular soldiers, and the witness answered no.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. He's answered no.
3 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] It is that the
4 cross-examination is a function of the examination-in-chief.
5 MS. RICHTEROVA: And I --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: But what do you want to ask the witness?
7 MS. RICHTEROVA: I only want him to answer if they were not
8 regular what did they -- what did he mean.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: But you have already put that question to him on
11 MS. RICHTEROVA: If you are satisfied with his answer, I don't
12 need to ask any more questions.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. One moment.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau, I think the questions that were
16 asked, both during the examination-in-chief and during the
17 cross-examination, have procured the answers that the witness had for us
18 or was prepared to give us, and I don't think we can allow any further
19 questions in that regard.
20 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, I wanted really only to clarify that
21 point. Otherwise, if it is clear, I have --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Let me put the question myself.
23 Mr. Begic, you have been questioned on those soldiers and what
24 they were wearing and who they belonged to by the Prosecution, as well by
25 the Defence. Do you have any further information that you could give to
1 this Trial Chamber to make it easier for us or make it possible for us to
2 identify any military corps or whatever that these soldiers could have
3 belonged to?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I would add something. When
5 answering the Prosecutor whether I recognised them as regulars or not, I
6 knew these young men. They lived in their homes, and their age didn't
7 correspond to the age of regular soldiers. And in my statement, I omitted
8 the name of Nenad Kaurin, who wore -- he was dressed in blue. I think he
9 was the reserve police force and he wore a blue beret on his head, so that
10 I believe it wasn't all -- that this was the regular army corps -- that it
11 was not the regular army corps.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Before you answer any questions, please look at me
13 and I will tell you whether to answer or not.
14 Yes, Madam Richterova.
15 MS. RICHTEROVA:
16 Q. When you said "he was in a blue uniform," was the other soldiers
17 also in blue uniform?
18 A. I remember that he wore it. Others wore military uniform.
19 Q. And when you say "military uniform," what colour was the military
21 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] He has already answered
22 that question, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: You put already the question to him during your
24 examination-in-chief, even the colours.
25 MS. RICHTEROVA: I agree, Your Honour. And I apologise. It's
1 only that now he mentioned this blue colour --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah. But it seems to be the only -- the only
3 person who was wearing that blue uniform or -- which he relates to the
4 police rather than to the army.
5 MS. RICHTEROVA: No. Your Honour, I do not have any further
6 question in re-examination.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Mr. Begic, I -- that brings us to the end of
8 your testimony here. On behalf of my colleagues, the other two Judges,
9 myself, and the Tribunal, I would like to thank you for having coming here
10 to give evidence. You will now be escorted out of the courtroom by the
11 usher and given all the attention you require to return back to where you
12 have requested to return.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Cayley and Mr. Ackerman and Madam Fauveau, the
15 next witness we will have to take some time to prepare the courtroom. He
16 is a pseudonym.
17 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Image distortion.
19 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And the rest.
21 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 MR. CAYLEY: Well, no voice distortion. One matter --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: No voice distortion. No. You didn't mention it
1 MR. CAYLEY: One point of order, Your Honour. Mr. Nicholls, who's
2 leading this witness, is not going to be available next week. He has to
3 go on a mission to Bosnia. So I will do the re-examination, if that is
4 satisfactory to you, if there is --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: No. No. No. Definitely. I mean, it's -- it goes
6 without saying that ...
7 Okay. How long do you expect your examination-in-chief to last,
8 Mr. Nicholls?
9 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm fairly certain I'll finish today quickly. I
10 guess two hours or less.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: His statement is quite a short one, you know, so I
12 would imagine that we could finish today.
13 Yes, Madam Fauveau.
14 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I spoke to
15 representatives of the OTP, and I asked whether they agreed that I do my
16 cross-examination on Monday if they finish their examination-in-chief
17 earlier today so that I can start on Monday, in any event.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: And I take it you're cooperating.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: No objection.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Fauveau.
21 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Does that mean that the moment the
23 examination-in-chief is finished, that's all for today, or that -- in
24 other words, you are going to go first.
25 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. That's okay with
2 Mr. Ackerman?
3 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
5 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] And while waiting for the
6 witness, I should like to inform the Chamber that I spoke to the
7 representatives of the Registry, who informed me that the decision
8 regarding Mr. Zecevic will be made today.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Fauveau. I will be checking on
10 that myself later on. Thank you.
11 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, because I've finished my witness,
12 will you excuse me?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Madam Richterova. And thank you. Have a
14 nice weekend.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, Mr. Cayley, once we're finished
16 with BT23, the next one will be 7.10; correct?
17 MR. CAYLEY: Let me check, Your Honours, so that I give you
18 accurate information.
19 It's 7.100. I think you probably are meaning the same.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, 7.100. Okay. All right.
21 Yes, usher, I think we are ready. You can bring the witness,
22 escort him into the courtroom, and we can start.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Look at me, please, sir. Good morning to you.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: You've been summoned to give evidence before this
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: And before you do so, it's the rule of this Tribunal
5 that you make a solemn declaration to tell us the truth, the whole truth,
6 and nothing but the truth. The declaration is contained on a piece of
7 paper that the usher is going to hand to you. Please take it in your
8 hands and read it out aloud, and that will be your solemn declaration.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
11 WITNESS: WITNESS BT23
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down.
14 Before you start giving evidence, may I give you some
15 information. First of all, the Trial Chamber - that's myself and the
16 other two Judges - were informed by the Prosecution that you asked for
17 certain protective measures, such as that no one would be able to see you
18 giving evidence. Your image will be distorted. Your name will not be
19 used. You are given a number, a pseudonym, and you will be referred to by
20 that number in the records of these proceedings and also in -- in the
21 records of these proceedings.
22 The procedure before this Tribunal is as follows: The Prosecution
23 will first ask you a series of questions. When the Prosecution has
24 finished what we refer to as the direct question -- the direct examination
25 or examination-in-chief, then it will be the turn of the Defence teams to
1 cross-examine you.
2 Now, the Prosecution team is to your right, and the gentleman
3 nearest to you, Mr. Nicholls, will be the counsel, the lawyer, who will be
4 examining you for the Prosecution.
5 The two Defence teams are at your left. And in the front row is
6 the Defence team for Radoslav Brdjanin. I can't tell you as from now who
7 will be conducting the cross-examination but -- it will be Mr. Trbojevic.
8 And later on you will be cross-examined also by Madam Fauveau,
9 representing General Talic.
10 So having said that, I invite Mr. Nicholls to start with his
11 examination-in-chief. Thank you.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I don't know at which stage we --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: No. You do that straight away.
14 Sir, you're going to be handed a paper, on which there is your
15 name written. I want you to look at it and then tell me without
16 mentioning your name whether that is your name or not.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: It is.
19 Usher, please show it to the Defence teams and then to us, and it
20 will be introduced in the records under seal as ...
21 THE REGISTRAR: P805.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: As P805.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Under seal.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
1 Examined by Mr. Nicholls:
2 Q. Sir, now, please remember whichever questions I ask you not to
3 mention your name or the names of your family members.
4 I'm going to quickly ask you a few questions about your background
5 and then we will move on to events in Sanski Most in 1992. You were
6 born --
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Actually, Your Honour, if I could request private
8 session at this point.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated] Yes. We can go in
10 private session.
11 [Private session]
13 Page 6406 – redacted – private session
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: And the translation was, [redacted], to
22 [redacted], my friends took me.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I can clarify that, Your Honour.
24 MR. CAYLEY: We're in open session, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. But we can go back to private session, but I
1 need an explanation. Because to me it doesn't make sense.
2 MR. CAYLEY: We can clarify this event. But I agree it needs to
3 be clarified. But in private session.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So when it is time to go back to that
5 event, Mr. Nicholls please tell me and we'll go into private session
7 MR. NICHOLLS: I think we should go into private session now.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: We go into private session now, straight away.
9 [Private session]
19 [Open session]
20 MR. NICHOLLS:
21 Q. Okay. Could you now describe the way relations changed after the
22 war began in Croatia. And remember, as we spoke about yesterday, if you
23 could try to just answer the question that I ask you, and then we'll move
24 on and I'll continue to ask you questions.
25 A. The situation changed. The Muslims didn't want to join and go --
1 join the army to -- in the war in Croatia and fight in Croatia and the
2 Serbs didn't want to have contacts with us any more.
3 Q. And what exactly did the relations become like? There was no
4 contact, or was there any animosity or hostility?
5 A. These Serbs went to war to the front in Croatia. When they would
6 return, they would be shooting. And the entire Croat and Muslim
7 population was afraid of them.
8 Q. Okay. I'd like to move on a little bit now and talk about May
9 1992. At any point was there an order made for people to turn over any
10 weapons they possessed?
11 A. On the 25th of May, 1992, in the morning two couriers came and
12 asked the Muslims to hand over their weapons in the central building in
13 Lukavica. And that this -- these weapons be taken to Fajtovci to the
14 Crisis Staff in Lukavica.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. Can you tell me who those two couriers were,
16 where they were from.
17 A. They took the weapons from Lukavica to Fajtovci. Kalender Ismet
18 and Alibegovic and Halilovic Hamed.
19 Q. Sorry. Let me ask that again. Who made the order? Who did those
20 couriers represent when they came and told people to turn over weapons --
21 told the Muslims to turn over weapons? Was it military police, civilian?
22 Who made that order?
23 A. It was Dragan Prastalo and the Serbian Crisis Staff from Fajtovci.
24 Q. Were there any threats made -- stated of what would happen if
25 these weapons were not turned over?
1 A. That by 10.00 if we don't hand over the weapons, the village would
2 be shelled. And the Muslims collected the weapons and went towards
3 Fajtovci. And two or three kilometres between Fajtovci and Lukavica, they
4 were stopped and captured.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could -- the interpreter apologises. Could the
6 witness repeat his last sentence.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, sir. We have a problem with the
8 interpretation. You said, "That by 10.00, if we don't hand over the
9 weapons, the village would be shelled." Then you continued saying: "The
10 Muslims collected the weapons and went towards Fajtovci. And two or three
11 kilometres between Fajtovci --" the rest the interpreters couldn't hear.
12 So could you continue from there, please. You did mention that someone
13 was stopped or whatever.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When they came from Fajtovci to hand
15 over the weapons, and the weapons were collected, and three people took
16 the weapons from Lukavica to Fajtovci. And halfway between Fajtovci and
17 Lukavica, they were stopped by the Serbian guard, the Serb patrol. And
18 they were also captured. They were to lie on the ground, and the Serbs
19 took the weapons that they brought. And two or three hours -- after two
20 or three hours of interrogation, they were let free, after they -- the
21 weapons were handed in.
22 MR. NICHOLLS:
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: May I move on, Your Honour?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, certainly, Mr. Nicholls.
1 MR. NICHOLLS:
2 Q. Were there any checks made to make sure that all the weapons were
3 collected? In other words, were houses or other property searched in your
5 A. A couple of days later, several soldiers came. They surrounded
6 the village, between 50 and 100 of them, and they ordered that the whole
7 village be evacuated, all the men should leave. And then with all the
8 male inhabitants, they went from one house to the next searching each and
9 every household.
10 Q. Was your house searched?
11 A. Of course, yes. They searched my house as well and all the other
13 Q. And after that point, were there any weapons kept by Muslims in
14 your village to your knowledge?
15 A. I think that they didn't dare, because the order was if anybody
16 kept a weapon or something like that and if it was found, that that person
17 would be killed.
18 Q. Now, I'd like to ask you again, talking about this same time
19 period, whether there were any checkpoints set up around your village and
20 in that general area you pointed out to us.
21 A. For a Muslim to leave the village, he had to address Dragan
23 Q. So there were checkpoints set up around the village.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I think we lost a whole bunch of
25 testimony. There was no translation.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: The translation came later, as I get it. But if you
2 doubt whether we had the whole lot, I will ask the witness to repeat what
3 he said. I can't tell him --
4 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
6 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] A part of the sentence was
7 certainly lost.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Could you help us more, Madam Fauveau, if you
9 can, because he said "For a Muslim to leave the village, he had to address
10 Dragan Prastalo." And the question was: "Now I'd like to ask you again,
11 talking about this same time period whether there were any checkpoints set
12 around your village and in that general area you pointed out to us." What
13 was your answer? Let's leave it at --
14 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I wouldn't like to make any
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Yes. Yes.
17 Yes, sir. Could you answer that question again, please. The
18 question was: "Now, I would like to ask you again. Talking about this
19 same time period whether there were any checkpoints set up around your
20 village and in that general area you pointed out to us." What was your
21 answer? Could you repeat it, please. Again it's a problem of -- it's a
22 problem of interpretation.
23 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologies. I didn't switch on
24 my microphone.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At junctures, checkpoints were put
1 up. There were four. One was at Dragan Prastalo's place [redacted]
2 [redacted]. The whole village or -- rather if anyone from the village
3 wanted to go out, he had to ask Dragan Prastalo who would give a
4 certificate or a Serb soldier to escort him, to do whatever he wanted to
6 MR. NICHOLLS:
7 Q. Thank you. Who manned those checkpoints? Who was in charge of
8 those checkpoints?
9 A. They were local Serbs. And very often Martic's men would come
10 wearing olive-grey uniforms, camouflage uniforms.
11 Q. Were these people you refer to as local Serbs in uniform?
12 A. They were all in uniforms. Even Lazo, a boy of 14, he was wearing
13 a uniform. Dragan's son, who was ten years old had a uniform. Children
14 were wearing uniforms and carrying weapons.
15 Q. And again, the only way to pass through one of these checkpoints
16 as a Muslim was to get prior permission and get a certificate; is that
18 A. Yes, yes. That's correct.
19 Q. I'd now like you to talk a little bit about any shelling of
20 villages which you observed in May 1992 in this region of your village.
21 Did you see any villages being shelled during that period?
22 A. That day when we were handing over our weapons, the Serbs shelled
23 Okrec and Brijest, and we saw the shells falling and the dust flying
24 around. When a couple of shells hit Brijest, we heard crying. My
25 neighbour and relative of mine, [redacted], and I went to Brijest, and over
1 there we found a cow of Ivezic Ivan that had been wounded, and the glass
2 was broken on two houses and the facade damaged.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Nicholls. At one point in time he
4 mentioned -- "and very often Martic's men would come wearing olive-grey
5 uniforms, camouflage uniforms." Who was Martic?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. There were quite --
7 people from our area going for exercises with Martic. And when they
8 arrived in the village, they were the ones that were feared the most.
9 They were well trained karatists, as far as I was able to judge by their
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, Mr. Nicholls.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. Back to the shelling very quickly. What did you and your family
14 do in response to this shelling? How did it change the way -- your way of
15 life there?
16 A. Every night at dusk, we went to the woods below our houses. We
17 slept there. And then in the morning, we returned. Even babies and old
18 women up to 80, we had to take them with us, because there was shooting
19 all night by the guards at the checkpoints and the other Serb soldiers.
20 Q. Now, I'd like to ask you some questions about arrests during this
21 period. Were any Muslim men from your village arrested in May, early June
23 A. There were a couple of men arrested before me. I too was arrested
24 in June. In the morning at 7.00, they came to fetch me; some 15 soldiers
25 wearing camouflage uniforms. When I heard the bus, I fled to some bushes.
1 Q. Let me stop you there.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: Could we go into private session, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We'll go into private session, Madam
4 Registrar, please.
5 [Private session]
13 [Open session]
14 MR. NICHOLLS:
15 Q. I'm sorry. You were describing the room that you were placed in
16 in Lusci Palanka. Can you continue to describe that room.
17 A. From that upper floor, they took us to a police station one by
18 one, and then after interrogation they brought us back to the basement of
19 the house that we had been brought to the first time. When they took me,
20 I was interrogated for a while and then a soldier hit me and I fell, and
21 then they hit me a couple more times with their hands and feet - I don't
22 know what with --
23 Q. You said you were interrogated. Excuse me. What types of
24 questions were you asked?
25 A. Whether we were feeding the Green Berets, did we have any weapons,
1 whether we were members of the SDA.
2 Q. And again, just to be clear, who was doing this questioning to you
3 and who was beating you at this time? Without mentioning names.
4 A. I was interrogated by the police commander, [redacted]
5 [redacted], and another policeman I knew [redacted]
6 [redacted]. And I was --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: We have to redact this.
8 Yes. Go ahead. We will redact it in due course, Mr. Nicholls.
9 MR. NICHOLLS:
10 Q. You said some other men were brought to that building with you.
11 Were they also beaten, or were they not beaten?
12 A. And they were even beaten more. I was lucky because they knew
13 me. They had more blood on them than I did. They mostly beat me in the
15 Q. How long did this last, what you're describing, this beating and
16 questioning and interrogation?
17 A. I don't know. When he hit me here, I fell on the floor. And then
18 they kicked me a couple of times and with their hands. I don't know
19 exactly how long this went on for.
20 Q. And then what happened next? After this beating ended, where were
21 you taken or what did you do next?
22 A. Then they took me to the basement of the house that we had been
23 brought to the first time, originally. After that, they took me and [redacted]
24 to Sanski Most to the Betonirka.
25 Q. Okay.
1 A. They released [redacted]and allowed him to go home.
2 Q. We don't need to mention names at this point.
3 Tell me what happened when you were taken to Betonirka.
4 A. As I was entering Betonirka, two soldiers hit me on the shoulders
5 with their rifles.
6 Q. Okay. And just to be clear, you're talking about the Betonirka
8 A. Yes. Yes, the garages of the Betonirka. I entered there. There
9 were up to 30 other men there who were all deformed, they had been beaten
10 up on their heads and faces before I arrived.
11 Q. If you could continue. You were beginning to tell us how you were
12 beaten immediately upon arrival there. Can you continue telling us what
13 happened to you.
14 A. As I was entering the garage, they hit me a couple of times. They
15 kicked me in the behind and shoved me into the garage. When I fell, I saw
16 up to 30 men in the garage that were detained there, and they all had
17 traces of beating on their faces.
18 Q. Can you describe the garage that was holding you and these
19 approximately 30 men in total. How -- how large was it? What type of
20 garage was it?
21 A. The garage was about 3 and a half or 4 metres long by 2 and a half
22 metres. There were 30 men inside. When the door is closed, you couldn't
23 breathe inside, because there was no air coming in from anywhere.
24 Q. Was there a window in that garage you were kept in?
25 A. It had a window that was covered with metal, and you couldn't see
1 through it. It was a small window. It was a small one, about 20 by 50
3 Q. But you couldn't open it to let any light in. Could you open it
4 to let any air in?
5 A. No one dared even think of it, never mind open it.
6 Q. Were there any toilets or showers or other facilities in that
7 garage you were kept in?
8 A. During the day, while we were in prison, if the door of the garage
9 was open we could go to the field toilet. And when the garage was closed,
10 there was a bucket in the corner where we had to relieve ourselves.
11 Because if someone would knock on the door to ask for the garage to be
12 opened, he would immediately be beaten.
13 Q. How often was that garage door open to allow people to go in and
14 out and to let some air in?
15 A. It depended on the guard. If the guard was in a good mood, he
16 would open it for half an hour when he was on duty. And when lunch
17 came -- we had it around 11.00 or 12.00. I don't know exactly because
18 they took away my watch and all documents, so we didn't know the time at
19 all whether it was daytime or night-time or what time it was.
20 Q. You talked about lunch just now. Can you describe the food that
21 you would be given when you were held in that garage.
22 A. The lunch consisted of a very thin soup, like water. And a piece
23 of bread.
24 Q. Were you given anything else during the day or during a 24-hour
1 A. Yes, beatings.
2 Q. Were you given any other food?
3 A. No, none.
4 Q. And what about water? What was provided to you to drink while you
5 were held there?
6 A. We would get some water in dirty glass bottles, but we had to
7 drink it because it was so hot and there was no air inside.
8 Q. Talking about the other people who were imprisoned in the garage
9 with you, what types of people were they? Were these young people, old
10 people, soldiers, civilians? If you could describe the people you were
11 confined with.
12 A. All the people -- there were some younger ones, some older ones.
13 There was a 35-year-old man with a son who was not more than 15 years
14 old. And when they beat his father, he would always cry.
15 Q. And you said earlier, I think, that everybody was beaten; is that
17 A. They beat everyone. They beat up two men so badly that we had to
18 make room for them to lie down, as they seemed to have all their bones
19 broken. They would cry and moan all night long.
20 Q. Was there room for anybody else to lie down while these two men
21 were lying down?
22 A. No. We were mostly sitting down, even during the night. That is
23 how we slept, because there wasn't enough room for us. And there were two
24 other garages. And I saw those garages and the people coming out when we
25 were having lunch. They, too, were full of people, just as we were in our
2 Q. Okay. And you talked about how you were beaten when you arrived.
3 Were you also interrogated? And can you describe that interrogation
4 without mentioning names.
5 A. They took me for interrogation. I recognised some friends there
6 who used to work there. I used to have contact with them. Maybe that
7 helped me. And they let me go. I spent two nights there. And on the
8 third day, they released me from prison. First they beat me, and
9 afterwards this friend, I suppose he told them not to beat me any more
10 because he knew me very well.
11 Q. While they were beating you, what types of questions were being
12 asked of you?
13 A. They said -- they cursed Alija. "Where are your Green Berets?
14 Why didn't you join the army to fight the Croats?"
15 Q. And I don't think anybody in the circumstances you've described
16 can be -- could be described as lucky. But is what you're saying that you
17 felt that you were more fortunate than many of the other people who were
18 placed in that garage with you, because you knew some of the people who
19 were beating you? Is that a fair statement?
20 A. I knew three or four of them. One of them was even my neighbour
21 and a good friend of mine from before.
22 Q. And you think -- I'm just trying to clarify -- that because some
23 of these people had been your friends, that's why you were released after
24 two days?
25 A. I think that is what it was, but I haven't found out anything to
1 this day, anything specific.
2 Q. Okay. What happened to some of the other people in the garages
3 while you were there? Were any people taken away? Did people arrive
4 while you were there? Was this a transitory place, in that sense?
5 A. There were quite a number of people that were taken away and that
6 never returned; others that went for interrogation, they came back broken
7 up. Two or three were carried in and thrown into the garage, and we would
8 take them over and assist them as much as we could.
9 Q. And were the people who were running this camp and interrogating
10 you, beating you, were they wearing uniforms?
11 A. They all had uniforms. Summer uniforms, shirts and olive-grey or
12 camouflage trousers.
13 Q. After what you've just described, this period you spent in
14 Betonirka garage, what happened next? You stated you were released after
15 two days. What did you do next?
16 A. Together with another Hasim, I was released. And he was from
17 Kamengrad. And a friend of his, as he worked at the petrol station, drove
18 us to Donji Kamengrad. And then I continued on foot for 8 kilometres.
19 Q. Okay.
20 A. As I was given a certificate allowing me to pass so that the Serb
21 army would let me pass through checkpoints and other crossings.
22 Q. Now, I'd like to ask you very briefly about what you know of the
23 Lukavica mosque. I believe you saw that mosque on the 2nd of August,
24 1992. Is that correct?
25 A. That is correct. The mosque was blown up before I saw it. Who
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 did it, I don't know, nor did I see it. On the 2nd of August, when I
2 drove these people who had been killed, I saw that the mosque's roof had
3 been damaged, the glass broken. Everything was in ruins.
4 Q. Do you know when that damage was done to the mosque, when it had
5 been blown up?
6 A. It must have been during the night in July, as far as I can
8 Q. Okay. I'm now going to ask you some questions about the --
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Can we go into private session, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated] I was going to suggest it
11 myself, actually. Please let's go into private session now.
12 Yes. I suppose we're coming to the events of the 1st of August?
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. It needs to be in private session for sure.
15 [Private session]
13 Pages 6425-6433 – redacted – private session
2 [Open session]
3 A. We had to fill out a questionnaire that we would be leaving
4 everything we have to the Republic of Srpska to pay our telephone bills,
5 to pay our taxes, land tax, electricity bills, and then we would be
6 allowed to leave in a convoy which would go to Travnik.
7 MR. NICHOLLS:
8 Q. Where did you have to fill out these forms or submit these
9 documents you've just told us about?
10 A. We had to do it in the municipality and Sanski Most. As these
11 women who were so hurt, so miserable, I had to fill out all these forms
12 and sign them -- also sign them for myself and for them too.
13 Q. And after you'd filled out those forms, you were granted
14 permission to leave?
15 A. Yes, we were allowed to leave. But not everybody left. Some
16 women didn't leave. They had their relatives there, and they organised
17 themselves, while we came -- we left for Dosci in a truck and a trailer,
18 and from Dosci then we each one went our separate ways.
19 Q. And what of your property were you allowed to bring with you --
20 were you able to bring with you when you left? Were you able to bring
21 anything from your home which you had to leave?
22 A. We could take with us what we could put in our bags, but not more
23 than that because there wasn't any place on the truck when there were 40
24 people on the truck.
25 Q. And finally, when you were getting permission to move -- or to
1 conduct the burial, were you ever given any reason for why this killing
2 had taken place?
3 A. They didn't know themselves, but a woman said that -- one of my
4 neighbours, that he had a rifle and machine-gun, but it was never found.
5 But the Serbs, they would on guard throughout the night, and then the next
6 night they shelled [redacted] house with two or three shells.
7 The building was practically half demolished.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. One second.
9 [Prosecution counsel confer]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: We need -- Madam Registrar again we need to redact
11 this particular part where he mentions the person's house.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. After you left your village on -- you said you had been given
14 permission to leave and you would go on -- you were placed on a truck --
15 where did you -- you said you went to Dosci. Where did you go? How did
16 you -- you don't need to tell me the country where you eventually ended
17 up, but how were you able to leave?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I give you permission to be more direct,
19 Mr. Nicholls.
20 MR. NICHOLLS:
21 Q. After that, you went on a convoy. You eventually made it to
22 Travnik. And from there you left to the country where you now reside. Is
23 that correct?
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: So yes -- but as I understand it, the Prosecution
2 has finished with the examination-in-chief of this witness.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: And as I take it also, there is a tacit agreement
5 between the Prosecution and Madam Fauveau that she would start her
6 cross-examination on Monday. That entails, basically, that the witness
7 will have to stay here the entire weekend. I don't know having heard the
8 examination-in-chief if Madam Fauveau wants to cross-examine the witness
9 and if it's still necessary to postpone the cross-examination till
11 If you are in a position to tell me now, then tell me now. If you
12 want to postpone your decision till after a break, we can have a break and
13 you can tell me after.
14 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I should like to think it
15 over during the break. And if I can, I will do it today.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And that would be appreciated, Madam Fauveau,
17 because it would spare this person having to remain here a whole two -- a
18 whole weekend for possibly a very short cross-examination.
19 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, my
20 cross-examination will not be very long.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I can imagine. This is why, I mean, I -- my
22 experience tells me that. And I don't know if the Brdjanin Defence team
23 is going to cross-examine the witness. My hunch is that you will not.
24 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we'll let you know
25 after the break.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So we'll have a short break --
2 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I was going to ask a break
3 that could be ten minutes longer, if we could have a 40-minute break,
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Madam Fauveau. Certainly,
6 Madam Fauveau. We'll have a 40-minute break, during which time you will
7 have the chance to consult with your client, obviously.
8 The same applies to you, Mr. Ackerman, and the rest of the team.
9 I can anticipate more or less what the answer is going to be.
10 So the session is adjourned -- the sitting is adjourned and we
11 will resume at ten minutes past 1.00. Thank you.
12 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 1.14 p.m.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Trbojevic.
15 I need to get familiarised. There is just one syllable extra that
16 I can't handle. Yes, Mr. Trbojevic. Is that correct.
17 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] It's very well, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
19 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] We've agreed that I will ask just
20 three questions to the witness, and it will take only five minutes, and
21 I'd like to complete that today.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Trbojevic, for your cooperation and
24 And Madam Fauveau, seeing you here, it means that you -- but I am
25 not in any way trying to force your -- but I am sure you understand that
1 if this witness can go back to his family today, it will be better than
2 staying here.
3 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I fully
4 understand, and I hope that I will finish and leave -- be able to leave
5 five minutes for Mr. Trbojevic at the end.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you. Please proceed.
7 You are going to be cross-examined now by Madam Fauveau, who is
8 the counsel -- who is counsel for General Talic.
9 Go ahead, Madam Fauveau.
10 Cross-examined by Ms. Fauveau-Ivanovic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, you said that before the war, relations
12 between the Serbs and the Muslims were good; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you also said that relations became less good with the
15 beginning of the war in Croatia and with the refusal of the Muslims to go
16 and fight in Croatia; is that right?
17 A. That is right.
18 Q. Can it be said that the refusal of the Muslims to go and fight in
19 Croatia preceded the degradation of relations between Muslims and Serbs?
20 A. I know that there was a Serb who went to Croatia from our village.
21 This went on for a couple of months. And he was killed in Croatia, and
22 there was a funeral. All of us went to the funeral. His father said to
23 us then, "I'd prefer if you Muslims had not come to attend this
24 funeral, --" because from then on the situation became even worse.
25 Q. At the time of this funeral, had the Muslims already refused to go
1 and fight in Croatia?
2 A. Yes, of course. Why should we go to kill?
3 Q. You spoke of three men who were carrying weapons from your village
4 to Fajtovci, and you said that they were captured; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that is right.
6 Q. But you personally were not present when they were arrested.
7 A. I was not.
8 Q. So you didn't see who arrested them.
9 A. Those people lived with me after the war as refugees. They are
10 all still alive, and they can testify about that. In fact, one of those
11 men has a Serb woman for his wife.
12 Q. Gentleman, I'm not doubting what you said. I'm just asking
13 whether you personally saw who arrested them.
14 A. I personally did not see it.
15 Q. You spoke of soldiers who came to search the houses in your
16 village, and you said that the men had to leave the village. Did the
17 women and children stay behind?
18 A. The women and children remained, and we went with those soldiers
19 to search the houses. We stayed with the soldiers -- with some soldiers
20 outside, while some of them went inside to search.
21 Q. So you were present during those searches.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you know the soldiers who were carrying out the searches?
24 A. There were some soldiers from outside. My neighbours said they
25 were Martic men. And then there were some local Serbs dressed in military
2 Q. When you spoke about Martic's men, are you referring to
3 paramilitaries coming from Knin?
4 A. Madam, I don't know. They were wearing camouflage uniforms.
5 They were very capable men, and they kept frightening us with these
6 Martic's men. So I can't really tell you. They never showed me the
7 documents for me to see or for us to see their identity.
8 Q. But you are indeed talking to Martic, who was before the war a
9 policeman in Knin. If you don't know, tell me you don't know.
10 A. No, madam. Those were people who went to train with Martic. One
11 had a surname Martic and he was from Kruhari. He also wasn't went there
12 for training. He was in Betonirka, and he beat us most, that particular
14 Q. When you say that those men went for training to Martic, this
15 Martic, is he the Martic from Knin?
16 A. No. These were soldiers. I suppose Martic trained them, and they
17 were all known as Martic's men. My Serb neighbours that I contacted with
18 during the war, I couldn't go where I wanted for two or three months and
19 they would bring me a sack of flour or something, and they said that they
20 were Martic's men.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau, I asked the witness the same question
22 myself, and he told me straight and plain that he didn't know who this
23 Martic was.
24 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I shall move on to another
25 subject, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
2 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. You said that almost all the men, even children, were wearing
4 uniforms; is that right?
5 A. Yes, madam.
6 Q. Is it correct to say that these uniforms differed, that they were
7 not all wearing the same kind of uniforms?
8 A. There were SMB and camouflage, summer uniforms, shirts with
9 trousers, and these locals mostly wore SMB uniforms, whereas those coming
10 from other places that I didn't know were in camouflage uniforms.
11 Q. You spoke of the shelling of Brijest. Do you know where those
12 shells came from? Could you tell us where they came from.
13 A. Those shells came from the direction of Fajtovci, where the Crisis
14 Staff was. The village was called Vukse. Actually, it's a small village
15 of a couple of houses.
16 Q. What was the population composition in Fajtovci?
17 A. There was a school there. There were teachers. One of them was a
18 Montenegrin, Mihail Sutovic. He was president of the Crisis Staff. But I
19 think there were more Muslims, 60 or 70 per cent were Muslims, maybe even
20 more. There were only two smaller villages that were Serbian. But in
21 Fajtovci, there were mostly Muslim households.
22 Q. And Brijest, is it a Muslim hamlet or a mixed hamlet?
23 A. Brijest had three Croat households and two Albanian families. And
24 eight or 15 days after the shelling, men came from Podvrace and killed
25 those two Albanians.
1 Q. Do you know whether the people in Brijest were armed?
2 A. I know. These were older people, Croats. All the young people
3 had moved out a long time ago. Only a couple of households who didn't
4 have the funds stayed behind, and they're still living there, and the two
5 or three of them that are left can come and testify as to what happened
7 Q. You spoke of your arrest in June. Do you know who the people were
8 that arrested you?
9 A. They were people from Palanka. The military police. They were
10 wearing blue uniforms and in camouflage SMB uniforms. In fact, I knew two
11 or three of them that went to school with me. They were from Palanka,
12 Bosniaks. They are neighbouring villages above Palanka.
13 Q. Those people that were wearing blue uniforms, did they belong to
14 the civilian police?
15 A. There were some that used to be in the civilian police -- in the
16 regular police, but some came from Slovenia, Dekici I know their names,
17 that they were also there. And they wore the same uniforms. Now, whether
18 they were admitted as regulars, I don't know.
19 Q. And you were then taken to Lusci Palanka, first to a house and
20 then to a police station; is that right?
21 A. Yes, that is right.
22 Q. And at the police station, you were interrogated, weren't you?
23 A. Yes, that is right.
24 Q. Is it true to say that you were interrogated by policemen?
25 A. They all wore police uniforms and those camouflage ones. I think
1 they were policemen.
2 Q. How much time did you spend in Betonirka?
3 A. In the garage in Betonirka?
4 Q. Yes?
5 A. Two nights and a day. I was released about 4.00 in the afternoon.
6 Q. Do you know who were the guards at Betonirka?
7 A. I don't know the guards. I know the people that interrogated me.
8 Q. And the people who interrogated you, were they policemen?
9 A. Two of them were policemen. There were some reserve policemen
10 too. There was the chief of the Crisis Staff -- I knew him too, and so
11 on. By sight. These were people who held key positions in the past.
12 They worked in the municipalities. They were police commanders, police
13 officers in peacetime, before the war broke out.
14 Q. When you left Betonirka, you returned to your village, didn't you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you had a certificate to be able to pass through the
17 checkpoints; is that right?
18 A. I just had permission to return to my home, and I had to hand in
19 that permission down there to local Serbs, to Dragan Prastalo.
20 Q. And along the road from Sanski Most to your village, did you have
21 any problems on your way back?
22 A. A Serb went with us. He drove us as far as Donji Kamengrad, and
23 he knew this man who was in prison in Donji Kamengrad. He -- we got off
24 there, and then I went on to my house on foot. And there were no
25 problems. It was dusk, and as soon as I heard a car approach I would hide
1 in the bushes, and that is how it was.
2 Q. You spoke of a mosque, and you said that you saw the ruins of that
3 mosque. Did you see the very act of the destruction of the mosque?
4 A. I didn't. I didn't dare leave my small hamlet. And this was
5 during the night. No one dared move during the night. So you couldn't
6 see anything.
7 Q. So you don't know who destroyed it.
8 A. No one knows. These things happened at night. Just a powerful
9 explosion was heard, and some people then said that the mosque had been
11 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I will go on
12 to the event of August. Perhaps it would be best to go into private
14 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... you mentioned
15 in particular? I don't know.
16 MS. FAUVEAU-IVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I don't think so.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. But let's go straight into private session. I
18 think it's wiser. Thank you, Madam Fauveau.
19 [Private session]
13 Page 6445 – redacted – private session
13 Page 6446 – redacted – private session
2 [Open session]
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Please go ahead. Thank you.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Trbojevic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Believe me, my client and myself, we really feel
6 with you and are sorry for what has happened.
7 A. I believe you.
8 Q. I'll ask you just a few questions.
9 In your statement of the 16th of March, you said that it was --
10 the order was issued to hand in all the weapons to -- and to take it to
12 A. The military were in Fajtovci, as this territory came from
14 Q. Today you mentioned also the Crisis Staff in Fajtovci in
15 connection with that weapons.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The couriers came --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. One moment. Now, you speak, both of
19 you, the same language. What you are saying needs to be translated into
20 English and into French separately.
21 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] I understand, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... that speed and
23 no interval between a question and the answer, the interpreters will never
24 make it. So Mr. Trbojevic, I would kindly ask you to repeat your
25 question. And you, sir, be kind enough to repeat your answer. Because
1 like that we could not hear anything, and no one knows what was asked and
2 what was answered. Thank you.
3 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Can we explain. Was the weapons to be handed into the Crisis
5 Staff or the military in Fajtovci?
6 A. In Fajtovci the crisis staff were the military, not civilians.
7 That was not in Fajtovci. It was in Dosenovici between Fajtovci and
8 Lukavica. Where their commander was and the military staff.
9 Q. Thank you. Just one more question. Did you when carrying out the
10 formalities for moving, did you sign a statement that your real estate,
11 you are giving it to the municipality or the republic.
12 A. Yes. One could find these papers in the buildings and the
14 Q. But are they translated and had been written in the land books?
15 A. I don't know. I -- I don't know.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated] You're repeating exactly
17 the same mistake. Please pause --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: You're repeating the same mistake. Between the
20 question and the answer, we require a pause. Not just we, but the
21 interpreters mainly, first and foremost. So when he puts the question,
22 sir, take your time before you start answering, because its needs to be
23 translated to us.
24 And the same applies to you, Mr. Trbojevic. As soon as he
25 finishes with his -- with his answer, I mean, take a little bit of a pause
1 before you proceed with the next question. Mind you, we do the same
2 mistake when it's all in English. I mean, I can quite understand the
3 problem that we cause to the interpreters when we do that now. I'm more
4 aware of it now. Yes.
5 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] I've asked the witness whether he
6 knows whether that statement, where he leaves his real estate, whether
7 that has been entered into the land books, the land register.
8 A. I didn't check these books. I only know that I paid all my bills
9 and the bills of my neighbours in order to be able to leave -- the
10 neighbours who were killed.
11 Q. Did you ask for the restitution?
12 A. Well, I now live in the Federation, and it has been restituted to
13 me. Yes.
14 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no more
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Is there re-examination,
17 Mr. Nicholls?
18 MR. NICHOLLS: No, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Sir, your testimony -- your evidence has come to an
22 end, thanks to the cooperation of the two Defence teams, you are in a
23 position -- and also thanks to the short examination-in-chief of the
24 Prosecution, you are in a position to return home today if you want to.
25 In other words, you don't need to remain here in The Hague for the weekend
1 and return here again on Monday.
2 On behalf of the Trial Chamber, the other two Judges, myself, and
3 the Tribunal in general, I would like to thank you for having come here to
4 give evidence, and you will now be escorted out of the courtroom when all
5 the curtains are down. We just want to make sure that your identity is
6 kept undisclosed till the very end. And you will be looked after pending
7 your return to where you would like to return. I thank you.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher, could you kindly escort the witness. Thank
11 [The witness withdrew]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: So again once more, I thank Madam Fauveau and the
13 Defence team because that helps smooth out things for everyone, I think,
14 and it probably also spared the Tribunal a few hundred dollars, if not a
15 few thousand dollars. I thank you.
16 Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, if there's not been any change, it's
18 my understanding we meet on Monday at 2.15 in Courtroom I.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And that brings me to what I was going to
20 point out to you, that -- you recall that in April when we were having
21 afternoon sittings, we had come to some kind of arrangement on the basis
22 of which we had reduced the time of the sitting. The sitting time we kept
23 to 3 hours 45 minutes, but we were finishing half an hour earlier or et
24 cetera. I would be -- and I'm sure I haven't consulted the other two
25 Judges, but I'm sure that we could repeat that, finish at 6.30 instead of
1 7.00 if that is okay with you. However, I would like you to sit down
2 together, take some time, and it needs also to be referred then to the
3 technical team and to the interpreters, because obviously if they say no,
4 we won't be able to do it. But I think it would be in the interest of
5 everyone to try and finish at 6.30 rather than 7.00 or even later.
6 Again once more, I thank you. I wish you all a nice weekend, and
7 we'll all meet again Monday in the afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Nicholls.
8 Thank you, Mr. Cayley, for everything.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
10 at 1.46 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
11 the 3rd day of June, 2002, at 2.15 p.m.