1 Friday, 20 July 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.28 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning, everybody and let me start off by
7 apologising for the late start of the case this morning. It's all because
8 of my problems and they were all beyond my control, but I hope I'm
9 forgiven for that.
10 Mr. Registrar, can you call the case, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, good morning, Your Honours. This is
12 case number IT-04-83-T, the Prosecutor versus Rasim Delic.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Can we have the appearances
14 for today?
15 MR. MUNDIS: Good morning, Your Honours, Counsel, and everyone in
16 and around the courtroom. For the Prosecution, Daryl Mundis and Laurie
17 Sartorio. We are assisted today by our intern, Sarai Jacob, and our case
18 manager, Alma Imamovic.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Mr. Witness, can I remind you
20 that, although you may be aware of it, it is my duty to do so, that you
21 are bound by the declaration you made at the beginning of your testimony
22 to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing else but the truth. So you
23 must continue doing so even today. Okay. Thank you very much.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, ma'am, Madam Vidovic?
1 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just for the record,
2 on behalf of Mr. Delic's Defence, Vasvija Vidovic and Nicholas Robson with
3 assistants, Lana Deljkic and Asja Zujo. I apologise .
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I must apologise. I am very sorry. Thank you so
5 much, Madam Vidovic.
6 Okay, Mr. Robson?
7 MR. ROBSON: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 WITNESS: BERISLAV MARIJANOVIC [Resumed]
9 [The witness answered through interpreter]
10 Cross-examination by Mr. Robson: [Continued]
11 Q. Mr. Marijanovic, I'd like to briefly recap on the evidence you
12 gave yesterday. You told us that following the attack on Maline village,
13 you travelled in a group of Bosnian Croats towards the village of
14 Mehurici; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And that group you were in was escorted by three or four Bosnian
17 army soldiers; is that right?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. After you passed the village of Poljanice, you noticed another
20 group of about 15 Bosnian Croat men travelling along in the opposite
21 direction; is that so?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. Now, that group of Bosnian Croat men was escorted by two foreign
24 and two local Mujahedin; do you accept that?
25 A. I do.
1 Q. The local Mujahedin had green masks covering their faces, and
2 those Mujahedin stopped your group; is that right?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. And those Mujahedin used force to separate you and the other
5 Bosnian Croat men in your group, and they pushed you together with the
6 other -- with the Bosnian Croat men in the other group; is that right?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. Now, after the Mujahedin separated the men from the group that you
9 were originally in, that original group continued on its way in the
10 direction of Mehurici; is that right?
11 A. The first group that had to return had been moving in the
12 direction of Bikosi and Poljanice. Those were Bosnian Croats. They had
13 to go back. I was in the second group. However, a group of civilians
14 was joined to the first group of Croats who had to go back towards
15 Poljanice and Bikosi.
16 Q. And the group of civilians that you mentioned, so that group
17 contained your wife and children, that group continued on its way towards
18 Mehurici; is that right?
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. So after you were separated and put into the new group of Bosnian
21 Croat men, you continued in the direction of Maline and you were escorted
22 by these Mujahedin; is that so?
23 A. Yes. We were escorted, but we were moving in the direction of
24 Poljanice. Poljanice came first.
25 Q. And you told us how, as that group continued along, you met with
1 other people; you mentioned a female, Ana Pranjes, and some wounded
2 Bosnian Croats as well; is that right?
3 A. Yes. We came across these people in the village of Poljanice.
4 Q. Now, at this stage, I would like to clarify something that you
5 told us in your evidence. You referred to some of the men that carried
6 out the separation of the Bosnian Croats as being members of the army of
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Do you remember saying that?
8 A. I remember, and, indeed, that was the case. They had the insignia
9 on their arms.
10 MR. ROBSON: Your Honours, I would like to go into private session
11 at this stage, if I may.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
13 [Private session]
11 Pages 951-959 redacted. Private session
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in open session, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
13 MR. ROBSON:
14 Q. Mr. Marijanovic, I want to show you another document that was
15 provided to the Defence by the Prosecution. This is a statement that was
16 given to the Commission for the Verification of War Crimes on the
17 Territory of Croatia -- of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
18 Do you remember me asking you about this commission yesterday?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. Now, have you had a chance to think, do you remember giving a
21 statement to that commission?
22 A. You said that I was in Medjugorje? That it was from Medjugorje?
23 Q. This commission was in Mostar or certainly based in Mostar.
24 Whether the statement was given in Mostar or someone else, I don't know.
25 A. I was not in Mostar. As far as the statement is concerned, I can
1 hardly remember whether I gave it or not. I cannot say. I did give
2 several local statements. I cannot remember them all. I just remember
3 just this which I gave in the year 2000.
4 Q. Before we look at the document, I'd just like to check with you
5 that the commission spoke with someone who gave his name as Berislav
6 Marijanovic, who had a father named Nikola. Is your father called Nikola?
7 A. Yes, he is.
8 Q. And the person they spoke to was born on the 27th of February
9 1966. Is that your birthday?
10 A. It is.
11 Q. And the person they spoke to lived in or was from Paklarevo in the
12 municipality of Travnik.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And that's where you're from, isn't it?
15 A. That's right.
16 MR. ROBSON: If we could look at this document, please, it's
17 Defence document D105. Okay. The particular pages that I'm interested
18 in, it's page 4 in the English version and page 3 in the B/C/S version.
19 Now, in the English version at page 4, we are interested in the
20 second half of that document, the part that begins, "That unit was
21 Muslim," and there after.
22 Q. Mr. Marijanovic, if you could look at page 3 of the B/C/S version,
23 it's the second paragraph, towards the top of that page. Now, do you see
24 in that document, Mr. Marijanovic, where the person is --
25 A. Yes, I do see.
1 Q. So the person is explaining to the members of the commission about
2 the people that carried out the shooting in Bikosi, and what it states
4 "That unit was Muslim, that Jihad of theirs; some other Igba,
5 whatever. That was some Muslim unit of theirs; the names were changing.
6 Those who were escorting us and shooting at us - there were about seven of
7 them; I do not remember exactly, I was confused - I cannot tell how many
8 there were exactly.
9 "At the points of execution, some more joined them, but there were
10 seven who had been escorting us. Of the seven, four were Mujahedins and
11 three were local people. I knew it by their accents and behaviour and
12 such. These local people had stockings on their heads."
13 Do you see that section?
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. Do you accept that the members of the commission must have spoken
16 to you to get that information and record it in the document?
17 A. I agree. I agree that those people were there.
18 Q. Now, the question just to clarify that is that the members of the
19 commission must have spoken to you to get that information and to record
20 that in the document. They wouldn't have been able to --
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. So, when you were interviewed by that commission, no mention was
23 made to them that members of the Bosnian army carried out the shooting,
24 was there?
25 A. I don't know who else it was, then.
1 Q. You were very specific, weren't you, when you gave that
2 information. You said it was a Muslim unit with a name, some Jihad of
3 theirs, whatever.
4 A. Well, look here, the Muslim army, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
5 what shall I call it, it wasn't the Serbs. It wasn't any other army. I
6 don't know what else to call it.
7 Q. If members of the Bosnian army had been carrying out the killings
8 in Bikosi that day, you would have told the members of that commission,
9 wouldn't you?
10 A. Sir, we call them the Muslim army, the Croat army, and the Serb
11 army. That's what we the locals called them; and according to that, I
12 gave my statement.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Marijanovic. I have no further
14 questions, and I've certainly no desire to take you through the events of
15 Bikosi again.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Robson.
17 Any re-examination, Ms. Sartorio?
18 MS. SARTORIO: We have no redirect, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Marijanovic, thank you very much for coming to
22 testify. The Trial Chamber wants to thank you for taking the time off
23 your busy schedule to come and testify. That brings us to the end of your
24 testimony. You are now excused. You may stand down.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Mundis?
3 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Before we call the next
4 witness, there had been an exchange of correspondence, yesterday,
5 concerning a witness who is scheduled to appear from Tuesday through
6 Thursday of next week, and I believe that Mrs. Vidovic had come comments
7 with respect to the proposed procedure that the Prosecution put forward in
8 its letter to the Defence yesterday. And I believe that she wanted to
9 address the Trial Chamber on that point before the next witness is called.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic?
11 MR. MUNDIS: Just before -- sorry to interrupt. But this witness
12 was the subject of protective measures in a prior case, so I think we can
13 deal with this in open session as long as the witness's name is not
14 mentioned. If the Chamber has the calendar, he's the witness scheduled
15 for Tuesday through Thursday of next week.
16 We can do this in open session as long as everyone is cognizant of
17 the fact that he did testify with a pseudonym in this prior case, and, of
18 course, Rule 75(F) would indicate that those protective measures carry
19 over into these proceedings in the absence of an order rescinding or
20 varying those protective measures.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. This is the one who is testifying from
22 Tuesday next week?
23 MR. MUNDIS: That's correct, Your Honours, and when that -- I
24 should also say, when that calendar was produced, we were unaware that the
25 Chamber would not sit on Friday, the 27th. We are certainly aware of that
1 at this point, but that would explain why the calendar has us going
2 Tuesday to Friday with this witness, when in fact it's Tuesday to
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine. We understand. Now I know who you're
5 talking about. Madam Vidovic are you able to talk about this topic in
6 open session and without endangering any protective measures?
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We are able. I am able, Your
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may proceed.
10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as my colleague,
11 Mr. Mundis, has said, it was yesterday that we received the proposal in a
12 correspondence, in a letter from the Prosecutor, in which he demanded
13 that, in keeping with Article 92 ter, the interviews, seven interviews of
14 this witness be admitted into the case file, including, I believe, also
15 the -- and the audio interview of this witness, about which I talked at
16 the Pre-Trial Conference.
17 Your Honours, we had occasion to discuss this in several instances
18 yesterday, and we do have a problem that we are wholly unable to overcome;
19 namely, we are far advanced in our cross-examination and I have already
20 said that this is a very complex testimony, so that the cross-examination
21 is actually being prepared on the basis of the statement of that witness
22 given in this case, in the case against General Delic.
23 The other statements are very voluminous. It is at least 650
24 pages of court transcripts, 12 hours of this interview, and over 60 pages
25 of other interviews. Your Honours, I have certainly read and perused and
1 I always very carefully read the previously given statements, but it is
2 not just a matter of reading those statements. It is also a matter of
3 something else, at least that is how I proceed in preparing my
4 cross-examination, which is to analyse the evidence given in the testimony
5 of the witness.
6 There is no possibility whatsoever for me, in so short a time, to
7 prepare my cross-examination in respect of the other seven statements; and
8 with your permission, believe me, that I -- I believe that nobody else
9 would be able to do so. I had a very short time in which to prepare
10 myself. The transcript lasts for 12 and a half -- about 12 and a half
11 hours. I received it only two weeks ago. So it takes a great effort on
12 my part to prepare my cross-examination on the basis of a transcript of
13 that length received only two weeks ago.
14 Believe me, Your Honours, I would be unable to proceed with my
15 cross-examination on that basis. I'm sure that the Prosecutor believes
16 that he has saved time required for the examination-in-chief. However,
17 even if I had known a month before about his intention to have these
18 transcripts admitted into case file, I would certainly require three times
19 as much time to prepare for the cross-examination, so that I believe that
20 this would not even be warranted by court economy considerations.
21 I certainly will have to deal with all the parts of the
22 earlier-given statements and interviews. That is why I can embark on the
23 cross-examination of this witness only if the basis for it is the
24 statement against my client given in this case.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic, I've heard your argument. What are
2 you objecting to? What are you asking for? Just in one sentence.
3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] My purpose, actually, the Prosecutor
4 did not address a motion to the Trial Chamber. What I am asking is that
5 the earlier given statements of this witness not be admitted into the case
6 file, and that the cross-examination -- that the examination of the
7 witness continue on Tuesday, but on the basis of his statement given in
8 this case. What I'm opposing is the admission of his statements made in
9 accordance with Rule 92 ter.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Madam Vidovic.
11 It is time to take the break. Can I suggest that we take the
12 break and continue with this discussion when we come back? Thank you very
13 much, Madam Vidovic.
14 We will take a break now and come back at quarter to 11.00. Court
16 --- Recess taken at 10.18 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.44 a.m.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Mundis, just why do we want this witness to
19 complete his testimony before recess?
20 MR. MUNDIS: Your Honours, I will answer that question; and then
21 if there are any remaining questions, my colleague, Ms. Sartorio, will be
22 dealing with the witness. But the bottom line is, Your Honours, in order
23 to -- we proposed this in order to save time, and so the witness can
24 complete his testimony prior to the recess, both for the convenience of
25 the sake of the witness, but also because of the fact that with the time
1 constraints that we all operate under here at the Tribunal, we believe
2 that this witness's testimony can be completed in three complete court
3 days, if the specific provisions of Rule 92 ter are applied with respect
4 to part of this witness's testimony.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. But it appears as if to both the Prosecution
6 and the Defence, this is a very important witness, and do the
7 considerations of justice and fair trial not outweigh the considerations
8 of expeditiousness?
9 MR. MUNDIS: Absolutely, Your Honour. And if I had 150 or 200
10 hours of direct examination to put on my case, we would probably conduct a
11 more extensive and lengthy direct examination of this witness. But all of
12 the trials before this Tribunal, we need to take into consideration all of
13 these various factors; and as a result of that, we have decided on the OTP
14 side to reduce the amount of time we spend with this witness, so that we
15 can present the fullest possible case to the Trial Chamber in the amount
16 of time available to us.
17 And as a result of that, I believe this witness was initially
18 scheduled for six hours of direct examination. We have reduced that to
19 three hours, while at the same time preserving, in our respectful views,
20 adequate time for the Defence to cross-examine the witness and for any
21 questions that might arise to be handled on redirect, and, of course, to
22 preserve as much time as possible for questions from the Bench.
23 This is why we have proposed this procedure, a variation, if you
24 will, of Rule 92 ter, which specifically allows that the evidence may be
25 heard in whole or in part by way of writing. This witness has testified
1 previously. He has testified on some of the same exact matters that are
2 relevant to this case, and, again, the witness was cross-examined on those
3 issues. The witness was questioned by the Trial Chamber in the previous
4 case on these issues, and we believe given the overall time limit that is
5 three days, rather than the initially scheduled four, would be adequate in
6 light of the overall constraints, if we are permitted to use Rule 92 ter
7 to adduce some of his evidence by way of that rule and the specific
8 provisions therein.
9 And, of course, we do have a number of documents to deal with the
10 witness as well, so we can't just do a 92 ter procedure with him. We
11 would need to ask him some questions to highlight some of his prior
12 testimony or prior information in prior statements, but -- and to show him
13 some documents. But we do believe, given the overall constraints that
14 everyone - and I'm not just talking about the Prosecution, but I'm talking
15 about the Defence and the Chamber as well - within these overall
16 constraints, we believe that we can adequately examine this witness in
17 three hours of direct examination, which would be in effect one court day
18 or slightly less than one court day, which would then leave two days for
19 cross-examination, redirect, and any questions from the Bench.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't want you to misunderstand the Trial
21 Chamber. The Trial Chamber appreciates very much what you suggest in
22 terms of saving time. At the same time, the Trial Chamber would like to
23 be -- show that the trial is fair to the accused. And as expeditious as
24 we would like to go, we would also like to make sure that we don't
25 compromise fairness.
1 And my question would then be: In the likely event that the
2 Defence is not able to cross-examine this witness and finish with their
3 cross-examination before we go for recess, and the witness has to come
4 back, to what extent would that be an inconvenience to the Prosecution?
5 MR. MUNDIS: Your Honours, it would not be a major inconvenience.
6 I, at one point, earlier this week or perhaps it was late last week, spoke
7 about this issue with the Defence. And I don't want to put words in my
8 learned colleague's mouth, but my understanding at that time was that the
9 Defence would also prefer not to have a split between either the direct
10 and the cross or to have the cross broken in two, in effect.
11 I have already provided and we've arranged for witnesses for the
12 following two weeks, or the last two weeks in August. The witness could
13 probably be scheduled to return in mid-September to complete any
14 cross-examination that may not be completed. But we would also indicate
15 that because the witness was previously cross-examined on many of these
16 same issues, that the cross-examination might not be as lengthy on those
17 issues as would otherwise be the case, if it were to be a completely viva
18 voce direct examination; that is, if the Trial Chamber has the transcripts
19 of the prior testimony of the witness, obviously, that would include the
20 prior cross-examination as well.
21 I don't have at this point an indication from the Defence as to
22 the amount of time they think they would need for the cross-examination of
23 this witness, so I don't want to comment on that; and, of course, it also
24 depends on the content of the direct examination and the witness's
25 comments with respect to the number of documents that we would be showing
1 him and tendering through him. So it's a bit premature or hard for me to
2 gauge whether it would be possible for the Defence to complete their
3 cross-examination in the roughly two days or day and a half of court time
4 that would be available to them.
5 It would not be -- I will state this, though: It will not be a
6 major inconvenience to the Prosecution if the witness had to come back in
7 mid-September. It very well might be a major inconvenience for the
8 witness, and that might not be the course of action which the Defence
9 would prefer; but, again, we believe that the amount of time available is
10 adequate to deal with this witness, as I've indicated earlier.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Finally, if the Prosecution, in its 92 ter
12 procedure, were to highlight and condense the documents that are to be put
13 through this witness to a much lesser figure than the 650 pages that are
14 being mentioned, would that facilitate the leading of this witness within
15 the space of time that you're suggesting?
16 MR. MUNDIS: If I could just make some general comments on that
17 very issue, because I think it's important for the overall running of the
18 entire trial, including, of course, the Defence case, if there is to be
19 one, following the 98 bis phase, I would then turn to Ms. Sartorio with
20 respects to the specifics of this witness.
21 But if I could just make some general comments on this, the Trial
22 Chamber is undoubtedly aware that, in the Prosecution's comments on the
23 proposed trial guidelines, we noted that the use of 92 ter was not
24 specifically addressed in those proposed trial guidelines, and we
25 specifically asked for some guidance on this very issue. It would be
1 possible for the Prosecution to reduce those transcripts, in effect, into
2 a new 92 ter statement. The problem with that would be that such a
3 statement would probably be produced to the Defence on Monday afternoon,
4 immediately prior to us then coming in on Tuesday and conducting the
5 direct examination.
6 And I say that because the witness will be proofed on Sunday and
7 Monday morning, and it's unlikely that we would be in a position to
8 produce a statement condensing that material until shortly before the
9 witness appeared, and that might create other problems.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: I probably misspoke. What I'm thinking of is that
11 the Prosecution deals with the witness not as a 92 ter witness, but as an
12 ordinary 65 ter witness, and in leading him, concentrate on those parts of
13 the 650 pages that are so important to the Prosecution, that, in fact, the
14 650 can then get reduced to a much lesser number, and then hand over the
15 witness to the Defence to cross-examine and let them take whatever time
16 they take. And if it means that the witness has to come back after
17 recess, so be it.
18 MR. MUNDIS: Just a moment, please, Your Honour.
19 [Prosecution counsel confer]
20 MR. MUNDIS: Your Honours, having consulted with Ms. Sartorio,
21 who, as I've indicated, will be leading the witness, it would be possible
22 to do that. However, that will require six hours of direct examination,
23 with the result that the witness obviously would have to come back for
24 cross-examination; and then the issue becomes whether the Defence starts
25 the cross-examination or whether the cross-examination simply extends
1 over, and we would then schedule the witness to return at some point
2 probably in mid-September for the cross-examination.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. The reason I'm asking you is
4 this is because you say, in this letter to Madam Vidovic, that the purpose
5 of this limited examination is to focus the Chamber on those portions of
6 (redacted). And
7 I think that the fairness of the trial weighs heavier on the scale; and if
8 the witness has to come back, so be it.
9 MR. MUNDIS: I completely understand and agree that, obviously,
10 there might be situations where witnesses have to return for
11 cross-examination, and this witness very well may fall into that category.
12 What I am concerned about is, of course, the fairness, as the Trial
13 Chamber rightly is, with respect to the fairness of the accused to a fair
14 trial. We, of course, submit that the Prosecution is also entitled to a
15 fair trial in terms of the amount of time that we have available.
16 The Chamber is well aware that this issue has been raised before,
17 and will continue, I would suggest, to be an issue until such time as
18 there is a ruling on the pending 73 bis (F) application. Those numbers
19 and figures that we proposed in the annex, annex A, to that filing,
20 clearly anticipated three hour direct examination for this witness,
21 because we were in the process of developing and thinking about how to
22 streamline this procedure.
23 So, again, our concerns will be that if it takes us six hours
24 instead of three, that that would result in us being squeezed later down
25 the road, and I want to, again, just simply put that on the record. Of
1 course, we will proceed in whichever way the Trial Chamber directs us to
2 proceed, but I do want to at least put our concerns on the record with
3 respect to what I think will continue to be time pressures on all of the
4 parties or both of the parties to this proceeding.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Mundis, I hear your argument, and I have every
6 sympathy for that argument. Given the importance that everybody seems to
7 attach to this witness, I would rather suggest that if it has to take the
8 Prosecution six hours to lead the witness, so be it, and the decision on
9 the 73 bis (F) will take into account that problem. And let's deal with
10 this witness as thoroughly as we possibly can.
11 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: You're welcome. Would that be okay with you, Madam
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, absolutely. Let the
15 Prosecutor use the six hours that he envisaged. What is important for us
16 is that we get enough time for cross-examination and enough time to
17 prepare the witness; and in that case, we are totally agreeable with the
18 Trial Chamber's decision.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Madam. So it's decided.
20 Mr. Mundis, call your witness.
21 MR. MUNDIS: Prosecution calls Zdravko Pranjes, and my colleague,
22 Mr. Menon, will be leading this witness, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the witness please make the declaration.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
2 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
3 WITNESS: ZDRAVKO PRANJES
4 [The witness answered through interpreter]
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, you may be seated, sir.
6 Mr. Menon?
7 MR. MENON: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Examination by Mr. Menon:
9 Q. Good morning, Mr. Pranjes.
10 A. [No interpretation]
11 Q. Can you please state your full name, and your place of birth for
12 the record?
13 A. My name is Zdravko Pranjes. I was born in Travnik on the 12th of
14 July 1962.
15 Q. Where were you raised, Mr. Pranjes?
16 A. The village of Maline.
17 Q. And can you please describe the ethnic composition of Maline?
18 A. The village of Maline is part Muslim. That's Lower or Donje
19 Maline, and we Croats lived in Gornje or Upper Maline.
20 Q. Mr. Pranjes, were you ever a member of the HVO?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When did you join the HVO?
23 A. Towards the end of 1992.
24 Q. And was there a particular brigade or unit that you joined?
25 A. Frankopan Brigade, that's the one I joined.
1 Q. And where was this unit based?
2 A. It was based in Guca Gora.
3 Q. Mr. Pranjes, you mentioned that you were raised in the village of
4 Maline. In the spring of 1993, was this village your home?
5 A. Yes. I had a home there. That's where I resided.
6 Q. Thank you. And in that time period, how was the -- how would you
7 describe the relationship between the Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian
8 Croats in the area around Maline and in Maline?
9 A. Well, the situation was normal.
10 Q. And did -- I'm speaking about the spring of 1993. Did the
11 relationship deteriorate at any point?
12 A. Yes. It deteriorated.
13 Q. And can you describe how it deteriorated?
14 A. There were some incidents.
15 Q. Can you describe -- can you describe these incidents?
16 A. It was a Thursday, and we were going to the market in Travnik, my
17 father and me, and a cousin and his wife. In the morning on our way to
18 town, everything was normal, just like every day. But on our way back,
19 when we entered towards Guca Gora, we saw a crowd of people looking at
20 something on the road.
21 We didn't ask what was going on, but went on; and when we got to
22 Gornje Maline, they filed shots at us, at our car, from Donje Maline.
23 Only -- it was only when we got to the village that I saw the car had been
24 hit; and since that time, the situation became tense.
25 Q. What, if any, steps did you and the other -- did you and the other
1 villagers in Maline and the surrounding villages take to protect these
2 villages, the Bosnian Croat villages?
3 A. We set up guards around the village and up on the hill where our
4 line was. We strengthened the measures. We were more alert. We were
5 more careful.
6 Q. And can you describe -- can you indicate where your line was?
7 Which places are you referring to?
8 A. Between the houses in the village, about 100 metres away from the
9 houses, and then up along Greda down to Suhi Dol and Mekuc.
10 MR. MENON: I would ask if the witness could be shown map -- the
11 electronic version of map 9 from the map book. It's the ERN is
12 0618-6704. And I'm going to have the witness make some markings on this,
13 so if the usher could assist him with that. Can you please scroll down?
14 Yes. That's good. That's fine.
15 Q. Mr. Pranjes, can you see the map in front of you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you please use the pen that's being handed to you to draw a
18 line where the positions that you've just indicated were? And I'm
19 speaking about the defensive positions that you said had been put in place
20 to protects the villagers.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. And I'm going to have --
23 A. That's it.
24 Q. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Pranjes.
25 MR. MENON: I'm going to have the witness make one more marking on
1 this, so if it could just remain on the screen.
2 Q. Mr. Pranjes, was your village, the village of Gornje Maline, was
3 that ever attacked?
4 A. No, but they fired shots from time to time. On the day before
5 last, they fired shots on the village.
6 Q. And when you say, "day before last," which time period are you
7 referring to?
8 A. It was on the 7th of June.
9 Q. 7th of June. And I want to take you to the 8th of June. Was
10 there ever -- was there an attack against your village on that day?
11 A. Then, at 5.00 in the morning, the village was attacked.
12 Q. And you said "5.00 in the morning." What day are you referring
14 A. The 8th of June 1993.
15 Q. And who was responsible for this attack?
16 A. I don't know who was responsible.
17 Q. Do you know which forces attacked that day?
18 A. Yes. They were Muslim forces. We know that.
19 Q. And when this attack occurred, where were you?
20 A. I was at Greda where I had been deployed at the time.
21 Q. Now, I'm going to have you make a marking on the map in front of
22 you. If you could take the -- if you could do that with the blue pen.
23 And you indicated that you were at Greda, so if you could mark with an "X"
24 the location of Greda?
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. MENON: I would ask this if exhibit could be tendered into
3 evidence, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: Before we do so, Mr. Prosecutor, I would like to
5 understand better the significance of the red line drawn by the witness.
6 Was this a front line, and did they have trenches along those lines? Or
7 was it just an area which they patrolled or was it moved subsequently, or
8 what is actually the significance of the line? I didn't quite understand
9 from the witness's statement.
10 MR. MENON:
11 Q. Mr. Pranjes, you heard the question of the Judge. What was the
12 significance of this line -- of the line that you've marked with the red?
13 What was the reason for having established this line?
14 A. We had our trenches there. We had our trenches there because we
15 were afraid we might be attacked, so that's where we stood guard.
16 Q. So was this -- this was a defensive line, then, was it?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. Do you know if the lines with the
19 trenches were manned by HVO soldiers at all during this time, at least in
20 June 1993?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was only us villagers.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: The reason I'm asking is that if someone were to
23 cross your lines, say from walking from the north towards the south, would
24 he then necessarily encounter any of your troops when crossing this line?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From Donje Maline, they would go
1 there to guard sheep, but the guards were set up in order to prevent
2 soldiers from opening fire at us. If fire was opened, then we would
3 return it.
4 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I also have a question with
5 regard to this line. You said that the Croats, the inhabitants of the
6 villages, Maline, lived in the upper part of Maline, Gornje Maline. So I
7 don't quite understand why the defence line crosses the village, dividing
8 it in two.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, because the Muslims opened
10 fire at us. How else could we have made the line?
11 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] And why not below or under
12 Gornje Maline?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because this is Gornje Maline and
14 this is Donje Maline. I don't know exactly where the border between the
15 two is, but I suppose that the border would be here, somewhere about here.
16 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] So perhaps it's just a question
17 of the way you drew the line. Thank you.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may proceed, Mr. Menon.
19 MR. MENON:
20 Q. Mr. Pranjes, what divides Upper Maline, Gornje Maline, from Lower
21 Maline? Is there some kind of a structure or marking or territory?
22 A. There is nothing to divide the two. There were a few houses
23 mixed. There were some Muslim houses mixed with Croatian houses, and
24 there was a little path; otherwise, there was no clear division.
25 Q. Thank you. And you had said that you were deployed at Greda. Do
1 you remember the names of the other people who were deployed at Greda with
2 you --
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. -- and if so, can you please indicate their names?
5 A. Jako Tavic was one of them. There was also Franjo Martinovic.
6 Q. Okay. Thank you. And in response to the attack that took place,
7 what did you do?
8 A. We opened fire.
9 Q. And then did you continue to fire at the forces that were
10 attacking you, or did you -- or was there something else that you did?
11 A. We were opening fire for as long as we could, but then we realised
12 that we had been encircled. In Lazine, they started opening fire from the
13 houses, some houses were set fire to, and that's when we withdrew. We
14 went down to the village.
15 Q. And was there a particular location that you retreated to?
16 A. I retreated to my own house; actually, to my relative's house.
17 Q. And was this in the village of Maline -- Gornje Maline? Sorry.
18 A. Yes, in Gornje Maline.
19 Q. And you said you retreated to your relative's house. What was the
20 name of your relative?
21 A. Ivo Pranjes.
22 MR. MENON: Your Honour, I would ask that the map on which the
23 witness made some markings be tendered into evidence. It's still on the
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: The map is admitted into evidence. May it please
1 be given an exhibit number.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit number 132.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
4 MR. MENON:
5 Q. And Mr. Ivo Pranjes's house, was it being used for some kind of a
6 purpose; and if so, what purpose was it being used for?
7 A. It was used as a makeshift hospital for people who were wounded;
8 and Ivo himself, he occupied the upper floor.
9 Q. And did you go inside this makeshift hospital?
10 A. Yes. I was there, and I took the body of a woman who had been
11 killed into the house, together with Jako.
12 Q. And so when you went in the house, the attack that had been --
13 that had been waged against the village, it was continuing, was it?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. And can you explain how that attack came to an end?
16 A. They wanted to negotiate. Two women went to negotiate: Ljubica
17 Djakovic and Kata Blazevic. They returned shortly after, and they told us
18 that we were supposed to surrender our weapons. We did that. Ljubica and
19 Kata took the weapons over there. The Muslims, or at least some of them,
20 had already descended behind the houses. The Muslim army came with them.
21 Q. And can you explain who Ljubica Djakovic and Kata Blazevic were?
22 A. Ljubica was a nurse, and Kata was helping her.
23 Q. And where were they when these calls for surrender had come?
24 A. They were in this hospital.
25 Q. Okay. And you had indicated that -- you'd made reference in your
1 earlier answer to the Muslim army. How did you know that this was a
2 Muslim army?
3 A. On that day, we had heard -- actually, we realised what the
4 direction they had come from. We knew where they would be taking us. We
5 could tell by the clothes, and we knew from what people told us. I
6 believe this is enough.
7 Q. And you said -- you stated that the -- well, let me rephrase that.
8 When the Muslim army came into the village, where were you?
9 A. In front of the hospital.
10 Q. Okay. And, among the soldiers that came to where you were, was
11 there one that was in charge?
12 A. There was a blond, young man. He had been wounded. There was
13 blood on his head, and his wounds were dressed with a piece of white
15 Q. And can you describe the appearance of the other soldiers that
16 were around the hospital?
17 A. They wore green uniforms. They looked like regular troops.
18 Q. And the soldier that was in charge did he order you and the others
19 who were at the hospital, did he order you to do anything?
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Menon --
21 MR. MENON: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: I was just concerned that you were likely going to
23 put words into the mouth of the witness, and I just wanted you to rephrase
24 that question.
25 MR. MENON: Sure. I apologise for that, Your Honour.
1 Q. The soldier that was in charge, what, if anything, did he order
2 the people who were around the hospital to do?
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: I think you should ask the witness what happened
4 next, and then he can tell you if any ordering was made at all.
5 MR. MENON: Okay.
6 Q. Mr. Pranjes, after you had gathered outside the hospital, what
7 happened next?
8 A. We brought a woman who had been wounded during the attack. The
9 woman was pregnant. We took her in front of Stipe Jacovic's house.
10 That's where she was wounded, and then we took her to the hospital from
11 there. Later on, they asked whose car it was in the garage. They asked
12 me to give them the key. Actually, I was the one who was told to drive it
13 out of the garage; then they took the key from me, and then they took the
14 key to my relative's lorry, and then they said that the women should take
15 the bear necessities from their houses, that we should release the cattle
16 from the cow sheds, and that we should start walking to join the column of
17 Croats around Travnik. And that column was moving towards Mehurici.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Pranjes, you keep saying "they ordered me to
19 give them the key." Who are "they"?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Muslim army.
21 MR. MENON:
22 Q. And you referred to a car begin taken --
23 MR. MENON: Did Your Honours have a question? I thought I heard
25 Q. Were there other incidents where vehicles were taken from the
2 A. Well, yes. My relative's truck was driven away.
3 Q. Okay. Thank you. And you mentioned this column that was moving
4 towards Mehurici. How many people were in that column?
5 A. About 300 people.
6 Q. And did you reach Mehurici?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Why didn't you reach Mehurici? What happened?
9 A. Before we entered Mehuric, we were jumped by the Mujahedin. There
10 were some other armed men with them. They jumped in front of the column.
11 They separated the able-bodied Croats, and they told us to go back.
12 Q. Can you explain what you mean by "Mujahedin"? Can you describe
13 the physical appearance of these people?
14 A. They were dark-skinned. They sported long beards. I had never
15 seen them before that time.
16 Q. And how many -- how many Mujahedin were there?
17 A. Maybe four or five, and there were also those with hats on their
18 faces with just slots for their eyes and their mouth. They were wearing
19 that kind of masks.
20 Q. And, in terms of these people that you refer to who were wearing
21 "hats on their faces," how many such people were there?
22 A. Maybe four or five in the part where I was.
23 Q. And did the one -- and did both groups appear at the same time?
24 A. Yes, more or less. But the others were maybe ten or 15 metres
25 away, but I would say that they appeared more or less at the same time.
1 Q. And where exactly did they appear from? Where did they come from?
2 A. Those that I saw appeared from a meadow, and there is a hedge
3 around that meadow. We were walking by that meadow. They jumped out of
4 the meadow, which was partly fenced off, partly separated from us by that
5 hedge, and that's where they jumped from and landed right in front of us.
6 Q. And with respect -- and you had described the Mujahedin as being
7 dark-skinned and sporting long beards. Was that the first time that day
8 that you had seen such people who had fit this type of description?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 MR. MENON: And if the witness could be shown map 10 --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. There was one in the
12 village who was wounded.
13 MR. MENON:
14 Q. And which village are you referring to?
15 A. The village of Maline, actually a hamlet called Tavici.
16 Q. And where in relation to Maline is the hamlet of Tavici?
17 A. Why do we call Tavici? For example, Celo Maline -- actually, we
18 call Tavici because it is inhabited by people who share that same family
19 name, Tavici. Where I hail from is the village of Pranjesi. And down
20 there where the Jurici is, that's where the family Jurici lived. And all
21 these places were next to each other.
22 Q. So Tavici would be next to Maline, is that it?
23 A. In Maline.
24 Q. In Maline?
25 A. It's a whole village, but there are different family names, and
1 there was the Tavici family that lived in some five or six houses in that
2 part of the village that we then referred to as the hamlet of Tavici.
3 MR. MENON: If the witness could now be shown map 10, Your Honour,
4 the electronic version of that map, and I'm going to have him -- it's on
5 the screen. Okay.
6 And if we could somehow get the whole map on to the screen at the
7 same time? Okay. And I'm going to have him make some markings so if the
8 usher could assist him again? The whole map, please. Thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's very difficult for me to
10 determine exactly and see whether this is a road or not. That's why it's
11 very difficult. That's why I made the mistake before.
12 MR. MENON:
13 Q. Mr. Pranjes, I still need to ask you the question actually. I
14 think you're anticipating what I want to ask you.
15 What I wanted you to do is, to the best of your recollection, mark
16 the path that you took from Gornje Maline to the point where you were
17 separated from the column that was moving towards Mehurici.
18 A. Yes, yes. [Marks]
19 Q. And can you mark, with the number 1, the point at which you were
20 separated, and draw a circle around the 1.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. Okay. Thank you.
23 MR. MENON: I'm going to have him make a few more markings on
24 that map, so if that could remain on the screen?
25 Q. Mr. Pranjes, the people who separated you from the column, did you
1 hear any of them speak?
2 A. I did hear them, but I did not understand them, those that sported
3 the beards, the Mujahedin. I also heard the others with the hats on their
4 heads, but I could understand them.
5 Q. And what language were the people that were wearing hats, what
6 language were they speaking?
7 A. Bosnian.
8 Q. And did you happen to notice how they were dressed?
9 A. I can't tell you. I don't know whether they had green uniforms or
10 some other coloured uniforms. I really wouldn't know.
11 Q. Okay. And how many people were separated from the column that was
12 moving towards Mehurici?
13 A. Maybe 30 or 40, in my estimate.
14 Q. Can you name some of the people who were separated, to the best of
15 your recollection?
16 A. Jako Pranjes was one of them; Jako Tavic; his brother, Mijo Tavic;
17 Slavko Kramar; Bero Marijanovic; Juric, Ivo was his name. Just a moment.
18 His son as well, I can't remember his name; then there was Ana Pranjes.
19 Q. Is that all?
20 A. There were others, but I can't remember all of them. And there
21 were a lot of people from Podstinje from Pode, whose names I didn't know
22 then, and I don't know them now.
23 Q. And were the Mujahedin and the others who separated you from the
24 group that was going towards Mehurici, were they armed?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And can you describe how they went about separating these people?
2 How did they accomplish that?
3 A. They simply jumped. They pointed their guns at us. They
4 shouted. I don't know what. One of them singled out somebody from the
5 column -- actually, he wanted to single him out, and the soldier grabbed
6 that person and returned him to the column. Then the first man started
7 shouting at the soldier, threatening him or something. The whole column
8 came to a halt. They were walking up and down, and then more Mujahedin
9 came down there. And I suppose that they had forced the others to
10 separate us from the others.
11 The commander -- actually, the one that I thought was the
12 commander, who had been the first to arrive in the village, he was
13 shouting, "Command, command." I suppose that he was forced to do this. I
14 don't know exactly, but I only know that eventually we were separated.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Menon, how much longer are you going to be?
16 MR. MENON: Another ten to 15 minutes, Your Honour, not long.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: You have gone beyond an hour. You estimated 45
18 minutes for your testimony .
19 MR. MENON: I'm told we started at 11.03, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: We did. You are virtually there, then.
21 MR. MENON: Okay. I will speed it up, Your Honour.
22 Q. Now, Mr. Pranjes, the people who were not separated, where did
23 they go?
24 A. They were taken to Mehurici. As for afterwards, what happened to
25 them, I didn't know. They were taken down there to the village of
1 Mehurici, and we were taken back to Bikosi.
2 Q. And within this column that was moving towards Bikosi, where were
3 you positioned?
4 A. I was at the front end.
5 Q. And who was standing next to you?
6 A. Jako Tavic was by my side all the time.
7 Q. And you mentioned that you were moving to -- that this column was
8 going towards Bikosi. Did you encounter anyone -- did you encounter
9 anyone else en route to Bikosi, any other people?
10 A. There were the wounded people from our hospital in Maline up above
12 Q. And where did you -- up above Poljanice. Okay. Thank you. And
13 how many people were there? How many wounded did you encounter?
14 A. Five or six.
15 Q. And did any of them join your group?
16 A. I know that Tavic - I can't recall the first name - he had sort of
17 aid on his leg, an orthopaedic aid, and we took him up. As for the
18 others, I didn't see them join us.
19 Q. Okay. And as you -- as the column moved on, what, if anything,
20 happened, after having encountered these, the wounded?
21 A. I heard shooting behind us. I assume that they were dead, that
22 they had been killed, but I didn't see that. I didn't turn back to see,
23 then or later.
24 Q. And when you say "they," who are you referring to?
25 A. Well, the Muslims, the Mujahedin. They were the only ones who
1 were armed.
2 Q. I was referring to the portion of your answer where you said "they
3 were dead." Who were you referring to when you said "they"?
4 A. I didn't say that they were dead. I say that only it was only the
5 Muslims who were armed, and I believe that it was the Muslims and the
6 Mujahedin that had opened fire when this column had set off; these wounded
7 people, that is.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Witness, you said you heard shooting behind
9 you, didn't you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: And then you said that you assumed that they were
12 dead, that they had been killed. Who are these people who were killed?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The people who were at hospital in
14 Maline. There was this woman, then Luka was also with them. I know about
15 Luka and the woman, and I don't know the names of the other people. And
16 as for Tavic, we took him with us. Whether anyone else joined our column,
17 I didn't see. But as we had advanced some 70 metres or so, I heard shots;
18 and I assumed that the fire had been opened at them, but I didn't see
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Does that help you,
21 Mr. Menon?
22 MR. MENON: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Mr. Pranjes, what, if anything happened, when you -- when the
24 group reached Bikosi?
25 A. Well, we took the road. The column took this road up to the
1 village of Bikosi, and the first people came across a house enclosed with
2 a stonewall. It wasn't very high, perhaps one metre. The front man
3 jumped over the wall and started fleeing. The Muslims opened fire at him;
4 and then, later, this one lad, Mijo Tavic, who was an epileptic, I heard
5 him scream and then they opened fire at us, at the column.
6 I then turned around and I threw myself on my belly on the ground.
7 That was when I was -- when I took a hit in my chest and in my leg, and
8 Jako Tavic fell on top of me. I could hear him moaning. I knew that he
9 was wounded, so I just lay there trying to hide. How long I lay there, I
10 don't know. I heard someone get up and flee. Later, I myself also got up
11 and I fled into the woods.
12 Q. Mr. Pranjes, did you hear anything when you were lying on your
14 A. They were still shooting at us. At first, they shot at us, then
15 the fire stopped, and then there were individual shots. I believe that
16 they were shooting at people who were still giving signs of life, and I
17 tried to hide. I lay low. I didn't move. When I heard that someone had
18 jumped up and ran away, I did so myself, too.
19 Q. Mr. Pranjes, where was the -- in relation to where -- in relation
20 to where the soldiers were standing, where was the -- the soldiers that
21 were -- sorry, the Mujahedin and the other soldiers that had been guarding
22 you, where was the wall?
23 A. Near the first person who was the first person in the column at
24 the front end, who jumped over the wall as soon as we came to the wall.
25 After jumping over the wall, he then, when they started shooting, ran
2 Q. Were the soldiers who were guarding you, were they in front of
3 that wall?
4 A. No. No. They went parallel with us. They were actually -- they
5 were actually guarding us, escorting us, and they had taken such positions
6 as to be able to see all of us. This other person was down there at a
7 right angle in relation to the wall, and he actually went around the
8 house, so that this person who came to the wall actually planned to jump
9 over it and run away once we reached the wall, and that's what he did.
10 Q. Mr. Pranjes, what happened to the Jako Tavic, the man that was
11 standing next to you in the column? You said he was wounded. Did he
12 survive this incident?
13 A. No. No. He died as he lay on top of me. I believe that he was
14 hit in the head. I could hear his death rattle for a while. And after
15 that, all was still.
16 Q. And, Mr. Pranjes, if you could have another look at the map in
17 front of you.
18 MR. MENON: And I'd ask that he use the blue pen to make the
19 markings that I'm going to ask.
20 Q. If you could indicate the path that you took from the point where
21 you were separated from the group that was going towards Mehurici, the
22 path that you took from that point until the incident in Bikosi; and,
23 again, to the best of your recollection?
24 A. You cannot see the road leading past Bikosi, but I'll do it
25 approximately, if that's okay. [Marks]
1 Q. And can you mark with a number 2 the point at which the shooting
3 A. Well, as I say, I don't see exactly that road where we were. I
4 cannot mark it with precision.
5 Q. But to the best of your --
6 A. This is thereabouts. We passed by the -- through the centre of
7 the village, and there was a water trough there, sort of a water
8 reservoir. I can't exactly mark where it was. It's more or less the
9 centre of the village or a bit further up.
10 Q. To the best of your recollection, Mr. Pranjes.
11 A. Well, I should put this mark here. [Marks] It was around this
13 Q. Can you place -- can you mark it with the number 2?
14 A. Yes. [Marks]
15 MR. MENON: Your Honour, I would ask that this be tendered into
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: This map is admitted into evidence. May it please
18 be given an exhibit number.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit number 133.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
21 MR. MENON:
22 Q. Mr. Pranjes, you had indicated that you fled after the shooting.
23 Where did you eventually end up?
24 A. I went up towards the Serbian forces, to Babanovac. Later, I was
25 exchanged at Kiseljak.
1 Q. How far is -- how far away is Babanovac from Bikosi?
2 A. Well, I don't know exactly. Perhaps 60 or 70 kilometres or
3 perhaps less, but I'm not sure. I can't say.
4 Q. And in which direction is it in relation to Bikosi?
5 A. It is to the west of Bikosi. One has to go over Vlasic towards
6 Banja Luka.
7 Q. And how long did it take you to reach Babanovac?
8 A. I didn't dare move during the day. I spent the whole day in the
9 nearby woods. Actually, I stayed there just until dawn, then I went
10 through the forest towards Brloge. This was a sort of a pasture for our
11 herds. We had a shed there. Actually, we tended our sheep there, so it
12 is called Brloge. I wanted then to continue on, but then I heard a shot
13 from the direction to which I planned to go, so that I stopped there and
14 stayed there over the night.
15 And I observed the road which was below me throughout the night.
16 There were Muslims on the road, and there were people who kept their sheep
17 and cows and horses on the mountain. They were driving these people in
18 front of them. I lay low in the mountain. I waited for night to fall.
19 When it was dark, I went to outside Suhi Dol because there was water there
20 and I was thirsty, so I had a drink of water. I found something to also
21 eat. Then I went up and across the village of Orlice; and then I went,
22 took a left turn to what is called Ravne, where there is a relay, and then
23 on towards Vlasic where there was the Serb army.
24 There, I surrendered to them, and then they escorted me down to
25 Babanovac. Down there I found this lad, Drago Pranjes. He had also
1 surrendered. He was there in the village, and there was also Stjepan
2 Juric. That was on that day, and then there were also refugees from
3 Travnik up there in Babanovac. They were waiting for trucks to transport
4 them to Croatia. In the afternoon, I don't know exactly when, they all
5 left and I remained on; then sometime around midnight --
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Pranjes. I think that's fairly clear now how long
7 you took in reaching Babanovac. And as I understand it, you were
8 eventually exchanged at Kiseljak; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, in the end at Kiseljak. For a while, I was in Manjaca. From
10 Manjaca, we went to Vares with all these civilians from Travnik.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. MENON: No further questions, your honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. It will then be the proper
14 time to take a break. Court adjourned we will come back at half past
16 --- Recess taken at 12.03 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Menon, I'm sorry to do this in the middle of
19 your -- you've just finished examining the witness, but I'm sorry to do
20 this in the middle of the witness's testimony. But just this one little
21 housekeeping matter. I guess there has been a suggestion that we sit this
22 afternoon to try and cover up on time. I think, from the Trial Chamber's
23 view point, we can sit from 3.00 and we can go up to about 5.00 or so. Is
24 that okay with everybody?
25 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm being advised by my boss that we can't go up to
2 5.00. We can only go up to 4.30, so it will be one and a half hours.
3 Thank you very much.
4 You were done, Mr. Menon?
5 MR. MENON: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Mr. Robson?
7 MR. ROBSON: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Robson:
9 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Pranjes. My name is Nicholas Robson, and I'll
10 be asking you some questions for the Defence. I hope I'll be brief. You
11 told us, just before the break, that you grew up in Maline in Travnik
12 municipality; but in 1990, you moved abroad to Switzerland; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Then, in September 1992, you returned back to Bosnia?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you moved back to your home village of Maline?
17 A. That's right.
18 Q. And towards the end of that year, you joined the Frankopan Brigade
19 of the Croatian Defence Council, is that so?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And can you confirm that most of the Bosnian Croat men, from the
22 village of Maline and the other Bosnian Croat villages around, those that
23 were fit for military service joined that brigade?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And it's right, isn't it, that when you returned to Bosnia, what
1 you found was that Serb forces had established front lines throughout the
2 Travnik region and especially on Mount Vlasic?
3 A. [No interpretation]
4 Q. And your brigade organised or your brigade had organised defensive
5 lines facing the Serbs on that mountain?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, if I could just go back to that last
8 answer for a moment, I note that there is no interpretation.
9 My understanding is that the witness confirmed that Serb forces
10 had indeed established front lines throughout the Travnik region,
11 especially on Mount Vlasic.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can you get the witness to answer that again?
13 MR. ROBSON:
14 Q. I apologise, witness. Please, again, could you just confirm that,
15 when you returned to Bosnia, you found that the Serbs had established
16 front lines throughout the Travnik region, and you could find them upon
17 Mount Vlasic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. Now, in addition to the Frankopan Brigade organising
20 defensive lines against the Serbs, it's correct to say that the Bosnian
21 Muslims from Maline village and the other surrounding Muslim villages had
22 also organised defensive lines against the Serbs?
23 A. It is.
24 Q. Moving on to events in 1993, you told the Chamber how relations
25 between the HVO and the Bosnian army deteriorated. Do you remember?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. You explained to the Chamber how in your village the HVO set up
3 guards, and you explained to us the defensive lines from Maline up along
4 Greda to Suhi Dol, is that so?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. And those defensive lines were manned by soldiers from the
7 Croatian Defence Council, weren't they?
8 A. It was just us from the village there. There were about ten men
9 of us local men from the village of Maline. We held those lines.
10 Q. Okay. Now, you told us about the events that occurred on the 8th
11 of June 1993, but I'd just like to ask you a question about the days
12 leading up to that particular date.
13 It's right, isn't it, that the Croatian Defence Council carried
14 out attacks on a number of Bosnian Muslim villages in those days before
15 the 8th of June?
16 A. Yes. It is correct.
17 Q. Now, as to the attack on Maline that you told us about, am I right
18 in understanding that, on the evening of 7th of June, you were on guard
19 duty with three others?
20 A. Yes, I was, in the evening of the 6th and of the 7th.
21 Q. Is it right that were you wearing a uniform at that time, a
22 military uniform?
23 A. Yes, it is.
24 Q. And the three other men, they were all wearing military uniforms
25 as well?
1 A. Yes, they were.
2 Q. You explained that the attack started about 5.00 on the morning of
3 the 8th of June. It's right, isn't it, that there was heavy fighting, and
4 the fighting went on for a considerable period of time?
5 A. Where? Where do you mean? In Maline or at some other place?
6 Q. At Maline, on the 8th of June.
7 A. The attack had been mounted on the 8th of June at 5.00 in the
8 morning. It started by two stables being set on fire in Bikosi, and I
9 assume that that was a signal for a frontal attack.
10 Q. Would you agree that there was heavy fighting that took place that
12 A. Yes, I would.
13 Q. And at some point in time, you decided to withdraw from your
14 position and go to your relative's house; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. It's right, isn't it, that some of the HVO soldiers were able to
17 escape from Maline and make their way towards Guca Gora?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You explained that the home of your relative had been turned into
20 a makeshift hospital, and you told us how the doctor at that place went
21 out to speak to the members of the Bosnian army. Do you recall that?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. It's right, isn't it, that after terms of surrender were
24 discussed, you handed over your weapon to the Bosnian army; is that right?
25 A. I hid my weapon in the basement, near the hospital under a slab.
1 It wasn't really finished. There was a bin with corn there, in fact, and
2 that's where I actually hid a pistol and a machine-gun.
3 Q. Now, at some point in time, you explained how a soldier, who
4 appeared to be in charge, told the Bosnian Croats to gather together in
5 the village; is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You mentioned that there were 300 people that gathered together.
8 Did this -- was this a collection of civilians and HVO soldiers that had
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And, then, at some point in time, you all moved in one column,
12 ought of the village, in the direction of Mehurici, is that so?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. It's right, isn't it, that the Bosnian army soldiers treated you
15 professionally whilst they were gathering you together and whilst the
16 column was moving along out of the village?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And that column that you told us about made its way through
19 Poljanice village; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And once the column had passed through Poljanice, you explained to
22 us that a number of Mujahedin jumped out. Is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. As I understood your evidence, there were four or five Mujahedin
25 that were close to you, and there were a number of other Mujahedin, about
1 15 metres away from you; is that right?
2 A. I said wearing masks. I said that there were those wearing masks
3 or hats on their faces, and the others were Mujahedin. They were both
4 very close to me.
5 Q. The Mujahedin, they were the men that had dark skin and long
6 beards; is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, these men, the Mujahedin and the others wearing masks, they
9 stopped the column, didn't they?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you remember whereabouts you were in the column?
12 A. In the back part of the column.
13 Q. Now, those men you told us about, the Mujahedin and the men
14 wearing masks, they were carrying guns with them, weren't they?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. They pointed the guns at you and the Bosnian soldiers that were
17 accompanying your column, didn't they?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And it's right that they cocked their weapons so that they were
20 ready to fire; do you remember that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The Bosnian army soldiers that were escorting you tried to stop
23 the Mujahedin from taking the men from that column, didn't they?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. A little earlier in your evidence, you said something like the one
1 I thought was the commander shouted, "Command, command." Do you remember
2 saying that?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. Am I right in saying that what you meant by that was that the
5 leader or the commander of the Bosnian Muslim soldiers that were escorting
6 you was trying to point out to the Mujahedin that they were taking you to
7 their command centre?
8 A. Yes, that's true.
9 Q. And it was only when the Mujahedin pointed their guns at
10 threatened to shoot the Bosnian army members that the Mujahedin were able
11 to separate the Bosnian Croat men from the column; is that so?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the Bosnian army soldiers couldn't do anything to prevent
14 that, could they?
15 A. I suppose so.
16 Q. So, then, the Bosnian Croat men were separated from the column,
17 and the new group of Bosnian Croat men were moved in the direction of
18 Mehurici by the Mujahedin, is that right?
19 A. The Mujahedin and those people wearing masks.
20 Q. And from that point, you and the other Bosnian Croat men,
21 accompanied by the Mujahedin and the men wearing masks, continued on your
22 way in the direction of Bikosi; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Mr. Pranjes, I have no further questions for you. I certainly
25 don't wish to ask you about the incident that occurred in Bikosi, again,
1 so thank you for your answers.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Robson. Could I just say
3 something, Mr. Robson? I chose to not to say it an at the proper time
4 when it was happening. I'm just mentioning it now, because it does happen
5 quite often. And let me prefix what I'm going to say by declaring up
6 front that I do accept that, in cross-examining a witness, it is
7 necessary, at times, to refresh his memory and focus his point on a
8 particular incident that you want to talk about.
9 But I just find that you ask a series of questions that are
10 repetitive of evidence-in-chief, which are not necessarily linked to the
11 point you want to get to eventually, and that consumes a bit of time. I
12 just want to -- I'm just throwing it as a suggestion.
13 MR. ROBSON: I take that as a constructive comment, and I'm
14 grateful for you stating that. Obviously, as you say, some of the
15 questions were aimed with a view to making some specific points to the
16 witness, and I have tried to reduce my number of questions to a minimum as
17 well. But I, certainly, take on board your comments.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. If you look at the questions
19 that you asked at the beginning of your cross-examination, you'll find
20 that there was quite a series of them, and I just didn't see the link to
21 the point you were going to make finally.
22 MR. ROBSON: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: You're welcome.
24 Any re-examination, Mr. Menon?
25 MR. MENON: Just one question, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
2 Re-examination by Mr. Menon:
3 Q. Mr. Pranjes, you had indicated in cross-examination that, prior to
4 the 8th of June, that there had been attacks by the Croatian Defence
5 Council against Bosnian Muslim villages. Could you indicate which
6 villages you were referring to?
7 A. Only in Bukovica.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. MENON: No further questions, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Menon. Any further
11 questions, Judge?
12 JUDGE HARHOFF: Yes.
13 Questioned by the Court:
14 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Witness, I have a couple of questions in
15 relation to what you have explained in examination-in-chief and
17 The first question is related to your surrender to the Serbs on
18 the 9th of June or the 10th of June, a couple of days after the incident?
19 A. 10th.
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Were you taken prisoner by the Serbs when you
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: And were you detained?
24 A. Up to midnight, I was in Babanovac, at the hotel there; and after
25 that, they took me to Vitovlje, where the main command was.
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: And for how long did you sit there.
2 A. On the following day, we were taken to Manjaca, and that's where I
3 stayed with all the other civilians from Travnik.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: For how long before you were exchanged?
5 A. I spent one or two nights at Manjaca, and then we were taken to
6 Vares in lorries. We spent some ten to 15 days in Vares. From Vares we
7 were taken to Kiseljak and exchanged. It took us a day to get from Vares
8 to Kiseljak.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: So that if I understand you correctly, you were
10 detained by the Serbs altogether for a supple of weeks, three weeks
12 A. Approximately, two weeks.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much.
14 My second question relates to the incident in Poljanice, because
15 it is a bit unclear to me, and I realise this is a long time ago and it's
16 probably unclear to you what really happened. But I am not sure I fully
17 understand the interactions between the men who jumped out in front of
18 you, as you were marching towards Mehurici.
19 What I have understood is that you came marching in a column, and
20 you were escorted by some members of the ABiH. And from all that I have
21 understood, these ABiH soldiers were behaving professionally and
22 correctly. They were just marching you up towards Mehurici, but then
23 comes the incident where suddenly some other soldiers were jumping out in
24 front of you. Some of them, we understand, were clearly different from
25 what you had seen before. They were wearing beards and had strange
1 uniforms, and they were talking a foreign language.
2 Together with these - I don't know how many there were, but three
3 or four - Mujahedins, were also a small number of what you think were
4 Bosnian soldiers and members of the ABiH.
5 Is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE HARHOFF: I see the Defence counsel rising on his feet, and
8 I would like to hear the Defence's intervention because I think it's
9 important to figure out exactly what the composition was here. So that's
10 why I'm putting my finger in it.
11 Mr. Robson?
12 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour --
13 MR. MENON: Your Honour, I would suggest that the witness be
14 removed from the courtroom.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: For what purpose?
16 MR. MENON: Well, any questions that might be put to Your Honour
17 by Defence counsel might prejudice the witness's view of the events, I
18 would be afraid.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: I'm really trying to elicit an almost full picture
20 of what happened, and I think it would be useful to hear the Defence
21 counsel's questions and for you, if you wish to put further questions,
22 that may arise out of this line of questioning. I think you should be
23 entitled to.
24 But I don't think it would be incorrect to allow the witness to
25 hear the questions from the Defence counsel, but please let me hear your
2 MR. MENON: My position was as I had stated it. I think the
3 witness has answered the question that Your Honour put to him. If Defence
4 counsel were to, in their question, if their comments to Your Honour, if
5 they were to suggest some other impression, then I would be afraid that
6 the witness's -- the witness's view of the events might be prejudiced, and
7 that might affect any other further answers that he might give.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: But the witness has obviously just answered my
9 question in such a manner that in a manner that contradicts the answer
10 that he gave previously to the Defence counsel. So there is a clearly a
11 contradiction between the witness's answers to the two questions; one put
12 by me and one put by the Defence counsel.
13 Now, I believe that this contradiction is probably because the
14 witness's memory may be defused. As I said, it's a long time ago. If the
15 witness cannot remember, I will urge the witness to tell me so, and that's
16 the end of the story. If, however, he has another understanding, then I
17 think we should allow him to express it.
18 MR. MENON: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: And if that gives you rise to questions, you
20 should, of course, be entitled to put them.
21 MR. MENON: Thank you.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: So thank you.
23 Mr. Robson.
24 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, with respect, I would support my
25 friend's application, if you were to think -- if you were to wish to ask
1 this witness further questions. I rise -- well, I rose initially to
2 initially to essentially make a point pertaining to the record, the
3 transcript. And I wished to draw Your Honour's attention to what had been
4 recorded during the course of this witness's testimony.
5 Obviously, Your Honour, I can make this point in the presence of
6 the witness, but I would suggest -- I would concur with my friend, the
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Robson, you made a statement that if Your
10 Honour were to put your question to the witness, you would concur with
11 your colleague that the witness must go out. Now, there is some kind of
12 problem that I have with that. How is the question put to the witness if
13 the witness is out?
14 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, sorry. The point that I was trying to
15 make is that if the either Judge Harhoff or another one of your other
16 colleagues wished to put a further question to this witness, then it would
17 be appropriate, in my belief, to perhaps have this discussion for me to
18 make the points that I wish to make in the absence of the witness. That
19 way, the witness would not be privy to that discussion and, therefore,
20 Your Honours would be able to put further questions to him, without fear
21 that perhaps he may have been influenced as a result of the discussions
22 that I need to raise.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: My problem is that I'm not privy to what it is you
24 want to talk about, and, therefore, I'm not able to make a determination
25 whether the witness must get out or not.
1 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, I'll go ahead and raise the point. The
2 issue, as I say, pertains to the record of what this witness said during
3 his testimony; and with respect to Judge Harhoff, the question that he
4 asked was -- sorry. I've written it down according to my note.
5 JUDGE HARHOFF: Let me assist you. I was asking about the
6 interplay, the interaction between the members who jumped out in front of
8 MR. ROBSON: That's right.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: And I was saying, as I had understood, there were
10 four, let's call them now, Mujahedin and four or five Bosnians with masks.
11 MR. ROBSON: Correct. And it was at that point, Your Honour -- so
12 you referred to the foreigners, let's put it that way, and then you
13 said -- referred to what you think were Bosnian soldiers and members of
14 the ABiH. That was the -- those were the words you used and put to the
16 JUDGE HARHOFF: Correct me, is that controversial?
17 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, as a matter of record, at no stage did
18 this witness ever use the words "Bosnian soldiers," and at no other stage
19 did he suggest that those men with the Mujahedin wearing the masks were
20 members of the ABiH. That was the position during the directs examination
21 and cross-examination. So it was --
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: You may be correct. I'm sorry. I would then
23 proceed with asking the witness if he could tell us if he recognised any
24 uniform or insignia on the members of the gentlemen with masks. Would
25 that be okay?
1 MR. ROBSON: Please go ahead, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: Prosecution, okay?
3 MR. MENON: No problem.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: Very well.
5 Mr. Witness, I'm sorry if this has been confusing to you, but you
6 understand that there is a problem relating to the identification of the
7 gentlemen who were wearing masks.
8 And my question to you, therefore, is: Were these men wearing
9 uniforms? If you cannot remember, then just tell me so.
10 A. Yes. Yes. They wore green uniforms. They did wear uniforms.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: We are now talking about the men with masks.
12 A. Yes. They wore uniforms.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: Did they have any insignia or marks on the arms on
14 their uniforms?
15 A. I don't know. I don't remember that they had them.
16 JUDGE HARHOFF: Did you hear them speak, and could you understand
17 what they were saying?
18 A. I could not understand those who did not wear masks, but I did
19 understand those who did wear masks on their faces.
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Right. So am I right to assume that you did not
21 know for sure which army they may have belonged to?
22 A. They belonged to the Muslim army.
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: And how can you say this?
24 A. May I say something, or rather, may I ask you something?
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: Sure.
1 A. I know that the Mujahedin had their camp where they lived. They
2 had arrived there while I was still in Switzerland. And I know that they
3 trained Muslim soldiers, that they trained them, that they also learned --
4 taught them how to speak differently.
5 I know that during the attack, not a single word was used in the
6 Muslim or in the Croato-Serbian or Serbo-Croat for attack, only "Tekbir"
7 and "Allah U Ekber." Those were the only words that we could hear.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
9 A. So I leave it up to you to decide.
10 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. But could the men with masks not just
11 as well have been Serb soldiers?
12 A. No.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: Why not?
14 A. No chance.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: Why not?
16 A. Where would the Serb soldiers have come from to arrive in
17 Mehurici? How would they have found themselves there?
18 JUDGE HARHOFF: Okay. Let's leave this question of who they were,
19 and I'm satisfied with your answer. And I understand that you thought
20 they were Bosnians, but you could not tell for sure.
21 I would like then to move on to what actually happened.
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: Because you also testified that the Mujahedin at
24 some point raised their guns and threatened the soldiers with masks.
25 A. Not those wearing masks but the others, the Bosnian soldiers, who
1 were going to take us to Mehurici. They threatened them. They shouted at
2 them. They said to them that they would separate us. The commander who
3 was there, he was shouting, "Command, command."
4 But as I heard that, a lot more Mujahedin had been down there. I
5 suppose that they prevailed, that they had a majority, these Mujahedin,
6 and the others had to give in. That's why we had to be given to them, to
7 them to do with us whatever they wanted.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: And what happened to the soldiers who had escorted
9 you from Maline up towards Mehurici? Did they continue with the rest of
10 the column?
11 A. They left with the others towards Mehurici. They escorted the
12 other civilians; the children, the women, and the elderly.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: And you were then escorted back towards Bikosi
14 where you had just come from?
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE HARHOFF: When the incident occurred - and I'm sorry, again,
17 that I will just ask you one question in relation to this terrible
18 incident - did you see if it was only the Mujahedin who were shooting or
19 were the men with masks also shooting?
20 A. They were all shooting, both the men in masks and the Mujahedin.
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. I have no further questions.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Judge.
23 MR. MENON: Nothing from the Prosecution. Thank you, Your Honour.
24 MR. ROBSON: Nothing further --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Robson, you always come first.
1 MR. ROBSON: I apologise, Your Honour. No questions from the
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Not even after I --
4 MR. ROBSON: No, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: You don't even know what I'm going to ask.
6 Mr. Pranjes, when you talk about "Mujahedin," what do you mean by
7 that term?
8 A. Well, these were foreign soldiers who came to wage war, side by
9 side with the Muslim army. These are foreigners who came to Bosnia to
10 fight a war. They had long beards, and they could not speak Bosnian.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. So by "Mujahedin," in your understanding,
12 you imagine foreigners and foreigners only?
13 A. They were foreigners until they arrived there. Once they had
14 arrived, they no longer were foreigners; they took Muslim wives. They
15 would have two or three of them. Some would go to -- to their homes, and
16 they would stay together with them.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: I understand that, but all I'm trying to get from
18 you is that your understanding of the concept "Mujahedin" is that this is
19 a group of people composed of people who originally came from outside
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that you don't include in there any locals?
21 A. No.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you.
23 You talked about, when you were asked questions by Judge Harhoff,
24 of being detained for approximately two weeks. Can you tell us how you
25 were treated during that time in detention?
1 A. They treated us fairly up there. We had no problems.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
3 Now, you also talked about some soldiers wearing green uniforms,
4 do you remember that; again, during questions by Judge Harhoff?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you know to which army those uniforms belonged?
7 A. Yes, I know. They belonged to the Muslim army.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: And what do you mean by "the Muslim army"?
9 A. The army of the BH; to me, that is the same thing. I refer to it
10 as the ABiH army or that.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. At least now we know what you mean by
12 "Muslim army." And you also talked about - and I'm sorry, again, to
13 bring you back to this terrible incident - the shooting that took place at
14 Bikosi; do you remember that?
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you able to tell us how many people were
17 killed, if any at all, on that occasion? You may not have counted, just
18 an approximation.
19 A. I don't know exactly, but over 30 people were killed there. Three
20 or four of us managed to escape. The rest were killed. Some of them were
21 killed down there on the road as they were speaking to flee; and Jako, for
22 instance, died atop of me. Ana Pranjes, a relative, was also killed
23 there; and, later, a mass grave was also found.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to
25 bring those memories, but I guess you understand it is important for us to
1 get answers to some of these questions.
2 Thank you very much. That concludes my questions.
3 Any questions arising from the questions from the Bench,
4 Mr. Menon?
5 MR. MENON: Just one question, Your Honour.
6 Further Re-examination by Mr. Mundis:
7 Q. Mr. Pranjes, you had indicated that you were detained for two
8 weeks. Who was responsible for your detention? Who was --
9 A. It was the Serb army.
10 Q. And were these the forces that you had -- that you had turned
11 yourself into, after fleeing the incident at Bikosi?
12 A. Yes. I surrendered to the Serbian army up there at Vlasic, and
13 then they took me to Manjaca --
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the end of the
15 witness's sentence. I'm sorry.
16 MR. MENON:
17 Q. Mr. Pranjes, the interpreter didn't hear the full sentence that
18 you just recited, if you could repeat that.
19 A. The Serbian army, I surrendered to the Serbian army at Vlasic, and
20 then they took me to -- through Vlasic up to Manjaca, and then to Vares.
21 And the Croats were still in Vares; then they put us aboard buses and we
22 went to Kiseljak, where I stayed until the end of the war and where I was
23 eventually exchanged.
24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Pranjes.
25 MR. MENON: No further questions, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Menon.
2 Mr. Robson?
3 MR. ROBSON: No questions. Thank you, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
5 Mr. Pranjes, this brings us to the end of your testimony, and let
6 me take the opportunity just to thank you very much for coming to testify.
7 You are now excused. You may stand down. And, once again, just I'm sorry
8 for causing you that.
9 Judge Harhoff has something to say.
10 JUDGE HARHOFF: I would like to add something, Mr. Pranjes, if you
11 would. This is perhaps unusual, but I would like to take this opportunity
12 to also express the compassion and sympathy from the Bench for the
13 suffering that you have had, and we hope that your testimony today does
14 not disturb your state of mind too much.
15 We wish you good travel back. Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Mundis?
19 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President, the Prosecution calls
20 Zeljko Puselja, and my colleague Mr. Wood will be leading this witness,
21 and I would also just indicate for the report that we have been joined by
22 our intern, Allessandro Bernosconi, who will be assisting us.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
24 MR. MUNDIS: I understand, Your Honours, it will proceed until the
25 regular 1.45?
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's right.
2 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the witness please make the declaration.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
6 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
7 WITNESS: ZELJKO PUSELJA
8 [The witness answered through interpreter]
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, sir. You may be seated and
10 good afternoon to you.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Wood?
13 Examination by Mr. Wood:
14 Q. Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Good afternoon, Mr. Puselja.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. Could you please tell the Court your name, spelling your first and
18 last name for the record?
19 A. It is Z-E-L-J-K-O, P-U-S-E-L-J-A.
20 Q. Where were you born, Mr. Puselja?
21 A. I was born in Travnik, in B and H.
22 Q. Now, when you say "Travnik," do you mean Travnik municipality or a
23 specific village within that municipality?
24 A. The municipality of Travnik, and the village of Podovi.
25 Q. And what is your date of birth, sir?
1 A. The 9th of March 1967.
2 Q. What is your nationality or ethnic background?
3 A. Croat.
4 Q. Were you living in Podovi in 1993, Mr. Puselja?
5 A. Yes, I was.
6 Q. At that time, were you a member of any military organisation?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Were you ever a member of a military organisation, sir?
9 A. In 1993, I was a member of the HVO.
10 Q. And when did you join the HVO, if you could tell the Court,
12 A. I don't know the exact date, but with the dismantling of the TO,
13 the Territorial Defence.
14 Q. Mr. Puselja, what was the ethnic composition of the village in
15 which you resided in 1993?
16 A. It was a Croat village.
17 Q. Were there other villages in your area where the ethnic
18 composition was different from that?
19 A. Yes, there were.
20 Q. And what were some of those other villages?
21 A. Pode, a Muslim village; Han Bila, also a Muslim village; Fazlici,
22 a Muslim village.
23 Q. Thank you, sir. I want to ask you some questions about the first
24 half of 1993. Were there any Serbs in your area at that time?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And where were they living?
2 A. Though were living in the village of Savici near Poljanice.
3 Q. And did they remain there throughout 1993?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Do you recall, if you know, when they left?
6 A. No.
7 Q. What makes you say that you know they didn't remain there
8 throughout 1993?
9 A. Because after 1993, after the 8th of June, there were Arabs in
10 their village.
11 Q. And how far is this village from Poljanice or Mehurici, sir?
12 A. I can't say with precision.
13 Q. Would it be more than 500 metres?
14 A. No, not from Poljanice. From Mehurici, yes.
15 Q. Now, this village was called Savici. What was the last name of
16 the people who lived there, the majority of them?
17 A. I couldn't say, because I never was up there.
18 Q. In the first half of 1993, could you please describe the relations
19 between the Croat community and the Muslim community in your area?
20 A. Relations used to be normal and excellent. We went to school
21 together in Mehurici, which is their chief village, where we had our
22 shops, we had the shopping malls, stores, and infirmary.
23 Q. Did there come a time when this changed?
24 A. On the 8th of June, it all changed.
25 Q. Now, before the 8th of June, Mr. Puselja, had you ever seen any
1 foreigners in your area?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And could you describe when, under what circumstances, you saw
5 A. I saw them in Mehurici, by the school. I can't say on what exact
6 date I saw them.
7 Q. Were there any other occasions when you saw foreigners in your
8 area, sir?
9 A. Yes. We -- I did see them because we had a football field which
10 was called the Lager, and I used to see them very often before the
12 Q. And how far is that area from your village, sir?
13 A. Between three and four kilometres.
14 Q. And how did you know that these people were foreigners, sir?
15 A. Well, when I saw them, I could tell, because the locals usually
16 did not wear beards and stuff, and these people did wear beards -- did
17 have beards.
18 Q. What were these foreigners doing when you saw them?
19 A. Those that I saw at Mehurici with this emir, before the conflict,
20 they were bound for Vlasic, up there; at least that is what I heard from
22 Q. And the foreigners you saw at Lager, what were they doing?
23 A. There were two of them there. We were playing soccer, and they
24 were standing on the left side of the road. One of them was holding a map
25 and explaining something to this other guy. He was pointing to our
1 village and showing something to him with his hands.
2 Q. Were the foreigners alone, or were they with anybody else?
3 A. There were just the two of them.
4 Q. And how far were you from these foreigners when you saw them there
5 at Lager?
6 A. Between 30 and 50 metres, not more than that. That is how far the
7 main road was from the pitch.
8 Q. Now, you mentioned 8 June 1993, sir. I'm going to ask you some
9 questions about that now.
10 Do you recall where you were in the morning of 8 June 1993?
11 A. I was at the entrance to the village of Podstinje Donje.
12 Q. And you mentioned that your home village is Podovi. Could you
13 explain to the Court why you were in Podstinje that morning?
14 A. On the 8th of June, late in the afternoon, we all retreated up to
16 Q. Now, sir, I want it clarify something for the record. You said,
17 "On the 8th of June, we all retreated up to Podstinje," but my question
18 to you was: Early in the morning on the 8th of June, why is it that you
19 were in Podstinje rather than in Podovi, which you indicated earlier was
20 your home.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you understand the question, sir?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please repeat your
24 MR. WOOD:
25 Q. Yes, sir. I'll move on. It's okay.
1 Now --
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, I would like to get an answer to that.
3 MR. WOOD: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Why did you retreat to Podstinje?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had to retreat because when
6 Miletici suffered in April or May, we were told that we would not be able
7 to defend our village, and this was the only corridor that we would go to
8 from Podstinje to Maline. If we stayed, we would have been completely
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: What is meant by the "Miletici"?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is also a Croatian village.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, you said you alone retreated. You say, "I had
13 to retreat." Was it only you who retreated, or were you with other
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We all had to retreat, the civilians
16 and however many soldiers were there.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
18 Mr. Wood.
19 MR. WOOD: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Now, you mentioned the 8th of June, everything changed. What was
21 your first indication on the 8th of June that things were changing in your
23 A. First of all, there were provocations from Fazlici. Around 7.00
24 or 8.00, they opened fire on our village, but we did not react to those
25 provocations in any way.
1 Q. And when you say they opened fire from Fazlici, was that before
2 the 8th of June or on the 8th of June?
3 A. Even before that day, a few days before, they started opening fire
4 on us.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: And who are the "they" who opened fire?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Muslims.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
8 MR. WOOD:
9 Q. So, again, sir, I want to ask you specifically about 8 June 1993.
10 At what time did you wake up on that morning?
11 A. I don't know when.
12 Q. Was there an attack on the 8th of June 1993, sir?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And when did that attack begin?
15 A. Around 4.00 or 5.00 in the morning.
16 Q. How did you know that the attack was beginning?
17 A. As I've already told you, I was in Podstinje at the entrance of
18 the village keeping guard down there, and then the artillery cannon fire
20 Q. Could you determine, sir, from which direction the artillery was
22 A. From the direction of Poljanice.
23 Q. What happened after the mortars started falling, sir? What did
24 you do?
25 A. We were there for some 15 or 20 minutes, providing security to the
1 village of Podstinje, and then Goran Bobic joined us. He said that they
2 managed to repel the first brunt of that attack, but that the lines were
3 falling up there and that we should start retreating to the village.
4 Q. Did you in fact retreat, sir?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And how long did you stay in the village of Podstinje?
7 A. As we approached the village of Gornji Podstinje [as interpreted],
8 we proceeded straight on in the direction of Maline.
9 Q. Were the mortars still falling at this time, sir?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Why is it that you close to retreat toward the direction of Gornje
13 A. That was the only way out. There was no where else to go. This
14 was the only place where we could retreat to.
15 Q. And what made you believe that Gornje Maline was a safe place to
16 retreat to?
17 A. There was no where else to go. Maline was the only corridor for
18 us to go through if we wanted to go anywhere, if we wanted to go on.
19 Everything around us was blocked. There was no where else to go.
20 Q. What was the ethnic composition of Gornje Maline, sir?
21 A. There were two villages: Donje and Gornje Maline. I personally
22 am familiar with entire Maline; Donji were Muslim and Gornje were Croat
23 population. So there were two ethnically pure villages, Gornje and Donje
25 Q. And what was the nationality of those who lived in Gornje Maline?
1 A. Croats.
2 Q. Thank you. What route did you take to go from Podstinje to Gornje
4 A. We went through a little forest and then through a meadow called
5 Vranjaca, across the sand pit.
6 Q. Did you see any soldiers at this time, Witness?
7 A. When we arrived at that sand pit, we did not see any.
8 Q. At what time did you see the forces that were -- what time, if
9 any, did you see the forces that were attacking you, sir?
10 A. On the right-hand side, coming from the forest and from the
11 meadow, I could see some soldiers approaching. That's when we were in
12 that sand pit or patch.
13 Q. Could you determine, sir, what army these soldiers were from?
14 A. I couldn't see them properly, but I saw that they were wearing
15 uniforms; and then when every village around us fell up there, I could see
16 them properly.
17 Q. And, at that time, could you determine what army they were from,
19 A. The BiH army.
20 Q. Now, you mentioned that you got to that sandy area. How long did
21 you stay there?
22 A. Not very long. Everything happened very quickly. They started
23 coming from the right-hand side. We had to move quickly; and then ahead
24 of us on the road to Bikosi, I saw Tomo falling down. He had been hit. I
25 realised that that was very close, and I had to head quickly towards the
2 Q. When you say "they" were coming from the right-hand side, do you
3 know who that was?
4 A. The Muslim army.
5 Q. What do you mean, sir, by "Muslim army"?
6 A. The BiH army. It was a predominantly Muslim army.
7 Q. Now, in your testimony, you just said, "I had to head quickly
8 towards the village," which village was that, sir?
9 A. Gornje Maline.
10 Q. Did you reach Gornje Maline?
11 A. I reached as far as the first three houses on the right-hand side,
12 in the place where a cross is standing now.
13 Q. Is that cross in Gornje Maline?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. The cross is in the village of Gornje Maline?
16 A. Yes, on a rock on the right side of Maline.
17 Q. Where did you go next, sir?
18 A. We entered a little forest right below the rock. There were four
19 of us, and we were waiting to be able to run across the meadow in order to
20 enter the houses where everybody else was, the civilians, but we never
21 made it.
22 Q. What happened, sir?
23 A. Well, we were standing there, everything was falling, there were
24 troops in front of us, and we had to surrender.
25 Q. Who were you with when you surrendered?
1 A. My father, Mijo; myself; Nikica Balta; Antara Balta; Mato Turic;
2 and another person, the sixth person, whose name I can't recall.
3 Q. What time was this, sir?
4 A. Around 10.00 or between 10.00 and 11.00 maybe.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Wood how much longer are you likely to be?
6 MR. WOOD: I'm moving as quickly as I can, Your Honour. I am
7 mindful of the time. I see now why you're asking. I see that we probably
8 will have to come back at 3.00, and I will be as fast as I can, Your
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: I understand. I'm asking in terms of the break.
11 Is this an appropriate time?
12 MR. WOOD: It is an appropriate time, Your Honour, thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We will take an adjournment
14 and come back at 3.00. Court adjourned.
15 --- Recess taken at 1.47 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 3.03 p.m.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Wood?
18 MR. WOOD: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Puselja, when we took a break, you had mentioned that you
20 surrendered at about 11.00 a.m. in the village of Gornje Maline. Can you
21 please explain what were the conditions that day? Was it a sunny day or a
22 cloudy day?
23 A. It was rather sunny.
24 Q. So, at the time that you surrendered, were you able to see the
25 forces that had been attacking you in the village of Gornje Maline?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you see any foreigners among those troops?
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Robson.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
5 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, I rose to my feet to object to that
6 leading question. We, obviously, received the answer, but I just would
7 like to put that complaint on record. Thank you.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Wood?
9 MR. WOOD: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you have any response to that?
11 MR. WOOD: No, Your Honour. I'll continue.
12 Q. When you surrendered, what did you do with the weapons you had?
13 A. I gave it to the soldier to whom we surrendered.
14 Q. And could you determine what army the soldier was from?
15 A. BH army.
16 Q. What happened immediately after you surrendered?
17 A. When we surrendered, they took us across that meadow to the
18 village, and we were there together with the other captured civilians.
19 Q. How many captured civilians were there?
20 A. Three hundred, 350.
21 Q. And you mentioned that you had surrendered with a group of five or
22 six of your fellow soldiers. Can you tell the Court, after the group had
23 gathered with the 350 civilians, were there other HVO soldiers?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Could you estimate how many there were, sir?
1 A. Fifty-ish.
2 Q. Did you recognise the soldiers, personally recognise the soldiers,
3 to whom you surrendered?
4 A. No.
5 Q. And how many soldiers, if you could estimate, did you see in
6 Gornje Maline after you surrendered?
7 A. I could not determine the number. I cannot tell how many there
8 were when we surrendered.
9 Q. After you surrendered, sir, did you see any soldiers from the
10 other side who had been wounded?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Could you describe them, sir?
13 A. They lined us up together with the others on the road at Gornje
14 Maline, and they told us to bend our heads and not to look at them.
15 Q. And did they say why you shouldn't look at these soldiers?
16 A. They said that if we look up, they would kill us.
17 Q. And did they say why these particular soldiers you shouldn't look
19 A. They said something about "Ara Pranje [phoen]," and that's why we
20 decided that they must be Arabs.
21 Q. Were you able to see these soldiers that they were talking about,
22 the other soldiers said you shouldn't look at?
23 A. I saw two picking up the third from the ground around the corner
24 of the house, and they dragged him around the corner of the house so I
25 couldn't see him any longer.
1 Q. And what did these two soldiers look like, these two that were
2 carrying the third wounded?
3 A. I could see that both of them certainly had beards; and the third
4 one lying on the ground looking from the top, I could see that he had
5 black hair, curly, and he was not very tall.
6 Q. Could you see what was their complexion?
7 A. The two, that bent down to pick him up, were dark-skinned, as far
8 as I could see, at least compared to the local people.
9 Q. And how far were you from these soldiers when you saw them, sir?
10 A. Not even ten metres. They were just in front of us as we were
11 lined up, not more than ten metres, certainly.
12 Q. And what were these men wearing?
13 A. They had military uniforms on, but a rather brighter green than
14 the usual military uniforms.
15 Q. Were these men armed?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did it appear to you as though they were able to move around
18 freely, around the area?
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Robson.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour --
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I just caution you, when counsel for the
23 Defence stands up, before you answer a question, just stop, don't answer
24 the question. Okay.
25 Yes, Mr. Robson.
1 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, I object to that last question. I
2 believe it's a leading question. From the evidence that we've heard so
3 far from the witness, we had heard that, initially, he was told to look
4 down. As I understood his evidence, he was looking down. He happened --
5 he was able to see these two men, but I certainly don't understand or it's
6 not clear to me from the evidence how it could be established that this
7 witness was able to see these two men moving around freely.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Robson, is that an objectionable issue or is
9 that something that you can deal with in cross-examination?
10 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, I just -- it's just a -- I'd be grateful
11 if my friend who prosecutes could perhaps phrase his questions carefully.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: My point precisely. Is there anything
13 objectionable in the manner in which he put the question? If the witness
14 said he was facing down and he's asked if he saw people and he said he saw
15 people, is that is there anything that is objectionable there or is it
16 something that you deal with in cross-examination?
17 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, it's a question that, I would submit,
18 was phrased in such a way that invited the witness to agree with it.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: What was the question?
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Now, then you must shift the basis of your
22 objection from what you were saying to something else. If you object to
23 the formulation of the question, let that be so; but once you tally it
24 with his ability to see when he was looking down, it looks to me like you
25 were saying he's asking him to contradict himself and he's not allowed to
1 do so.
2 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour, the complaint was that he was
3 inviting --
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's the objection, sir.
5 Any response?
6 MR. WOOD: None, Your Honour. I'll move on.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: In that event, the objection becomes upheld. Thank
8 you very much.
9 You may move on.
10 MR. WOOD: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. On that point, Mr. Puselja, if your head was down, how were you
12 able to see this? How were you able to see what the men looked like?
13 A. They did told us to look at the ground, but we were on a slope.
14 So they were below us, down the slope, by the house, and, of course, I
15 looked down and I saw that moment.
16 Q. And for how long were you able to observe these men?
17 A. A couple of minutes, not long, because they had just picked him up
18 and dragged him away.
19 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, you mentioned that you had been gathered
20 together with a number of civilians and a number of other HVO soldiers.
21 What happened after that, sir?
22 A. When we were gathered into a group, then we all set off towards
23 Mehurici. I heard they were taking us to Mehurici, to the camp.
24 Q. And how did you proceed toward Mehurici?
25 A. They took us as a column down towards Maline, then we turned
1 towards Bikosi, and then we took a byroad towards Mehurici.
2 Q. And when you say "they," sir, do you know who it was who was
3 escorting you?
4 A. The BH army.
5 Q. And how do you know that, sir?
6 A. I know them by the uniforms and everything else. I know who they
8 Q. And what did those uniforms look like? What was about those
9 uniforms that was distinctively BiH army?
10 A. They were camouflage uniforms with insignia on the sleeves.
11 Q. And what did this insignia look like, sir?
12 A. On the right sleeve, they had this insignia that looked like -
13 what did I just say? - the lily.
14 Q. Did the men who were escorting you ever speak to you?
15 A. When they took us through to "pjescara," Semro Krajisnik addressed
16 us and he told us, "You are now captives. We are going to escort you to
17 Mehurici camp."
18 Q. One moment.
19 [Prosecution counsel confer]
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Sands. Pjescara is
21 not a place name; It's the sands.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I understand from the interpreter what she
23 means by "sands"? What is sands?
24 THE INTERPRETER: A sandy patch. Sands, S-A-N-D-S, sands. They
25 took them through to the sands.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
2 MR. WOOD:
3 Q. Did you then proceed toward Mehurici like the -- like the person
4 who you indicated spoke said?
5 A. Yes. We did move towards Mehurici, up to Bikosi and Poljanice
6 down there, where they started separating us.
7 Q. Before we go much further, Mr. Puselja, do you want to correct
8 something in the record? Earlier, you said "when they took us," I
9 believe, "pjescara," that was corrected, the interpretation doesn't
10 indicate who it was who addressed you and told you, "You are now
11 captives. We are going to escort you to the Mehurici camp." Can you
12 please tell the Court who was that person who said that to you and to the
13 other POW?
14 A. Semro, S-E-M-R-O, Krajisnik. We called him Krajisnik because he
15 hailed from Krajina. And when they took us from the sands to the left,
16 towards Bikosi, he came walking towards us. He told us to take off all
17 our religious items, such as crosses on chains and all the HVO insignia we
18 had on.
19 Q. And did he explain why it is that you should do this?
20 A. He said we would be walking by the Arabs and to take all that off.
21 Q. Getting back to what you said earlier, you mentioned a point at
22 which they separated us after you had proceeded toward Mehurici. Who was
23 it that you refer to when you say "they," sir?
24 A. When we got down to Poljanice and Bikosi, up to that moment, they
25 took us walking on a road; and, at that point, from the left-hand side of
1 the road, Arabs came running at us. They wanted to pick whom they wanted
2 from the column. Semro told them they were captives of the BH army, and
3 the other man said, "Oh, screw the BH army." And then they started an
4 argument, wherein this Arab man put a gun barrel into Semro's mouth. And
5 when that happened, Semro had to give in to the man who wanted to take his
6 pick from the column, that they started doing that, picking men from our
7 group as they pleased.
8 Q. I see at page 88, line 12 -- I'm sorry, line 11 you say, "Arabs
9 came running at us." Can you tell the Court how many there were?
10 A. As far as I was able to see, at that moment, four of them came
11 running from the left side.
12 Q. And was that the entire group that came running from the side?
13 A. No. Later on, some more came; one was an Arab and four had black
14 masks on their heads.
15 Q. And I just want to clarify, sir, how did you know the ones you
16 were referring to as Arabs, how did you know that they were Arabs?
17 A. Because the local ones wore masks on their heads. The Arabs
18 didn't. And all our lives we had never seen such men in our area. All of
19 them had beards, and the one that shot at me was a very large man.
20 Q. How did you know, Mr. Puselja, that the ones who wore masks were
21 local, were not Arabs?
22 A. Well, because they probably put masks on in order not to be
23 recognised because people must have known them.
24 Q. Did you hear them speak?
25 A. You mean the Arabs?
1 Q. Any member of this group that you said came running on to the
3 A. The Arab that put a gun into Semro's mouth kept arguing in a
4 language I didn't understand at all, and I only understood when the other
5 answered that we were captives of the BH army, and then the Arab answered
6 in a very accented Bosnian, "Screw the BH army."
7 Q. So what did the man you referred to as Semro, what did he do after
8 the gun was put into his mouth?
9 A. Well, he had to give in, I suppose, since the others started
10 taking their pick of the men. He just motioned with his arm that he was
11 giving in, so that the other one would take the barrel out of his mouth.
12 Q. And how many -- how many men or how many people were separated out
13 of the group?
14 A. Well, I concluded that four or five of us were singled out. There
15 were nine of them, and they made a group of five prisoners; and when the
16 one who was speaking came up to me, he pointed the barrel of the gun into
17 my stomach and he said, "You, too; you, too."
18 Q. If you could please tell the Court what were you wearing when this
19 happened, Mr. Puselja?
20 A. I had military pants and a brown jumper on.
21 Q. If you recall, sir, who were some of the other members of the
22 group who were separated out by these Arabs?
23 A. Some also had military uniforms or bits of uniforms, but there
24 were also civilians, including children of 13 or 14 and elderly men --
25 elderly people. Sorry.
1 Q. After this group had been separated out, where did the remainder
2 of the group go?
3 A. They took them to Mehurici, to the camp in the school house; I
4 mean, the group of civilians that stayed down there.
5 Q. And in which direction did the other group go, the smaller group
6 that had been separated out?
7 A. Well, those of us who were singled out, they took us back, but not
8 using the same road. They took us along a narrow path through the woods
9 where only carts could pass, and they took us back to Bikosi.
10 Q. Do you recall the names of any of the people who were in this
11 smaller group, sir?
12 A. Yes. Vlado Puselja was one; Niko Bobas, Goran Bobas, father and
13 son; Dalibor and Stipo Jankovic, father and son; Barac, Pavo and Bojan,
14 brothers; then Pero Bobas; Sreco Bobas, also; Ana Pranjes; Ivo Tavic; Buco
15 of father Niko Jurcevic; and then Franjo Puselja, father Vinko; Anto,
16 Jozo, and Nikica Balta, the three Balta brothers. These were the people
17 whom I knew from my village. And there was also Tavic, Ivo, and these
18 people that I already mentioned.
19 Q. One name that you mentioned, Ana Pranjes. Can you tell the Court
20 what was she wearing?
21 A. She had a top motley coloured jacket, but she had a Red Cross
22 patch. She was the assistant of Dr. Ljubica, and she had a white jersey
23 or a white T-shirt also on her.
24 Q. Now, this Ana Pranjes, where were you in relation to her in the
1 A. No.
2 Q. Sorry, sir. Let me ask again --
3 A. Oh, she was in front of me.
4 Q. Did anything happen to Ana Pranjes?
5 A. Yes. This short, very thin Arab, perhaps only 60 kilograms of
6 weight, with black, curly hair, he walked up to her and he touched her on
7 the stomach, asked her if she was pregnant, if she was married, and such
8 things. She was wearing a chain with a pendant with "Our Lady" on the
9 pendant, and he ripped it off her neck and threw it away. She wanted to
10 lit a cigarette. He ripped the cigarette out of her mouth and threw that
11 away, too.
12 Then the second Arab walked up and said, "Go, Go," meaning to
13 fetch her some cigarettes, and then he continued asking her about her. He
14 actually touched her on the jacket and asked her to take it off, asking
15 her why did she need to wear it. She was very courageous, I believe, so
16 she just buttoned up her jacket, and she said, "If I'm to die, I'm going
17 to do so in the uniform of my country." And then he grabbed her bay the
18 waist, and then he sort of pushed her to the left side, and then he fired
19 a burst into her.
20 Q. And what happened after that?
21 A. They took us farther up to Bikosi by the same small path. They
22 lined us up in front of the first house to the left, so that was the house
23 of Ljuba of Matija; Ljuba being the wife of the husband Matija, that's how
24 we say it. So when we were lined up on the left side, this small,
25 slender, blond guy who had this cap with slots for the eyes started
1 interrogating us to the effect, Who was a sniper, Who was this or that.
2 And this Arab who had shot me personally, he came and he actually
3 tapped him on the shoulder, and that's when I remember his name, he said,
4 "Isak, you are Allah." And this other one went into Ljuba's house, this
5 first house on the left side. He went into the house. We heard him shout,
6 "Allah U Ekber," then he came out of the house and was pointing his
7 finger showing to this other guy something. And this other guy sort of
8 motioned with his head to ask him what he was indicating, and he just
9 pointed his finger, this guy who had come out of the house, towards down.
10 This other one went behind the house. I thought that there was a
11 well there, but it turned out that there was a chicken coop there, in
12 fact. So he had us go back to the road, and he made this gesture with his
13 hand, showing that he should kill us and throw us into the well. That's,
14 in fact, why I first thought that it was a well.
15 MR. WOOD: Your Honour, I'd like the report to reflect that when
16 the witness said -- he made a gesture, he took his hand and dragged it
17 across his neck. Just so that's clear in the written record.
18 Q. Now, you mentioned this person named "Isak." Was he one of the
19 people who had been wearing a mask previously?
20 A. Yes. Yes. One of them. And then after they had lined us up
21 there in front of this house, on the right side, we were standing there.
22 The others took off their masks, and I recognised one; a big, brawny, dark
23 man. He used to work with my father; and, later, I told my father how he
24 looked, but my father could not remember his name.
25 And I also recognised this other one who was big and blond. He
1 had a store at the entrance to Mehurici on the right side. He is perhaps
2 a head taller than I myself, and he is quite bigger than I am. And this
3 fourth man who was there, he was dark-haired and slender, and he's Zihnad
4 Sejdic. That is the name I heard later in camp. That is his name.
5 Q. This Zihnad Sejdic, did you come to learn the name of his father?
6 A. Later, in the camp, after all this was over, we discussed things
7 among ourselves again in Mehurici, and I described to some people how he
8 looked. And Zarko Balta, who lived near them, near the village of
9 Sejdici, said, on the basis of my description, that there was the
10 possibility that that could be these people, the Sejdicis.
11 Q. I'll ask the question again, sir. Did you come to know what this
12 person's -- what his father's name was?
13 A. I've forgotten.
14 Q. We can come back.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry. What have you forgotten, sir? Have you
16 forgotten the father's name, or have you forgotten whether he came to know
17 his fathers's name?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They had told me in the camp his
19 father's name, but I have another gotten his father's name.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: So the answer to the question is you did come to
21 know the father's name, but you just can't remember it now? That's the
22 answer you want to give?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
25 You may proceed, Mr. Wood.
1 MR. WOOD: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Mr. Puselja, do you remember giving a statement to the ICTY about
3 this incident?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And do you remember, in that statement, providing the name of the
6 father of this person?
7 A. I believe that I did, but at this point I really cannot remember.
8 Q. And that statement was given in September of 2006; is that
9 correct, sir?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. Would it refresh your recollection, or would it assist you in
12 refreshing your recollection, if you were able to see that statement
14 A. I believe that it would.
15 MR. WOOD: If I could have the usher please show a copy of this
16 statement to the witness, and if that could be placed on to the ELMO,
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. This is his name.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Could the witness please identify the statement,
20 the document, before he's asked about the contents?
21 MR. WOOD: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Puselja, if you could take a look at that document, is that
23 document a copy of the statement that you provided to the ICTY in 2006?
24 And if I could ask you please take it off the ELMO and take a good look at
25 it, to make sure that that is your statement, sir?
1 A. Yes. This is definitely my statement.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is your signature on it, sir? Did you sign that
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you see your signature there?
6 MR. WOOD: Your Honour, if I might intervene, I can tell you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
8 MR. WOOD: His signature does in the appear on this. This is a
9 translation of the statement that he provided to the ICTY. How it works
10 is: He provides the statement, it's simultaneously transcribed in to
11 English, then read back to the witness. The English version is what he
13 For the purposes of making things easier, this is a copy of his
14 statement translated into B/C/S. So his statement -- his signature does
15 not appear on this document; although, this is a translation of a signed
16 statement that the witness provided in 2006, as reflected on the front
17 page of the statement that is in front of him right now.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Wood. You can go on.
19 MR. WOOD: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Mr. Puselja, having taken a look at that statement, is your memory
21 refreshed about the name of the father of the person that you were
22 speaking of, this Sejdic?
23 A. Yes, it is. It is Zihnad Sejdic, who is the son of Zahid Sejdic
24 and they are from the Sejdici village. Zahid is the name of the father of
1 Q. This person named "Isak," did you come to find out his last name?
2 A. I, again, found that out in the camp. I described him to Zarko
3 Balta, and they told me that there was just this one Isak, the son of Isak
4 Aganovic from the village of Fazlici. I described his looks to the people
5 in the camp. He looked like Zarko Balta quite a lot, but he was a bit
7 Q. Now, sir, just to clarify then, you came to though that this
8 person's name was Isak Aganovic?
9 A. When we were being executed up there, when the Arab told him,
10 "Isak, you are Allah," I remembered his name and his face. And then in
11 the camp, I described the different people and their looks to the people
12 in the camp, and I told them his name. And they then told me that this
13 could be this man, Isak Aganovic, the son of Rasid from Fazlici; whereas,
14 I personally did not know that person.
15 Q. You mentioned another person, a person who had a shop. Do you
16 recall the name of this person?
17 A. He had a shop on the right side, after the entry point to the --
18 to Mehurici, on a small hillock. His name was Vehbija Jasarevic.
19 Q. Thank you, sir.
20 MR. WOOD: I think that's all we'll need with the statement for
22 Q. Mr. Puselja, you mentioned, before I was asking you these
23 questions about the names, that they had lined you up. What happened
24 after that?
25 A. After they had lined us up in groups, at the moment, when I said
1 that there was a well outside by the asphalt road, Mijo Tavic, who was
2 with us, was an epileptic. And as we were standing up there, I was in the
3 second or third group, he had a fit and he started screaming and started
4 crying out. They became scared and they opened fire. This one who was
5 standing in front of me, some metre or metre and a half away from me, I
6 saw him. I saw him start to take to the ground, and I myself turned and
7 took to the ground. And as I was falling, a bullet hit me in my right
9 As I was falling, my arm gave in the shoulder and I hit my face on
10 the asphalt, and then I lay on the road pretending to be dead. Ican Volic
11 fell on my feet. From the left side, I could see that his guts had been
12 torn and I could hear his death rattle. And another person who had been
13 mowed down by the burst also fell on top of me. And that's how it was.
14 Q. Now, you mentioned there was one person standing in front of you
15 who fired. What did the other people in the group do, the other people in
16 the group of Arabs and others who had escorted you to Bikosi?
17 A. When we heard the shooting, the burst, you could only hear the
18 moaning and the crying out, and people went every possible way. When we
19 all fell down, one could hear individual shots, and there was one person
20 speaking in our language. One of the locals, who was speaking in our own
21 language, he said, "You take me and then you go on. You continue after
23 They were killing off one by one, so that we could only hear
24 individual shots at that point. And as my head was down on the asphalt, I
25 could just see at the sneakers on somebody's feet. I was covered in a lot
1 of blood from me and from other people. So they thought that I was dead
2 so that I could just hear the click of someone stopping a rifle, and then
3 they went on.
4 I continued to furtively listen and look, and I saw two Arabs
5 going up in order to prevent anyone from coming to the site, and they took
6 away this man who was moaning because they could no longer bear to hear
7 his cries.
8 Q. This man you indicate who was moaning, was he one of the Arab
9 foreigners or was he one of the locals who had been wearing a mask?
10 A. He was definitely one of the locals because he was shouting clear,
11 fluent -- in our language, and I could understand exactly what he was
12 saying. He was saying, "Take me away first, and then go on with your
14 Q. I realise this is a difficult experience for you, Mr. Puselja, but
15 I need to ask you: Did all of the people in the group fire during the
17 A. I believe that they did, because when I got up from the -- after
18 the execution, it was -- when I got up, I listened and I saw that there
19 was no one, and then I said, "Oh, my God, I'm alive."
20 Q. Now, you're here today with us, so, obviously, you survived this.
21 Were there others who survived this?
22 A. Yes. There were some. And when I got up, I saw that there was
23 nobody there; then I asked, "People, is there anyone else alive?" Then I
24 looked on my right side, I saw Darko Puselja; Marijan Bobas; and Tavic, I
25 forgot his name; then Berislav; and this Barac lad, the brother of these
1 two who were executed, in fact, one survived, just his legs were mowed
2 down by the burst, and he was also crying out for help.
3 When we got up, we started fleeing down towards the house, and
4 then Barac. And I believe that Bojan was his name, because Pavle and
5 Bojan are Barac, two brothers. One was executed; the other survived.
6 They started running away down under the house. As I was wounded in my
7 right arm, I just bit my arm and carried it.
8 Q. And where did you run to, sir --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: I bit a blanket in
10 order to endure it and then I ran away.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We ran away towards Podstinje where
12 people knew us, then we came to Pasica. There was a cafe there, and we
13 wanted to wait for night there. We crossed a creek that had dried up. It
14 was a small river. We went inside there, and all the local Muslims saw
15 us; and when we came by that creek, the five of us, we could only hear,
16 "Surrender." Berislav and this lad, they took to their heels, but the
17 rest of us surrendered.
18 We could not continue. Darko was already riddled with bullets.
19 His lungs were full of air. Safet Dautovic and his brother, Suljo, and
20 his brother-in-law, Naje, who had a hunting rifle, they came in front of
21 us. He walked up to Darko Puselja and hit him in the left ear with a
22 rifle butt. Safet also jumped up to us, and he shoved the barrel of his
23 gun into somebody's belly, and then Safet asked me, "How come that you are
24 here?" Because he knew us. We used to come to his store. And we said
25 that we had just fled from the execution site, and he motioned with his
1 finger saying to me that I should be silent.
2 Then they took us down to a place outside his store, where they
3 lived, and then two other people, whom I had never seen in my life, took
4 Marijan Bobas, took him back to call Berislav and this lad to surrender.
5 And they told him that if he didn't manage to induce them to do so, that
6 they would kill him. So they put me and Darko at Pasica into a house on
7 the right side, which was not an infirmary, but there was a person there
8 whom I had not ever seen before. But he wanted to help me and to dress my
9 wound, and they also gave us something to eat.
10 Then we heard children crying out, "Here come the Arabs," and then
11 Safet took us to a store, which used to be called "Dado." He took us
12 inside, and he shut us up in the lavatory, in the toilet. He said,
13 "Zeljko, it is only over my dead body that they can come and get you."
14 Then a car pulled up and we could hear the rattling of arms, and we could
15 hear some quarrelling, but he would not surrender us to them. After they
16 had left, he took us in his Golf car.
17 He took us back there, and I told him, "Safet, you know who I am,
18 what I am. We all know each other. We go back a long way. Let us go."
19 And he said, "No, there is no way I could do that," and then he just took
20 us to Mehurici to the school, to their camp.
21 MR. WOOD:
22 Q. I was going to ask you that. Why did he take you to the school in
24 A. Because up there, they had their headquarters, their command, at
25 the school house in Mehurici, in the school.
1 Q. And where in the school were you taken?
2 A. The hall. When you got in on the right-hand side, there was a big
3 hall for, what do they call it, P.E., you know where volley ball and
4 basketball is played.
5 Q. And were you under guard in this hall?
6 A. On the door, when we got in, there were two policemen at the door.
7 I was placed inside. I sat for a while before they took me to an
8 interrogation, to Haris Jusic. And I know that man because he used to be
9 a lawyer at my former employer's. He wanted to see me. And, of course,
10 he started questioning me, and he asked like the other one, "How come
11 you're here? What happened?" And when I told him about the execution and
12 about our escape, his face took on a worried look, and then he said,
13 "Okay. Okay. There are specials from Zenica who will deal with your
14 interrogation." Then he put me back in the gym.
15 Q. Now, you said earlier that policemen were at the door. Were these
16 civilian policemen or military policemen?
17 A. Military policemen. They had white belts.
18 Q. And with what military were they?
19 A. BH army.
20 Q. Now, this person Haris Jusic, could you determine who it was that
21 he was asking questions on the behalf of; that is, was he a part of the
23 A. He was wearing a military uniform; and, in my opinion, he acted as
24 their lawyer. And everybody who went to that interrogation from the gym
25 told me the same thing, that they were first taken to him and then on. He
1 had an office to the left of the gym, but he never touched anybody, and
2 the others told me the same.
3 Q. How many other people were in the sports hall with you when you
4 were there?
5 A. Well, all those who were brought from Poljanice, 300, 350 people,
6 civilians, women, children. Those that they managed to round up after
8 Q. And did you recognise any of the men who were guarding you at the
9 sports hall?
10 A. Yes. I did. They used to work with me. Biban Jasarevic and
11 Ferid Jasarevic, because Ferid Jasarevic works at the saw mill with us.
12 And the other one, Biban Jasarevic, is a tall, blond, big man. I had
13 known him before.
14 Q. Now I want to ask you a little bit about the people who shot at
15 you. This Isak Aganovic, did you ever see him again after that?
16 A. No. No, not since the execution.
17 Q. Now, the man that you said was standing in front of you, who was
18 shooting at you, did you ever see him after the shooting at Bikosi?
19 A. Yes, I did, more than once, because he persecuted me all the way
20 to Zenica. And he came to Mehurici when we were already up there in the
21 gym. When I had been to see Haris, after about half an hour, he came into
22 the room, grabbed me by the arm, and said, "Ustasha, tap, tap," meaning
23 that he will beat me. I just kept silent and looked down.
24 And then another came after him, an Arab as well. His ears were
25 very, very big. They quarrelled between them. And, as far as I was able
1 to tell, he knew our language rather well. And after the quarrel was
2 over, after the argument was over, he came up to me and said, "Don't
3 worry. No harm will come to you."
4 But then, there was more trouble. Because after the bandage when
5 we were taken to that shop owned by Ibro, there was an infirmary there for
6 us prisoners. And when they took me there --
7 Q. I just want to make sure that the record is clear. Where was this
8 shop owned by Ibro? In what town was that?
9 A. In Mehurici, from the depot when you cross the bridge, it's the
10 first shop on the left-hand side. Ibro owns this shop, and it was set up
11 as an infirmary for us prisoners. I was taken there once, Darko as well.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Wood, how much longer are you likely to be?
13 MR. WOOD: Almost finished, Your Honour.
14 Q. So you were explaining there was trouble at this infirmary?
15 A. Yes, because this Arab, the one who shot at me back then, he came
16 inside and Sejo was the one who took us to the infirmary. Semro was also
17 from Krajina. He told me that himself. He was the main doctor there at
18 the bandaging. When Darko was being bandaged laid out on the table, Sejo
19 our old doctor was there.
20 And this Arab, who had shot at me, came inside carrying a knife, a
21 big knife, 40, 50 metres. He took me, grabbed me by the hair and made a
22 motion, as if to slit my throat. But Semro told him I had internal
23 bleeding, that I would die of it, and that I had to be transferred to
24 Zenica. Then he let us go, but he didn't really believe Semro. Because
25 after the bandaging was done, we got out and there was a van waiting to
1 take us to Zenica.
2 And the Arab first got into the van, then was driven out by the
3 policeman. And he took the first car behind us and drove after us,
4 following, all the way to Zenica, to the hospital. Dr. Sejo put Darko in
5 the hospital and took me to be rebandaged. And when we got to the
6 doorway, this Arab followed, looked at me very darkly, and he just kept
7 looking not saying anything.
8 I came inside with them to talk to the doctor, to ask him, "Leave
9 me in hospital, because otherwise he'll kill me." And the doctor
10 answered, "Well, it comes down to the same thing, doesn't it, whether he
11 kills you here or in Mehurici." Any way, after that, I didn't see the
12 Arab again. And then they put this thing on my arm to fix it, and they
13 took me and Darko back to the camp in the school house.
14 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you some more questions about your arm.
15 What is your current occupation?
16 A. I have 80 per cent disability. I have the status of military
17 invalid, wartime invalid, war veteran and military invalid, with 80 per
18 cent disability because I was wounded in my arm.
19 Q. What was your occupation before that, sir?
20 A. Carpenter. I used to be a carpenter, and I graduated from a
21 vocational school for carpenters.
22 Q. How long did it take your arm to heal, sir?
23 A. It did heal, but the pain never went away.
24 Q. Do you still feel pain from this injury, sir?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 Q. Now, have you suffered any other side effects from what you went
2 through in Bikosi on 8 June 1993?
3 A. I was wounded in my arm. My skull suffered a tear off,, it was
4 broken. And there was -- there is a crack in my skull of five
5 centimetres, because that man hit me with a rifle butt on my head. And in
6 the estimate of the doctor - it was a young doctor, maybe 20 years old -
7 who told me that I had a crack in my skull of about five centimetres. And
8 at the interrogation, they stabbed me under my left nipple with a knife.
9 Q. Have you suffered physically or mentally as a result of what
10 happened to you at Bikosi on 8 June 1993?
11 A. Yes. The suffering --
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Excuse me, sir. Would you like a break? Are you
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just give me a second. The
15 suffering. Before, I was never able to cry in my life. I was never able
16 to cry before, like I can cry now. I'm not even able to carry a normal
17 conversation. Every night, I am back on the battlefield; or every other
18 night, after 4 a.m., I can no longer sleep.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to repeat
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would you please repeat what you've just said, sir?
22 They didn't hear you, the interpreters.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The worst thing is: I lost the
24 internal strength of my body, and the doctors call it a tick or something.
25 I am no longer able to watch television without crying. I have to
1 withdraw, to hide. I have a compulsion to hide. It couldn't possibly be
3 MR. WOOD: Thank you, Mr. Puselja.
4 The Prosecution has nothing further at this time, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Wood.
6 Is it going to be Mr. Robson? Mr. Robson?
7 MR. ROBSON: Yes, Your Honour, it's me again. I'm just
8 wondering. It's, obviously, a matter for the Trial Chamber, in view of
9 the hour, as I understand it we are not going to be working beyond half
10 past 4. My cross-examination will be longer than that. And just bearing
11 in mind the information that the -- or the information that the witness
12 has just provided, I wondered whether perhaps now might be an appropriate
13 time to break.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: We are trying to see if it is possible to complete
16 the examination of the witness today, because I'm sure that the witness
17 would prefer to go home rather than having to stay in The Hague. So this
18 is what the consultation is about.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would you prefer that? Would you prefer to finish
20 off today, sir?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. In that event, we need to find out from the
23 rest of everybody here whether we can sit beyond the original half 4 that
24 we had agreed on, in which case we could take a break now and come back,
25 but I don't want to impose on the interpreters and the other members of
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters do not know which length of
3 time we are talking about.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Say that again?
5 THE INTERPRETER: Which length of time are we talking about?
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Until we finish with this witness.
7 MR. ROBSON: Your Honours, I wouldn't anticipate that I would be a
8 great length -- deal of time with this witness, but certainly more than
9 maybe half an hour, something like that.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: That would be helpful if we could. Maybe then
11 let's take a break.
12 JUDGE HARHOFF: Let us ask the interpreters if the would agree to
13 half an hour.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I see they are nodding in agreement. I see no nods
15 this side, but I don't want to assume. Okay. Thank you so much.
16 Let's take a break and come back at quarter to 5.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 4.16 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 4.44 p.m.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm told we are not allowed to sit beyond 5.15,
20 Mr. Robson, so over to you.
21 MR. ROBSON: Your Honour the Chamber will be pleased, no doubt, to
22 hear that Defence team has been able to use the adjournment usefully. We
23 have reviewed the evidence given by this witness, and we have been able to
24 substantially reduce the number of questions that we are going to put to
25 this witness.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Robson:
3 Q. Mr. Puselja, good afternoon. My name is Nicholas Robson. I'll be
4 asking you some questions on behalf of the Defence. As i have just said,
5 I hope to brief. The first are that I would like to clarify relates to
6 the shooting that took place in Bikosi.
7 You explained, in your evidence, that you were able to see the
8 faces of some of the local men there. As I understood your evidence, you
9 recognised the faces of two men. One of those men you described as a big,
10 brawny, dark man who worked with your father; is that right? Did you
11 recognise him?
12 THE INTERPRETER: There is no microphone for the witness.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 Can the witness please answer again, because there was no
15 microphone in the first place.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
18 MR. ROBSON:
19 Q. But your father wasn't able to clarify the name of that person
20 when you spoke to your father later; is that so?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And the other person you recognised, you described as a blond one,
23 a blond-haired man, and it's right to say that you didn't know his name
25 A. The second man, the one who was blond, thin, tall, with a receding
1 hairline with hair hanging on the sides, he was referred to as Isak.
2 Q. And the other men there, it's right to say, you didn't recognise
3 them; but later on, when you were at the school in Mehurici, and you
4 discussed events with other people there, with Bosnian Croats, they were
5 able to tell you the names -- they suggested some names to you that could
6 have been the names of those local men?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. But we certainly can't be certain, can we, that those names are
10 A. I can't be certain either.
11 Q. Now, after the events in Bikosi, it's right that you and four
12 other men ran towards Podstinje; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And, if I understood you correctly, at a certain point, you and
15 the men stopped by a creek to rest; is that right?
16 A. It was a river, the River Bila, and we crossed the brook to the
17 right-hand side. That brook was used to irrigate the mill, where they
18 milled flour. That's where we crossed over to the right side. It's just
19 30 metres distance. It's just across a meadow.
20 Q. And it was while you were at the river that you were discovered by
21 three local Muslims; is that right?
22 A. The three that I knew. I didn't know the others.
23 Q. Okay. So three local Muslim men came across you whilst you were
24 at the river; is that right? They discovered you there?
25 A. They saw us as we were crossing the meadow. They were in front.
1 I told you there was a brook, and there was a clearing up there. They
2 were all lying there; and as soon as we approached, they said,
4 Q. And it's right, if I understood you correctly, that one of the men
5 struck a member of your group with his rifle; but, at that point, the man
6 that you called Safet Dautovic stopped the other man from hitting -- from
7 carrying out any more striking --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. -- is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The man with the rifle, who was he hitting? Was it you or
12 somebody else?
13 A. He hit Darko Puselja with the butt of a hunting rifle.
14 Q. And I think, if I understood you correctly, not long after that,
15 somebody noticed that there were some Arabs in the area; is that correct?
16 A. We only heard children screaming, "The Arabs are coming."
17 Q. Now, at that point, this Bosnian Muslim man, Safet Dautovic, he
18 made it clear that he wouldn't let the Arabs take you and the other
19 Bosnian Croat men, didn't he?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. It's right, isn't it, that he protected you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And Safet Dautovic was a member of the army of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina, wasn't he?
25 A. He wasn't wearing a uniform.
1 Q. And Safet Dautovic took you and the other men in his own personal
2 vehicle and drove you to the school at Mehurici; is that right?
3 A. He took me and Darko Puselja to Mehurici to the school house.
4 Q. Now, when you and Darko Puselja arrived at the school, it's right
5 to say that you were both injured and in quite a bad condition; is that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And, upon your arrival, you received medical treatment from
9 Dr. Sejo; is that correct?
10 A. I didn't say the doctor's name. The doctor was in the room. He
11 was a short man, 50-ish, but I don't know his name.
12 Q. I apologise for that. That was my understanding from the
13 transcript, but it's clear that you didn't know the doctor's name.
14 But can you confirm that the doctor gave medical treatment to you
15 and Darko Puselja?
16 A. He put iodine on my head, because that man had made a crack in my
17 head of about five centimetres length. He put iodine on it, and he also
18 said, "If the Arab comes in, take that off your head immediately so that
19 he doesn't see it."
20 Q. So, again, the doctor here, in this case, was protecting you, and
21 he was concerned to make sure that you were safe and could receive medical
22 treatment; is that right?
23 A. As I thought at the time, yes.
24 Q. Now, the doctor assessed that the medical condition of both you
25 and Darko Puselja was so serious that you had to receive medical treatment
1 in Zenica; is that correct?
2 A. He didn't mention Zenica. He transferred us to Mehuric, where I
3 told you that infirmary had been set up at Ibro's shop. Semro Krajisnik
4 was there, and it was his assessment that we had to be transferred to
6 MR. ROBSON: Just bear with me, Your Honours.
7 [Defence counsel confer]
8 MR. ROBSON:
9 Q. Finally, just to confirm, Mr. Puselja, you travelled to Zenica and
10 there you received medical treatment for your injuries; is that right?
11 A. They put a splint on my arm and rebandaged me, and put iodine on
12 my head and that's the treatment I got; and then I was sent back to
14 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Puselja.
15 MR. ROBSON: The Defence has no further questions.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Robson.
17 Any re-examination, Mr. Wood?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
19 MR. WOOD: None, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
22 Questioned by the Court:
23 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have a few
24 questions. I'm not quite sure, it's not very clear in my mind, whether
25 Safet Dautovic was a civilian or a soldier of the Bosnian army.
1 A. He was a civilian.
2 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you. And the doctor who
3 treated you, the first doctor who treated you, was he a military doctor in
4 the Bosnian army?
5 A. He was not wearing a uniform. He was in civilian clothes.
6 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you. And the infirmary
7 where you were treated, the first infirmary in Mehurici, was it a Bosnian
8 army infirmary, was it?
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] And in Zenica, there was a
11 Bosnian army infirmary?
12 A. Zenica had a hospital, a proper hospital in Crkvice.
13 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Was it a hospital of the Bosnian
15 A. I wouldn't know that. I don't know what it was.
16 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: One last question to you, relating to your stay at
20 the camp in Mehurici. How long were you detained there; do you remember?
21 A. Twenty, 25 days we were detained; not only in the gym, but also
22 behind bars outside the gym in a small room, three by three.
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: And what happened to you after those 25 days?
24 Were you transferred to somewhere else or were you released?
25 A. We were transferred to the penitentiary in Zenica.
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: During your stay in a Mehurici, in the camp in
2 Mehurici, and in the penitentiary in Zenica, were you treated well or how
3 were you treated?
4 A. Well, when we got to Zenica, there was a huge difference compared
5 to Mehurici.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: Can you explain how?
7 A. In Mehurici, in that small room, three by three, there were nine
8 of us. We couldn't go to the toilet when we wanted to, and I was wounded
9 at the time. They kept throwing slurs and provoking us by the door,
10 threatening that they would slit our throats and kill us; whereas, in
11 Zenica, nobody touched us. In Zenica, it was much better than in
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: Did you suffer any beatings in Mehurici?
14 A. Yes. Yes, we did. In Mehurici, they would take us to the second
15 floor, where there was a library, four metres long and a metre and a half
16 wide. And I told you about those two specials of Zenica who wanted to
17 interrogate us. One of them cracked nuts with his pistol. The other one
18 had a knife. They started questioning me, and I had my arm in a black
19 sling around my neck. And they asked me to give them names. I started
20 talking, then the tall blond one punched me, so that my head simply
21 twisted around.
22 The other one started hitting me on my arm. I wanted to block the
23 blow when he started towards my stomach, and that man said, "If you raise
24 your arm again, I'll make a hole in your head." And after that, they took
25 me under my arm pits and dragged me to the -- punched me and then dragged
1 me back to the gym.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: I am not sure I just caught this when you were
3 explaining to us, but did you recognise the men who did this?
4 A. No.
5 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: If I can just carry on from where Judge ended, did
7 you know whether these men belonged to any military, these men who were
8 punching you?
9 A. They were not wearing uniforms. They were in civilian clothes as
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: If I can take you back to the shooting in Bikosi,
12 you talked about some men wearing masks. Did you hear any of them speak
13 at any time?
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: What language did they speak? Could you understand
17 A. Yes. They spoke Bosnian. Isak spoke Bosnian also when he
18 questioned us, when he asked who had shot at them.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Where on the body was Ana Pranjes shot, if you
21 A. I know that he raised her, turned her towards the bank, and then
22 shot a volley of gunfire. I didn't see exactly where he hit her.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: A volley of gunfire, not just one shot?
24 A. Yes, a volley.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: What became of Ana?
1 A. I don't know, because they drove us immediately up there.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Have you seen her since?
3 A. No.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Was that the last time you saw her?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: On a rough estimate, how many people would you say
7 were killed on that occasion in Bikosi.
8 A. I told you it's my estimate there were nine of them, and we were
9 45 of us. Six survived. I enumerated the ones I knew, and I didn't know
10 the rest.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
12 I have no further questions. Thank you so much.
13 Any questions arising from the Trial Chamber's questions,
14 Mr. Wood?
15 MR. WOOD: No, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
17 Mr. Robson?
18 MR. ROBSON: No, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
20 This brings us to the end of your testimony, Mr. Puselja. Let me
21 thank you, once again, on behalf of the Tribunal for coming to testify. I
22 understand that we have taken you through a very harrowing experience, and
23 it was not an easy job for you to do, reliving all this episode again in
24 court here.
25 Unfortunately, we had to get this kind of information, and you are
1 one of those people who could provide us with the information, but our
2 sympathies are with you for what you went through. Thank you very much
3 and have a pleasant trip back home. You are now excused. You may stand
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: I guess this brings us to the end of the day for
8 today. The matter will stand adjourned to Monday the 23rd at quarter past
9 2.00 in the afternoon in Courtroom I.
10 Court adjourned.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.07 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Monday, the 23rd day of.
13 July, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.