1 Tuesday, 3 April 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the witness make the declaration.
7 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
8 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: I should say, for the benefit of the transcript,
10 that this evidence is being heard by videolink.
11 Mr. Docherty.
12 WITNESS: SEFIK BESLIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 [Witness testified via videolink]
15 MR. DOCHERTY: Good morning, Your Honour.
16 Examination by Mr. Docherty:
17 Q. Sir, could you please begin by telling us your name and your date
18 of birth?
19 A. My name is Sefik Beslic. I was born on the 29th of January 1951
20 in Sarajevo.
21 Q. Doctor, my name is John Docherty. I am one of the prosecuting
22 attorneys on this case. I don't believe we have met before, is that
24 A. No, we have not. That is right, we have never met.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: We have no transcript.
1 MR. DOCHERTY: There will be a few seconds delay, Doctor, while we
2 deal with a technical problem at our end.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: We must have a transcript, is that correct,
4 Mr. Docherty?
5 MR. DOCHERTY: I believe so, Your Honour, otherwise, there will be
6 no record. That is my understanding.
7 [Technical difficulty]
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, I understand the technical problem has been
9 resolved, and it should be just stated that we have been delayed because
10 of this technical problem.
11 Yes, Mr. Docherty.
12 MR. DOCHERTY:
13 Q. Good morning again, Witness. I apologise for that. There is a
14 lot of technology here. It usually works faultlessly, but every once in a
15 while there is a glitch.
16 You had stated your state your name and date of birth for the
17 record. Could you continue, please, by telling us what it is that you do
18 for a living.
19 A. I am head of the department of oncological surgery in Sarajevo.
20 During the war, I was -- during the war, or rather, for 12 years,
21 I was the top surgeon at abdominal surgery, and now I'm in the department
22 of oncology surgery; the surgery of tumours, that is.
23 Q. Doctor, in what year did you graduate from medical school or
24 obtain your medical degree?
25 A. I completed my studies in 1976.
1 Q. And could you tell the Court, please, briefly, the training that
2 you under went and experience you had in order to become head of abdominal
3 surgery, which is the position you have testified you held during war?
4 A. Before the war, let me tell you exactly. From 1980, I was at the
5 department of surgery, so practically for 12 years I had been a surgeon.
6 During my work at the surgery department, I went for advanced training,
7 specialist training. I went to England four times. I was in Manchester
8 in 1985/1986. I spent two months there then; then in 1988, I was there, I
9 think, for two and a half months. I can't remember now. Then in 1989, I
10 spent a month there; and in 1990/1991, I spent five months and I returned
11 from Manchester to Sarajevo in 1991.
12 Doing my work the way I did, I also developed in terms of my
14 Q. Doctor, when you say that you are head of abdominal surgery, could
15 you tell us in which hospital in Sarajevo you were head of abdominal
17 A. This is the Clinical Centre in Sarajevo where I have been working
18 for day one. That is where I had my first job. So for the first two
19 years, I worked in intensive care, that was in 1978 and 1979. From 1980,
20 I worked at abdominal surgery all the way up to 1994 -- no, sorry, 2004,
21 when I transferred to oncology surgery. All three years I worked as an
22 abdominal surgery, and now I work as an oncology surgeon. But for the
23 most part, I do abdominal surgery, again, in that field, too.
24 Q. And, Doctor, I'm going to turn to a specific operation that you
25 performed on 18th of November of 1994. To begin with, did you give a
1 statement to an investigator and a prosecuting attorney from this Tribunal
2 on January the 30th of 2007?
3 A. Yes. I don't remember the exact date but yes, I did give a
5 Q. And over the last few days, have you had an opportunity to read
6 the summary of that statement in a language which you understand?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. When you did that review, did you find the summary to be an
9 accurate reflection of what you had said on 30th of January this year?
10 A. Yes. All of that is correct, but I did notice one mistake, which
11 I didn't even see at that time, because I didn't have an opportunity of
12 seeing the document then.
13 My statement was the way I gave it. However, I had a look at the
14 papers from the operation that was carried out at the time, and I looked
15 at the history recorded by the doctor and a small mistake was made then.
16 For me it's a small mistake, but probably --.
17 Q. Well, for the sake of thoroughness, could you tell what that small
18 mistake is, please.
19 A. Well, after 13 years or 12 and a half years after that operation
20 that I carried out myself, I could not recall the case. But when they
21 gave me the operational findings that I had written down myself and the
22 medical history that was written down by my young colleague, I saw that he
23 replaced some pages. There are scars on the abdomen of the lady, the
24 patient involved. The projectile entered the right side and got out on
25 the left side, exited through the left side.
1 This is information that is clear to all who have ever had
2 anything to do with war surgery, so if the patient was operated on the
3 right side, or rather, the bullet entered the right side and exited on the
4 left side.
5 Q. And, Doctor, with that --
6 MR. DOCHERTY: Your Honour, could the witness in Sarajevo be shown
7 and on e-court here be displayed the first page of 65 ter number 03058,
8 which is the statement in question.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Isailovic.
10 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Just one question, I'm trying not to flood the Chambers with
12 documents that are already in our file. The documents -- 65 ter documents
13 3077, 3078 are included in a document which has already been admitted in
14 is D19. So I'm talking about the pages of these documents, and they're on
15 the Defence list. And the Defence is going to use these documents with
16 this witness, and it's on column 1D on the Defence list.
17 MR. DOCHERTY: That is not the document that I have called for at
18 this time. I have called fort statement, and I think Ms. Isailovic is
19 referring to some pages from the medical documentation, which I will get
20 to in a few minutes after we've got the statement.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. Well, that clarifies it.
23 MR. DOCHERTY: So I had asked for 65 ter number 03058, if the
24 witness in Sarajevo could be shown the hard copy and if we could see the
25 first e-court page displayed here in The Hague, please.
1 Q. Dr. Beslic, do you have the first page -- do you have your
2 statement in front of you?
3 A. I have the statement. These are my details, my particulars. Now
4 I have it, yes. Could I just read it, please?
5 Q. Certainly. Take a moment and read it.
6 A. I have read it.
7 Q. And --
8 A. And I fully agree with this.
9 Q. All right. Thank you.
10 MR. DOCHERTY: Your Honour, I tender this statement into evidence.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: We admit it.
12 THE REGISTRAR: As P521, Your Honours.
13 MR. DOCHERTY:
14 Q. Dr. Beslic, just a few clarifying questions and then we will be
16 According to the records that you were shown, you operated on
17 Dzenana Sokolovic on 18th of November of 1994; is that correct?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Approximately how many times in your career, Doctor, have you
20 operated on people who are suffering from gunshot wounds?
21 A. I don't know the exact number; however, perhaps it was the largest
22 one of all who worked in the hospital where I worked. I cannot give you
23 the exact number, but it's a very big number.
24 Q. And based upon your experience --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The Interpreter could not
1 hear the witness.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please continue with what you were saying before
3 you stopped.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just wanted to say that out of
5 this large number of patients that we had, at that time we just really
6 wanted to help as much as possible. I really did not think about the
7 number of patients at all because practically I lived at the hospital all
8 the time, and I worked every day. I operated on people every day.
9 MR. DOCHERTY:
10 Q. Thank you, Doctor. What I wanted to ask next was whether based
11 upon your training, upon your experience with gunshot victims, and upon
12 your review of the medical documentation, you could tell us which side of
13 Dzenana Sokolovic was the entrance wound on?
14 A. On the right side, because it was smaller. And on the left side
15 was the exit wound where the wound is larger, which shows that the
16 projectile went from right to left.
17 Q. And in addition to your training, your experience, and a review of
18 the file, did you also have occasion to physically examine Dzenana
19 Sokolovic at the request of the Office of the Prosecutor?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And --
22 A. The same day when I talked to them, they brought her in the
23 evening and I examined her.
24 Q. And was there anything about that examination that contradicted
25 your view that the bullet entered her on the right side?
1 A. Nothing. My conclusion is the same as the one given in the
2 statement of mine; that is to say, during this examination, I established
3 and confirmed the findings included in my operation findings at the time;
4 that is to say, that the bullet entered on the right side and exited on
5 the left side.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: When was that examination?
7 MR. DOCHERTY:
8 Q. Doctor, you said that they -- they brought her on the same day.
9 Are you referring, then, sir, to the day on which you gave your statement?
10 A. Yes. I gave my statement -- or rather, the first time they came
11 to see me, we agreed on 12.00, midday, because I had to finish my
12 operations programme. They came to see me around 12.00 and I said, "For
13 me to be in a position to give you accurate data, I would have to see the
14 patient because I do not recall the case." Then they agreed to bring the
15 patient in that evening at 6.00, so then I came there at 6.00 on the same
16 day. I examined the lady, the patient involved, and confirmed the
17 original findings I made.
18 Q. And just to clear up any ambiguity, Doctor, this all occurred, the
19 giving of statement and the examination of the patient all occurred on the
20 same day?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, Doctor, I understand that from reviewing the medical file,
23 and there are some pages referred to in your statement by the index
24 numbers that we use here at the Tribunal, that you looked at two pages
25 concerning this case that I particularly want to focus attention on.
1 MR. DOCHERTY: And if the - excuse me one moment, Your Honour -
2 witness could please be shown ERN pages 0028-4033 and 0028-4034. Your
3 Honour, those are in our exhibit spreadsheet as 65 ter 1484A. The B/C/S
4 versions of that 65 ter number are very difficult to read, and the ERNs
5 that I have just read out are identical to what we have in B/C/S, except
6 that they are much better copies. So yesterday evening we made
7 arrangements to have those shown to the witness. The English versions in
8 the binder with which you have been provided are fine, as far as
9 legibility goes.
10 I don't see Dr. Beslic on the screen. May I inquire if he has the
11 medical documents in front of him. There he is. Thank you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have them.
13 MR. DOCHERTY:
14 Q. Doctor, did you review -- is that part of the medical --
15 JUDGE MINDUA: We don't have them on the screen.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can they be put on the screen?
17 MR. DOCHERTY: The page I am looking for, Your Honour, is -- it's
18 in 65 ter 1484A, and it is the third e-court page in the English. I
19 believe, Your Honour, that these are the pages that Ms. Isailovic made
20 reference to earlier.
21 The page on the screen -- I'm sorry. I might be getting the
22 e-court pages mixed up, but we're looking for ERN RR 251210.
23 I'm sorry to do this, but could we go back one page before this in
24 sequence, 1209. Is there an English translation of that, an ET? Thank
1 I apologise for that, Your Honour. I was working with these
2 documents up until a few minutes before coming to court and I'm afraid it
4 Q. Doctor, in the papers that you have just had the opportunity to
5 review, is there a notation there from a colleague of yours in the
6 emergency department or casualty ward?
7 A. Where it gives the operation finding, there is a history, a
8 medical history and an anamnesis, and I see that it is written by hand.
9 This is usually noted down when the patient is allowed to go home.
10 Q. Do you also see a little below the anamnesis, the Latin "status
11 praesens," and below that the notation concerning the entrance and exit
12 wounds of this gunshot injury?
13 A. The only place I see the entry and exit wound mentioned is in the
14 part of the text coming under the heading of "Case History," the status
15 praesens, in the part where the abdomen is described, it says that the
16 wound is part of the paramedial left which is smaller than the paramedial
17 right wound. That is what it says, but this is an error. This is an
18 error. So the sides have been switched because you can see on the patient
19 that it's the other way around.
20 Q. Two questions about this entry in status praesens, Doctor. First
21 of all, are these your notes or the notes of a colleague.
22 A. This was noted down by my colleague, Dr. Sabanovic. I can see his
23 name there. He is a young doctor who started working in the hospital a
24 year before this happened. It was they who wrote down the case history
25 information for every patient --
1 Q. And --
2 A. -- because we didn't have time to do that, as we were always in
3 the operating room. And these young doctors would write down the
4 information and come and assist us during the operation. This was a young
5 colleague. I didn't even know him at the time. They were novices in our
6 ward. The colleague who wrote this down is still working. He specialised
7 in abdominal surgery later on.
8 Q. And, Dr. Beslic, you may have already answered this, but my second
9 question concerning this note is based on your experience working in the
10 clinical centre during the war, do you have an opinion as to how it is
11 that you your colleague, Dr. Sabanovic, could have got the left and the
12 right reversed, as it is your opinion happened in this case?
13 A. There's a very simple answer to that question. We had large
14 numbers of patients with wounds, and it was mostly the young doctors who
15 noted down the information. They might look at two or three patients at a
16 time, write down information, and then going and make these notes, and
17 then he might have switched the sides. Since to us at that time, it
18 didn't matter whether it was the right or the left side.
19 We just wanted to help the patients, because very often people
20 would die before they reached the operating theatre, and sometimes this
21 information would have to be written down even after the operation. It
22 was not the case here because this woman was not that badly wounded, so he
23 might have been taking down notes for several case histories at a tile.
24 I'm not sure, but at that time it didn't seem important us whether
25 it was the left or right side because I would have to look at the patient
1 before the operation anyway, and I didn't read the notes then because they
2 meant nothing to me at the time. I didn't need them.
3 Q. Thank you, Dr. Beslic.
4 MR. DOCHERTY: I have no further questions on direct, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, I wanted to ask the doctor a question about
6 the last point that he raised.
7 Doctor, you said that the doctor who wrote these notes was young,
8 he had been only working in the hospital for one year. And I wondered
9 whether there was any procedure --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: -- any procedure by which what he wrote would
12 have been reviewed whether by you or by anybody else?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was no such procedure. In the
14 circumstances we were working in, in wartime, believe me, it was the last
15 thing on our minds, because we would look at the patients, and those young
16 doctors would do the formal administrative tasks and deal with the
17 documents. It was only the finding of the operation that was important.
18 In these documents, there were always possibilities of making
19 mistakes, but the documentation of the operation was always correct. And
20 it could always be checked on the patient, and thank God this patient has
21 survived so she can be examined.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Thank you. Thank you, Doctor. Judge
23 Mindua has a question for you.
24 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness, with this mistake,
25 we're really at the very heart of the incident. Your explanation is that
1 your young colleague just made a mistake between pages, but I don't really
2 understand this idea of pages. Because here we have two lines saying the
3 entry point, 0.5 centimetre wide, is to the left and the exit point wound,
4 three times two centimetres, to the paramedian right and bleeding. And
5 you gave us a very simple rule. You said that the entry wound is small
6 and the exit wound is bigger.
7 So could you please tell us and explain what your young colleague
8 actually did not understand. He didn't know that the entry point was
9 small and the exit wound was big? Is that what he mistook or this problem
10 of pages. I can't match the pages with the problem.
11 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Just one small thing I would like
12 so add. I'm listening to the two versions, and the French interpreter
13 said "pages" because he did not get the end of the sentence, but it was
14 "sides" and not "pages." But can you listen to the explanation from the
16 THE INTERPRETER: In B/C/S, the word for page and the word for
17 side is the same, and interpreters might have misunderstood the witness.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
19 Doctor, you should answer the question now.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's like this: The central line
21 that we use to orient ourselves, it wasn't referring to pages but to the
22 right and left side of the central line, and then there is a cut that I
23 made. There were injuries on both the left and the right side of that
24 central line. The entry wound, unfortunately, there's an error here,
25 because here it says that the wound on the right side was larger that the
1 one on the left.
2 But when you look at the patient, you can see that the entry wound
3 is on the right side and that it's smaller. It's about the size noted
4 here, and the exit wound which is on the left side, which is larger, can
5 be seen quite easily on the patient.
6 So that the patient is what we should lock at. Anyone can make a
7 mistake, but you cannot make a mistake when you look at the patient.
8 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Isailovic.
10 Cross-examination by Ms. Isailovic:
11 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness. I'm Branislava Isailovic,
13 member of the Paris bar, and I am defending the accused in these
14 proceedings, General Dragomir Milosevic.
15 I'm going to ask you a few questions regarding your statement and
16 the medical reports that you have just commented.
17 So, first, I will use document D19, which is a document that has
18 already been admitted, and page 10 of this document; ERN RR 251208 for the
19 B/C/S version, and 00284032 for the English version.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This document?
21 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Witness, please, my first question is as follows: It seems that
23 this page and the following page of the document, RR 251209, are part of a
24 single document, and this is not obvious in the bundle that we were given.
25 Can you confirm that these are two pages of the same document?
1 A. I don't know which document. This one?
2 Q. Maybe I could --
3 A. The finding I'm looking at is the letter of discharge and I fully
4 agree with it, and it's the original one.
5 Q. To make sure that we don't mistake anything, I am asking you to
6 look at document RR 251208 and to confirm that on the right angle, it says
7 "historija bolesti"?
8 A. I don't know which document you are referring to. Oh, yes. I
9 have this document before me, but that is not the number it has on.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is that the document you're referring to?
11 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have D19. This is
12 the document I am using. But the numbers have just been given, I don't
13 know anything about them, to be honest.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: There seems to be some confusion. I understand
15 that the counsel wants the witness to confirm that two pages belong to the
16 same document. Is that it?
17 Yes, tell us what --
18 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Tell us first what are the two pages.
20 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Well, the first one is on the
21 right side off the screen, RR 251208, that is the ERN number. And the
22 second page is the e-court number 11 of document D19, RR 251209. The two
23 pages we have on the screen now. The first is on the right-hand side and
24 the second page is on the left-hand side.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
1 MR. DOCHERTY: Your Honour, I have --
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Docherty, maybe you can clarify the matter.
3 MR. DOCHERTY: I think so, Your Honour.
4 This relates to the legibility issue that I was talking about at
5 the beginning of my direct examination where the B/C/S pages of some of
6 these documents are very hard to read, and I can go through and give the
7 old ERN and what the one is that the witness now has, if that would be
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, if you can resolve it, you will have a
11 MR. DOCHERTY: Okay. RR 251205 and 1206 were perfectly legible
12 and were left alone. RR 251207 was replaced with 00284031; RR 251208 was
13 replaced with 00284032; RR 251209 was replaced with 00284033; and,
14 finally, RR 251210 was replaced with 00284034.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is that helpful to the officer in Sarajevo?
16 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] As far as I'm concerned --
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me hear the officer in Sarajevo. Are you
18 understanding it better now?
19 THE REGISTRAR [In Sarajevo]: Yes, that is correct.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: And are we now able to have presented to the
21 witness the two pages that counsel has referred to?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are these the two pages?
23 THE REGISTRAR [In Sarajevo]: Yes, the witness has the document.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: The witness has the document, and the question
25 was whether the witness can confirm that those two pages are two pages of
1 the same document?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can. Yes, these are two
3 pages of the same document.
4 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Witness, please, could you also confirm that this document called
6 historija bolesti, written on November 25th, 1994, so it was written when
7 the patient actually left the hospital?
8 A. That's correct. This is a document which is written when the
9 patient is discharged from hospital.
10 Q. Please, could you give us some explanation about the documents
11 used to actually draft this historija bolesti?
12 A. I'm sorry, but I didn't quite understand your question.
13 Q. This document, historija bolesti, is written when the patient
14 leaves the hospital. Normally that is the case for all patients?
15 A. Yes, one page. It's just a front page. The historija bolesti is
16 taken down when the patient is admitted. That is the part where it says
17 "anamnesis." That is a document that is written when the patient is
18 admitted to hospital. However, the front page is written when the patient
19 is released from hospital or discharged.
20 Q. But are these two pages part of a bundle of documents?
21 A. That is just one piece of paper. It's separated here, but it's
22 actually one sheet of paper which consists of two pages, two sides.
23 Q. Just to make things accurate, it's on both pages of a document.
24 Is it one single page written on one side and the other side?
25 A. Correct, correct. No, they are two pages. It's folded. A paper
1 is folded. The front page is where it says "historija bolesti," and then
2 when you open it on the inside or it can be on the outside, whatever side
3 they use, but it's two pages in one piece. It's one sheet of paper folded
4 over and consisting of two pages. The front page where it says "historija
5 bolesti" and the second page where it says "anamnesis."
6 Q. So could we say that it is like a file that is used to slip other
7 documents into this file?
8 A. Correct, correct.
9 Q. Now I have a -- now that we have cleared that, I have another
10 question. You said that one page is written when the patient is admitted
11 into the hospital and the other one when the patient leaves the hospital.
12 Could you please tell us who writes the first page of the document, the
13 one that starts with "anamnesis"?
14 A. Most often, but not as a rule, however, most often, it is written
15 by the people who sign it. It's the younger doctors, the junior doctors,
16 and the name of the doctor who filled in that page is noted here. In this
17 case, it's Dr. Sabanovic. It says that at the bottom of the page.
18 Q. We can't see anything. Witness, have you been able to see the
19 original of this document?
20 A. I have this document before me, and you can see that
21 Dr. Sabanovic's name is noted down here, on the right-hand side at the
22 bottom. This is the page?
23 Q. So, Dr. Sabanovic at the time the patient is admitted into
24 hospital, this is Mrs. Sokolovic in this case, the entire page is then
25 written down, the page which contains the heading "anamnesis" and "status
1 present." Is that right?
2 A. These are the details of that patient, although her name is not
3 written down here because this consists of two pages. And the name of the
4 patient, Dzenana Sokolovic is on the front page with all her details taken
5 down by the people in our administration. So the upper part of the front
6 page contains her name, her place of birth, her profession, her address,
7 and so on. And that is noted down by a member of the administrative
8 staff. The anamnesis was written down by Dr. Sabanovic and the last bit
9 on the front page where it says "epikriza," that's written by another
10 doctor. In this case, it is Dr. Secic.
11 Q. Now, at the time Dr. Sabanovic was writing the second page, did he
12 see the patient?
13 A. He should have seen her. I'm sure he saw her because the
14 anamnesis has to be written down by someone who has seen the patient.
15 Q. So the sentence which starts with "[B/C/S spoken]" [No
17 Witness, Dr. Sabanovic examined the patient and was able to
18 therefore write these things down in the document. Isn't that right?
19 MR. DOCHERTY: Mr. President.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Docherty.
22 MR. DOCHERTY: Your Honour, I want to note for the record that
23 when counsel spoke a paragraph or two of B/C/S a moment ago there was no
24 translation of it. I don't know if it -- if it's important to
25 Ms. Isailovic, I think she was just using that to direct the witness to a
1 particular point on the page, but there was no translation. And if that
2 is important to her cross-examination, that may need to be rectified, the
3 substance of it, I mean.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, Ms. Isailovic, if you wish to repeat the
5 question, do so.
6 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] I don't know why this has
7 happened, why we have no translation. Is it -- does it depend on which
8 channel one is on? If I repeat the question in the same way, will it be
9 recorded on the transcript or not?
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. It will be recorded. Just repeat it.
11 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. So my question runs as follows: Can you turn to the turn to the
13 second page the sentence that reads: "To the left paramedially, there is
14 visible an entry wound, size 0.5 centimetres, which is bleeding; and
15 paramedially to the right, there is visible an exit wound, 3 by 2
16 centimetres in size, which is bleeding."
17 Mr. Sabanovic wrote this down after having examined the patient.
18 Isn't that right?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. I'm interested to know how you made up your mind about the mistake
21 that was made by Dr. Sabanovic. Could you explain this to us a little
22 bit, please?
23 A. It's very simply. Everything can be seen on the patient, so the
24 findings are the other way around when you see the patient herself.
25 Evidently he made a mistake. Such mistakes occur even today in peacetime,
1 not in a state of war when you have five, seven, ten people who come in at
2 the same time, wounded. This part didn't really mean anything to me. I
3 hadn't even checked it. And if you had not brought it up, I never would
4 have realised it.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Doctor, there is at least one part of
6 Dr. Sabanovic's statement which is consistent, it seems to me, with your
7 evidence today, and it is that the size of the entry wound is smaller than
8 the size of the exit wound.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: So the only thing that is wrong is the side,
11 whether it is the right or left.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct. However, all of this can
13 be seen on the patient herself. You can see it very nicely on the
14 patient. On the right side, a smaller entry wound; and on the left side,
15 a larger exit wound. And that is the most reliable information.
16 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Witness, when you can see that you see that the best possible way
18 on the patient herself, can you explain this to us what can you see on the
20 A. On the patient herself, you can see the scars; on the right side
21 the smaller one from the entry wound, and on the left side, the larger one
22 from the exit wounds. So it is reverse in relation to what was written on
23 the document at the time, which means that my colleague confused the sides
24 at the time.
25 Q. Witness, as you are a doctor with a wealth experience and some
1 remarkable training, you obviously know about deformed scars,
2 malformations that can occur where the scar is after 12 years?
3 A. Theoretically, there can be changes. It cannot be decreased;
4 perhaps it can be increased. And the woman would have had another
5 operation in order for that to happen, because the scars on the patient
6 correspond to what it was that had actually occurred.
7 Q. And how do you know that there had been no intervention on the
9 A. That I don't know. That is true. That I don't know.
10 Q. Witness, to reverse something which has been written down by one
11 of your colleagues, you are doing this on the basis of something which you
12 are unsure about, aren't you?
13 A. I'm basing this on the findings that I reached on the basis of
14 examining the patient.
15 Q. But you know that your colleague wrote something down, and the
16 colleague also based his findings after having seen the patient.
17 A. That's correct. That is correct. That is what he wrote, but
18 there was this possibility for him to have made a mistake. I'm saying
19 that on the basis of experience, because throughout the world there is
20 this possibility of making a mistake of that kind, even in peacetime. And
21 in America, for instance, they think that surgeons can make mistakes that
22 exceed those that are made by others.
23 So in a state of war, you can see where the shooting took place,
24 and can you see where this was being recorded, perhaps in the dark. So a
25 mistake was possible. Of course, I cannot swear there was no plastic
1 surgery after wards, as you said. But this is a small scar which is
2 typical for an entry wound that is not clean. It's a wound from a bullet
3 or something, or it can be shrapnel, too. But in this case, it is most
4 probably a bullet wound because shrapnel gives a different picture.
5 However, if you look at the scar itself, it's jagged, so that
6 means that it was not operated on later. However, I cannot swear on the
7 operative finding and also what I see on the document, but then the young
8 doctor confused the sides on his document.
9 Q. Isn't it fair to say, Witness, that it's now for the first time,
10 and when you answer my question, that it's the first time that you
11 actually raise this question and think about it that maybe an intervention
12 was performed on the scars?
13 A. I had no dilemma with the scars because that was typical for the
14 scars that I saw after injuries, after woundings sustained by a bullet.
15 These wounds are not processed in that way because they are dirty, so they
16 are jagged. They are very irregular.
17 For a plastic surgeon to have dealt with this, that really does
18 not fit into what I see today by way of my own findings.
19 Q. But you said, if I understood you correctly, "I cannot swear that
20 this is the case." Didn't you?
21 MR. DOCHERTY: Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot swear.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Sorry. Counsel is on his feet. Let me hear what
25 he has to say.
1 MR. DOCHERTY: I object to this question being put. The witness
2 has been asked question and answered the question just put to him, I
3 think, about four times now, and this really has become arguing with the
4 witness, rather than examining the witness. And I object to counsel
5 continuing to ask "isn't it possible that."
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, no. What she is doing I think is quite
7 proper. She is reminding him that earlier, and I do recollect myself,
8 that he said that he cannot swear that in the event that there had been a
9 surgical intervention in the last 12 years, that there might not have been
10 some change in the scar, and she is reminding of that testimony. I think
11 she is entitled to do that.
12 Yes, Ms. Isailovic.
13 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Docherty interrupted the
14 witness while he was answering, perhaps the witness could finish his
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said the scar was typical for a
18 bullet injury; so, a wound that was not sewn up because it was dirty.
19 That is why it is so irregular. Practically this scar could be removed so
20 that it is not even there any longer. However, I don't think that a
21 single plastic surgeon anywhere in the world would be able to conduct
22 surgery to make it look the way it looks now, in actual fact.
23 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Witness, a while ago you said that these documents, as a rule,
25 were drafted by junior colleagues that had little experience, and that the
1 latter could make mistakes when they drafted these medical documents in
2 your clinic. Is that right?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. According to you, as at the time you were the head of this clinic,
5 can you tell us whether one can rely on these documents that were drafted
6 by your junior colleagues in your clinic, if they did not know the
7 difference between one side and another of the human body or other matters
8 perhaps also?
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Isailovic, I believe that we have heard
10 enough evidence now to determine the reliability of the kind of
11 information that the junior colleague would have given. I don't think it
12 is for the witness to comment on that.
13 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. You examined Mrs. Sokolovic again. Were you the only person who
15 dealt with this examination or not?
16 A. I cannot recall who else was there, but the findings were
17 important to me, in n terms of the surgical findings. And what really
18 mattered to me was that the woman survives, and whether it was the left or
19 the right was irrelevant at the time.
20 Q. Thank you for your answer, but I was actually thinking about
21 something else. An examination which was performed on the 30th of January
22 in Sarajevo of that same year, were you the sole physician conducting the
24 A. I was the only physician, because I could not call in the people
25 who were with me. I could only have medical staff present there. I was
1 there and there nurse was there. I couldn't really invite anyone else in,
2 as the woman had to undress and I had to examine her.
3 Q. On that day, you didn't take any pictures of her scars, did you?
4 A. No. I didn't take any pictures because I don't take pictures of
5 other patients either. And, first of all, the patient would have had to
6 allow me to do so, and it never crossed my mind at the time.
7 Q. What I'm interested in is this: This woman's scars, could you
8 tell us a little bit where these scars are located, those scars that you
9 were able to examine on the 30th of January?
10 A. The scars on the spot that is described in the findings that I
11 have, on the left and the right paramedially; that is to say, to the left
12 and the right of the operation cut that was made in the middle of the
14 Q. And, Witness, if you draw a straight line between these two
15 points, and if we imagine that this person, Mrs. Sokolovic, is standing,
16 now the line that we have drawn between the exit wound and entry wound,
17 what kind of angle is there between that line and the ground?
18 MR. DOCHERTY: I object, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Let me hear. Witness, please, refrain from
20 answering, because counsel is on his feet.
21 Ms. Docherty.
22 MR. DOCHERTY: Your Honour, I believe where we are going with this
23 is an effort to draw from the evidence more than it will bear. As you
24 will recall, Mr. Van den Weijden was here last Friday and was asked a
25 number of questions about having to know the attitude of the body at that
1 time that a bullet hit it, and I believe therefore that this is going
2 beyond the -- the immediate question does not go off course beyond the
3 doctor's competence, but my concern is with the questions that I think are
4 inevitably going follow.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is it that you are seeking to establish,
6 Ms. Isailovic?
7 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the same as the
8 Prosecutor. So as we have this witness via videolink, and this man is a
9 doctor and has seen the scars because none of have seen the scars.
10 Therefore, I would like him to tell us because we don't have any
11 photographs, and we have to rely on the document. We have a document but
12 it is questionable. So in the event that Dr. Beslic's testimony is
13 reliable, why can't we have his testimony as an eye-witness, because he
14 was a person who saw the patient on the 30th of January after the
15 physician who examined her in 1994, Mr. Sabanovic, but we realised that
16 Dr. Sabanovic has made a mistake.
17 So if he has seen the scars, that's what -- that's precisely what
18 I'm interested in and where are the scars located. Are they at the level
19 of the stomach? Where are they, and what has he seen on the patient?
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, the Chamber will allow the question.
22 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Witness, would you like me it repeat the question? Have you
24 understood my question?
25 A. I understood the question full well; however, this information
1 about the angle. First of all, I don't even know what patient was in when
2 she was wounded so it is very hard to say that. However, it is obvious,
3 it is quite clear, to the left and to the right of the surgical cut, the
4 exit and the entry wound.
5 I cannot tell you about centimetres during the surgery or now,
6 but, say, it's about ten centimetres from the middle line to the left,
7 right. What the position was, under what angle it was, let mathematicians
8 calculate that. I really don't know that. They are parallel practically.
9 Perhaps a centimetre up or done. I don't know. That detail I don't know.
10 Q. Precisely. You were interrupted by the Prosecutor's question, and
11 I shall therefore repeat my question.
12 You said you don't know and I don't either and the Trial Chamber
13 doesn't know either, so we have to establish the truth here. You are the
14 only person who has actually seen the scars of Mrs. Sokolovic on the 30th
15 of January. What I'm interested in is to know whether Mrs. Sokolovic was
16 standing up, and from the ground upwards where were her scars located?
17 I'm not interested in the angle. I'm not interested in anything of that
19 A. In order to answer that question, I would have to know how tall
20 the woman is. I haven't got her dimensions. I really don't know how tall
21 the women is, and I don't know what distances are involved. I really
22 cannot give you that answer.
23 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm -- it's extremely
24 important me. I'm sorry. I shall ask the question again in B/C/S,
25 because I think that -- and then I shall check the translation.
1 JUDGE HARHOFF: Ms. Isailovic, what I do not understand in your
2 question is exactly what you are looking for. Is it the question of
3 whether the line between the entry wound and the exit wound is horizontal,
4 or is it the number of centimetres from the ground up until that line?
5 What is it that you are really looking for? And, regardless of which of
6 the two questions you're putting really, what is the importance that?
7 That I do not understand. Can you explain.
8 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Your Honours, I
9 didn't have time to check the translation, but it's precisely the height.
10 No matter how high, but the height and where the scars. You said parallel
11 scars. Perhaps one could say it that way. That's how I was started off.
12 I was quite ambitious.
13 So if you draw a line between the two exit and entry wounds, you
14 have a straight line, and is this straight line parallel to the ground?
15 That was my first question. Is it parallel to the ground or not when the
16 patient is standing up? And, now, this is why my question is important,
17 it is most important afterwards with the rest of the evidence we have had
18 in support of this incident. We have had a lot of evidence that has been
19 compared, and we can draw the conclusion and see which -- where the shot
20 was fired from, and the potential location of a shooter.
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: [Interpretation] Ms. Isailovic, the original
22 question which you asked was not very clear. Now the question is clearer.
23 But notwithstanding that, I believe that the witness has answered the
24 question by saying that perhaps there was a differential of one or two
25 centimetres, and that the line between entry and exit wound was more or
1 less horizontal.
2 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for what you have said.
3 This is what I understood, but I'm not sure it was clear to everyone,
4 because I didn't check it out. This is why I wanted to put the question
5 in B/C/S again, but if that is what has been understood in English that's
6 fine by me. That is in fact the answer I wish to hear.
7 Now I would like to see the rest of the document that we were
8 looking at and that is -- I shall use the pages I have, and that is
9 documents D12, RR 251210.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Surgery, operation.
11 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Witness, do you have this page in front of you? Can you see it?
13 And do we have it on our screens?
14 This page is not included in the set of documents or in the
15 document we've just talked about. Is that right?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And as I can see here on the photocopy, this is an excerpt, I
18 believe, from a log-book or something. Isn't it?
19 A. Yes. Yes, possibly. Possibly, yes. It's clear. It can be seen.
20 Q. Witness, can you tell us where this comes from, what kind of
21 register or book or log-book?
22 A. I don't know. You're referring to the perforations here. I
23 really don't know. Perhaps that was something that was subsequently
24 inserted. I don't remember papers being filed this way. I told you that
25 these two pages, the surgery itself and the history -- the medical
1 history, they were usually on a single sheet that was folded. Perhaps
2 these were photocopies. I really don't know.
3 Q. According to what you know, this "operativni zahvat," this sheet
4 of paper, generally speaking, where is it filed in a patient's medical
6 A. What do you mean where it was? While the patient was still in
7 our hospital, we still had the document. After that, the document is sent
8 to archives; then I really don't know what happens after that.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Isailovic, we are at the time for the break.
10 We'll adjourn for 20 minutes.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Isailovic, you should be bringing the
14 cross-examination to a close now.
15 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will do
16 that, and I will bring it to a close quickly.
17 Q. Witness, please, we looked at the document, "operativni zahvat."
18 Do you have it close by?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. Could you please tell us when this document is written during the
22 A. It's written immediately after the surgery.
23 Q. What you have just said, does this relate to the totality of the
24 document or only to the part that is typewritten with a typewriter?
25 A. Only the part that is typed.
1 Q. And the rest of the observations that are written on the document,
2 could you tell us exactly who writes these handwritten marks?
3 A. Usually junior doctors. It might all have been written down by
4 Dr. Sabanovic, because letters of discharge are usually written by junior
5 doctors. Both admission and discharge are usually written by junior
7 Q. Witness, please, you're saying that these documents, "operativni
8 zahvat," those are documents that are written by the young doctors, the
10 A. Operativni zahvat is, as a rule, written by the doctor who did the
11 surgery. The other handwritten notes are made while the patient is lying
12 in hospital and just before the patient is discharged, and you can see the
13 dates of these notes, the 21st, the 15th, or whatever. That is before the
14 patient went home. It says that stitches were removed, so that is just
15 before we went home; and in every hospital, it is junior doctors who make
16 these notes. It's not just in Sarajevo in wartime. It's like that
17 everywhere. It was like that in England as well. Wherever I worked
18 abroad, the procedure was similar.
19 Q. So this typewritten part, did you originally draft the typewritten
21 A. Most probably, yes. Most probably, it was either I or I may have
22 dictated to a colleague. Those are the two possibilities. I can't recall
23 precisely. Either did I it myself or I dictated and he typed it out.
24 Q. The B/C/S version is not very legible, but I'm -- I believe that
25 you have the original under -- at hand, and I also have a copy that is not
1 very legible. Could you please write -- could you please read what is
2 written under "op nalaz"?
3 A. By --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness be asked
5 to read slowly, please.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, just a minute. You have to read more
7 slowly for the benefit of the interpretation.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well, all right.
9 "Bimedial laparotomy," which means by a medial cut, a cut down
10 the middle, "there was opened the stomach layer by layer, and there was
11 found only on the liver, on the fourth segment, a contusion from a blast.
12 While, on the other organs, no pathological changes were found. The
13 abdomen was then" -- I assume it says here "closed," but there are some
14 letters missing, "and the wound was dressed and then drainage applied."
15 There are a few grammatical mistakes here. The way "drainage" is spelled,
16 for example.
17 Q. Witness, can I conclude from this that the scar on the patient's
18 body are not only the entry and exit wounds, but there is also the scar of
19 where you actually opened the abdomen between these two points?
20 A. The abdomen was not opened between the two points, the entry and
21 exit wound. It was opened down the middle and the wounds were on either
22 side of the cut. So length-wise from the middle of the rib arch downwards
23 was the surgical cut; whereas, the round wounds were at either side, to
24 the right and to the left of the cut.
25 Q. In your statement that was shown to you by the Prosecutor and just
1 has been admitted, in paragraph 3 --
2 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] If we could please have the
3 statement shown to the witness. This is 65 ter document 3058, which has
4 been given the number P524 --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 521.
6 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. On page 2, please, on paragraph 3, at the end of the paragraph,
8 you are talking about this contusion, this contusion of the liver that you
9 have just mentioned while you were reading.
10 A. This is correct.
11 Q. Witness, I believe that in your statement you are believing that
12 the contusion is the consequence of an effect, and a consequence of the
13 bullet that came into the abdomen of Mrs. Sokolovic and actually went
14 through her whole -- through her entire stomach?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. So I would like you to answer by yes or no to my question: This
17 bullet that is going through the body, isn't that that actually has the
18 contusion as a consequence?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. So could you please explain the relationship between the entry
21 point -- if the entry point is close to the exit point, could you tell us
22 exactly how you determine the entry point using the passage of the bullet.
23 Can you explain the logic that you actually determine where the entry
24 wound was, in relation to the contusion?
25 A. It's very simple, especially for someone who knows what this looks
1 like. It passed from the -- it passed down the lower side of the liver.
2 I didn't say the entry and exit wounds were close by, because one was on
3 one side and the other was on the other side. So the bullet passed right
4 next to the liver and caused a blastoma, most probably a hematoma on that
5 side, and then exited on the other side. It is quite simple when you see
6 it, especially if you know what all this looks like. When one sees the
7 patient, everything is clear.
8 Q. Yes. You explained this very well, and everything is very clear.
9 But my question is the following: Whichever entry or exit wound, I think
10 it's the passage of the bullet next to the liver that actually leads to
11 the contusion. Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you, Witness?
14 A. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Docherty, Re-examination?
16 MR. DOCHERTY: I have no re-examination, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Dr. Beslic, that concludes your evidence. We
18 thank you for giving it and you may now leave.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, Your Honour.
20 [The witness's testimony via videolink concluded]
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: The next witness is also by video-conference
23 MR. DOCHERTY: Yes, Mr. President. And that will be handled by my
24 colleague, Mr. Sachdeva.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
1 MR. DOCHERTY: Mr. President, while we're waiting for the next
2 witness, I should mention that we had hoped to have three witnesses today,
3 just as we had hoped to have another witness yesterday. Without going
4 into detail, we are continuing to have serious problems, let us say,
5 procuring the attendance of this witness, and so the witness about to
6 appear will, I'm sorry to say, be the last one for today. However, we
7 continue to take the view that there will be no difficulty in concluding
8 all of the videolink witnesses on schedule.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thursday is our last day here. Friday being Good
11 MR. DOCHERTY: Yes. And I had that in mind when I gave that
12 statement, Your Honour. If we were able to procure this witness, we will
13 shoehorn that person in somewhere.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the witness make the declaration.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
19 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 WITNESS: ANDJA GOTOVAC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 [Witness testified via videolink]
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, you may begin, Mr. Sachdeva.
24 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Examination by Mr. Sachdeva:
1 Q. Good morning to you, Witness.
2 A. Good morning.
3 Q. Can I first ask you whether you can hear me in a language that you
4 understand and that you can see me as well on the screen.
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. And can I ask to you please state your full name, your place, and
7 date of birth.
8 A. Andja Gotovac; 23rd of March, 1930; born in Travnik --
9 Q. Thank you.
10 A. -- in Guca Gora.
11 Q. And I just want to tell that you my name is Manoj Sachdeva, and I
12 am one of the lawyers for the Prosecution and I will be asking you a
13 couple of questions this morning.
14 Can I first ask you whether you remember giving a statement to the
15 Office of the Prosecutor on the 12th of March, 1997?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And can I ask you, do you also remember giving a statement,
18 another statement to the Office of the Prosecutor on the 17th of May,
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. And in the last couple of days, were you given an opportunity to
22 read through those statements with colleagues of mine from the Tribunal?
23 A. Yes, on Saturday.
24 Q. And were you able to verify the contents of those statements?
25 A. Yes, I was. I mean what I said.
1 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, if I could ask for 65 ter 03064 to
2 be shown to the witness and brought up on the screen here.
3 Q. Mrs. Gotovac, do you see a -- do you see a statement there in
4 front of you?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. And on the first page, do you see your signature there?
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. And if I were to ask you questions today, would the answers that
9 you give under oath be the same as the contents of this statement that you
10 have signed?
11 A. Yes, they would.
12 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, I ask that this statement be entered
13 into evidence.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, we admit it.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, we will admit the statement as P522.
16 MR. SACHDEVA: And if I can now ask the court officer to bring up
17 65 ter 03065, please, and also for that to be shown to the witness in
19 Q. Mrs. Gotovac, do you see there a statement from the 12th of March,
21 A. Yes. Yes, I do.
22 Q. And, again, the same question: Do you see your signature there on
23 the first page?
24 A. Yes. Yes, I do.
25 Q. And, again, if I were to ask you questions today in court, would
1 your answers reflect the contents of the statement that you have signed?
2 A. Well, they would, to the best of my recollection, because 12 years
3 has elapsed. So perhaps I wouldn't use the same word here and there, but
4 I would remember everything and I would say it.
5 Q. Very well. Thank you.
6 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, I ask that this statement, also, be
7 admitted into evidence.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: We admit it.
9 THE REGISTRAR: As P523, Your Honours.
10 MR. SACHDEVA:
11 Q. Mrs. Gotovac, I just want to ask you a couple of questions so I'm
12 not going to too long. But the statement that you gave to the Office of
13 the Prosecutor pertains to an incident on 24th of May in 1995 at your
14 residence, that is 43 Safeta Hadzica Street. Is that right?
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. Excuse me, Safeta Zajke Street. Sorry?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I want to ask you: Did you sustain injuries from the explosion on
19 that day?
20 A. Yes, I was wounded. I have a medical certificate. The house
21 was -- the house was destroyed. It was terrible, terrible.
22 Q. If I could ask you very briefly. You said that you were wounded.
23 What type of injury did you suffer?
24 A. Yes. A piece of shrapnel was in my body. Well, whatever it is,
1 Q. And you said that you had a medical certificate. I'm going to
2 show you a record from the hospital.
3 MR. SACHDEVA: If I could that Prosecution Exhibit 427 be brought
4 up on screen and also shown to the witness in Sarajevo.
5 Q. Are you able to see the B/C/S -- the record in a language that you
6 understand in front of you, Mrs. Gotovac?
7 A. Yes. Yes, that's it.
8 Q. And can I just confirm that is a certificate of your admission in
9 hospital and confirms the injuries that you sustained from that explosion
10 on that day?
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 Q. Thank you. And my last question is this: At the place of your
13 residence and in the vicinity of your residence, were there any Bosnian
14 military facilities located there?
15 A. No. I don't know. Well, not in our street. I don't know about
16 further away.
17 Q. And on the day of the explosion, did you see any Bosnian
18 government soldiers in the vicinity of your house?
19 A. No, no.
20 Q. Thank you very much, Mrs. Gotovac.
21 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, that concludes my
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
24 Ms. Isailovic.
25 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Cross-examination by Ms. Isailovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness. I'm Branislava Isailovic,
3 lawyer with the Paris Bar. I represent General Dragomir Milosevic, the
4 accused in these proceedings, and I'm going to ask you a few questions
5 regarding the statements that you have just discussed with the Prosecutor
6 a minute ago.
7 You made a statement on May -- on May 17th, 2006, which has been
8 given a number, P522. It was the 65 ter document 3064. Do you have this
9 document in front of you? Do you have this statement in front of you?
10 Could you please move to page 2.
11 Just a minute, please. We're waiting for the document to be
12 pulled up on screen?
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document is not in e-court, and
14 I'm not sure how long it is going to take to get it there, so we may want
15 to proceed without it on the screen.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's not in e-court. Do you have a hard copy
17 which could be placed on the ELMO? Is that possible with this system?
18 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Oh, it's not possible.
20 MR. SACHDEVA: But I understand that -- sorry, Mr. President. I
21 understand the witness has all the materials down there in Sarajevo.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: So that the witness should herself have a copy?
23 MR. SACHDEVA: Correct, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
25 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's coming on the
2 No, this is not the right document. Fortunately, we are in no
3 hurry today, so we can accommodate technical problems. We're talking
4 about --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. I have to correct you on that. We won't
6 proceed efficiently.
7 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Now we have the right document on
9 Q. Witness, please, I believe that you have had time to read this
10 document. On paragraph 3, page 2 of this document, you are talking about
11 Zuc hill. Could you please look at this paragraph 3. Is it true that
12 your house and that Safeta Zajke Street were located on the hills of Zuc?
13 They were located on Zuc hill?
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreter cannot hear
15 the witness.
16 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Could you please answer.
18 A. Well, it's pretty far away from my house, Zuc. It's a hill. I
19 don't know how many kilometres away. It's not very close.
20 Q. In your statement, you say that Zuc hill is above you. I mean,
21 probably above your house is probably what you mean.
22 A. Yes, a high hill and then behind this hill -- well, there is this
23 hill that is behind my house and then behind that hill is Zuc.
24 Q. What is the name of the hill that is right next to your house?
25 A. I don't know. The street is -- I don't know. I have no idea.
1 Q. You're also saying that it "was occupied by our troops." On your
2 statement in paragraph 3, you say "was occupied by our troops."
3 A. Well, our neighbourhood was not that exposed at first; later on,
4 it was. Later on, there was lots of shelling, but no snipers though.
5 Where could the snipers be coming from anyway, because this is pretty far
7 Q. Could you confirm today as you said in your statement that the
8 soldiers of the ABiH army were on Zuc hill?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And to go to Zuc hill -- to go up Zuc hill, did they use -- did
11 they go through your road, your street?
12 A. Yes. That's the main street. They have to go that way.
13 Q. So when you answered the Prosecutor's question by a negative when
14 he asked you if there were any military facilitates, what exactly were you
15 thinking of when you answered that question with a negative?
16 A. Well, it wasn't in our neighbourhood, you know, because we're down
17 this way. Do you understand what I'm saying? Well, rather, we are sort
18 of downhill, if you look at it that way; on a flat area, rather.
19 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Sachdeva.
21 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, just a small clarification. I
22 actually asked the witness about facilitates, military facilitates, as
23 opposed to military vehicles; in other words, suggesting some type of
24 permanency in the vicinity. Just to make that point.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Counsel's question was related to military
1 facilities, as far as I see.
2 Thank you anyhow. Let's move on.
3 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. That is my question: What exactly does "military facilities" mean
5 to you?
6 A. It was farther away from us. I mean, really. I don't know
7 myself. It was father at way from us. At any rate, it wasn't there where
8 we were. There was no military, no nothing. That is the main road, the
9 main street. Well, people pass by, of course, but the positions were
10 further away from us.
11 Q. Witness, I'll try once more. When you're saying -- when you say
12 "military facility," what springs to mind? Can you tell us exactly what
13 it means for you?
14 A. No facilities. There are no military facilities where we are. I
15 don't know about further away. Positions are where the army is, and the
16 army was up there at Zuc and all around Sarajevo, all of those things are
17 positions for me. All of Sarajevo was surrounded, under siege. All the
18 hills were under siege.
19 Q. Well, now, I'll try in B/C/S, one last time.
20 I'll ask in French, I apologise, but I will check the
21 interpretation into B/C/S.
22 "Military facility," and this witness must answer very accurately.
23 So could you please tell the witness about "military facility," not
24 "military" or "facility" but "military facility." Could we get from the
25 witness the exact meaning for her of "military facility."
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Isailovic. Ms. Isailovic, something needs to
2 be --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Facilities, I told you already.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: -- something needs to be made clear. It was you,
5 I believe, who to put to the witness a question that incorporated the term
6 "military facility," but you have been subsequently asking her what she
7 means by "military facility," as though she had initially used the term,
8 and that's not so.
9 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me explain. I
10 tried to use my knowledge of B/C/S, so I switched on to the B/C/S channel
11 because it looked like the witness kept answering another question than
12 the one I was asking. And when I listened to the B/C/S, I said "military
13 facility" and what I got in B/C/S were "lines or military objects," which
14 is why the witness always referred to the confrontation line.
15 But now, on, my last try, asking the witness not to do either/or,
16 but to actually put to the witness the word "military facility," I got
17 what I was thinking about on the B/C/S channel. I believe that now the
18 witness can answer.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, let us hear.
20 What is your answer, Witness?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're asking me about facilities or
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: In the interest of clarity, just put the question
24 again to her.
25 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Witness, please, I would like you to tell us the meaning of a
2 "military facility," in your mind?
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Isailovic, what is the point of asking her
4 that? What is the point of asking her to explain what a military facility
5 is? You would be better off asking her about specific objects; and then
6 it is for the Chamber to determine whether they are military facilities.
7 That's a technical term, and she never used that phrase initially. It is
8 you who put to her a question that incorporated that phrase.
9 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise, but the
10 question came from the Prosecution in the first place, and this is why I
11 wanted to get an answer to my question. I wanted to know what sprang to
12 her mind with these two words, because Mr. Sachdeva asked whether there
13 were military facilities.
14 I believe that what was translated into B/C/S was "military
15 objectives," and she immediately said no, without thinking. And if, when
16 you answer so quickly, you probably understood and have a very clear idea
17 of the question that was asked, which is why I wanted to make this point
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: I understand now. The Prosecutor had used that
20 phrase, and she had answered a question in relation to that phrase, in
21 relation to the question put by the Prosecutor, so you're seeking to have
22 her explain what she meant in the answer that she gave to the Prosecutor.
23 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
25 So, Witness, do you understand what has happened? The Prosecutor
1 had put a question to you about military facilities and you answered the
2 question, so counsel is asking what did you mean in the answer you gave
3 the Prosecutor by reference to a military facility?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know that I ever
5 mentioned military facilities. I just know that there are no military
6 facilities where we are; I mean, in my neighbourhood.
7 As for further away from me, I don't know about that.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: I don't think you're going to get much further
9 with this.
10 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no more questions then.
11 Q. Thank you, Witness.
12 Questioned by the Court:
13 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, please, the Chamber is
14 here to establish whether your house was actually shelled and then to
15 determine the responsibility for this shelling; and to establish the
16 responsibility of this, we need to know where the shell came from, this
17 shell that fell on your house, and maybe you could help us.
18 In your statement dated May 17, 2006, you say on paragraph 3 that
19 "Zuc hill was behind us." I'm quoting here: "Zuc hill was behind us."
20 I will read it in English.
21 "[In English] Zuc hill was behind us, and the high ground across
22 the river to the south was occupied by our troops so that there was no
23 sniper fire coming into our neighbourhood." [Interpretation] End of quote.
24 So here we have the location of Zuc hill in relation to the ABiH troops.
25 Then if we go to your second statement, you say in that second
1 statement of March 12th, 1997, at the last paragraph you say, and I quote
2 again in English: "[In English] I don't know myself from which direction
3 the projectile came, but I was told that it came from Hresa."
4 [Interpretation] My question is the following: Of course, we
5 don't have a map in front of us right now, and maybe the exercise will be
6 a bit difficult, but please do your best do tell us the location of your
7 house compared to Hresa and in relation to Zuc hill, because this could
8 possibly help us determine where the shell actually came from, in relation
9 to your house, to the ABiH troops, and to the troops of Republika Srpska.
10 A. I don't know how I'm going to interpret this; I mean, about our
11 street. Alipasino Polje is what it is called, but we are on the road to
12 Rajlovac; I mean, the street is. Somebody says from Hresa and other
13 people say from Trebevic. I don't know from where it came from. I'm not
14 sure where it came from.
15 On that day, in the morning, there was absolutely no shooting
16 between 9.30 and 10.00. I heard, or rather, I thought that it was an
17 aeroplane flying low, and at that moment there was an explosion. It was
18 terrible. Things were flying all over the place. There were two people
19 killed, three of us were wounded, a person who lost his leg. I mean, I
20 really don't know how to explain this to you, how to interpret this for
22 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, in relation to your house
23 that was shelled, Hresa, this Hresa neighbourhood, could you tell us if it
24 is north of your house or east or west or south? That is my question.
25 And could you also tell us the distance between Hresa and your house, if
1 you know it?
2 A. Believe me that I don't know.
3 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness.
4 So now I would like to ask a question to the Prosecution. I don't
5 know if we will have any further evidence to help us with this incident,
6 at least to establish where the shots came from, where the shell came
7 from, because here we were helpless.
8 MR. SACHDEVA: If I may, Your Honour, yes, we are going to be
9 calling a witness. I understand it's a police investigator that would
10 provide more evidence about the origin or the direction of fire. However,
11 I will also underline that the Prosecution's theory is that only the SRK
12 possessed modified air bombs. That is also part of our theory in terms of
13 proving the origin of fire. But we are bringing witness to give evidence
14 on the origin of fire for this incident and all other air bomb incidents,
15 include also the expert evidence, Berko Zevevic, who will provide
16 technical evidence with respect to the origin of fire.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Prosecutor, a map has been provided to the
18 Bench. And I would be grateful if could you just quickly by indicating
19 the coordinates tell us approximately where the victim's house was
21 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, I was actually going to ask a question
22 of the witness, in order to provide with you an indication as to where
23 the -- her house was -- is.
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: Then please do.
25 MR. SACHDEVA: I understand she was difficulty in reading a map so
1 that's why wasn't showing it.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: Right. But could you help with that.
3 MR. SACHDEVA: Sure.
4 Re-examination by Mr. Sachdeva:
5 Q. Mrs. Gotovac, can I just ask you one question. The place where
6 you live, how far away is it from the TV tower -- TV building in Sarajevo?
7 A. I'm across the road from it. The TV building and my house are on
8 a single line, only I'm in one street and they are in another street.
9 Q. So is that about 100 metres or less, or more than 100 metres away?
10 A. As the crow flies, maybe it's 100 or 150 metres, something like
12 MR. SACHDEVA: Your Honour, does that assist you?
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: Yes. At least it gives me the gist of the
14 neighbourhood and where on the map would be -- what is the direction on
15 the map towards Hrasna, towards the presumed origin of fire.
16 MR. SACHDEVA: Well, in the indictment, the origin of fire is
17 Lukavica; and therefore from her residence, it would be south-west, yes.
18 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
19 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] This is just a suggestion I would
20 like it make. We mentioned Hresa in the statement, perhaps the Prosecutor
21 could indicate to us also.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Indicate what?
23 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Well, the Prosecutor mentioned
24 Lukavica and said that was to the south-west in the direction of fire, and
25 Judge Mindua also put a question and mentioned Hresa. So perhaps the
1 Prosecutor could help all and everyone here.
2 Let me remind you that this incident was one of the purposes of
3 our visit, where we had our on-site visit.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the Prosecutor to help, by doing what?
5 The Prosecutor is not a witness.
6 MS. ISAILOVIC: [Interpretation] Put the question to the witness.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Would you like to put that question then?
8 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, if you're instructing me to, then of
9 course I will. On the other hand, the statement is quite clear that she
10 herself said that she didn't know where the projectile came from, so I
11 didn't see it necessary to ask her.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, that concludes your evidence. We thank
14 you for giving it and you may now leave.
15 [The witness's testimony via videolink concluded]
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: In view of the fact that there are no further
17 evidence to be given today by witnesses, we will adjourn until tomorrow --
18 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President.
19 MR. DOCHERTY: Mr. President, I'm sorry.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Do you have another --
21 MR. SACHDEVA: No, not a witness, unfortunately, but I have a
22 brief application to make pursuant to Rule 75.
23 The Prosecution is calling a witness, it is witness 13, via
24 videolink, and I have been told that he has requested protective measures;
25 in other words, image distortion and pseudonym. I have discussed this
1 with my learned friend, and she has told me there are no objections. The
2 reason to grant a under Rule 75 are that the witness currently resides in
3 Ilidza, and Ilidza is -- he lives with Bosnian Serbs in his neighbourhood,
4 and Bosnian Serbs are frequently returning to that part of Sarajevo. And
5 he is an elderly man, and he just feels for his safety and would not like
6 to be recognised as someone who has given testimony in this trial.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. We grant it.
9 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: We are adjourned until tomorrow, 9.00 a.m.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.56 a.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 4th day of April,
13 2007, at 9.00 a.m.