1 Wednesday, 9 January 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.23 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This is the case number
7 IT-98-29-T, the Prosecutor versus Stanislav Galic.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
9 Good afternoon, everyone in this courtroom. Good afternoon,
10 General Galic. Although I do understand that the circumstances for you
11 might have been very difficult, I nevertheless hope that you enjoyed the
12 days that are behind us now, Christmas day and new year, and I wish you of
13 course also with full understanding for the problems of especially General
14 Galic, to wish you all the best for the coming year.
15 Before resuming the cross-examination of Mr. Nakas, I would just
16 like to see where we stand on a few issues. The first issue is that on
17 December 6th, the Chamber has invited the Prosecution to provide further
18 information regarding your request for protective measures for some
19 witnesses, three of them. Chamber has not received any further
20 information, so at this moment we'll just sit back and see what happens.
21 The second issue is that a motion of the 30th of October, 2001 for
22 a witness for whom a pseudonym was requested the motion was granted as far
23 as the pseudonym was concerned, but no decision has been made on any
24 further request in that respect, and we have no further -- we have not
25 received any further information on that. I'd just complete first.
1 Then the third issue I would like to draw your attention to, and
2 I'm especially addressing the Defence, is that on the 10th of December,
3 the Chamber has provisionally admitted the following Prosecution
4 documents: 1601, 3369, 3369-1, 2794, 2795, 2506, 2183, 2795, 3573, 3573-1,
5 2265, 2272, and 2272-1. These were the medical records. They have been
6 provisionally admitted. I would invite the Defence, if there are any
7 objections, to raise them not later than today.
8 Unless there are any specific remarks to be made on what I've just
9 said -- yes, Ms. Pilipovic, you would like to make a remark on this?
10 Yes. Please go ahead.
11 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you for
12 giving me the floor. As regards to the objection of the Defence on the
13 medical documentation which has been provisionally admitted in a decision
14 of the Chamber, concerns the authenticity of the documents. The documents
15 in question are photocopies, and the Defence believes that without access
16 to original documents, we are not in a position to accept the documents as
17 being authentic. In particular, due to the fact that the identity of the
18 documents has not been verified by the authorities in charge. According
19 to the words of Mr. Nakas, the documents were authenticated only through a
20 stamp of the hospital. During his examination, he testified that the
21 documents in question can be found in their original form in the
22 hospital's archives and that by looking at the stamp, he was able to
23 confirm that the copies were consistent with the originals. The
24 verification of the documents, that is, of the copies of the documents, in
25 the area of the former Yugoslavia, and I believe that to be the case in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina today, is something that is the responsibility of a
2 relevant municipal body or a relevant court. For these reasons, the
3 medical documentation, which is, among other things, illegible, which have
4 not been verified by the relevant authority cannot be accepted as
5 authentic, because some of the documents have not been compiled on
6 requested forms and they have not been confirmed with the signature of the
8 I have informed my learned colleagues of this problem in a letter,
9 informing them that we would be challenging the authenticity of the
10 medical documentation and we reserve our right to state our position as
11 regards the authenticity of the documents only after a comparison has been
12 made with the original documents and only after an expert analysis has
13 been conducted by using adequate methods, graphological methods and
14 chemical analysis methods as well.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Pilipovic. You'll understand that the
16 Chamber has to consider your objection. I don't think it has to be done
17 right away, since the examination-in-chief has been concluded by now, but
18 we'll consider the objection and the admission is still provisional, as it
19 was before.
20 From the Prosecution side, is there any remark to be made
21 concerning the issues I've raised a couple of minutes ago?
22 MR. BLAXILL: Yes. Mr. President, Your Honours, good afternoon.
23 I apologise if my voice gives a little trouble today. I've contracted
24 something of a cold, so it may fade or sound rougher than normal, but I
25 apologise for that.
1 Your Honours, as regards the first issues you raised, namely the
2 protective measures to be sought for witnesses, we have in fact prepared a
3 motion which is ready to be filed. The reason we have waited this long is
4 simply that the last of the witnesses of whom we had to make further
5 inquiry could only be seen this very weekend in Sarajevo, and I received
6 the necessary information for Your Honours yesterday, and it's been
7 drafted and will be filed as soon as physically possible when we've
8 concluded these court proceedings, which will be first thing tomorrow
9 morning, I trust, Your Honours. The witnesses are not due to appear for a
10 some little while, so I trust it causes you no problem. I don't know if
11 you want any comment on the documentary issue at this stage, as you've
12 taken on board my learned friend's objection in which to consider it. But
13 I can address the issue if you wish.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I'll just confer with my colleagues. One moment,
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Blaxill. We'd like to hear your position as
18 far as the objection concerning admission of the evidence is concerned.
19 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, I cannot off the cuff give you a line
20 reference in the examination-in-chief of Dr. Nakas, but I do recall him
21 giving evidence to the fact that he is something who is formally
22 authorised to authenticate documents for his hospital. I recall him
23 giving that evidence. I will certainly research it and back that up with
24 a reference, although I believe my friend Mr. Ierace has found it.
25 Yes. This is in fact page 1135 of the unofficial, non-corrected
1 transcript, and at line 6 I asked the question: What was his authority
2 in regard to issuing copies of reports and things at the request of
3 patients or third parties? And he said, "Yes, at the request of a third
4 party, I am authorised to be able to issue a copy of the report being
5 requested on behalf of the hospital." And at that point the documentation
6 was then in fact put to him for authentication.
7 My learned friend has made certain references as to her position
8 regarding supposed official channels that should be used to adduce
9 documents, but I commend to you the evidence of Dr. Nakas. He has already
10 stated he has authorised. The issue, as I understand it, is essentially
11 this: If an authorised -- this is our position. If an authorised person
12 can compare copies to original documents within their institution and is
13 authorised then to say, "Yes, these are true copies," that is essentially
14 the issue of authentication. From what I understand of my learned
15 friend's point is that she seems to have more of an issue that it is
16 something to do with the content of the document that would be in issue,
17 or examination of the document in some forensic way. I don't see that
18 that impacts upon the basic issue of authentication by an approved
19 official of official documents. So that is a representation I would
20 make. And beyond that, of course, equally, one would dispute, because we
21 have nothing yet to indicate that this has to be so in law, that because a
22 certain procedure of the former Yugoslavia as a central state was not
23 followed, that does not mean that it would be improper or unacceptable or
24 inadmissible if you receive evidence that another procedure is used, being
25 the current procedure in the state and the institution from which the
1 witness comes.
2 I believe those would be the representations I put forward, Your
3 Honour. I will just confer with my learned friend for a moment, if I may.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer].
5 MR. BLAXILL: I will leave my remarks to that, and I'm obliged,
6 Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Pilipovic, would you like to respond to the
8 position of the Prosecution in this respect?
9 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me invoke a case
10 which was conducted before this Tribunal against the accused Vasiljevic,
11 where the Chamber decided that all medical documents relied upon by the
12 Defence, that is true, should be submitted to an expert for purposes of
13 authentication. That is also one of the reasons -- one of the arguments
14 in favour of our position. Only after that has been done we will state
15 our position as regards the authenticity of the documents.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Pilipovic. Any further observation
17 from --
18 MR. BLAXILL: I would only say, Your Honour, that I don't believe
19 that that approach actually precludes Your Honours accepting the tender of
20 documents as exhibits. It could be a matter that certain exhibits or
21 leading from there certain inquiries need to be undertaken, but I don't
22 believe that the issue of forensic investigation should preclude Your
23 Honours from receiving into evidence documents in their own right.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Blaxill.
25 MR. BLAXILL: I'll just confer for a second.
1 [Prosecution counsel confer]
2 MR. BLAXILL: Yes, my learned friend does remind me, of course,
3 that there's also a matter of the vehicle through which exhibits are
4 produced to the Court. There is a difference between certainly just a
5 batch of documents being tendered, perhaps with no specific witness, but
6 in this case we have the witness, who is available for cross-examination
7 on this very issue, as well as other issues, and the responsible -- who
8 has given evidence has being the responsible authority for the action. I
9 think that may set it apart from the other case but I'm not certain as to
10 the circumstances of the adducing of those particular records that my
11 learned friend referred to.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Blaxill. Then I think we are at a
13 point where we could resume the cross-examination of Dr. Nakas. I would
14 like to remind the Defence the specific rules on cross-examination, and
15 it's the intention of this Chamber that at least a rule which is not in
16 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence but which will be applied unless good
17 cause is shown to act differently, that the time limit for
18 cross-examination should be that it takes no more time than the
19 examination-in-chief, and that's really a maximum. So it's not
20 encouraging you to use the same time but at least not to exceed this
21 time. And in that respect, I can tell you that the examination-in-chief
22 -- I did write it down somewhere, but ... I'll check that. I've written
23 it down, but I think you've spent until now 10 minutes on
24 cross-examination. If the witness, please, could be brought in the
1 [The witness entered court]
2 WITNESS: BAKIR NAKAS [Resumed]
3 [Witness answered through interpreter]
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nakas, do you understand me -- do you hear me in
5 a language you understand?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I then may remind you that you are still bound by the
8 solemn declaration you made when you were examined in chief by the
9 Prosecution, so you're still bound by that declaration. Please be
11 Ms. Pilipovic, you may proceed.
12 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Cross-examined by Ms. Pilipovic: [Continued]
14 Q. Mr. Nakas, good afternoon.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. On the 10th of December, we began with the cross-examination, and
17 on page 1156 of the transcript you stated that you had returned to the
18 hospital on the 10th of May.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What kind of function, what kind of position did you have at that
21 time? You told us that you were an administrator. What kind of position
22 is it, exactly?
23 A. On the 10th of May, when the JNA left the former military
24 hospital, I returned to the same hospital at around 10.00, and just like
25 my other colleagues, who were still in the hospital and were working -
1 there were about 40 of them at that time, together with the patients - and
2 in view of the fact that most of them were involved in surgery, a group of
3 people who were supposed to take control over the hospital thought that I
4 should be the right person for leading the hospital until such a time when
5 adequate position is defined by the then Ministry of Health.
6 Q. Thank you. Were you a member of the SDA at that time?
7 A. No, I was not. I used to be a member of the Communist League in
8 the former Yugoslavia up until 1990, and that was the end of my political
9 involvement. I belonged to no political party as of that.
10 Q. In your statement that you gave to investigators of the OTP, you
11 stated that you had left the hospital on the 8th but that you had returned
12 on the 10th of May. You also stated that you were well informed of
13 everything that was taking place at the hospital through your brother, who
14 was also an employee at the hospital. Is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did your brother ever tell you that during that period of time
17 while you were absent during that month, the hospital was being targeted?
18 A. At that time there was no such information, but I did hear about
19 the fact that the hospital had been targeted, had been hit at some point
20 in time, but it was not my brother who told me that, but someone else.
21 Q. Did your brother tell you that oxygen tanks were missing from the
23 A. No. There was no mention of such a fact.
24 Q. When you arrived in the hospital, how many patients were there?
25 A. In my memory serves me right, I believe that there were 50 of
2 Q. In the course of your subsequent work there, did this number of
3 patients increase at any point in time or diminish?
4 A. See, the former military hospital in Sarajevo had a very good
5 reputation and it was one of the rare institutions which had a waiting
6 list for patients who wanted to undergo surgery or treatment there. In
7 the month of May, that documentation got lost and the majority of the
8 patients who were either injured or ill were treated at the then clinical
9 centre, medical/clinical centre in Sarajevo. So that at that time, up
10 until the 10th of May, no patients were being brought to the former
11 military hospital. However, after the 10th of May, we started admitting
12 the victims who were brought there by either individuals, private
13 individuals, or ambulances, so that after that date the number of patients
15 Q. If you can recall: In 1992, what was the month or the period of
16 the year when you had most patients, and what was the maximum of patients
17 that you had that year?
18 A. I think that the maximum of patients were admitted in 1993. That
19 number was not so high in the summer of 1992. There was a certain
20 increase during the winter, and the maximum patients we had in June 1993,
21 when we had over 500 patients one particular month - I don't remember --
22 yes, in June. And I'm referring only to the injured, not other patients
23 who came to the hospital for other purposes, and there were quite a few of
24 them as well.
25 Q. In 1992, what was the maximum number of patients at any point in
1 time, up until the end of 1992?
2 A. Between 150 and 200.
3 Q. Were there any soldiers among the patients that were admitted to
4 the hospital?
5 A. Yes, there were both civilians and soldiers who had been injured.
6 It was an open-type hospital. We did not have any such restrictions. We
7 were not specialised for either group.
8 Q. When a patient was admitted to your hospital, would this
9 information always be supplied? That is, would you always note that he
10 was either a civilian or a member of the military?
11 A. Last time I told you that the book of records were inherited from
12 the former military hospital, which had appropriate forms and appropriate
13 questions, such as whether the patient was a member of the military or a
14 spouse or a member of the family, and that is why we continued supplying
15 the same type of information. And we classified our patients in terms of
16 their insurance, that is, whether they had a civilian type of insurance or
17 a military type of insurance, but not according to the type of injury.
18 That is, we would not specifically state whether they had been injured in
19 combat or while going about their usual daily activities. So that
20 information was done according to the type of insurance that they had.
21 Q. And it was for the purposes of getting adequate compensation?
22 A. Well, according to the former system, we also had civilian
23 patients in respect of whom we could claim money from the insurance
24 company, but this was the type of information that we entered in our book
25 of records, without actually expecting that we would be able to claim
1 money for them.
2 Q. When you took the case history of the patients, would you, during
3 that conversation, make a note of the location where they had been injured
4 and the way in which they had been injured?
5 A. Due to the work load and the shortage of personnel, both
6 professional staff members or paramedics, the system of administration and
7 the extent of medical data was reduced, and that is why we only compiled
8 the most important data, the most relevant information for the type of
9 injury or illness, and anything that would be relevant for the individual
10 patient's condition: Sensitivity to certain drugs, allergies, and similar
11 type of information. Very often the patients admitted to the hospital
12 were not able to provide any such information, so such information was
13 gathered from their escort, or whoever had brought them there. If that
14 was not possible, then all we had was what we were able to establish
15 objectively speaking, what we were able to actually see.
16 In cases where we were able to compile information regarding the
17 location of injuring and the type of injuring, we would enter that
18 information as well. However, there was no particular requirement to
19 supply that information.
20 Q. In view of the fact that you had various types of injuries and the
21 fact that you always took information concerning the case history, did you
22 report such cases further on?
23 A. In view of the overall situation, we did not submit such reports.
24 We did not have any particular obligation to supply relevant information
25 except for the actual number of patients admitted to the hospital, which
1 we forwarded to the relevant authorities. However, no official report was
2 made on specific details. It concerned merely the number of patients who
3 were treated on that particular day.
4 Q. You told us that you supplied the information about the number of
5 injured persons to the Republican Committee. What was the actual function
6 of that committee and what was the relevant period of time when you
7 reported such cases?
8 A. The Republican Committee for health was established prior to April
9 1992. I believe that that institution was set up in 1992 because of the
10 events in Croatia and because of the need to send out medical supplies.
11 In the following period, this institution was a kind of coordinating body
12 between the relevant medical authorities and institutions at the level of
13 the Republic. However, at the time of the Sarajevo siege, most of the
14 information which was supplied to that institution came from Sarajevo.
15 The information was supplied on a daily basis by the local hospitals, and
16 that information was further processed by this Republican Committee, which
17 then produced relevant medical documentation which was published by the
18 Republic Institute for Health.
19 At the same time, this institution was in charge of supplying the
20 UNHCR and other international organisations about the overall situation,
21 and that data served as some kind of criteria for the distribution of
22 medical aid to the institutions which were in greater need because they
23 had many more patients or because their patients were mainly civilians,
24 and so on and so forth.
25 Q. On the 10th of December, you were presented with documentation
1 during the cross-examination, the documentation that you yourself have
2 supplied, and you stated that your stamp was there to prove that these
3 copies which were submitted to the Court are authentic to the originals
4 and that the original documentation is kept, if my memory serves me right,
5 at the hospital. I would like to know whether the documents produced and
6 looked at as evidence -- well, do you believe that this is full and
7 complete documentation relating to the full case history?
8 A. Well, the documents that I recognised in the month of December as
9 documents photocopied, dully photocopied and the originals of which are to
10 be found at the General Hospital of Sarajevo is a cross-section of
11 documentation compiled during that period, and that includes all the
12 various forms pertaining to the case history, temperature charts,
13 specialist papers, and everything else. I'm of the view that between 1992
14 and 1995, the administration was somewhat reduced, it was carried out on a
15 reduced scale, and this means that there are some shortcomings when it
16 comes to these documents, but considering the time that we had and the
17 space we had, that was the best we could do at the time.
18 Q. Could you explain to us what the case history includes and whether
19 everybody single patient will have a separate case history?
20 A. Well, the case history is an official document which lists
21 personal data of the insured person admitted to the hospital. On the
22 front we have the name, surname, date and place of birth, the type of
23 insurance, the telephone number in case of need, the cause, the diagnosis,
24 the date of admission, date of release from hospital, the diagnosis,
25 procedures engaged in by the hospital and recommendation referring to any
1 further treatment after the release from the hospital. Also on the front
2 page of this case history document there are the signatures of the doctors
3 and there are also boxes which up until 1992 were used to indicate special
4 codes for case histories according to the Belgrade system.
5 On the second page we have a blank page. We've got a case history
6 there. And either manually or on a typewriter you enter the data, with
7 reference to any data provided by either the patient himself or the
8 accompanying persons, any previous illnesses suffered by the patient, and
9 then an objective diagnosis which traditionally followed a traditional
10 procedure which would refer to the general state of health, the
11 description of the skin and all the various other body parts, and in the
12 period of time between 1992 and 1995, we've simply reduced this to include
13 a specific diagnosis, that is to say, the reason for which the patient was
14 admitted to the hospital.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 A. I apologise if I've been a bit long-winded.
17 Q. No. Thank you, Doctor. Who is in charge of filling out those
19 A. The front page is filled out by the medical technician, the
20 administrator, a member of the administrative staff working at the
21 admissions office. As to the case history, on the inside of this paper
22 pertaining to the purely medical information it is filled out by the
23 doctor who first treated or saw the patient when the patient was first
24 admitted. And as to the last page, the conclusions, that is, it is filled
25 out by the patient releasing -- by the doctor releasing the patient from
1 the hospital. And then he fills out the data pertaining to the final
2 diagnosis. So as I was saying, first of all the administrative staff and
3 then the medical bit is filled out by the doctors, only and exclusively.
4 Q. Does every patient have his own case history?
5 A. Every patient admitted to the hospital has a special registration
6 number and a case history which is evidence and the records are kept at
7 the specific ward where the patient spends time. For other patients, we
8 have the data which are kept in the book of records, and once a year it is
9 all put in the same book of records.
10 As to the day hospital treatment, the medical technicians are in
11 charge of filling out the data, that is to say, names and surnames, the
12 age, the insurance policy, et cetera, and the diagnosis is filled out
13 either by the doctor or else the doctor dictates it to another member of
14 staff if he's working and is unable to write at the same time. But
15 generally speaking, as to the diagnosis, the treatment, and the
16 recommendations for the papers, all that is filled out by the doctor
17 examining the patient, and if not possible, then the medical technician
18 will do it.
19 Q. Doctor, I would like to submit to you the documents that you have
20 already had the opportunity to look at. Once you've perused it again, I
21 would like you to answer the following question: Do you believe that this
22 represents the complete documentation for the persons, these people
23 admitted to your hospital whilst keeping in mind everything that you have
24 just said in the course of this conversation between the two of us?
25 JUDGE ORIE: The document you are now showing to the witness
2 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, may I suggest that the Court copy
3 would perhaps be the appropriate one to be handed down to the witness.
4 JUDGE ORIE: I do agree with that, but in order to know -- to give
5 the Court copy to the witness, we have to know what the number is.
6 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not in a position
7 to tell you exactly what number it is at the moment. Perhaps my
8 colleagues will be able to help me out.
9 JUDGE ORIE: As far as I understand, you have been provided with a
10 list of exhibits, an updated list of the exhibits. That's what the
11 Registry told me.
12 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] It says: "P," if that's the
13 one,"P2506". The number of the document is 00267861. In the upper
14 corner, to the right, 25065. I also have 252265, 2265, presumably.
15 JUDGE NIETO-NAVIA: I think that the first one is 2506, not
17 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] 2506 plus 2265.
18 Q. Doctor, do you have the documents in front of you?
19 A. Yes. The one which is 2265, that's the one.
20 Q. Could you tell us whether, in your view, this represents the
21 complete set of documents and case history histories in line with the
22 rules and procedures of your institution, the institution that you've
23 headed? Do you feel that these documents are acceptable?
24 A. A part of these documents is a copy of the findings evidenced in
25 the book of records of the emergency services of the General Hospital of
1 Sarajevo, and the second part is a photocopy of the documents which were
2 issued to patients which came for treatment at the day hospital over a
3 certain period of time. This does not represent a case history. These
4 are just specialist findings given to patients after reporting to the
5 medical services, if, that is to say, they're not kept at the hospital.
6 There are the numbers of the documents, names, the diagnosis, and the
7 recommendations made to the patients, plus the signatures and the stamps
8 of the doctors in charge. So basically, this is a copy of the original
9 document, which is a specialist finding. These are complete documents but
10 since this is not a case history here --
11 Q. Could you just specify what the protocol number is, the record
13 A. The first one is 775, in the left-hand corner, 775.
14 Q. And for 7861, 7862, 7863, 7864, where we don't see any stamps?
15 A. I don't see any of those documents here.
16 Q. Do you have in front of you --
17 A. I have 863, 887, 876, 863, and the first one I think, since it is
18 not all that clear, I think it is 775. Here on the screen I see it is
19 indeed 775.
20 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my numbers are
21 completely different. The numbers submitted by my colleagues. 2265.
22 Could we just compare this? These are the numbers of the pages. I
23 wouldn't like really to read out the names of the people. Perhaps it
24 might be easier, but I would prefer to read out the numbers. 52265. Let
25 us confine ourselves to that. P2265. Sorry.
1 Q. The last digits, 464. I suppose that's going to be easier.
2 A. Unfortunately, you're not referring to the record numbers. That's
3 what you asked for, the hospital record numbers. That's what I had in
4 mind. And this is the evidence number. Yes, I can repeat that. No
6 Q. No. There's no need for that, Doctor. I'm just going to ask you
7 whether you have your records back at the hospital, and apart from what we
8 have here, do you have anything else within the framework of that book of
10 A. No. We only have the book of records.
11 Q. And that book of records exists at the hospital?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you. One more point I'd like you to respond to. You have
14 no case histories for any of these people who have these documents.
15 A. Anyone receiving day hospital treatment have these kinds of
16 documents. That means that basically, as far as they're concerned,
17 everything is summed up in these findings. Now, if we refer to individual
18 protocol numbers and we look at what happened to these people, we can see
19 that some of them were indeed admitted to the hospital. For example, if
20 you allow me, 268, 464, here the doctor says that the patient should be
21 admitted, but the person was released on the 7th of February. Yes. The
22 patient was admitted and we have a full case history at the hospital.
23 Here we do not have a case history, just a specialist finding. If we look
24 at the part dated the 5th of February, we do have a case history there.
25 Q. Thank you. You did say that you arrived at the hospital on the
1 10th of May. Upon your arrival, as far as you can tell, when was the
2 first time that the hospital was shelled? You did say it was shelled.
3 A. Yes, it was. It was on the 13th of May, in the afternoon and in
4 the evening. Obviously, this is etched in my mind, because this is the
5 first shelling. The first one was on the 13th of May.
6 Q. You said that once you arrived at the hospital, you put up a Red
7 Cross flag and that it stayed there for about six to nine months?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. I'm going to show you a photo. This is a photo which I obtained
10 from the Prosecution, which the Defence obtained from the Prosecution. If
11 you would be so kind as to take a look at it and tell us whether this is
12 accurate and when this photo might have been taken?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Are you going to tender this into evidence, Ms.
14 Pilipovic, this photo?
15 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if the witness
16 recognises the picture and if he's in a position to give some sort of
17 explanation, yes. That is to say in case the witness is able to identify
18 the period of time when the picture was taken.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Then at least it should be -- since you consider to
20 tender it into evidence, have you prenumbered it?
21 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it would be D9.
22 JUDGE ORIE: D9. Thank you.
23 MR. BLAXILL: May we be made privy to the document, please?
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's what I expected. You have not provided
25 the Prosecution with a copy -- it comes from you, as I understand.
1 MR. BLAXILL: Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: But at least it might have been indicated that it was
3 going to be used.
4 MR. BLAXILL: Yes, indeed. I'm not doubting my learned friend's
5 word. We just don't know what particular photo she is referring to at
6 this time.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Is this photo suitable for putting on the ELMO so
8 that we can have a look at that in order to prevent any loss of time? Is
9 this picture for the time being good enough, Mr. Blaxill, or ...
10 MR. BLAXILL: Yes, we certainly recognise what's depicted in
11 there. We're quite happy with it, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
13 Please proceed, Ms. Pilipovic.
14 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Nakas, can you see the photograph?
16 A. Yes, I can.
17 Q. Could you tell us the period of time when this photograph might
18 have been taken?
19 A. As far as I can tell, it must have been taken in summertime or in
20 the autumn of 1992.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. I couldn't recall the exact date.
23 Q. While this photograph is in front of you, would you tell us --
24 would you show us the floor where your offices were located and tell us
25 about the direction they were facing.
1 A. As regards the portion of the hospital which is depicted on the
2 photograph, that is, the wing of the hospital where the patients were
3 located --
4 MR. BLAXILL: Excuse me, Your Honour. I hesitate to interrupt,
5 but I have a feeling we're not getting the full photograph on the screens.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Could the ELMO -- I don't see any photo at all any
7 more on the screen, to be quite honest. Could there be any technical
8 assistance in order to see whether the ELMO is functioning or not?
9 Perhaps in the meantime the Prosecution could have a look at the photo in
10 its entirety so that ...
11 MR. BLAXILL: I am indeed familiar with that photograph. Now I
12 see it all, Your Honour. So there's no problem from that point of view.
13 The ELMO seems to have gone blank on us again -- oh, because they've taken
14 the photograph.
15 JUDGE ORIE: I'm afraid it's my screen. It's ours. Now I've got
16 it. I've got the photo again on my screen. I see my neighbour to the
17 left as well. Has everyone the photo on the screen by now? Okay, then.
18 Please proceed, Ms. Pilipovic.
19 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Doctor, could you tell us the location of your offices?
21 A. On this photograph we see the 12-storey building as the central
22 part of the hospital compound, which was formerly used for the treatment
23 of patients, this part here. This portion here was used for surgery
24 purposes. As for the building where my office was located, and outpatient
25 clinics, they're not visible on the photograph. They're to the right side
1 of this building. This building is covering that portion of the compound.
2 It is an apartment block. I think that the photograph was taken from
3 the Albanska Street, which is now called Dolina Street, and on the
4 right-hand side you can see a building which belongs to the Sarajevo-Stan
5 company, which is covering a portion of this 12-storey building. But
6 normally to the right you would see a two-storey building where my office
7 was located. So one cannot see my offices here on this photograph.
8 Q. Were you able to see the Magribija Dzamija from your office?
9 A. As regards my offices and other offices in this building, the
10 Magribija Dzamija would have been easily seen, but it was destroyed
11 sometime in 1992. But you could see it, because it is -- it dominates
12 that part of the city.
13 Q. Could you tell us approximately the time when the mosque was blown
15 A. I'm not sure. I think it was hit by a shell in 1992, at the
16 beginning of the conflict.
17 Q. At the beginning of the conflict, in May or June?
18 A. No, no, no. At the beginning of 1992. By the end of 1992 it was
19 destroyed. It was split in half.
20 Q. In the vicinity of the mosque, since your offices were facing the
21 mosque, were there any incidents there that could have been related to the
22 shelling? And as far as you can recall, were there any victims in those
23 shelling incidents?
24 A. I think that on two or three occasions we admitted patients from
25 that area, from the Magribija mosque, and at one point in time, from
1 this street, the Albanska Street, where you can see a car, a group of
2 people was brought to the hospital, and I was really fortunate in the
3 sense that I was able to observe those patients and the way they were
4 brought to the hospital.
5 Q. So you were able to see those individuals who were victims in this
6 shelling incident?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you keep any records of shelling incidents of the hospital
9 itself and the area around it?
10 A. As regards records of shelling, there were no specific records of
11 the shelling incidents of the hospital and the area around it. We did not
12 have adequate means to keep those records.
13 Q. According to your recollection, did you ever report such cases to
14 relevant authorities, or was there an individual at the hospital who was
15 in charge of reporting such cases to the relevant authorities, and did
16 relevant authorities ever visit the scene to establish the damage and the
17 consequences of the incident involving casualties?
18 A. At the beginning of the conflict in June up until August 1992, we
19 submitted some reports to the former centre for security of the town of
20 Sarajevo. I'm not quite sure about the official title of this
21 institution. So during the first several months somebody would come from
22 time to time to make a record of the damage, but they did not keep any
23 record of the number of patients or victims. However, later on, when it
24 became a common occurrence, these shelling incidents, which would usually
25 start at dawn, they no longer came and we no longer reported such
1 incidents. It simply became our daily life.
2 Q. Was the hospital ever visited by members of the UNPROFOR?
3 A. The hospital was handed over to the legal authorities of Bosnia
4 and Herzegovina by virtue of an agreement which had been signed by the
5 representative of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
6 representative of the former JNA, UNPROFOR, and ICRC, with the caveat that
7 the ICRC should take over the administration of the hospital.
8 Unfortunately, the agreement was never fully implemented, because the ICRC
9 abandoned the town of Sarajevo after a humanitarian convoy had been hit in
10 the vicinity of Sarajevo and one of their drivers was killed. So for
11 about seven or ten days, the Ministry of Health was in charge of
12 organising the work of the hospital there, so they appointed the managing
13 board of the hospital. And from then on we received regular visits of the
14 members of UNPROFOR, which at the beginning, after we had been shelled for
15 the first time, consisted in making appropriate records of the damage,
16 which was caused, and later on, when the air lift was established, their
17 visits mostly concerned the supply of medical aid or examination of
18 patients which were to be evacuated from the hospital. But we also
19 received visits of some high-ranking officials, such as the French
20 president Mitterrand, who visited the hospital together with other
21 dignitaries of UNPROFOR.
22 Q. As regards members of UNPROFOR who had an opportunity to visit the
23 hospital, did they ever make any reports or records concerning the
24 situation in the hospital, and specifically, did they make any record, any
25 note of the shelling of the hospital and where it came from?
1 A. As far as I think -- as far as I know, they kept such records for
2 their own purposes, but the hospital never received any official reports
3 or any official records that were compiled by UNPROFOR.
4 Q. Do you have any knowledge as to the existence of any observation
5 point of the United Nations in the vicinity of the hospital and where it
6 was located exactly?
7 A. As far as I can remember, the UN did not have a permanent
8 observation point anywhere near the hospital; however, they patrolled the
9 area, the streets around the hospital, and they observed the overall area
10 where the hospital was located. However, they did not have any official
11 observation point near the hospital except for the points that served as a
12 shelter from snipers. But they had nothing to do with the hospital
14 In the agreement that I mentioned a moment ago, the UNPROFOR had
15 the obligation to protect the hospital from possible incidents once the
16 JNA has left the hospital. However, that type of protection given by
17 UNPROFOR was never actually implemented. So the UNPROFOR only visited the
18 hospital from time to time for the purposes of verifying the situation in
19 the hospital, but they never offered any official protection to the
21 Q. You stated that the UN members patrolled the area around the
22 hospital. Do you have any knowledge whether they visited the scene when
23 the hospital or the area around the hospital was shelled? Would they
24 visit the scene officially upon receiving any special official report, and
25 did they make any report following such visits?
1 A. As far as I can remember, they did visit the area from time to
2 time and did make some records, but I never received any such official
3 information. And we had a duty to receive members of UNPROFOR and the
4 United Nations and to provide them with all the information that they
5 would request, including the number of patients and their names, if
6 necessary. And also, whenever they escorted patients evacuated from the
7 hospital, they were involved in monitoring the situation in the hospital
8 generally speaking.
9 Q. So can I therefore conclude that there were written reports
10 following visits of the UNPROFOR members?
11 A. The majority of such documents were compiled in the presence of
12 the staff on duty at the emergency ward, but such documents were never
13 shown to any member, any staff member of the hospital to be signed by
14 them. Those documents were the property of UNPROFOR and we had nothing to
15 do with them.
16 Q. Whilst you were examined by my learned colleague on the 10th of
17 December, you testified that it was from Trebevic and Vrace that the
18 hospital was usually targeted.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Looking at the photograph in front of you, could you tell us --
21 could you confirm that the lower part of the hospital could be targeted
22 from that area, from Vrace and Trebevic?
23 A. On this photograph, one can see that there is a kind of corridor
24 or the street which used to be called Albanska Street but which is now
25 called Doljanska Street. There was an open passage, so there was an
1 opportunity to shell the hospital, the front part of the hospital. The
2 left and right part of the hospital were better sheltered by surrounding
3 buildings, but this part of the hospital compound was located at the end,
4 or rather, at the beginning of the Albanska Street, and the view was not
5 obstructed in any way from the area of Trebevic and Vrace. That is, the
6 hospital could be directly seen from that area.
7 Q. Are you a member of the military?
8 A. Yes, I am.
9 Q. I assume that you have some knowledge about weapons. You are
10 probably in a position to tell us the type of weapons that the hospital
11 was hit from.
12 A. On the basis of shell fragments that we were able to find in the
13 hospital, one can conclude that the ammunition came from various tanks and
14 other types of artillery and mortar pieces. As regards my knowledge of
15 these things, I am better versed in small arms, pistols and automatic
16 rifles. I must admit that I am not well versed in this type of weaponry.
17 Q. Thank you. Could you mark on this photograph the portion of the
18 hospital which was targeted by shells coming from a tank?
19 A. It would be very difficult to do it here on this photograph. It
20 is quite possible that the majority of these holes are the result of a
21 shelling from a tank. I think that there was a tank shell which directly
22 impacted the area on the 10th floor, but that's all I can tell about it.
23 Q. When you gave your statement to the OTP, you also provided an
24 analysis, a breakdown, of the number of civilians and military men who
25 were admitted to the hospital from 1992 to 1995. According to you, the
1 total was 8.105, out of which 3.698 were civilians and 4.407 soldiers. Is
2 it your testimony that that would constitute a ratio of 50/50, civilians
3 and military personnel?
4 A. Yes, that would be close to 50/50.
5 Q. You compiled this information on the basis of your personal
7 A. No. On the basis of the reports which were submitted to me
8 through the emergency ward of the hospital.
9 Q. As regards the medical documentation that we have here, could you
10 perhaps tell us if the same documents can be found in the archives of
12 A. No, not in the official archives of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is
13 only recently that we have received a request from the archives, but it's
14 only a verbal request, not an official written request, that the medical
15 documentation be transferred to the official historical archives.
16 However, appropriate records thereof should be kept at the hospital. But
17 all this relevant medical information relating to the war should be kept
18 at the official state archives of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 There's only one set of such documents that has been handed over to the
20 archives by the Dobrinja Hospital, which no longer exists, so that is
21 how the documentation from the Dobrinja Hospital ended up in the state
23 Q. In response to a question put to you by my learned colleague, you
24 stated that you are authorised to authenticate the documents coming from
25 the hospital, pursuant to requests made by third parties.
1 A. Yes, that is correct.
2 Q. Could you tell me who is in charge of authenticating copies of
3 documents? Would it be you or the relevant authorities, such as court, or
4 the municipality?
5 A. I am authorised to do so on behalf of the hospital.
6 Q. Yes, but are you also authorised to verify that the copy is
7 consistent with the original?
8 A. Yes, because my signature can be found at the municipal court in
9 Sarajevo. It has been deposited as such for the purposes of verifying the
10 documents bearing my signature.
11 Q. When did you deposit that signature?
12 A. I believe that it was deposited earlier on, at the beginning of my
13 mandate, and then once again, recently, when I was re-elected, that is,
14 last year.
15 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that concludes my
16 cross-examination. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Pilipovic.
18 Does one of the colleagues have any additional questions before
19 giving an opportunity for -- no questions.
20 Questioned by the Court:
21 JUDGE ORIE: Dr. Nakas, I've got one question for you. You told us
22 about the insurance, either military or not military. If the military
23 insurance would pay for the treatment of a patient, would this mean that
24 the patient was a military or could it also be a dependent, wife,
25 children? Could you please explain about that.
1 A. Up until 1992, in the National Health Service of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had two possible schemes. One was the civilian
3 insurance system. There was a network of public hospitals to cover that.
4 And the second one had to do with the military insurance, which meant full
5 cover for all members of the JNA and family members. And in the course of
6 that period of time, the armed forces had a separate system of primary
7 health care at their unit's garrisons and they had special services for
8 big garrisons and then they had military hospitals in large areas. It is
9 in this way that the military budget paid for the health care of the
10 people insured and then they possibly paid for services supplied by
11 civilian hospitals in case the members of the military were sent there for
13 At the same time, the civilian insurance system also used the
14 services of the military hospitals, which then they had to pay for. We've
15 continued with this automatic system for the case histories, et cetera,
16 and we classified our patients as military personnel and civilians. And
17 when we say "military," it meant their dependents as well.
18 As to the actual payments, well, it was not considered --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Dr. Nakas, I'm not that interested in the payment as
20 such but merely to know whether registration is militarily insured also
21 meant they were military men or also they could be dependents.
22 Mr. Blaxill, is the Prosecution in need of --
23 MR. BLAXILL: We did have re-examination on various issues.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please. Can you estimate how much time it will
25 take and perhaps guide the witness a bit in coming to the most relevant
2 MR. BLAXILL: At the time, Your Honour, I think a matter of
3 minutes really.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then we'll proceed.
5 Re-examined by Mr. Blaxill:
6 Q. Dr. Nakas, referring to this question of the military insurance,
7 firstly, was military insurance for medical service restricted only to
8 serving members of JNA or would it cover retired members or people who had
9 formerly served in some capacity and move on? Would their family still
10 continue to get it?
11 A. Whether they're in the active service or retired, were covered.
12 Q. And if, for instance, a patient would come into hospital who is
13 clearly a civilian person who is the dependent of a military person, would
14 you still enter up that person as covered by the military insurance?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And what if -- pardon me. And so how big a family group was
17 covered by that kind of insurance? Did it go only to the spouse, to the
18 children, or to any other relatives of such a military person?
19 A. Regular cover referred to the insured person, the spouse, any
20 dependent children, and all those living with them or supported by them,
21 such as elderly parents or anyone else who is related to them and has no
22 other medical insurance.
23 [Prosecution counsel confer]
24 MR. BLAXILL:
25 Q. On that basis, I have just one other issue I'd like to ask you
1 about, and that is this: You gave the figures that on the basis of
2 military insurance and civilian insurance it looked as though you had
3 50/50, military and civilian patients. But with those entries for
4 military insurance, did that in fact, within those figures, include such
5 dependents, civilian dependents like parents, children, spouses?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. BLAXILL: That's all. I'm obliged, Your Honour. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Blaxill.
10 Dr. Nakas, this concludes your testimony in this court. I thank
11 you very much not just for coming but even for coming twice. We really
12 deplore that you had to come back after a couple of weeks. We would have
13 loved to conclude your testimony already in December, but it was for
14 practical reasons impossible. So thank you very much for coming twice to
15 The Hague.
16 Mr. Usher, you may lead the witness out of the courtroom. Thank
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 [The witness withdrew]
20 JUDGE ORIE: And I think this is the time when we have a break of
21 approximately half an hour. So we'll resume at 4.15, unless there's any
22 opposition against that.
23 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, there's just one point. It's just a
24 practical matter. In the course of his being seen prior to testifying
25 later today, the next witness, Mr. Ashton, was shown a couple of segments
1 from the video that was used by my learned friend, Mr. Ierace, at the
2 opening of the case. For the Court's information, that is now marked as,
3 if I remember correctly, MFI-8. Now, I would propose wishing to play
4 those clips to Mr. Ashton later in the course of his evidence. I will
5 imagine it will be tomorrow. I think logistically it would cause no
6 interruption or problem if we make it tomorrow. And we will obviously
7 arrange things to achieve that. But it isn't on the witness list or
8 exhibit list per se, because in fact we didn't know until Mr. Ashton came
9 in from the United States and could be seen and shown these clips of
10 course whether this would be relevant to do this. It has become
11 relevant. And so I put everyone on notice that we would like to do that,
12 with your leave.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said as the next witness -- Mr. Ashton
14 being the next witness?
15 MR. BLAXILL: Oh, yes. We have in fact been able to avoid calling
16 the lady by the name of Kelma Muminovic. And I thought the Court had been
17 notified. If you were unaware, then please accept an apology, Your
18 Honours. We will be moving straight now to Mr. Ashton. We have advised
19 the Defence, I would add.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I was not aware of it, but perhaps I have
21 overlooked something.
22 Then, finally, before going on recess, we still have --
23 Ms. Pilipovic, you would like to say something, but I would also like to
24 ask you what to do with the photograph, the photograph you showed to
25 Dr. Nakas, because you said it depends on what he testifies, whether it
1 should be either marked for identification or -- yes. Marked for
3 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. D9.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think the numbering is in the hands of the
5 registry, as far as the identification is concerned. So the prenumbering
6 as a potential exhibit has fallen away now and the photograph is marked
7 for identification.
8 Thank you. Then we'll resume -- I beg your pardon. Yes,
9 Ms. Pilipovic.
10 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was just going to
11 make a statement on behalf of the Defence with reference to the fact that
12 my colleagues decided not to listen to the witness statement. I only
13 found out yesterday, and I would really like to ask my colleagues to let
14 us know on time, because I myself spent a great deal of time preparing
15 that witness, and then they desisted from -- not to call the witness. So
16 I do hope they will take account of that.
17 MR. BLAXILL: I'm advised the information was given Monday after
18 the decision was taken during the course of Sunday.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. I do agree with Ms. Pilipovic that these
20 kind of messages should be delivered as soon as possible and practicable,
21 and I have no reasons to believe at this moment that it has not been as
22 soon as possible and as practical as possible, but let's try to avoid a
23 waste of time for the other party and for the Court as well. Thank you.
24 We'll resume for the fifth time, I think I say it now, at 4.15.
25 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 --- On resuming at 4.18 p.m.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that it will take us some time to get
3 used to the practice I'm promoting in this courtroom. I'd just like to
4 remind the Defence that their cross-examination took 70 minutes, where the
5 examination-in-chief took 63 minutes, just seven minutes. But I'd like
6 you -- I said that the maximum was the same time, unless good course was
7 shown, so I just keep a close eye on the clock.
8 Mr. Blaxill, is it you whose going to call on behalf of the
9 Prosecution the next witness?
10 MR. BLAXILL: Yes, it is indeed, Your Honour, yes. That's Mr.
11 John Ashton.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. John Ashton.
13 Would you please bring in the witness.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 WITNESS: JOHN ASHTON
16 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon. You have been called by the
17 Prosecution as a witness in this case, and I'd first like to invite you,
18 please, if you hear me in a language that you understand, but it might not
19 be the main problem, to make the solemn declaration required by the Rules
20 of Procedure and Evidence. The text is given to you by the usher. Would
21 you please make the solemn declaration, raising your right hand, if you
23 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. I solemnly declare that I will
24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, very much. Mr. Blaxill.
1 MR. BLAXILL: Mr. President, I'm obliged to you. Thank you.
2 Examined by Mr. Blaxill:
3 Q. Mr. Ashton, good afternoon. Would you please state for the record
4 your full name and date of birth.
5 A. My name is John Ashton, born September 30, 1955.
6 Q. And what in fact is your present occupation, sir?
7 A. I'm executive director of an international humanitarian agency.
8 Q. About with what does that particular agency concern itself?
9 A. Primarily medical distribution in disaster areas, conflict zones.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Ashton, if I can take you back to: What was your family
11 background? In what type of family did you grow up?
12 A. I grew up in a military family, career navy. I grew up in an area
13 where there was a naval surface weapon centre. My father worked there and
14 my brothers were stationed in military bases around that area.
15 Q. And did you --
16 JUDGE ORIE: If you would allow me, Mr. Blaxill.
17 Mr. Ashton, would you please, with one eye at least, follow the
18 transcript which is on the screen in front of you, because since you're
19 speaking --
20 THE WITNESS: I have a blue screen here. Now I have a black
21 screen. There it is. Now the transcript just came up.
22 JUDGE ORIE: The interpretation, since you're both speaking the
23 same language, needs some time to translate the question first and then
24 the answer. So if you would please wait every time until the question
25 that has been put to you has appeared on the screen and then answer the
1 question. Otherwise we might be in trouble. Thank you.
2 MR. BLAXILL:
3 Q. Mr. Ashton, while you were a child growing up, did you take any
4 particular interest in things military, or was that not of particular
5 interest to you?
6 A. Yes. I had a very strong interest in the military. I studied
7 weapons, weapon systems, aviation, primarily because I originally thought
8 I would go into the military as a career, and I did choose a military
9 career. I went into the civil coast guard service.
10 Q. When did you enter the coast guard service, sir?
11 A. I entered the coast guard in 1973, upon graduation from high
13 Q. And I'm presuming by that you mean reference to the United States
14 coast guard?
15 A. United States coast guard.
16 Q. And how long did you serve with the United States coast guard?
17 A. I was with the coast guard for three years.
18 Q. And did this duty for three years, did this take you to any other
20 A. Indeed. I went in during the Vietnam war, at which time I was
21 trained to handle weaponry systems for the US military because the coast
22 guard was handling the river patrols in Vietnam. So I had full military
23 training at the time, studied Soviet weapon systems, had very extensive
24 knowledge on military tactics.
25 Q. And you said you served until 1976. What did you then do in 1976?
1 A. When I left the coast guard I took a job as a photo journalist. I
2 travelled to other areas to cover different situations. Actually, in
3 1976, I went to Beirut Lebanon as one of my first assignments for United
4 Press International and covered the Lebanese civil war.
5 Q. And can you tell us any other such areas of conflict that you may
6 have visited in your career and when you were there?
7 A. Yes. In -- later in 1977 I was in Eritrea. I travelled to
8 Afghanistan in 1980 and 1981. I was working with the committee for Free
9 Afghanistan in Washington, had the opportunity to go there and assist in
10 getting aid to the Afghans during the Russian occupation.
11 Q. Do you remember any other places that you had been? Let us say
12 prior to the year 1992.
13 A. Well, I was in North Africa and other countries. I was in -- I've
14 been to Somalija, I've been to Suedan, I've been to, as I mentioned,
15 Eritrea. I was also in Morocco.
16 Q. And as a photo journalist, did these assignments place you ever
17 close to the actual realities of combat, of gunfire and the rest of it?
18 A. In every situation I was exposed to combat. My particular area of
19 specialty is photograph conflict so I was on the front lines in several
20 occasions, and on every occasions of these incidents I photographed
22 Q. So if I could move forward, you've referred up to the early
23 1980s. After that did you pursue any other lines of work or photo
24 journalism until, let us say, the year 1992?
25 A. Yes. I -- well, in New York I was working as a photo journalist
1 as well, and I did -- of course, I went to university to get some
2 education and I took some courses in university. I did not complete
4 Q. Could you advise what courses you took?
5 A. Yes. I took history, history of religion, political science and
6 psychology courses.
7 Q. Did you at any time, as a result of -- pardon me -- of pursuing
8 any of in your careers, did you take any form of medical training?
9 A. Yes, I did. I studied premed and trained at the National
10 Institutes of Health in Washington. I worked in pediatric oncology for a
11 brief time in the National Institutes of Health where I had extensive
12 training in pharmaceuticals.
13 Q. Let me take you please now, Mr. Ashton, to the year 1992. In the
14 middle of that year, can you say where you went and what you were doing by
15 way of a profession?
16 A. Yes. I was working in New York as a photographer and I was
17 invited to come to Europe on assignment, and when I came to Europe I ran
18 into someone who I had known from the Lebanese conflict in 1976 who was
19 working for the United Nations, and he asked me to come to the former
20 Yugoslavia for two weeks to take pictures for the United Nations, and I
21 agreed to do it for two days.
22 Q. Do you recall when you actually arrived and in which place you
23 actually came to, which city?
24 A. Yes. I originally went to Zagreb, Croatia, met the United Nations
25 High Commissioner for Refugees staff. They arranged for me to go to
1 Sarajevo on a UN flight out of Split, Croatia. This was July -- the first
2 time was July 5th, 1992. And then I came out, after going in on that
3 date, and came back on the 7th of July, 1992.
4 Q. And did you then remain in Sarajevo for a period of time?
5 A. Yes, I did. I planned, as I said in my original statement, to
6 stay for two days here, and what happened was I got trapped at the
7 Sarajevo State Hospital due to heavy shelling. And when I went into the
8 hospital I decided to take some pictures there of the conditions in the
9 hospital. When I saw what was happening, I realised I was going to spend
10 the night, so I started organising needs for that hospital while I was
11 there and realised that I wasn't going to get out the next day either.
12 But went down to the UN headquarters and they said they would arrange for
13 me to leave, and I stayed again the next day to get those requests from
14 the hospital for particular medical items that they were short of to the
15 United Nations, at which time I decided to stay for two more weeks.
16 Q. Did any event occur later in July of 1992 which caused you to
17 leave the city of Sarajevo for a period?
18 A. Yes. During that period of time I tried to arrange for a few
19 things to be done, and I realised how complex the issues were, especially
20 with the city being cut off from aid. At the airport only a small amount
21 of aid was able to come in, so the hospital was very desperate. So I
22 extended my stay a third week, and at the end of that time, July 23rd, I
23 was out taking pictures with a group of Croatian and Bosnian friends of
24 mine and got shot in the leg and shot in the arm by a sniper on the Serb
1 Q. Firstly, I would ask you: Where in fact did that incident occur
2 to you? Where did it happen? Sorry.
3 A. The location was Otes, and I was shot from a railroad track on
4 the edge of Ilidza.
5 Q. And how were you able to deduce the source of the shot that hit
7 A. We were able to cross the front lines and we were able to talk --
8 actually, it was very interesting. We were able to talk to some of the
9 Serbs on the side. The Croatians and Bosnians I was walking with had
10 relatives on the other side and at that point it had been relatively
11 quiet. And we came across an area where there were some young men who
12 knew the men I was with and the Serbs were talking to the Croats. Then we
13 moved down to another location which was a railroad bridge, and at that
14 position we had to cross a street and I was told by the forces I was
15 walking with that this was very dangerous because these were former JNA
16 soldiers at this particular area. I don't know how they knew that, but
17 that's what I was told and that we would have to run across that street.
18 And when we got into the street, four men in front of me went across and
19 there were several behind me. There was no problems, so I didn't run very
20 fast. And then I saw four men on the railroad track itself laying down.
21 One of them got up, raised his gun up and fired one shot, which went
22 across my face, and then he fired a second shot and I had started to run
23 at that point and I fell, and I did not realise that was the shot that hit
24 my leg. Then he fired a third shot which missed me by going over my head
25 and hit the street behind me. Then a fourth shot when I pushed up off the
1 ground to run and realised my leg was completely broken and shattered from
2 the first shot -- from the second shot. At that point I was rescued by
3 the other men behind me and pulled out of the street.
4 Q. Now, sir, you've referred to the four men lying on the railroad
5 track. Can you say what they were wearing?
6 A. They were all wearing green uniforms. As best I could tell, the
7 three that had gotten up high enough to look to see what was going on, the
8 fourth man had gotten up completely to his waist, so I could see him quite
9 clearly. But it all took place fairly quickly. It was within a matter of
10 seconds. And at that point the team I was travelling with had time to get
11 their weapons up and return fire, and then everyone went down behind the
12 railroad bed.
13 Q. Did you manage to see or indeed were you given any information
14 that led to any further identification of the people who were on the
15 railway lines, one of whom shot you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Could you tell what forces they came from?
18 A. Yes. Later, at a point later on, after I had returned from
19 Germany and began working on the Serb side, one of the Serb commanders
20 actually offered to introduce me to the man who shot at me, which I
22 Q. And you've just made reference to a Serb commander making this
23 offer. Can you tell the Court in which military formation this man was a
24 "Serb commander," the one who spoke to you?
25 A. Yes. He was with the Romanija Corps in Ilidza.
1 Q. Now the term "Romanija Corps" is that the full name of the unit --
2 military formation to your knowledge or does it have a longer name?
3 A. Well, they call themselves the army of the Republic of Srpska.
4 Q. And the name of that particular formation?
5 A. Was the Romanija.
6 Q. Just the Romanija Corps. I see. So now when you were shot, you
7 were with, you say, a group of people. Who were those people? What were
8 they wearing?
9 A. They were wearing -- two of them were wearing military uniforms.
10 The rest were wearing civilian clothes. Five of them were actually
11 policemen from the city of Bosnia -- from the city of Sarajevo.
12 Correction. They escorted me out because one of them was a very good
13 friend I had made there in the first weeks I was in Sarajevo.
14 Q. What were you wearing at the time, sir?
15 A. I was wearing blue jeans and a short-sleeved light-blue shirt.
16 But I had cameras with me and I was told that at that point the publicity
17 had become so bad for the opposing side, on the Serbian side, that they
18 were actually getting paid 300 Deutschmarks to shoot journalists or
19 anybody with cameras, and I didn't take that seriously, I guess, and found
20 out the hard way.
21 Q. Mr. Ashton, you made reference to Germany. Did you in fact
22 therefore leave Sarajevo as a result of your injury?
23 A. Yes, I did. I was flown out ten days later by the United States
24 military on a aid flight which took me back to Rhein-Mein Germany and I
25 was admitted to the US military hospital there, which could not treat my
1 leg properly. So I went to Munich, to a private German hospital, where
2 the doctors said they would like to have me to treat me for free. And
3 while I was there, they heard about the situation in Bosnia and decided to
4 help with medicines, to supply medicines to Sarajevo.
5 Q. And from receiving your treatment in Germany, did you then at some
6 point return to Sarajevo?
7 A. Yes, I did. I returned on about the 22nd of August, somewhere in
8 that area. I'm not sure exactly what date right now.
9 Q. And did you remain in Sarajevo for the remainder of 1992?
10 A. Yes, I did. I made a few weekend trips out on United Nations
11 flights just to get away from the situation, from the airport there, and I
12 returned to the airport the following Monday or Sunday evening, whenever I
13 could get on a flight back in. But during the weekdays I was in the city
14 of Sarajevo.
15 Q. And did you take any other employment during the last few months
16 of 1992 whilst you were in Sarajevo?
17 A. Well, the situation was so bad in the hospitals there in Sarajevo
18 and the medical clinics that UNHCR had asked me -- the United Nations High
19 Commissioner for Refugees, to define UNHCR, had asked me to assist with
20 making assessments because the World Health Organisation's offices had
21 left Sarajevo early in the conflict, in April, and I began making
22 assessments for the hospitals and turning those over to UNHCR. So UNHCR
23 asked me if I would like to work for them, and in October 1991 I took a
24 position with the UNHCR and became a member of the United Nations.
25 Q. How long did you remain in that employment?
1 A. Until the end of November I was a little bit disappointed with the
2 way humanitarian aid was being managed and decided to tried to work with
3 the Germans that I had met in Germany to develop a humanitarian aid agency
4 that would supply proprietary medicines that were not getting into the
5 city, into the region.
6 Q. Did you succeed in that ambition at any time?
7 A. Yes. It was not a problem getting it started. We finally got the
8 organisation Emergency Medical Response Agency legal and set up in Germany
9 on the beginning of March, 1993. In the interim, I just brought medicines
10 in through the United Nations system, UNPROFOR, UNHCR, and by then WHO had
11 come back into the city, so I began working closely with them and the
12 Ministry of Health in Sarajevo.
13 Q. Now, briefly, you had observed conditions earlier in 1992, in
14 July, within the city of Sarajevo, and can you just very briefly tell the
15 Court what was happening in that city when you arrived there in the July
16 of 1992?
17 A. When I first arrived in July 1992, I was stunned by the amount of
18 violence against civilians. I had been to several wars preceding this
19 time, as stated in my previous testimony here, and this particular
20 situation was very alarming because I had never seen so many civilian
21 casualties in a short period of time, daily, coming into the hospitals and
22 deliberately targeted. Most of the conflicts I had been in, there were
23 civilian casualties, but nothing compared to this, because most of the
24 conflicts were military forces fighting other military forces on front
25 line positions.
1 Q. Now on that basis, may I take you to the question. You said,
2 "these many civilian casualties." Did you witness the circumstances in
3 which these -- a number of these people became casualties?
4 A. Yes, indeed. I -- in fact, I took some risk to try to rescue
5 people who were shot in front of me or who were wounded by shelling in
6 front of me. I saw on several occasions, and of course I photographed
7 incidents where people were wounded and killed in front of me.
8 Q. And taking account of your various experiences which you've
9 already informed the Court of, did you take any steps to try and ascertain
10 where some of these sources of fire were, be they, you say by shelling or
11 people shot by bullets? Did you do anything of that type?
12 A. Yes, and I was -- when I was in the Holiday Inn the first month I
13 arrived, I stayed at the Holiday Inn until I was wounded, and from there
14 was a Canadian contingent from UNPROFOR, from the United Nations
15 Protection Force, that managed the food for the UNPROFOR forces. I met
16 some of the Canadian soldiers, and when I went up to the upper floors of
17 the Holiday Inn, above my room, I would watch the shelling of the city
18 from above, and I could actually gauge the gunfire by sound and then zero
19 in on where the position was the fire was coming from and I was able to
20 actually see activity of artillery and tanks being moved back and forth.
21 I could follow tracers back and in the evenings I could see the muzzle
22 flashes of guns and in the morning it was easy to identify where those
23 guns were located.
24 Q. And were you able, from making those observations, to ascertain on
25 whose territory those locations were, in other words, who controlled the
1 territory where you spotted those sites?
2 A. Yes, I did. It was very easy to me and I pointed it out to
3 Canadians and other journalists who were with me, CBS news and Italian
4 news. There was a great news crew there. I was able to get a tank
5 position and another firing position pointed out and they all filmed it
6 and the next morning we saw where it was, above Grbavica, which was a
7 Republik Srpska controlled territory.
8 Q. I would like to ask you, in fact, whether you can name just some
9 examples of these kind of positions and state at this stage, you know,
10 roughly where they were, whether they were north, south, west, or east of
11 the city. So I mean, can you give us some examples of places that you
12 identified this?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Pilipovic?
14 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence has the
15 objection to the question put by my learned colleague. The question was
16 to explain the positions, and the witness has not told us that he had any
17 knowledge of what the positions were that we were talking about and at
18 what time. This is a very general question indeed. We do not know what
19 positions and whose positions you're referring to. I believe that my
20 learned colleague should be a bit more specific when putting this
21 question, and whose territory. I don't know what territory is meant here.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Pilipovic, let me just try to see whether I can
23 clarify the issue. I see as one of the answers, it's on my screen at
24 164258 that the witness is saying I was able to get a tank position and
25 other firing position pointed out, and they all filmed it. So it was my
1 understanding that the question was referring to the positions mentioned
2 by the witness. But --
3 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, but what
4 positions? We do not know what positions are meant. The witness simply
5 said, "I saw positions." If my colleague could specify this question is
6 bit further.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Blaxill, if you would agree to specify.
8 MR. BLAXILL: Yes. I mean, I can save the Court time. I'll just
9 rephrase it slightly. I don't agree with the objection, but I'm happy to
10 save time and just rephrase, if that assists.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
12 MR. BLAXILL:
13 Q. You have mentioned -- I've asked you whether you took any
14 observations to try and ascertain some places where you thought you saw
15 sources of fire of shelling or whatever on the city. Now, you have
16 mentioned a couple of locations. You said something about a tank location
17 and another firing point. Can you please tell the Court, Mr. Ashton,
18 where exactly those locations you referred to are for the tank position
19 and the other gun position and indicate where they are in relation to the
20 city of Sarajevo.
21 A. Yes. Both positions were -- one position was above Grbavica,
22 which I can't remember the side of the city that's on, but -- east, west,
23 north, and south. I can't -- I'm out of track on which way the city is
24 laid out now. I've forgotten that. But Grbavica, I could tell you
25 clearly the areas. Trebevic, just below the mountain, below the ski lift,
1 is where I saw one of the guns firing from and the other is obviously
2 Grbavica, which I had later gone over to visit on several occasions and
3 the gun was there when I was there. The tank was at the top of the hill
5 Q. And do you know what the name of that hill was, the other hill?
6 A. There's a monument there at the top of the hill above Grbavica.
7 It's Vrace, I think. I can't remember the name of the towns. I don't
8 know the Serbian-Croat names any more because it's been a long time for
10 Q. Well, we can get to discussing some of these locations more on
11 a -- a little later on. Mr. Ashton, so you have made reference to
12 shelling and sniping in the city at that time. Can you give just any
13 indication of the amount of shelling and frequency and the amount of
14 sniping and frequency that you observed in the July 1992? And I
15 appreciate this is an early period, so we need to be brief on the point,
16 if you would.
17 A. Well, I mean, July 1992, October, September, it didn't matter. It
18 was fairly consistent all during that time except I was out for a little
19 while. In July 1992 there was heavy shelling morning, noon, and in the
20 early evenings. But that pattern continued on from throughout the war, as
21 far as I could see. There was also a lot of sniping individually in the
22 morning and then there was large amounts of sniping in different areas,
23 but sometimes it would be very heavy. A few days it would be light. It
24 was never -- there was never any consistency to it except for patterns of
25 heavy shelling during a certain part of the day.
1 Q. And when you had returned to Sarajevo, you've already made some
2 reference to September, but when you returned to Sarajevo, how were things
3 at that time? This is now into the month of September, late September.
4 A. Yes. At the beginning of September, when I was first back from
5 Germany and late August right into the early part of September, September
6 and October were just -- they were disastrous for Sarajevo. I stayed in
7 PTT for a while before I moved down town and the shelling throughout the
8 city was so heavy that we were constantly on code red for Sarajevo. The
9 UN forces were on code red. We were constantly warned about movement
10 throughout the city by UNPROFOR command. We could stand in the window of
11 the PTT, we could see the shells come down in the middle of a group of
12 civilians who were walking down the boulevard, the main boulevard outside
13 the window. It was very heavy constantly and there were several days when
14 Republika Srpska command told UNPROFOR, told the people that I was with
15 there and the UNPROFOR commander would notify us at UNHCR told us that we
16 shouldn't go out because they said they were not going to stop shelling.
17 They were trying to blow up the airport bridge, for example, one day in
18 late September, to keep anyone from travelling across the bridge. In
19 doing that, they were also trying to -- they hit the apartment complexes
20 right in that area. It was very heavy throughout, all the way through the
21 end of October.
22 Q. That being said, do you recall -- were you, though, out and about
23 in the city of Sarajevo during this period?
24 A. Yes. I went out every day, no matter what. I travelled back and
25 forth to the hospitals and I travelled up to visit people.
1 Q. Did you, therefore, witness the actual impact of shells around the
2 city of --
3 A. Indeed, I did.
4 Q. And at that time, in late September 1992 and moving on into the
5 winter of 1992, can you give some indication to the Court of the kind of
6 targets that appeared to be hit by those shells?
7 A. Yeah. There were several incidents in which I was driving down
8 the road. One evening in particular, there were camera crews from
9 international and local television that were there with you me. An
10 apartment complex was deliberately shelled and set on fire. I saw that on
11 more than one occasions but I remember that specific incident because
12 people were trying to climb out from the burning building and being shot
13 at from across the Grbavica area. There was many incidents in which I was
14 driving into an area and I would see an entire area of houses just
15 sporadically shelled. I was in the Holiday Inn one day and I watched a
16 tank come out on a hill in October I saw this earlier in July but I saw it
17 again in October coming out and just fire into a neighbourhood of homes
18 and I had just come from that area and there was no military activity up
19 there that I could see. In fact, there were civilians out on the street.
20 So it was a lot of sporadic, random shelling of the city.
21 Q. And when you saw these particular places, like apartment blocks
22 and houses receiving shell hits, were you able to observe whether there
23 was any other form of military presence there, whether there were any
24 vehicles, weapons, troops of any description?
25 A. No. I very rarely saw the Bosnian forces except walking to and
1 from a position, but the thing is they were not -- most of them were not
2 armed because at that point early in the war they didn't have any weapons
3 except for the ones on the front lines which they traded. When the one
4 came in unarmed, he would take the weapon from the other person who was on
5 the line and they didn't -- you didn't see any military equipment like
6 tanks because the Bosnians didn't have the heavy hardware that was on the
7 other side of the front line, on the Serb side.
8 Q. And did you at any time, however, see the effects of shells
9 landing on other targets which might have been commercial or military or
10 things of that nature?
11 A. Oh, yeah. There was an attack which lasted for an hour right next
12 to the PTT building which hit a factory. The firemen came out to fight
13 the fire and then of course there was a lull in the shelling and as soon
14 as the firemen arrived they started firing again, the shells started
15 coming in again. There were several -- the hospital was hit, the State
16 Hospital was hit right in front of me one day when I was there. And I was
17 at a funeral up in the cemetery, in the Lion's cemetery just below Kosevo
18 hospital, and I was looking back over my shoulder while I was at this
19 funeral and the shells hit in the hospital compound and before I could get
20 out of the cemetery the shells started to fall in the cemetery, right
21 around the area where the funeral was being held. In fact, all six or
22 seven of the shells that came in landed right in the area of the funeral.
23 Q. And can you say when that happened?
24 A. That happened on two occasions. It was once in October that I
25 remember very clearly and then again earlier in July, when I went to a
1 funeral for a friend of mine that I had met there in Sarajevo.
2 Q. Now, sir --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Pilipovic, you are standing, so --
4 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since the witness has
5 been recounting the events which happened prior to the period covered by
6 the indictment for more than an hour, I would like to ask my learned
7 colleague to reply as to why this is relevant. Why is it relevant for the
8 witness to go on for about an hour talking about July and August, since
9 this pertains to the period of time prior to the period of time covered by
10 the indictment? And I would really like my colleague to explain why this
11 is necessary.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Blaxill, would you respond to the --
13 MR. BLAXILL: Yes. In the sort of general sense, I had actually
14 concluded asking in the more general sense of his earlier experiences in
15 Sarajevo and I propose going to certain specifics which albeit by way of
16 date may predate the indictment. I think the relevance will become clear
17 in terms of identification of specific locations. These will be locations
18 which have relevance very much so to incidents, encounters and experiences
19 that this witness will offer in relation to the years 1993 and half of
20 1994. But it sets the background as to the locations he identified and
21 how he did so. So I would crave the Court's indulgence just to do that.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE ORIE: You may proceed, Mr. Blaxill. The objection is
25 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Your Honour. I would just like one more
1 moment, if I may.
2 [Prosecution counsel confer]
3 MR. BLAXILL:
4 Q. There's just one particular thing I would like to bring to your
5 attention. You made reference to a gun position that you identified
6 somewhere below mount Trebevic, and was there a particular incident in
7 1992 that enabled you to make that particular identification, perhaps in
8 July of 1992?
9 A. Well, there just -- there are a lot of incidents in 1992, but I
10 remember being in the hospital and at the Holiday Inn both when shelling
11 occurred from that position at Trebevic, and I was able to see where the
12 shells were coming from, especially in the evening when it got dark.
13 There was still firing. There was one incident where a vehicle was hit in
14 the street that was driving by the Holiday Inn on the main boulevard, in
15 which a woman was either killed or seriously wounded but not got out but
16 her driver did. There was a incident in front of the hospital which
17 several people were wounded in July of that year. The shells came from
18 the same position. You could see -- well, you could hear the shells
19 coming down.
20 Q. Was there a particular area by the Holiday Inn where you
21 identified from an impact that that was the site in Trebevic?
22 A. I'm just trying to particularly think of one incident that comes
23 to mind, but there are many in that period in July. I can't recall right
24 now what it is that really sticks out in my mind.
25 Q. You made some reference to the cable car, the street and in
1 relation to the cable car and that there was a site in that location. Do
2 you remember the name of that site?
3 A. No. No, I can't recall it right now.
4 Q. Although you can't recall the name of the site, is that a place
5 that you only identified from a distance or --
6 A. Well, let me correct -- I don't -- let me correct myself. From
7 the cable car, which the cable car on the mountain on Trebevic is what
8 I've referred to as where one of the position is, and that's where, yeah,
9 I definitely -- in fact, I went up to visit that position at a later time
10 and I was told by the forces that were there that, you know, that's where
11 they had one of the best vantage points for hitting downtown and the
12 Presidency area and the area of Alipasino Polje.
13 Q. And when you said you later visited that place, was that after
14 September of 1992?
15 A. That was in March of 1993.
16 Q. Did you visit it at any time after March 1993?
17 A. Yes, I did. I had a few visits up in the front lines areas of the
18 Republika Srpska, and that was particularly one spot I stopped at.
19 Q. And there was -- was there a place adjacent to the Holiday Inn
20 hotel where you made any identification relating to sniping rather than
22 A. Yes. There was an incident in which a woman got shot in front of
23 me, which I tried to rescue, which was a horrific incident. She had tried
24 to run across the street at the corner in front of the old Red Cross
25 building, two blocks away from the Presidency, between the Presidency and
1 the Holiday Inn hotel the main intersection there where the sniping was
2 always very heavy. And a gentleman before her had been shot through the
3 hand. I started to work on him because I crossed the street. There was a
4 shot fired at me but they missed. I started working on the wounded
5 gentleman and then there was another shot and she fell. She was shot
6 through the leg. So I turned around and ran back out to get her, and I
7 pulled her on to my legs because they opened
8 fire several times must faster from the area of Trebevic. The bullets
9 kept coming down and hitting the street around us. And as I pulled her on
10 me, there was a loud shot and she got shot in the neck, in the throat, and
11 at that point she was dead. There was no way I could save her. So I
12 rescued myself and backed out from under her and got out of the line of
14 Q. Did you make any observations that helped you ascertain where that
15 fire may have come from?
16 A. Yes, because they were using tracers. Every four or five shots
17 was a tracer.
18 Q. What was it that you observed that made you think you knew the
19 source of the fire?
20 A. You could see where the fire was coming from above the Jewish
21 cemetery at the treeline there. But also the angle of the bullet would
22 come down, and you could see it hit the street and then spark up at a low
23 angle from the impact point, which indicated it was fired from a high
25 Q. And when did this particular incident take place?
1 A. I don't recall the date of that incident.
2 Q. Can you give me a season and a year?
3 A. Yes. It was -- that incident was in the early spring.
4 Q. Of?
5 A. 1993.
6 Q. Thank you. And what about close to the Holiday Inn itself? Did
7 you have any particular -- make any particular observations of a location
8 there in connection with the sniping?
9 A. Not directly, except there was gunfire coming across the river
10 from Grbavica directly into the city, between the buildings, near the
11 university and near the Holiday Inn and near the museum. But I found out
12 later from the people that I'd met over in Grbavica that that's where they
13 had their front line set up and that's where they were firing at people
14 when they crossed the streets.
15 Q. Now, you say they had their front line set up and they were
16 firing. To whom are you referring?
17 A. When I went over to the Serb side.
18 Q. You're referring to the "Serb side"?
19 A. The Republica Srpska, yes.
20 Q. By that, do you mean the military of the--
21 A. Yes, the military. I was given a few tours over there, and they
22 showed me where their lines were, and I went into some of the rooms where
23 the windows were knocked out and sandbags were built up in the back of
25 Q. When did those incidents take place? We may refer back to them
1 later, but when did that sort of thing take place?
2 A. The first time I went down to Grbavica was probably June of 1993,
3 and then of course I continued to go down there to the pharmacy and to the
4 medical clinic to take medical supplies. And on several occasions, I was
5 invited by the Serbs to sit down and have a drink with them, and they took
6 me around.
7 Q. And again, those locations that you referred to, or the places you
8 saw the impact of shots, did you see at those times any military presence
9 there? I.e., were there any weapons or armoured vehicles or troops or
10 anything when you saw those shots?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 By the way, can I refer back to a question you asked me just a
13 little while ago?
14 Q. Please do.
15 A. Because there was one incident that came to mind, a shocking
16 incident. I was at the Presidency with the rest of the press corps in
17 Sarajevo, and a couple of us from the Detroit Free Press and CNN were
18 walking back towards the Holiday Inn, and I heard the guns go -- the
19 mortars go off at a position --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down for the
21 benefit of the interpreters. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You heard the request. Would you please try to
23 follow on the screen the questions, and once they have been written down,
24 that you only start answering them.
25 A. Okay. I will start that incident again. We were returning from
1 the Presidency after a press conference, and --
2 MR. BLAXILL:
3 Q. Can I ask you when this was?
4 A. Yes. This was in October of 1993.
5 Q. Please go on.
6 A. I had just returned from Germany. I started up a side street
7 between the State Hospital and the Presidency. I decided to take a small
8 side street that I take to protect myself when there's heavy sniping, and
9 there was sniping going on at that time. A shell had just landed five
10 minutes prior to that while I was in the Presidency, and I came out and
11 the shell landed next to a Mercedes Benz in front of the Presidency, spun
12 the Mercedes Benz around, killed both the occupants of the car. I stopped
13 to photograph that for a few seconds. Then as I proceeded on, my colleague
14 from the Detroit Free Press was behind me and following me by about a
15 minute, and I turned right to go up this little side street into a
16 protected area, next to an old mosque that had already been destroyed by
17 artillery. And just as I got to the corner where I would have gone into
18 the little square there, I saw all the people in the square talking.
19 There were some kids. There was a girl standing there with her dog and a
20 few older people sitting on a bench in front of an apartment building
21 there. I heard the thump of a mortar and then there was a loud crash, and
22 that -- with that, the entire square was -- everyone in the square went
23 down on the ground. And I was only protected because I hadn't stepped out
24 into the area where the mortar fire -- the shrapnel hit the walls. And
25 they fired two more rounds which landed in the area but did not land in
1 that particular square, but one landed right beside the hospital, which
2 was only about 40 metres away, and another one landed right behind one of
3 the buildings where the square was. By then I had turned around and I
4 could pinpoint on Trebevic that they were firing the mortar from that
6 It was a silent, still day. I remember it very clearly. And I
7 could hear the outgoing shell after the explosion, the thump of the
8 outgoing mortar, at which point I started doing medical triage. I put my
9 cameras down, and the photographer of the Detroit Free Press, he did take
10 pictures of that, and there were other journalists who came along. The
11 girl I started to treat had lost her leg and was wounded very badly in the
12 arm. We were afraid we were going to have -- we took her to the hospital.
13 Dr. Nakas, the surgeon, Abdulla Nakas, decided he was going to have to
14 take off her arm. But the father, I found out, was one of the people that
15 I went to try to help, and he was hit in the head with shrapnel and
16 several small shrapnel wounds throughout his body. He died, and other
17 victims in that square died as well. All together there were five shells
18 that I remember, and then it stopped.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Ashton, can you -- we've been talking about
20 certain locations that you identified as Bosnian-Serb-held places with
21 artillery or the like. Do you recall the name of Bistrik Kula as a
22 location near Sarajevo?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And where was Bistrik Kula?
25 A. Bistrik Kula is also in the area of Trebevic, by the cable lines,
1 by the cable car.
2 Q. And did you have any particular reason to take notice of that
4 A. Yes, because there was a gun position there.
5 Q. And do you recall what sort of guns were fired from there?
6 A. Well, there was an anti-aircraft gun or a -- there was also a
7 12-millimetre -- what they called a Daska [phoen], D-s-h-k-a, whatever,
8 and I actually went up there later on and visited that area as well.
9 Q. And did you -- can you give us the dates between which you paid
10 visits to that area?
11 A. That again was after June 1993. In March I began going to Pale to
12 take medicines to the hospital, the Serb hospital in Pale, and travelling
13 around to Grbavica and to other areas in the Serb-controlled territory to
14 check on their medical needs. And I eventually started getting stopped at
15 checkpoints, and when Serb soldiers knew I had medicines, they asked me
16 for help for their families. And as I got to know them, they asked me to
17 stop and have coffee with them or have a drink of slivovitz with them, and
18 eventually they started inviting me to come and sit down with them, and
19 that's how I was able to go to these positions.
20 Q. And can you just -- we will get into that in some detail a little
21 later, but at this stage, Mr. Ashton, can you indicate how many such
22 positions you must have -- you did visit during the course of the year
23 1993 and the first part of 1994?
24 A. At least -- at least ten positions. There were other areas that I
25 didn't see as significant, but as far as gun positions, there were at
1 least ten, but about six of them I'm really -- I was really familiar with.
2 Q. Mr. Ashton, I just noticed something. You made a reference, when
3 you described that last incident, referring to the date October 1993, and
4 you then made reference to shortly after returning from Germany. Would
5 you -- are you correct in the dates you gave at that time?
6 A. For which incident?
7 Q. When did you come back from Germany? I think you made reference
8 to the lady and the dog.
9 A. I got back during the end of August.
10 Q. Of which year?
11 A. 1992.
12 Q. So you made a reference to this incident being in October, after
13 your return from Germany, so would that be 1992 or 1993?
14 A. 1992.
15 Q. It was 1992.
16 A. 1992.
17 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, please: During the winter of 1992 to
18 1993, prior to your starting your medical aid, NGO, what was the shelling
19 and sniping like in the city of Sarajevo during those winter months?
20 A. 1992 and 1993 was very heavy, concentrated periods of shelling and
21 sniper fire. There would be a few days where it was quiet, but for the
22 majority of the time it was consistent. I mean, you never knew when.
23 There was no indication. There were times, like I said earlier, of the
24 day when it could be very heavy. 7.00 in the morning through about 9.00
25 in the morning it would be very heavy. Then you'd see or hear heavy
1 shelling around 1.00 in the afternoon, maybe early in the evening. But
2 there were times when it would shell all day long, they would snipe all
3 day long. But later on, in the end of 1993, more towards 1994, there were
4 several agreements to have ceasefires, so there were periods of a week or
5 two weeks at a time in 1994 where it got very quiet.
6 Q. And again, during that shelling, during that period, what
7 impression did you get in terms of what was being targeted, or rather,
8 what was being hit by the shells and by the snipers?
9 A. The majority of things -- the targets I saw were civilian
10 targets. I saw a lot of people go out to water lines. These were
11 targeted specifically. And I saw people trying to cut down trees. I saw
12 snipers actually shoot at people. We had a group of people right outside
13 the PTT who attempted to cut down trees in late October or December when
14 it got cold, and in January again they would come back for what was left
15 of the trees as they were slowly being cut down.
16 Q. Sorry to interrupt you.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you said a group of people right outside the PTT. What sort
19 of people are you talking about? Would they be civilians, male, female?
20 A. The majority of them were old people. I mean, you saw a lot
21 of geriatrics, women bent over, men with an axe, and there were quite a
22 few children. Most of the children would go out and do the cutting for
23 some of their families, I assume. In one particular incident we had a
24 shelling right outside the PTT in which three people were killed, two
25 others were wounded carrying wood that they had just cut, which -- several
1 people from UNHCR office and the UNPROFOR team witnessed. The French did
2 finally go out and assist them.
3 Q. Did you, sir, did you ever see any soldiers mixed with those
5 A. No. There were no soldiers in that shelling. I very --
6 Q. Sorry. I was going to say or people wearing military clothing?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Or appearing so?
9 A. No. There were no soldiers there. And the other fact of that
10 particular incident was the UNPROFOR commander there in Sarajevo would
11 have called up the Serb liaison. At that time it was Major Brane, and
12 he told him to stop the shelling. He ordered him to stop the shelling.
13 So Brane told him he would see what he could do about it and then the
14 shelling continued throughout the evening.
15 Q. And can you again give us the date or as close to the date that
16 this happened?
17 A. That particular incident was also in December of 1993. I can't
18 give you the exact day.
19 Q. I had previously asked you, in fact we were talking about the
20 winter of 1992 to 1993, so you've just given a December. Are you sure you
21 mean 1993 or do you mean --
22 A. That was December 1992. Correction.
23 Q. Was the wood cutting exercise you referred to the one that took
24 place by daylight or at some other time?
25 A. It was a cloudy day. It was misty and very cold. It was close
1 to -- it was about at least an hour before dark, but it was clear. I
2 mean, you could see the hills and you could see into the city, all over.
3 I could see all the way to the Holiday Inn.
4 Q. Did people ever try to go out at night to gather -- to chop trees
5 and gather wood?
6 A. Frequently, and when -- occasionally a women would be brought in
7 shot at the hospital or someone would be brought in shot in the evening
8 cutting wood. I would ask how this could happen if they were in the dark
9 and I was told that the Serb soldiers had night vision equipment and they
10 could see when people were in the streets.
11 Q. Whereabouts did you personally observe the night-time cutting of
12 wood by people?
13 A. Along the main boulevard downtown all the way out to the PTT.
14 Q. Again, if you observed these people doing it, can you say whom
15 they were, civilian, military?
16 A. Yes. Again, the old people tried to go out more at night to do
17 the wood cutting because it was safer for them. They couldn't move as
18 fast and they knew it was risky to travel during the day.
19 Q. Did you personally observe casualties sustained by people at night
20 who were cutting wood?
21 A. Yes. On one occasion I stopped and helped someone into the
22 vehicle who had been shot.
23 Q. When you have made those observations of this nocturnal activity
24 did you at any time see the presence of soldiers or weapons or military
25 vehicles which would attract or could legitimately attract fire to that
2 A. No. There was generally a curfew in Sarajevo. The police had a
3 curfew and the only activity, the people who could move would be the
4 police or the military and generally the military had a standard rotation
5 at certain hours of the day. Their forces were so thin that they were
6 terribly, terribly stretched out along the front lines so you didn't see
7 much of them in the city. They were pretty much strapped to the front
9 Q. Just excuse me a second, would you?
10 [Prosecution counsel confer]
11 MR. BLAXILL:
12 Q. And during -- we've been talking about the night-time wood
13 chopping. Now, when you stopped with your Land Rover to help somebody,
14 when did that take place? In what year?
15 A. That was January of 1993, that particular incident.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 A. I took the victim to the State Hospital.
18 Q. Thank you. Mr. Ashton, in fact, I would like to move to, briefly
19 to the State Hospital. Where was it that you were staying in Sarajevo
20 when you had returned from Germany after your treatment?
21 A. When I returned I went straight down to the State Hospital to let
22 the doctors know that the German doctors wanted to send medicine, and I
23 met both Abdulah and Bakir Nakas again with whom I had built a
24 relationship when I was there the first time, and they invited me to stay
25 at the hospital. If I wanted a room, I need a room, I could stay there.
1 I had an option to stay at the PTT, but I went ahead and chose to stay at
2 the hospital because I thought it would be easier for me to go from there
3 to Kosevo hospital to do an analysis of both hospitals.
4 Q. So staying in the hospital, what was the situation regarding the
5 shelling and sniping in terms of any effect on the State Hospital while
6 you were resident there at the end of 1992 and into the beginning of 1993?
7 A. The State Hospital was significantly damaged in late 1992 and on
8 into 1993. Every day a shell would be fired into the hospital. Whether
9 it was a heavy shell or anti-aircraft shell, there would be always
10 something hitting that hospital. On certain times you were not sure if it
11 was deliberately targeted and it was just a straight bullet that hit it.
12 But oddly enough, every morning around 7.00 a.m., we would get hit with an
13 anti-aircraft shell low in the hospital, come off of Trebevic and slam
14 into the building. It happened around noon every day, but there were
15 incidents in which the shells came directly into the hospital facade. It
16 was obvious when targets were hit directly and continued on for five
17 minutes that that was the particular target and I saw that on several
19 Q. And can you say -- you say you saw that on several occasions. Can
20 you give us a time span as to when you actually witnessed that? Again,
21 was any of this after September 1992?
22 A. One particular incident I remember on September 23rd when the
23 hospital took three major hits from two sides, one from the front and two
24 shells hit it from the east, from towards Pale. But that day was a very
25 crucial day because we had so many wounded people from the street come in
1 and a shell landed just as some of the wounded were arriving and wounded
2 more that had gone out to help.
3 Q. You've referred to the east side, you've referred to the front of
4 the hospital. Do you know the area, or areas that the front of the
5 hospital faced?
6 A. The front of the hospital faced directly across to Grbavica,
7 directly into the Jewish cemetery area.
8 Q. You've made reference -- I will ask you that. Can you indicate to
9 us which forces had control of the Jewish cemetery area and had control of
10 Grbavica area at that time?
11 A. Below the Jewish cemetery was in control of Bosnian forces. Above
12 the cemetery and where the shelling for that particular day that the
13 hospital was being fired at, was just above -- there was a tree line there
14 and there was a tank or a big gun in there firing into the hospital.
15 Q. You personally witnessed this with your own eyes?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And can you state to us about how far away from the hospital we
18 have, let us say, where you said the Bosnian-held area, the bottom of the
19 cemetery, how far was that from the hospital?
20 A. The Bosnian-controlled territory in front of the hospital made an
21 angle and up the hill. To the right of the hospital the
22 Bosnian-controlled territory ran right along the river.
23 Q. How far was that from the hospital?
24 A. Maybe a hundred metres, 110 metres.
25 Q. And how far -- how much further was it from the hospital to the
1 front line of the --
2 A. About 450, 500 metres, 400 metres. I'd say 400 metres easily.
3 Q. And behind that point some 400 metres away , was all the territory
4 behind that under the control of the SRK?
5 A. Republika Srpska, yes.
6 Q. So you have witnessed those shellings. Was there another incident
7 shortly after in September that was significant, I mean September 1992 at
8 that point?
9 A. Well, the incident, like I said, the September 23rd, was one of
10 the most serious I saw at that time, because --
11 JUDGE ORIE: If I may interfere, I see that for the record, you
12 went too fast again. Could you please, Mr. Blaxill, resume your
13 questioning at 17.24.33 so that we can hear the answer and then continue.
14 MR. BLAXILL:
15 Q. Yes. At that point I asked you, Mr. Ashton: Behind the point,
16 some 400 metres from the hospital, where there were the first SRK troops,
17 was all the territory behind that under the control of the SRK? I think
18 you replied Republika Srpska, yes.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Yes. I think we are where we left off, then. And I then asked
21 you: You witnessed those shellings, was there another incident in
23 MR. BLAXILL: So I think everything is on the record now, Your
24 Honours. I'm just sorry that the pair of us went a little quick.
25 Q. To go back to that, I'm just tracking your answer. My apologies.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Yes. You were just staying that September 23rd was one of the most
2 serious incidents you saw at that time because --
3 A. We had more than 40 casualties come in immediately to State
4 Hospital. Others were taken to Kosevo hospital. One particular couple I
5 remember, Sandra and her boyfriend both had been wounded, Svetozar. She
6 had a very serious leg injury and I started working on her. I cut off the
7 pants leg and her boyfriend had also a serious leg injury, and I thought
8 both of them were going to have their legs amputated. There was a woman
9 who told me she -- I went over to another woman who told me she was just
10 waiting for a bus because the Sarajevo -- the government there in
11 Sarajevo had decided to try to start running the buses just to try to give
12 people some sense of normalcy in the city. And there were several people
13 waiting at that stop and that's where most of the victims had come from.
14 In the case of Sandra, she later told me that she and her boyfriend had
15 stopped to help a wounded woman and when they went out, they knew the risk
16 that there would be -- after the first two shells there would be a pause
17 and then there would be more shells coming to wound the rescuers. But she
18 said they couldn't leave that woman there, but the woman turned out to be
19 expired. So when they were dealing with her injury, the third, fourth and
20 fifth shell came in.
21 Q. Again, did you, whilst you were in the State Hospital, do anything
22 to try and identify the sources of fire for the shells you saw coming?
23 A. Earlier -- when that attack began, I was up on the fourth floor.
24 In fact, I had just gotten out of bed. And that's how I was able to gauge
25 the first shells that were coming in, I could tell were artillery. They
1 were not mortar, they were artillery rounds and they were coming from the
2 direction of Pale. I was able to do what I usually did when I heard
3 artillery fire, I would count the seconds, and it took about 13 seconds,
4 almost exactly 13 seconds from the time of the shell fire to the time of
5 impact was about a 9-second whistle before the shell impacted, and I was
6 able to determine where those positions were generally but not until 1993
7 was I actually able to go and see that gun position on the Republika
8 Srpska side.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Blaxill, if there would be a point nearby where
10 it would be suitable to have a break. Yes, please.
11 MR. BLAXILL: Just a couple of questions probably would reach such
12 a point, Your Honour. I will do so expeditiously.
13 Q. Mr. Ashton, so you have just described you did this, and were you
14 therefore able to say or are you able to say where that particular place
16 A. Yes. I don't know the name of the place. It's not on my mind. I
17 can show you on a map. It's very easy to get to by road from Pale.
18 Q. And that being said, was that a place you subsequently visited, I
19 believe you said?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. And did you -- and when did you visit and how many times?
22 A. 1993, but 1994 is when I remember going there and actually -- it
23 was actually very difficult to get there. I was told not to stop on that
24 side by the Serb military, but one day I was travelling through and I
25 stopped in the town, in the little village there and ended up meeting some
1 people and the soldiers took me over to where the guns were.
2 MR. BLAXILL: Well, at this point, I think, Mr. President, we
3 could conveniently break.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Blaxill. We will then adjourn until
5 10 minutes to 6.00, almost 20 minutes.
6 --- Recess taken at 5.32 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 5.53 p.m.
8 JUDGE ORIE: We'll just wait until the witness has been brought in
9 the courtroom.
10 MR. BLAXILL: I'm sorry, Your Honour. My apologies.
11 JUDGE ORIE: I said we're just waiting until the witness has been
12 brought in the courtroom and then you may proceed, Mr. Blaxill.
13 MR. BLAXILL: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Ms. Pilipovic.
15 MS. PILIPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your permission,
16 I should like to inform the Chamber that I have just received two
17 statements from my colleagues, the statements that were taken by them in
18 1996 and 1998 respectively, concerning two witnesses, the statements by
19 two witnesses that are going to be examined. I have just received the
20 statements, and I should just kindly ask my colleagues to be more
21 efficient in that respect, because we are in an unfair situation like
23 MR. BLAXILL: Your Honours, they are in fact translations that
24 have just been received from the Translation Service into the language of
25 the accused and of course having just received those translations, we have
1 immediately passed them on. The original statements in one of the
2 official languages, namely English in this case obviously have been part
3 of prior disclosure. So it is only a question of the translations that
4 have now been supplied to my learned friends today as they've come into
5 our hands.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Piletta-Zanin.
7 MR. PILETTA-ZANIN: Mr. President, thank you very much for giving
8 us the floor. There has been a delay in respect of certain exhibits.
9 These statements were taken three or more years ago, and I believe that
10 this period of time should be sufficient for the purposes of translation.
11 The Defence wishes to state that it is impossible for them to prepare
12 themselves, because these exhibits, these statements, could not have been
13 given to the accused. But I think that by presenting them now at the
14 trial, this is not something that is compatible with the rules that we are
15 all required to follow.
16 JUDGE ORIE: We all know that this Tribunal has great problems as
17 far as the Translation Services are concerned, so I'm afraid I can't
18 change that overnight. On the other hand, I'd like to be sure that this
19 will not be more prejudicial to the rights of the accused as it is as
20 such, because is there any -- do you have any idea, Mr. Blaxill, when
21 these witnesses will be called of which the statements have been given in
22 translation to the Defence only recently?
23 MR. BLAXILL: The translation that has been given in respect of
24 one witness is in fact in respect of a supplemental information sheet, and
25 that document relates to a witness who will be testifying two down the
1 line from Mr. Ashton. So we have Mr. Ashton, we have a further witness,
2 and then the relevant witness for that supplemental information sheet.
3 The other witness referred to is a lady whose statement was served a long
4 time ago in the English version, and that witness we would not imagine
5 being called at least for the best part of another week. And it is a
6 fairly short statement. So in that sense, the translation -- there's
7 plenty of time, I would respectfully suggest, for the accused to read the
8 statement in his own language. As I say, it's been served in an official
9 language long since. The other document that has been supplied, again in
10 a translation form, is for a gentleman who is a psychiatrist who is on the
11 list and would not be called for at least two or more weeks. And the
12 final document is translation of a few brief annotations on a map which is
13 a disclosed exhibit in respect of Mr. Ashton, and that's been translated
14 into B/C/S even though those brief annotations will in due course be read,
15 at least I will be inviting Mr. Ashton at the appropriate time to read
16 those annotations into the record and they will be in all the languages we
17 could require. So that is the position regarding those documents, Your
18 Honours. As I say, we have done what we have done as promptly as possible
19 upon receipt from the Translation Service.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Piletta-Zanin.
21 MR. PILETTA-ZANIN: Mr. President, do I understand the matter
22 correctly if I tell you that we have received tonight, at 1800, documents
23 that the accused was not able to see or examine, and we know that he could
24 not have discussed the statements with their lawyers. In respect of the
25 examination of the witness which is supposed to be held tomorrow. And
1 once again, we are talking about the documents which have been in the
2 possession of the OTP since 1996. Or have I misunderstood the matter?
3 Please note that I am prepared to spend my first night in prison tonight,
4 but I would need a specific authorisation for that.
5 MR. BLAXILL: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Blaxill, would you please respond to this
7 objection which has been repeated.
8 MR. BLAXILL: The map in question, this is the document my learned
9 friend I think is referring to vis-a-vis the witness for tomorrow, namely,
10 Mr. Ashton. That document was effectively marked up at the time he
11 completed his statement with our office on the 14th of November this year,
12 and -- I'm so sorry. November 2001. And it was immediately after the
13 conclusion of that statement on the 14th of November, 2001 that it was
14 then submitted for translation purposes. So that the statements were duly
15 translated and all relevant documentation. And these annotations, as I
16 say, are very brief, and they have -- as I say, this is a document I would
17 be having Mr. Ashton read into the record of the Court anyway and you will
18 have a perfect translation of all of them.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Piletta-Zanin, may I first ask you a question.
21 Do you read English?
22 MR. PILETTA-ZANIN: May I answer your question in French,
23 Mr. President?
24 JUDGE ORIE: [Interpretation] Yes, but the question remains the
1 MR. PILETTA-ZANIN: My answer is I can understand -- I read
2 English perfectly, but the accused does not understand English, nor does
3 he understand French. I'm talking about the rights of the accused, not
4 about the rights of the Defence. The accused doesn't speak any of the
5 official languages of the Tribunal, and the right of the accused should be
6 safeguarded in this respect.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Piletta-Zanin, I just put a question to you
8 whether you could read English, and the reason why I put this question to
9 you is that I wanted to know in what respect you could be of supplementary
10 service to guarantee the rights of the accused. Because I think it's part
11 of the work of Defence counsel to do whatever he can in order to inform
12 his client about things that are happening during the proceedings even if
13 they are not -- if they're not perfect at the moment. Just -- I just
14 wanted to know whether you are totally blocked, if the Defence as a whole
15 team would be totally blocked by just receiving an English copy or that
16 only two members of the Defence team, if I could say that the Defence team
17 consists of the accused and two counsel, whether only part of the Defence
18 team was blocked. Because from my considerations that may have some
19 importance. Then as far as short annotations on maps are concerned, the
20 Chamber would like to give the Prosecution the opportunity to proceed, but
21 whenever it comes to a point where you say, "We have to discuss this with
22 our client," even if it was briefly, then you'll be given an opportunity
23 for that.
24 MR. PILETTA-ZANIN: Mr. President, I thank the Chamber for this
25 opinion, but what I wanted to say and what I need to reiterate here is the
1 following: It is possible that these documents which I have had in
2 English since very recently, that they contain things which could be
3 brought up by the accused, who has detailed and specific knowledge about
4 the events, the knowledge which is lacking on the part of the counsel, and
5 that is precisely the reason why we have the Rules that we have, that we
6 have to follow. I don't know always what kind of questions I need to
7 ask. It is not that I want to impose any cultural obstacles to the work
8 of the Tribunal. I am talking about the necessity, the need that we all
9 have and that the accused has. The accused has to be given opportunity to
10 prepare himself for his defence. Although my mission is to help him, and
11 this is something that we all have to do here.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Piletta-Zanin, and I'm addressing both the
13 Defence and the Prosecution, of course the Chamber is quite unhappy with
14 this -- with this late translation to be provided to the accused, and I
15 may underline again that of course this is not what it should be. And it
16 speaks for itself that if the Defence would have at a later stage, after
17 the accused has been able to read these documents, would come back to the
18 issues, I think we'll have to give them the opportunity. And I do
19 understand that it's always a second choice, because the first choice
20 would be to be properly prepared for cross-examination of the witness.
21 But let's try to do our best and also may I ask the accused to read these
22 translations as soon as possible. So at the earliest date possible you
23 can come back to it when necessary.
24 MR. PILETTA-ZANIN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. We should
25 like to propose that during the cross-examination, contrary to the common
1 usage, this cross-examination be conducted by both Defence counsel,
2 because we have this linguistical problem which is not our fault, and I
3 hope that the Chamber will give us permission to proceed in that manner.
4 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber gives you permission to proceed in that
6 Then, Mr. Blaxill, you may proceed now in the examination-in-chief
7 of the witness.
8 MR. BLAXILL: Mr. President, Your Honours, thank you.
9 Q. Mr. Ashton, we have been describing certain observations that you
10 had made from the State Hospital in the wintertime of 1992 and into early
11 1993. You had made reference to some shelling from the east side, from
12 the direction of Pale. Did you, from that hospital, make any observations
13 that identified any other sources of fire which resulted in hits upon the
15 A. The particular incident on the 23rd of September, 1992 was from
16 heavy artillery coming from the east of the city, in the morning, that I
18 Q. And what about any hits on the front side of the building that
19 faced directly to Grbavica? Did you ever make any observations by night
20 or by day that indicated the source of fire of those?
21 A. During -- yes, I did. I did make identification of shells that
22 were fired from that side of the hospital, facing Grbavica.
23 Q. And can you tell us when the first time was you made such an
25 A. The first time was back in July.
1 Q. And did you make any other such observations -- after July of
2 which year was that, sir?
3 A. July of 1992.
4 Q. Did you make any subsequent observations later that year?
5 A. Yes. September of 1992, October of 1992, December of 1992,
6 January of 1993. It was a continuous event.
7 Q. And what were the observations that you made on those occasions
8 that gave you an indication of the source of fire?
9 A. At two points in specific, I could see the artillery piece being
10 moved into place, into position. Keep in mind --
11 Q. Can you tell us, please, on which dates or as precisely as you can
12 remember on what dates you saw those pieces of artillery and where they
13 were being manoeuvred?
14 A. Because of the time lapse the dates are very difficult for me to
15 remember exactly. I do remember in October one incident from Grbavica.
16 Q. And are we talking --
17 A. On the tank.
18 Q. Is that October 1992?
19 A. 1992, yes.
20 Q. You referred to a tank. What did you observe on that occasion,
22 A. On that occasion there was a tank at the top of -- above Grbavica
23 on the hill on the road to Pale, right on the edge of the road, which
24 fired into the hospital. I went up to one of the upper floors after the
25 shell hit to take photographs, to take pictures, and when I was sitting
1 there I could hear the second shot fire. I didn't see the tank at that
2 point but it was in the direction of Grbavica. And then the third shot
3 that fired I actually saw where the tank was located. The tank withdrew
4 after the shooting.
5 Q. In which direction did the tank withdraw?
6 A. It backed up behind some trees and rocks up at the top of the hill
8 Q. And where was that place in relation to the lines, the
9 confrontation lines in Grbavica?
10 A. Again, that was up on the road to Pale, up above Grbavica, beyond
11 Grbavica, well into Republika Srpska territory.
12 Q. And did you observe such an action again in respect of that tank
13 at any other time?
14 A. Yes. I had seen that tank earlier in July. It fired into a group
15 of houses next to the Jewish cemetery. That tank came out and that was
16 one of the incidents I pointed out to CBS news and they had a cameraman
17 film it while I was talking photographs. One thing I wanted to say here
18 was I had a camera with a 300 millimetre lens, a Nikon camera with a 300
19 millimetre extra definition lens, ED lens, so I had very good vision, and
20 I also had a 1,000 millimetre lens so I could bring things in very close.
21 Once I could identify where fire was coming from, I could clearly see
22 where the position of a tank or artillery or machine-gun was.
23 Q. Aside from the location of that tank, was there anything else
24 about it that indicated whose tank it was?
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down a bit for the
1 sake of the interpreters.
2 THE WITNESS: Yes. I apologise.
3 A. Just the location of the tank was all I could really tell at that
5 MR. BLAXILL:
6 Q. Yes. I believe you said you had made the sighting in October
7 1992, then the earlier sighting in July. Did you see a tank or that tank
8 again after that date?
9 A. It would be very difficult for me to say that I saw that
10 particular tank; however, the position was exactly the same position as
11 before, or the July incident was the same position as the October
13 Q. Was there an incident again after October?
14 A. Yes, there was an incident after October, in February of 1993.
15 Q. And on that occasion, what was it you observed?
16 A. The tank appeared again when I was at the hospital and fired down
17 into the area of the Holiday Inn near the museum.
18 Q. Did you see anything of a military nature down there, troops,
19 guns, vehicles, in the place that got hit?
20 A. No, I didn't see any military activity. However, there were
21 civilians on the street crossing -- at that time there were metal barriers
22 and there were also UNPROFOR troops Ukranian and French soldiers
24 Q. Did you see any of the defensive troops of Sarajevo, the ABiH
1 A. Negative. I saw no defensive troops there. I did at that point
2 see the civilian scatter and run for cover.
3 Q. How many shells were fired on that occasion?
4 A. Three that I remember.
5 Q. Three on that occasion?
6 A. At that point I left the area too, because I was in the same area.
7 Q. And after the three shells were fired, did you observe what
8 happened with the tank?
9 A. Yes. No. I didn't observe what happened with the tank on that
10 particular incident, because, like I said, I was -- occasionally when I
11 was in the hospital area like that, I would take a picture and I would get
12 out of the window, because usually if I stayed in the window too long I
13 could draw sniper fire.
14 Q. And did you -- you said you could draw sniper fire. Did it happen
15 on that occasion?
16 A. Not on that occasion, but on previous occasions it did happen.
17 Q. Could you indicate to us any previous occasions and locations
18 where you have drawn sniper fire?
19 A. Yes. I drew sniper fire from the windows of the Holiday Inn.
20 Q. When was that, sir?
21 A. July.
22 Q. 1992?
23 A. 1992.
24 Q. How many shots do you recall being fired?
25 A. Two shots were fired. One shot actually injured an Italian
1 cameraman who was with me, the casing of the bullet when it broke up
2 against the window frame.
3 Q. And whereabouts were you when you were fired upon from the Holiday
5 A. I was in a room. It was the same evening the tank had been firing
6 at the houses across from Grbavica down into the houses, just below
7 Bistrik, near the Jewish cemetery area. And we waited after we watched
8 one of the houses catch fire. As darkness came the tank fired a few more
9 rounds into that housing area, particularly in that area of that house.
10 Then I backed out of the room in the hallway of the Holiday Inn and the
11 Italian camera crew came and I explained to them what was going on. So
12 they came out into the room, and I specifically warned one of the
13 gentleman to put out his cigarette, which he did not do, and that's what I
14 assume drew the sniper fire into that window. The first shot came in, he
15 turned around to get out and a second shot hit the window frame.
16 Q. Can you give us some idea of the time of evening that happened?
17 A. That was shortly after dark. It was dark outside. Probably
18 around 8.00, 8.30 that night.
19 Q. Perhaps you could remind us of the date of that event, when it
21 A. That particular event was in July. It was before I was wounded,
22 but not the exact date I can't tell you.
23 Q. Can you tell us any of your experiences of drawing sniper fire
24 later on in that year after September 1992?
25 A. Yes. In the window of the hospital I was taking pictures one day
1 and I thought that I was fairly safe because I stayed back in a room, but
2 I was in a room where the front had been knocked out by artillery shell.
3 So enough light apparently was getting in that somebody could watch me
4 move around the room.
5 Q. Very well. And can you state whereabouts in the hospital, you
6 mean State Hospital, I presume?
7 A. State Hospital, yes.
8 Q. Can you say whereabouts in the State Hospital that was?
9 A. On the fifth floor.
10 Q. And what side of the building, if you remember?
11 A. Facing Grbavica.
12 Q. Can you again give us an indication of the date when this
14 A. That happened in September.
15 Q. And which year was that?
16 A. 1992.
17 Q. Was that the early or later part of September, to your knowledge?
18 A. That was the early part of September. It happened again in that
19 same -- not in that particular room but in that hospital in October and
20 again later on, when I was up higher in the hospital on another floor.
21 Q. Dealing with that first event, the event we're now describing from
22 September 1992, what in fact happened then?
23 A. After the --
24 Q. When you drew the fire, how many shots were fired?
25 A. Only one shot came in. It came very close to me and I backed out
1 of the room as quick as I could get out.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Would you please keep in mind that slowing down now
3 and then it is far better for the interpretation --
4 THE WITNESS: Yes. I'm trying to pace the conversation for the
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Blaxill if you would also read the transcript so
7 that you --
8 MR. BLAXILL: I'm endeavoring to, Your Honour, but we do lapse.
9 JUDGE ORIE: It's difficult I know, yes.
10 MR. BLAXILL: It's a problem when you both work in the same
11 language. We do our best. I do apologise.
12 Q. Mr. Ashton, can you give us an indication when the next event was
13 that you drew fire of this type?
14 A. Something has just come to mind and I need to make a correction in
15 earlier testimony. Is that okay?
16 Q. If you have something you wish to correct, sir, yes, please tell
17 us what it is?
18 A. The incident -- I just started thinking about the sniper fire
19 and --
20 Q. Mind the speeds.
21 A. I remembered that the incident which happened with the woman with
22 the dog who lost the arm in the -- was wounded in the leg or lost her leg
23 and the father who was killed was in July and not in October as I
24 previously stated, I believe.
25 Q. In July of which year?
1 A. That was July, because -- 1992.
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. Now, what made me think about that was another incident which was
4 right behind the Holiday Inn, close to that same area, which was a sniper
5 incident in which I was involved.
6 Q. And when did that take place?
7 A. That took place in September, early September of 1992. There was
8 a Canadian contingent --
9 JUDGE ORIE: I again have to repeat. You really have to read
10 until the question, Mr. Ashton, as far as you are concerned, is written on
11 the screen. And Mr. Blaxill, until the response. I know, talking the
12 same language makes it difficult, but you have to do it.
13 THE WITNESS: Once again, my apologies.
14 MR. BLAXILL:
15 Q. Mr. Ashton, perhaps we could move on. You have made reference
16 here to September of 1992, but early. Now, how early in September of
18 A. I guess it was around the 15th, mid-September.
19 Q. Thank you. Very well. If you could tell us what happened on that
20 particular occasion.
21 A. I came out of the Holiday Inn to do my daily run down to the
22 Presidency. It was early in the morning, about 8.00. And I had to run
23 out the front door because there was a sniper who sporadically shot from
24 one of three apartment buildings in Grbavica a journalist or anyone
25 entering or leaving the front door of the Holiday Inn. And when I came
1 out the door, I ran along the columns in the front, at which point I heard
2 a loud pop of the larger-calibre gun that fired in the kitty-corner street
3 behind the Holiday Inn, which was fired on every day and where people had
4 been wounded and killed by the sniper. I saw an old woman and a young
5 woman. It turned out to be her daughter, trying to cross the street, and
6 the old woman froze in the middle of the street. A second shot was fired.
7 It was a large-calibre round and it made a huge blue spark off the
8 street. I laid my cameras down and her daughter was screaming for her to
9 run, and I ran out and grabbed her and pulled her out of the street, and a
10 third shot was fired at both of us, missing us by about a metre.
11 Q. You referred to a third shot. Was that again a large-calibre
13 A. Large-calibre round. I told the Canadian UNPROFOR unit in the
14 Holiday Inn immediately afterwards what happened. They brought an APC, an
15 armoured personnel carrier, from the airport out and put it in that
16 street. I went back out in the afternoon because the shooting had
17 stopped, and I leaned against the armoured personnel carrier with my left
18 arm and looked out to talk to one of the men in the armoured personnel
19 carrier, and a shot hit the front of the armoured personnel carrier. The
20 Canadian soldier in the carrier turned towards Trebevic as I ran away from
21 the carrier, and another shot was fired, and they turned the personnel
22 carrier towards Trebevic, in that direction on the street, towards Bistrik
23 Kula, and continued to make observations, and then another shot was fired
24 near the APC. And I found out later that the Canadians did identify the
25 target area but did not fire back.
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ashton. You referred to the APC. What colour was
2 that APC?
3 A. White with UN markings on the side, about a metre tall, and
4 white -- on the front were the UN markings, on the front as well.
5 Q. Were the soldiers in the vehicle wearing any noticeable headgear?
6 A. They were wearing blue helmets.
7 Q. Thank you. You've mentioned saying the elderly lady and her
8 daughter crossing the street. Can you say more precisely where that was?
9 Do you remember the name of the street?
10 A. If I refer to a map, I can remember the name, and of course the
11 street names have changed since I was there. There was a park between --
12 it was directly between Sarajevo State Hospital and Holiday Inn and it's a
13 short little angle street.
14 Q. And you've made reference to the sniping from a location in
15 Grbavica. Can you please tell us on what basis you have ascertained which
16 apartment block, where it was in relation to confrontation lines in
18 A. The Canadians again brought in an anti-sniper team. When a shot
19 was fired from that building at a non-armoured white UN pick-up truck
20 driven by two Canadian soldiers who had come to pick up food. Again, the
21 APC was brought down from the airport. Soldiers disembarked and went into
22 the Holiday Inn, to a higher floor. They waited for several hours and the
23 sniper fired again. That evening, the sniper fired once more at a
24 journalist coming in the front door, Kurt Short, from BBC, and the
25 Canadians fired one shot back.
1 Q. Can you tell us, please, Mr. Ashton, when was this?
2 A. This again was in September of 1992.
3 Q. Can you indicate what part of September?
4 A. The end of September. It was almost the last -- it was right --
5 the day before my birthday, as a matter of fact.
6 Q. Can you give us any other example of a sniping incident you had
7 witnessed, let us say, during the winter and up to the spring of 1993,
8 before you started your NGO?
9 A. I had seen, again, people trying to cross the bridges, cross the
10 river in central Sarajevo, especially in Novo Sarajevo. I would watch
11 them stop and hide behind a tree or behind a wall and then jump up and
12 run, and then the shot would be fired. I watched at a major intersection
13 near the Energoinvest building, which was another one of the most
14 dangerous intersections in all of Sarajevo, because the sniping was
15 consistent at that intersection. It was a wide, broad area that looked up
16 towards the corner of Hrasno district and Grbavica where they intersected,
17 but there was clearly a sniping position that fired down into that every
18 day, and I saw on --
19 Q. Slow down a little, if you please. Yes, please.
20 A. -- on more than one occasion women and children shot at at that
21 intersection, and one man that I remember very clearly.
22 Q. And can you give us any dates or approximate dates when you
23 witnessed --
24 A. January in particular was bad at that intersection. Several times
25 when I came to that intersection there were containers put up there, and I
1 had to run too, because the shots were fired at me.
2 Q. And what kind of shots were they in terms that you were able to
3 ascertain as to the calibre of weapon? Would these be small or larger?
4 A. It was equivalent to a 12-millimetre, 12.7, 50-calibre round.
5 Q. And on those occasions, what sort of, let us say, frequency or not
6 of the shots were there? Was this automatic fire, single-shot fire? What
7 sort of things?
8 A. The sniping fire was almost on a regular basis a single-shot
9 fire. It was clear that somebody was taking aim and taking care to fire
10 and hit the target they were intending to hit. It was very rare that you
11 would go into an intersection and draw rapid machine-gun fire. It
12 happened on occasion, especially in vehicles. Sometimes when we were
13 driving down Polje Pase [phoen], the main street that came towards the
14 Presidency from the hill.
15 Q. Again, can you give me some dates or indicated dates when you
16 encountered such automatic fire at that location?
17 A. One particular incident I remember is in October.
18 Q. Of which year?
19 A. 1992, another incident in December that my vehicle was shot at. I
20 was in a UNHCR vehicle, cleared marked. Again, it was shot at in
22 Q. And how many shots? Do you say that was automatic or single-shot?
23 A. When I came down in October, there were several shots fired at my
24 vehicle. I did not count the number. I saw two of them strike the street
25 and I heard one hit a wall beside me.
1 Q. And when you had those encounters with sniping, were there any
2 other people around at the time?
3 A. Just one or two people who -- at that time it was -- the day that
4 I got shot at in October with the -- there was already sniping going on in
5 the street all day long, so there were not many people out. When sniping
6 was consistent on any given day, the people disappeared from the streets.
7 Q. A little while back you made reference to the sniping on a number
8 of women and "a man." Can you tell us something about the man in
10 A. Yes. The man was -- I remember him very well, and the reason I
11 brought him up is because he was dishevelled. He was a middle-aged man.
12 He was not young, he was not old, but he was -- I particularly noted that
13 he seemed disoriented, and after he was shot at, he was shaking and
14 talking to himself. I went across the intersection. I was shot at. And
15 I stopped to ask him if he was okay, and he started to cry and begged me,
16 "Why are they doing this? What have I done to them?"
17 Q. When that occurred, were you able to ascertain the source of the
18 fire on that occasion? I hope I'm not repeating myself with the
19 question. If you would, please.
20 A. I couldn't ascertain the direct source of the fire. I would
21 assume it was from the angle -- if you were to walk -- on days when it was
22 quiet, I was able to get on the other side of the metal barriers. These
23 are cargo containers. It was of particular interest to me, because one of
24 the US -- the US ambassador there at the time, Jakovic, had someone there
25 who pointed out to me the way to find out where the fire is coming from is
1 to get in the container or behind the container and look at the angle from
2 where the bullet comes in and I was able to see that all the bullets marks
3 were coming down from a high position. He actually had a man go into the
4 container from the Presidency, from the US embassy and string draw where
5 the bullets were coming from and they could tell exactly where they were
6 coming from on the area of Bistrik Kula, above --
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ashton. Just a moment, please.
8 [Prosecution counsel confer]
9 MR. BLAXILL:
10 Q. Mr. Ashton, you've made -- I know we've referred to this incident
11 earlier in more connection with the ladies. Can you tell us, please,
12 where, on what intersection, that incident you've just described took
13 place involving the man?
14 A. Again, I need to look at the map to name the street. It's the --
15 the back route we took from the Holiday Inn or downtown to the PTT. The
16 front route was much too dangerous. It was wide open to sniper fire,
17 so ...
18 Q. And --
19 A. It was right next to Energoinvest building. That's one marker I
20 can ...
21 Q. And can you say if one was standing on the street facing either
22 direction, where would you be facing towards, from Energoinvest if you
23 looked down towards the source of fire? Where would you be looking at?
24 A. Above Hrasnica. The hill above Hrasnica, Trg Heroja, in that
1 Q. And those locations you've just mentioned, in which territory were
3 A. There's a big sports stadium on the Republika Srpska side, right
4 at the front line. That's the area that the fire was coming from.
5 Q. You say the sports -- the area, was that area beyond that sports
6 stadium, if you say that was the front line?
7 A. Beyond that sports stadium, yes, or beside the sports stadium
8 there were houses on a steep hill which --
9 Q. And can you give an idea of how elevated a position that is? Is
10 it very high, medium?
11 A. It's a very good height to fire down into that intersection. It's
12 clearly visible from the intersection.
13 Q. And you've mentioned the way that the Americans arranged to have
14 this testing done of the angle of fire inside the container using string.
15 Can you say when and where that was done?
16 A. That was done in early 1993, after the Holiday Inn had been fired
17 on. Jakovic and the embassy staff when they first opened the new US
18 embassy in Sarajevo, they worked out of the Holiday Inn, and one day
19 shells were fired in the proximity of the rooms where the Americans were
20 located, and there was heavy sniper fire. And Jakovic and his assistant
21 Jennifer both began talking to me about someone who was working on their
22 staff. I don't know if he was military or what his position was, but he
23 was going to start doing examination. He just arrived in Sarajevo to
24 assist with the identification of the weapons being used.
25 Q. Now, do you recall whether this examination using the string
1 technique was performed on the containers at the location where you said
2 the incident happened with this man?
3 A. Yes. They were performed at that location in front of the
4 Presidency, and in three positions in front -- between the museum and the
5 university and the Holiday Inn.
6 Q. And were they all done at about the same time, within --
7 A. At that particular time they did all the measurements, but I also
8 know that they all -- they continued to do it later on. They coordinated
9 with the French G-4.
10 Q. And again, can you just remind us, please, of the date when the
11 incident occurred with the man?
12 A. That was either in December or January. It was really cold and it
13 was -- it was a very cold day, I remember.
14 Q. Are we talking 1992?
15 A. 1992, 1993, right in that -- it was right around the holiday
16 season there.
17 Q. To take you back for a moment to another set of incidents that you
18 say you witnessed, and that's in relation to the bridges. Can you say how
19 many of the bridges over the river were usable or were being crossed by
20 people at the end -- towards the end of 1992 and early 1993?
21 A. At least five bridges that I know of.
22 Q. And were those bridges in any particular end of the town or were
23 they --
24 A. Three of them were in the old town section and two of them were up
25 in Novo Sarajevo.
1 Q. About how far is it from the old town area to Novo Sarajevo in
2 terms of those bridges?
3 A. Almost 1.500 metres, 2.000 metres.
4 Q. And was there any way that you could ascertain the source of fire
5 down onto those bridges, where it came from?
6 A. For me, now?
7 Q. How close were the bridges to the front line?
8 A. Three of them were probably about 800 metres in the old town
9 section. The one near Trg Heroja was probably 500 metres from the corner
10 of Grbavica and Trg Heroja front line.
11 MR. BLAXILL: Excuse me just a moment.
12 [Prosecution counsel confer]
13 MR. BLAXILL:
14 Q. Pardon me, Mr. Ashton. I do apologise for the state of my voice.
15 When you were in the State Hospital as a resident - and I'll just try and
16 finish with this period of your time in Sarajevo - I believe you said you
17 used to assess needs and things for your proposed supply of proprietary
18 medicines in the future. Did you have much contact with patients within
19 the hospital?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. And the staff?
22 A. Every day I would visit the hospital and meet with Dr. Nakas,
23 Abdulah Nakas, occasionally with the hospital's director, Bakir Nakas, but
24 especially the general doctors working in the emergency area, and I would
25 do rounds with the doctors to see what the most critical needs were,
1 almost on a daily basis, which gave me an opportunity to speak with
2 patients about their injuries, about their needs. And it was normal in
3 conversation to ask, "Where were you wounded? How were you wounded? Do
4 you remember coming, being brought in?" And I was able to ascertain a lot
5 of information from the parents.
6 Q. Can you give some idea -- I mean, having had that amount of
7 contact with the patients, can you give us any idea of the -- during that
8 period, the winter of 1992 into 1993, whether there were military patients
9 there, you know, former soldiers, or civilians, and if so, in what ratio?
10 And what about sort of the quantities of women or children or very old
12 A. I did an assessment, which I gave to the World Health
13 Organisation, over a one-month period, 30-day period, and discovered that
14 the majority of the patients, and it turned out to be 80 per cent plus or
15 minus 5 per cent, were civilian casualties who were not armed. There were
16 very few males in that population. It was largely women and children. Of
17 that percentage it was about 70 per cent women and children.
18 Q. Did that, during your period of acquaintance --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MR. BLAXILL: I'm so sorry.
21 Q. Did that sort of ratio change significantly, as far as you are
22 aware, in your ongoing contact with the hospital and its staff and
24 A. No. There was never a significant change. I asked one day about
25 military casualties to one of the doctors, and he said because the forces
1 were spread out, that they had a few clinics which they dealt directly
2 with trauma injuries, on the front line, and there were not that many.
3 Q. And can you inform us, please, when you actually performed that
4 particular assessment that you did for the WHO?
5 A. I'll try to think of the timing of that. It had to be close to
6 the very last part of December of 1992, because Margaret was still there
7 from Sweden and she was the WHO representative. She concurred that my
8 figures were correct. She said it was a very high number, because she had
9 gone on two occasions and found the same results.
10 Q. When you performed this assessment, did you do so over a given
11 period, or was it on a --
12 A. Yes. It was Over 30 days.
13 Q. Over a 30-day period. Can you recall which 30-day period that
15 A. It was during the month of December, and it may have been early
16 January when I finally concluded, of 1993.
17 Q. Thank you. Did you, having described the damage to the State
18 Hospital, did you have cause to visit any other hospitals within Sarajevo?
19 A. Yes. I visited the Kosevo Hospital centre at least twice a week,
20 talked to doctors specifically about proprietary needs.
21 Q. Over what period would you make those regular visits?
22 A. That was throughout the entire time I was there, from 1992 to end
23 of 1995.
24 Q. I may perhaps just interject that one question. When did you
25 eventually then leave Sarajevo, Mr. Ashton?
1 A. In the very end of 1995, of October 1995. I also visited the
2 hospital in Dobrinja, which was hardly a hospital. It was a converted
3 building into a hospital, out of necessity, that they couldn't transport
4 people out of Dobrinja in the first period of the war, the first quarter
5 of the war. In fact, it wasn't until 1993 that the road from Dobrinja was
6 actually safe enough to transport people out. It was around April of 1993
7 the hospital -- casualties began coming into the city hospitals. And I
8 also visited the tuberculosis hospital in Republika Srpska, near Lukavica,
9 and also I worked with the hospital in Blazuj, the Serb hospital in
10 Blazuj, and the Serb hospital in Pale.
11 Q. Now, I'd like to ask you: Did you perform any kind of equivalent
12 assessment type of work in any of the other hospitals as compared to the
13 one you did at State?
14 A. No, I didn't in the other hospitals, although on the Serb side I
15 did determine that much of the problem was from disease and other
16 illnesses, problems that they had, but there were very, very few
17 casualties in the Serb hospitals. I did run into a few soldiers who were
18 wounded on the front line in Pale hospital, where they were brought after
19 treatment, closer to the front lines, because the distance was so far.
20 Q. I'd like to ask you, then, in fact, just one final point regarding
21 the assessment you did perform, and that is: Can you indicate the
22 number of casualties who informed your, you know, your statistical base,
23 if you like, for that assessment? Can you recall the numbers?
24 A. I'm sorry. Let me -- I'm not quite sure I understand the question
1 Q. I probably asked it rather clumsily, Mr. Ashton. How many
2 casualties formed your survey? Was it 10, 100, 200? When you did the
3 assessment --
4 A. There were over 400 patients. Around 400 exactly almost.
5 Q. Thank you. So you have made reference to other hospitals that you
6 have visited, and I'd like to pursue just briefly at this stage the
7 question of the Serb hospitals, Pale and I think it's Blazuj.
8 A. Blazuj.
9 Q. Blazuj. Thank you. And can you give now from recollection any
10 idea of again the percentage of people who would have been patients with
11 just normal diseases or whatever and persons who were there through some
12 kinds of injuries from violence?
13 A. Yes. The two doctors -- the three doctors, rather, running the
14 three hospitals that I visited in Serb territory were very, very
15 cooperative in allowing me access to patients and their figures. Their
16 casualty figures were about 4 or 5 per cent from the war itself.
17 Q. Five per cent -- four or five per cent of what?
18 A. Their patients, their total patients.
19 Q. Would that be admissions, full admissions to hospital?
20 A. Admissions, yes.
21 Q. And of that 4 to 5 per cent of admissions, did they give you any
22 idea as to how many of those were civilian casualties or military, i.e.
23 combat, soldiers who had been wounded?
24 A. They didn't tell me that. Mostly, though, they did explain to me
25 that the casualties were front line soldiers. However, occasionally one
1 would be brought into Pale, a woman or a civilian male would be brought in
2 from Grbavica or somewhere else around the city, but it was very low. And
3 I did see a very few number of civilian patients in those hospitals. They
4 were wounded by artillery or gunfire.
5 Q. If I may return to the hospitals within Sarajevo. Regarding your
6 visits to Kosevo Hospital, could you see at the end of 1992 and in the
7 winter through to 1993, to start with, did you see any signs of damage
8 from war or damage of that type to the Kosevo hospital complex?
9 A. Yes. One day when I was there two shells did damage to two
11 Q. Could you tell me, sir, when it was that you were there?
12 A. It was October.
13 Q. Of 1992?
14 A. 1992. I was meeting with Medecins Sans Frontieres
15 Q. Where were you when these shells landed?
16 A. I was in a building near the entrance gate, south entrance gate to
17 Kosevo hospital.
18 Q. And what was it you witnessed on that occasion?
19 A. We heard the explosions, several people took cover in the building
20 I was in, went down one floor because it was partially covered by ground
21 on one side.
22 Q. By explosions, Mr. Ashton, I presume you mean --
23 A. Artillery impact, artillery rounds.
24 Q. Thank you, sir. Yes, would you go on, please, Mr. Ashton.
25 A. I ran out towards the main hospital, and when I came out I saw
1 people coming out of a building, one building, running towards the main
2 hospital as well, and they said their building had just been hit, which
3 was down the hill towards the Lion's Cemetery, the lowest building on
4 the complex. And then I found out that one section of the main hospital
5 had been hit as well.
6 Q. Were you aware on that occasion or did you witness on that
7 occasion any casualties?
8 A. Not that particular occasion.
9 Q. Are there any further occasions that you witnessed?
10 A. In front of the State Hospital there was a medical staff personnel
11 wounded outside when we were taking in patients.
12 Q. And can you tell us when that happened?
13 A. Yes. That happened in early 1993. I don't know the month or the
14 day. It was around March.
15 Q. And what was the cause of that injury to that medical staff
17 A. The cause or the extent?
18 Q. The cause, to start with.
19 A. The cause was shrapnel hitting directly in the front up above the
20 fifth floor of the hospital, in the front of the hospital.
21 Q. And yes, you can describe briefly the injury to the staff member.
22 A. Wounded in the arm and the leg.
23 Q. Thank you. Returning to -- I believe we were going to see if
24 there was a further matter -- yes. I had asked you, in fact, any other
25 further occasions that you witnessed. By that I'm also thinking of Kosevo
1 hospital. Did you witness any other shelling incident or other sort of
2 firing at the Kosevo hospital, again this similar period to the early
4 A. Yes. There were other times when shells hit when I was in the
6 Q. Can you give us just an indication of the dates when you were
7 there when such things happened?
8 A. Middle of 1994 I was -- late 1993 there were several incidents in
9 which the Kosevo compound came under fire directly.
10 Q. You're positive, late 1993?
11 A. 1993.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 A. Because I got a complaint from a doctor when I was down at the UN
14 headquarters. I answered the phoned in UNHCR, and he wanted to file a
15 complaint with UNPROFOR and he said the French wouldn't answer the phone,
16 wouldn't take his call. He was looking for Tony Land, and complained that
17 the hospital was being deliberately shelled.
18 Q. Now, sir, taking --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
20 MR. BLAXILL: I do apologise.
21 Q. Taking those two incidents you've now described, or at least that
22 have occurred, could you say whether you were able to ascertain the source
23 of the fire for the shells that struck the hospital on those occasions?
24 A. The source of fire from the first incident was only according to
25 the people who were outside at the time the shells landed. I talked to
1 somebody in front of the morgue next to the main hospital who said he
2 witnessed the shell fire. He said it came from above the zoo in the Serb
3 position up there that faced the hospital and faced down into the valley
4 of the Lion's Cemetery in the centre of Sarajevo, but I did not see
6 Q. On the first occasion you've described, can you tell us what sort
7 of shell it was? I mean, was this artillery tank, mortar?
8 A. I couldn't tell because I was inside the building when it
9 happened, but it was a very, very large explosion. I assume it was
10 artillery shell.
11 Q. And the second incident that you've mentioned at Kosevo Hospital,
12 again, can you give any indication as to the style of ordnance that was
14 A. Mortar rounds were used in that because they were smaller and you
15 could hear those come in.
16 Q. As a matter of interest, then, you've had experience of these
17 things. May I ask you: What is it that you hear that tells you that this
18 is a mortar round as opposed to some other?
19 A. Mortars and artillery are distinctively different when you're on
20 the receiving end. Mortar makes a sound of a thump when it's fired. A
21 propellant is faced upwards and the shell trajectory is up and then it
22 drops down. So when the mortar round comes in, if you're within 50 yards,
23 you will hear what sounds like a pop bottle or a pop can opening. There's
24 a zip and then the impact almost instantaneously after the zip sound.
25 Artillery is a loud boom and it takes a longer time to -- for the
1 projectile to come forward. By the time the projectile reaches 1.000
2 metres it begins sending out a sound field, which is the whistling sound
3 that can be observed as the shell comes in. Usually two to three seconds
4 before the shell hits you'll hear it whistling and sometimes as much as 9
5 seconds, depending on how far back it is, 10 seconds.
6 MR. PILETTA-ZANIN: Mr. Chairman, it is my impression that expert
7 questions are going asked. I don't know if the gentleman here is an
8 expert, whether he is an expert or not, but I feel we're going a bit too
9 far with this detailed description.
10 MR. BLAXILL: Well, Your Honours, I of course already in that
11 sense we have gone into the background of Mr. Ashton's -- his -- I
12 think -- he is not being held out as an expert but he is an informed
13 observer of things and he has been personally involved. This gentleman
14 speaks from personal experience. And if he has been exposed to certain
15 things, where certain sounds happen or certain events take place, I would
16 suggest to that extent he is able to offer this information. He doesn't
17 speak as a ballistics expert; he speaks as a man whose been beneath
18 mortars and shells.
19 A. In reference to that, I have a lot of experience with --
20 JUDGE ORIE: One moment, please. It's up to the parties to
21 discuss whether the objection is to be sustained or to be denied.
22 THE WITNESS: My apologies.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE ORIE: The objection is denied, but -- and I'll explain to
25 you why, Mr. Piletta-Zanin. The witness has given answers to the question
1 whether certain projectiles were mortar or artillery projectiles. He was
2 then asked to explain how he could make the difference. But the Chamber
3 does agree with you that we are coming, although these are still matters
4 of facts in explaining why he could give the answers he has given, that we
5 come close to the limit of where it would become expertise. I think it's
6 a couple of minutes after 7.00, Mr. Blaxill. I don't know whether --
7 there has been an intervention anyhow, if you say you have still got one
8 or two questions, then looking at the interpreters' booth, we might
9 continue for one or two seconds.
10 MR. BLAXILL: I have probably only a couple of questions on this,
11 because as I say, this man is not being held as an expert witness, so just
12 a couple of things as to his -- to the number of times he has heard such a
13 sound or something of that order. But if you want to break now, Your
14 Honours, we are past 7.00. I mean, I am quite content to wrap this one up
15 in the morning, if that suits you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: I think that's better. It's almost 5 minutes over
17 7.00. I think we have to stop now and have a break until tomorrow morning
18 at 9.30 and then we'll resume.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.05 p.m.
20 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 10th day of
21 January 2002, at 9.30 a.m.