1. 1 Thursday, 23 March 2000

    2 [Open session]

    3 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.

    4 [The accused entered court]

    5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good

    6 morning, ladies and gentlemen; good morning to the

    7 technical booth, to the interpreters. Yes, I can hear

    8 you.

    9 We're back to resume the case against

    10 General Krstic. I believe I see Mr. Cayley behind this

    11 pillar. There's always this problem, but I see that

    12 the team is here. We can now move on with our case. I

    13 believe we have one witness today.

    14 Mr. Harmon, is that so?

    15 MR. HARMON: We are continuing with

    16 Mrs. Omanovic, Mr. President. Good morning,

    17 Mr. President and Your Honours; good morning, counsel.

    18 [The witness entered court]


    20 [Witness answered through interpreter]

    21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good

    22 morning, Mrs. Omanovic. Can you hear me?

    23 THE WITNESS: Yes. Thank you. Good

    24 morning.

    25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You will

  2. 1 now resume your evidence today. I should like to

    2 remind you that you are still under your solemn

    3 declaration, and you will continue to answer questions

    4 which Mr. Harmon will ask of you. Thank you.

    5 Examined by Mr. Harmon: [Cont'd]

    6 Q. Good morning, Mrs. Omanovic.

    7 A. Good morning.

    8 Q. Before we return to your description of the

    9 events in Potocari, I want to ask you a few questions

    10 about some individuals. Do you know the Streten

    11 Petrovic family?

    12 A. Yes, I do, that family, because Streten lived

    13 in the same area with me.

    14 Q. Approximately how old is Streten Petrovic?

    15 A. Forty-ish. Slightly younger than I am.

    16 Q. Do you know the name of Streten Petrovic's

    17 father?

    18 A. They called him Ilija Saspata, and even

    19 before the war he had a very characteristic long

    20 moustache.

    21 Q. Thank you very much. Now, let us return to

    22 where we were yesterday when we took a recess. In your

    23 testimony, you had described your flight from

    24 Srebrenica to Potocari, and you told us that you had

    25 arrived at a location known as the Zinc Factory. Is

  3. 1 that correct?

    2 A. Yes. We reached the compound of the zinc

    3 plating unit and that is where we spent the night.

    4 Q. Can you describe to the Judges the conditions

    5 in which you found yourself at the zinc factory?

    6 A. When we arrived from Srebrenica, we were in

    7 the yard of the zinc factory and nearby factories.

    8 People came there simply -- I don't know why, but we

    9 somehow thought we would not go any further because the

    10 UN base was there. So we somehow thought we should put

    11 up there for the night, that we should make the best we

    12 could. And everybody, whatever personal effects he had

    13 with him, looked where he would spend the night.

    14 So it was kind of a plateau, an area where we

    15 gathered. I found a cover of a container that they

    16 used to zinc plate in that factory, so we used that,

    17 covered it, and that was our bed. The baby had its

    18 pram, and we left our belongings in the pram and we

    19 simply lied down on the ground. Or, rather, you

    20 couldn't lay down, you simply had a corner where you

    21 waited what would happen next.

    22 As we sat there, snipers would fire every now

    23 and then, and all this throng would then move to one

    24 side or the other, screaming. Above us was the Pecista

    25 village where the Serb soldiers were firing at houses.

  4. 1 The sound of that shell, again we would simply dodge to

    2 one side or the other with frightened cries, and that

    3 is how we spent the night.

    4 Some were throwing up, some were scared. It

    5 was the area where you lived, even the -- that area,

    6 that small tight space was everything to us, the

    7 bedroom, the bathroom, everything. We were simply all

    8 crowded there.

    9 Q. You mentioned the village of Pecista. Could

    10 you tell the Judges what you saw happening to that

    11 particular village and houses around it?

    12 A. Above the village of Pecista, along the edges

    13 of the village, the houses were -- around there the

    14 houses were torched. They were firing shells and

    15 everything was going up in the air.

    16 Q. Were you in a position where you could see

    17 the soldiers lighting the houses on fire?

    18 A. I couldn't see the soldiers myself, but the

    19 houses were being put on fire. You can't see it with

    20 the naked eye but you can see the flames. You can see

    21 it's burning.

    22 Q. Now, in and around the zinc factory, how many

    23 people were with you? Can you estimate the number of

    24 refugees?

    25 A. The exact number I couldn't really give you,

  5. 1 but there were some several thousand people in that

    2 area. We were packed close together, and the area

    3 couldn't have had more than one kilometre square, and

    4 yet all people who had arrived from Srebrenica were

    5 there in all those production plants around the zinc

    6 plating factory. The 11 of March, the zinc plating

    7 unit, and down to the yellow ribbon that separated the

    8 UN base from the rest of the world.

    9 Q. What kind of food, what kind of water was

    10 available to the refugees?

    11 A. Only what one happened to bring along, but

    12 mostly people went without food and without water.

    13 MR. HARMON: Mr. President and Your Honours,

    14 I'm going to now show a film clip that is approximately

    15 47 seconds long, so it is a clip that will be -- you

    16 have to look at very quickly, but it will show the

    17 crowds of people. If we could have the lights reduced

    18 and we could show this clip. As I say, it's very

    19 brief, and it's taken from footage that we have

    20 available to us, and we believe it accurately reflects

    21 the number of people in and around at the particular

    22 moment. It is Exhibit number 51.

    23 [Videotape played]

    24 MR. HARMON:

    25 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, you've seen this film footage

  6. 1 before, because I've shown it to you, but does this

    2 accurately show in some respects the number of people,

    3 refugees who were in and around the buildings in

    4 Potocari?

    5 A. Yes, quite, as this film shows. It describes

    6 accurately the situation in which we found ourselves in

    7 Potocari.

    8 Q. Now, on the night of the 11th, when you were

    9 in and around the Zinc Factory, can you tell the Judges

    10 the general mood, the general mental state of the

    11 refugees?

    12 A. People were all frightened, people were all

    13 hungry, people were scared out of their wits. They

    14 didn't know what would happen next, so that those were

    15 people who were terrified. I don't know -- I don't

    16 really know how to describe it.

    17 Q. All right. Well, let's focus our attention,

    18 then, on the following day, Mrs. Omanovic, because the

    19 next day you were selected to become a representative

    20 of the Muslim people and you were selected to attend

    21 the meeting at the Hotel Fontana. Can you tell the

    22 Judges how it was that you were selected?

    23 A. In the morning, when the next morning came,

    24 Ibro Nuhanovic, Zina Civic, and Nesib Mandzic came to

    25 look for me. And they said, "We have to go to the

  7. 1 Dutch camp to talk about putting some order in this

    2 area where we are." I was lying down on the ground and

    3 I looked very untidy, so I said, "I have to change

    4 slightly and put myself in order. Why me?" "Well,"

    5 they said, "you come from Srebrenica. Most --

    6 indigenous Srebrenica." People had left Srebrenica

    7 before the war and there were very few literate

    8 indigenous Srebrenica people left.

    9 So they chose me, as a mother, as a woman,

    10 and a literate person; they asked me to go there as a

    11 representative of women, to go to the Dutch camp to

    12 talk to them, to ask for some relief in food, an

    13 organisation there. Because the weather was so hot

    14 that after a day or two we would have certainly fallen

    15 ill from one disease or another, because it was so

    16 hot. And we would have perished simply from the heat,

    17 from diseases, from hunger, from thirst, from that

    18 disorderly life.

    19 So I went with them to the Dutch camp to talk

    20 to people so that we could organise ourselves, with

    21 their help, and try to see how to make our life more

    22 organised in that area.

    23 MR. HARMON: Mr. President and Your Honours,

    24 I'm going to now show you Prosecutor's Exhibit 49,

    25 which is a small segment of film footage from that

  8. 1 meeting. The film is approximately eight minutes

    2 long. It only represents a part of the meeting. And I

    3 would ask Mr. Dubuisson to please disseminate to Your

    4 Honours copies of the transcript from that meeting.

    5 The film is Prosecutor's Exhibit 49 and the transcripts

    6 are 49A in English, 49B in French, and 49C in B/C/S.

    7 And I would ask the interpreters to please

    8 translate the film as it's being shown.

    9 Now, if we could dim the lights, please, and

    10 we could start with Prosecutor's Exhibit 49, please.

    11 Could the lights be dimmed, please.

    12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]

    13 "SOLDIER: This is their interpreter.

    14 "CAMILA: We are representatives -- wait a

    15 moment.

    16 "VOICE: Good morning.

    17 "NUHANOVIC: Ibro Nuhanovic.

    18 "MLADIC: What will you have? I will have

    19 mineral water, and offer them some juices. Madam, what

    20 is your profession?

    21 "CAMILA: I am an economist.

    22 "MLADIC: Where did you study?

    23 "CAMILA: In Brcko.

    24 "MLADIC: Are you married?

    25 "CAMILA: I am.

  9. 1 "MLADIC: And your name is Amela?

    2 "CAMILA: No. Camila.

    3 "MLADIC: Camila?

    4 "CAMILA: No. Camila. I have two children

    5 and I have a grandchild.

    6 "MLADIC: Well, you are so young, and a

    7 grandmother already?

    8 "CAMILA: A grandmother.

    9 "MLADIC: When were you born?

    10 "CAMILA: 1953.

    11 "MLADIC: What did you do before?

    12 "CAMILA: I was with my colleague here in the

    13 secondary school.

    14 "MLADIC: Then you don't need me?

    15 "CAMILA: No, I don't.

    16 "MLADIC: Can you perhaps resolve the

    17 problem? You say you were schoolfellows in the same

    18 classroom, weren't you?

    19 "CAMILA: Why couldn't we?

    20 "MLADIC: Was he perhaps popular?

    21 "CAMILA: No. We were simply good friends.

    22 We didn't know that this would happen. And I mean, had

    23 we been politicians, but we were simply citizens. I

    24 never had an argument with anyone in Srebrenica, never

    25 with anyone. I just live my good solid life, my life,

  10. 1 and it just happened so that I stayed in Srebrenica

    2 without some [indiscernible]. Here, again, what will

    3 be next?

    4 "MLADIC: Did you play any part in politics?

    5 "CAMILA: No. I was only the chief

    6 bookkeeper. I was never involved in politics.

    7 "MLADIC: And now in the war?

    8 "CAMILA: Not even in the war.

    9 "MLADIC: And the gentleman next to you?

    10 "NUHANOVIC: I'm Ibro Nuhanovic. I'm an

    11 economist, a former businessman. Now I'm in the war.

    12 Now I'm here in Srebrenica. We're stuck here.

    13 "MLADIC: Will you speak a little louder

    14 please, if you can?

    15 "NUHANOVIC: Well, I'm saying we simply

    16 happened to arrive in Srebrenica during the war.

    17 Otherwise I lived in Vlasenica.

    18 "MLADIC: And where were you born?

    19 "NUHANOVIC: I was born in the village of

    20 Soboranj, Han Pijesak municipality.

    21 "MLADIC: The village?

    22 "NUHANOVIC: Soboranj.

    23 "MLADIC: Soboran.

    24 "NUHANOVIC: I left in 1955. I went to the

    25 secondary school and then I worked here in Bratunac. I

  11. 1 worked in Srebrenica. But they chose me to come here

    2 with these people. They invited me.

    3 "MLADIC: I want to help you but I want

    4 absolute cooperation of the civilian population.

    5 Because your army has suffered defeat, there is no need

    6 for your men to get killed; your husband, your brothers

    7 or your neighbours. All you have to do is to say what

    8 you want. And I told that to a gentleman last night.

    9 You can either survive or vanish. For your survival, I

    10 request that all your men who carry weapons, who

    11 attacked and committed crimes, the men who did commit

    12 the crimes against your people, did they hand over

    13 their weapons to the Army of Republika Srpska. And

    14 after you lay down your weapons, you can choose to

    15 either stay in the territory or, if that would suit you

    16 better, to go where you wish. The wish of every

    17 individual inhabitant here will be respected no matter

    18 how many of you there are.

    19 "CAMILA: How do we get in touch with them?

    20 "MLADIC: You are in a position to know. The

    21 rest of the army can be disarmed and lay down their

    22 weapons before my officers in the presence of UNPROFOR

    23 officers. You can choose to stay or leave if you

    24 wish. If you want to leave, you can say so and you can

    25 go to the four corners of the world. After the weapons

  12. 1 are laid down, every individual can go where he says he

    2 wants to go. That is why it is necessary to provide

    3 the fuel. I'll provide vehicles. You can provide the

    4 fuel. You can pay for it. If you cannot afford to pay

    5 for it, then UNPROFOR should bring in four or five

    6 tanker trucks to fill up the trucks, because there are

    7 a lot of people, and that should be solved. If you

    8 choose to leave, and I do not want to influence you in

    9 any way, I have nothing against you, I have nothing

    10 against the innocent and guiltless. You can choose if

    11 you want to go east across Serbia or -- I don't mind.

    12 If you want to go west, you can say where you want to

    13 go.

    14 "VOICE: They say they want to go to

    15 Bratunac, to the stadium.

    16 "MLADIC: Right. Who said that?

    17 "VOICE: The people.

    18 "MLADIC: Are they coming here? Let them go

    19 to the stadium and one of their representatives from

    20 here will be with those people there to see them board

    21 on.

    22 "CAMILA: Could I ask you if my daughter and

    23 her child could go?

    24 "MLADIC: Well, yes.

    25 "CAMILA: She shouldn't leave her here. I'd

  13. 1 rather stay here myself.

    2 "MLADIC: If necessary, madam, you and your

    3 daughter and granddaughter will be transferred in my

    4 vehicle. Don't worry."

    5 MR. HARMON:

    6 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, that film clip is only a

    7 portion of the meeting; is that not correct?

    8 A. Yes, it is. It is only a fragment of the

    9 meeting at which I was present.

    10 Q. Describe the meeting, when you came in, what

    11 happened once you came in.

    12 A. I entered the room, and that is when I saw my

    13 schoolfellow Miroslav Deronjic. I was really

    14 terrified. Then at some point I turned to him and I

    15 said, "Miroslav, dear, what are you doing to all those

    16 people. Help us. They're all bare handed, hungry,

    17 barefoot, driven to the stadium like cattle, left at

    18 the mercy of those men. They're firing, targeting at

    19 them."

    20 Then Mr. Mladic told us to sit down, because

    21 we knew one another. And he said that he had

    22 experienced the greatest success of his life during

    23 those days, the conquest of Srebrenica. And my feeling

    24 was that he had prepared it all as a form of theatre,

    25 as a stage to show it all to us.

  14. 1 He just indicated to somebody with his hand

    2 to bring something, and he brought a broken vase from

    3 the municipal hall in Srebrenica, and he said, "This is

    4 my trophy, the greatest moment in my life, the conquest

    5 of Srebrenica. I know how many people were born

    6 there."

    7 And they brought the Registry of Births, and

    8 then they brought in the Registry of Deaths and the

    9 Registry of Marriages, and he said, "I know the last

    10 person who had got married in Srebrenica." He said,

    11 "You can go anywhere you want or you can stay here or

    12 just vanish."

    13 Then I knew that if we agreed to leave there,

    14 then perhaps we might survive, and if we tried to stay,

    15 that we would simply exist no more.

    16 Q. Now, you mentioned at the beginning of the

    17 meeting that you had a conversation with Mr. Deronjic.

    18 MR. HARMON: If I could have the next exhibit

    19 which is Prosecutor's Exhibit 52 disseminate, and if I

    20 could have it also placed on the ELMO. Just a little

    21 lower, please.

    22 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, this is a still image taken

    23 from the film we just saw, and let me ask you if you

    24 can identify in Prosecutor's Exhibit 52 Mr. Deronjic.

    25 A. He was sitting across the table. This is him

  15. 1 [indicates].

    2 Q. The record should reflect --

    3 A. The man with whom I went to school.

    4 MR. HARMON: The record should reflect that

    5 Mrs. Omanovic has pointed to the man in the far

    6 right-hand corner of the image, the man in the black

    7 jacket holding a glass in his left hand.

    8 Q. Now, you mentioned that you made a request at

    9 the beginning of the meeting or a plea of some sort to

    10 Mr. Deronjic. What did Mr. Deronjic say to you after

    11 you made that request?

    12 A. He was trying to explain that he too had had

    13 victims in that war, but Mladic interrupted him.

    14 Mladic wouldn't let anyone discuss, and I had the

    15 feeling that he wanted to have the main say in the

    16 meeting.

    17 Q. Did anybody else have any say in the meeting

    18 or was General Mladic the person who was conducting the

    19 meeting alone?

    20 A. It was General Mladic who conducted the

    21 meeting alone most of the time.

    22 Q. Let me show you the next exhibit, which I'd

    23 ask also to be placed on the ELMO, which is

    24 Prosecutor's Exhibit 53. I'd also ask that that be

    25 disseminated to the Court and to counsel.

  16. 1 This also, Mrs. Omanovic, is a still

    2 photograph, an image taken from the film we just saw.

    3 Do you recognise anybody in this particular image other

    4 than General Mladic?

    5 A. I know this man here [indicates].

    6 Q. You're pointing to the man with the green

    7 shirt, civilian shirt, on the left-hand side of the

    8 image. How do you know that man?

    9 A. Yes, I'm pointing at him. I just know him.

    10 I don't know what his name is. We used to run into

    11 each other in town. He lived in Bratunac, and I would

    12 often go to Bratunac to visit my sister. Bratunac was

    13 the town that was closest to Srebrenica, and we used to

    14 meet each other. We used to know a lot of people from

    15 Bratunac. And I went there, when I went to see about

    16 the situation, about the evacuation, I saw that man.

    17 He was standing somewhere near the buses.

    18 Q. What did he say, if anything?

    19 A. He said, "Mrs. Camila, where are your

    20 children?" But I lied to him. I told him that my

    21 children had already left by bus. He said, "No one can

    22 help you. Your fate has been determined."

    23 At that moment, I simply knew that nothing

    24 would go well, that we didn't have many chances of

    25 survival, myself and my family, because my children

  17. 1 were still in front of the transport company.

    2 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, after the meeting concluded,

    3 where did you go?

    4 A. We were taken back to the UN base. As we

    5 were going out, as we were going towards the UN camp, I

    6 saw that the Serb soldiers had already mingled with our

    7 population. They were armed and they were walking

    8 around. So I asked the driver to take me back to the

    9 location where my children were and he did that. So

    10 instead of going to the UN base, I went to my

    11 children.

    12 I was waiting for Nuhanovic and Mandzic to

    13 join us, because we had an agreement in Bratunac that

    14 there was supposed to be a list and the evacuation was

    15 supposed to begin with elderly people, women and

    16 children, and I thought that this would happen, but

    17 they never showed up. They never came back to do

    18 that. We simply saw trucks and buses arrive after that

    19 and there was no order whatsoever. People started

    20 boarding buses and the evacuation started.

    21 Q. Now, on the 12th, did you also see

    22 General Mladic in Potocari?

    23 A. Yes, I did. He was standing behind the

    24 yellow ribbon and he was accompanied by his soldiers.

    25 They distributed several bars of chocolate to the

  18. 1 people who were standing next to that yellow ribbon.

    2 They walked around a little amongst the

    3 people who had been amassed there, and then after that

    4 he simply left somewhere.

    5 Q. Now, you said that people started to go

    6 toward the buses. Did that include families with male

    7 members, with fathers and sons?

    8 A. Yes. All of the families started boarding

    9 those trucks, and again there was a big crowd of people

    10 and the atmosphere was the same as the one in

    11 Srebrenica before that. People felt that they would be

    12 saved if they boarded trucks. Everybody was yelling.

    13 Children were crying. Everybody at the same time

    14 started moving towards the entrance where the buses

    15 were. Everybody together, including women and men and

    16 children.

    17 Q. Did you see anything happen to the men and

    18 the boys who were with the families moving toward the

    19 buses?

    20 A. Yes, I did. They were being separated.

    21 Between buses and along the street where the buses were

    22 lined up for transport, there were lots of soldiers and

    23 civilians who had the right to separate people. It

    24 seemed that everybody had the right to separate people

    25 from the line.

  19. 1 We didn't know the reason. We didn't know

    2 why. They were simply singling out people whom they

    3 didn't like, but I couldn't conclude anything as to the

    4 basis for that separation.

    5 Q. Now, where did the men and the boys who were

    6 separated go?

    7 A. They went towards the White House. It was an

    8 uninterrupted column of people, very quiet, very calm,

    9 and you had the feeling that it would never stop, it

    10 would never be interrupted. New people were coming,

    11 and the people at the end of the column would disappear

    12 behind the White House.

    13 Q. Can you tell the Judges the range of ages of

    14 these males who had been separated and were queuing up

    15 in front of the White House?

    16 A. All of them were above 13 years of age.

    17 There were lots of young boys who looked older, but

    18 those who were above 13 were separated.

    19 Q. Did you see anybody -- any boy who happened

    20 to be disabled amongst the males who had been

    21 separated?

    22 A. I saw Mirza Mehmedovic. He was a totally

    23 handicapped person. He couldn't communicate at all.

    24 He was mentally retarded.

    25 Q. And was he in line as well, going toward the

  20. 1 White House?

    2 A. Yes, he was. He was trying to say something

    3 to them, but they simply pushed him aside. He was also

    4 separated, together with others. He was completely

    5 mentally retarded. He was unable to explain anything

    6 to anyone, but he was still separated.

    7 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, do you know if he survived?

    8 A. No, he did not survive.

    9 Q. Now, the men who had been separated, did they

    10 have with them personal effects, bags of their

    11 possessions?

    12 A. They had their personal effects, but they

    13 couldn't take them into the White House. There was a

    14 huge pile of things and people were told to leave their

    15 personal belongings on that pile, that they couldn't

    16 take anything with them.

    17 Q. Now, after you saw this, Mrs. Omanovic, where

    18 did you go?

    19 A. I went back to my family, and at that

    20 point -- you mean after Bratunac?

    21 Q. After you had seen the separation of these

    22 men and boys and you'd seen General Mladic in and

    23 around Potocari, did you return back to the Zinc

    24 Factory and did you move to another location?

    25 A. I went to the Zinc Factory where my family

  21. 1 was, and I noticed there and all around the camp a

    2 number of armed people walking around. Next to my

    3 family, there were between five and ten soldiers

    4 standing. They were looking at my daughter and

    5 cursing, and I was really afraid to spend the night

    6 there.

    7 There was a little wood not far from there,

    8 and I was afraid that me, my daughter, my son, and the

    9 grandchild would be taken there. So I crossed over to

    10 the other side of the street, and we stood on a little

    11 clearing next to some buses. We put a blanket down and

    12 we sat there. There were lots of people around us.

    13 The transport was going on, but there was a number of

    14 people who were standing actually near where we were.

    15 Q. Now, when you say that the soldiers were

    16 cursing, were they cursing at your daughter or were

    17 they cursing at other refugees?

    18 A. They were cursing my daughter. They were

    19 really very vulgar. "You're so young and you have a

    20 child." And it's true, she was very young, she had a

    21 child, but they were glancing at her with hostility,

    22 and I was really afraid for her.

    23 Q. Now, you say you moved. Did you move to the

    24 bus compound across the way from the Zinc Factory?

    25 A. Yes. This is where I moved and this is where

  22. 1 we stayed, on the following day as well.

    2 Q. Now, how many other refugees were in and

    3 around the bus compound where you had relocated

    4 yourself?

    5 A. Everybody except for those who were not able

    6 to board the buses. Everybody was there and the space

    7 was getting narrower. We were crowded next to each

    8 other so as to be as close as possible to the

    9 transport, to the buses.

    10 Q. Are you able to estimate the number of people

    11 in and around the bus compound?

    12 A. Again, it must have been several thousand,

    13 because in the evening, we learned that only 1.000

    14 people had been able to leave. So everybody who

    15 eventually went to Tuzla was there, but we were all

    16 very crowded because people were in a hurry to board

    17 the buses.

    18 Q. Now, I'd like you to describe what you saw

    19 and what you heard the night of the 12th and the early

    20 morning of the 13th while you were at the bus

    21 compound.

    22 A. The second night was even worse than the

    23 first night, and I think it was the worst night I ever

    24 had in my life.

    25 In the evening and throughout the night, Serb

  23. 1 soldiers and Serb population were moving around on

    2 buses and trucks, and they were shouting, they were

    3 firing, they were going to Srebrenica and back. The

    4 Serbian soldiers would come to us with flashlights.

    5 They were singling out people, individuals, taking them

    6 away, and we would hear screams coming from behind the

    7 buses. A woman was giving birth. She was screaming.

    8 She had no one to help her. Another one was going

    9 completely crazy. This influenced other people as well

    10 and, in fact, the atmosphere in general. So we would

    11 move all of a sudden in waves, and then shortly after

    12 that we would be calm again.

    13 Then they threw some kind of sand on all of

    14 us and people started coughing. So people said that

    15 those were some kind of poisonous gases.

    16 We put the child in the pram and we covered

    17 the pram with something so as to help the baby. People

    18 were throwing up.

    19 But the night was very, very calm and some

    20 people started falling asleep. But from a nearby

    21 slaughterhouse, we all of a sudden heard a voice of a

    22 man who resembled the voice of Fikret Hodzic, whom we

    23 all knew very well, and it sounded as if he was being

    24 tortured. He would cry, "Nesib, Nesib." Then

    25 everybody else would start crying and yelling, and then

  24. 1 everything would stop again. We didn't have enough --

    2 we didn't have time to fall asleep or to keep quiet

    3 because screams would start all over again. It was a

    4 night of horror.

    5 And I was just trying to figure out how to

    6 save my children. I was not interested in living

    7 anymore. I just wanted to save my children. I wanted

    8 to cut my daughter's hair and to put a scarf on her

    9 head and to take her child away to try and make it on

    10 her own.

    11 I was talking to my son. But there was a man

    12 next to us. He was laying unconscious. He looked

    13 paralysed. And I told my son, "Go and sit by that

    14 man. Try to think of a fake name. Tell the people

    15 that this man is your grandfather, that you have to

    16 help him." But my son just simply sat next to me and

    17 he wouldn't listen to me. He didn't want to do that.

    18 And I spent all the night thinking how to save my

    19 children. And I moved towards the entrance where

    20 everybody else was. I really don't know how I was able

    21 to muster all that courage, because at the same time I

    22 witnessed this terrible scene of separation of people.

    23 They took their rucksacks and I took the

    24 baby. We put some food -- we took some food for the

    25 children and we grabbed each other. We took each

  25. 1 other's hands and we were trying to make our way

    2 through the crowd. I no longer had any force left. I

    3 could not fight what was happening to me. So we came

    4 close to that white ribbon -- I'm sorry, yellow ribbon,

    5 yellow tape, where UNPROFOR buses were.

    6 Q. Let me interrupt you there for just a

    7 minute. I'm sorry. But when you said -- I'd like to

    8 stay focused, if we can, for just a few more minutes,

    9 on the night before you attempted to board the buses

    10 yourself. So if we could stay focused on that for just

    11 a minute.

    12 You said that people would come into the

    13 compound and they would take refugees out of the

    14 compound. Who were those people who were coming into

    15 the compound and how were they dressed?

    16 A. Serb soldiers came. They were wearing

    17 Serbian uniforms and UN uniforms, and they mingled with

    18 the population. They were walking amongst us and they

    19 were looking for people -- on what basis, I don't

    20 know -- using flashlights, and they would point to

    21 certain individuals, who would then be taken away.

    22 Q. And do you know a man by the name of Sefik

    23 Mustafic?

    24 A. Yes, I know him. He's a neighbour of mine.

    25 He was sitting next to us all that time while we were

  26. 1 in Potocari.

    2 Q. Tell the Judges what happened to that

    3 gentleman.

    4 A. Sefic Mustafic was taken away, and after a

    5 while he returned. He was frightened. And we wanted

    6 to know what had happened, where he had been. But he

    7 said he didn't dare tell us everything, that he

    8 couldn't tell us everything, that perhaps one day he

    9 would tell us what had happened. So he spent some time

    10 sitting next to us and then he left. We thought he had

    11 just gone for a walk, but he hanged himself.

    12 Q. Now, let me ask you if while you were in the

    13 compound you had heard women being raped by Serb

    14 soldiers.

    15 A. Everything that took place in the camp we

    16 could see or hear, because we were sitting next to each

    17 other. Rumours were spreading quickly. We could hear

    18 about rapes, murders, people being taken away. We

    19 were all in the know, because we were all amassed at

    20 one place and news would spread quickly. So whoever

    21 saw something would tell it to his neighbours, so we

    22 knew exactly what was happening where in the camp, at

    23 all times.

    24 Q. Now, what effect did the separation of males,

    25 boys and husbands, from their families, what effect did

  27. 1 the rumours of rapes, what effect did the cries of

    2 torture that you could hear in and around the bus

    3 compound have on the refugees who were in the bus

    4 compound?

    5 A. All the while while we were staying there in

    6 the camp, we were just trying to figure out who would

    7 be next to be killed or to be taken away. We were just

    8 waiting for that to happen. And that's why people were

    9 in such a hurry. That's why people wanted to leave as

    10 quickly as possible. People were losing patience.

    11 They wanted something to happen. They couldn't handle

    12 the uncertainty. And that was the effect on the

    13 population. We simply wanted to get away from there as

    14 quickly as possible.

    15 Q. Now, did you subsequently learn that your

    16 young son had seen something while you were at the bus

    17 compound, and can you explain that to the Judges,

    18 please.

    19 A. My son went to fetch some water, and he saw

    20 five or six human bodies that had been slaughtered near

    21 the river bank. He wouldn't leave me after that. He

    22 didn't talk about it anymore, but he wouldn't be

    23 separated from me after he had seen that terrible

    24 scene.

    25 Q. Now, Mrs. Omanovic, I'd like to turn now to

  28. 1 the morning of the 13th of July. Did you attempt to

    2 leave? Did you attempt to get on a bus or a truck?

    3 And can you explain to the Judges what happened?

    4 A. On that morning, I decided to leave. I took

    5 my children. We were holding each other's hands. I

    6 took the baby and I went to the -- up to the yellow

    7 ribbon. It was very difficult. Everybody was trying

    8 to leave.

    9 So I went to a vehicle which was a personnel

    10 carrier. I thought it was an ICRC vehicle. A lady was

    11 there who was acting as an interpreter. She was

    12 telling people to calm down. I tried to contact her.

    13 I tried to ask her to take the children and that I

    14 would come back, but she obviously didn't understand

    15 what I was saying. So I went to the first vehicle, but

    16 some people were standing there who wouldn't let us on,

    17 and we were not allowed to board any of those buses.

    18 But there were a lot of people behind us.

    19 Again, a separation was taking place. Some

    20 people were let on those buses, some were put aside.

    21 We were taken to the first truck, and near each truck

    22 there would be some kind of rock, or a stool, with

    23 some -- there was some jewellery on it. And one person

    24 asked -- one person gave me several rings and a medal,

    25 and I didn't know -- I couldn't figure out why he was

  29. 1 doing so. And so he said, "You might need it in

    2 Bratunac." But we were afraid, because there were

    3 rumours that on the way to Bratunac, or where people --

    4 where people would reach the Bosniak territory, that

    5 they were also being separated and their belongings

    6 were taken away from them.

    7 I started shouting, "Help, help." I thought

    8 it was the ICRC. I thought they would help us. And

    9 then the Serb soldiers said, "Just start the engine and

    10 leave." I had my two children on my sides and my

    11 daughter said, "Please, mother, don't cry. Let us just

    12 throw away this jewellery. No one will know that we had

    13 thrown it away."

    14 My children stayed on the truck and I jumped

    15 out of the truck, so they left in the direction of

    16 Bratunac. And there was an armed Serb soldier coming

    17 towards me, and he stopped me and he told me, "You will

    18 now see what's going to happen in Bratunac." And I

    19 told him, "Just kill me. I don't care about my life.

    20 Just leave my children alone."

    21 I managed to run away, and I went up to the

    22 barbed wire, which was very high. I couldn't jump over

    23 it, but there was a hole underneath, and I crawled

    24 through that hole and I managed to reach the UN base.

    25 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, let me ask you: You mentioned

  30. 1 Bratunac. Had something happened in Bratunac in 1992

    2 or 1993 that you're aware of?

    3 A. Again, people were separated in Bratunac. It

    4 was at the very beginning of the war. This took place

    5 on the Bratunac playground. Lots of people had been

    6 taken away on that occasion, and we haven't heard of

    7 them ever since, and they must have been killed.

    8 Q. Now, after you crawled under the fence that

    9 you just described, what happened, Mrs. Omanovic?

    10 A. I ran to the UN base and I called the

    11 interpreters. I told them that people should be helped

    12 and I told them that people were being taken off the

    13 buses on the way to Bratunac. And I told them that

    14 people were being separated elsewhere, not only in

    15 Potocari, and something should be done to help them.

    16 Then a brother of mine -- my brother came and

    17 I asked him to try to help me kill myself. I was

    18 afraid of falling into the hands of Serbian soldiers,

    19 because there were terrible stories that were being

    20 told about them. And at that moment I could only think

    21 of those rumours, those stories. There were stories

    22 about rapes, slaughters, and I was afraid that my

    23 daughter would be raped in front of my own eyes, that

    24 my grandchild would be slaughtered, and I couldn't

    25 simply face it. And this man, he had already prepared

  31. 1 a rope --

    2 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, but it's very

    3 difficult to follow the witness. The interpreter

    4 apologises.

    5 MR. HARMON:

    6 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, would you just slow down a

    7 bit? I've received a word from the interpretation

    8 booth that they're having difficulty because of the

    9 pace of your testimony. Could you slow down a bit.

    10 A. Very well. And my brother showed me the

    11 noose he had prepared for himself, and I pulled it out

    12 of his hand and I climbed to the upper floor of the UN

    13 base. There were lots of people, and children were

    14 standing at the window and watching those trucks moving

    15 away. And I asked them to go away from the window,

    16 because it was -- I had heard that a body of a person

    17 who hangs himself is very ugly.

    18 So that is what I tried to do. I climbed a

    19 chair and I saw two Serb soldiers with UN soldiers

    20 coming up, and I felt -- I must have been so terrified

    21 that I thought they were looking for me. So I climbed

    22 up on that rack which was there for drying and I laid

    23 there, and they walked up and down, were looking what

    24 was going on. They went around, they went back. And

    25 as they were climbing down the stairs I sat on that

  32. 1 drying rack, on top of that drying rack, and I

    2 tightened the noose which I had already prepared, I put

    3 it around my neck, and I jumped down. And I woke up in

    4 the hospital and I really don't know what happened

    5 next.

    6 Q. Mr. Omanovic, thank you very much.

    7 MR. HARMON: I've concluded my direct

    8 examination, Your Honours. Thank you.

    9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you,

    10 Mr. Harmon. Before we move on to cross-examination,

    11 perhaps it would be good to make a break, so that now a

    12 20-minute break.

    13 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.

    14 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.

    15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]

    16 Mrs. Omanovic, you will now be answering questions

    17 which the Defence counsel for General Krstic, that is,

    18 Mr. Petrusic or Mr. Visnjic, will ask you.

    19 Mr. Petrusic, you have the floor.

    20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning,

    21 Your Honours; good morning, my learned friends from the

    22 Prosecution.

    23 Cross-examined by Mr. Petrusic:

    24 Q. Good morning, Mrs. Omanovic. Before I ask

    25 you some questions, I should like to tell you that it

  33. 1 is not our intention to take you back to that period of

    2 July 1995 and all that you went through. We do not

    3 wish to revive all those memories. We hope that as an

    4 educated woman and emancipated woman, you will

    5 understand that the principal objective of the defence

    6 is the establishment of the truth and all that happened

    7 in Srebrenica, and that is all we have in mind. Now I

    8 should like to move on to some specific questions.

    9 Mrs. Omanovic, at the beginning of your

    10 testimony, you said that on the 10th of July, men were

    11 separated from the rest of the Muslim population, next

    12 to the petrol station in Srebrenica. Could you please

    13 tell us if that separation was spontaneous or did

    14 somebody invite people to split into two groups?

    15 A. I could say that it was spontaneous. As they

    16 came out of the town, men and women headed for Potocari

    17 and men towards Kazani, and, yes, it was next to the

    18 petrol station.

    19 Q. Among the men, were there some wearing

    20 uniforms?

    21 A. I don't know when I should begin to answer.

    22 If I could know only when to start answering. If

    23 somebody could tell me.

    24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

    25 we seem to have the problem with the language because

  34. 1 we speak the same language.

    2 A. No, no. Somebody told me --

    3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] If I may, at

    4 the end of each of my questions, should I say, "This is

    5 the end of my question," so that the witness knows that

    6 she can begin with her answer? Could I do that?

    7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon

    8 perhaps will explain.

    9 Yes, Mr. Petrusic. Just a moment.

    10 MR. HARMON: I explained to the witness,

    11 because counsel speaks the same language as the

    12 witness, that she needed to pause so that we didn't

    13 have overlap and create a problem for the interpreters,

    14 and I think that is the source of the problem. She is

    15 inquiring when she needs to commence her answer. So

    16 that, I think, is the problem.

    17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank

    18 you, Mr. Harmon, very much for this clarification.

    19 Mr. Petrusic, Mrs. Omanovic, as you know,

    20 when we speak the same language, then there is always a

    21 risk of speaking too fast and not making a pause so the

    22 interpreters can keep up, because the interpreters are

    23 always a couple of seconds behind of what was being

    24 said. So could you just wait a little.

    25 So Mr. Petrusic, if you just make a pause

  35. 1 after you finish your question.

    2 When you hear the end of Mr. Petrusic's

    3 questions, just make a short pause. I believe you

    4 understand really when the question has ended. You do

    5 not have to hear, "This is the end of the question."

    6 Just wait for a while after you've heard the question

    7 to give the interpreters time. Simply remember that

    8 there's always one person between you, which is an

    9 interpreter.

    10 So I believe that -- of course, Mr. Petrusic,

    11 you can also do as you suggested, "This is the end of

    12 my question," but do I not think there is any need for

    13 this. I'm quite sure that we shall have a very good

    14 communication even without that if you only make this

    15 short pause.

    16 Yes, Mr. Petrusic, move on.

    17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]

    18 Q. So Mrs. Omanovic, would you please answer my

    19 questions. Among those men, were there any wearing

    20 uniforms?

    21 A. Yes, there were some uniformed men. Not very

    22 many, but here and there. Some of them had weapons.

    23 Q. They formed a column, didn't they?

    24 A. Well, no, they didn't form a column. All I

    25 could see was only the beginning. Whether they formed

  36. 1 a column further on, I wouldn't know. But from the

    2 street, men simply separated and they came together in

    3 groups. There were groups like ours, except they were

    4 groups of men on that other side, but they were not

    5 columns.

    6 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, I should like to move on to

    7 the meeting on the 12th of July, at the Fontana Hotel

    8 in Bratunac around 10.00.

    9 We saw the footage. Did General Mladic

    10 introduce each one of the participants in the meeting?

    11 A. Yes, he did. General Mladic did introduce

    12 all the participants of the meeting.

    13 Q. As he introduced General Krstic, did he say

    14 anything about him?

    15 A. I don't remember. I don't remember him

    16 saying anything. I was too frightened, and I can't

    17 recall quite a number of details.

    18 Q. Did General Krstic take an active role in the

    19 meeting?

    20 A. Again, I don't remember him saying anything.

    21 Q. And any one of the other participants in the

    22 meeting, did he take part in the discussion?

    23 A. No, I don't think so.

    24 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, could you tell us: What were

    25 the conclusions of that meeting?

  37. 1 A. It is a rule that a meeting reaches some

    2 conclusions and that the record is made or something

    3 like that, but our meeting ended in a rather unusual

    4 way. Somebody came in and said that people had broken

    5 into the stadium, as if all this crowd had broken in,

    6 so that we stood up, simply. Nobody was taking

    7 minutes, nobody signed anything, nothing that should be

    8 a normal routine at a meeting, some items on the agenda

    9 or something. It was all incidental, that somebody

    10 needs to provide trucks, that somebody needs to take

    11 fuel or something, but there was nothing that would

    12 make it look like a proper meeting.

    13 Q. And would you know if some minutes were made

    14 later on, or a record? Was it made later on?

    15 A. I know when a woman -- I don't know what her

    16 name was -- some foreign television crew arrived to

    17 make an interview with me to shoot something, and then

    18 somebody -- his name was Mila. He was an interpreter.

    19 I believe he was a Slovenian. He showed me something

    20 which was supposedly the record of that meeting, and it

    21 figured my -- made a name, but it was not my

    22 signature. So that was the first thing that I saw as a

    23 can kind of a record of that meeting, but I did not see

    24 anyone taking it during the meeting or anyone preparing

    25 it for signature when the meeting ended. The meeting

  38. 1 ended just out of the blue.

    2 Q. And after that meeting did you see General

    3 Mladic in Potocari?

    4 A. I saw him when he arrived with a group of

    5 soldiers. He walked around the compound and he

    6 distributed some chocolates to the children. But I

    7 think he's a great actor and he was doing this only

    8 because there were some cameras shooting him.

    9 Q. Just for a moment, I should like to go back

    10 to the previous night, between the 11th and the 12th of

    11 July. Was there any gunfire around the compound then?

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. And between the 12th and the 13th, during

    14 that night?

    15 A. No.

    16 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, in your testimony you said

    17 that you heard rumours about rapes. Was it anything

    18 more than rumours, or did it end there; that is, did

    19 you receive any more reliable, any more trustworthy

    20 information?

    21 A. I said in my testimony that I did not see a

    22 single murder, I mean with my own eyes. I did not

    23 witness a rape. I heard all those sounds and

    24 everything, but I did not see it with my own eyes. But

    25 in that compound, in that place where we were, the

  39. 1 rumour of any evil deed, of anything that happened,

    2 yes, spread around, but I did not witness any of that.

    3 Q. On the 13th of July, you and your family were

    4 not allowed to board the buses that were parked there,

    5 were you?

    6 A. Quite right. They did not allow us. And I

    7 think that during this meeting with Mladic I did ask

    8 not to transport us as cattle, because I must again

    9 repeat what I'd heard: that so many babies suffocated

    10 in that crowd, the first group that was transported to

    11 Bratunac. And I asked him to treat us properly as

    12 human beings. And he knew that I had a baby of three

    13 months, and he said, "At some point I'll take you in my

    14 own bus." But he would not allow it. I wasn't asking

    15 for myself. He wouldn't allow my baby to board the

    16 bus, but the truck, and then they stoned the truck and

    17 did all sorts of things that they were not to do.

    18 Q. And who, then, boarded those parked buses

    19 which were standing next to those trucks?

    20 A. Well, again, people; again, the crowd -- I

    21 don't know how to explain it to you. Next to every bus

    22 there were standing men who were selecting. I don't

    23 know what method they used, because there are always

    24 some selection methods. Somebody says, "You can

    25 board," or "Just let him through." Or other people

  40. 1 they wouldn't allow it, because there were very many

    2 men among those buses and were they simply selecting

    3 it. And they would simply put their shoulder, put

    4 their elbow out, and would simply prevent him from

    5 boarding the bus if they thought that that person

    6 shouldn't board the bus.

    7 Q. Those men who were making the selection who

    8 would and who would not board the bus, were they in

    9 uniforms?

    10 A. Some were uniformed and some were in civilian

    11 clothes.

    12 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, perhaps this is asking you to

    13 do too much, in view of the state that you must have

    14 been in at the time, but please allow me to ask you if

    15 perhaps you noticed the patches, the insignia, the

    16 flashes of the military or the police or some other

    17 units there. Do you have any recollection of that?

    18 Can you tell us something about it?

    19 A. Believe me that at that moment, whether I

    20 simply didn't want to or whether I didn't dare look at

    21 any man, but I cannot bring back to my mind any single

    22 face. I merely held my children next to me and I was

    23 trying to board it. Nobody, except that man who was at

    24 the meeting and who said that my fate was sealed, I did

    25 not recognise anyone. Was that fear? Was it

  41. 1 something -- I don't know. But I wasn't really

    2 looking at any one of them in the face; I was simply

    3 trying to board as soon as possible, to get my children

    4 on board. No, nobody. Insignia, no. I simply didn't

    5 look at those men who were there. I knew they wouldn't

    6 allow me to board, but who and why, I don't not know.

    7 I simply cannot remember and I cannot bring back to my

    8 mind any of the flashes, any of the insignia, and I

    9 really don't know who that was or what they were.

    10 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, thank you. I have no further

    11 questions.

    12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,

    13 Your Honours.

    14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,

    15 do you have any additional questions?

    16 MR. HARMON: I do not, Mr. President. Thank

    17 you.

    18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you

    19 very much.

    20 Judge Riad.

    21 Questioned by the Court:

    22 JUDGE RIAD: Mrs. Omanovic, good morning.

    23 Can you hear me?

    24 A. Yes. Good morning, Your Honour.

    25 JUDGE RIAD: I don't want to prolong your

  42. 1 difficult situation of testifying to these very sad

    2 events. I just would like to understand two more

    3 things.

    4 You mentioned that General Mladic reiterated

    5 that you have either to leave or perish. Leave what?

    6 What is the area which he meant by "to leave"; to leave

    7 the area of Srebrenica or to leave a bigger area? In

    8 your opinion, what was this area which he meant?

    9 A. I think he meant the area of Srebrenica,

    10 because that is the only point not held by Serbs. We

    11 were encircled as if we were in a camp, because the

    12 whole territory, all the hills around my town were held

    13 by Serbs. And so if we left, then this whole territory

    14 would be Serb. Because in the Drina Canyon, we were

    15 from all sides surrounded by Serbs, and only that

    16 enclave, Srebrenica, was the territory which the Serbs

    17 had not captured yet.

    18 JUDGE RIAD: But also you could not go to any

    19 other Serb part of Bosnia?

    20 A. Nobody. It was only -- I don't really know

    21 why, but nobody asked us, nobody made any lists, nobody

    22 talked to us to reach some understanding, or anything.

    23 They simply brought the buses. And they knew, because

    24 such chaos reigned in Srebrenica, so they knew if they

    25 brought those five buses, or any number of vehicles,

  43. 1 that people were simply set off. Because before that,

    2 they had passed such horrible nights that each one of

    3 us wished to be dead. The ordinary death would have

    4 been a blessing for us, and we suffered so much. We

    5 simply wanted to get away, to get away, only not to

    6 stay there. And we didn't even have any other

    7 possibility. It was, I think, a mere formality.

    8 Nobody asked us anything. Those buses were brought

    9 there and people were crowded, and that is how the

    10 transport started. We had no say in the matter.

    11 JUDGE RIAD: Good. You also mentioned more

    12 than once that -- I can almost repeat what you said:

    13 People would -- anybody could come to the compound and

    14 point out to any person, to any individual, to be taken

    15 away. What do you mean by, "Anybody could come and

    16 point out"? You meant soldiers, Bosnian Serb soldiers,

    17 or you meant even individuals, any Serb would come and

    18 choose a prey to take out?

    19 A. Yes. They were only Serb soldiers, Bosnian

    20 Serb soldiers. They were taking away with those

    21 torchlamps pointed at them. In daytime they would walk

    22 around people, among those crowds, and people were

    23 gathered there on two sides, and they would just walk

    24 among them and take away those men and never came

    25 back. They would take one man after another one. They

  44. 1 would talk to him, walk with him, and then they would

    2 be gone. Then at night they would once again come,

    3 point their torches at those men and just call out

    4 individual men and none of those men came back again.

    5 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned that among these

    6 people there were UN -- people with UN uniforms. Did I

    7 understand you rightly?

    8 A. Yes, you did. The second night, the Serb

    9 soldiers dressed -- because they spoke the same

    10 language, Bosnian, and they had UN uniforms, and they

    11 came wearing uniforms as they came to us and moved

    12 around us.

    13 JUDGE RIAD: So it was Serb soldiers wearing

    14 UN uniforms? I don't hear you.

    15 A. Yes. Yes. They were Serb soldiers wearing

    16 UN uniforms.

    17 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.

    18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you,

    19 Judge Riad.

    20 Judge Wald, do you have any questions?

    21 JUDGE WALD: Just a few. When the people

    22 boarded the buses in Potocari, they were in a great

    23 rush to get on the buses and to get out of there, as

    24 you have told us. Did the people around you know where

    25 they were going? Did they know what would happen to

  45. 1 them when they reached a certain place, or did they

    2 simply get on the buses just to get out of Potocari?

    3 A. In order to put an end to this agony, people

    4 were leaving. They didn't know where they were

    5 leaving, but they just wanted to put an end to that.

    6 They didn't know whether they would survive or die.

    7 They didn't know where they were going.

    8 JUDGE WALD: You also mentioned that on one

    9 of the nights there were screams around the compound,

    10 but you could hear them but you didn't know what was

    11 actually happening. Were any of those screams women's

    12 screams?

    13 A. Yes, there were women's screams as well.

    14 There was a woman giving birth, which was not far from

    15 me. She was crying. There was another woman that

    16 simply went crazy on a bus. She was -- this was

    17 influencing us all. It affected the atmosphere and

    18 created the atmosphere of terror that night.

    19 JUDGE WALD: My last question is: You said

    20 that you feared very much falling into the hands of

    21 Serbian soldiers or having your daughter fall into

    22 their hands, and you referred to things that had

    23 happened on the buses on the way to Bratunac. How did

    24 you know what happened to any of the buses after they

    25 left Potocari? Where did that information come from

  46. 1 that caused you fear that if you got on the buses some

    2 bad things might happen and made you go to the UN

    3 authorities and complain?

    4 A. I don't know where those stories had come

    5 from, who was the origin of those rumours. All I know

    6 is that throughout that period which we spent in

    7 Srebrenica, terrible stories about genocide, for

    8 example, were being told, genocide perpetrated by

    9 Serbian soldiers on the civilian population, women,

    10 children. We were afraid of every single soldier. We

    11 saw monsters in all of them, monsters who were capable

    12 of most inhumane things.

    13 This is why I was so fearful to end up in

    14 their hands. Because death is nothing, but the way one

    15 dies is what counts, because we had been hearing table

    16 stories about Serbian soldiers torturing people,

    17 mutilating people, raping women, and I simply couldn't

    18 allow that to happen to my children, because I was, in

    19 a way, guilty for leaving them in Srebrenica, and I

    20 would have been responsible for their fate. I was the

    21 one who actually made that decision in Srebrenica.

    22 They were much too young to leave on their own. This

    23 is why I felt so terrible, this is why I jumped out. I

    24 just tried to see whether any help was possible.

    25 It's very difficult for me to be more

  47. 1 precise. This is what we had heard, what we had been

    2 hearing all that time.

    3 Sometimes throughout that period we would

    4 either listen to the radio or saw a TV broadcast, but

    5 nothing that we saw on TV or heard on the radio was

    6 very nice.

    7 JUDGE WALD: But your fears were generated by

    8 these stories of what had happened in other villages

    9 and elsewhere, but you didn't have any specific

    10 information about what had happened to the people on

    11 the bus that had left Potocari; is that right?

    12 A. They were taking people away. They were

    13 taking them away from the camp. We could hear screams

    14 throughout the night. It was very difficult, because

    15 we felt that something terrible would happen.

    16 During that night we were just sitting there,

    17 and all of a sudden we would hear screams from a man

    18 who was being tortured. It's a terrible thing to

    19 experience. Because of such rumours, because of such

    20 stories, we all feared that we would be the next.

    21 Maybe it was only my imagination, I don't know, but if

    22 you keep hearing horrible stories, you cannot be

    23 assured that your life would be spared.

    24 When he said that he would take my children

    25 in a special vehicle, whereas we were actually not

  48. 1 allowed to board the bus at all, and I knew that I

    2 couldn't expect anything good to happen to me in

    3 Bratunac.

    4 JUDGE WALD: Thank you, Mrs. Omanovic.

    5 A. You're welcome.

    6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]

    7 Mrs. Omanovic, I have at least four questions for you.

    8 My first question is the following: Whilst

    9 you were at the meeting with General Mladic, at one

    10 point he told you that you could choose between

    11 surviving and vanishing, and you said that "vanish"

    12 could, in a way, also include the possibility of

    13 survival somehow. What I would like to know is whether

    14 this possibility of survival was a conclusion of yours

    15 or was it General Mladic who had actually said that?

    16 A. Well, he simply said, "You can survive or

    17 vanish." My conclusion was that if I leave, I would be

    18 saved; and if I stayed, I would die.

    19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well

    20 then. So the way you understood it was that there was

    21 actually no choice, because if you chose to stay, this

    22 would mean not to survive. Was that the case?

    23 A. Yes, exactly.

    24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] My second

    25 question: There were people who were at the meeting

  49. 1 together with you, and there was someone who told you

    2 at that meeting that your fate had been sealed. How

    3 did you interpret that particular message?

    4 A. I thought I would simply disappear. I

    5 thought that nobody could help me. I thought I had to

    6 be the one who had to vanish.

    7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So you

    8 understood that something had already been prepared or

    9 determined in advance for you?

    10 A. Yes, exactly, because when he saw that my

    11 fate had been sealed and when we reached the buses,

    12 when we were not allowed to board the buses, when I got

    13 to that truck where I was given this medal, I knew that

    14 something was brewing, something bad.

    15 I had the typical instinct of a mother. I

    16 wasn't worried about myself. I felt sorry for my

    17 children. At that moment, I just jumped out. They

    18 said I was brave at that moment. No. No, I wasn't. I

    19 was just acting on the instinct of a mother who had to

    20 protect her children.

    21 That is why I jumped off the truck. I ran to

    22 that soldier who pointed his gun towards me and said to

    23 him, "Kill me, just leave my children alone. They're

    24 innocent. They're underage. My son is there on the

    25 truck." And this soldier was also frightened of me

  50. 1 although he had a gun. But my instinct as a mother was

    2 much stronger, and I had enough force to run away. The

    3 UN base was not very close by. My children were

    4 leaving to an unknown destination. I didn't know what

    5 was going to happen to them, but I had enough force to

    6 fight because of this maternal instinct in me. I

    7 thought that there must be something that can be done

    8 to help my children who had been taken away. They were

    9 both under-aged. That's why I jumped out of that

    10 truck. I wasn't brave, I was just trying to use the

    11 little force that was left in me in order to save my

    12 children.

    13 I apologise for crying.

    14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please do

    15 calm down. We have profound respect for you and what

    16 you have suffered, and you are indeed a brave woman,

    17 because you needed a lot of force, a lot of strength to

    18 experience what you have been through. We also know

    19 you are a brave woman because you have come here to

    20 testify.

    21 May I continue, Mrs. Omanovic?

    22 A. Yes, Your Honour. Thank you very much.

    23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]

    24 Mrs. Omanovic, you described, in very negative terms,

    25 Serbian soldiers. I would like to know: What was

  51. 1 their image before the war? Did they have this

    2 negative image before or was it only the result of the

    3 war?

    4 A. Let me just have a sip of water and I will

    5 tell you.

    6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please

    7 relax, Mrs. Omanovic.

    8 A. Prior to the war, Serbian soldiers were not

    9 behaving that way, or maybe they were simply

    10 pretending. We lived together, we socialised with each

    11 other, we lived next to each other, we went to school

    12 together, we worked together, and we respected mutually

    13 our traditions, and it was very difficult to understand

    14 where all that hatred had come from on the part of the

    15 people who had lived together with us.

    16 When I think back, I know that I worked

    17 together with four Serbs and two Muslims when I was

    18 working as the chief accountant at that company. We

    19 lived together very well. We had a good life. We

    20 would visit each other. I would bake typical Muslim

    21 cakes for my Serbian friends for their family reunions

    22 and celebrations, and it was so strange to see such a

    23 sudden change. We couldn't realise where all that

    24 hatred had come from.

    25 Today, after all that has happened, I'm

  52. 1 simply unable to understand the atrocities, how anyone

    2 could commit such atrocities.

    3 They knew we had problems because of the

    4 concentration of iodine in the factory and there was

    5 some very typical diseases for that area, but we never

    6 received any necessary medicine from them during that

    7 time. It was also a kind of -- it was a method to

    8 intimidate us.

    9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] This is my

    10 fourth question, Mrs. Omanovic: We saw several

    11 videotapes, and we saw the confusion which reigned in

    12 and around the base. You lived through all that, and I

    13 would like to know whether amidst that turmoil -- you

    14 were an educated person -- did you manage to notice,

    15 were you able to observe any signs of organisation?

    16 Could you tell that things had been prepared in advance

    17 in any way?

    18 A. I did have a feeling, because of what was

    19 going on, that we had been brought to a stage where

    20 everything had been prepared in advance, that there was

    21 a team of people working in an organised manner. And,

    22 for example, at that meeting, things happened in such a

    23 way that I had the impression that everything was

    24 organised, and then the meeting stopped abruptly, and

    25 that was very strange. So, well, this is the

  53. 1 impression that I had at the time.

    2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Who do you

    3 think was the chief organiser of all that?

    4 A. Well, it was General Mladic. He was a kind

    5 of director there and he was also acting his role in

    6 that scene.

    7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I do have a

    8 fifth question, Mrs. Omanovic. You know who General

    9 Krstic is, don't you?

    10 A. I heard a lot about General Krstic. I met

    11 him for the first time in Bratunac during the

    12 negotiations. However, I had never seen him before

    13 that meeting, nor did I see him after the meeting. I

    14 haven't seen him, actually, until I've come here.

    15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You say

    16 that you met him for the first time at the meeting in

    17 Bratunac. How did you know that the person in question

    18 was General Krstic?

    19 A. Well, I believe that introductions were made

    20 at the meeting.

    21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So somebody

    22 introduced you, introduced General Krstic to you. Do

    23 you remember the exact words that were used during that

    24 introduction?

    25 A. Well, "This is General Krstic."

  54. 1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Just like

    2 that? Did they say anything about his function?

    3 A. I do not remember, Your Honour.

    4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Do you

    5 remember where in the room, where the meeting was being

    6 held, did General Krstic sit?

    7 A. I believe he was sitting on General Mladic's

    8 left-hand side.

    9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,

    10 thank you. Mrs. Omanovic, thank you very much for your

    11 answers to both my questions and questions put to you

    12 by my colleagues. Mrs. Omanovic, you have completed

    13 your testimony here before the International Criminal

    14 Tribunal, and I should like to express our gratitude

    15 for your coming here. We do think you were a very

    16 brave person, despite what you may think of yourself.

    17 We can also tell that you're a tolerant person,

    18 reasonable person, and I hope that you yourself can

    19 also make a personal contribution so that your country

    20 may again find peace and safety. Once again, thank you

    21 very much, Mrs. Omanovic, for coming to The Hague.

    22 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honours.

    23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,

    24 I think we should perhaps start with your next witness.

    25 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, may I move into

  55. 1 evidence exhibits that were introduced through this

    2 witness: specifically, Prosecutor's Exhibit 49, which

    3 is the film of the meeting on the 12th of July;

    4 Prosecutor's Exhibit 49A, B, and C, which are

    5 transcripts of the meeting; Prosecutor's Exhibit 50,

    6 which is a video, the first video which I played

    7 showing the people, the refugees; Prosecutor's 51,

    8 which is a 48-second video showing crowd scenes;

    9 Prosecutor's 52, which is a still photograph taken from

    10 the video; and Prosecutor's 53, likewise a still

    11 photograph taken from Prosecutor's Exhibit 49.

    12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]

    13 Mr. Petrusic, any objections?

    14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] No, Your

    15 Honour.

    16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,

    17 then. The exhibits have been admitted into evidence.

    18 Mr. Harmon, perhaps we can begin the

    19 testimony of your next witness.

    20 MR. HARMON: I'm informed by my colleague,

    21 Mr. Cayley, that this witness will require a closed

    22 session, and we're prepared to proceed with the next

    23 witness once the courtroom is closed.

    24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm

    25 addressing the public now. We are now going to move

  56. 1 into closed session for our following witness.

    2 However, before we do so, I have to ask Mr. Petrusic

    3 whether he has any objections against protective

    4 measures.

    5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] We have

    6 reached an agreement, Your Honour, and we do not have

    7 any objections to protective measures.

    8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you

    9 very much, Mr. Petrusic.

    10 Let us prepare the courtroom for the closed

    11 session, during which we will hear our following

    12 witness.

    13 [Closed session]

    14 (redacted)

    15 (redacted)

    16 (redacted)

    17 (redacted)

    18 (redacted)

    19 (redacted)

    20 (redacted)

    21 (redacted)

    22 (redacted)

    23 (redacted)

    24 (redacted)

    25 (redacted)

  57. 1












    13 pages 1144-1209 redacted -closed session








    21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned

    22 at 2.36 p.m., to be reconvened on

    23 Friday, the 24th day of March, 2000,

    24 at 9.30 a.m.