1 Friday, 31 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So good morning, Madam Registrar and Happy New Year.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Happy New Year to you, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Could you call the case now, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This is case number IT-99-36-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Mr. Brdjanin. Can you follow
11 the proceedings in a language that you can understand?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. I can
13 hear you and understand you.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. And good morning. Appearances for the
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: Good morning, Your Honours, Anna Richterova,
17 Julian Nicholls and Denise Gustin, case manager.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you and good morning to the three of you.
19 Appearances for Radoslav Brdjanin?
20 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. I'm
21 attorney Milan Trbojevic, assisted by co-counsel [as interpreted] John
22 Ackerman and our assistants Marela Jevtovic.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you and good morning to the three of you.
24 Let's bring in the witness. The interpretation says assisted. You have
25 promoted yourself, Mr. Trbojevic. And Mr. Ackerman has become
1 co-counsel. So that's all --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's mistake, sorry.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... Now you don't
4 have any reason to grumble, Mr. Brdjanin.
5 Yes, Madam Richterova?
6 MS. RICHTEROVA: We have some preliminaries which we would like to
7 solve before --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: With regard to this witness.
9 MS. RICHTEROVA: It is with respect to the next witness. It is
10 rather important that technical things are solved.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I see. I am anticipating what we are in for. Yes,
12 tell me.
13 Yes, Mr. Nicholls?
14 MR. NICHOLLS: I actually have two matters, Your Honour, if we
15 could go into closed session for the first one or private session, rather.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, we go into private session for a while.
17 [Private session]
13 Page 13913 – redacted – private session
13 Page 13914 – redacted – private session
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. So let's bring the witness
22 in, please. How long do you anticipate your cross to last,
23 Mr. Trbojevic? I know but we have got very few questions left on the part
24 of the Prosecution. This is so that we can --
25 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that I
1 will be through within an hour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment because I had it on number 0. One hour?
3 Okay. Thank you. So we should have the break as soon as we finish with
4 this witness.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Mr. Alic.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher, you have not finished.
9 May I ask you to make the solemn declaration once more before you
10 continue and finish your testimony, please?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
12 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 WITNESS: MIDHO ALIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Alic. You may sit down.
16 Madam Richterova will be finishing her examination-in-chief her
17 direct, and then you will be cross-examined by the Defence.
18 Madam Richterova, please.
19 Examination by Ms. Richterova: [Continued]
20 Q. Good morning, Mr. Alic. I have only a couple of additional
21 questions. And the first is yesterday you mentioned that there were
22 checkpoints in the vicinity of Bosanski Novi town and that these
23 checkpoints moved from time to time. Do you know who manned these
25 A. I don't know.
1 Q. And second question is: You said that Branko Balaban called all
2 three men, Samid Imsirevic, Camil Alic, and Fehim Mehmedagic and that he
3 shot them dead. And after that, a military vehicle came by, stopped, and
4 there was this officer who told you that you should go towards the Japra
5 compound. How soon after this incident, this officer arrived?
6 A. Perhaps five minutes later.
7 Q. Could this officer see what happened?
8 A. He couldn't have, because it happened before his arrival, but he
9 could have seen the dead men lying on the road, and the other people who
10 emerged from the other road, from the direction of Sikare, the hamlet of
12 Q. With respect to this officer, do you remember whether he wore any
14 A. Well, he wore insignia, but at that moment, I was seized by fear.
15 I wasn't really looking. I wasn't interested.
16 Q. You also said that you knew almost every -- all these soldiers who
17 were present in Blagaj Japra. Where did you know them from?
18 A. Those were mainly my neighbours.
19 Q. Your neighbours, do you know from which villages?
20 A. I do know. Maslovare, Svodna, Josava. These three villages
21 mainly. Also the village of Petkovac.
22 Q. And what was their ethnicity?
23 A. Serb.
24 Q. And do you remember whether they all wore uniforms?
25 A. Yes. All of them were in uniforms.
1 Q. And apart from the officer you mentioned, that he arrived in that
2 jeep, did you notice anyone who could be in charge of these people in
3 Blagaj Japra, when you were gathered and -- when you were gathered in
4 Blagaj Japra?
5 A. I think -- I think it was -- let me remember his name. His last
6 name was Popovic and his nickname was Pop. I can't remember his first
7 name. It eludes me at the moment.
8 Q. Now I would like to show you one document, if I may ask the usher
9 to show the witness P1628. As I said, we do not have translation of this
10 document. Can we place it on the ELMO? Maybe it will be easier for the
11 witness to read it, because I would like to obtain some translation
12 through this witness.
13 Mr. Alic, if maybe on the screen, it would be easier for you to
14 read it, just tell us what is easier for you.
15 A. I think it's more readable from the screen.
16 Q. Can you -- this is document dated 13 of October, 1999. Can you
17 read the title of this document? Can you read it for us?
18 A. "Record of exhumation, autopsies, and identification of dead
19 bodies found in mass and individual graves in various localities in the
20 area of Bosanski Novi municipality."
21 Q. Can we now go to the page 4? Can you put it a little bit lower?
22 I would -- yeah. And more. Like this. Thank you.
23 Can you read the first two lines for us, starting "dana"?
24 A. "On the 29th of September, 1999, at the locality of Blagaj Japra,
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, Bosnian term for cemetery.
2 A. "Coordinates, SK 150/874, located in the immediate vicinity of the
3 elementary school on" -- you mean only the first two lines?
4 Q. Yeah, enough, thank you. And below, you will see listed names of
5 people who were exhumed in that location, and it will be probably easier
6 if I -- I will just read the name, and tell us whether you remember these
7 people being with you in Blagaj Japra and what happened that person. You
8 can see body number 1, Arapovic, Saban.
9 A. Yes, I know the man. He was my neighbour.
10 Q. Did you see him on 9 of June in Blagaj Japra?
11 A. I didn't see him on that day.
12 Q. Begic, Hamdija.
13 A. Hamdija Begic? I don't know the man at all.
14 Q. Camil Alic?
15 A. That's my step brother.
16 Q. Did you see him in Blagaj Japra?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you know what happened to him?
19 A. I saw him being killed.
20 Q. Selimagic, Ismet?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you see him in Blagaj Japra?
23 A. We were together in my father's house and we were driven out of my
24 father's house together.
25 Q. What happened to him?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. He was killed, together with my brother, Alic, Camil, before my
2 very eyes.
3 Q. Mehmedagic, Fehim?
4 A. Yes. I know him too. He was killed together with Alic, Camil.
5 Q. Imsirevic Samid?
6 A. That's my next door neighbour. He was killed together with
7 Mehmedagic, Fehim, and Camil, Alic.
8 Q. Alic, Kemal?
9 A. That is my brother.
10 Q. What happened to him?
11 A. He was killed together with Ismet Selimagic, in the same spot.
12 Q. And Selmic, Dervis?
13 A. I knew him but I didn't see when he was killed. I heard he was
14 killed but I didn't see it myself.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Alic. This completed my examination-in-chief.
16 A. Thank you.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Richterova.
18 Sir, you are going to be cross-examined now, by Mr. Trbojevic, who
19 is co-counsel together with Mr. John Ackerman in the Defence of the
20 accused, Mr. Radoslav Brdjanin. I would like to give you a very important
21 piece of advice before you start answering the questions that will be put
22 to you on cross-examination. And that is that the lawyer, Mr. Trbojevic,
23 who will be cross-examining you, is doing his duty here. He has a
24 responsibility to look after the interests of his client and to defend his
25 client in a court of justice where his client enjoys the presumption of
1 innocence until he is proven guilty, if he is.
2 So your responsibility, in turn, is a reciprocal one, in the sense
3 that you are bound by law to answer each and every question that is put to
4 you by him as truthfully and as fully as possible. You have no right to
5 make a distinction between questions coming from the Prosecution and
6 questions coming from the Defence. Your duty is to answer every question
7 irrespective of who is putting it to you, as fully and truthfully as I
8 have already explained to you.
9 You will not answer any question if we tell you not to answer it.
10 So Mr. Trbojevic, please go ahead.
11 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Trbojevic:
13 Q. Mr. Alic, I'll try and go through your testimony on the basis of a
14 couple of questions so that we can get a couple of more data and maybe
15 some explanations. In your statement that you made on the 1st of March of
16 the year 2000, you said that a neighbour of yours, who was a police
17 officer, said that new Serb uniforms for the police arrived, as well, and
18 you gave the description of the insignia there.
19 Could you tell us whether it was you yourself personally who saw
20 those new Serb uniforms?
21 A. No, I didn't.
22 Q. You did not see them about?
23 A. No.
24 Q. So you did not see that new insignia?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You were referring to the situation in Novi, about many vehicles
2 and a lot of soldiers passing through on the way to Croatia. When it
3 comes to the relationships between people in Novi, was it influenced in
4 any way by the situation in Croatia?
5 A. Yes. You could feel the winds of the war. People were
6 frightened. You could see people holding up three fingers and shouting
7 slogans and so people were frightened.
8 Q. Tell me whether you knew about the events happening in Gospic in
9 October of 1991?
10 A. No, I don't know. I wasn't interested in any of that.
11 Q. You did not hear about the fighting in the area of Gospic, about
12 all the victims?
13 A. No. I had not heard. I did hear that there was a war going on,
14 but nothing more than that.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Trbojevic.
16 Mr. Alic, when Mr. Trbojevic finishes with his question, please
17 allow a little, small interval of time. The reason is a very simple one.
18 You both speak the same language but we don't speak your language. So we
19 need to receive interpretation. There are interpreters in the booths who
20 are listening to what you are saying and then translating to us into
22 So please, an interval of time is needed because otherwise if you
23 jump straight away into answering the question without even letting
24 Mr. Trbojevic finish his question, you will be causing us problems, all
25 right? Okay. So let's give it a try.
1 Mr. Trbojevic, next question.
2 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. So you did not hear of the battles going on around Gospic?
4 A. No, I had not.
5 Q. And you do know where Gospic is?
6 A. Yes, approximately, but I've never been there.
7 Q. Do you agree that Gospic is relatively close to Novi?
8 A. Not all that close.
9 Q. Did you ever have the opportunity to hear that quite a few
10 refugees from Gospic area came to the area of Novi?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did you notice any Serb refugees from Croatia?
13 A. What are you referring to? 1992 or the end of 1991?
14 Q. It is about the end of 1991 and the spring of 1992.
15 A. No.
16 Q. So you're saying there were no Serb refugees from Croatia in Novi?
17 A. Not in my building.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Trbojevic, he's not saying that there were no
19 Serb refugees. He's saying that he doesn't know about the problem that
20 you are mentioning. Doesn't mean to say that it did not exist.
21 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Did you hear about the events in the area of Kupres in the spring
23 of 1992?
24 A. I had heard, yes.
25 Q. Did you hear that the Croat units were fighting the Serbs in the
1 Kupres area?
2 A. No.
3 Q. According to your information, what do you know? What was
4 happening in Kupres?
5 A. I don't know what was happening in other parts of the country. I
6 can only tell you what was happening in my place of residence and its
7 immediate surroundings.
8 Q. Were you aware of the fact that a certain number of refugees from
9 Kupres had arrived to Novi?
10 A. No. I was living in Blagaj. They might have been there but I did
11 not see them.
12 Q. You were aware of the fact that quite a few representatives or
13 members of the Serb forces, or rather the Yugoslav army at that time,
14 before they left for Croatia and when they came back from the battle
15 fields of Croatia represented a factor which caused some anxiety and
16 concern among the citizens?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you tell me whether there were any reservists or demobilised
19 soldiers from the Croat armed forces appearing in Novi or in the area?
20 A. No, I've never heard or seen anything like that.
21 Q. A short while ago, you mentioned that the reservists passing
22 through used to shoot and that they created anxiety because they made
23 these three-finger gestures?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Could you explain to us why this caused anxiety to the population?
1 A. I don't know. Before the war I had never been interested in that,
2 but I heard it from the elderly that it was a traditional Serb greeting to
3 spite other people and whenever they saw a mosque, they would immediately
4 start firing in the air and start swearing and all that.
5 Q. I'm asking you about this because on page 3 of your statement, you
6 mention that somebody threatened the Muslims to cut off their two fingers
7 so that they could greet people with three fingers as the Serbs?
8 A. Yes, there were threats of that nature.
9 Q. Could you tell us who issued them?
10 A. Uniformed people, I don't know who exactly. I didn't know them.
11 Q. Do you mean some of the uniformed people passing through Novi or
12 some of your local uniformed people?
13 A. The ones who were simply passing through.
14 Q. You mentioned in your first statement, in your -- on page 2,
15 paragraph 7, that from the village of Blagaj Japra, together with the
16 Serbs from Svodna, you convened a meeting and you agreed that nothing bad
17 would happen to anyone. Is that so?
18 A. No. It was Vitezovac not Svodna. Svodna is on the other side of
19 the river, on the other bank. And this other village is on this side. So
20 Svodna is on the left bank. It is a neighbouring village that I was
21 talking about, the neighbouring village to Blagaj Japra.
22 Q. Okay. As you wish. It's not of essential importance to me. You
23 said this neighbouring village is Svodna and we convened a meeting in our
24 village and agreed with our neighbours and so on and so forth. However,
25 it doesn't matter what village in particular it was. What matters to me
1 is for to you tell me who agreed with whom.
2 A. I wasn't present there in person. I know that some people of
3 Muslim and some people of Serb nationality were there but I myself was not
5 Q. Do you know who was representing the Serbs and who was
6 representing the Muslims?
7 A. I believe that there was Izet -- the President of SDA in Blagaj
8 Japra, Izet Mehmedagic. I think he was there heading the delegation, and
9 I don't know about anyone else.
10 Q. Do you know who was leading these negotiations on the Serb side?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did you know what the topic of their talks was?
13 A. Well, as I can imagine, I wasn't present there, but probably the
14 point was to make sure that nobody would come to any harm, that people
15 would not be hurt or insulted or to prevent incidents of any sort. I
16 suppose that was the point.
17 Q. Can you tell me, when it comes to these talks between the two
18 villages, was there anyone from the municipality there?
19 A. I don't suppose there was anyone there at that stage.
20 Q. Do you know if any of them went to the municipality to consult
21 with anyone in relation to these talks?
22 A. Do you mean on the side of the Muslims or --
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. I know that when they -- when the refugees were driven out of the
25 valley, I think Sifet went on that same evening, and I don't know about
1 anyone else.
2 Q. In the same passage, you mentioned that you were listening to the
3 radio and that you heard Serb nationalist songs?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And that people were continuing to say what happened to the Croats
6 will happen to the Muslims as well?
7 A. Yes, and that was my personal assumption as well.
8 Q. What nationalist songs do you mean?
9 A. Nationalist songs, I can't remember exactly what the most popular
10 ones were, but we perceived them as nationalist songs.
11 Q. Those were national Serb songs and --
12 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is quoting Serb songs.
13 A. "Who says that Serbia is a small country, is telling lies," et
15 MR. TRBOJEVIC:
16 Q. Is there anything threatening for the Muslims in those songs?
17 A. No, there was nothing threatening. It was just a bit, well, you
18 know. And then another quote, "One stone next to the other, Serbs next to
19 one another, closing ranks," et cetera.
20 Q. When I asked you about this question, when you heard it said on
21 the radio what happened to the Croats happened to the Muslims as well, you
22 said it was your assumption?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could you tell me exactly what you heard on the radio and what was
25 your personal assumption?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. My personal assumption was that we would meet the same fate
2 because there were these calls from the Crisis Staff at the municipality
3 of Bosanski Novi and there was this Ismet Selimagic who was secretary
4 there, and he had to invite the Muslims to join in the war against
5 Croatia, and he did issue an invitation but he was telling people, don't
6 go, and that's why I assume that we would meet the same fate as they did.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Now, Mr. Alic and Mr. Trbojevic, now, I would like
8 to draw the attention of both of you, I have complaints, you're moving too
9 fast, both of you, and you're not allowing a short interval of time
10 between question and answer, and that's making the lives of the
11 interpreters very difficult, with the result that we find it difficult to
12 follow too.
13 So please, for the umpteenth time, try to allow a short interval
14 of time and go slower. Particularly you, Mr. Alic, you have a tendency it
15 speak very fast. Reduce your speed a little bit because the interpreters
16 need to follow better. Thanks. Go ahead.
17 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was told that there
18 was a slight mistake in the transcript so I'm going to turn to the witness
19 and ask him to re-explain the situation once again.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: All right, go ahead.
21 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Who was invited to do what and who
22 was meant to distribute these invitations to citizens to be mobilised.
23 Q. I would kindly ask you to repeat what you answered.
24 A. You mean who was calling up the Muslims? I don't know who it
25 was. I believe it was the Crisis Staff of the municipality of Bosanski
1 Novi or maybe somebody else. I don't know who it could have been. The
2 municipality of Bosanski Novi sent out these calls to Ismet Selimagic. He
3 was told to distribute these invitations to the Muslims, and they were
4 called up as reservists and they were called up to join in the war against
5 Croatia, and the Muslims rejected it, and that's why I assumed that we
6 would meet with the same fate as the Croats in Croatia.
7 Q. And I would now like to ask you to tell us what you thought would
8 happen to you?
9 A. I thought that what would happen was what actually happened. That
10 all assistance would be denied to us, that -- well, people were already
11 beginning to be dismissed from their jobs. People of Muslim nationality,
12 that is. And they were unable to buy groceries in the same way as the
13 Serbs. They didn't enjoy the same rights as the Serbs did. And you could
14 see the slogans, the graffiti everywhere, about Serbia and there were
15 posters of Slobodan Milosevic in public buildings.
16 Q. We were discussing something else. You said that you assumed that
17 the Muslims -- that the same thing would happen to the Muslims as happened
18 to the Croats, and I'm asking you to explain to me what actually happened
19 to the Croats, because in Croatia, the JNA did not stop the supplies for
20 the Croats. It was actually the other way around. Of course, there was a
21 conflict. I'm not going to argue about that, but this is why I'm asking
22 you to explain to the Court what exactly was happening in Croatia that you
23 feared would happen in Bosnia?
24 A. What happened in Croatia was this: Croatia was an internationally
25 recognised state and the Serbs attacked it and they occupied as much as
1 half of its territory and I was assuming that Bosnia and Herzegovina would
2 probably be attacked in the same way because Bosnia and Herzegovina was a
3 sovereign state in the same way as Croatia. I assumed that the same sort
4 of war would break out there as happened in Croatia.
5 Q. And you mentioned that it was impossible for the Muslims to buy
6 groceries, to get medicines or fuel, as the other citizens of Novi?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Is that correct?
9 A. I myself, I had a shop of my own and I couldn't get fuel to
10 restock my supplies. And if there was anyone sick in my family or my
11 neighbours or anything, yes, I would go to the doctor and would get the
12 prescription but when we went to get the medicines from the pharmacy, we
13 would get the reply, no, no, no, we have nothing for you. Go to the
14 Crisis Staff, ask for an extra certificate from them and then you will get
15 the medicines.
16 Q. Isn't it correct that most medicines would be bought for money at
18 A. Well, some people, even if they were willing to pay, could still
19 not get the medicines.
20 Q. And can you tell us whether anybody had decided for the Muslims
21 not to be entitled to supplies, food, fuel, et cetera, as opposed to the
23 A. Probably.
24 Q. You believe that there was a decision of this sort?
25 A. I suppose so. And, well, I suppose the people working at the
1 pharmacy, it didn't make any difference to them. It was all the same to
2 them whether they were selling their medicines to the Muslims or the
3 Serbs. It was all the same from their point of view, but probably they
4 were not allowed and so that's why they said no.
5 Q. You talked about the curfew. Do you know why a curfew was
7 A. I do not.
8 Q. Can you tell us how long it lasted? I didn't quite understand
9 what you said when you first mentioned it.
10 A. There was a certain period of time during the day when we were
11 free to move about, go out and get the firewood or feed the animals --
12 well, that's all that we were allowed to do since we were living in the
13 country but we could do nothing else.
14 Q. Was it put somewhere in writing?
15 A. Well, they said it on the radio, and it was always emphasised that
16 we had to respect that.
17 Q. How was it controlled?
18 A. I don't know. I never went anywhere. What food I had, we could
19 eat, and I never went anywhere.
20 Q. Were there any patrols going through the villages and checking it?
21 A. There must have been. I wasn't living on the main road. I was a
22 bit further away in the hamlet of Sikare. Yes, I suppose there must have
23 been. The people who could have seen it were the ones living along the
24 main road. That was the main road going through the village.
25 Q. And can you tell me whether there were any patrols of the citizens
1 of Muslim nationality in the villages with mostly Muslim population, for
2 any security checks or patrols?
3 A. No. All the weapons had already been taken away from the Muslims,
4 and that applies even to the ones who were reserve policemen.
5 Q. I'm referring to the spring of 1992. That was the time when these
6 shortages were happening and these talks were taking place.
7 A. Yes, I do know what you're talking about.
8 Q. Were there any patrols in the Muslim villages, any Muslim patrols,
9 in order to prevent any incidents, banditry or what have you?
10 A. I can tell you that as of January, maybe up until March or April,
11 there were joint units, police reservists. There was a checkpoint at the
12 Blagaj Japra bridge and there were two, three, four people together. And
13 there were Serbs as well. And then afterwards, when things changed,
14 Muslims relinquished their arms and the Serbs remained.
15 Q. Do you agree -- do you agree with me that there were overall food
16 shortages in town? And the same applied for fuel?
17 A. Yes, I do agree. Because I myself, I had my own shop in Blagaj
18 Japra, and I was unable to get supplies from the warehouses.
19 Q. Tell me, did you know that in the organisation of Merhamet, the
20 humanitarian organisation, there was something like a pharmacy?
21 A. I knew about that but I didn't visit it.
22 Q. On page 3, you said that on Saturday, the 9th of May, weapons were
23 gathered and turned over. Somebody drove them to the point of turning
25 A. Yes, Izet Mehmedagic.
1 Q. You said it was taken to members of the civilian Defence. Did you
2 really mean the civilian defence?
3 A. I don't know exactly who it was who took -- who he took the
4 weapons to. He took them to the building of the municipality. He was
5 told to go to the municipality. I don't know who it was before the
6 municipality, who is supposed to take the weapons over. I wasn't there.
7 Q. Why was it taken by truck, if it was an insignificant quantity?
8 A. This Izet person, he owned a small shop as well, and he was with
9 his pickup in front of the school building. And when we were deciding who
10 would take the weapons, he said, "I will," and he put the weapons on his
11 pickup and drove them away. It wasn't really in the trailer. He put all
12 the weapons in the cabin of the truck, in the cab.
13 Q. And he returned the same weapons the same day?
14 A. Yes. The story was that they only laughed at him and told him,
15 "We don't need that. Take it away."
16 Q. And then you testified about an event where a vehicle of the
17 military police was attacked?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Some place between Blagaj Japra and Bosanski Novi?
20 A. Djurim is the place.
21 Q. You said the attack was orchestrated, staged?
22 A. Yes, certainly.
23 Q. Were you an eyewitness?
24 A. No, I wasn't. I wasn't an eyewitness but that vehicle left in
25 perfect working order. Nobody was hurt. And that's why we are assuming -
1 not only I but all of my fellow townsfolk - that it was staged because
2 immediately after that attack, the shelling of Blagaj began. We suppose
3 that the only purpose of that so-called attack was to provide an excuse
4 for the shelling of Blagaj. I believe they had no other way of starting
5 the shelling.
6 Q. So it's logical deduction on your part?
7 A. Not only on my part but all of the inhabitants of our village. I
8 know my village well. I know the people. Nobody would do a thing like
10 Q. But there are no witnesses as to what actually happened; is that
12 A. No. There aren't. I'm only here to tell the truth.
13 Q. You also testified about the shelling?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You said that Hamdija Selmic came and said that you should go to
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Tell me, on whose behalf was he speaking when he said that you
19 should go to Maslovare?
20 A. He was sent by Serbs from Maslovare, because his house was right
21 next to Maslovare. He had surrendered of his own accord and the Serbs
22 told him, "Go to Blagaj and tell the people to evacuate to the adjacent
23 village of Maslovare." So he passed through the entire Blagaj, reached my
24 hamlet, and told us, "I was given an order to tell you this, and will you
25 please pick up your things and go?"
1 Q. He wasn't more specific as to who gave him that order?
2 A. No. He didn't name any names but he said it was the Serbs.
3 Q. You then described your trip to Maslovare, your journey. Tell me,
4 how is it possible for you to be put up in Maslovare? Where did the
5 original, inhabitants go?
6 A. We stayed with a man, Rajko Hodzic, who was extremely rich. He
7 had a huge stable holding 100 to 200 calves. We slept in that stable, in
8 trailers. We were put up in doors, inside the house. It was a huge
9 holding with huge barns and stables.
10 Q. And again, we come to the surrendering of weapons.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You said 20 rifles and 20 hunting rifles?
13 A. Yes, plus about 20 pistols, all that we had, all that the
14 inhabitants had, but all of these were licensed weapons.
15 Q. You mentioned two names here, Mica Karlica and Milan Gvozden?
16 A. Right, Milan Gvozden.
17 Q. Who are these people?
18 A. These are Serbs, both of them went to school together with me,
19 same class. They held no rank. They only wore uniforms.
20 Q. And after that, they told you to go back home?
21 A. When they entered the village, searched houses, hoisted the flags,
22 they told us we were free to go back but not to dare take the flags down.
23 If anybody should take the flag down, they would be killed.
24 Q. I assume it's the same group of armed people, including this
25 Gvozden person, this Karlica, and the others?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes. Those were the same people. They did not mistreat us up
2 there. They didn't do us any harm. I have to be honest.
3 Q. Then you mentioned again the negotiations held with the Serbs over
4 17 days, according to what you said?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you tell us who was leading those negotiations at this point?
7 A. What point?
8 Q. Well, after you came back to your village.
9 A. Who headed the negotiations? Sifet for the most part from
10 Suhaca. I can't remember his last name.
11 Q. You mean Barjaktarevic?
12 A. Yes, Sifet Barjaktarevic.
13 Q. And from the Serbian side?
14 A. I don't know about that. I never spoke to the man. I never asked
15 Sifet who he was talking to and where he was going.
16 Q. Do you know what options were on the table in those negotiations,
17 who was offering what?
18 A. Well, I know that our side was willing, since we had already
19 surrendered our weapons, to continue living in our homes. We were
20 negotiating about being able to continue our life at home, to be left
21 alone, but I don't know where and how the negotiations were headed.
22 Q. You then described an event where Sulejman Burzic was killed. Can
23 you tell me if your memory is now refreshed? Who was it exactly who
24 killed him?
25 A. The name Janjetovic.
1 Q. You said Zare Janjetovic from Svodna; that's what you said
3 A. That's true. Then years went by and you don't remember everything
4 with the same clarity. He was the secretary of the local commune in the
5 village of Svodna.
6 Q. If I'm not mistaken, you said that this Janjetovic person kicked
7 him from the back?
8 A. Not from the back.
9 Q. How was it?
10 A. They were facing each other, and Janjetovic hit him with a rifle,
11 hitting his umbrella. He dropped the umbrella, after which Janjetovic
12 fired two bullets into him and shot him in the chest, shot him dead, in
13 front of all the refugees who were watching this scene from behind the
14 fence, the barbed -- the wire fence.
15 Q. Tell me, before you entered the compound of this enterprise, you
16 described how those three citizens were killed, the men whose names you
17 found in the record of exhumation?
18 A. Whom do you mean?
19 Q. Mehmedagic, Fehim; Camil Alic; and the third person. They were
20 killed by Dragan Balaban, according to your statement.
21 A. Yes, nicknamed Trnka. He shot them with a burst of gunfire in the
23 Q. You knew those three men who were killed at that spot?
24 A. Camil is my cousin.
25 Q. You know also Dragan Balaban?
1 A. Yes. I know him from Bosanski Novi. He worked at the bus
2 station. He went to the reserve drills with me.
3 Q. You then described how you were loaded on to rail cars. You said
4 there were about 10 to 15 rail cars?
5 A. I didn't count them. I didn't matter to me. It was a whole
6 train. I suppose there were about 10 to 15 rail cars.
7 Q. If we should now compare the number of rail cars of about 20,
8 let's say, with the possible number of people per rail car, you said about
9 100, if you put 100 people in a rail car, it would be packed, we would get
10 a much smaller figure than the one you gave.
11 A. I didn't know to what extent the other rail cars were packed. I
12 know what the situation was in my rail car. There were all sorts of rail
13 cars, including the open-type ones. It is possible that they put more
14 people in closed rail cars than in the -- and put the rest in the open
15 rail cars.
16 Q. As you were entering rail cars, as you were getting in, who was
17 securing your entrance as you were coming in? Who was guarding you?
18 A. Reservists, troops, the army.
19 Q. Does that army include your local reservists whom you mentioned?
20 A. Mico Dolic, for instance, lives also in Blagaj. I asked him. It
21 was him I asked whether I can board the same rail car as my family, and he
22 nodded. He was drinking coffee. I saw him in the rain drinking this
23 coffee and he nodded that I could.
24 Q. Was anyone resisting getting on to the rail car?
25 A. Nobody wanted to -- nobody resisted. We all wanted to leave, even
1 I was praying to God that I should leave, that I should be allowed to go
2 because we couldn't take it any longer. I realised we couldn't go on
3 living there.
4 Q. At one point you said that you, who were inside the rail car,
5 closed the door.
6 A. Yes. I said we closed the rail car door when Hasan was killed,
7 because we had small children with us who were watching these killings and
8 we were afraid that there would be more killings and we didn't want the
9 children to go on watching that.
10 Q. Does that mean that the door wasn't locked during your journey?
11 A. They weren't locked at that point. Whether they locked them
12 later, I don't know. Whether they locked the doors after they closed all
13 the doors on all the rail cars, I don't know.
14 Q. You also said that you stopped at one point and drank water from a
16 A. It's a place, Stanari, outside Doboj, a very small settlement, a
17 small railway station where we were separated, men were separated from
18 women and children. It was hot in the rail cars. Women got out to that
19 creek to change the clothes of children, have water.
20 Q. Were you also guarded there?
21 A. Yes, by both police and the army.
22 Q. When did these police first appear in Stanari?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you mean military police or the normal police in blue uniforms?
25 A. I mean military police, and the army, soldiers.
1 Q. In that place, in Stanari, where you were separated from women and
2 children, is that the same group of soldiers who guarded you as you were
3 boarding the rail -- the train?
4 A. No. That previous group of soldiers was left behind.
5 Q. So we now have a different unit, different military unit?
6 A. I suppose so. It must have been prearranged by telephone or
7 whatever. It must have been agreed in advance who would meet us up at
8 that next railway station.
9 Q. So you men were returned to Novi and put up at the stadium?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You didn't know at that point what was going on with the women and
12 the children?
13 A. No, we didn't.
14 Q. When you later met -- reunited with your wife, what did she tell
15 you about what happened to them?
16 A. They were taken to Doboj and then on, through Slavonska Pozega,
17 eventually reaching Zagreb.
18 Q. So they continued their journey?
19 A. Shall I repeat my answer again?
20 Q. I'll repeat my question: The women and the children continued
21 their journey after being separated from you and ended up in Croatia?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Whereas you arrived at the stadium?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Where exactly were you accommodated?
1 A. During daytime, in the field of the stadium, and during the night,
2 under the stands.
3 Q. I would like to show this witness the photograph of the stadium
4 which is an exhibit, 1683.3.
5 Here we see the building and the stands?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. When you say, "Under the stands," do you mean the premises, the
8 windows of which we see on this picture, facing opposite the field?
9 A. Not these ones but on the ground floor.
10 Q. So you were indoors?
11 A. You see this glass here? There was one exit here. It was
12 locked. We couldn't use it. There were two or three rooms upstairs here
13 and elderly people were put up there because there was carpeting of some
14 sorts and it was warmer so they were put up up there and we younger people
15 were on the ground floor.
16 Q. And it was from there that you tried to send a message?
17 A. It was the people from upstairs who saw the UN troops through the
18 window, flashing their lights at them, and they tried to respond, making
19 signs to signal their presence, using clothes, et cetera.
20 Q. There were locker rooms, massage rooms, as usual, at stadiums,
21 possibly a canteen?
22 A. Yes, all the usual premises, locker rooms, et cetera.
23 Q. All that was available for your use?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Were there any other refugees put up at that stadium, in addition
1 to you?
2 A. No, no. Where could you put up refugees here? The people who
3 lived here, there were people who normally lived in these apartments.
4 They might be living there still for all I know.
5 Q. Here, upstairs?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And when you were describing how you were filling in this form
8 that you were leaving Bosanski Novi of your own free will, signing away
9 your property, you said some civilians had come, up -- put up desks at the
10 stadium, et cetera?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. But the form on your behalf was brought there by your cousin
13 already signed?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So you didn't have to sign right there at the stadium? You could
16 have signed elsewhere?
17 A. No. I couldn't go to the municipality and get my own papers. She
18 did that for me. She signed for me there, and right there, we had to sign
19 in our own hand because not everybody had a relative like I did. Whoever
20 had family to do the paperwork for them did so.
21 Q. Let me get this clear. She got the form for you?
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's request, could we please slow down
23 a little.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment. Please slow down again.
25 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] I'm finished. Thank you.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Trbojevic.
2 Is there re-examination?
3 MS. RICHTEROVA: No, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. I have a few questions for you,
5 Mr. Alic, more or less clarifications, because there is a considerable
6 confusion that has been created as a result of too many Balabans.
7 Questioned by the Court:
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm referring you specifically to the description
9 that you gave of the killing of Camil Alic, Fehim Mehmedagic, and Samir
10 Izmirevic. More are less you did clarify who exactly did the killing a
11 few minutes ago, and I'm referring everyone to page 27, line 16, and you
12 referred to the person who killed these -- who shot these persons, these
13 three Muslims, as Dragan Balaban, also known as Trnka. Is that correct?
14 A. It is correct.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm saying this because earlier on today, on page 6,
16 line 7, you -- the transcript tells us that you referred to this person
17 who did the killing, according to you, as Branko Balaban. It was not
18 Branko Balaban but it was Dragan Balaban. Is that correct?
19 A. Slavenko Balaban. Slavenko Balaban nicknamed Sinter, that's
20 another person.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Wait a minute, I'm referring you only to the killing
22 of Camil Alic, Fehim Mehmedagic, and Samir Izmirevic. Who did that
24 A. You mean Besirevic?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Not Besirevic. Samir Izmirevic, Fehim
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Mehmedagic, and Camil Alic. Who killed those three Muslims?
2 A. Drago Balaban nicknamed Trnka.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm asking you this and I'm asking a confirmation of
4 you because on page 6 line 7 of the transcript, you don't mention or the
5 transcript does not mention Drago or Dragan Balaban but Branko Balaban.
6 So it's not Branko Balaban who killed these three Muslims. It's Dragan,
7 Dragan Balaban?
8 A. Yes, yes, you're right.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. The same mistake recurs in yesterday's
10 transcript and I'm referring you to page 13.886, line 18, where the
11 transcript says that "the person who killed Camil Alic, Fehim Mehmedagic
12 and Samir Izmirevic is Branko Balaban called Sice." Is that correct or is
13 it a mistake? The person who killed these three persons, Camil Alic,
14 Fehim Mehmedagic, and Samir Izmirevic, is it Branko Balaban called Sice or
15 Dragan Balaban known as Trnka?
16 A. Drago Balaban, also known as Trnka, T-r-n-k-a.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, and in confirmation of that, just for the
18 record, I mentioned that on page 6 of this statement of the witness given
19 on 12/3/2000, he does refer as the person who killed these three Muslims
20 being Dragan Balaban, and in his statement of the 8th of December, 1997,
21 he refers to also to Drago Balaban, known as Trnka.
22 Is there a distinction between Dragan and Drago or is it the same
24 A. It's the same person.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
1 A. The same name.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Also in the statement of 15/1/1998, he refers to
3 Drago Balaban, known as Trnka, as the person who killed these three
5 Now, in your statements and in your testimony, you also mention
6 other Balabans. In your statement of 1998, 11 December, 1998, you refer
7 to a certain Ranko Balaban, who according to you was the President of the
8 SDS in Bosanski Novi. You then refer to another Ranko Balaban, as one of
9 the guards in the stadium. Are these the same person? Is this the same
10 person? Or are they two different persons with the same name?
11 A. No. It's one person but that Slavenko Balaban, who killed my
12 brother, Camil -- and Kemal -- nicknamed Sinter.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I will come to Slavenko Balaban later. For the time
14 being, I'm referring to you a different name, not Slavenko Balaban but
15 Ranko Balaban. What was the name of the president of the SDS in Bosanski
17 A. The President of the SDS? Well, I don't know what his name was.
18 I know who was the President -- who was the mayor, that is to say, but as
19 to the party, I don't know.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: In your statement to the Prosecution of March
21 2000 -- he mentions Balaban as the President of the SDS. Was there a
22 certain Ranko, Ranko Balaban, president of the SDS?
23 A. Ranko can only be Gvozden.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, one moment. Any way, let's have the break
25 and I will come back to you with the references, because you refer to a
1 certain Ranko Balaban and we want to know exactly who he is.
2 Let's have a 25-minute break, which is overdue in any case and try
3 to remember who was in the meantime Milan Balaban; Ranko Balaban; and
4 Balaban, Slavenko. Balaban, Slavenko, we need to ask you about because he
5 is supposedly the one who killed your brother, amongst other people. Is
6 that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
10 MR. ACKERMAN: I would like to be excused for the balance of the
11 session because I have other --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right, Mr. Ackerman, I understand Mr. Trbojevic
13 will be taking over?
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes, and I will see you all again next Friday.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Have a safe journey and we hope you will be all
16 right when you get back.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.04 a.m.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I was asking you a few questions, and I have
21 got very few of them left. You also mentioned Balaban Slavenko. This was
22 the one who was nicknamed Sice, no?
23 A. Sinter. That was his nickname.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Sinter?
25 A. Siter.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you know him personally?
2 A. Yes, he used to work in Bosanski Novi. He was a waiter there.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: At the time he, according to you, killed your
4 brother and your brother-in-law, what was he wearing? Civilian clothes or
5 military clothes? Or a uniform?
6 A. He was wearing a uniform.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: What kind of uniform?
8 A. Camouflage, a camouflage military uniform.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. And the other Dragan Balaban, Trnka, who
10 killed, according to you, the other persons, Camil Alic and the other two,
11 what was he wearing when he killed them?
12 A. The same as Slavenko, exactly the same.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Now, do you know of certain Ranko Balaban,
14 who was the President of the SDS in Josava?
15 A. Yes. I've remembered him. Yes, his name was Ranko Balaban.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you ever see him in the course of these events
17 that you described to us?
18 A. No. I did not see him in those days.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. That's enough. Thank you.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Was there a relationship, a family
22 relationship, between Slavenko Balaban and Drago Balaban? Were they
24 A. Yes. It was the same family, Slavenko, Drago, and Ranko, they
25 were close relatives from the same village.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: That means they were also related to the President
2 of the SDS from Josava?
3 A. Yes. They were.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you know of a certain Milan Balaban?
5 A. I do.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you ever see him in the course of these events?
7 A. No, no.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you. That brings us to the end of
9 your testimony. On behalf of the Tribunal, it is my duty to thank you for
10 having accepted to come over and give evidence in this trial. You will
11 now be attended to by the officials of this Tribunal to assist you on your
12 return to your country of residence. The usher will be escorting you
13 out. Thank you.
14 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, meanwhile, I would like to tender
15 officially into evidence the two new documents which I used with this
16 witness, P1627 and P1628.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. There are so being admitted.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, I suppose that the officers of this
20 Tribunal who are in charge will bring in the screen and let me explain to
21 the public and the gallery what's going to happen because I don't want to
22 disappoint anyone. The next witness that we will be starting with has
23 asked for certain protective measures, as a result of which we have
24 decided to give him two protective measures. One is he will not be
25 referred to by name but by a nom de plume, by a pseudonym, and that means
1 that you will not be able to see him, although you will be able to hear
2 him, and also, we will be giving him image distortion.
3 So what you will be seeing on the screen over there is the
4 distortion of the image of this testimony. For the time being, we are
5 putting down the curtains, unless he walks in. Then we will pull the
6 curtains up again and you can follow the proceedings. Thank you.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, at the very beginning I'd ask to go
8 briefly into private session just for some background questions.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 And, Chuqing, please make sure that the monitors and -- first that
11 the screen is put at an angle which does obstruct every possible vision
12 of -- field of view, that could expose the identity of the witness. I
13 think that's -- that should be good. The important thing is, usher, that
14 anyone who goes to the far end of the gallery will not be able to see
15 the -- but I think, as it is, it should be all right. Because we had
16 several members of the gallery yesterday trying to do precisely that,
17 young girls and young boys that were too curious, as if it was going to
18 change anything for them.
19 Yes, please bring the witness in.
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, sir.
22 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal. You are about to
24 start giving evidence in the trial instituted by this Tribunal against
25 Radoslav Brdjanin. Our rules require that any witness, before starting
1 his or her evidence, makes -- enters a solemn declaration to the effect
2 that he or she will be telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
3 the truth in the course of the testimony. The text of the solemn
4 declaration which is tantamount to an oath is contained on a piece of
5 paper which the usher has just handed to you. Your responsibility, your
6 duty, is to read that statement aloud, and that will be your undertaking
7 with this Tribunal that you will be speaking the truth and nothing but the
8 truth. Please go ahead.
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 BT82
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, you may sit down. You are going to be
14 handed a piece of paper now which contains your name and surname. I want
15 you to have a look at it and without reading it, tell us, please, whether
16 your name and surname appears on that sheet of paper and whether they are
17 spelled correctly.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Usher, please show it to the Defence
20 counsel and then to us. And that's going to be entered into the exhibits
21 under seal.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: P1629, please, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: P1629.
24 Now, very briefly, sir, what's going to happen is this: First of
25 all, you have asked for and we have decided to give you some
1 precautionary, some protective measures to hide your identity. That
2 should make you feel more comfortable and more secure in the course of
3 your testimony. We are trying to protect you because you sought such
4 protection. The protection that we have given to you, protective measures
5 are two. Basically we will not be referring to you by your name and
6 surname but by a number that we have given you and you are BT84 -- am I
7 correct? 82? BT82. You are BT82.
8 And in addition, no one will be able to see you or see your face,
9 because, as you are able to see yourself on the video mode on your
10 monitor, we have provided for a visual distortion of your face. So
11 basically, anyone following these proceedings will be able to hear you
12 giving testimony but will not be able to see your face.
13 Now, Mr. Julian Nicholls for the Prosecution will be putting some
14 questions to you in chief, and for the first part, since he will be asking
15 you your name, your surname, your place of birth, your age and whatever,
16 we are going to go into private session. In other words, for this short
17 interval of time, until we finish with this series of questions, no one
18 will be able to follow the proceedings. No one will be able to hear your
20 So, Mr. Nicholls, please let's go into private session for a
22 [Private session]
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
13 Page 13957 – redacted – private session
7 [Open session]
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Could the witness, please --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we are in open session now.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Could the witness please have the map of the area,
12 Q. Sir, please remember while we are getting the map that -- not to
13 say your own name, not to say the names of family members who also doing
14 so might identify you.
15 A. All right.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: I don't know if we can zoom in a tiny bit to make
17 this more clear. That's good. Thanks.
18 Q. Witness, sir, if you could look at this map, please, see if it
19 looks accurate to you, reasonably accurate, and point out the village of
20 Suhaca on the map.
21 A. Yes. It is correct, and this is the village of Suhaca.
22 Q. And is the map correct in showing the location of Suhaca in
23 relationship to the town of Bosanski Novi and Blagaj Japra?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. Thank you. I'd like to briefly ask you if you could tell me about
1 what relations were like in the Suhaca area which you've pointed out to us
2 before the war in Croatia. If you -- you can correct me if I'm wrong but
3 before the war in Croatia, really got under way, relationships between the
4 Serbs and Muslims in that area were generally good. Is that right?
5 A. Yes. The relations were very good indeed. We used to play soccer
6 together. We used to get together and socialise, both in Suhaca and
8 Q. And Josava, excuse my pronunciation, is a Serb village. Is that
10 A. Yes, it is an exclusively Serb village.
11 Q. And if you can tell me briefly how these relationships changed
12 during the war with Croatia. In your statement you refer to that's when
13 problems started.
14 A. Yes. From the very start of the war in Croatia, they started to
15 separate from us, they didn't want to talk to us. And later on, they even
16 refused to play soccer with us on a number of occasions, so we got the
17 idea that something was going on.
18 Q. And just to be clear, when you say "they" in that answer, who are
19 you referring to? We need to be clear for the record and the transcript.
20 A. What I mean is the Serb population.
21 Q. During this time, were you personally active in politics? Were
22 you a member of any party? Did you run for any office?
23 A. No. I wasn't involved in politics and I wasn't a member of
25 Q. Which party represented Suhaca, which party was the majority party
1 in Suhaca?
2 A. The SDA party.
3 Q. And speaking now in early 1992, who was president of the SDA in
5 A. It was Sifet Barjaktarevic.
6 Q. If you know, can you just tell me, if you remember, who other
7 senior SDA members were in the municipality of Bosanski Novi as a whole?
8 If you remember their names.
9 A. There were Mr. Resad Berberovic, and Dzafer -- I can't remember
10 his family name.
11 Q. Okay. Although you weren't politically too active in politics,
12 did you follow what was going on in the news, on the television, and in
13 the media, newspapers, magazines?
14 A. Yes, I did, because that was the main topic of every day, the
15 events in the neighbouring Croatia and in the neighbouring area.
16 Q. During 1992, was there a point where the broadcasts you were able
17 to receive on television stopped? Were there any channels which stopped
18 being broadcast? Was your selection limited in any way?
19 A. No. It wasn't limited. We had three programmes that we could
21 Q. Around this time, when you said that the relationships were
22 becoming difficult, were breaking down, were any patrols set up to -- in
23 Suhaca village, to make it safe at night?
24 A. No. There were no organised patrols in Suhaca. There were just a
25 couple of policemen as required by the municipality of Bosanski Novi, as
1 reserve policemen.
2 Q. During 1992, if you remember, was there any time in Suhaca and in
3 Bosanski Novi in general where Muslims began to be dismissed from their
4 employment, when they were fired?
5 A. Yes. It did happen, and Muslims were being dismissed during the
6 war in Croatia, as early as that.
7 Q. Can you tell me how you know that, what the basis of your
8 knowledge is for that, for those dismissals?
9 A. I know it because my cousin was a civil servant at the
10 municipality and he was dismissed. A neighbour of mine was a driver for
11 the municipal authorities and that happened to him as well and I know a
12 policeman who was dismissed as well.
13 Q. Were Serbs also dismissed at this time?
14 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
15 Q. And can you give me an approximate time frame of when these
16 dismissals began to take place.
17 A. The dismissals started, as I said, in the course of the war in
18 Croatia, and then right into the beginning of 1992.
19 Q. Thank you. You also spoke in your statement to the Office of the
20 Prosecutor about checkpoints being set up which controlled the movement of
21 Muslims and prevented Muslims from travelling at night. Could you
22 describe that to the Trial Chamber, please, when those checkpoints were
23 set up and who, as far as you know, was in charge of those checkpoints.
24 A. The checkpoints were set up at some point in April 1992, and they
25 were manned by the JNA soldiers, only of Serb nationality, and I myself
1 had my documents checked at those checkpoints.
2 Q. Were Serbs also required to show identification at these
3 checkpoints and have their movement restricted?
4 A. No. They weren't required to show anything. The day when my
5 papers were checked, I had even one Serb accompanying me in order to tell
6 them to let me through. They didn't ask anything of him but they said
7 that they would check me nevertheless.
8 Q. Can you indicate, please, on the map which is to your right,
9 approximately where the checkpoints were around Suhaca?
10 A. I can. One checkpoint was between Hozici and Donji Agici. And
11 another checkpoint was between Suhaca and Josava, near the elementary
12 school in Suhaca, right here.
13 Q. Thank you. And these are checkpoints which you personally
14 witnessed or ones which you heard about? You told of being stopped at one
16 A. These are the checkpoints which I saw with my own eyes and where I
17 had my papers checked.
18 Q. I now want to move on to talk about the topic of the surrender of
19 weapons from the village of Suhaca. You speak about that in your
20 statement. I wonder if you can tell us how -- how you -- how people in
21 Suhaca first learned that they were going to be required to surrender all
22 rifles, pistols, and other weapons that they may have had.
23 A. Sifet Barjaktarevic was the President of the SDA and he was often
24 called to the municipality for negotiations. One day he came to us and
25 said, "People, we reached an agreement of this sort. If we surrender our
1 weapons, that will mean that we are loyal to the Serbian authorities and
2 we will be allowed to go on living as before." So we collected our
3 weapons and complied.
4 Q. Let me take this step by step. When did you first hear about this
5 demand or this agreement?
6 A. In the end April.
7 Q. Do you know who Sifet Barjaktarevic spoke to, who he negotiated
8 with, to come to this agreement?
9 A. I don't know exactly who he talked to but he went to the Bosanski
10 Novi municipality and I later heard that even -- he even went to Banja
11 Luka a couple of times.
12 Q. Let me see if I can help you remember. In your statement, on page
13 3, and I can show it to you if you need it, you speak about Sifet
14 Barjaktarevic discussing the problem of surrender, the surrender of
15 weapons with Ranko Balaban of Josava.
16 Do you remember that name, Ranko Balaban?
17 A. Yes, that name is very familiar. Ranko Balaban also went to
18 Bosanski Novi for these negotiations together with Sifet Barjaktarevic. Of
19 course, he couldn't decide alone either. It had to be decided in Bosanski
21 Q. And what position did Ranko Balaban hold? Who was he?
22 A. Ranko Balaban was the President of the Josava SDS.
23 Q. So the discussions between your representative, just to be very
24 clear, Sifet Barjaktarevic, was with Ranko Balaban and other members of
25 the SDS. Is that right?
1 A. That's correct. All that came down from the Bosanski Novi
2 municipality went through Ranko Balaban, who informed Sifet that he was to
3 go there for negotiations, and then they went to Bosanski Novi together.
4 Q. Were these weapons ultimately surrendered by people in Suhaca?
5 A. Yes. It was surrendered.
6 Q. And just to be clear, what was the ethnic composition of the
7 village of Suhaca?
8 A. The village of Suhaca was purely Muslim.
9 Q. Can you tell me simply how the weapons were actually turned over,
10 how this exchange took place?
11 A. The next day, after these negotiations, Sifet Barjaktarevic
12 convened in meeting in Suhaca and told everyone they had to bring all
13 their weapons they had. And we complied. We put all the weapons on to a
14 tractor-trailer, made a list, it was mainly hunting weapons. We loaded
15 them on to this tractor-trailer.
16 Q. Did you personally surrender any weapons?
17 A. No, I didn't.
18 Q. Did you have any weapons?
19 A. No. I never possessed a weapon.
20 Q. Who picked up the weapons? You say you loaded them on a
21 tractor-trailer, who came and took these weapons away?
22 A. It was our tractor and our man drove the tractor in front of us,
23 and we accompanied him out of the village.
24 Q. I guess my question is: Do you know ultimately who took custody
25 of these weapons, who they were surrendered to?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. The weapons were taken over by the Serbs at that checkpoint
2 between Suhaca and Josava. Where these weapons ended up, I don't know.
3 Q. And were those Serbs in charge of the checkpoint soldiers or
4 police or civilians?
5 A. They wore military uniforms and they called themselves the
6 military police.
7 Q. During this time period, do you know whether Serb villages, such
8 as Josava, were also disarmed in a similar manner?
9 A. No. They were not. They even received new weapons.
10 Q. How do you know that? Could you explain, please.
11 A. I know that because I saw with my own eyes, a helicopter landing
12 in the hamlet of Halilovici.
13 Q. And why does that helicopter landing lead you -- could you explain
14 further, please. Why does that mean that weapons were being distributed?
15 A. I can explain. After the landing of that helicopter, two civilian
16 vehicles passed by driven by Serbs, men I know personally, and half an
17 hour later, the vehicles came back loaded with weapons. They were
18 slightly covered by blankets but you could still see the weapons.
19 Q. Who was driving these vehicles, if you remember?
20 A. I can. The red Wartburg was driven by Mijo Majkic and there was
21 another Lada driven by --
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't catch the name.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Could I ask to you repeat the name, please, of the
24 person who was driving the Lada?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The person driving the Lada was
1 Podunavac, that's his last name but I'm not sure if it's Ranko or
2 Radenko -- or rather Dragan Podunavac.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, sir.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MR. NICHOLLS:
7 Q. Now, after this negotiation to surrender weapons and everybody in
8 Suhaca agreed and did in fact surrender their weapons in order to
9 hopefully live in peace, what happened after that, in the following days?
10 A. The day when we surrendered our weapons, all the inhabitants had
11 to go to the village of Josava for a such which lasted for three or four
12 hours, returned home this same day and at this checkpoint we were told we
13 would be able to live in peace from then on. In fact, the first shell hit
14 us a couple of days later.
15 Q. All right. And when you talk about a search in your last answer,
16 are you talking about a search of the homes in the village of Suhaca?
17 A. Yes. They were searching our houses, which we had to leave
19 Q. And again, who was searching the houses, if you know? Who was
20 actually physically conducting the searches?
21 A. Those were soldiers, JNA soldiers, accompanied by two Muslim
22 civilians from Suhaca.
23 Q. And during these searches, was any property damaged or was
24 anything stolen or were the searches done correctly?
25 A. The searches were done correctly. Nothing was taken away or
1 stolen that day.
2 Q. Now, I interrupted you, but you were talking about how a couple of
3 days later, the first shell hit. Can you tell me now how the shelling of
4 Suhaca started and what that first day of shelling was like.
5 A. Three days after the surrendering of weapons, the first shell
6 landed. It was around 6.30. We were taken aback. It was one of the
7 worst days. They shelled the whole day and the whole night, I believe.
8 In the days that followed, the shelling took place only in the early
9 morning hours.
10 Q. Could you tell where these shells were coming from, where they
11 were being fired from?
12 A. I can. The shells were coming from the villages of Josava and
14 Q. And I think you talk in your statement about how you examined one
15 of these shells and using your military background, you thought you were
16 able to tell what type of shell it was. Can you explain that to the
17 Court, please.
18 A. One of the shells landed not far from my house. I went there. I
19 dug out the so-called tail of the shell. The tail fin. I saw the writing
20 "JNA" on it. It was a 60-millimetre calibre shell.
21 Q. Thank you. You mentioned the village of Krslje. Was that a Serb
22 or a Muslim village?
23 A. It was a purely Serb village.
24 Q. How long, in terms of days, did the shelling last of Suhaca?
25 A. The shelling lasted four to five weeks.
1 Q. And did the intensity of the shelling vary during those weeks?
2 A. Yes. It varied. Sometimes a day would pass without a single
3 shell being fired. Sometimes they shelled mainly in the early morning
4 hours. At night, a couple of shells, around noon.
5 Q. And what did you and the other people who were in the village at
6 that time do to cope with that? What did you try to hide or get away or
7 do anything to protect yourselves?
8 A. Yes. We tried. We spent most of the time in so-called shelters.
9 We lived in old houses mainly with stone basements and all the inhabitants
10 would gather in one or two houses with women and children staying inside,
11 and men making rounds outside to prevent anyone from entering the village.
12 Q. At this point, you say there were men outside trying to prevent
13 anyone from entering the village. Did these men have any weapons or any
15 A. No. They were not armed. In fact, at that time, they didn't have
16 any weapons.
17 Q. And just before we move on, can you tell me, tell the Court about
18 any damage done by this shelling? What was the effects of this shelling?
19 A. Shelling mainly targeted the parts of the hamlets where the
20 mosques were, and it was mainly houses around the mosques that were
22 Q. How did this shelling come to end? Tell me about how this --
23 how -- at the end of these weeks, what happened? What happened when the
24 shelling stopped?
25 A. As I already said, shelling was less intensive during the day, and
1 every time the shelling stopped, a military vehicle would come in and they
2 asked what was going on. One day, they came again. They said they
3 couldn't entrust security to us, that the army was coming, the so-called
4 Hurde. That we had it retreat towards Bosanski Novi where it would be
5 decided where we were to go.
6 Q. All right. So the military told you that they could not protect
7 you and you were -- and that Suhaca was about to be attacked. Is that
8 right? And that you had to leave, everybody had to leave?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. Other than what you said, that during the shelling men would walk
11 around the village to try to prevent anyone from entering, was there any
12 organised military action or any organised defence in Suhaca during that
13 shelling and during the period just before the shelling?
14 A. No. There was no organised defence in Suhaca at all, nothing in
15 military terms.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: I'd like to show the witness P1653, please.
17 Q. Sir, this is a document, I think you looked at the other day.
18 Unfortunately, it's undated, review of security/relevant information for
19 Bosanski Novi municipality.
20 If you look at the second paragraph of the document, the second
21 sentence says, "The extremist part of the SDA party, Party of Democratic
22 Action has proceeded to issue arms on a massive scale to citizens of
23 Muslim ethnicity, prepared primarily to executes any tasks entrusted to
24 them by the SDA." And then if you look on page 2, in the B/C/S version,
25 item number 3, it describes Suhaca village in these terms: "Sifet
1 Barjaktarevic is in charge of all activities. It is in this village that
2 activity it is the most organised, both paramilitary and every other
3 kind." And then it states that in the last world war, Suhaca was a
4 prominent Ustasha strong hold.
5 My question very simply is: Is there any truth at all to what's
6 stated in this document about Suhaca and about the SDA arming Muslims to
7 do its bidding, especially in the village of Suhaca?
8 A. No. There isn't any truth in that. There were no organisations
9 at all.
10 Q. Briefly, what kind of man was Sifet Barjaktarevic? Did you know
11 him personally?
12 A. I did. He was one of the better people I can say in the whole
13 valley of Japra. He helped youth centre and a sports centre be built
14 there. He did a lot for the youth and for the sports, mainly football.
15 Q. I'd like to come back to the day you told us about where the
16 military JNA came and told you and the people of Suhaca that they had to
17 leave. Can you tell me what happened after you were told that, how many
18 people from the village left, how they tried to leave, what they could
19 bring with them.
20 A. On that day, when we departed from Suhaca, we set off, all of us,
21 taking whatever we could.
22 Q. And how many people was that, do you estimate, from Suhaca?
23 A. Men, women and children, totalling about 1200.
24 Q. Were there Muslim men, women and children from other villages
25 around Suhaca leaving at the same time?
1 A. Yes. On the same day, all the villages set off from Gornji Agici,
2 Donji Agici, Crna Rijeka, all the way up to Blagaj.
3 Q. And how was this transport? Were people walking? In cars? How
4 did people leave?
5 A. Mainly in cars, tractors, horse-drawn carts, whatever people had.
6 Q. And approximately once all the people from all these villages had
7 started to leave, how many people in total do you think were trying to
8 leave the valley on that day?
9 A. Somewhere between 8.000 and 10.000 inhabitants.
10 Q. And do you remember what day this was, what the date was, that
11 this huge convoy left?
12 A. It was the 24th of May, 1992.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Could the witness be shown the map again, please.
15 Q. Now, when you set out, you and the members of your village on the
16 24th of May, from Suhaca, can you just indicate with the pointer what the
17 route you planned to take was, how you proposed to go and where you
18 thought you were going to travel to?
19 A. Yes. I can show, because Sifet Barjaktarevic had said that he
20 would manage to talk to the authorities in Bosanski Novi to get them to
21 let us through from Suhaca, through Blagaj Japra, in the direction of
22 Bosanski Novi and then across the Una to Croatia.
23 Q. Thank you. Do you know which authorities he was talking to, to
24 negotiate this mass movement of people, who he was talking to in Bosanski
1 A. No. I'm not aware of that.
2 Q. And you've shown us the proposed route. Tell us what happened.
3 Were you able to go as you hoped and reach Bosanski Novi that day?
4 A. No. We didn't, because at Blagaj Japra we were met by the JNA
5 soldiers at the bridge, and they said we couldn't go on.
6 Q. And can you describe that encounter a little bit more, please.
7 Why did they say that you couldn't go on and what did the soldiers do?
8 A. Yes. On that day, well, I was driving a tractor and I managed to
9 cross the bridge and straight after the bridge, there was the railway and
10 there were railway carriages there, and they asked us to leave all our
11 property and to board the carriages and we disagreed, and then they told
12 us to turn back to the village of Blagaj, and so that's what we did.
13 Q. And now this isn't just you but everybody who was trying to leave,
14 is that right, or did some people make it through with their cars or
16 A. No. Nobody managed to get through on that day. We were all
17 turned back to the village of Blagaj.
18 Q. Can you just tell me how you know that these were -- I think you
19 said JNA soldiers who stopped you at the bridge.
20 A. According to their uniforms. They all wore JNA uniforms.
21 Q. Now, once you and these thousands of other people crossed the
22 bridge back to Blagaj Japra, what happened there? What did you do?
23 A. We returned to Blagaj Japra and then we were looking for the
24 people we knew who could allow us to stay at their houses and wait to see
25 what happened because we couldn't go back to Suhaca.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Now, did everybody that you know make it back across the bridge
2 and make it safely to Blagaj Japra or was anybody detained out of the
4 A. No. Everybody could go back on that day, and we all stayed at the
5 village of Blagaj Japra.
6 Q. I may not be -- I may have not understood. In your statement, you
7 talk about two brothers, Nijaz and Karanfil Isakovic. Can you tell me if
8 anything happened to them? Maybe I have the date wrong.
9 A. It was 17 days later when we made a second attempt to cross the
11 Q. I see. Thank you. Can you tell me -- you just said 17 days. Can
12 you tell me about those 17 days in Blagaj Japra. What was there to eat
13 and where did you sleep? You said that people tried to stay with people
14 they knew, but was there enough accommodation for all of the people in the
16 A. No, there wasn't enough accommodation for all. I was sleeping in
17 a garage, and in the same house, in the courtyard, there was my -- the
18 rest of my family, my wife and my neighbours.
19 Q. And what went on during these 17 days? Was there any attempt to
20 negotiate a solution to the problem so that you and the other people could
21 bring your tractors and property with you and not abandon it all at the
23 A. Yes. We took them back to the village of Blagaj and then Sifet
24 was engaged in talks with them and he insisted on the fact that we should
25 be allowed to go to Croatia and they refused.
1 Q. Do you know if any other community leaders also negotiated along
2 with Sifet, and I take it you mean Sifet Barjaktarevic?
3 A. Yes. No. Whenever it was about any sort of negotiations, they
4 always asked for Sifet Barjaktarevic. There were a couple of other men
5 who had the right to accompany him for talks to Bosanski Novi.
6 Q. And in Bosanski Novi, do you know which authorities,
7 Mr. Barjaktarevic negotiated with, whether they were military or civilian
8 or both? Do you know about that?
9 A. I don't know. I just simply know that he went for talks to
10 Bosanski Novi. When he came back, he didn't want to create panic. He
11 just said, "I have to go back for further talks tomorrow. They don't want
12 us to go in the direction of Croatia and we'll see about the rest." He
13 kept referring to "them." I don't know who he meant exactly, the army or
15 Q. And was Mr. Barjaktarevic successful in negotiating a reasonable
16 solution to this problem?
17 A. No, he wasn't successful.
18 Q. And what happened after those 17 days, if you could describe what
19 ended that 17 day block of time?
20 A. On the 17th day, at about 10.00 in the morning, a bus full of
21 soldiers drove through the village of Blagaj and then a truck, a tank and
22 a blue golf of the Belgrade television station.
23 Q. And then what happened?
24 A. Straight after the village of Blagaj, in the so-called Troske
25 village, they stopped and soldiers were getting off the bus and the tank
1 was turned in the direction of Blagaj. We could see it with my own --
2 with our own eyes. The soldiers surrounding the village and then they
3 started shooting at about 12.00.
4 Q. What were they shooting with? Are you talking about shelling or
5 shooting with rifles, the soldiers?
6 A. The way -- using guns only. I believe that the tank was there for
7 intimidation purposes only.
8 Q. And was there any shelling of Blagaj Japra on this day, if you
10 A. Not on that day but before, in the course of these 17 days, yes.
11 Q. Who were the targets of this shooting, just to be very clear? Who
12 were the soldiers shooting at?
13 A. They were shooting upon the civilians only, and that's how they
14 created all this panic.
15 Q. And then what happened -- how long after that shooting did this
16 attack on the civilians at Blagaj, how long did it last?
17 A. At around 2.00.
18 Q. So for about two hours?
19 A. Yes. About two hours, until everybody came out on to the road and
20 then again, in the direction of the bridge in Blagaj Rijeka.
21 Q. And can you describe how everybody went towards the bridge and how
22 they tried to escape. Can you describe that in a little more detail. You
23 said there was a panic starting. Can you try to describe the scene at the
24 bridge to the Chamber?
25 A. Yes. There was a lot of panic. People started fleeing in all
1 directions, but they were always turned back by soldiers and we were only
2 allowed to go across the bridge in the direction of Blagaj Rijeka. Then
3 we were met by soldiers at the bridge and they were searching us and we
4 were required to leave everything we had, money, jewellery, IDs, the car
5 papers, keys. They were especially pleased with the car keys.
6 Q. I think this is pretty obvious but you said that one of the big
7 disputes in the beginning was whether or not you'd be able to bring cars
8 and tractors and property with you across the bridge. Was anybody allowed
9 to bring any personal property that you know of across the bridge? You've
10 talked about this search but was anybody allowed to bring a car or
11 anything else?
12 A. No. Nobody was allowed to carry even a shopping bag, let alone
13 anything else.
14 Q. What was taken from you personally, if you remember?
15 A. I had a couple of photos from when I was a soldier, some money,
16 and a watch.
17 Q. Did men and women cross this bridge together, did families cross
18 it together, or were people separated in any way?
19 A. Initially they were crossing together, up until the so-called
20 Zoran red beret arrived, and then he was separating women from the men,
21 the women on the right and the men on the left. And that's how we were
22 crossing the bridge.
23 Q. Were any people who were crossing the bridge, were there any
24 wounded from the shooting which you described earlier? Were there any
25 wounded people trying to cross the bridge?
1 A. Yes. There were two wounded people, and they were wounded by some
2 special bullets.
3 Q. You said Zoran with the red beret arrived. Do you know Zoran's
4 last name?
5 A. No. I don't. I only heard that he was from the village of
6 Dobrljina in the direction of Bosanska Kostajnica. He was wearing a red
7 beret and that's what people called him, "Red beret."
8 Q. Was he wearing a uniform in addition to the red beret? Do you
9 remember what type of uniform he was wearing, if any?
10 A. Yes. A military SMB uniform of the JNA army.
11 Q. Now, I asked you earlier about the Isakovic brothers, and I think
12 I got the date wrong. Can you tell me if it was on this day, what
13 happened to them, to Nijaz and Karanfil?
14 A. Yes. On that day, when we were crossing the bridge, on the 9th of
15 June, the two Izakovic brothers, Nijaz and Karanfil, were standing on the
16 left side of the bridge and they were -- their heads hanging and their
17 hands were tied by a wire.
18 Q. Who did this to them? Who did this to these brothers? Who tied
19 them up like that?
20 A. I didn't see that because when I was crossing the bridge, they
21 were already tied up.
22 Q. And did you ever see these two brothers again, after that day, on
23 the 9th of June?
24 A. No, never again.
25 Q. You didn't know this soldier, Zoran. Did you recognise any
1 soldiers that day as you were crossing the bridge, anybody who you had
2 known personally?
3 A. Soldier Zoran I did not know, as you yourself mentioned, and I
4 didn't know the two soldiers searching me either. I mean, but one of them
5 was at school with me.
6 Q. How long did it take to cross the bridge, for everyone to cross
7 the bridge?
8 A. It took between four and five hours.
9 Q. What was on the other side of the bridge? What was waiting for
10 you and all the other people from your village and the other villages?
11 A. On the other side of the bridge, there were other soldiers waiting
12 for us, and they were herding us on to the premises of the Japra company
13 and then we were searched again.
14 Q. We'll get to what happened inside the Japra company in a minute.
15 But up to this point, had you seen anybody, any other crimes being
16 committed, others than the robbery of civilians trying to cross the
18 A. Yes. When the panic broke out and people ran out of the houses on
19 to the main road, and in the direction of the bridge, I didn't see it
20 myself with my own eyes, but other people who were running along with me,
21 they told me that three people, as many as three people, had already been
22 killed in the hamlet of Sikare.
23 Q. Now, once you crossed to the other side, can you describe how you
24 were -- in just a little bit more detail, how you were taken and placed in
25 the Japra factory? Japra company factory?
1 A. Yes. As we were crossing the bridge, they were directing us to
2 the premises of the company. It was surrounded by barbed wire. And then
3 we were sitting inside, and then it started to rain. There was heavy rain
4 and so people were running inside to shelter from the rain.
5 Q. And at this point, did you see anybody separated from the crowd
6 and mistreated in any way?
7 A. Yes. A soldier came along in civilian car. He entered and he
8 started beating people and chasing them out, and so he chased all the men
9 outside and allowed the women and children to be inside, to shelter from
10 the rain. In the course of all that, he came across a man and he asked
11 him, "Do you know me?" And the guy answered yes. And then he turned
12 around and shot him. He shot him in the stomach.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you ask him directly whether he knows who this
14 soldier, the name of the soldier who came in this civilian car and who
15 allegedly shot this other man? And whether he knows the name of this
16 other man who was shot?
17 MR. NICHOLLS: That's just where I was going, Your Honour.
18 Q. Do you know the name of the soldier who committed this crime? The
19 name of the person?
20 A. Yes, I do. The person who was killed is called Husein Burzic, and
21 the soldier who killed him is Dragan. He was in a village of Svodna and
22 he was a registrar [Realtime transcript read in error "registered"] there.
23 Q. He was registered there. Do you know what his position was there
24 in the village of Svodna?
25 A. He was a registrar there, not registered. He worked at the
1 municipal offices of the Svodna village.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Was -- it did he occupy any position in the SDS of
3 that village?
4 MR. NICHOLLS:
5 Q. Yes. Do you know if this man Dragan occupied a position with the
6 SDS in that village?
7 A. I'm not aware of that. I didn't know him in person. I just saw
8 him on that occasion, and he was wearing military uniform.
9 Q. You said that the name of the man who was murdered was Husein
10 Burzic. In your statement, you talk about the murder of Sulejman Burzic.
11 Can you tell me which the correct name is?
12 A. I do apologise. I may have made a mistake. The correct name is
13 Sulejman Burzic.
14 Q. Thank you. In addition to what you --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Let's clear this up, because in his
16 statement to the Prosecutor, on page 5, third paragraph, second line, when
17 he refers to this man called Dragan, who supposedly committed this
18 murder. He says, "A man named Dragan came in a Lada. He was the
19 President of the SDS in the village of Svodna. He came in and beat
20 everyone that was in his way. He killed a man in front of me." And the
21 man is, as we have been told was Sulejman Burzic. But according to this
22 document, he did tell the officer of the Prosecutor -- Office of the
23 Prosecutor who interviewed him that Dragan was the President of the SDS in
24 the village of Svodna.
25 Did you say, did you tell the interviewing officer that Dragan was
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the President of the SDS in Svodna or not?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't, because I don't know
3 whether he was the President of the SDS or not. I simply know that he
4 worked at the Registrar's office there before the war.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Continue, Mr. Nicholls.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
7 Q. You also describe in your statement an incident, a crime committed
8 by a soldier nicknamed Trnka. Do you remember that?
9 A. Yes, I do remember. It was a crime committed in the hamlet of
11 Q. Can you describe -- is that the crime which -- could you describe
12 that, please? Is that the incident you referred to earlier?
13 A. Yes. That was the incident. In the state of panic, some people
14 stayed at their houses and then as the soldiers advanced, they were
15 driving them out of their houses and they -- and small groups were being
16 sent in the direction of the bridge, and from those smaller groups of
17 people some people were taken and killed.
18 Q. I'd like to return and ask you some more -- a few more questions
19 about what happened in the Japra company. The murder, the shooting of
20 Sulejman Burzic, where did this take place? Was this something that many
21 people would have witnessed?
22 A. Yes. It was in the premises of the Japra company, and at least
23 1.000 people witnessed it.
24 Q. After that incident, this person Dragan left, then what happened?
25 Did anybody else -- did any other officials or military personnel arrive?
1 A. Yes. Dragan got into the car and left, and then a military
2 vehicle called Pinzgauer came along and it was carrying soldiers and there
3 was an officer there as well.
4 Q. Do you remember the name of this officer?
5 A. Yes. It was captain Bogdan Grab.
6 Q. And then what happened? What did he do when he arrived?
7 A. When he arrived, he was calling out to people to come forward.
8 None of those people came forward. And then he asked the men to line up
9 and to prepare any documents, any papers, identity papers they might have
11 Q. Do you remember the names of the people who were called out by
12 Captain Grab?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. Could you name them, please.
15 A. There were Sifet Barjaktarevic; Hasan Ekic, called Hako; and
16 Husein Ekic, called Buzka; and Samir Blagajcevic; Hasan Merzihic; Fikret
17 Hamzagic; Izet Mehmedagic; and I think that was it, those names only.
18 Q. None of those men stepped -- those were the only names he called
19 out. None of those men stepped forward. What happened next? Did anybody
20 look for those particular men?
21 A. Yes. After the first call, nobody came forward, and then we all
22 had to line up one by one, and as we were coming out, the soldiers were
23 checking our papers and whatever else we may have had. And at that stage,
24 Husein Ekic, called Buzka, came forward of his own accord, as well as
25 Hasan Ekic, called Hako. And then the soldiers put them into that
1 military vehicle.
2 Q. I don't know if we are going to break soon, Your Honour, because
3 this wouldn't be a bad time to stop before we go into something else.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: We will have a break of 25 minutes. Do you reckon
5 that you will take the rest of today's sitting -- you require the rest of
6 today's sitting so at least Mr. Trbojevic will know whether he's to start
7 his cross today or Monday.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: I would think most of it, Your Honour, maybe a few
9 minutes at the end.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. And Mr. Trbojevic, may I ask you how long do
11 you expect your cross to last?
12 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [No interpretation]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I haven't had any interpretation. All right.
14 Okay. So you'll tell us when we resume in 25 minutes time. I'm asking
15 because this gentleman ought to know whether he'll be staying here the
16 weekend or whether he is leaving today or tomorrow.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.29 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 1.00 p.m.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you check again, please? He's come now?
22 Yes. I apologise for this delay but we had a problem which we had
23 not anticipated, and I hope there will not be a repetition of it because I
24 will have to report it.
25 So, Mr. Nicholls, before you start, with regard to that witness
1 that you mentioned earlier on, the one for whom you pointed out that we
2 require closed session, I don't need to mention the name because otherwise
3 we will have to go into private session, I have checked the decision to
4 which you referred to earlier on, and I'm going to point it out to the
5 Defence. Please refer to the decision handed down by my predecessor,
6 Judge David Hunt, on the 23rd of May, 2001, in which it was decided that
7 the testimony of the witness to whom Mr. Koumjian referred to in closed
8 session or in private session this morning, shall be heard in closed
9 session amongst other things. Okay? So that's settled. Mr. Koumjian --
10 sorry, not Mr. Koumjian. Mr. Nicholls, please go ahead with your in
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour. Before I forget, we'll
13 need to reserve, if we may, two or three minutes at the very end for an
14 administrative matter.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
16 MR. NICHOLLS:
17 Q. Thank you, sir. I just want to ask you one question I should have
18 asked you earlier before the break. I asked you about the murders in
19 Sikare and you described them which were committed by somebody named --
20 with a nickname of Trnka. Do you know Trnka's real name?
21 A. Yes, I do. It's -- his family name is Balaban. I think Milan
23 Q. Thank you. Now, when we stopped before the break, you were
24 telling us about the list of names of men that were called out by Captain
25 Bogdan Grab at the Japra company. And you told us it was Sifet
1 Barjaktarevic, and others.
2 Now, Sifet was the SDA president and representative of Suhaca.
3 Can you tell me what positions, if you know, those other men whose names
4 were called out occupied? Were they also sort of community leaders?
5 A. Yes, I can. Izet Mehmedagic was in Blagaj and Izet Hamzagic for
6 Bozici, they were community leaders there. And the others were no leaders
7 or representatives of any sort.
8 Q. Now, what happened next to Hasan Merzihic?
9 A. Mr. Grab, when he called people over the loud speaker, well he
10 told them to step forward, and then a man called Dragan Balaban came
11 along. He embraced Sifet and he said, "Sifet, you don't need anything.
12 We know you. We know who you are." He stayed with them. And the rest of
13 us were ordered to run to the carriages. We boarded the carriages and
14 then a soldier was going from one car to the next and he was calling for
15 Hasan once again. Hasan Merzihic, Izet Hamzagic, and Izet Mehmedagic.
16 Q. Let me stop you for one moment. You said Dragan Balaban. I
17 believe in your statement it states Ranko Balaban approached at this time
18 and said we foe who you are Sifet. Can you tell me which is correct and
19 in which -- whether it's a mistake in the statement or in your testimony?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: This is why I dealt with the matter in the
21 previous -- with the previous witness as well, because I see some
22 confusion here. Yes, please tell us whether it was the -- in your
23 statement, there is a particular part in which you say, "In the line,
24 Sifet Barjaktarevic, the SDA president, was in front of me. He was
25 approached by the SDS president, Ranko Balaban. He said, 'Sifet you don't
1 have to show us your ID. We know who you are.'" .
2 Was it Ranko Balaban who told him that, the SDS president, or was
3 it Dragan Balaban?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do apologise. It was Ranko
5 Balaban, who was the President of SDS in Josava, and that's one and the
6 same man.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So let me ask you another question so
8 that we clear this once and for all -- but you did mention Dragan a
9 certain person, the name Dragan Balaban. Did you know anyone by the name
10 of Dragan Balaban or Drago Balaban?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did know him. It was his
13 JUDGE AGIUS: And did he have a nickname?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not as far as I know.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you know of someone named -- called Dragan
16 Balaban who was referred to as Trnka?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. It was Milan Balaban who was
18 called Trnka.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All right, because in the previous witness, it was
20 Dragan Balaban who was Trnka. So now it's Milan Balaban.
21 MR. NICHOLLS:
22 Q. And just, sir, to make it clear, this SDS president, Ranko
23 Balaban, who said, "It's okay Sifet we all know who you are," that's the
24 same Ranko Balaban with whom Sifet Barjaktarevic had negotiated the
25 surrender of weapons in Suhaca. Is that right?
1 A. Yes, the same man.
2 Q. Okay. Thank you for helping clear that up. I'm sorry I
3 interrupted you. What happened --
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead. Go ahead.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
7 Q. I'm sorry I interrupted you. Can you continue and tell us what
8 happened next after Sifet was identified and Hasan Merzihic? What
9 happened next to these two men?
10 A. Yes. Hasan Merzihic was taken out of the carriage and he was
11 taken back to the group where Sifet was and the other two were kind of
12 lucky because the soldiers didn't know them personally, so they kept
13 quiet. And then Zoran, called red beret, approached Hasan. He took him
14 in the direction of the bridge, and he killed him there, and I saw it with
15 my own eyes from the carriage.
16 Q. Just briefly, how did -- how did Zoran, whose last name you don't
17 know, kill this man?
18 A. He shot him. He shot several bullets and then as he was falling,
19 he shot him again.
20 Q. And what happened to that gentleman who you'd known well, Sifet
21 Barjaktarevic? What did you see happen next with him?
22 A. He was standing with a couple of soldiers in that group, next to
23 the military vehicle.
24 Q. Can you continue, please?
25 A. Yes. And then Zoran came back, approached Sifet, and he took him
1 in the direction of the bridge, and then I could see Sifet explaining
2 something to him, I couldn't hear the conversation obviously. And he
3 brought him to the edge of the bridge, and then he pushed him away, in the
4 direction of the river bank, and then he was shooting at him, but I don't
5 know if he actually managed to shoot him or not. I didn't see.
6 Q. After that incident, after that action you've just described, did
7 you ever see Sifet Barjaktarevic alive again?
8 A. No, never again.
9 Q. And just so that we are clear on the scene, when you witnessed
10 these two shootings, the one where you saw Hasan Merzihic actually
11 murdered and then the shooting towards where you'd seen Sifet
12 Barjaktarevic pushed down, where were you at that time? Were you already
13 on a train, in a carriage, or were you waiting to board the train?
14 A. I was still -- I was already on the train, in a carriage.
15 Q. Now, had anybody told you and the other people where you were
16 going, what was going to happen to you, why you were being put on these
17 trains? Did you have any idea what was in store for you, what the plan
19 A. No. Nobody had told us anything about what would happen, where we
20 were being taken but you could tell by the train that it was going in the
21 direction of Banja Luka, Prijedor, Banja Luka.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Could the witness please be shown P1663?
23 Q. Could you take a moment to look at that document, sir? It's a Red
24 Cross of Bosanski Novi municipality document dated 7th of June, 1992, and
25 it's headed, "Subject, announcement" in my English translation. And I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 think you've seen this document, I think it was shown to you while you
2 were here.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. About halfway through the first paragraph, in the English
5 translation, it states, "Since UNPROFOR did not want to grant even written
6 requests by these people for resettlement and the International Red Cross
7 has stopped working in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the remaining possible
8 destination of their resettlement is Bosnia. This agreement has been
9 reached with representatives of the Autonomous Region of Krajina in Banja
10 Luka." I'm sorry, I should have read above that. "This concerns Muslims
11 from Blagaj."
12 My question is: You said you didn't know at this point where you
13 were going or where you would be taken to. Had anybody told you during
14 those 17 days that there was any agreement or any negotiation to relocate
15 you and the other civilians somewhere in Bosnia?
16 A. No. In the course of those 17 days, when Sifet was involved in
17 talks, whenever he came back from Bosanski Novi, he always said, "No, I
18 never -- I haven't managed to achieve anything. They are not allowing us
19 to go in the direction of Croatia."
20 Q. The third paragraph talks about Muslim extremists hiding in the
21 surrounding woods, around Blagaj, and due to these operations, there was a
22 real danger of some groups getting out of the command and control
23 mechanism and threatening the safety of people in Blagaj. Are you aware
24 of any armed, extremist or otherwise, resistance around the woods of
25 Blagaj at this time?
1 A. No. There was no armed uprising, no extremists. In fact they
2 used to call us all extremists. There were no groups of that sort at
3 all. Every single inhabitant to the last man was driven away from Blagaj.
4 Q. Did you hear about any incidents of resistance or shootings at
5 Serb patrols?
6 A. Yes. I did hear rumours about an event along the road from
7 Bosanski Novi to Prijedor, but then the same rumour said that it was an
8 incident that they had staged themselves so as to be able to use it as an
9 excuse, as something that the Muslims from Blagaj had done.
10 Q. If you look at the fourth paragraph of this Red Cross
11 announcement, it states, "It is proposed that the operation of voluntary
12 resettlement to Banja Luka should continue using their own means of
13 transport or transport organised by the Crisis Staff." This is a silly
14 question but I'll ask it any way. Was there anything voluntary about you
15 boarding this train that you saw was headed towards Banja Luka?
16 A. No. There was nothing voluntary about it. It was all under the
17 control of the armed forces, and we did as we were told.
18 Q. Finally, the last paragraph states that -- it's suggested that
19 this convoy be escorted to Banja Luka by the military and on my copy,
20 civilian police. Did you -- were you able to tell whether or not it was
21 military and/or civilian police that were escorting you and the other
22 civilians on this train?
23 A. No, we were not escorted. On the way between Prijedor and Banja
24 Luka, even the doors of the carriages were open, and we would close them
25 ourselves because otherwise there was -- it was a bit drafty.
1 Q. All right. Other than the men who you've told us about who were
2 separated and one you saw murdered and another one you saw shots being
3 tired towards where he had been, did everybody else get on these trains,
4 on these cattle cars?
5 A. Yes. Everybody else was taken into the cars, every single one of
6 us, and then the train started.
7 Q. Were men, women and children placed together in the cars now or
8 was there any -- was anybody separated at this point or was --
9 A. For that stretch, we were all together. Women, children, and men.
10 Q. Can you tell me where the train went and where the first stop that
11 you -- that you're aware of took place?
12 A. The train left in the direction of Prijedor and Banja Luka, and we
13 stayed for a while in Prijedor, about half an hour, and I noticed some
14 soldiers wearing helmets around the train, and it said, "Guard 92" on the
15 helmets. After half an hour, we continued our journey and we got to
16 Ostruzna. It is a village near Doboj.
17 Q. What happened at Ostruzna?
18 A. The train stopped there, and we were sitting in the carriages for
19 about half an hour or an hour, nobody showed up, and so we started getting
20 off of our own accord, and there was a creek nearby, and the women started
21 washing the clothes for the children and using the water in general, and
22 then a soldier came along. He said he was a Jovo from Romania, he
23 nicknamed himself after somebody who was called Jovo from Kozara in the
24 Second World War. So he separated the women and the children, and the
25 women and children were in the first carriages, and then the remaining
1 carriages were filled with men.
2 Q. What was -- you say women and children. What was the age where
3 somebody stopped being a child?
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. NICHOLLS:
6 Q. What was the age, I'm sorry, at which somebody stopped being a
7 child for purposes of which wagon they were put in?
8 A. It was mostly boys of 9 years of age, and then all the way to 60.
9 Since we could not all be fitted into those five or six carriages, then
10 there was another group of boys who were taken back to go with the women
11 and children. So basically it was between the ages of 15 and 60.
12 Q. Just to be clear, did the men who were older than 60 go with the
13 women and children?
14 A. Yes. Men also above 60, also went with women and children, and
15 the couple of these went with us.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nicholls, could you ask him to give us an
17 indication as according to him how many persons were on this train when
18 they left and before the separation of the two genders took place?
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour.
20 Q. Sir, could you tell me your best estimate of how many people
21 boarded this convoy train at the company in Blagaj Japra all the way until
22 this stop in Ostruzna? How many people were on that train?
23 A. All in all, there were about 8.000 people.
24 Q. Now, once the men and women were separated, by men I mean the men
25 between 15 and 60 and the women, children and older men, is that -- were
1 you separated from anybody in your family at that point?
2 A. Yes. They separated me from my wife. Only my brother and I
4 Q. What happened to the women and children and the older men, after
5 the separation?
6 A. When we were all separated and put on to rail cars, our rail cars
7 were locked, and then they separated one part of the train from the other,
8 women and children were taken to Doboj, and I learned that when I reunited
9 with my wife in Karlovac. At the moment when this part of the train was
10 leaving, I didn't know where they were going.
11 Q. And how long were you and the other men kept locked in these
12 cattle cars?
13 A. All in all, three days.
14 Q. I mean at this point, at Ostruzna after the women and children
15 have been taken away, how long was it before the train moved again and you
16 were brought somewhere else?
17 A. It lasted two days. It was two days.
18 Q. Where did you go next? Where were you brought? Tell me what
19 happened next when the train you were on started moving again. Where did
20 you go from there, leaving Ostruzna?
21 A. Yes. After a couple of hours, the train left in the direction of
22 Banja Luka. That is the same direction we came from. It stopped in Banja
23 Luka. It was already around 11.00 p.m., and we spent the night there
24 sleeping in rail cars, mistreated by the soldiers who were shouting
25 profanities, telling us to go to Manjaca, that it was Alija who had this
1 in store for us, that we were balijas, that we were Ustashas and so on.
2 Q. And how many men do you think were on the train with you at this
3 time, under -- being treated this way?
4 A. Between 700 and 730.
5 Q. And then the next -- well, were you given any food or drink or
6 anything by the time you'd spent the night in Banja Luka on the train?
7 A. No, we didn't get anything.
8 Q. And where did the train -- you say you spent the night. When did
9 the train leave the next morning and where did it go, leaving Banja Luka
11 A. Correct. We slept in the train in Banja Luka, and then the next
12 morning, the train moved on towards Bosanski Novi. We stopped at Blagaj
13 where we had departed from, two days previously. We were met there by a
14 policeman whose name I don't know. I know, though, that he had worked at
15 the police station in Bosanski Novi. He allowed two men to get out to
16 fetch some water. While the train was standing, the first two rail cars
17 managed to get some water, but there was not enough time for the rest.
18 The train then reached Bosanski Novi. It stopped at the railway leading
19 to Bosanska Otoka near the Mlakve stadium. Soldiers lined in two rose
20 were waiting for us there. We had to jump out of the rail cars and run
21 across the road to the stadium.
22 Q. If you remember, do you know what the date was now when you've
23 arrived all the way back in Bosanski Novi and enter the Mlakve stadium?
24 A. Yes, it was the 11th of June, 1992.
25 Q. And again, when you entered the stadium, did anybody tell you --
1 did any of the soldiers tell you why you were there or how long you would
2 be kept there?
3 A. No. Nobody told us anything. We entered the stadium and then we
4 waited to see what would happen next.
5 Q. How long were you held at the stadium?
6 A. 46 days.
7 Q. And can you just describe your -- if you can, your daily routine
8 there. Tell me -- well, first of all, who guarded you at the stadium?
9 A. We were guarded by JNA soldiers. I didn't know any of them except
10 for two. They changed every week. The shifts took place on Wednesdays.
11 Q. And where did you sleep at night in this football stadium? I mean
12 you personally.
13 A. I slept under the stands for the spectators and in locker rooms in
14 which previously players changed and had showers.
15 Q. How many men were kept in this stadium? In other words, other
16 than you and the other 700-odd men who arrived on the train, was there
17 anybody else there already being held in the stadium?
18 A. No. When we came, the stadium was empty.
19 Q. And were you given any blankets or anything else to make those
20 places you slept more comfortable?
21 A. No. We didn't get anything. The first day, however, when we
22 entered the stadium, we got a quarter of a loaf of bread and one pack of
23 liver paste destined for four men to share.
24 Q. Over the whole time you were at the stadium for that month and a
25 half, was that the way -- was that typical of the food you were given?
1 Can you describe whether the food provided was adequate?
2 A. No. It was only the first day that we got that quarter of a loaf
3 of bread and one pack of liver paste for four men. And the following
4 days, we didn't get much food. We got some sort of tea, watery tea at
6 Q. Did you lose any weight while you were held there?
7 A. Yes. In those 46 days I lost 11 kilos.
8 Q. Tell me about drinking water and water for bathing. Was there
9 adequate supply of water for those purposes?
10 A. No. There was not enough water. Water was rationed. We had it
11 between 9.00 and 11.00 in the morning, and in the afternoon from 1.00 to
13 Q. Can you tell me what kind of medical care prisoners held in this
14 stadium received.
15 A. There was no medical care at all. Nobody lent us any medical
17 Q. And were there any deaths of prisoners while you were there, that
18 you're aware of, during that month and a half?
19 A. Yes. One man died, but he died from a serious disease, asthma.
20 Q. How were you and the other prisoners treated while you were in
21 that stadium? By the guards, I mean.
22 A. We were treated very roughly. There was a roller we had to drag
23 across the stadium to pluck grass out with our bare hands. We were
24 treated very, very roughly.
25 Q. Were you personally beaten at all while you were at the stadium?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Is that what you mean by "roughly"? I don't know exactly what you mean by
3 A. I personally wasn't beaten but I had to drag this roller for
4 smoothening the path around the stadium.
5 Q. Was there any other mistreatment, verbal mistreatment? Anything
6 that scared you while you were there?
7 A. Profanities were common, the usual ones, the guards were telling
8 us we were balijas, that we would be going to the front line to form the
9 live shield, towards Bihac. That was the sort of intimidation we were
10 subjected to.
11 Q. Was there ever any -- were there ever any threats or attempts from
12 people outside the stadium to get in and attack the prisoners?
13 A. Yes. The troops attempted that, the troops that passed along that
14 road from Krupa towards Bosanski Novi, but the guards prevented that.
15 Whenever such attempts were made, they made us find cover under the
16 stands. I don't know what was the reason why they were protecting us in
17 this way. Maybe they didn't want us to see what kind of equipment was
18 being hauled across -- along the road, tanks or anything else. We
19 couldn't -- we were not able to see.
20 Q. During this whole time that you were held there, were you able to
21 change your clothes, get new clothes, or wash, do your -- launder your
23 A. No. We were not able to do that. What I had on the first day I
24 had on the last day when we reached Karlovac.
25 Q. Were there any men being held there with you who, in your
1 knowledge, were not ordinary civilians, who were -- had been engaged in
2 any kind of armed combat at the time they were taken -- before they were
3 taken there?
4 A. I didn't understand the question. What kind of armed combat do
5 you mean? The people who were held at the stadium had not been involved
6 in any sort of armed combat.
7 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me, did you or any of the men there, try
8 to get help from the outside? In other words, did you try to let the
9 outside world in any way know that you were being held there, to seek some
11 A. Yes. We tried. We had noticed vehicles belonging to the UNPROFOR
12 moving from the direction of Croatia. Each day there were two such
13 vehicles passing by. On these occasions we would stand up on the stands,
14 and we would write "SOS" on leather jackets and on windows.
15 Q. Do you know whether this was ever seen? Did you get any signal
16 that your calls for help had been understood?
17 A. Yes. The UNPROFOR soldiers had noticed this. They turned their
18 car on the road and flashed their lights at us. However, the guards got
19 wind of it and they forbade us from using this part of the stadium where
20 these stands were, facing the road.
21 Q. Did you recognise -- I should have asked you this earlier: Did
22 you know, personally know, any of the guards at the stadium?
23 A. Yes. I said at the beginning, I made acquaintance with two
25 Q. That's right. Could you tell me their names, please.
1 A. That was this gentleman, Dragan Balaban from Josava, from the SDS,
2 and another one, Momcilo Kenjalo.
3 Q. Dragan or Ranko?
4 A. I got the name wrong again. I apologise. Ranko Balaban.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words, he had the same name as the
6 President of the SDS from Josava? It's two persons from Josava, both
7 called Ranko Balaban, one of whom is the President of the SDS? Or are we
8 talking of the same person?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No -- in fact, yes, it's the same
11 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's get this right, because this is what we
12 needed today. So Ranko Balaban, who was a guard in the stadium in
13 Bosanski Novi, together with Momcilo Kenjalo, is the same Ranko Balaban to
14 whom you have been referring to, whom you have mentioned earlier on today,
15 as having met and negotiated with Sifet Barjaktarevic? Or isn't he the
16 same one?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct. It's the same man.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: So that same man then became a guard in the
19 stadium? From being the President of the SDS, holing negotiations with
20 the President of the SDA, he becomes a guard in the stadium? Is that
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. You got this right. Sifet,
25 whenever he came back from a meeting of that sort, he said he had been
1 together with him, that they had talks together, but to no avail.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
3 MR. NICHOLLS:
4 Q. And that was the village of Josava where Ranko Balaban was head of
5 the crisis -- head of the SDS?
6 A. Correct.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, Your Honour, I'm not going to finish today.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: No one is going to blame you for it, Mr. Nicholls,
9 you're doing your duty here, and if you require more time, you will get
11 MR. NICHOLLS: I wonder if we should break now. I'll be very
12 quick Monday, just to finish up, and then I have this one administrative
13 matter that I need to be in private session for.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you anticipate finishing your cross-examination
15 on Monday, Mr. Trbojevic?
16 MR. TRBOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly. I need about an
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
19 We can draw down the curtains and the witness can leave.
20 Sir, that's all for today. We will continue on Monday. We
21 haven't finished with you as yet. So you will need to spend the weekend
22 here. But on Monday, we will certainly finish with your testimony and you
23 should be able to go back home. I thank you for having been patient.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too. I apologise for all
25 the mistakes I made with names.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: No problem. You're not the only one.
2 Yes. I think, usher, you can escort him out of the courtroom and
3 we will deal with these one or two administrative matters very quickly.
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, you can start Mr. Nicholls, go ahead. Let's go
6 into open session.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, Your Honour, this needs to be private for
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So we go into private session.
10 [Private session]
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
8 1.46 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
9 the 3rd day of February, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.